NXT Takeover: Rival review - Wrestling full steam ahead
NXT Takeover Rival, February 11, 2015. Full Sail University Winter Park, FL The opening video put over the true excitement brought about by the past specials and it’s downright hard to deny. The video also succeeded in hyping the Divas and Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn matches, with background and insight from sound bites from its competitors.
Match #1- Hideo Itami def. Tyler Breeze ***1/2 A solid opening match for the time being given, This wasn't a show stealing performance, Itami's best outing till date, good chemistry display, both men got time to shine and Itami keeps his roll going. Breeze has lost a good amount lately, but hasn’t lost much. They need to get him back on the victory wagon.
Match #2- Baron Corbin def. Bull Dempsey in a No Disqualification Match * Awfull match, I didn't expected that. Baron Corbin was fully exposed in this match, he was blown out in such a short amount of time. The post-match action with Corbin sitting on the chair, kicking at Dempsey was a bit cocky, but fit for the “Lone Wolf” character. Let’s just hope these guys don’t have yet another match. Let’s move on.
Match #3- NXT Tag Team Championship Blake & Murphy © def. The Lucha Dragons ** They tried hard but that was a basic tag match, What happened to the crowd reactions for fan favourite Lucha Dragons, The crowd didn't cared about them. I’d like to see NXT do a better job of building the tag division. I look forward to the eventual Blake & Murphy program with the Vaudevillians.
Match #4- No. 1 Contender’s Match: Finn Balor def. Adrian Neville. ****1/4 This was every bit as good as you expect it to be. They simply did not disappoint in the slightest, A downright fantastic and arguably match of the night, if not one of the best of the year in wrestling to this point. The dropkick spot through the barricade was memorable and this match had some pure “omg” moments as each men kicked out of each other’s finishers and even more. The finishing exchange was downright awe - inspiring with the best near falls you could possibly see. It's not a MOTY candidate but It could have been, the time limit stopped them from. Balor had a career night here. Him going over was ultimately the smart move as he has grown immensely popular. Where does Neville go from here though? This is the match they needed to bring the show back after the two rough matches that preceded it.
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch in a Fatal 4-Way to Win the NXT Women's Championship **** Wow, What a match, considering it's a fatal four way I expected it not to be this great but these Women exceeded my expectations, Banks was the smart choice to go over as Champion if it wouldn’t be Charlotte because this allows Bayley to chase her and also sparks a potential Bayley Charlotte feud. Plus of course, Lynch will probably stand there and headbang. The post-match interaction between Charlotte and Banks was well-done as they teased a moment of embrace only to shove each other away. It’s just a shame that the main roster ladies never get these chances due to the antiquated thought processes of Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn.
Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn by TKO to Win the NXT Championship. ****1/4 Holy freakin' Shit, What a way of storytelling, Owens Methodically beating the crap out of Zayn and Zayn comeback spirit.The story of Owens basically ignoring the medical concern of Zayn to get himself the NXT Title by Referee Stoppage made him look like an absolute beast. Going back to the formula of Lesnar’s victory in August, Kevin Owens took a sociopath etic route to his eventual title win. Slowly and surely he destroyed Zayn with offense targeted on his head and timely rest holds, Zayn made a few comebacks but nothing close enough to deter Owens. In fact, the comebacks hurt Zayn more than anything. They made Owens more determined. So determined that he threw down on an obviously concussed Zayn with punches and a plethora of powerbombs. This is how you make Pro wrestling believable, The silence of the crowd during the destruction of Sami Zayn was equally as telling as the shocked faces of the crowd and some with either hands on their head or tears in their eyes. What a way to solidify Owens as the future while also proving that he just wants to fight anyone, at anytime. I don't know if you could hear it, but a lot of fans wanted Owens to give Zayn more powerbombs. When the ref stopped him and the trainers came out, they wanted him to powerbomb all three of them.Owens might be more over than Zayn already. For the people who are pissed from the finish, ref stoppage is actually very common in indy wresting. I've seen this several times in ROH and PWG, but its unheard of in the mainstream like WWE. More than likely they were looking for something "different" and it was. As a fan of ROH, PWG that has seen Steen vs Generico several times, I actually thought this match was OK. Nowhere near as good as their ROH, PWG matches. Its clear that this match was more so about the story being told and a rematch is clearly coming in the future. I think the opinions of the finish will vary depending on what fan you talk to. As a fan of Indy Wrestling, I was disappointed in this match overall and expected more considering what I've seen them do, but despite that still understand the story that was told. To newer fans unfamiliar with ROH or indy wrestling in general, this was something new and shocking and I can see how they find this finish interesting. Whether you like the finish or not it is very different and something you won't see on the main WWE product which is what matters at the end of the day. That said, congrats to Owens your new NXT champion.
Final Thoughts: NXT knows how to shake things up and with two Titles changing hands and an incredible match between Finn Balor and Adrian Neville in the #1 Contender’s Tournament Finals, “Rival” lived up to its namesake. Every match brought something different to the table and delivered, par for the course for these NXT live specials. Thanks For Reading ! As always you can follow me on Twitter Here