-It’s the second NXT live special of 2015. February’s Rival was an awesome show which culminated in Kevin Owen’s derailing the success story of his ROH brethren – Sami Zayn.
-Now, we get the rematch, plus a #1 Contenders match between “The Demon” Finn Bálor and “Prince Pretty” Tyler Breeze. Also we will see the end of a friendship as Sasha Banks defends her title against Becky Lynch
1. Tyler Breeze vs. Finn Bálor
-This winner of this match will be the next in line to challenge the NXT Champion.
-Hideo Itami was originally scheduled to be in this match, but was taken out by Kevin Owens hours before the match.
-Breeze clearly went to the Randy Orton school of headlocks. After a somewhat slow few minutes of feeling out the other, they both has some very nice fluid exchanges.
-Breeze is not winning this one and Finn Bálor wins with the Coup de Gráce to become the new #1 Contender to the NXT Champion.
-They worked well in spurts, but we have seen far better from these two in the past.
2. Bayley & Charlotte vs. Emma & Dana Brooke
– Emma and Brooke spend almost the entire match cornering Bayley until she can get a hot tag to Charlotte.
-The former NXT Women’s Champion runs wild and gets the Figure Four on Emma after countering a cross body. It gets broken up by Brooke who is taken out by Bayley. Charlotte hits the Natural Selection on Emma for the win.
-This was a pretty nothing Tag Team match, but it sure is refreshing to have more than one women’s story line going on at the same time. Fair play, NXT.
3. Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin
-Is it just me that thinks that Corbin looks like a reject from WCW’s Power Plant?
-Punches, kicks, and clotheslines. That is pretty much all this match was.
-They keep making the point that Corbin has defeated all his opponents in short order. Which is really just a nicer way of saying that he has yet to really prove himself in the ring with someone that poses a serious threat.
-The crowd wants to be into this match, but Corbin really gives them nothing as his methodical pace is dull.
-The former football player gets the win with an End of Days after an uneventful match that pretty much kills the crowd.
4. Blake/Murphy vs. Amore/Cassady for the NXT Tag Team Championship
-Not a good sign for your Tag Team division when your champions look like a jobber team who might have appeared on a Saturday night edition of WWE Velocity! ten years ago. The challengers get a nice little pop as the crowd recites Amore’s shtick along with him. It was a pretty cool moment.
-The champions control much of this match as Amore tries to reach his corner. he nearly gets a tag, but Blake and Murphy deliver a Power Bomb into a Back Stabber. Nasty!
-Cassady finally gets in and the crowd pop for his Empire Elbow as they chant “S-H-A-W-F-T!”
-As Cassady looked to finish off the championships he sees Alexa Bliss jump Carmella causing the distraction. The champions retain with a little help from Alexa Bliss.
-This was nothing spectacular. The challengers were over, but this match had no heat and the action was pretty formulaic.
-The Tag Team division continues to be the weakest point of most NXT shows, which is probably mostly due to many performers not wanting to be stuck in a pair when trying to get noticed and called up to the main roster.
5. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch for the NXT Women’s Championship
-We get an awesome look back at the alliance between Lynch and Banks and the desolation of their friendship. It’s amazing how much more natural and mature the story lines for women in NXT are compared to the WWE. Amazing job to the NXT crew for giving this match a big time feel. It makes the title look so prestigious.
-Lynch, the challenger, schools Banks in the opening minutes with several amazing sequences. It really sold the fact that Banks was in trouble of loosing her title in this match with her former ally.
-Banks finally suckers Lynch in and locks a few really nasty looking arm submission maneuvers. Eventually, Lynch is able to over power Banks and dead lifts her with one arm and slams her.
-The two trade big moves until Lynch locks in her arm bar and looks to have the match won, but Banks reaches the ropes. Lynch goes up top but the champion pulls her down and locks in the Bank Statement for a second time, and Lynch’s arm can’t take anymore. Banks retains.
-A great story told by both of these women as they tried to target the arms of one another to try and win. A dejected Lynch is in the ring after the match and gets a round of applause from the Full Sail crowd.
-While the Tag Team division on NXT struggles the Women’s division continues to be my favorite part of just about every NXT show.
6. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship
-We get the recap of Owen’s absolute deconstruction of Sami Zayn from the last special in February.
-Kevin Owens, the champion, comes out wearing a John Cena “The Champ is Here” tee shirt. What a nice touch.
-Right out of the gate Owen’s starts trying to mess with his challengers head. However, Zayn is determined to not be dominated like he was the last time he met Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship.
-Owens can’t find an opening and barely gets out of the way of Zayn’s Helluva Kick. Both men go outside and Zayn gets caught in the champions Pop-Up Power-bomb onto the apron of the ring! Zayn is out!
-The referees check on the challenger and seem to be trying to determine if Zayn can continue but Owens is having none of it and keeps assaulting the defenseless former NXT Champion.
-The champion drags is former best friend into the ring for another Power-bomb when he is confronted by the NXT General Manager, William Regal. But Owne s quickly takes him out.
-He then grabs a steel chair from ringside, but before he can make a move – SAMOA JOE enters the arena! The NXT Champion is beside himself and exits the ring when having to come face-to-face with the Samoan Submission machine.
-This being NXT’s fifth WWE Network special, they are still putting on more well rounded shows than many of the main roster events.
-While my belief is that February’s NXT TakeOver: Rival is still the benchmark for NXT’s live shows, this event had a lot to love. Bálor and Breeze had a great opener. Kevin Owens and Zayn had an exciting championship match despite Zayn working injured. Sasha Bank and Becky Lynch absolutely stole the entire show. From their back-and-forth action to their multi-layered story the NXT Women’s Championship match is the reason to come back and watch this event.
-Plus, after a decade of “what ifs” Samoa Joe made his debut in the WWE. The sight of Joe in a WWE ring is something I honestly thought we would never see, but the man who helped put TNA and ROH on the map is now gunning for the NXT Champion.
-Watch the opener, skip the women’s tag team match and Rhyno/Corbin. The rest of the show is worth your time.