NXT Takeover: Toronto

Takeover: Toronto
Date: November 19, 2016
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips

We’re up north this time as NXT gets another showcase event on the weekend of a major WWE pay per view. There are a few rematches tonight but we’re also getting the finals of the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as well as the return of WWE legend Mickie James, who is challenging the unstoppable Asuka for the NXT Women’s Title. Let’s get to it.

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NXT Takeover: Back To Brooklyn

Takeover: Back to Brooklyn
Date: August 20, 2016
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves

This might be NXT’s biggest show of the year, especially after last year’s amazing double main event that really turned Bayley into a star. This year’s main event could be even bigger with Samoa Joe defending the NXT Title against Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley trying to get the Women’s Title back against the monster champion Asuka. Let’s get to it.

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NXT Takeover: The End

NXT Takeover: The End
Date: June 8, 2016
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves

We’re back with a big show at Full Sail for the first time since last fall. It also might be the final show under the Takeover banner depending on which news source you believe. If nothing else it’s likely to be the final match between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for Joe’s NXT Title inside a steel cage as the gimmick makes its debut in NXT. Let’s get to it.

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NXT Takeover: Respect

NXT Takeover: Respect
Date: October 7, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Rich Brennan

This is one of the weaker looking Takeovers on paper as it’s only been about six weeks since the last special. However, there are four major matches taking place tonight with a thirty minute women’s Iron Man match for the Women’s Title and the final three matches in the inaugural Dusty Classic Tag Team Tournament. Let’s get to it.

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The SmarK Rant for NXT–08.26.15

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover Brooklyn 0.5 – 08.26.15

Buffering update: Just for fun, I tried watching the 10/07/96 episode of RAW that has become my white whale at work on my phone, which has LTE speed. Started buffering 2 seconds in. So I guess I’m limited to the live stream stuff for the time being until they get their shit together. This show streams beautifully, of course, with no problems whatsoever. It’s just the damn archives.

Taped from Brooklyn, NY

Your hosts are Rich Brennan and Corey Graves.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for NXT–08.26.15

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn
Date: August 22, 2015
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Rich Brennan

It’s the biggest show in NXT history (so far) as NXT is on the road again. We have a double main event tonight with Finn Balor defending the NXT Title against former champion Kevin Owens in a ladder match and Bayley challenging for the Women’s Title against champion Sasha Banks. Let’s get to it.

Read moreNXT Takeover: Brooklyn

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn

On August 22nd (one day before Summerslam), NXT Takeover will take place live at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center!

Should be the biggest NXT show to date. Crazy how this brand continues to grow. Funny how a quality product works like that (even though they obviously have more $ resources than say ROH or TNA)…

What would you like to see on the card? Balor/Joe? Multi man NXT championship match? Sasha/Becky rematch (2/3 falls? 30 min Iron Woman?)? Sasha/Bayley?

Also did you watch this week’s episode? What would you rate Carmella’s buttcheeks?

​Alexa Bliss is the gold standard for buttcheeks in NXT as far as I’m concerned. Carmella has the rest. I didn’t watch the last two weeks because I’m going through a thing with Sporting News right now and kind of waiting it out.

As for Takeover, I think we’ll get: ​

​Balor v. Itami (or Balor v. Itami v. Breeze v. Joe) in some form. I really think Breeze is the guy who should be champion, because clearly he’s at the point where he can carry it, and he’s not going to the main roster any time soon, and he probably needs to finally win the big one soon.

Enzo & Cass winning the tag titles, either in straight tag match or multi-team deal with the Vaudevillains. But either way, they’re in BROOKLYN, ​why wouldn’t you do it there?

Sasha/Becky II, because why not keep going to that well until it doesn’t work?

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Unstoppable–05.20.15

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Belated happy birthday / drunken bachelor party wishes to my compadre Zen, who is now on the wrong side of 40 like myself and soon to be married. Finally. Good on ya, and welcome to old age. Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze v. Finn Balor Sadly, Hideo Itami was attacked on the pre-show and suffered a shoulder injury, which the company obviously knew nothing about beforehand. Because why would they advertise this as a triple threat for weeks beforehand unless they were totally ignorant of the injury? That would just be silly. Kevin Owens is suspected due to making a sarcastic remark on the way out of the shot. It’s CSI: WWE. Finn Balor is portraying a dragon tonight and usual gets a monster reaction just by walking out. Like basically Balor is the closest thing the company has to a larger-than-life superhero right out of the comics at the moment. The crowd is so jacked for him that they chant “This is awesome” just for the entrance! They trade headlocks to start and Balor dumps him, but can’t get the dive in time. Back in, Breeze hits the springboard dropkick to put Balor on the floor and stomps away in the ring. Some jackass in the front row has a “We Want Riley” sign. Who is “we” in this situation? Doesn’t that require more than one person to hold an opinion? Breeze with a neckbreaker for two and he works a chinlock, but Balor fights out and puts him on the floor with a seated dropkick. Double stomp from the APRON follows. Ouch. Back in, Tyler rolls away from the finisher, but runs into a mule kick in the corner that gets two. Sadly the tweet scroll for NXT is just as idiotic as the main show version. “Did Kevin Owens attack Hideo?” YA THINK?! Balor walks into a Supermodel Kick and Breeze gets two off that, but he stops to loosen a turnbuckle and pounds away in the corner. Beauty Shot misses, but Breeze gets a rollup for two. Blind charge misses and Balor rolls him up for two, but Breeze sends him into the exposed turnbuckle and hits the Beauty Shot for two. This prompts a tantrum in fine heel fashion, because these guys actually CARE about wins and losses. Breeze bails to the floor to regroup, but Balor hits him with a forearm from below the ramp, and then dives off the ENTRANCE SET while the fans chant “Please don’t die”. I concur. Back in, corner dropkick, Coup de Grace, and it’s good night Irene at 11:00. Hard work, great near-falls, crazy finish, this was fantastic for an opener. **** Meanwhile, Kevin Owens is typically unimpressed by his new challenger. Dana Brooke & Emma v. Charlotte & Bayley Bayley is actually a really interesting character now, because they haven’t had anyone to appeal to young girls for a long time and that’s exactly the demo she’s hitting. Dana immediately gets double-teamed by the babyfaces and tags out to Emma, who gets greeted with an “Evil Emma” chant. She hides behind Brooke and gets wiped out by Bayley anyway, but Bayley goes up and gets hauled down for two. If there’s anyone born to play face-in-peril, it’s Bayley. To the heel corner for some double-team stomps as this crowd really hates Brooke. Emma Sandwich gets two. Emma stops to mock Charlotte, however, and Bayley gets the hot tag. Charlotte hits Brooke with a neckbreaker as Dana’s gear malfunctions a few times, and hits a double DDT on both heels. That gets two on Emma. Emma comes back with a flying bodypress, but Charlotte rolls into the figure-four and then bridges while holding it, which is the Figure Eight. Bayley gets rid of Brooke and Charlotte finishes Emma with the Natural Selection neckbreaker at 6:50. Fun little match and thankfully Brooke didn’t do much and let Emma carry the workload on live TV. **1/2 Rhyno v. Baron Corbin I love it, no bullshit, just ripping right through to the next match. Someone e-mailed me asking if the Sons of Anarchy theme would work for a wrestler, and while I don’t think Corbin is QUITE right for it, he could totally use “John The Revelator” from the end of season one. Rhyno tosses him and they brawl on the floor, but Rhyno goes up and Corbin sends him to the floor again. Back in, Corbin takes over and slugs him down, then pounds away in the corner. Sliding punch gets two. OK, this is already too long. They collide in the corner for the double KO and Rhyno comes back with elbows and a spinebuster for two. Belly to belly sets up the GOAR, but Corbin counters with a clothesline and finishes with the End of Days at 7:10. Baron is definitely still a work in progress. They need to go back to short matches again for him. Not particularly bad per se, but Corbin was totally lost out there. *1/2 Meanwhile, Greg the idiot interviewer interrupts Kevin Owens in the locker room, even though he’s really sorry to do so, and asks him how his week was. WHO WRITES THESE QUESTIONS?! Owens takes this moron in stride and points out how dominant and awesome he is, and promises that tonight is the last time we’ll see Sami Zayn. NXT tag titles: The Dubstep Cowboys v. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady I love the champions if only because they have their names on their tights so I can tell them apart. Enzo gets a quick bodypress on Blake for two, but Cass comes in and the champs back off. Cass slugs Murphy down for two, and Enzo comes in with a flying bodypress for two. He bails to the apron and Murphy clotheslines him to the floor so that Enzo can take his god-given place as face-in-peril. Blake with a backbreaker and he works a chinlock. Over to Murphy for his own chinlock, and they cut off an Enzo comeback with a Blake abdominal stretch. A cool powerbomb into a backstabber from the champs gets two. They fight to the top and Enzo comes back with a tornado DDT on Murphy and it’s hot tag Cass. Cass clears the ring and lays out Blake with a big boot and SAWFT elbow drop for two. Sideslam on Murphy and he puts Enzo on the top rope (while still half-unconscious) but Alexa Bliss heads down and attacks Carmella, then turns on Enzo to knock him off the top and allows Murphy to get the easy pin at 9:00 to retain. Well you knew the Jersey crew was coming up short here one way or another, and now we actually have a tangible direction for this feud again. **1/2 Match was nothing special, but served the purpose. Meanwhile, they cut to Eva Marie from Total Divas in the audience, and no one gives a shit. That was legitimately great. Like, what exactly is that girl’s role in the company? Wrestler? NXT Women’s title: Sasha Banks v. Becky Lynch Becky is apparently steampunk tonight. Because, hey, why not? They trade rollups to start and go right into the pinfall reversal sequence, and Becky goes for the arm before Sasha bails to the ropes. Becky with a springboard kick to put Sasha on the apron, but Sasha yanks her to the floor. Like a boss. Back in, that gets two. Sasha works on the arm, but Becky cradles for two. Sasha wraps her up with a straightjacket hold into a backcracker, but Becky makes the ropes. So Sasha hits the double stomp in the corner for two. Sasha twists Becky’s arm in a way that nature did not intend, which gets two. Sasha with the SHORT ARM SCISSORS, and of course we get the power spot to break. Haven’t seen that one in a while, actually. Becky makes the comeback and goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Sasha hits her with a pair of running knees in the corner, which gets two. They slug it out and tumble to the floor, where Sasha meets the post, and Becky gets a hammerlock suplex and goes to work on the arm. Backdrop suplex gets two. Sasha tries a suplex, but trash-talks first and gets wrapped up in an armbar as a result. Only talk shit when you’re in control, Sasha! That’s basic heel strategy! Sasha thankfully makes the ropes as the crowd freaks out, and she tosses Becky to take a breath, but hits Becky with a dive and gets caught. Becky sends her arm into the stairs and they head back in, but Becky goes up and gets brought down in the Bank statement at 15:30 to keep the belt on the Boss. SHOW STOLEN. ****1/4 I am 100% Team Sasha at this point, although my wife thought that Becky’s shorts and hair were cuter. Thankfully the crowd gives Becky the standing ovation for a job well done afterwards, even though she came up short. This was pretty much everything great about wrestling that we love. And finally… NXT title: Kevin Owens v. Sami Zayn Kevin Owens has a John Cena shirt tonight because he’s the best. As usual, he walks away to start, so Sami attacks on the floor and slugs away, then sends Owens into the stairs and into the crowd. Owens tries to escape and Sami chases, so Owens catches him in a powerbomb and Sami grabs the railing to block. That would have been scary. Back to ringside and finally in the ring, a Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. Tornado DDT is countered by Owens, as he drops Sami on his shoulder to take over. Sami keeps coming with a suplex into the corner, however, and Owens escapes the ring again. Sami chases again and suplexes him on the floor, but charges one time too many and gets powerbombed onto the apron. Owens pounds away on the floor while the refs try to pull him off, but Sami won’t quit. So Owens hauls him into the ring as dead weight while a gaggle of refs run interference, and finally William Regal himself gets involved and gets headbutted out of the ring. Owens grabs a chair…but SAMOA JOE debuts and shit is about to get real. Owens chooses to walk away from that one. I presume this was a no-content somewhere about the 8:00 mark. Hard to rate as a match, but it was tracking at about *** before the Zayn injury angle ended it. So now Samoa Joe on WWE TV is a thing that has happened. Poor Sami, though, getting destroyed again. The Pulse Can’t argue with a pair of **** matches, including another classic from Sasha Banks, and the WWE debut of Samoa Joe! Not the blowaway show that some of these have been, but I was entertained for two hours and that’s all I want out of these. Thumbs way up.

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable

NXT
Takeover: Unstoppable
Date: May 20, 2015
Location: Full Sail
University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Rich
Brennan, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s another live two
hour special with a rare rematch for the main event. Tonight it’s
Zayn vs. Owens II as Sami tries to get the NXT Title back from the
man who beat him by referee stoppage back at Takeover: Rival. These
shows are always worth checking out and there’s no reason to think
this won’t be the same so let’s get to it.

The opening video
features a bunch of fans talking about why they love NXT and thanking
the promotion for giving them wrestling back. It transitions into a
regular opening video with clips of every match and soundbytes from
the wrestlers.
Four models, wearing
fur and talking pictures of themselves, walk the aisle like a runway
and I think you know where this is going.
Tyler
Breeze vs. Finn Balor
This was supposed to be
a triple threat but we get a clip of Hideo Itami being attacked in
the parking lot as he arrived. Kevin Owens is there and says that’s
a shame. THANK YOU! This is one of those things you never get
anymore in wrestling and it drives me crazy. Itami is injured, so
why not give Owens (or anyone) credit for it instead of just saying
“yeah he’s hurt. Too bad.” It’s so nice to see. It’s also nice
to see the full on Irish demon entrance for Balor again, complete
with dreadlocks, paint, the dragon style cape and spikes down his
back. He even has a huge yellow eye on his back.
Feeling out process to
start with Breeze looking disturbed (rightfully so) by Balor’s
appearance. Tyler finally nails a big kick to put Balor on the floor
before choking with the boot in the corner. We hit the chinlock on
Balor and Tyler seems to have his own group of fans tonight. Balor
rolls up and tries a sunset flip but rolls through into a basement
dropkick. Another dropkick to the side of the head sends Breeze
outside and Balor hits a running double stomp to the back from the
apron.
Back in and Balor kicks
him in the head for two more. The Sling Blade gets the same but
Breeze stops a charge with a Supermodel Kick for a very close two.
Tyler unhooks a buckle pad but misses the Beauty Shot. Balor misses
a double stomp and gets rolled up for two before being sent into the
exposed buckle, setting up a Beauty Shot for two.
Balor rolls outside and
walks a bit (Fans to the referee: “YOU’RE NOT COUNTING!”) before
surprising Breeze with a running forearm. Finn goes up to the bottom
of the Titantron (Fans: “PLEASE DON’T DIE!”) for a big dive to
take Breeze down again. Back in and the Coup de Grace makes Balor #1
contender at 11:05.
Rating:
B. Great choice for an opener
here and Breeze continues his hot streak. Balor was just too much
for him here though and that’s the right thought process. It’s hard
to go with Breeze, who has gone from a comedy character to a serious
wrestler, over someone who is one of the best packages in all of NXT.
Balor vs. Zayn or Owens should rock the house too.
Owens
watches from the back.
Someone
from Game of Thrones and Stephanie McMahon are in the front row.
Clips
of the northeast tour.
Dana
Brooke/Emma vs. Bayley/Charlotte
That place is going to
erupt when Bayley finally wins the title. Bayley catapults Dana into
a clothesline from Charlotte to start and chases Emma to the floor.
Emma hides behind her partner on the floor but eats a dropkick from
around the corner. Back in and Emma gets in a blind shot to take
over on Bayley, setting up a neck crank. The Emma Sandwich gets two
and Emma mocks the Bayley high five. That earns her a suplex and
it’s off to Charlotte who comes in with a double DDT. Emma’s cross
body is countered into the Figure Eight but Dana makes a save, only
to walk into the Belly to Bayley. Natural Selection ends Emma at
6:38.
Rating:
C+. This was fine but a bit
short. It’s a good move to not have Brooke take the fall as they’re
probably setting her up for something bigger down the line. Bayley
not getting the pin keeps Bayley vs. Emma ready for later on and
hopefully then on to the title pursuit again. Nice little match here
but the time hurt it.
We
look at Sami injuring his shoulder on Raw a few weeks back. I’m
still not sure how legit that injury is and I love that I can’t tell.
Some
NXT rookies are here, headlined by the still yet to be named Uhaa
Nation.
Baron
Corbin vs. Rhyno
Just a power brawl
here. Rhyno looks almost the same as he did back in ECW. Baron gets
sidestepped and clotheslined to the floor to start and Corbin is in
early trouble. Back in and Corbin knocks him off the top and out to
the floor as the fans think Cor-Bin Sucks. Rhyno tries to fight back
but gets thrown into the corner and stomped down until the referee
pulls him off. We hit the chinlock and the fans aren’t sure who they
like more. Rhyno fights up and wins a slugout but Baron headbutts
out of a belly to belly. Instead it’s a spinebuster for two on
Corbin but he blocks a Gore with a clothesline, setting up End of
Days for the pin at 7:13.
Rating:
C. Take two guys, let them beat
each other up for seven minutes, soak in the cheers. There
isn’t much more to this one than that as Rhyno was brought in exactly
for this purpose: make other people look good and do the job at the
end, because he’s an established veteran who is going to bounce back
from whatever losses he has. Good power match.
We
look at Owens beating up Cena on Raw.
Owens
is asked about his busy week, which he breaks down in detail. The
NXT Title is a real prize, unlike the US Title. He
has a bit of veteran advice for Sami: don’t show up tonight, because
it’s the last time anyone will ever see (insert You Can’t See Me)
him.
Tag
Team Titles: Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady vs. Blake/Murphy
Enzo
and Cass are challenging with Carmella in their corner, who may or
may not have turned on them. Enzo
says Team Cottonelle is taking an L tonight because there’s a bounty
on their head. In a nice
touch, Cass spells out the word and we cut to a SAWFT sign in the
crowd with the camera panning over each letter in time.
Enzo
takes Blake (with his hair
in ponytails) down to start
and it’s off to Big Cass, sending the champs hiding in the corner.
Murphy’s chop has no effect
on Cass so he throws Murphy hard into the corner for two. Enzo
adds a high cross body for the same but the champs cheat a bit to
take over, setting up Murphy for a backbreaker. Enzo
gets stomped down in the corner and
caught in a powerbomb into a Codebreaker for two more.
Back
to Murphy for a superplex but Amore fights him off and hits a tornado
DDT to set up the double tag. Cass
cleans house and gets two off the Empire Elbow before tagging a very
banged up Enzo for the Rocket Launcher. Cue
Alexa Bliss to jump Carmella, drawing Cass out before he can throw
his partner. Bliss crotches Enzo to give Blake the pin to retain at
8:48.
Rating:
C. Nice swerve here as Bliss
going after Carmella was teased a bit last week but it wasn’t enough
to make you think it was going to happen. People were waiting on
Carmella to turn and then you get a nice surprise instead. Enzo and
Cass probably aren’t taking the titles anytime soon and it might be
time to send them to the main roster.
Eva
Marie is here and is met with indifference.
We
look back at Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch.  Banks took Lynch
under her wing and used her to retain the title.  Becky shook
her off and has become #1 contender, saying it’s her time to prove
that her career has all been worth it by becoming Women’s Champion.
Women’s
Title: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Becky
is challenging and sporting a new look with orange
hair, a black coat, goggles
and shorts. The ring gear
is similar to Lita’s look when she returned from her broken neck.
Becky cranks on the arm to
start and trips Sasha down into a rollup for two. We
hit a pinfall reversal sequence for some near falls each until Sasha
bails from an armbar attempt. Sasha
crawls away from a stomp on the apron and twists Becky’s arm into a
faceplant on the apron. Fans: “LIKE A BOSS! LIKE A BOSS!”
Now
it’s Sasha going for the arm and posing on the apron to mock Lynch’s
entrance. We hit the
chinlock from the champ before
she switches to a double arm choke with her foot in Becky’s back.
Sasha’s double stomp in the
corner lands on the arm for two and Banks steps on the arm, bending
it all the way back to the mat with her boot on the wrist. Off
to a short arm scissors for
a bit before Becky rolls over and does her Backlund/Bulldog lift into
a slam to break the hold.
Becky
makes the one armed comeback and gets two off a missile dropkick but
Banks goes back to the arm for two. Sasha
goes for the arm again but they both wind up on the floor. It’s
Becky going after the arm this time before throwing it back inside
for a suplex onto the arm. An armbar with the feet has Banks in
trouble and another suplex gets two. Fans:
“SUPLEX CITY!”
Sasha
flips out of a pumphandle suplex but gets pulled down into the seated
armbar, sending her crawling to the ropes for the break. Becky
gets kicked out to the floor again for a suicide dive but Lynch
catches her (mostly) on the
fly and drives the champ
into the steps. Back in and
Becky gets knocked off the top, setting up the Bank Statement (with
an additional arm trap) for
the tap out at 15:30.
Rating:
A-. I
know I say this every time, but I can’t remember the last time I was
this into a women’s match or most matches for that matter. These two
were beating the tar out of each other with the arm work going back
and forth making for a great story throughout. These
girls somehow get better and better every single time and they’re
stealing all of the Takeovers. Great match.
Becky
gets a standing ovation.
We
recap Owens vs. Zayn. They were friends for years but Owens attacked
Zayn after Sami won the title at Takeover: R-Evolution. Owens said
he wanted to provide a better life for his family but has been using
that as an excuse to be an evil jerk. He beat Zayn for the title
last time but now Sami is coming in with a bad shoulder.
NXT
Title: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Sami
is challenging. Owens comes
out wearing a John Cena The Champ Is Here shirt. After
the Big Match Intros, Owens bails to the floor as is his custom.
Sami gets tired of waiting and goes after him by sending Owens into
the steps and hammering away. He throws Owens into the barricade
before they spill into the crowd. Owens tries a powerbomb on the
concrete but Sami grabs a barricade to escape.
Sami
knocks him onto the concrete to take over again and they head inside
with the Blue Thunder Bomb connecting for two. The
half nelson/chicken wing suplex gets the same and Sami loads up a
tornado DDT, only to have Owens block it with a raised knee to the
back for a unique counter. The Cannonball misses though and the
t-bone into the corner rocks Owens again. He’s able to roll away
from the Helluva Kick though and it’s back to the floor. Another
exploder suplex staggers Owens but he catches a running boot and
powerbombs Sami onto the apron.
Cue
the referees to check on Sami but Owens keeps hammering away. Owens
stomps away as the fans want to let them fight. Kevin
throws Sami against the steps and punches him down again as the
doctor keeps trying to check on him. They
actually get back in the ring and I’m not sure if this match is still
going.
GM
William Regal comes out and calls Owens off, eventually ripping at
Owens’ face, earning Regal a headbutt. Kevin
gets the title and a chair (the same weapon that started their feud
in ROH) but we’ve got music. Cue SAMOA JOE (with that name on his
shirt and called that name by Brennan) and the fans are stunned. Joe
gets right in Owens’ face and the champ runs. We’ll call the match a
no contest at about 12:00.
Rating:
B+. Heck of a fight while it
lasted but that’s twice in a row now that Owens has knocked Zayn out
to beat him. It’s one heck of a rub for Owens and the beauty of it
is that Zayn is going to be right back on top through pure charisma.
Joe vs. Owens is going to be a war and that’s quite the way to have
him debut, even if it was spoiled.
Owens
comes back out but says he’s done his job to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B+.
Somehow, this is a downgrade over their previous shows. Really
fun show this time with the girls making up for the angle disguised
as a main event. Joe debuting is a great moment as he’s such a huge
name on the indy scene that the NXT fans are going to accept him with
open arms. This was another great Takeover and the future continues
to shine so brightly for this company’s future.
Results
Finn Balor b. Tyler
Breeze – Coup de Grace
Charlotte/Bayley b.
Dana Brooke/Emma – Natural Selection to Emma
Baron Corbin b. Rhyno –
End of Days
Blake/Murphy b. Enzo
Amore/Colin Cassady – Blake pinned Amore after Bliss crotched him
on the top rope
Sasha Banks b. Becky
Lynch – Bank Statement
Kevin Owens vs. Sami
Zayn went to a no contest
Remember to follow me
on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of Complete Monday
Nitro Reviews Volume III at Amazon for just $3.99 at:
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The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Rival

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Rival Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves & Jason Albert Hideo Itami v. Tyler Breeze Tyler now has a blinged selfie stick, which you have to figure will factor into the finish. Also of note, a hot chick jumps out of the crowd and clings to Breeze before getting hauled off. Breeze with a pair of elbows in the corner to start, but Itami gets his own and puts him down with a knee to the gut that sends Breeze to the floor. Back in, they collide on a bodypress attempt and Itami nails him with kicks. Breeze makes another run for it as Brennan notes that “some OBSERVERS say we’ve only seen bits of pieces of Itami’s potential…” WINK WINK. Breeze catches him with a cheapshot on the apron to take over. He goes to work on the leg with a ringpost figure-four and a modified Sharpshooter. Very nice! Itami makes the ropes. We AGAIN get the mean tease of the GTS and a high kick gets two, but Breeze superkicks him for two. If Itami ever hits that damn move the place is gonna explode. They slug it out on the mat while the crowd is actually torn between them, but now Itami is PISSED. Backfist and a spinkick set up the kick combo on the ropes, and Breeze eats the corner dropkick and big kick to the face to finish at 8:20. Heck of an opener. *** Baron Corbin v. Bull Dempsey Baron attacks and runs into an angry Bull, and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Corbin gets a spinebuster for two and they tumble to the floor again. Bull comes back with a diving headbutt for two, and he goes with a chair to end it, but walks into the End of Days in a sloppy finish at 4:15. Yeah, even this crowd wasn’t very forgiving of that ending. *1/2 Match was OK for what it was, but really we’ve seen Corbin squash him decisively twice now anyway. NXT tag titles: Blake & Murphy v. The Lucha Dragons AAAAAAAAGH SO MUCH DUBSTEP. Brennan compares their title win to the Mulkeys getting their one win 30 years ago. Ouch. The champions have matching tights AND put their names on their asses so I can tell them apart. That makes them OK in my books. Sin Cara gets double-teamed, but comes back with a flying headscissors on Blake and they all fight to the floor. In the ring, Sin Cara takes Blake down from the top with a victory roll for two, but lets him tag out for some reason. Kalisto (Spanish for “fake gay hairdresser rumor”) comes in with a senton for two on Murphy, but Sin Cara walks into a massive double-team neckbreaker. That should probably be a finisher. Murphy hits the chinlock, but Kalisto comes in with a springboard bodyblock and a knee to the head for two. Ouch. SDS is countered into a facelock and a powerbomb, which Kalisto reverses into a rollup for two. They trade near-falls off that and Sin Cara springboards in for two. Blake with a suplex, but Cara reverses into a rollup for two. Another one is countered for two. Blake with a sunset flip for two. Murphy gets powerbombed for two. Kalisto gets knocked to the floor and Cara is on his own, and the champs finish with a brainbuster into a frog splash at 7:45. Crowd didn’t really get who to cheer for, but this was a fun and energetic indy style tag match. ***1/4 Blake & Murphy need a big heel foil, though. Next week: SOLOMON CROWE. #1 Contender finals: Finn Balor v. Adrian Neville Full entrance for Finn, although sadly my wife doesn’t get the deal with him. Neville with the headlock and they fight to the stalemate, but Balor gets a low dropkick and Neville bails. Back in, Balor with the dropkick and Neville rolls out again, but cuts off a dive attempt a second time. Springboard dropkick gets two for Neville off that. Neville with a couple of chinlocks (“His makeup is rubbing off!” notes my wife on color commentary. “That stuff is expensive, I bet.”) Balor bails and tries a springboard dropkick, but Neville nails him with his own dropkick and gets a suplex for two. Neville goes up and Balor kicks him in the face to put him on the floor, then follows with a dive. Neville retreats to the timekeeper’s area, and Balor stalks him and dropkicks him into the railing in a crazy spot. Speaking of crazy spots, Neville crawls in and Balor double-stomps the BACK OF HIS HEAD off the top for two. Balor tries a dragon sleeper, but Neville fights back with kicks and they do the DUELING HEAD KICKS and both guys are out. Neville recovers first with a german suplex, and a second one gets two. To the middle rope for a mini version of the Red Arrow, which gets two. Balor catches him with the Sling Blade and comes back with a lariat, and the inverted DDT gets two. To the top, but Neville cuts him off with a head kick and goes up himself, but the Red Arrow misses and Balor gets a small package for two. Corner dropkick and the flying double stomp finish at 13:27 and the crowd goes BATSHIT. Well that’s gonna be a tough one to top. ****1/4 NXT Women’s title: Charlotte v. Sasha Banks v. Becky Lynch v. Bayley Everyone attacks Charlotte to start and Bayley rolls her up for two before the heels pull Charlotte out and beat her down, breaking the LED board on the side of the ring in the process. I was wondering when that would happen. Back in, Becky and Sasha pound on Bayley, but can’t decide who gets the pin and Becky turns on her. So Becky takes over with legdrops on Bayley for two, and she goes to work on the leg with a grapevine. Sasha breaks it up and beats on Becky in the corner, but Becky gets a missile dropkick for two. Charlotte comes back in and hits Sasha with a neckbreaker for two. Another neckbreaker on Lynch gets two. Sasha comes back and mocks Charlotte, and that goes badly for her. Charlotte and Bayley team up with a codebreaker on Sasha that’s pretty awesome, but Charlotte turns on her and boots her out of the ring. Sasha manages to stack Charlotte and Becky in the corner and hits them both with double knees in a funny spot, and that gets two on both. Bayley returns with suplexes on the heels and she elbows Charlotte into the corner, setting up a top rope rana and Bayley to Belly for two. Becky saves and she brawls to the floor with Bayley, allowing Sasha to hit both of them with a dive. And then Charlotte hits all of them with her own. Back in, Becky catches her with a cheapshot and a suplex for two. They fight to the top and Bayley saves by suplexing Becky, and hits Charlotte with a top rope Bayley to Belly for two. Sasha saves and steals a two count off that. Sasha with the crossface on Charlotte, but Charlotte fights for the ropes, so Sasha smartly rolls her over in a crucifix for the pin and the title at 12:00 in something of a shocker. So she won the title in a match by beating the champion due to being a better wrestler? Like that shit would ever fly on RAW. Another contender for “Best Divas match ever” in the running series of them on NXT. **** Charlotte gives her the victory hug, but Sasha shoves her off instead. Because she’s the Boss. NXT title: Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens The opening video package is one of the best that WWE has ever produced and sums up their entire feud in 2 minutes, giving both guys their motivation for anyone new that’s watching. If they can finish with something great this show is gonna be an all-timer. Owens immediately ducks out of the ring to mess with the fans, until Zayn has had enough and hits him with the dive. They slug it out in the ring and Zayn gets the best of that by unleashing his anger, but Owens drops him on the top rope and clotheslines him to take over. He whips Zayn around the ring while the crowd is very split on who they’re cheering for here. It’s a new golden age of Canadians in the main event! Owens with a chop for two and they trade forearms, but Owens slams him for two and works on the chinlock. Back elbow gets two as the announcer discuss the brass ring in veiled terms. Sami fights back, but Owens suplexes him onto the top for two and goes back to the chinlock. Sami fights up and Owens suplexes him for two. To the floor and Owens throws some very loud chops and beats on Zayn, and back in for two. Gutbuster and senton get two. Sami keeps fighting like he does, and the announcers reference Brock v. Cena at Summerslam, which is so weird because it’s like the main roster is something out of a different world than these shows. Sami keeps fighting and clotheslines Owens to the floor for another fight out there, where he makes the comeback with a clothesline. Back in, Zayn with the Blue Thunder bomb for two. Owens hits a superkick and Zayn is loopy, allowing Owens to hit the cannonball in the corner for two. Owens with a crazy pumphandle backbreaker for two. Zayn fights back again with the dropkick to block the powerbomb, and he suplexes Owens for two. Owens bails to the apron and necks him, then goes up, but Zayn pops up with a superplex and Owens fights him off. Top rope senton hits knee, however, and Sami comes back again. Owens charges and Sami suplexes him into the corner, and the Heluva kick misses as Owens runs away. They fight on the floor and Sami escapes a powerbomb out there, then follows with an equally crazy moonsault press that causes Sami to knock himself silly on the ramp. Sami, who is never not awesome, sells it like he’s concussed and staggers around the ring, unable to hit the kick. He walks into the powerbomb, and Owens gets two. Sami is just the best at selling a beating like this. Owens keeps beating on him and levels him with an uppercut until the trainer has to come out and check on Sami. Another pair of powerbombs follow for Owens, but Sami barely rolls over at two while WOMEN ARE LITERALLY CRYING IN THE FRONT ROW. The trainers want to stop it, but Owens powerbombs him two more times and the ref stops it at 22:46 and awards him the title. The crowd is shocked and horrified. I LOVE IT. Sami Zayn fighting from underneath is money and this is the finish I’ve been waiting for someone to try for a long time. **** The Pulse It astonishes me that the monkeys who produce the garbage for the main shows don’t watch these and LEARN. This was probably one of the best two hour wrestling shows you’ll ever see and well worth your $9.99 to check it out. Highest recommendation.

NXT Takeover: Rival

NXT
Takeover: Rival
Date:
February 10, 2015
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, Jason Albert
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
been less than two months since the last Takeover and NXT is starting
to crank up the frequency of these specials. The main story coming
in is fallout from last time as Kevin Owens is challenging former
best friend Sami Zayn for the NXT Title after betraying new champion
Zayn at the end of the last show. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video gives us a quick background of every major match.
Hideo
Itami vs. Tyler Breeze
This
was set up late last week after Itami lost in the semi-finals of the
#1 contenders tournament and was attacked by Breeze. A blonde woman
jumps Breeze during his entrance and is quickly dragged away. She
was too good looking to be a real fan. Hideo misses a running kick
to start but nails a clothesline out of the corner. A forearm knocks
Breeze to the floor and Hideo dropkicks him out of the air. Tyler
wakes up and goes after the knee to take over by ramming it into the
apron and dropping some elbows. The knee is wrapped around the post
and Breeze slaps on the Figure Four around the post as well.
Back
in and Breeze puts on a unique submission hold which is kind of a
Texas Cloverleaf/Figure Four/Sharpshooter combination. Itami gets to
the ropes and tries the GTS, only to have Breeze escape and hit the
Supermodel Kick for two. I guess selling doesn’t translate to
Japanese. Hideo starts Hulking Up and kicks Breeze in the head
before firing off a series of them to the chest. He is nice enough
to limp a bit after doing the offense with no issues. A running
delayed dropkick in the corner and a running big boot to the face is
enough to pin Breeze at 8:20.
Rating:
B-. Entertaining match but the
lack of selling got annoying in a hurry. It’s also not a good sign
that Hideo was right back to kicks only offense. Yeah he varies them
up a bit, but they’re all just kicks no matter how you look at it.
Breeze is getting to the point where he puts over so many people that
it’s not meaning as much. Itami needed a win though and this was his
biggest in a singles match to date.
Baron
Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey
No
DQ. Corbin charges at him to start and they fight on the floor with
Dempsey hitting a suplex onto the ramp. He posts Baron as well and
takes him inside, only to get caught in a spinebuster for two.
Corbin charges him out to the floor where Bull runs him over again.
Back in and the flying headbutt gets two on Corbin, sending a
frustrated Dempsey outside for a chair. That takes a bit too long
though and Corbin catches him in End of Days for the pin at 4:11.
Rating:
C. Good brawl but my goodness
let it be over now. These two didn’t need to fight again after the
first two times but it kept going for the sake of having another
match here. That’s unlike NXT and I really hope it’s nothing that
becomes normal. At least the right guy won and they kept it short.
Tag
Team Titles: Blake and Murphy vs. Lucha Dragons
Blake
and Murphy beat the Dragons to win the belts a few weeks back and
this is the rematch. They’ve also lost their first names during
their title reign. Cara and Murphy get things going but it’s very
quickly off to Blake, who eats a spinning cross body. The champs
take over and Kalisto gets the tag, only to botch a dive over the
top.
Instead
a victory roll gets two out of the corner before Cara slams Kalisto
onto Murphy for the same. This match is kind of all over the place
so far. Back to Blake as the champs take over with some fast tags
and quick offense. Kalisto gets another hot tag and cleans house
with his rolling kick to the head and low hurricanrana but Murphy
counters the Salida Del Sol. A powerbomb gets two on Kalisto and
they hit a pinfall reversal sequence until both partners make saves
at the same time.
Cara
rolls Blake into a powerbomb for two but Murphy rolls out for two of
his own. It’s quickly back to Murphy who can’t roll out of the
powerbomb as everything breaks down again. Kalisto is knocked off
the apron and Murphy hits a running suplex on Cara, setting up a
great looking frog splash from Blake to retain the titles at 7:28.
Rating:
C. This was entertaining but
kind of sloppy. They didn’t really try for any kind of psychology
but the champs looked smooth out there and the match worked well
enough for what it was going for. Blake and Murphy are actually good
champions and work well together, though I could use a big more to
separate them. Still though, good enough stuff.
During
the champs’ celebration, we get the longest Solomon hack to date,
complete with “Next week” coming up on screen.
Recap
of the #1 contenders tournament, which quickly turns into a video on
Neville vs. Balor. Both of them have worked hard to get here and
they’re ready to go through the other to get their shot at the title.
#1
Contenders Tournament Final: Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville
Balor
does his full on painted, crawling entrance. Neville runs him over
to start and grabs a headlock on the mat. That’s fine with Finn who
rolls through and hits a basement dropkick to the face, sending
Adrian rolling out to the floor. Back in and Finn runs him over
again before slapping on a chinlock. Balor escapes and goes to the
apron but gets dropkicked down while trying a springboard. This is a
chess match so far. A delayed suplex gets two for Adrian and it’s
another chinlock.
Finn
is out quicker this time though and he kicks Neville out to the floor
for a huge flip dive. After taking a few moments to get up, Balor
slowly stalks around the ring and hits a running dropkick to send
Neville through the barricade. Back in and a top rope stomps to the
back of the head gets two more for Balor and frustration is setting
in. Neville wins a kick off but Finn scores with a Pele to put both
guys down again.
Adrian
is up first and muscles Finn over for a German suplex and now it’s
his turn to be frustrated. A middle rope Phoenix Splash gets two on
Balor but he comes back with a Sling Blade to put Adrian down again.
Finn’s running clothesline turns Neville inside out and a reverse
implant DDT gets two more. Neville scores with a pair of kicks to
the head but the Red Arrow hits knees, allowing Finn to hook a small
package for a VERY close two. I totally bought that as the finish.
Now it’s Balor going up for a top rope double stomp to the ribs for
the pin and the title shot at 13:32.
Rating:
A. Now THIS worked. Both guys
were rocking the whole time and this was one heck of a back and forth
showdown. Balor is being treated as the real deal and they’re doing
a great job of rocketing him up the card. This was a great war with
some white hot near falls with both guys looking great and topping
each other until Neville just couldn’t get up anymore.
They
shake hands post match.
Video
on the four way Women’s Title match which is a pretty simple idea:
Charlotte has the belt, all
three other girls want it, and they’re willing to fight everyone to
get it.
Women’s
Title: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Other
than the main event, this is the match I’ve been looking forward to
more than anything else, including Balor vs. Neville. It’s a basic
title feud but they’ve executed it so well that I want to see it.
Consider that this is the company that also has the Bellas being
pushed to Mars and back and you’ll be even more astounded by that.
It’s a big brawl to start
with Charlotte knocking both villains to the floor but getting rolled
up for two.
Now
it’s Bayley getting double teamed with a double clothesline and then
just being thrown into the corner. Banks
and Lynch of course get into an argument over who should get the
cover. Sasha turns her back on her partner though and gets launched
with a kind of pumphandle throw. Lynch
goes after Bayley’s bad knee and puts on a kind of reverse figure
four but Banks makes the save. Becky
hits a missile dropkick to put Sasha down for two but it’s Charlotte
making the save.
The
champ starts busting out neckbreakers for two each before getting in
a slugout with Banks. Sasha
gets the better of it and whips Charlotte into the ropes, only to
have her spear Becky down. Bayley gets back in and catches Sasha in
an assisted Codebreaker but Charlotte boots her in the face. Sasha
sends Charlotte shoulder first into the post and drapes her over the
middle rope. She puts Becky across the bottom rope for good measure
and drives her knees into Charlotte’s ribs to send her into Lynch for
two on both of them.
Bayley
throws Banks down and it’s down to Bayley vs. Charlotte. A
series of running elbows in the corner have Charlotte reeling and
Bayley tightens the ponytail to make it serious. Bayley
scores with a top rope hurricanrana and the Belly to Bayley but Becky
pulls her out to the floor. That’s
too much for Bayley as she snaps on Lynch, only to have Sasha dive
through the ropes to take both girls down.
The
champ has a breather but screw that because she dives onto all three
to put everyone down. Back
in and Lynch hits an exploder suplex for two on Charlotte. Bayley
breaks up something out of the corner and German suplexes Becky,
setting up a super Belly to Bayley on Charlotte but Sasha dives in
for the save and a VERY closer near fall of her own. The
Bank Statement goes on but Sasha lets go to kick Becky down. She
slaps the hold on again before rolling Charlotte up in a crucifix for
the pin and the title at 11:57.
Rating:
A-. FOLLOW THAT BELLAS! I
would have ended it with the stolen pin off the superplex but good
grief these girls are awesome. These matches are always a highlight
and it never ceases to amaze me how hard they blow the Divas out of
the water. Actually check that. The NXT girls and the Divas don’t
belong in the same water. Awesome
stuff here and the NXT girls continue to get more and more amazing
every time.
Charlotte
hugs the new champ post match but gets shoved away by the Boss.
We
recap Zayn vs. Owens, which is all about jealousy from Owens. Sami
won the belt at the last Takeover and Owens turned on him during the
celebration. Owens has been there with Zayn the whole time but Sami
was called up first. That title means a better life for Kevin’s
family and he’ll do whatever it takes to win it. Sami just wants to
hurt Owens no matter what it takes.
NXT
Title: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
We
get the tracking shots of both guys coming to the ring, which is a
trend I’d love to see come back. After
the big match intros, they stare each other down as the fans are
mostly behind the champ. Owens
bails to the floor to get inside Sami’s head and we’re in full on
Zbyszko mode. Sami finally
just dives over the top to take Owens down before throwing him inside
for a beating. A hot shot
breaks up Sami’s momentum and the pro-dirty traitors strike up the
FIGHT OWENS FIGHT chants.
Owens
rips the skin off Sami’s chest with a chop and Sami quickly loses a
slugout. We hit the
chinlock on the champ to get a breather before
Kevin just grinds his forearm into Sami’s jaw. Sami
tries to fight up but gets dropped ribs first over the top rope for
two. Back to the chinlock
which makes sense as Kevin
has been trying to grind Sami down. A
hard belly to back suplex gets two and they head outside so Sami can
be rammed into the apron.
The
fans have switched up to KILL OWENS KILL as he takes the champ back
inside to yell in his face. Owens
also puts fists to his face before
a gutbuster gets two. Sami
jawbreaks out of the third chinlock as
the announcers bring up Lesnar vs. Cena from Summerslam. That’s not
the longest stretch in the world. Sami
fights back with some clotheslines, including a big one to send Kevin
to the floor.
Now
it’s Owens going into the steps and getting his head taken off with a
clothesline. Back in and
Sami hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for two but the Helluva Kick is
countered with a huge superkick. There’s the Cannonball for two and
the pumphandle driver onto the knee gets an even closer near fall.
The popup powerbomb is
countered with a dropkick and the Half and Half suplex gets two for
the champ.
Kevin
snaps the throat over the top rope but gets caught on the same rope,
only to knock Sami down. He spits at the champ but his Swanton Bomb
hits knees. The Exploder
Suplex into the corner looks to set up the Helluva Kick but Owens
bails to the floor. Owens
can’t hit the apron powerbomb so Sami hits the bouncing moonsault,
only to have both guys bang their heads on the ramp.
Sami can barely stand and
staggers on the attempt at the Helluva Kick, allowing Owens to hit
the popup powerbomb for an even closer two.
Owens
just unloads with right hands to the head and the champ’s eyes are
glazed over. He pounds away
in the ropes and keeps
getting dragged away by the referee. The trainer comes out to check
on Sami but Owens powerbombs Sami again. A
second powerbomb has Sami out cold but he slowly rolls his shoulder
up to keep this going. The
trainer gets in the ring now, earning Zayn two more powerbombs.
Kevin loads up a fifth in a row and the referee finally pulls him off
to stop the match at 23:12, giving
Owens the title.
Rating:
A-. This was absolutely brutal
and a great way to get the title off Zayn. Owens looks like a
killer, but the key thing here is he could not pin Sami. This
sets up a big time gimmick rematch as well as writes Sami off TV
while he on the international tour during the next TV tapings. In
other words, NXT has come up with a way to avoid their champion not
being around for over a month of TV, because they’re that much
smarter than WWE. Excellent
stuff here with Sami looking like a warrior and Owens looking like
the most awesome monster this side of Brock Lesnar.
Oh
and next up: Owens vs. Balor.
A
smiling Owens stands over Sami to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
A. Good grief. I mean
just good freaking grief. How in the world does NXT manage to keep
blowing away every bit of wrestling WWE can put out time after time?
I’m not sure if any of the three big matches here were as good as the
triple threat from the Rumble (and they likely weren’t due to the
stage the Rumble was on), but I’ll take three awesome matches over
one incredible triple threat any day.
Another
outstanding show here with the wrestlers working themselves to the
bone to make the whole thing work. There are stories, character
development, great matches and hard work all around and there’s no
way that doesn’t equal an excellent show. NXT is still on fire and
shows no signs of slowing down with even more names on the way, like
Crowe and that trio of amateur guys that have been getting rave
reviews. Great stuff here and again, if this doesn’t give you enough
reason to buy the Network, I don’t know what more you could ask for.
Results
Hideo
Itami b. Tyler Breeze – Big boot
Baron
Corbin b. Bull Dempsey – End of Days
Blake
and Murphy b. Lucha Dragons – Frog splash to Cara
Finn
Balor b. Adrian Neville – Top rope double stomp
Sasha
Banks b. Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley – Rollup to Charlotte
Kevin
Owens b. Sami Zayn via referee stoppage
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover REvolution

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover REvolution Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves & Alex Riley. So I guess Graves has decided to hang it up after all. It must suck to be forced into retirement before you even make it out of developmental. Kevin Owens v. CJ Parker Hopefully this “KO” will work out better than the first one. Huge pop for Owens once his video reveals his identity and he attacks Parker, tosses him, and then splats him with a dive on the ramp. Back in, CJ catches him with a spinkick and throws weak knees, followed by the palm strike for two. This actually busts Owens’ nose open, and he levels Parker with a lariat and a muscle buster. Powerbomb finishes at 3:12. So that was quite the debut. **1/2 NXT Tag titles: The Lucha Dragons v. The Vaudevillains Sin Cara gets a quick bodypress on Gotch for two and the Dragons double-team him with a senton for two. The villains work Sin Cara over and English gets two. Blind charge hits elbow, but Cara remains trapped in the corner. The beating continues for a bit and Kalisto gets the hot tag and throws kicks on Gotch. They toss the heels and follow with a double dive on English, but Gotch gets out of the way and tries to capitalize on Kalisto. Sadly, he takes the SDS and gets pinned at 6:54. Kind of a nothing match, not much heat to it. ** Tye Dillinger v. Baron Corbin The crowd timing the match is a funny bit. Corbin hits the Snake Eyes, big boot and finishes with the End of Days at 0:40. That’s a hell of a name for a finisher. He and Bull Dempsey have a staredown at ringside afterwards in some good old fashioned rasslin’ story development. The Ascension v. Finn Balor & Hideo Itami Well the babyface team doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue easily. But Finn Balor’s interpretive dance entrance WINS THE INTERNETS because holy shit. This was like something out of NJPW’s over the top theatrical entrances and I love it. The babyfaces clear the ring and the crowd chants “Marking out”. Itami and Balor control Viktor in the corner and Balor throws chops for two. Over to Konor, who gets dropkicked for two. Itami throws kicks, but walks into a flapjack for two and the Ascension takes over. Konor stomps away for two and Viktor goes to a chinlock. Konor with a corner clothesline for two. Viktor does some old school cutting the ring off, but misses a charge and hits the post…and then Konor knocks Balor off the apron like an ASSHOLE. That’s great. Itami keeps fighting back, and this time makes the hot tag and the crowd goes cray cray. He kicks Viktor into the corner and then hits him with an enzuigiri on the top, putting him on the floor and following with a dive on both Ascension. Back in, he misses a double stomp on Viktor, but hits an inverted DDT for two. Viktor with the STO for two. Itami tries a GTS as the crowd freaks out, but Konor breaks it up and they set up for the Fall of Man. Balor hits a Pele on Konor and both faces go up with stereo double stomps to finish at 11:34. Devitt is a STAR and I was way into this one. Although he was such a huge star that he pretty much overshadowed Itami in the process, which might be a problem. *** Meanwhile, Renee Young interviews Roman Reigns, who as usual has nothing much to say. NXT Women’s title: Charlotte v. Sasha Banks Sasha throws chops in the corner and gets beat up as a result, and they take it to the floor. Sasha sends her into the stairs and back in for two. Sasha stomps away in the corner and gets two off that. Sasha stops for a strut and gets rolled up for two, and they do a nice little reversal sequence that leads to Sasha hitting a backstabber into a straitjacket hold. Charlotte powers out of that, but Sasha takes her down with a headscissors. Charlotte powers out with an electric chair and makes the comeback with clotheslines and a neckbreaker for two. Sasha dumps her and follows with a suicide dive, and that gets two. They trade chops and Charlotte puts her down with a spear, but goes for the figure-four and Sasha cradles for two. Neckbreaker gets two and she fights for the count. Good to see that. I also love the touch of Sasha getting all pissed off because she can’t beat Charlotte. Charlotte misses a moonsault, but recovers with a senton instead for two. What a great spot. Sasha escapes a Razor’s Edge and sends Charlotte into the corner for a superplex, but Charlotte blocks it. Natural Selection from the top rope finishes at 12:13. Good, no point in bringing her up after the debacle on Monday. This was an amazing performance from Sasha Banks, as I had no idea she had this kind of match in her. ***1/2 NXT title: Adrian Neville v. Sami Zayn The heat for Zayn is off the charts as he somehow manages to keep people invested in him despite all the failures. They trade wristlocks to start and Neville starts working the arm, which leads to a stalemate. Sami with a backbreaker to put Neville on the floor, and Sami hits him with a quebrada. Back in, Neville with a crucifix for two and a back elbow for two. Low dropkick gets two. Neville with the chinlock, and three kneedrops for two. Sami fights up, but Neville gets a dropkick for two. Sami fights back again and dumps Neville for another dive, then follows with a crossbody for two. Neville tries a handspring and Sami catches him with a powerbomb for two. Neville with a running elbow and german suplex for two. Sami escapes a powerbomb, but tries a ropewalk and Neville reverses into his intended powerbomb for two. Neville throws forearms, but Zayn gets more fired up and comes back with a lariat. Heluva Kick misses, however, and Neville goes up, but the Red Arrow hits knee and Zayn hooks the Koji Klutch. Sadly, he makes the ropes. The ref gets bumped “accidentally” by Neville, and he hits a superkick and crazy inverted rana for two. How do you even take that bump? They slug it out and Zayn drops him on his head with a suplex, so Neville bails. Zayn follows with the diving DDT through the ropes, and back in the ref gets bumped AGAIN. Neville grabs the belt while Zayn wastes time checking on the ref again, but this time Sami gets the belt and contemplates using it. Sami finally decides that he can’t win it that way, so Neville rolls him up for two. Zayn has had enough and comes back with the exploder into the corner and Heluva Kick to FINALLY WIN THE BIG ONE at 23:13. And the crowd LOSES THEIR MIND. What a cool morality play, with Zayn getting tempted and beaten down, but finally learning that hard work and fair play can triumph in the end. **** And Kevin Owens comes out for a big tearful manly hug with his best friend. Neville also gives him a hug as we get the celebration with the entire locker room and Owens comes out for one more hug to end the show…and then FUCKS HIM UP WITH A POWERBOMB ON THE FLOOR. While the end graphic was on the screen no less! Well there’s your next challenger. The Pulse Easily the best, or at least more purely enjoyable, show of the year thus far. All killer, no filler. Even if the weekly show has been pretty weak as of late, everyone came out trying to steal the show and more than a few succeeded. Three great matches to close the show, in three totally different styles, makes this a giant thumbs up.

NXT Takeover: R-Evolution

NXT
Takeover: R-Evolution
Date:
December 11, 2014
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Alex
Riley, Rich Brennan, Corey Graves
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re
at the latest major show for NXT and the main event is a pick em at
this point. We have Sami Zayn putting his NXT career on the line for
one more shot at Adrian Neville’s NXT Championship. Other than that
we have Hideo Itami/Finn Balor teaming up to take on the Ascension
and the debut of Kevin (Steen) Owens. The card is stacked so let’s
get to it.

The
opening video focuses on the main event but also gets in a bit of
Kevin Owens.
Kevin
Owens vs. CJ Parker
Owens
hits two straight running clotheslines in the corner at the bell and
the Cannonball crushes Parker in less than fifteen seconds. He rips
up Parker’s My Fight Matters sign and hits a HUGE flip dive over the
top to take Parker out. Back in and Owens hammers away, only to eat
a boot to the jaw.
Parker
misses a running backsplash but the Third Eye gets a VERY close two.
Back up and Owens no sells a charge in the corner and takes CJ’s head
off with a clothesline. Owens is bleeding from the eye as he picks
up Parker for a kind of pumphandle shoulder breaker. He throws
Parker up and powerbombs him in half for the pin at 3:22.
Rating:
B.
WHOA. Yeah the rating is high but this was one of the most
impressive debuts I’ve seen in a very long time. Owens looked like a
killer out there and just destroyed Parker. I even dug that they
gave Parker some offense and a near fall to add some drama. Owens is
the kind of insane guy that they haven’t had in awhile and seemed a
lot like what they were shooting for with Dean Ambrose. Excellent
stuff.
Neville
is ready.
Lucha
Dragons video.
Tag
Team Titles: Vaudevillains vs. Lucha Dragons
The
Dragons are defending and beat the Vaudevillains in the #1 contenders
tag team tournament a few months back to give the Vaulevillains a
reason for revenge. Gotch
and Cara get things going with a standing Lionsault getting two for
the champ. A headscissors/armdrag combo takes both Vaudevillains
down before it’s off to Kalisto for a front facelock. Back to Sin
for a dropkick as the fans are entirely behind the challengers.
English
comes if off a blind tag and low bridges Cara out to the floor.
Fans: “THAT WAS MANLY!”
They
head back inside with Gotch cranking on the neck before getting two
off a crucifix. English
sends him outside for a baseball slide, earning him a chant of his
own. The
villains keep taking turns on Cara with Aiden cranking on a chinlock.
Sin finally pops up and flips over English to make the tag off to
Kalisto. Things immediately speed up and everything breaks down.
The Dragons send them to the floor for a big double dive, only to
have English shove Gotch out of the way to take the shot himself.
Fans: “CHIVALRY!” Back in and the Salida Del Sol on Gotch
retains the titles at 6:50.
Rating:
C.
The match was pretty standard but the ending was really a surprise as
I would have bet on the Vaudevillians to pick up the belts here.
That being said, it’s not the worst idea in the world as the
Vaudevillians are being turned face by the audience reactions alone
so it’s only a matter of time anyway. Still a surprise though.
Tye
Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
As
usual the fans count the time of Corbin’s match, ending at a far
higher than usual 39 seconds with End of Days. The match was so
short that I didn’t have time to mention Bull Dempsey watching from
ringside.
Sami
is in the locker room and turns down Cass and Enzo’s offer of milk.
He looks over and sees Owens looking back at him. We can’t hear
anything said (if anything was) as we’re listening to an inset
interview from yesterday with Sami saying he’s ready.
We
recap Hideo Itami/Finn Balor vs. Ascension. Itami is a hotshot
rookie and Ascension are bullies. Balor debuted to help Itami in his
war and this is the showdown.
Hideo
Itami/Finn Balor vs. Ascension
Balor
has an insane entrance now with a pounding red light that sounds like
a heartbeat, a ton of smoke and face paint that looks like a cross
between Delirious, Great
Muta
and Ultimate Warrior. Ascension
looks stunned as the fans are bowing to Finn. It’s
a brawl to start before the bell with Ascension getting pounded down
in the corner. Stereo corner dropkicks send them out to the floor
and we get the opening bell.
Itami
dropkicks Viktor down to start and it’s off to Finn for a slingshot
stomp. Balor charges into a knee in the corner to change control and
it’s off to Konnor. Back to Itami who hammers away but eats a
flapjack as Ascension keeps control. Viktor
breaks up a hot tag attempt with a hard elbow drop to the back for
two. Off
to a reverse chinlock followed by a fist to the head and yet another
chinlock. Ascension
keeps up the double beatdown as Viktor puts on another chinlock.
Hideo
finally kicks Konnor to the floor and dives for a tag, only to have
Konnor knock Finn off the apron.
The
hot tag comes a few seconds later and Finn cleans house with
enziguris. Viktor avoids the top rope double stomp but eats a
reverse Impaler. Konnor makes the save but Itami takes him to the
floor, only to have to save Finn from an STO. Itami loads up GTS
(his invention) and the fans go NUTS, but Konnor makes the save.
Hideo breaks up the Fall of Man and the super team goes up for double
foot stomps for the pin on Ascension at 11:45.
Rating:
C+.
This was better than I was expecting but the ending was never in
doubt. I can’t get over that ROAR for the GTS attempt though. It’s
a good sign that Itami can do more than kick because he really hasn’t
shown me much yet. Ascension is ready for WWE and has been for like
a year, so this is probably their swan song.
Roman
Reigns is in the back and says he’s here to see an awesome main
event. His
goal is to be the first NXT alumni to become WWE World Heavyweight
Champion, which creates some continuity issues as that would be
Daniel Bryan. I know it’s a different version of NXT but it’s a bit
confusing.
Ric
Flair is here and gives Charlotte a hug for luck.
We
recap Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks. They used to be friends but
Charlotte won the Women’s Title. Banks says that belongs to hear and
tonight is the showdown.
Women’s
Title: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
Sasha
throws her modified Charlotte shirt (Charlotte: “Do it with some
Flair!” Banks: “Do it like a Boss!”) and the champ chases her
to the ropes. They trade chops in the corner with Charlotte getting
the better of it (of course) but Banks gets in a quick kick to the
head to take over. She sends Charlotte hard into the steps for two
back inside but stops to yell at Little Naitch.
Banks
drives her into the corner for some shoulders to the ribs before a
double knee to the ribs has Charlotte in even more trouble. She
mocks the strut though and Charlotte gets all fired up. The champ is
so fired up that they mess up a spot, followed by a Backstabber into
a double arm stretch from Banks. She pulls Charlotte down by the
hair out of the corner and puts on a Figure Four neck lock, complete
with a WOO. Charlotte finally lifts her up for an electric chair
drop to put both girls down.
A
series
of forearms puts Banks down and a suplex into a neckbreaker gets two
on Banks. Charlotte
misses a charge though and falls out to the floor, setting up a
pretty bad looking suicide dive from Sasha. They
slug it out with Banks getting the better of it but eating a big
spear to give Charlotte control again. She charges into a boot but
counters the Bank Statement.
The
Figure Four is countered into a small package for two and Banks gets
two off a neckbreaker. A big suplex sends Banks flying and the fans
think THIS IS WRESTLING. Charlotte tries a moonsault but has to land
on her feet, only to flip forward for a backsplash for two as Banks
gets her feet on the ropes. Sasha sends her hard face first into the
middle buckle but Charlotte throws her off to block a superplex. A
top rope Natural Selection is enough to retain the title at 12:06.
Rating:
B.
The Women’s Title match has become a highlight on all these shows and
Banks just had her best match ever by about a million miles. Much
like Ascension, Charlotte has been ready for the next level for
months now and really should be on Raw like tomorrow. Well Monday
but you get the idea. Really solid match here and a great match that
happened to have women in it rather than a good women’s match if that
makes sense.
Long
recap of Zayn vs. Neville. The short version is Zayn has never won
the big one but has to win the title here or leave NXT.
NXT
Title: Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville
Neville
is defending and they
have over thirty five minutes for this. After
the big match intros, we’re finally ready to go. Feeling
out process to start with no one able to get an early advantage.
Neville cranks on a wristlock but Sami takes over with one of his
own. They head back to the mat with Adrian working on a hammerlock
before grabbing a chinlock. The
champ grabs an armbar and another OLE chant starts up.
Sami
spins out and grabs a wristlock of his own but Neville flips over to
land on his feet instead of on the mat. Adrian
says bring it but gets caught in the armbar again. Neville flips
into the corner again but walks into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to
give Sami his first real advantage. The champ rolls outside and
takes the bouncing moonsault as Sami is in full control. Neville
takes his time getting back in and gets rolled up for two. He
sends Sami into the buckle to take over and a dropkick to the back of
his head gets another near fall.
We
hit the chinlock for a bit before a big uppercut gets two for Adrian.
Neville drops a series of knees to the chest for two more and we hit
another chinlock. A
nice middle rope dropkick gets the same result and Neville is slowly
getting frustrated. Neville
kicks him in the face a few times but eats a hard clothesline and
dropkick to give Sami an opening. Back
to the floor but Adrian rolls back inside to avoid the dive and snaps
off a hurricanrana to send Zayn to the floor. Sami does the exact
same thing to avoid a dive and backdrops him to the floor, setting up
the signature flip dive to take over again. Sweet
sequence.
Back
in again and the high cross body gets two for Sami. Neville tries to
cartwheel at Sami but winds up on Neville’s shoudlers for a spinning
Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Now the real pressure is starting to get
to Sami but a jawbreaker brings him back to reality. A running boot
to the face and a bridging German suplex get two for Neville and both
guys are getting winded. Sami
runs the corner but gets caught in a sitout powerbomb, landing HARD
on the back of his head for two.
Back
up and Neville fires off some hard forearms to the head but Sami gets
right in his face and they slug it out until Zayn takes his head off
with a clothesline. Neville takes him right back down with an
enziguri out of the corner. Fans: “NO! NO! NO!” The Red Arrow
hits knees and there’s the Koji Clutch but Adrian gets his foot on
the ropes, nearly sending Sami to tears. Neville
counters the suplex into the corner with a rollup but the referee
gets bumped off the kickout.
He’s
back up quickly though but a
loud
superkick and
a reverse hurricanrana (Sami landing on his head again)
gets a VERY close two on Sami after he checked on the referee. Back
up and Sami charges into a forearm but starts rolling Germans, capped
off by a half nelson/chicken wing suplex. Neville bails before Sami
can try the Helluva Kick but Sami follows him out for the dive
through the ropes into the tornado DDT. Back in again and the
Helluva Kick connects but the referee goes down again with
Adrian possibly
pulling him into
the path of the kick.
Neville
throws in the title belt but a big boot knocks him down. Sami looks
at the belt and picks it up, drops some F Bombs, but can’t bring
himself to cheat. Neville grabs a rollup for two but walks into the
exploder in the corner. The Helluva Kick connects and Sami FINALLY
wins the title at 23:55.
Rating:
A.
Oh yeah it rocked. This was exactly what it should have been with
Sami finally exorcising his demons and winning the belt. I loved
that section near the end where he wanted to cheat but finally threw
it down and won with what brought him to the dance. This was the
outstanding showdown main event and exactly how they should have done
it. Adrian comes off looking like a warrior who might have cheated
(it wasn’t clear) to try to keep the title. Great stuff here with
some very close near falls and incredible drama.
You
can hear the fans thanking Neville during the replay package.
The
locker room comes out to celebrate and Owens hugs his friend. Even
Pat Patterson is here to celebrate. Neville
gets back up and stares Sami down. The new champ extends a hand but
Neville kicks it away and pulls him in for a hug. Everyone clears
out and Sami gets to do a victory dance. One more hug from Owens
looks to end the show….BUT HE BLASTS SAMI WITH A RIGHT HAND AND
POWERBOMBS HIM ON THE APRON! What a perfect fake out as everything
looked finished and then they throw that curve.
Overall
Rating:
A.
As usual, this show blew the roof off the place and continues to be
the show I look forward to more than almost anything else. The worst
match on the show was a totally fine tag match and Owens was about a
thousand times more awesome than I was expecting. Couple that with a
Match of the Year candidate with the perfect ending and there’s
almost nothing bad here. Outstanding show and again worth checking
out.
Results
Kevin
Owens b. CJ Parker – Powerbomb
Lucha
Dragons b. Vaudevillians – Salida Del Sol to Gotch
Baron
Corbin b. Tye Dillinger – End of Days
Hideo
Itami/Finn Balor b. Ascension – Double pin after top rope foot
stomps
Charlotte
b. Sasha Banks – Top rope Natural Selection
Sami
Zayn b. Adrian Neville – Helluva Kick
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
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