Angelic Heel once again!
Once again the NXT Superstars destroyed all expectations as they took over the WWE Network with NXT Takeover: Rival! Full Sail University exploded with excitement as every match was better than the last. The NXT Universe was witness to championship contests that were the very essence of ruthless aggression. Professional wrestling was at its finest as these Rivals faced one another and laid it all on the line. Which NXT Titles changed hands and who made short work of their opponents? Find out as I recap the most anticipated WWE Live event in February!
Hideo Itami vs Tyler Breeze
Winner: Hideo Itami via pinfall
The angry Japanese man took on Prince Pretty as a result of the gorgeous ones violent attack last week in a post how interview. Hideo Itami wasted no time as he mounted an offense that was based on his signature kicking style. Tyler Breeze would counter this by applying submission holds to the legs of his opponent. Through out his time in control of the match, Tyler used the 5 count to his advantage. Best and most innovative example of this is when he applied the figure 4 leg lock to Itami using the ring post as leverage. Then out of seemingly now where Hideo hoisted breeze on his shoulders to in what could only have been a set up to his GTS. But Tyler shimmed out of it and rolled Hideo up for a near fall.
As they came back up they kicked and countered and Breeze landed his Super Model kick on Hideo and nearly picked up the win.It was at this point that Hideo Itami’s fighting spirit refused to let him give up as each punch to the face seemed to fuel his inner fires and will to keep battling on. Next thing the NXT Universe knew, Itami was on his feet and striking with fists and feet until he was able to finally deliver a hesitation drop kick to the gorgeous face of the Gorgeous One. Hideo Itami then followed up with a running kick to pick up the pinfall victory over Tyler Breeze.
What a way to start the night! This match was exciting and showcased both superstars beautifully. This was more of a grudge match versus anything important (which I was okay with as I’m always up for a spot of violence.) These two men worked dang well together and their styles are similar but different enough to make the match interesting. As good as this match was I feel it could have been better had they been wrestling for something of note, something to motivate them. I like Tyler and I think he’s got some extreme talent going on, but he’s getting a bit boring. His style is very athletic and technical, but there needs to be more of a spark in it. Some sort of intensity that sets him apart from the other people on the developmental roster (odd that this is developmental, but I’m goin with it) Hideo Itami was a volcano trapped in an angry Japanese Man body. Sure he wasn’t always on the offensive but when he was he made EVERY move count.
Bull Dempsey vs Baron Corbin
No Disqualification Match
Winner: Baron Corbin via pinfall
Why would Bull Dempsey think that three times a charm would be the one to get one over on Baron Corbin? Especially after the Wrecking Ball of NXT cause the Lone Wolf to lose his very first match to Adrian Neville? Corbin was fired up as he charged the ring in an change from his normal controlled intense walk. Dempsey was immediately put on the defensive as Baron laid into him. Bull retreated to the outside knowing that Corbin would follow him. It was there that the New York Nightmare delivered a devastating snap suplex on the entrance ramp.
The maneuver put Bull in control for the time being and he took advantage of his offensive momentum as straight from the suplex he ran Baron’s face right into the ring post in such a way that was reminiscent of last weeks encounter. Once back in the ring, Corbin was able to create a little separation in the form of a spine buster on his 300 pound opponent. But Bull would maintain control and hit his finisher, the diving head butt, but only got the 2 count. In his frustration, Dempsey decided to make full use of the no DQ stipulation and retrieved a chair from ringside. As he went to use it on Corbin, the Lone Wolf Countered into the End of Days to pick up the hat trick of 3 straight victories against Bull Dempsey. After the match, Baron Corbin added insult to injury as he sat in the chair over his defeated foe.
It wasn’t the prettiest match but it was still a good hard hitting one filled with the violence that makes my black little heart sing. Bull Dempsey didn’t look his best. I’m thinking it’s possible that nerves got to him. Either that or he just had a really off night. Baron Corbin on the other hand showed more of his range and ability. That was the first time I’ve ever seen him have to battle back from a beating and obtain a victory. The no DQ stipulation didn’t really come into play and when it looked as if it would, no chair shots. Not complaining, I suppose it’s better to have the stipulation and not need it versus not having the stipulation and get disqualified because of some stupid rule stating you can’t hit your opponent with a steel chair. (It’s only cheating if you get caught, so make sure the ref is distracted, kk? good.)
Blake & Murphy vs The Lucha Dragons
NXT Tag Team Title Match
Winner: Blake & Murphy via pinfall
Blake and Murphy were chomping at the bit to prove that their victory over the Lucha Dragons was not an underdog fluke and the Lucha Dragons were fired up at the chance to regain the gold lost. This match began and both teams remained evenly matched from the get go. There was no real time when either team had total control. It seemed as if there was a counter to the counters. Double team moves like Kalisto and Sin Cara’s wheel barrow senton and Blake and Murphy’s toss up neck breaker (that’s what I’m calling it anyway) were things of pure beauty, and the numerous near falls kept the NXT Universe on it’s feet as these two teams threw everything they had at one another. In the end it was Blake and Murphy working like a well oiled machine that picked up the win as Murphy caught Sin Cara with a running brainbuster and Blake followed it up with a frog splash that allowed the champions to retain.
I honestly did not expect much from this match. Their first match, while entertaining, was nothing memorable. This match started off ugly as sin with mistakes and botched moves that broke the flow. But as the match progressed it grew into something beautiful and memorable till at one point the action was so fast the NXT Universe was left wondering who had actually countered who? It was very awesome to see Blake and Murphy retain and retain in a fashion that was memorable. My biggest complaint with this team is that there was nothing to distinguish them from the other teams, let alone one another (they are similar in looks and build and if they didn’t have their names written on their pants I’d swear they were the same dude.) This match set them apart and made them memorable (and Blake is the blonde.)
Adrian Neville vs Finn Balor
NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament Finals
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall
Ever know a match is going to be so epic that it redefines what you know as an amazing match? This is what the NXT Universe knew going into a match that pitted Finn Balor against Adrian Neville in the finals of the NXT Championship #1 contender’s tournament. Adrian came out first and was fired up and ready to go. Balor’s entrance was truly awe inspiring as he worked to get into the head space that would see victory his against the former NXT Champion. He sported his signature war paint that threw the Ascension into a tizzy of confusion, but the man that Gravity forgot seemed unfazed by it. As the action began, it was slower than one would expect as the two professionals felt each other’s skills out and worked on trying to figure out a way to take out the other.
The pace quickened and the action heated as both pulled out faster and higher risk maneuvers out of their bag of tricks. At one point Neville was forced to retreat to the outside, but Balor stalked his prey and delivered a hesitation drop kick to his opponent that sent Adrian crashing through the NXT barricade. The Irish Demon was not finished there as shortly after, he delivered a double foot stomp to the back of Adrian’s head that allowed him to pick up a near fall. This was also another counter to the counters match as in a desperation move, Balor hit his Pele kick but Adrian had enough left in him to immediately nail Balor with a super kick and both men collapsed to the mat dazed! Adrian Neville was the first to his feet and surprised the NXT Universe by successfully landing a phoenix splash from the second rope onto a prone Finn Balor nearly getting a pinfall of his own.
Neville’s momentum came to a screeching halt as Balor delivered the Sling Blade and the nail in the coffin for Adrian was when his Red Arrow was countered and he came crashing down on the Irishman’s knees. Moments later Finn finished his opponent of with a double foot stomp after the hesitation drop kick into the corner to pick up the win and become the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
This match was one that, as stated before, raised the bar for anything that comes after it. These two men’s show of respect to one another after the match made me hopeful that we will be blessed by the Wrestling Gods to see these fine competitors face each other once again. It was a feast for the eyes and the senses in general as Finn showed that he was willing to go to some dark depths of his psyche to achieve victory. While it didn’t seem to effect Neville, who previously stated that he had to convince himself that he was just fighting a mortal man in body paint) the psychological was for Balor’s benefit. The paint, the entrance the pageantry, takes him to a place that most would dare not tread. And this place has earned him a shot at the NXT Championship.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Becky Lynch
Fatal 4 Way Match for the NXT Women’s Title
Winner: Sasha Banks via pinfall
NXT Women’s wrestling is second to none. This match was a shining example of how it should be done. Take note main roster Divas, these women are on their way up and they are NOT taking any prisoners! The match began and immediately Charlotte was at a disadvantage. The other three women in the ring made a bee line for her to take her out. After she was sent flying into the LED ring apron (which shorted out at the force of her body connecting with it) Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch turned their attention to Bayley. Team B.A.E. made quick work of the Huggable One but the alliance disintegrated as soon as the both went to make a pin on Bayley.
Charlotte recovered and cleaned house when she reentered the fray delivering neckbreackers to both Becky and the Boss. But a recovered Bayley put an end to the champions offensive momentum for the time being as she unloaded on the genetically superior diva and got a near fall with a Bayley-to-Belly suplex. Lynch broke up the pin and pulled Bayley from the ring, but the plan back fired as Bayley slammed the Irish Rocker’s face into the ring apron. Both women continued to battle on the outside, but a suicide dive from Sasha Banks took both of the ladies down to the ground. Charlotte, seized the opportunity to take all of her challengers out as she hurled herself over the top rope and on to Becky, Sasha, and Bayley! The action continued hot and heated when the NXT Women’s champion rolled Becky into the ring in an attempt to finally pt away all challengers by winning the match.
Things did not go as planned as a midst the chaos, Bayley delivered a huge Bayley-to-Belly suplex from the top rope! But she was unable to capitalize as Banks threw her to the outside and covered the champion for a 2 count. Frustration began to set into the baddest diva in NXT as she wondered what it would take to put the champion down. She locked in the Bank Statement on the Champion and wrenched her back with all her strength. Banks released the hold momentarily to knock Lynch back of the ring apron into Bayley, neutralizing the pair. And once again Sasha Banks locked in her signature submission on the Champion in the middle of the ring. Charlotte attempted to power out of it by scratching and clawing her way to the ropes but as close as she got, she was still to far away and her strength was leaving her. Banks took that opportunity to flip the Women’s Champion on her shoulders in a crucifix roll up and pinned Charlotte to earn herself the NXT Women’s Championship!
These four women stole the show. There are three matches that are in a three way tie for best match of the night, this is one of them. NXT women’s wrestling is quickly becoming the high light of NXT programming. The show of respect between Charlotte and Banks, while brief, was the perfect way to end the night for these ladies. All four women raised the bar for what it means to be a female professional wrestler. Nothing was held back and they put everything they had into it. Not once did the match slow down to a dull pace. Everything was kept exciting and demanded to be watched. This was professional wrestling at its finest. Well done ladies!
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
NXT Championship Match
Winner: Kevin Owens via referee stoppage
The tension was thick enough you could cut it with a knife as the two former friends stared each other down as the bell rang to begin the championship match. Kevin Owens, who had a plan from the moment of his debut, continued his head games on Sami Zayn as he rolled from the ring and teased the start to the match on a couple of occasions. Sami, who showed considerable control for the first few minutes decided to throw caution to the wind as he dove OVER the referee and onto Owens on the outside of the ring. Offensive momentum was on Zayn’s side when he rolled Owens back into the ring and began to pound away on the challenger. But Kevin weathered the onslaught and the tides shifted quickly after two huge clotheslines that stopped Zayn in his tracks.
But Sami was not dead yet, he battled his way out of a head lock and began to shift things in his favor and even hit his Blue Thunder Bomb for two! But just as quickly as things shifted one way, they shifted back in favor of Owens who continued to wear down the champion by blasting him with a super kick that landed him in the corner and followed it up with a devastating cannonball. But he wasn’t finished. Owens further shocked the NXT Universe when he delivered a senton from the top rope that earned him a near fall.
Once again, Sami began to mount a come back and build momentum with an exploder suplex that set up for the Helluva Kick. But Owens rolled to the outside avoiding the blow. The champion followed Kevin to the outside by surprising him with a moonsault from the ring. But this maneuver ended up backfiring as Sami also hit his head on the steel ramp. Owens took advantage and went to powerbomb Zayn on to thee ring apron but the champion was able to avoid that punishment.
The action returned to the ring but it was all down hill for Sami Zayn at this point. The damage had been done and Kevin Owens was like a shark with the smell of blood in the water. He caught Sami with a pop up power bomb and when that didn’t put Zayn away he continued his vicious punishment with power bomb after power bomb to a defenseless Sami Zayn. Not even medical staff would stop this brutal attack. It finally got to the point where the referee called the match to try and save Sami and thus awarding the victory and the NXT Championship Title to KEVIN OWENS!
This match was painful to watch for any Sami Zayn fan, and the more times you watch it, the worse it gets. Kevin Owens was a beast that would not be stopped. I said it in my predictions that he was driven by a force that would not let him stop. Kevin had one goal in mind and a plan to get him what he thought he would need to provide for his family. His plan worked, he is on top and looks to be unstoppable. Sami Zayn, bless him, did not lay down but he fought with everything he had and more, but it was just not enough to over come the ferocity of a man on a mission. This match was gold. It is by far one of the best matches I have ever seen. Both competitors have amazing chemistry and know each other so well that the tre winners were the fans. There is literally, nothing negative that I can say for this fight. Congrats to KEVIN OWENS on a battle won and title 14 years coming! Good On You Sir! Fight Owens Fight!!
**Angelic Heel Side Note**
Just so ya know… In my NXT Predictions, I called every winner. Who’s the chick that’s got this shit? Hell Yeah Angelic Heel does.