This week’s edition of NXT took a look at the groundbreaking WrestleMania Week in California for the next generation of Superstars and Divas. The show included a special look at NXT’s sold-out debut in San Jose and the excitement of the NXT Experience at WrestleMania Axxess. But most importantly, it gave the WWE Universe a very personal look at Hideo Itami’s journey to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Hideo Itami def. Neville (Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Qualifying Tournament Semifinals)
To get to the semifinals of the tournament, Itami beat Jason Jordan, while Neville emerged victorious over Kalisto in a battle of high-flyers. Itami and Neville started the match slowly, getting a feel for each other before kicking into high gear. The two exchanged holds on the mat before Itami took control with his trademark kicks.
After retreating to the floor, Neville slowed things down and gained the upper hand. The high-flyer surprisingly kept the bout on the mat, methodically picking Itami apart. Eventually, Itami dug down deep and battled back, stunning Neville with hard-hitting strikes, advancing to the tournament finals with his patented running dropkick.
Hideo Itami def. Finn Bálor (Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Qualifying Tournament Finals)
These two friends and former tag team partners clashed once again, with bigger stakes than ever before. Their familiarity with each other showed in the opening moments of the match, as Itami and Bálor traded holds, neither Superstar able to gain the upper hand.
The WWE Universe watching the bout at Axxess was split between the two competitors, but in awe of the exciting action unleashed by both men. Though each Superstar seemingly had an answer for every one of his rival’s moves, it was Itami who finally emerged with the upper hand, his fighting spirit allowing him to absorb all of Bálor’s strikes and prevent him from hitting the Coup de Grace. Itami kicked out of a rollup and immediately hit his running dropkick to win the match and earn the right to represent NXT on The Grandest Stage of Them All!