WWE NXT Live Event results from Starke, FL (2/20): Kevin Owens Vs. Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn
Thanks to WrestlingINC.com reader Wayne Mason of Masons Ringside View for sending this report for last night's WWE NXT live event in Starke, FL:
Still reeling from the last Takeover event just over a week earlier, the stars of NXT made their way to the National Guard Armory in Starke, Fl for another night of exciting wrestling action. It was a packed house and the elite athletes of NXT would make sure no one went home disappointed.
The night starts off with tag team action as "Shoot Nation" Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins take on Big Cass and Enzo accompanied to the ring by Carmella. Enzo starts things for his team and is easily out-grappled by Angelo. Cass comes in to even the odds for his team, but it wouldn't be long before Shoot Nation takes things over spending much time punishing Amore, with Dawkins at one point delivering a hellacious spear to Amore that nearly broke him in half. Still yet, the ultimate underdog managed to eventually make the hot tag to Cass who quickly shifted the momentum delivering a ring shaking swinging side slam to Angelo and assisting Amore with a splash off the top rope for the pin. Dawkins and Fulton have become a really good team and work well in tandem, but obviously Cass and Enzo are extremely over and it's that wave of crowd adulation that will carry them further for now.
Next up, Jason Jordan challenges the lone wolf of NXT Baron Corbin. Early on Baron starts especially strong and fired up but Jordan is determined not to be a statistic in another squash match. He manages to turn the tide. Jordan is perhaps deceptively strong and easily matches strength with Corbin, even throwing him around at times. Corbin begins to get fired up and mount a comeback and at that point it is only a matter of a few moves before he lays out Jordan with the End Of Days. Baron Corbin is much more fun to watch outside of tv tapings, while creative seems to endlessly change the direction of Jason Jordan.
The Vaudevillians make their way to the ring next with their old happy "good guys" theme, while obviously playing to the crowd. The two cut a promo on Blake and Murphy and declared that they would win the tag team titles later tonight. Whether good guys or bad guys, it seems the majority of the NXT universe cheered for Gotch and English regardless, still yet they seemed to be losing a lot of momentum as heels. They seem rejuvenated now, as does the interest from the crowd.
Next up was a highlight match of the night as two wrestlers I have high hopes for in 2015 faced off. Solomon Crowe took on Chad Gable. Early on the Olympian Chad Gable attempted to take the advantage with some nice take downs but Crowe wouldn't make it easy and brought the fight right back to him with smashmouth offense. Crowe attempted to end it early with a Boing Splash (a rope assisted "snapback" splash), but Gable kicked out and eventually took the advantage working over the arm of Crowe. It wouldn't be enough to keep Crowe down as he fought back with a series of strikes and kicks, ultimately contorting Gable into a stretch muffler for a submission victory. Both these guys are so much fun to watch for totally different reasons, Crowe for his stiff, explosive style, and Gable for his exceptional grappling skills. I still expect big things from these two.
The night continues with Tyler Breeze taking on Sami Zayn. Prince Pretty was in no hurry to get this match started and kept rolling out of the ring to escape Zayn. Eventually, when Breeze rolled out one side, Zayn exited the other and hopped the barricade to hide from Breeze behind a fan. As Tyler made his way around the ring looking for his opponent Zayn struck and the fight was on. What transpired was a nicely paced back and forth contest as these two have developed a good chemistry together over the last year. Things went south for Breeze when he exposed a turnbuckle but referee Drake Wuertz busted him. Breeze evaded the ref and ran up to sneak attack Zayn only to run right into an exploder suplex. With Breeze staggered in the corner, Zayn followed with his Helluva kick for the pin.
Speaking of opponents who know each other well, Bayley took on Becky Lynch in another nicely paced back and forth match. Eventually Lynch took the lead landing a Bexplex and some signature leg drops. She focused her attack on the arm of Bayley, working in some nice armlocks. The more Lynch is allowed to shine in NXT the more impressive her offense gets, as evidenced by some of the impressive submissions she has been utilizing lately. However with the crowd in her corner, the underdog Bayley managed to mount a comeback and landing a Belly-To-Bayley from out of nowhere for the pin.
Finn Balor and Hideo Itami respectfully started off their match with a handshake, but after that it was all business. Both these men are not only exceptional, but are so evenly matched and proved so with each man looking strong and each man getting in signature offense. Early advantage went to Hideo, and surprisingly it was Balor looking to slow the pace and ground the fired up Itami. After several kicks, strikes, and reversals it was Balor who dropkicked Itami into the corner and then followed with his double stomp from the top turnbuckle for the pin. Both men are impressive, but Balor is clearly connecting with fans in a big way both at Full Sail and at house shows.
Next, the tag titles are on the line as The Vaudevillians challenge Blake and Murphy. Back to their good guy personas The Vaudevillians dominated the early goings while engaging the crowd with some of their popular antics, such as the leg squat or push up spots. With the crowd behind them the two made frequent tags and kept the champs struggling to keep up. Finally, Murphy makes a blind tag to Blake giving them a big enough opening to swing the momentum back in their favor. The two keep English isolated, punishing him and working the leg. Eventually, English makes the hot tag to Gotch and things begin to look up for the gentleman grapplers. Gotch enters the ring like a man possessed knocking down anyone in his path and hoists Murphy onto his shoulders for a rolling senton. English looks to follow with a senton bomb off the top turnbuckle but Murphy rolls out of the way. Murphy counters with a running brainbuster and Blake seals the deal with a frogsplash for the pin.
Our main event of the evening was a match that could easily headline about anywhere in the world as Adrian Neville took on NXT champ Kevin Owens. In the early goings Owens attempted to dictate the pace of the match by frequent ring exits, but when Neville finally gained control it was a flurry of kicks like only Neville could deliver. Owens countered slowing the pace and seemingly relishing in punishing Neville. The two battled on with victory seemingly in hand for both men on several occasions. In the final moments Owens landed a senton bomb off the top turnbuckle yet Neville fought on. Moments later Neville fended off a superplex attempt and looked to follow with a 450 splash to a grounded Owens who rolled out of the way. The two make it to their feet and Neville lands a beautiful superkick which fails to drop the big man. Neville springs off the ropes and right into Owens pop-up powerbomb for the pin. It was a great match from two great athletes. Neville consistently proves why he has been the man in NXT for so long and is going to be sorely missed when he heads up to the main roster. Kevin Owens is possibly the best heel in the business right now, and is will likely prove the naysayers wrong by becoming the man not just in NXT, but on the main roster one day as well.