NXT TakerOver: Rival Review

The show opens with some nice promos videos hyping the NXT Women’s Championship match and the NXT Championship match with quotes from online critics touting the success of NXT’s brand.

Tonight on commentary we have former NXT superstar, Corey Graves, mini Michael Cole Rich Brennnan, and Jason Albert.

1. Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze

Itami & Breezer.jpg

-It’s worth noting, as good as he has been the past year, that Breeze has been in WWE developmental since 2010. Itami, only half a year.

-Lots of kicks. By both men.

-Breeze slows the pace of the match a few minutes in, and works on Itami’s legs.

-Breeze trys to keep Itami down, but Itami hulks up and gets a nice flurry of offense. More kicks.

-Itami defeats Breeze only a few  moments later.

-Strong babyface win to start off the event and keep the crowd hot. A nice little showcase of Itami and what he can do in singles competition.

2. Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification Match

-I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve seen either of these two men work.

-Match starts out on the outside. The announcers try to get over how both men are legit tough guys.

-A lot of time wasting in the early moments. Dempsey hits a flying headbutt. The first real move of the match, but immediately goes back outside with Corbin.

-Dempsey goes for a chair, but Corin gets an opening and hits his finisher for the victory after having almost no offense the entire match.

-Short match, with nothing really going on.

-Backstage, we see NXT General Manager, William Regal, talking with both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

3. The Lucha Dragons vs.Balke & Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Championship

-Last time I checked in on NXT, Kalisto and SIn Cara were champions. I’ve never heard of Blake and Murphy but the announcers wisely get over their victory and build a story for the match to tell.

-Sin Cara and Blake have a miss-communication on a hurricanranna only moments in.

-The champions are built up by commentary as the underdog champions as the former champions stay in control for much of the first half.

-Kalisto is something else, holy crap. Those moves of his are on par with some things Mysterio used to do in his early WCW run.

-The champions find an opening and pin Sin Cara to retain.

-Crowd sort of died for this match after the time wasting of Corin/Dempsey and the somewhat clunky action in this match. Looks like Sin Cara and Kalisto will be moving on to something else now. Good for them.

4. Adrian Neville vs. Finn Bálor for the #1 Contendership


-I know what Adrian Neville is capable of in the ring, but this was my first time ever seeing Finn Bálor in action. I’ve heard only good things and my expectation are high for this match going in.

-This is the finals of and eight man tournament and we cut to an amazing promo package to get over both men’s path to NXT.
-Bálor’s entrance was everything everyone said it was. Incredible. I got goosebumps. What a presence.

-Slow feeling out process as both men trade offense and reversals early on.

-It looked like the former NXT Champion was going to control the fresh faced Bálor by keeping him grounded, but a few well placed moves later and Bálor speeds the pace of the match up exponentially.

-Holy shit! Bálor hits a double stomp from the top rope to Neville’s head for a two count! Brutal!

-The two trade kicks. Lots of kicks in the show.

Neville hits a big corkscrew splash, but Finn Bálor kicks out. The two trade big moves, and a few false finishes to the delight of the Full Sail Universaity crowd.

-The former NXT Champion goes for the Red Arrow, but Bálor gets the knees up.

-Finn Bálor wins after his double stomp from the top rope. Bálor soaks it in. The two shake hands after the match.

-Wonder what is next for Adrian Neville?

-These two brought the crowd back and really took them on a ride. The big fight atmosphere really made expectations high for me, but these two met them. I’m excited to see more of Finn Bálor going forward. I kind of feel like they are strapping a rocket to him. Hopefully it all isn’t too much, too soon.

5. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs Charlotte for the NXT Women’s Championship

-Another awesome promo. Probably the best promo package for a women’s feud i’ve seen since the days of Lita and Mickie James. It really got them over as competitors.

-Banks and Lynch seemingly working together to wear down the babyfaces, Bayley and Charlotte.

-Hilariously, both women go to pin Bayley and that ends their brief alliance.

-Bayley and Charlotte hit a double face buster-thingi on Sasha Banks to huge pop.  Incredible!

-All the women do high spots to the outside. The crowd loves it.

-Bayley nearly pins the champion, but Banks tosses her out and locks in a cross-face on Charlotte, and switches it into a backslide and gets a quick three count. Bit of an awkward ending.

-Charlotte really has earned the hype she gets, and Banks played a great heel. She’ll make a good champion for the babyface women to chase later on.

-It was so nice to see some women get time to tell a story and really showcase some skill. The match had a basic formula, but was far and away better than anything the WWE divas have been allowed to do on television the past few years.

6. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship


-It’s main event time. Cue another amazing video package. I know of these two long history but have never actually watched the two work together before tonight. Smartly, they play up their history really well.

-Owens mentions he has only been in NXT for two months and is going to win the title quicker than anyone before him.

-Owens takes his time, and waits on the outside to the frustration of Sami Zayn, the champion.

-The challenger uses his size to ground the smaller NXT Champion as the announcers get over how Owen’s claims he is doing this for his family. Which is sort of a babyface thing to do, right? But…Owens is heel? What?

-Zayn can’t seem to get an opening. Owen’s wears him down methodically every time he attempts to build momentum.

-The NXT Champion finally builds a little offense, but he is already to worn down to keep it. Owens has some sick offense, man. Cringe worthy. He dropped Zayn, head first, on his knee. It looked so sick.

-Owens went for a Senton. Holy shit! He missed. Zayn goes for his finish, but was not able to focus after he hit his head hard on a dive to the outside. Owens capitalizes on this opening.

-Zayn looks completely gone as Owens just wails away, but Zayn wont stay down for a three count. The referee stops the match after Ownes delivers multiple power bombs. Kevin Owens wins the NXT Championship via Ref Stoppage.

-You don’t see that everyday.

-I feel like this is a little soon for Kevin Owens to become champion, but I guess the idea was to give the free February WWE Network subscribers a big title change. I liked the unique way they went about it, and Zayn looked amazing in defeat despite being on the receiving end for almost the entire match.

-I’m sure Kevin Owens will be booked strong and have great matches with Finn Bálor and many others.

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