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NXT News: NXT Championship match set for Takeover: Chicago

We finally know who is taking on Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover: Chicago.

News 11 May 2017, 08:05 IST
They put on a hell of a match on NXT tonight, but only one of them is main eventing Takeover

What’s the story?

With NXT Takeover: Chicago less than two weeks away, we’ve all been waiting to see who would challenge NXT Champion Bobby Roode for his title. Tonight’s episode of NXT had Hideo Itami take on Roderick Strong to see who between the two of them would be that opponent.

Now, we know for certain (or, at least, as certain as things get in pro wrestling).

The background

Roode’s last major title defence took place at NXT Takeover: Orlando against now-Smackdown superstar Shinsuke Nakamura. Upon his successful title defence, Roode, during a promo for the following episode of NXT, found himself confronted by one of Nakamura’s fellow countrymen, a returning Itami.

While it seemed like a title match between the two was all but certain, Roode insisted that Itami needed to earn his title match – a sentiment that NXT GM William Regal agreed with. So, he scheduled a #1 Contender match between Itami and Strong for tonight’s NXT episode.

Strong, on the other hand, had been the subject of some very in-depth features the last few weeks of NXT TV. These vignettes covered his early life, his career in the indies (and even name-dropped Ring of Honor), and his struggle to get to NXT. It seemed like a pretty big spotlight to put on someone going into a #1 contender’s match.

The heart of the matter

Well, all questions were answered in the main event of tonight’s show and the winner – well, we’ll let WWE’s Twitter feed answer that:

It was an intense match that made both men look – pardon the unintentional pun – strong. In the end, though, it was Itami who claimed the title match at Takeover.

What’s next?

Well, obviously, a match at Takeover between Itami and Roode. As for Roderick Strong, it’s hard to say for certain. But with his skills and a feel-good story, NXT certainly has plans for him.

Author’s Take

I’m really curious to see what happens with both these guys. For starters, Itami may not be as flamboyant and charismatic as Nakamura, but he’s just as skilled and isn’t exactly a stick in the mud when it comes to personality.

Plus, his English is arguably better than Nakamura’s, which will serve him well in WWE. As for Strong, WWE is obviously investing a lot in him. I, personally, see WWE using him in NXT for at least another year to help build the brand.

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