Bobby Roode Beats Hideo Itami to Retain NXT Championship at TakeOver: Chicago

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Bobby Roode survived a stiff challenge from Hideo Itami on Saturday night at NXT TakeOver: Chicago to retain the NXT Championship. 

Both stars hit their finishing moves. Itami kicked out of the Glorious DDT, and Roode absorbed the Go to Sleep, rolling out to the outside to avoid being pinned.

Roode needed not one but two more Glorious DDTs in order to pick up the win. He countered a GTS attempt into the DDT and rolled through to hit another one, knocking out Itami for good.

WWE showed the champion holding his gold aloft:

In a somewhat surprising move, Roode vs. Itami didn't main event TakeOver, which Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin wondered is a concerning sign for their WWE careers as a whole:

Roode came to NXT with some big talk, but he was able to back it up by decisively winning his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura.

After beating The King of Strong Style for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, Roode doubled down by defeating Nakamura again at NXT TakeOver: Orlando and essentially sending him off to the main roster.

The Glorious One was proud of himself after dispatching Nakamura, and he took the opportunity to run down every NXT Superstar and fan.

Itami didn't take kindly to that, which led to the Japanese great interrupting Roode and laying him out with his signature Go To Sleep knee strike.

A furious Roode demanded NXT general manager William Regal take action and insisted that Itami hadn't earned a shot at his title.

Regal agreed in some respects and forced Itami to fight his way into a championship match by placing him in a No. 1 contender's bout against Roderick Strong.

Itami was victorious in the tightly contested match, which allowed him to establish himself as Roode's new challenger.

On the heels of his impressive win, Itami expressed a great deal of confidence in his ability to pull off a repeat against Roode in the Windy City:

Itami was a prized signing by WWE in 2014, and he entered the fold at the same time as Finn Balor.

While Balor went on to win the NXT Championship and eventually the Universal Championship on the main roster, injuries have plagued Itami and kept him out of the ring for much of the past two years.

He has looked like his old self since returning to action in March, though, and Saturday marked a huge opportunity for Itami to reach the heights everyone expected out of him when he signed.

Roode once again managed to escape with the title in his possession, however, which leaves some question marks regarding where Itami goes from here and if he'll ever live up to his immense potential.

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