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Thursday, February 12, 2015

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Nathan's NXT Takeover: Rival Review

By Nathan Neumann @Headliner5 on twitter

Hello ladies, gentlemen, and Eyes On The Ring readers. Nathan here to bring you something a bit out of my comfort zone in an NXT Takeover review for the latest special on the WWE Network.

Normally, you’ll catch me doing ROH reviews. Now, that’s not to say that I only care about Ring Of Honor because that’s not at all true. However, due to the fact that I was able to watch tonight’s NXT Takeover live (which isn’t always the case), I figured why not expand my horizons in the reviewing department and bring you something a bit different than you are used to seeing from me? So without any further ado lets get it going.

NXT Takeover: Rival kicks off with a video package, which highlights the action that we are in store for during this show. From there we go inside of Full Sail University where we are live with a packed house. Rich Brennan, Jason Albert, and Corey Graves are on commentary and from there we go straight to the ring for the first match of the night.

Match #1

Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze

Hideo Itami makes his way to the ring to a big pop. Out next is Tyler Breeze. A female fan runs and jumps on Breeze as he makes his entrance. Security promptly removes her from the sight of the fans. To me, it was obvious that it was a plant and that Tyler Breeze was never in any real danger from crazy chicks.

In the ring, Hideo tries to land some big kicks. But Breeze acts like a hated villain and pulls the referee in harm’s way--only to hit a kick of his own to get the first shot in.  Breeze hits a splash in the corner and does some showboating but Itami turns it around with a big corner Lariat. They both run the ropes, Itami misses a kick but hits a knee to the gut and a big kick that this time connects and as a result sends Breeze out of the ring.  From there the two run around the ring and back in, once the two are back in the ring Breeze misses an aerial attack and gets knocked to the ground. Itami again goes for kicks to set up a running boot in the corner but Breeze rolls out to the floor. Itami then brings Breeze back up to the apron and hits a pair of kicks. Breeze goes for the leg and fights back in the ring. Breeze chop blocks Itami’s knee as the referee checks on him.

From here, Breeze continues to work on Itami and the referee stops to check on him yet again. Breeze then whips Itami into the corner, slams his knee into the ring post and applies a figure four leg lock on the ring post (a move I haven’t seen in WWE since Bret Hart). Breeze breaks by the count of five and comes back into the ring and keeps on the leg Breeze applies a sharpshooter but Itami makes it to the ropes quickly. Breeze breaks the hold and stomps away at Itami’s injured leg. Itami goes for the GTS out of nowhere but Breeze counters with a roll up to get a two count. Breeze blocks a kick and hits a superkick of his own for a two count.  Breeze nails Itami from his knees and Breeze capitalizes with more strikes as he makes it back up to his feet.  Itami takes all of the strikes that Breeze has in him and fires up.  Itami hits a forearm and a kick and then delivers more kicks with Breeze against the ropes.  Breeze drops to his knees and takes more damage to his chest due to kicks.  Itami hits the hesitation dropkick and follows it up with a running kick to score the pinfall victory.

Winner: Hideo Itami
Match Rating: **3/4

After the match, we get a few replays. Back in the ring, we see Itami clutching his leg and limping after he gets his hand raised. Itami does one final pose before heading to the backstage area.

After that we go backstage and see William Regal and a referee backstage as they talk with Kevin Owens.

From here we head back to the ring for the next match up where Bull Dempsey makes his way out first.

Match 2

Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin
No Disqualification Match

Baron Corbin runs to the ring and starts brawling with Dempsey both in and out of the ring. Bull slams Corbin onto the apron and suplexes him on the steel ramp. Bull maintains control and beats on Baron at ringside. Fans chant for tables, but Bull can’t find any--which gets boos from the fans. Not sure if that was intentional. However, even if it wasn’t, it’s a nice way to get some heat from the crowd. Bull goes back to working on Baron with stomps and slams his face into the apron. Bull brings Baron back into the ring but Baron musters up enough strength to deliver a spinebuster for a two count.

Both men recover and tumble over the top rope as the fans boo, they get up and Bull drops Baron with a right hand.  Bull rolls Baron in and goes to the top rope for his signature headbutt.  He nails it and Baron kicks out but barely.  Bull has a look of disbelief on his face so he stomps and kicks Baron back out of the ring. Bull throws Baron into the steel steps and rolls him back into the ring. Bull brings a steel chair in but Corbin counters it and manages to hit End Of Days for the win. The finish would have looked better but Baron kind of lost his grip on Bull, which made for a bit of a botched finish.  Not sure who’s fault it was...but it really doesn’t matter because even with the mini botch, it was still effective.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Match Rating: **

After the match, Baron Corbin takes a seat in a chair while Bull tries to recover. From there we see William Regal in the backstage area talking to Sami Zayn, which brings us to a commercial. Back from commercial and we get shots of both Becky Lynch and Bayley who are both preparing for their match in the backstage area. From here, we go to the next match of the evening and the first of three championship matches tonight.

Match 3
The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) vs. Blake and Murphy {C}
NXT Tag Team Championship Match

The challengers Sin Cara and Kalisto are out first followed by the new champions Blake and Murphy. They come out to a decent reaction, but a terrible theme song.

Sin Cara kicks off the match with Buddy Murphy as they lock up in the center of the ring. Wesley Blake quickly makes a tag from his position on the ring apron and tries to double team Sin Cara but it backfires and allows Sin Cara to take control.  in Cara goes down on the apron and Blake stomps away at him. Sin Cara hits a head scissors takedown and Kalisto comes in with a big kick. Kalisto slips on the rope but recovers and leaps onto Murphy. Cara and Blake battle it out in the corner, Cara hits a victory roll from the top rope for a near fall. Murphy tags in and squares off with Kalisto. Kalisto gets the better of the exchange and tags in Sin Cara for some duel kicks and a double team senton splash for a two count.

Blake tags back in and him and Murphy hit a big double team neckbreaker on Sin Cara for a two count.  Blake stomps Sin Cara in the corner and Murphy comes back in for a one count. Kalisto comes into the ring with a corkscrew cross body and a kick. Kalisto spikes Murphy on his head (it looked nasty). From there Murphy counters Salida del sol from Kalisto. Kalisto gets another two count after a powerbomb reversal. From there we have some more back and forth action with pin multiple unsuccessful pin attempts.  Both Sin Cara and Wesley Blake rush into the ring to break up the pin attempts. They tag out and we get several more pin attempts and counters.  Sin Cara hits a huge powerbomb on Murphy that gets two count. Kalisto gets kicked to the floor and Murphy tags in Blake, Murphy hits a big suplex and the now legal Blake follows it up with a frog splash for the win and the retention of the tag team titles.

Winners (and still NXT Tag Team Champions): Blake and Murphy
Match Rating: **

This match could have been a bit better had they slowed down some. But, sadly, that’s the problem with some developmental guys. They are given a set time and try to pack to much stuff in to the time period that they are allotted. Not a bad match by any stretch but it felt like they were rushing through things to a degree in order to get to the finish.

After the match the champions celebrate but the tron is interrupted by a mixed signal video from Solomon Crowe that says NEXT WEEK!

From here we get a video for tonight’s number one contenders match between Balor and Neville.

Match 4
Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville
#1 Contenders match for the NXT Championship

We head to the ring and Adrian Neville makes his way out. Finn Balor makes his way out to the ring next with his body paint.  Balor’s entrance gave this match a big fight feel.  Neville watches on from the apron and lets Balor finish doing his thing.  

Balor charges in to start the match but Neville takes him down with a headlock.  They make it to their feet and Neville drops Balor with a shoulder block followed by another headlock takedown.  Neville maintains control for the time being until Balor puts Neville down with a shoulder block but Neville quickly nips up to his feet as the fans cheer and we have a stand off.

Balor rolls through and hits a drop kick on Neville and Neville rolls to the floor to catch a breather and bide his time before getting back into the ring.  Balor gets set to dive out at Neville but Neville runs in, both men run the ropes and Balor nails a drop kick Neville rolls back out to the floor.  Balor goes for another dive but Neville jumps on the apron in order to stop him.  Neville hits a springboard dropkick that gets a two count and from there Neville goes back to the headlock.

After some back and forth action both men end up on the apron Neville nails a dropkick as Balor goes for a springboard.  Neville brings Balor back in with a big suplex, which gets a two count.  Neville keeps Balor grounded but Balor finally turns things around with an enziguri that sends Neville back out to the floor.

Balor goes for a dive and nails it to the outside of the ring.  Balor stalks around the ring and hits a big running dropkick, which sends Neville through the steel barricade.  Fans chant “Holy Shit” as Balor grabs Neville and brings him back towards the ring.  Balor goes to the top and hits a huge stomp to the back of Neville’s head for a two count.

Balor goes for a reverse DDT which is blocked by Neville who then scores with a series of kicks.  Balor blocks a dropkick and hits a Pele kick. Neville comes back with a huge kick of his own when the Pele by Balor doesn’t connect all the way. After some back and forth, Neville comes right back with a big German suplex.  Neville hits another German suplex but holds it for a close 2 count. Frustrated, Neville heads to the second rope for a corkscrew splash and nails it but Balor is able to kick out at two. Neville capitalizes further with a running uppercut in the corner. Neville stuns Balor with a forearm shot, Neville runs but Balor drops him. Balor hits a huge lariat followed by a reverse DDT but Neville again kicks out at two. Balor goes to the top but Neville crotches him, Neville with an enziguri, Neville brings Balor to the mat and goes up for the Red Arrow. Balor gets up and Neville lands on his feet like a cat. Neville delivers a kick to Balor’s head.  Balor falls to the ground and Neville goes back up for the Red Arrow, but Balor counters by getting his knees up. Balor gets another near fall after rolling Neville up for a near fall.  Balor dropkicks Neville when Neville is in the corner. As Neville is down Balor ascends to the top rope and hits a double foot stomp to not only secure the win but to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship.

Winner and New #1 Contender to the NXT Championship: Finn Balor

Match Rating: ***3/4

After the match, Neville and Balor shake hands. We then are treated to replays of some of the action. Afterwards, we come back to the ring as Balor is celebrating, he gets out of the ring and heads up the ramp to cheers from the crowd.

Backstage we get shots of Sasha Banks and Charlotte who are both getting ready for tonight’s Fatal 4 Way match.  We then go to a video package which hypes up the match and tells us what we need to know heading into it.

Match 5

Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte {C}

Fatal 4 Way match for the NXT Women’s Title

We head to the ring and Bayley is out first followed by Sasha Banks. Becky Lynch makes her way out next followed by the reigning and defending WWE NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte.  

There’s a lot of back and forth action between all four participants, Sasha gets thrown into the ring and breaks the LED board. Becky takes Sasha out with a huge suplex after they both go for a pin. Becky ends up going at it with Bayley putting her in a submission, Sasha comes back in to break it up. Sasha and Becky square off. Sasha makes her way to the corner and goes for a double knee drop but it’s blocked. Becky Lynch hits a big drop kick for a two count which is broken up by Charlotte. Charlotte hits a beautiful neckbreaker on Becky, then maintains control and hits another neckbreaker on Sasha Banks to get a two count.

Charlotte takes control of Becky and goes for a pin but Sasha is in to break it up.  Sasha and Charlotte trade big punches. Sasha blocks a move and Charlotte spears Becky.  Bayley runs in for a double team move with Charlotte but gets dumped back out.  Charlotte ends up going into the ring post. Sasha hits a double knee in the corner on Becky and Charlotte simultaneously. Sasha covers Charlotte for a two count and after Charlotte kicks out Sasha goes over to Becky who she also gets a two count on. Becky kicks out and Sasha goes back over to Charlotte and tries to pin her again but she gets yet another near fall which leads Sasha to scream in frustration.  Becky runs in with a suplex on Sasha, Bayley with four back elbows on Charlotte in the corner. Bayley takes Charlotte up for a hurricanranna and nails it as the fans start chanting for her.  Bayley hits the Belly to Bayley but Becky breaks up the pin and shoves Bayley out to the floor.

Out on the floor Bayley takes out Becky and Sasha leaps out onto both of them on the ramp. Charlotte recovers and dives out and takes out the other three women.  Charlotte brings Becky back into the ring but as Charlotte is coming back in Becky meets her with a big shot. Becky hits an overhead suplex for a two count and delivers some uppercuts afterwards. Becky takes Charlotte to the top, Sasha comes up on to the apron but Bayley grabs her and pulls her off. Bayley climbs into the ring and hits a German suplex on Becky. Bayley climbs up to the top turnbuckle with Charlotte and hits her Belly to Bayley suplex from the top rope but Sasha breaks up the pin attempt. Sasha then covers Charlotte for a near fall of her own. Sasha locks in a cross face submission hold on Charlotte but Bayley and Becky try and interfere. Sasha kicks both Bayley and Becky off of the apron and re-applies the hold.  Charlotte crawls desperately for the ropes but at that point Rich Brennan points out that it’s a fatal four way and the ropes mean nothing which was a nice touch.  Sasha pulls Charlotte back, and Sasha turns the hold into a crucifix for the pinfall victory and the title.

Winner and New NXT Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks
Match Rating: **3/4

After replays, we come back to Charlotte and Sasha who are both in the ring looking like they’re about to hug but Sasha pushes Charlotte away and goes back to dancing.  Charlotte thinks nothing of it and leaves the ring letting Sasha celebrate and have her moment as her music plays.

A fantastic women’s contest; Sasha earned that one.

From there we get a promo for tonight’s main event.

Main Event – Match 6

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn {C}

Grudge Match for the NXT Championship

We see Kevin Owens pacing back and forth in the backstage area before coming out to the ring. NXT Champion Sami Zayn enters soon after to a big pop as Owens looks on from the corner unimpressed.

The fans chant “ole” in the arena as Sami’s entrance music cuts out and we go to the formal ring introductions from NXT ring announcer JoJo. Both men get pops and chants during their respective introduction. The bell rings and they stare at one another from their corners. They go to lock up but Owens goes out to the floor to some jeers from the fans. Owens takes some time before making his way onto the apron and right as it looks like he will be getting into the ring he drops to the floor once again.  Owens toys with the crowd some more by teasing that he will go into the ring one more time which he again doesn’t do. Sami is growing impatient and runs the ropes and leaps out of the ring over the top rope taking Owens out Sami recovers and brings Owens back in and works him over a bit.  Sami delivers some kicks and punches in the corner as the referee counts.  Sami climbs up with right hands in the corner.

Owens turns things around and drops Sami’s face into the turnbuckle. Owens hits a huge closeline in the corner and stomps away at the fallen Zayn.

Owens hits another big clothesline in the corner and yells out to the fans asking “How is that?” Owens whips Sami hard into the opposite corner.  Owens hits a huge chop in the middle of the ring and covers for a two count. Owens kicks Zayn yet again and delivers even more trash talking. Owens delivers some forearm shots which knock Sami down to the mat.  Owens mounts some more offense sending Sami back to the mat for a two count.  Owens keeps the pressure on Sami by keeping him grounded in the process.  Owens maintains control and slams Sami hard over the top rope for another two count.  Owens again maintains control and keeps Sami down with a headlock.  Owens hits a back suplex for another near fall, the two men end up on the floor and Owens delivers some big chops.

Owens stands on the steps and slams Zayn on the apron. Owens delivers a strike to Sami and rolls back into the ring to break the referee’s count. Owens drops Sami on the floor and brings him back in for another near fall.  Owens hits a big gutbuster followed by a senton for a two count. Sami finally comes back with a big closeline and sends Owens out to the floor. Sami slams Owens head first into the steel steps. Sami with right hands on the floor, Sami breaks the referee’s count and goes back to the outside of the ring to work on Owens some more but Owens rolls Zayn back into the ring. Sami rolls right back out of the ring and Owens follows. Sami nails a closeline on Owens.

They make their way back into the ring and Owens hits a back Elbow. Sami misses a shot of his own but nails Owens with the Blue Thunder Powerbomb for a near fall.  Sami runs but Owens nails a big superkick to the chin. A groggy Zayn falls in the corner of the ring, Owens capitalizes and runs into Sami hitting him with a cannonball for a near fall.  Owens drops Zayn’s neck over his knee for a near fall. Sami counters a powerbomb attempt and hits a dropkick. Sami hits the half and half suplex for another near fall.  Sami slams Owen’s head first into the turnbuckle

Owen’s counters another move from Sami and drops Sami neck first over the top rope.  Owens ascends to the top but he’s cut off by Sami who climbs up for a suplex but gets fought off by Owens who head butts him down to the mat. Owens goes for the top rope senton but Sami gets his knees up. Both men get back to their feet and Owens charges but Sami catches him with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. Sami gets up and goes for the Helluva kick but Owens avoids it by rolling out to the floor.

Sami follows Owens to the outside but Owens makes him pay for it. Owens goes for the powerbomb on the apron but Zayn jumps onto the apron instead. From there, Sami jumps up to the second rope to hit a springboard moonsault to Owens but in doing so Zayn smacks his head on the steel ramp and appears groggy.

The two men make their way back into the ring and Sami is a bit worse for ware however Sami waits for Owens to get up in the corner. A dazed Sami runs into Owens but gets caught in a pop up powerbomb to allow Owens to get a near fall. The referee goes to check on Sami and Graves makes mention of his history of concussions and about how Sami has that glazed over look in his eyes. Owens comes over and hits a bunch of big punches to the head of Zayn, knocking Sami back down. Owens goes back to work on Zayn and hits him with an uppercut which knocks him back into the ropes.

The referee rushes in and backs Owens off and checks on Sami but Owens is relentless and goes right back to beating on Sami’s head.  The doctor comes over to check on Sami, Owens grabs Sami and powerbombs him as Owens could care less about Zayn’s health and well-being.  Owens nails another powerbomb and Sami just gets the shoulder up in time.  From here we get some shots of some fans who are concerned for Sami’s health.  This brings out more trainers who check on Sami.  

Owens pulls Sami back for two more powerbombs. Owens sets up for one more but before he can do it the trainers yell at the referee to stop the match.  The referee pulls Owens off of Zayn as the fans boo.  The referee ends up stopping the match as Sami is not able to continue.

Winner and New WWE NXT Champion: Kevin Owens
Match Rating: ****

After the bell the referee hands Kevin Owens the title and he starts to celebrate as we get a few replays of what went down.  Trainers check on Sami Zayn as Takeover goes off of the air.

What a great show NXT Takeover Rival was and it more than lived up to the hype, I went six for six on predictions so I can’t complain about that.  The question is where does former WWE NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte go from here?  Also what happens to Sami Zayn from here?  I’m sure we will get a few more Zayn vs. Owens matches which is fine with me and although I predicted a Kevin Owens win on Wrestling Heads Radio this past Monday night, I had my doubts and I didn’t know if they would pull the trigger that quickly.

This opens up some interesting scenarios for Sami Zayn going forward as he got to the top of the mountain but couldn’t manage to keep the title for more than two months (to the date that he won it) either way I have a feeling that this was a way to get Sami Zayn to the main roster eventually and it also shakes up the entire NXT landscape.  Plus now we have Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the title to look forward to, I saw a lot of people say that this was perhaps the worst of the NXT live specials and I would disagree.  I think it was one of the best if not the best of the five specials that we have seen from the crew at full sail.

Well that’ll do it for me and this review of NXT Takeover Rival.  This was a hell of a show with some damn good stuff on it so if you are looking for a way to spend two hours and you are a wrestling fan then look no further than this show.  It will be interesting to see how things play out in the coming weeks and where we go from here and while it’s a not so exciting time to be a WWE fan right now (even though it should be because we are in Wrestlemania season) it’s a great time to be an NXT fan so if you have the WWE Network watch some NXT and if you don’t have the Network and are on the fence about it February is a free month.  For a free show where they could have half assed a lot of the stuff they didn’t do that at all.  I hope the same can be said for Fast Lane in the next few weeks and that it will be a surprisingly good show but I don’t see it toping this although it should be able to because NXT is the “Minor Leagues”.

However that does it for me until Saturday so until then when I bring you my next Ring Of Honor Review I am Nathan saying so long for now and be sure to keep your Eyes On The Ring for all of the great articles that True, Peagle, Jon, Myself and the rest of the Eyes On The Ring team promise to bring you in the near future.

Also be sure and give us a follow on twitter @EyesOnTheRing and while your at it you things Eyes On The Ring at EyesOnTheRing.com your home for all things wrestling.  

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Last but not least I leave you with this.


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