Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Best Coast Bias: I Hate People When They're Not Polite

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Results, stray throughs, and takeaways from the Windy City iteration of Takeover a la TH just as soon as I live up to my nickname...

  • Roderick Strong fended off outside interference to beat Eric Young after a suplex backbreaker.
  • Pete Dunne pinned Tyler Bate after the Bitter End to claim the WWE's UK Championship.
  • Asuka successfully defended her NXT Women's World Championship by pinning both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot at the same time.
  • Bobby Roode used a pair of Glorious DDTs, the second one rolling from the first, to beat Hideo Itami and retain the NXT World Championship.
  • the Authors of Pain successfully defended the NXT World Tag Team Championships against #DIY in a ladder match.

General Observations:
  • As interesting as the opening stinger was in comparing Robert Roode, Esq to the Jordan-era Bulls and Hideo Itami to the up-until-recently lover loser Cubs, it's what the champ said that left the most lasting impression from it after having seen the show: there's no underdog story in [his] NXT.
  • Again, Triple H in absentia from kicking things off on camera.
  • Speaking of which, give the Durant Real MVP award to the vast majority of fans who shut down any attempt at widespread chants for a former WWE employee over the course of the show. As a wise Samoan once said to Jason Segel, it's like the Sopranos, it's over! Time to find a new show.
  • You could've justified any match starting the show with the possible exception of the Roode/Itami one, but since Full Sail knows Occam's Razor is not a barbershop, the lone non-title match kicked us off.
  • Really liked the beginning with Strong coming in from out of the crowd to shove Killian Dain into the post and lay out Alexander Wolfe before tuning up EY It's a smart way to kick off a match that NXT especially hasn't beaten into the ground so it felt especially fresh and logical here.
  • Also enjoyed the subtle touch of Wolfe and Dain recovering once Young had regained the upper hand.
  • Dain's Flying Knox on the outside was excellent as usual.
  • EY rolling to the floor to sort of sucker Strong in before laying him out with the wheelbarrrow neckbreaker was choice, but once Strong kicked out it was a matter of time until the cult leader was going to be upended.
  • Whether by design or accident, the suplex backbreaker that ended the bout looked nasty and finisher worthy. This wasn't a bad match but it could still be seen as the worst on the show because Takeovers are usually like an ATM that's vomiting money for the heart.
  • Given his recent push via vignettes and this victory coupled with later events in the show, one wonders if Strong will get his shot at the Big X for Brooklyn the Third.
  • Smart is having JR come out with his own entrance to piggyback off of he and Nigel McGuinness calling the UK special over the weekend on WWEN. Mensa is having Pete Dunne's music cut off his chant before it could really pick up steam.
  • Anything anyone could say about the WWEUK title bout was already said better and conciser in MC5's magnum opus, but still.
  • Always a fan of Dunne's joint manipulation keeping British traditions alive, but I also liked Tyler grooming his moustache at one point early on in the bout and avoiding getting his hand stomped on the stairs before flying off to deliver offense off of it. It's a fine line between cocky and confident, but the 20-year-old (again: what h o w) did it masterfully here.
  • X-Plex into the apron!? But that's the hardest part of the ring!
  • It'd be the little things with Dunne, but they're just the things: you step on a man's ankle before you punch him in the face. You keep control of his arm so you can stomp him in the face. Logical + dastardly = to the face.
  • Pretty hilarious after the fact to think that at the time a charging corner European uppercut would be the hardest offense that Master Tyler would muster.
  • Again, hosannas to the crowd for starting to chant "UK!" after a particularly nice sequence and NXT chants; they'd dust off those two syllables again before this one hit the final bell.
  • At one point Bate airplane spun Dunne so fast and so hard (seriously) that if you'd thrown three eggs at that blur it would've come back as a fritatta.
  • Pete Dunne pulled off an Orange Crush Bomb for a nearfall, at which point the notes turned less into surveyor/stenographer and more ALL CAPS, BAYBAY! The standing O after it is sort of like a crowd's version of all caps, right?
  • Great yes anding the January match as they both started landing weak shots on each other when they were on the mat, then both slowly got to their feet landing harder blows until they were both standing and getting their Hansen Brothers on, let alone doing it twice in relatively close order without it feeling like it was unnecessary or staple gunned in.
  • As anyone else shouldn't do airplane spins after Bate apexed the move earlier, Dean Ambrose needs to stop doing the Rebound Nigel and cede it permanently to the man from Dudley. But Dunne survived, and another UK chant/standing O/Fight Forever chant chain broke out as a result.
  • VICIOUS DDT by Bate to counter the Bitter End, then hitting a piecemeal triangle moonsault. To yes and from their original bout in January over the title, this time Bate hit an AJ Stylesesque corkscrew 450 senton bomb, and somehow Dunne survived that.
  • You know a match is great when the act of recapping highlights of it makes you want to watch the whole thing again immediately.
  • It was hard to tell if Dunne spiked Bate on his tope attempt and set him into the mat by pushing him down or forearming him in what ostensibly would've been mid-air, and one Bitter End immediately afterwards it was all moot anyways.
  • Well deserved post-match standing O all the way around, and this being Chicago the crowd wasn't exactly put out over the sight of a sneering Bruiserweight standing mid-ring with his mouth biting down on the belt and his fist against his right temple, per usual.
  • It feels like the only fair way to settle this series would be a best of 3 falls match. If only there was a Network to show such a thing on...
  • Nice to see Ruby Riot get a sizeable pop, and LOL at God's Production Team for working so hard to try to get so many to boo the Empress of Tomorrow only for her to swag on out to what at that point was the evening's biggest pop like not a damn thing had changed.
  • Asuka's been champion so long that when she captured it the President was black and could read above a second grade level!
  • Always appreciative of the former Nikki Storm busting out the CROSSbody press and CROSSfaces when she's on the offensive.
  • Shoutout to Ember Moon in the Steve Borden Memorial Rafters watching this bout and in doing so, completely giving away the outcome. At least her health's good enough for that to be the case, because that bump she took still looks nastier than Ms. Jackson.
  • The match suffered from the usual triple threat in WWE trope of it being a one-on-one with the other person outside for the majority of it, but loved Cross getting Riot alone for a period and beating her down for the beginning of it with Riot's reaction being to take it in stride and wave her on before coming back in her own right. They might steal the show in Brooklyn.
  • Speaking of Ms. Riot, all the way accounted for and present with her Heat Seeking Missile on Asuka and follow up Togo senton onto the downed Cross.
  • In retrospect the crowd probably wishes they'd saved the Women's Wrestling chant for after Cross had falling reverse DDTed Riot into the apron then pulled Asuka into the apron and given her a bit of the ol' Fit Finlay.
  • There was only one real moment of teamwork between Cross and Riot so they were definitely not going to win the match, but it was still a minor shock seeing Asuka pin them both (having laid out Riot who'd just laid out Cross). It's probably the right call in order to pull off the possibility of both women's matches in Brooklyn that've been teased for weeks, however.
  • For some people, seeing the NXT World Championship semi-main set off correct alarm bells of what was going to happen both in it as well as in and after the main. But the factory's a bit in the distance still at this point in the show.
  • Turning the LED portion of the ramp into a piano that played the prelude to Glorious Domination probably caused several fellow middle agers to wonder if they still had Heart and Soul memorized because of Big.
  • For all of you out there that miss the Undertaker, Bobby Roode's entrance is probably about the same length.
  • Crowd was with Itami early when he took the upper hand on offense and stayed with him during the match. And you thought Chi-town was nothing but snarky inconoclasts!
  • It probably helped that his corner forearms to the gut sounded like body blows.
  • This Takeover, in BCB Likes It When Bobby Roode Does Other Signatures: the Blockbuster!
  • Plot point came late in the bout as Roode left shouldered the post after a Hideo dodge and found it hard to pull off his signature taunts or for a while, his closing GDT.
  • Conversely, down the stretch on the outside Itami hesitation dropkicked the steps instead of the champ.
  • Each man survived the other's finisher (Itami actually kicking out the first time with Roode bumping to the floor after the express to Napville) but Itami couldn't recapture the magic while Roode hit his and rolled seamlessly into it again to mark his second successful Takeover title defense.
  • If I'd been Itami here, I would've had to have been bleeped out way more times. Compare and contrast to the champ needing a spa day. But that was posted online after the fact since other people were in the process of shedding their chill.
  • "Where's Gargano from?" "Cleveland." "Where's Ciampa from?" "Milwaukee."
  • "And the show's in Chicago?" "Yes, sir."
  • "...screw it, do it anyhow."
  • Online was buzzing over a possible Ciampa house show injury headed into the weekend but it never manifested itself here. Besides, the real injuries would be making themselves known soon enough and long enough.
  • Perhaps, well, definitely, my indie-watching bona fides need further burnishing, but I've never seen someone tope through a ladder before Johnathon Grapples pulled it off early on here.
  • There was another possible red herring spot after the Authors knocked the ex-champs off of the ladder that Ciampa came up selling his leg that again failed to outright move the needle storyline wise in any direction.
  • It's astounding the match continued at all after #DIY both did stereo Superfly splashes off a ladder through two other ladders (one for each Author) given the fact that they both overshot their attack and it looked especially nasty in Ciampa's case. To be G-rated about it: yiiiipes.
  • Props to Ellering for taking a Johnny Wrestling superkick in his dotage after he'd saved the match for his squad.
  • Anyone with suspicions pre-match probably had them confirmed when Gargano specifically shoved Ciampa out of the way of an Author ladder lawn dart to his face.
  • Ciampa's subsequent German of an Author off the ladder into a corner ladder that ameliorated on impact would've been the highlight of the night on most shows.
  • Despite one of them getting the Impact Sandwich after Terry Funking the ladder around his head, the match ended the way seemingly all Authors matches have ended this year: sudden, brutal power displays culminating in a Super Collider. Rezar (sp) pulling up Ellering post-match before they staggered to the back was a nice touch.
  • To paraphrase Yeezus himself, it felt like R Evolution. It felt like what could've happened in Brooklyn given the Cruiserweight Classic instant classic they'd had just before that first title shot. Unfortunately for John-John, this was not an alternative timeline. And the credits coming up as #DIY took in their last ovation together at the top of the ramp was Italian-chef-kissing-his-fingers good.
  • Firefly fans, sing it with me now: curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
  • Appropriately enough, I haven't heard that reaction in the moment of impact from a WWE crowd much over the past few years, and the only other time that comes to mind was the ill-fated Festival of Friendship.
  • On that note we'd like to thank Chris Jericho's band for singing the theme for Takeover: Chicago, "Judas" holy S H I T, you guys
  • Does somebody know what the proper term is for someone who looks at their ex-best friend looking at them practically forming the word "Why?" with their eyeballs after you beat the crap out of them and responds with two vicious knee strikes and a playful shrug before doing a Nestea Plunge version of the Air Raid Crash off the announce table and through two other tables?
  • Especially the part where he was replicating exact movements and mannerisms from a loss nearly 10 months ago except following through on them with a five hundred yard stare? This could've been called THAT CIAMPA WENT CIAMPA, but it's been done, y'know?
  • Even a deaf person had to empathize with Johnny here. His facial selling of the betrayal the entire time and most gut-wrenchingly the moment when he was trying to pull himself up between Knee Tremblers was nonpareil.
  • Unbleeped "Fuck You, Ciampa!" chants like this was the night after Mania and he was Roman was jarring for a long-time fan who remembers when that sort of thing would've gotten the mics turned down or the drunken cameraman still with PLEASE STAND BY that they show in Springfield sometimes.
  • Ciampa looked at the medics, who were looking over Johnny, and when the credits rolled again the show was done seriously.
  • So, as much as people complained about Asuka cleaning out her division, here's what's happened to every major team to face the Authors over the past year: injury (TM-61 and the Revival shortly after eating the loss in the three-way) and irreconcilable differences (see photo above). Suddenly that Oney Lorcan/Kassius Ohno pairing certain corners suggested earlier in the month looks pretty damn good, doesn't it?
  • As a more astute wag noted on Twitter, it's almost going to be a shame when Candice LeRae throws away her opportunity to perform in and possibly win the Women's Tournament later this summer when she shows up in the next few weeks to try to push her man's ex-bestie into a wheat thresher. Hey, if NXT won't go intergender with Asuka, her v. TC would be a fine substitute.

Match of the Night: Pete Dunne v. Tyler Bate (c), WWE United Kingdom Championship: Back in January when the two-day special aired from across the pond, the consensus was an easy one to checkmark: Bate walked out champion but the man who'd elevated his name the most over that 48 hours by arriving as a small, angry, fully-formed bastard son of William Regal and Fit Finlay was the Bruiserweight, Pete Dunne. Seeing that match made a lot of fans want to watch a longer and even better rematch; that's what they got here.

If you were being reductionist you could call it a tale in two acts with World of Sport influencing the front end and indy-style high spots to take it home, but that wouldn't only come far from telling the tale, it'd do a great disservice to the character work that both men but especially Bate put on display. Being the champion had changed and elevated him to do and try things in this iteration that he didn't or couldn't pull off the first time off, just as not being the champion drove Dunne to get slightly more sadistic in his ultimately successful effort to gain the title that'd originally eluded him.

Somehow this match got me more hyped for an airplane spin than a muddafuggin' Orange Crush bomb, possibly my favorite move in all of the times, and it wasn't even like either of those moments were the best thing about the match.

Forget star ratings, this has my highest accolade, going back to rewatch it upon recap's conclusion because it was just that stellar.

Overall thoughts: This was an above-average show, which being a WWE production that went over the two hour mark is no sure thing in this day and age as the next night would prove.

But the oxygen in Takeover: Chicago's room was taken up by two lasting imprints, one in the form of a match and the other in the form of a cataclysmic moment that is sure to be played, replayed, and rereplayed so much orbiting around the question "Why, Tommaso, Why?" even though 90% of the audience watching will know good and damn well why. In all honestly, less Mr. Roode firmly ensconced on the top of the mountain, that rendering of their friendship has probably turned Ciampa into the biggest heel Full Sail's got outside of the NXT World Champion, and you could fully argue that he might even be the King of the Black Hats with regards to the black and yellow. The ensuing feud the ex-champs will embark on once Johnny Wrestling returns for his pound of flesh have the potential to be NXT's defining rivalry of 2017 and lucky us for getting to see it.

The United Kingdom Championship match may not have been the best wrestling match of the weekend, but if it's not, it'll have to suffice for being a borderline instant classic and a surefire Match of the Year candidate even if it doesn't take that particular hosanna home when it's all said and done. The fact that Mssrs.. Bate and Dunne's combined age is a mere five more than my whole existence is, to be charitable, bracing, but it's absolutely flummoxing that two people who aren't even yet in would be considered their primes flew over and stole the show from NXT's established roster in front of one of the more discerning signposts that WWE and NXT traverse on the semi-regular. If anybody wanted to give their own standing O from the safety of their home in front of their couch, who could blame them for that?

As with (appropriately enough) Gargano/Ciampa, the first bite of that apple was so sinfully delicious it's hard to not want to go back for more and more, especially when each one's better than the last. But for a crowd that was more than comfortable relishing in the cocksure swagger of Asuka as well as the bullying proficiency of Pete Dunne, it sure said a lot that the show ended with outright rancor and spit-inducing anger, setting off almost an entire photo gallery's worth of bugged eyes and surrender cobras.

But if that's added to a Brooklyn card with Asuka/Ember Moon II as well as a Glorious title defense? Even if you're fast-forwarding the weekies in sixty seconds in order to see the pretty lights from the fireworks factory seemingly every Takeover sets off, it's possibly the most interesting time ever to watch big brother's imprint.

And where it goes from here has a long road, all contained in the mile-wide gaze and disaffected stare of a man who took the bond of friendship and kneed it in the face a couple of times before putting it through a table.

It's going to be a Psycho Summer, kids. Buckle up.