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
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