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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Aug. 30, 2017): Make the pace

For a more detailed recap, check our live results post here.

Before the show begins, General Manager William Regal is called outside of Full Sail Live as tag champ Alexander Wolfe of SAnitY and several security guards have been knocked out by assailants who’ve fled the scene.

INTRIGUE! Right off the bat, the next era of NXT is off and running. The Ring of Honor (ROH) stable’s reign of destruction has followed the black-and-yellow brand to Florida. Chaotic good/fan favorite tweener SAnitY is also pretty much officially a thing now. Regal is pissed and his security sucks... some things never change.

After that clip, and this was my favorite part, Percy Watson called out Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly as the perpetrators from the announce desk, but Nigel McGuinness shut him down. Okay, not the Percy part, but what their exchange teases. There are a lot of questions about this new group wreaking havoc, and while I definitely don’t want an announcer feud, I’m all for the show spending some time dropping clues about who might be aligned with them - especially with so many guys who used to work with them running around the Performance Center.

New NXT champion Drew McIntyre is out to tell Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and the whole locker room he’ll fight them as long as they challenge him like men. Roderick Strong answers the call and says he wants a title shot after he’s done with Bobby Roode tonight. McIntyre applauds him for stepping up like a man, he just hopes he’s ready to get knocked out like one.

Coming into this show, I had some concerns about Drew. He seemed to be hovering around where Finn Bálor was/is as a generic character, only without Finn’s famous entrance or charming internet personality.

With this one segment, he changed my mind.

Maybe his fire just needed a better direction than the fairly heatless “whose NXT is it?” argument he had with Roode. It definitely helped to keep his promo short, not because he’s not a good talker, but because his words hit harder in small doses like tonight’s mission statement as opposed to the longer love letters to professional wrestling or whatever he’s been doing for the most part since the end of his first WWE run.

Roddy is Roddy. Let’s keep him angry and ready to fight. A particular highlight here was his reaction to Drew’s mic drop line. A really good opening segment.

After a replay of Roode’s interview from last week and news that Asuka will be here to address her future next week, Peyton Royce (with Billie Kay) def. Ruby Riot via pinfall with a bridging fisherman’s suplex - and a BIG boot from Kay.

Worth noting that they played dumb as to the Asuka news. It’s the right call, as we’ll want to experience the emotion with Mauro Ranallo and the fans as the scene plays out next Wednesday. For me, having WWE break the news she’s abdicated ahead of time doesn’t really influence how I’ll react when I see it, but I still want to watch it as it happened.

Riot/Royce featured a couple clunky spots - their timing seemed a little off on some of the faster paced stretches at the beginning, and Peyton’s big spin kick when Ruby was sitting on the top turnbuckle didn’t look super believeable as a high impact move - but outside of that this was a solid outing. It was one of the longer singles matches I can recall seeing Royce in since joining WWE, and her performance is a sign she’s handling her mini-push well. Billie’s boot was fantastic, and I didn’t mind the interference finish because I really like where I presume the story is taking us.

Who could the Punk Rag Ragdoll recruit to even the odds against The Iconic Duo?

Christy St. Cloud speaks with Regal in his office about the earlier attacks, but they are interrupted by Kassius Ohno. Ohno is clear of his GTS-induced issues and wants a No Disqualification match with Hideo Itami next week, and Regal gives it to him. Heavy Machinery squashes Damien Aweel and Edwin Negron with their tandem Compactor finisher.

Not much to say here, except that I think I’m starting to warm up to Otis and Tuckey. Blame my only-watches-TakeOvers boss. Geno discovered Dozovic via videos from the “NXT Combine”, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Hopefully we’re not just rotating one fun young team for another, however. Heavy Machinery’s presence better not mean Street Profits are going away for the duration of this taping.

Mr. Regal informs Lars Sullivan his recent actions have earned him a 3-on-1 handicap match next week, and we learn Andrade “Cien” Almas will try to avenge his loss to Cezar Bononi on Sept. 6, as well.

Don’t need any help from my higher-ups to get excited about Lars. His may be my favorite storyline on a show that’s packed with good angles right now. It helps that Regal’s set up as his foil. The way the GM flinched after telling Sullivan about his next match was topped only by the sly grin the big man gave as he was walking away.

Next week’s episode is packed! This is a great way to address concerns the roster is too deep, and answer calls for a longer weekly show.

Roderick Strong def. Bobby Roode via pinfall following End of Heartache (x2)

Well, damn. Bobby went and delivered the signature match of his run on what I assume is final appearance on the brand.

It helped that this was by far the best feud he had during his year in NXT, and would have added a lot more heat to a TakeOver than his rivalry with McIntyre did. They don’t see Strong as worthy of a big, show-closing moment yet, and I get that. Plus, he needs to appear on the fence about the ROH group’s actions (more on that in a bit), but like Tye Dillinger’s steel cage win over Eric Young, it’s kind of a bummer this didn’t happen on a bigger stage.

No matter, I loved this match, from Roode shutting down Full Sail’s “Thank You Bobby” chant with some grade-A heeling to start the match to the way Strong used a trick the former champ’s pulled repeatedly to survive in his big NXT matches when he rolled away so he could get his foot on the ropes after taking The Glorious DDT.

A perfect fit for the feud, their intensity was fantastic throughout, but never moreso than the finish, where Roode made the mistake of bringing Roddy’s family up one last time, leading to a series of stiff-sounding knees and two instances of Strong’s backbreaker finisher... the last one with the blown kiss which has been a staple of this rivalry.

A very satisfying end to their program and, if that’s what this was, Roode’s time in NXT.

McIntyre comes out for the staredown with Roddy, and is attacked by Cole, Fish and O’Reilly. They’re eventually run off by Regal and a second wave of security, with Cole screaming about how they’ll strike whenever they want.

MORE INTRIGUE! What are we to take from the fact that Strong didn’t lift a finger to help the champion? There are perfectly good reasons why he wouldn’t - surprise, exhaustion, strategy - but it definitely teases an alliance, or an interest in a possible alliance, with Team Cole.

Why aren’t these guys afraid of management? Past rampages like Samoa Joe’s came after the antagonists were entrenched, or didn’t target main eventers. Didn’t Regal sign them? Do they have connections higher up the food chain? NOTE: this last question excites me because I think Triple H is too smart to make himself a regular character on this show... don’t prove me wrong, Haitch! I’m okay with your approval being a plot point, but if The Authority shows up on Wednesday nights, I will BURN THIS MOTHER****ER TO THE GROUND!

Ahem, anyway, quite excited for both the feuds Drew has lined up... unless there’s only one of them!

Now that’s how you start a taping.

Grade: A

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