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NXT Takeover: Rival

NXT Takeover: Rival
Date: February 10, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, Jason Albert

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's been less than two months since the last Takeover and NXT is starting to crank up the frequency of these specials. The main story coming in is fallout from last time as Kevin Owens is challenging former best friend Sami Zayn for the NXT Title after betraying new champion Zayn at the end of the last show. Let's get to it.


The opening video gives us a quick background of every major match.

Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze

This was set up late last week after Itami lost in the semi-finals of the #1 contenders tournament and was attacked by Breeze. A blonde woman jumps Breeze during his entrance and is quickly dragged away. She was too good looking to be a real fan. Hideo misses a running kick to start but nails a clothesline out of the corner. A forearm knocks Breeze to the floor and Hideo dropkicks him out of the air. Tyler wakes up and goes after the knee to take over by ramming it into the apron and dropping some elbows. The knee is wrapped around the post and Breeze slaps on the Figure Four around the post as well.

Back in and Breeze puts on a unique submission hold which is kind of a Texas Cloverleaf/Figure Four/Sharpshooter combination. Itami gets to the ropes and tries the GTS, only to have Breeze escape and hit the Supermodel Kick for two. I guess selling doesn't translate to Japanese. Hideo starts Hulking Up and kicks Breeze in the head before firing off a series of them to the chest. He is nice enough to limp a bit after doing the offense with no issues. A running delayed dropkick in the corner and a running big boot to the face is enough to pin Breeze at 8:20.

Rating: B-. Entertaining match but the lack of selling got annoying in a hurry. It's also not a good sign that Hideo was right back to kicks only offense. Yeah he varies them up a bit, but they're all just kicks no matter how you look at it. Breeze is getting to the point where he puts over so many people that it's not meaning as much. Itami needed a win though and this was his biggest in a singles match to date.

Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey

No DQ. Corbin charges at him to start and they fight on the floor with Dempsey hitting a suplex onto the ramp. He posts Baron as well and takes him inside, only to get caught in a spinebuster for two. Corbin charges him out to the floor where Bull runs him over again. Back in and the flying headbutt gets two on Corbin, sending a frustrated Dempsey outside for a chair. That takes a bit too long though and Corbin catches him in End of Days for the pin at 4:11.

Rating: C. Good brawl but my goodness let it be over now. These two didn't need to fight again after the first two times but it kept going for the sake of having another match here. That's unlike NXT and I really hope it's nothing that becomes normal. At least the right guy won and they kept it short.

Tag Team Titles: Blake and Murphy vs. Lucha Dragons

Blake and Murphy beat the Dragons to win the belts a few weeks back and this is the rematch. They've also lost their first names during their title reign. Cara and Murphy get things going but it's very quickly off to Blake, who eats a spinning cross body. The champs take over and Kalisto gets the tag, only to botch a dive over the top.

Instead a victory roll gets two out of the corner before Cara slams Kalisto onto Murphy for the same. This match is kind of all over the place so far. Back to Blake as the champs take over with some fast tags and quick offense. Kalisto gets another hot tag and cleans house with his rolling kick to the head and low hurricanrana but Murphy counters the Salida Del Sol. A powerbomb gets two on Kalisto and they hit a pinfall reversal sequence until both partners make saves at the same time.

Cara rolls Blake into a powerbomb for two but Murphy rolls out for two of his own. It's quickly back to Murphy who can't roll out of the powerbomb as everything breaks down again. Kalisto is knocked off the apron and Murphy hits a running suplex on Cara, setting up a great looking frog splash from Blake to retain the titles at 7:28.

Rating: C. This was entertaining but kind of sloppy. They didn't really try for any kind of psychology but the champs looked smooth out there and the match worked well enough for what it was going for. Blake and Murphy are actually good champions and work well together, though I could use a big more to separate them. Still though, good enough stuff.

During the champs' celebration, we get the longest Solomon hack to date, complete with “Next week” coming up on screen.

Recap of the #1 contenders tournament, which quickly turns into a video on Neville vs. Balor. Both of them have worked hard to get here and they're ready to go through the other to get their shot at the title.

#1 Contenders Tournament Final: Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville

Balor does his full on painted, crawling entrance. Neville runs him over to start and grabs a headlock on the mat. That's fine with Finn who rolls through and hits a basement dropkick to the face, sending Adrian rolling out to the floor. Back in and Finn runs him over again before slapping on a chinlock. Balor escapes and goes to the apron but gets dropkicked down while trying a springboard. This is a chess match so far. A delayed suplex gets two for Adrian and it's another chinlock.

Finn is out quicker this time though and he kicks Neville out to the floor for a huge flip dive. After taking a few moments to get up, Balor slowly stalks around the ring and hits a running dropkick to send Neville through the barricade. Back in and a top rope stomps to the back of the head gets two more for Balor and frustration is setting in. Neville wins a kick off but Finn scores with a Pele to put both guys down again.

Adrian is up first and muscles Finn over for a German suplex and now it's his turn to be frustrated. A middle rope Phoenix Splash gets two on Balor but he comes back with a Sling Blade to put Adrian down again. Finn's running clothesline turns Neville inside out and a reverse implant DDT gets two more. Neville scores with a pair of kicks to the head but the Red Arrow hits knees, allowing Finn to hook a small package for a VERY close two. I totally bought that as the finish. Now it's Balor going up for a top rope double stomp to the ribs for the pin and the title shot at 13:32.

Rating: A. Now THIS worked. Both guys were rocking the whole time and this was one heck of a back and forth showdown. Balor is being treated as the real deal and they're doing a great job of rocketing him up the card. This was a great war with some white hot near falls with both guys looking great and topping each other until Neville just couldn't get up anymore.

They shake hands post match.

Video on the four way Women's Title match which is a pretty simple idea: Charlotte has the belt, all three other girls want it, and they're willing to fight everyone to get it.

Women's Title: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

Other than the main event, this is the match I've been looking forward to more than anything else, including Balor vs. Neville. It's a basic title feud but they've executed it so well that I want to see it. Consider that this is the company that also has the Bellas being pushed to Mars and back and you'll be even more astounded by that. It's a big brawl to start with Charlotte knocking both villains to the floor but getting rolled up for two.

Now it's Bayley getting double teamed with a double clothesline and then just being thrown into the corner. Banks and Lynch of course get into an argument over who should get the cover. Sasha turns her back on her partner though and gets launched with a kind of pumphandle throw. Lynch goes after Bayley's bad knee and puts on a kind of reverse figure four but Banks makes the save. Becky hits a missile dropkick to put Sasha down for two but it's Charlotte making the save.

The champ starts busting out neckbreakers for two each before getting in a slugout with Banks. Sasha gets the better of it and whips Charlotte into the ropes, only to have her spear Becky down. Bayley gets back in and catches Sasha in an assisted Codebreaker but Charlotte boots her in the face. Sasha sends Charlotte shoulder first into the post and drapes her over the middle rope. She puts Becky across the bottom rope for good measure and drives her knees into Charlotte's ribs to send her into Lynch for two on both of them.

Bayley throws Banks down and it's down to Bayley vs. Charlotte. A series of running elbows in the corner have Charlotte reeling and Bayley tightens the ponytail to make it serious. Bayley scores with a top rope hurricanrana and the Belly to Bayley but Becky pulls her out to the floor. That's too much for Bayley as she snaps on Lynch, only to have Sasha dive through the ropes to take both girls down.

The champ has a breather but screw that because she dives onto all three to put everyone down. Back in and Lynch hits an exploder suplex for two on Charlotte. Bayley breaks up something out of the corner and German suplexes Becky, setting up a super Belly to Bayley on Charlotte but Sasha dives in for the save and a VERY closer near fall of her own. The Bank Statement goes on but Sasha lets go to kick Becky down. She slaps the hold on again before rolling Charlotte up in a crucifix for the pin and the title at 11:57.

Rating: A-. FOLLOW THAT BELLAS! I would have ended it with the stolen pin off the superplex but good grief these girls are awesome. These matches are always a highlight and it never ceases to amaze me how hard they blow the Divas out of the water. Actually check that. The NXT girls and the Divas don't belong in the same water. Awesome stuff here and the NXT girls continue to get more and more amazing every time.

Charlotte hugs the new champ post match but gets shoved away by the Boss.

We recap Zayn vs. Owens, which is all about jealousy from Owens. Sami won the belt at the last Takeover and Owens turned on him during the celebration. Owens has been there with Zayn the whole time but Sami was called up first. That title means a better life for Kevin's family and he'll do whatever it takes to win it. Sami just wants to hurt Owens no matter what it takes.

NXT Title: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

We get the tracking shots of both guys coming to the ring, which is a trend I'd love to see come back. After the big match intros, they stare each other down as the fans are mostly behind the champ. Owens bails to the floor to get inside Sami's head and we're in full on Zbyszko mode. Sami finally just dives over the top to take Owens down before throwing him inside for a beating. A hot shot breaks up Sami's momentum and the pro-dirty traitors strike up the FIGHT OWENS FIGHT chants.

Owens rips the skin off Sami's chest with a chop and Sami quickly loses a slugout. We hit the chinlock on the champ to get a breather before Kevin just grinds his forearm into Sami's jaw. Sami tries to fight up but gets dropped ribs first over the top rope for two. Back to the chinlock which makes sense as Kevin has been trying to grind Sami down. A hard belly to back suplex gets two and they head outside so Sami can be rammed into the apron.

The fans have switched up to KILL OWENS KILL as he takes the champ back inside to yell in his face. Owens also puts fists to his face before a gutbuster gets two. Sami jawbreaks out of the third chinlock as the announcers bring up Lesnar vs. Cena from Summerslam. That's not the longest stretch in the world. Sami fights back with some clotheslines, including a big one to send Kevin to the floor.

Now it's Owens going into the steps and getting his head taken off with a clothesline. Back in and Sami hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for two but the Helluva Kick is countered with a huge superkick. There's the Cannonball for two and the pumphandle driver onto the knee gets an even closer near fall. The popup powerbomb is countered with a dropkick and the Half and Half suplex gets two for the champ.

Kevin snaps the throat over the top rope but gets caught on the same rope, only to knock Sami down. He spits at the champ but his Swanton Bomb hits knees. The Exploder Suplex into the corner looks to set up the Helluva Kick but Owens bails to the floor. Owens can't hit the apron powerbomb so Sami hits the bouncing moonsault, only to have both guys bang their heads on the ramp. Sami can barely stand and staggers on the attempt at the Helluva Kick, allowing Owens to hit the popup powerbomb for an even closer two.

Owens just unloads with right hands to the head and the champ's eyes are glazed over. He pounds away in the ropes and keeps getting dragged away by the referee. The trainer comes out to check on Sami but Owens powerbombs Sami again. A second powerbomb has Sami out cold but he slowly rolls his shoulder up to keep this going. The trainer gets in the ring now, earning Zayn two more powerbombs. Kevin loads up a fifth in a row and the referee finally pulls him off to stop the match at 23:12, giving Owens the title.

Rating: A-. This was absolutely brutal and a great way to get the title off Zayn. Owens looks like a killer, but the key thing here is he could not pin Sami. This sets up a big time gimmick rematch as well as writes Sami off TV while he on the international tour during the next TV tapings. In other words, NXT has come up with a way to avoid their champion not being around for over a month of TV, because they're that much smarter than WWE. Excellent stuff here with Sami looking like a warrior and Owens looking like the most awesome monster this side of Brock Lesnar.

Oh and next up: Owens vs. Balor.

A smiling Owens stands over Sami to end the show.

Overall Rating: A. Good grief. I mean just good freaking grief. How in the world does NXT manage to keep blowing away every bit of wrestling WWE can put out time after time? I'm not sure if any of the three big matches here were as good as the triple threat from the Rumble (and they likely weren't due to the stage the Rumble was on), but I'll take three awesome matches over one incredible triple threat any day.

Another outstanding show here with the wrestlers working themselves to the bone to make the whole thing work. There are stories, character development, great matches and hard work all around and there's no way that doesn't equal an excellent show. NXT is still on fire and shows no signs of slowing down with even more names on the way, like Crowe and that trio of amateur guys that have been getting rave reviews. Great stuff here and again, if this doesn't give you enough reason to buy the Network, I don't know what more you could ask for.

Results
Hideo Itami b. Tyler Breeze – Big boot
Baron Corbin b. Bull Dempsey – End of Days
Blake and Murphy b. Lucha Dragons – Frog splash to Cara
Finn Balor b. Adrian Neville – Top rope double stomp
Sasha Banks b. Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley – Rollup to Charlotte
Kevin Owens b. Sami Zayn via referee stoppage


Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Comments

  1. I almost think they need to tone down the quality some. If they keep this up, Vince is gonna pull the plug on the entire experiment for making Reigns and Co look bad.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was definitely the best women's match I've seen since... I guess Trish\Steph?

    ReplyDelete
  3. No one actually wants that though.

    If I wanted to experience the show, I'd watch it--not read a recap. Recaps generate discussion and fill in those without the time to watch--and are primarily read by those who have seen or will never watch the show.

    These are useless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. People don't like Muraco because he just showed up one day jamming the feed up with new Japan hype posts MULTIPLE times a week.

    And he comes across as someone who takes this shit too seriously. Honestly I haven't seen anyone really have a problem once his posts were limited to 1 a week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I refuse to believe that Steph/Savage story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh gotcha. Any chance of doing a full review later on? I used to love all your old All Japan reviews from the 90s shows.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Scott, Groundhog Day was last week.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If John Cena got a rematch after getting squashed by Lesnar, I don't see why Okada couldn't get one. That would allow time to develop another challenger.

    Honestly, I don't care much about the IWGP title. Just keep it in AJ's hands by whatever nefarious means necessary until the WK10 unification match.

    ReplyDelete
  9. At present I would say no. The old CAPS 2.999999 days are behind me. If I can find a balance between my current style and the complete reviews down the line I'll give it a shot.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Have we discussed how they should use Halloween Havoc yet?

    ReplyDelete
  11. lanny poffo said it was the slim jim deal. that randy took it with him.now bischoff said that slim jim deal paid the majority of randys contract so it must have been alot of money.and with wwe under investigation that money would have came in handy.then again vince forgave bischoff and he tried to put him out of buisness

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ok, so I did already see this twice. I saw the second one and just thought it was always above the evening thread.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 11, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Another promo that does a good job of making me struggle between wanting to care for Owens or not.
    http://youtu.be/V4tflPAPrK8

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 11, 2015 at 11:08 PM

    Again, it saddens me that the women are putting on male caliber matches, giving them everything they've got, adding emotional tensions, and pulling out all the stops, all for a chance to go to the main roster where they will be demoted to the restroom matches.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Switch the ratings on Balor/Neville and the Women's match...the Women's match was the match of the night, and everybody knows it. We can't fucking believe it, but we know it's true.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 11, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Only in NXT....

    ReplyDelete
  17. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:12 PM

    It's even more depressing when you consider that even if a women's match on RAW is really GOOD now, they've trained their middle-aged-pretending-to-be-young couch potato majority audience into not appreciating it and getting bored if it goes longer than 3 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    Wrestling heaven (after it dies on RAW).

    ReplyDelete
  19. You know, in 5 years at Wrestlemania 36 when newly turned vampire Baron Von Corbin loses the title to Cena in the main event while everyone else from this show slugs it out in the Andre battle royale, I'll still be able to watch this again.

    And through my tears, it shall make me smile and warm my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    Replace Cena with Reigns and I'd bet actual money on that actually happening to the letter.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nah, immortal vampire Baron Von Corbin versus immortal jort-wearer John Cena? That's MONEY, baby! I can see the cartoon already.

    ReplyDelete
  22. So logic says Owens has a reign of terror until Zayn has a Come to Jesus moment and finally slays him- but in theory it is Owens V Baylor next- so do you have your monster mega-heel be a transitional champ or do you have your hottest new act choke the first time on the big stage?
    And that is 1000% not a criticism - it's booking that makes me want to watch to see what happens- that's is what the "story" aspect of wrestling is designed for- to make you honestly care about what happens next in a sport you know is scripted

    Great show

    I don't know if Zayn manages to check any of Vince's fetishes, but he could be the "next" guy easily... He has the crowd connection of Bryan, but is not as out there. They could easily cast him like Savage or Shawn during their first runs on top- they constant underdog who never gives up and always finds s way to win. Like- I could honestly see a face Zayn Vs a heel Reigns legit headlining Wrestlemania in a few years and having off the chart heat.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    You know what's scary? Neither Charlotte nor Sasha Banks are anywhere near their prime yet; Charlotte's only been in the business since 2012, and Banks since 2010. Both are going to get the chance to continue spreading their wings and learning how to work, and they've got people with them (Bayley and the impressive Becky Lynch tonight, plus possibly Tessa Blanchard in the near future) that will keep them on their toes.

    I'm calling it right now: if given the opportunity, Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks could hit ****1/2, and in three years, they could be retroactively considered candidates for Greatest Divas of All time.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    IWGP champ Nick "Ziggler" Nemeth approves!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a great finish to Zayn-Owens and Sasha has really come into her own. Awesome show.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm actually a bit surprised Owens won. When Balor won the tournament, I was thinking Balor's story with Zayn would be "I beat Neville in one try; it took you what, 600?"


    Eh well. I'm not complaining about Owens vs. Balor.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn, the Indy Powers. BOOK IT, DANO!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Raw does not get female wrestlers. They understand doofii who prey on anything with a wallet, hence why halfway talented wrestlers like Paige are weird lesbian types. I shudder how they'll try to sex up Bayley, who does not need that in her wrestling persona.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Zayn can and should be the biggest babyface in the history of wrestling if handled properly. You can't not like him, he's great at everything, and he's tall. I have little faith in anything until Vince dies, but Zayn is their golden goose in the making...they BETTER not fuck it up.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Stranger in the AlpsFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    So, what you're saying is, skip Corbin v. Dempsey?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Theberzerker Von HUSSingtonFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Eh, I think that can still happen...I think Zayn gets the title back in some kind of gimmick grudge match, then they can do the inevitable Balor/Zayn match. Unless anyone gets called up of course.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    It kills me to think of the wasted potential in NXT right now. Neville and Zayn have been ready for promotion for six months. Kevin Owens will easily transition thanks to his new reputation as a beast. Hideo Itami is starting to adapt to the new style and get himself more over. Finn Bálor may have the biggest star presence of the bunch.

    Don't even get me started on the Divas; I know this is being hyped up heavily tonight, but fuck, they delivered in spades. You have three Divas on the main roster that can competently work a match: Natalya, Paige, and Emma when given an opportunity. AJ Lee, when healthy, is a semi-decent hand. But you have two bonafide stars in Sasha Banks and Charlotte in NXT that will dominate. Sara Del Rey is always waiting in the wings, should they need a new body to step in on short notice, and when Ronda Rousey's UFC career winds down, I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that she'd try to live out her dream and sign with the WWE.

    The next three years could be a Renaissance for women's wrestling in North America. Instead, Vince and Kevin Dunn will insist on Rosa Mendes vs. Alicia Fox, because fuck us.

    Ignorant bastards.

    ReplyDelete
  33. It's the whole presentation. None of this is going to work in the current template that never changes called Raw or Smackdown

    ReplyDelete
  34. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 11, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    My favorite part of all this is going on YouTube and reading how people in the comments hate the Owens Zayn ending.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:29 PM

    Oh, well. Bálor vs. Owens will be my new obsession for the next eight weeks, which is going to feel interminable. I'm so ready for that match, it's not even funny. My enjoyment of tonight was tempered more so than R Evolution by the fact that now we have to wait another week for more honest-to-goodness wrestling.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Starting to wonder if NXT big enough now to get a secondary title. Maybe have US belt migrated there or TV? Hell, revive the old Florida title maybe, would be a nice way to spark things up more.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 11, 2015 at 11:30 PM

    Well, you could just go to Florida tomorrow and watch it all in advance live.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:33 PM

    A lot of NXT talent is on the small side; lot of guys at or near the 200 Lb. mark. Why not bring the Cruiserweight Championship in, and let Hideo run wild with it for a year? You could easily build a whole year with Kalisto, Neville, Itami, Sin Cara and Kidd from the main roster anchoring things.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Why is this skinny white guy dancing so much!!? Fuck pal, I don't like him. Let's see the Big Show crush him"

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sasha/Charlotte in an I Quit Match would be fantastic.
    KO/Sami in a cage down the line is another winner.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:35 PM

    Funny thing is, I was only four hours from Orlando on Monday in Savannah, but the wife wanted to visit Charleston instead. That's the second time I've passed up on watching amazing wrestling live in Florida.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Omg I felt so old when I saw WM 36 written out

    ReplyDelete
  43. Major props on actually doing the title switch. They could have easily done that finish as a DQ or kept the title on Sami because on no pinfall/submission but that's not what the story calls for.

    ReplyDelete
  44. It's called "building to a more satisfying, epic blowoff". Learn it. Live it. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. What on earth


    I can't understand hating perfection in wrestling booking

    ReplyDelete
  46. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    If I'm given the book, I have Owens/Zayn in a Last Man Standing match for the NXT Title, Sasha/Charlotte in an I Quit Match for the Divas Title, Bálor/Cesaro with the #1 Contendership versus Main Roster spot on the line, Itami/Kidd for the newly created NXT Cruiserweight Championship and the Vaudevillains versus Blake and Murphy for the Tag Titles. The Brass Ring Club would be Hecka-cool running amok in NXT this spring.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    This. All day I was trying to talk myself into the bullshit non-finish that would extend the feud, but kudos to the bookerman for having the cajones to pull the trigger on Owens.

    ReplyDelete
  48. NXT is weird to watch. There is a huge talent gap there. Guys like Sami, Owens, Balor etc really have no need to be there and should be up on the main roster. But then you have guys like Corbin who have potential but actually needs the time down there to get better.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'd be fine with all of that. I'm not the biggest Last Man Standing fan but in this case, it actually makes total sense.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Sami loses his rematch with Owens then puts the mask on to become El Generico ala Mankind becoming Cactus Jack to beat Triple H.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:41 PM

    Do you think guys like Neville, Owens, Zayn, Bálor, et. al. spoil us and somehow detract from the purpose of NXT? I love NXT with all my fandom, but it is the Developmental League, and there are a ton of people waiting behind seven or eight people (men and women) who really should be on the main shows. Is it worth it to sacrifice the quality of NXT week-to-week if it means developing more talent?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Sasha's also only 22 or 23. That's insane.

    ReplyDelete
  53. They are basically ringers. It would be like putting MLB all stars on a double A team. Yeah, it's fun to watch but what's the point really?

    ReplyDelete
  54. The best part about it is that finish would have worked perfectly with Lesnar but WWE didn't have the creativity to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    The counter to that argument (and I understand the point you make and agree with it for the most part) is that with the main roster in such disarray, we as fans might as well have some sort of outlet to enjoy wrestling.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Nattie, AJ, Paige, Brie, and Nikki are capable- to various degrees and roughly in that order- of putting on good stretches of wrestling. But neither the booking nor the audience has much interest in letting them.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    Finn Bálor vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, Triple Threat Ladder Match for the NXT Championship as the opener for WrestleMania XXXI, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Scott, you should have mentioned how Owens and Zayn were dishing out some old school CANADIAN VIOLENCE on each other.

    ReplyDelete
  59. HHH is really atoning for that Evolution title run that bored everyone to tears with his NXT booking.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Itami turns on Balor, costs him the match, and they feud for a while. Keeps Balor's cred and starts a kick-tastic new feud.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:47 PM

    I can't believe he rated the tag match that highly. Spotfest with a lot of blown spots.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I'd make that the pre-show match actually, but considering how fucking retarded WWE's been since after Summerslam, I wouldn't put it past them to put someone like Titus O'Neil in that match and have him win.

    ReplyDelete
  63. You are obviously delirious from dumpster sushi.

    ReplyDelete
  64. The fact that people STILL have given higher star ratings to that
    abysmal Survivor Series main event than the big three on this show is
    ridiculous, thus proving that star ratings have always been and always
    will be overly pretentious elitist horse shit.

    Honest to christ,
    you will not see a WWE match in the remainder of the year better than
    those three matches on that card tonight, unless the names Daniel Bryan
    or Seth Rollins are involved. Considering what's left on Rollins plate
    this year will be Randy Orton and Roman Reigns, don't expect it from
    him.

    ReplyDelete
  65. It was a goofy indie/lucha match, complete with all the blown spots you expect in that style. It did what it was supposed to; somewhat cool the crowd down for Balor/Neville, but still entertain them since NXT doesn't really do full blown cooldown spots.

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  66. Corbin is getting worse by the week. He's the new Mojo Rawley!

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  67. Not quite sure what these guys need to "develop." How to apply a proper chin lock and follow the same basic formula they've been watching on WWE for the last 9-10 years?

    That whole "not ready" bullshit is just an excuse for the old fucks on the main roster not wanting to lose their spot.

    ReplyDelete
  68. ***1/4 is "pretty good, better than average but lacking something to make it a great match". That's what I'd call that tag match.

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  69. It's absolutely insane how much Sasha has improved.


    I started watching NXT two years ago almost to the day, and had you told me that she would one day be one of the top five Divas on the roster, I would have literally burned down your house and killed your entire family in protest.

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  70. It's quite the genius ending when you think about it. How many matches have we seen in WWE that have had a referee stoppage finish that were utter bullshit? The Ambrose/Rusev match comes to mind real quick.

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  71. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    Enh, agree to disagree, all that jazz. But you seriously need to get your wife on the Finn-Train. The more women squeal for him, the more likely Vince finds a new man-crush and jettisons the Reigns SuperPush (TM).

    ReplyDelete
  72. Only not a horse shitty cheap WWEesk way.

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  73. I smell an angle wherein Sami discovers he's Akeem's long lost son

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  74. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:53 PM

    Imagine a world where Rollins, Bryan, Cesaro, Owens, Neville, Itami, Zayn, Balor, Ambrose and Wyatt were allowed to headline the shows for the next ten years?

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  75. My star ratings:

    Hideo/Breeze - ***1/2
    Corbin/Dempsey - *
    BaM/Lucha Dragons - **3/4
    Balor/Neville - ****3/4
    Bayley/Becky/Sasha/Charlotte - ****
    Owens/Zayn - ****1/2

    Basically, this was an all time great wrestling show and absolutely needs to be seen by anyone even claiming to be a wrestling fan. Somebody on Twitter said that R-Evolution was NXT's Wrestlemania X7. Nah. THIS show was. R-Evolution was an amazing show too, and it had one of the best main events in WWE history, but THIS FUCKING SHOW, man.

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  76. It's too bad Heidenreich isn't still on the roster. His unfrozen Nazi gimmick would be perfect to oppose Zayn.

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  77. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:54 PM

    Bálor/Owens/Zayn on the pre-show in a triple threat ladder match for the NXT Title? Your best match of the evening would take place before America the Beautiful.

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  78. Sure. I'd also appreciate a blowjob from Kate Upton, but THAT ain't gonna happen either.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    I went ***, *1/2, **, ****, ****1/4 and **** respectively. R Evolution was amazeballs as the conclusion of the Zayn quest line, but Rival feels like the first chapter in a multi-arc play that will last us throughout the rest of the year.

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  80. Not like that's unprecedented. The 4 way tag title match from last year was on the pre-show and it was the 3rd best match of the night behind the two Bryan matches.

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  81. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Shun the nonbeliever! Shun! Shun!

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  82. Sami Zayn could be a new age Surfer Sting...only without the facepaint...and possibly smarter.

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  83. Just finished it. Sweet baby Jesus was this a good show. This is what gets my $9.99--even on a month that's free.

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  84. This got... Weird.

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  85. I almost went ****1/4 on the women's match, and the only thing that docked that extra 1/4 star was the finish. It would have been an absolutely perfect ending if Sasha won by shooing Bayley out of the ring and pinning Charlotte after that top rope B2B. It not only would have fit Sasha's character, but it would have been a kickstarter to Sasha vs. Bayley for the belt while freeing up Charlotte to go to the main roster like she's been rumored. Instead, that ending made it feel more like we're gonna get Charlotte vs. Sasha again. Not that I'm really complaining, as those two are basically incapable of having a bad match together, but they've been building up Bayley strong over the last month, and that ending would have helped greatly towards her story of becoming a badass and eventually winning the title.

    Still, a phenomenal match, which I guarantee you 3 years ago I never would have said about a women's match in a ring owned by Vince McMahon.

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  86. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:02 AM

    Ponder this thought and despair: We're approaching a month and a half into 2015 now, and perhaps the second-best match of the year to date... the Fatal Four Way for the NXT Divas Championship. Adrian Neville vs. Finn Bálor is probably at #3 right now, though the Rumble triple threat probably wont be touched short of Bryan/Lesnar.

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  87. I actually had the main event at ****3/4, and a stiff breeze could push me for the full monty, because it was everything great about professional wrestling. It wasn't just a great match from an athletic stand point, it was one of the best openings to a great story they could have possibly come up with. That WAS professional wrestling - there are very few matches that are going to encompass the sheer breadth of why I watch this crap like that one.

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  88. Have heard it was between $500K-$750K a year, though no idea if it's true.

    Probably explains why McMahon didn't want CM Punk to be the new Slim Jim guy and wanted it going through him since that'd be a lot of $ for Punk to walk away with and would probably guarantee Punk would have some "fuck you" money (for those who've seen The Gambler )

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  89. I went ***, *1/2, **, ***3/4, ****, ***1/2.

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  90. Explain the men's main events being under ****.

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  91. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:05 AM

    Honestly, I can see the argument. Owens/Zayn have wrestled multiple times before, and this was easily the weakest of the matches that I've seen them have thus far.

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  92. There were pacing issues in the beginning. I also felt like they were holding back a little bit, which is understandable as I think they have 2 or 3 more matches in them. The finish was perfect though.

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  93. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:06 AM

    This was my reaction when Bayley and Lynch started throwing German Suplexes tonight.

    http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/264/208/020.gif

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  94. I honestly don't see how anyone could rate that match anything less than perfect. Went over 20 minutes, crowd was into it from start to finish, stiff shots, high impact moves, amazing story telling, probably the one of the best sell jobs that you will EVER see, and the finish will only prolong the feud more. Maybe, maybe dock "points" for the chin lock? Maybe? I don't know, but that as good of a wrestling match as you'll see all year.

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  95. The Brock Lesnar-style deadlift Germans from Balor to Neville were markout material as well.

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  96. Biff Kensington Has a PosseFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:09 AM

    I found it interesting that, after almost eight years, the WWE finally found someone who chops harder than Chris Benoit. Those blasts Owens levied tonight were vicious..

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  97. Snoop Dogg's cousin has got skills.

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  98. So NXT specials are now were the gold is, can someone please remember this so it's not forgotten about in the years to come when people ask about what to watch.

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  99. Having the best women's match in WWF/E history automatically puts this show as an all time great. This is everything Wrestlemania should be but probably won't be.

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  100. So I take it I wasn't the only one who--about halfway through the 4-way--thought "this is one of the best women's matches I've ever seen"...

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  101. Even if the Network goes belly up, we live in the age of downloading shit for free off The Pirate Bay (or one of the many Pirate Bay clones that are around now). These shows, like all other great shows before it, will stand the test of time and be remembered for generations.

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  102. I was going full monty until the finish. I think he should've just pinned him. Still I gave it ****3/4 easy MOTYC.

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  103. And I can't remember the last time since Rock/Mankind where a match made an audience feel that uncomfortable, and it didn't take twelve unprotected chair shots to do so. Just amazing selling and some stiff, but not dangerous blows. The doctors at ringside was a nice little touch as well.

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  104. Yeah, everyone is to blame for the sad state of women's wrestling on the main roster.

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  105. Owens just Ivan Drago'd Apollo Zayn.

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  106. I still love Trish/Lita at Unforgiven, but this mofo is up there.

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  107. Should be up on the main roster? To do what exactly? Job after 3 minute matches and be fed to Cena to devalue their worth? Why the fuck would you want to see that?

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  108. Someone else writes and books. He's just the final word

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  109. Cena vs Orton,one more timeFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    I gave it 4.5-probably the best 4 way match since the one at backlash in 2007

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  110. I wonder if NXT 2015 is the closest thing we will ever have to NWA circa 1988-1989. It makes sense considering who's baby it is.

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  111. Yeah, I think you hit it pretty much on the head. It just encompassed so much and said so much without being overt about it. I loved the angle up to match, where Owens claimed it was all about feeding his family, while at the same time pointing out in every promo how he had been after it for 14 years and that they passed him over for Zayn. It gave them their most layered heel ever, where he could still be a bad guy doing bad things for a good reason and for a bad reason at the same time. So when he was powerbombing Sami into jello, the fact that he went for a pin in the middle could be seen as an act of sympathy for his friend, that he lost when Sami rolled his shoulder off the mat, so he just decided to end it. And all of that was only workable because of Zayn's awe-inspiring sell job. I mean, there are so many reasons why this match was awesome, but the sheer amount of STORY that it told is why I just can't seem to find fault with it, outside of the minor chinlocks in the middle, which really aren't that big a deal.


    Fuck it, *****.

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  112. Pray for mojo

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  113. Ya know what I find abso-goddamn-fucking-lutely amazing? WWE immediately jumped on the #LikeAGirl thing during the Super Bowl with their admittedly very well made demo tape of the NXT women doing their thing. Everyone here and around the world lauds and loves the NXT women's matches, and they are an example of just what women's wrestling is capable of, both in terms of in-ring action and storytelling/characters.

    BUT...those women's matches are in what is still a developmental league seen by 400 a month at a college in Florida and ~1 million paying subscribers to a floundering internet streaming service.

    Meanwhile, on the main roster, with shows seen on cable TV by a combined approximately 5-7 million people a week, women's matches are openly considered on-air as stupid and pointless (remember heel Michael Cole interrupting diva matches a few years ago saying that no one cares about the divas?), where the women, some of whom are just as good as the NXT women, are all portrayed as either crazy, bitchy, or lacking anything resembling a personality, having 2 minute cut-and-paste matches that everyone uses as the time to go pee or get a hot dog.

    The only woman on the main shows even resembling a strong independent woman is Stephanie McMahon, and her main gift as an onscreen talent is undercutting every single person she comes in contact with not named Triple H, Seth Rollins, Kane, or Big Show and making them look like complete dweebs (perfect example being the promos where Steph coerced Rusev and Lana into joining Team Authority at Survivor Series. Lana, who is by far the best female talker on Raw and Smackdown not named Stephanie McMahon, who's been portrayed as a tough talking, bragadocious, "fuck you America!" heel of all heels, cowered before the almighty Billion Dollar Princess like a Price is Right model giving into Bob Barker's advances because he threatened she'll never work in this town again.).

    It's an astounding double standard, and despite WWE's jump onto that particular bandwagon (which fizzled out almost immediately after that Super Bowl commercial aired, to my knowledge), it shows they still have a LOOOOONG way to go before women's wrestling will ever truly be accepted in the company. The sooner Hunter takes over, the better, not just for the women, but for the whole of WWE.

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  114. There is a real issue in the modern wrestling community of forgetting things they once praised. I just don't want it ever be forgotten.

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  115. The "Z-PAK" chant for Chris Amann should add another 1/2* to the main event rating.

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  116. Ya know what I find abso-goddamn-fucking-lutely amazing? WWE immediately jumped on the #LikeAGirl thing during the Super Bowl with their admittedly very well made demo tape of the NXT women doing their thing. Everyone here and around the world lauds and loves the NXT women's matches, and they are an example of just what women's wrestling is capable of, both in terms of in-ring action and storytelling/characters.

    BUT...those women's matches are in what is still a developmental league seen by 400 a month at a college in Florida and ~1 million paying subscribers to a floundering internet streaming service. As great as it is, it is, for all intents and purposes, a niche market.

    Meanwhile, on the main roster, with shows seen on cable TV by a combined approximately 5-7 million people a week in the United States, women's matches are openly considered on-air as stupid and pointless (remember heel Michael Cole interrupting diva matches a few years ago saying that no one cares about the divas?), where the women, some of whom are just as good as the NXT women, are all portrayed as either crazy, bitchy, or lacking anything resembling a personality, having 2 minute cut-and-paste matches that everyone uses as the time to go pee or get a hot dog.

    The only woman on the main shows even resembling a strong independent woman is Stephanie McMahon, and her main gift as an onscreen talent is undercutting every single person she comes in contact with not named Triple H, Seth Rollins, Kane, or Big Show and making them look like complete dweebs (perfect example being the promos where Steph coerced Rusev and Lana into joining Team Authority at Survivor Series. Lana, who is by far the best female talker on Raw and Smackdown not named Stephanie McMahon, who's been portrayed as a tough talking, bragadocious, "fuck you America!" heel of all heels, cowered before the almighty Billion Dollar Princess like a Price is Right model giving into Bob Barker's advances because he threatened she'll never work in this town again.).

    It's an astounding double standard, and despite WWE's jump onto that particular bandwagon (which fizzled out almost immediately after that Super Bowl commercial aired, to my knowledge), it shows they still have a LOOOOONG way to go before women's wrestling will ever truly be accepted in the company. The sooner Hunter takes over, the better, not just for the women, but for the whole of WWE.

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  117. These NXT specials give me an excited feeling to watch a wrestling event that I haven't felt in years. Even Wrestlemania these days doesn't get me hyped like this. I felt like a teenager again when I first saw Wrestlemania X7.

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  118. Truly great shows and moments are never forgotten, even by today's ultra fickle, short attention span possessing wrestling fan.

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  119. There were TWO MOTYC's on this show, the other being Balor/Neville. The women's match is probably gonna be the best diva's match all year, and the only thing that will usurp that is another NXT women's match.

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  120. Date me the top 3 RAWs of 2014? Name me the best WCW PPVs of 97 without saying Halloween Havoc because of Rey vs Eddie? Name be the best WWE PPV of 2007 and I'm sure as hell no one would remember that it was Backlash.

    You are right that this show won't be forgotten.

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  121. The top five WWE matches of the year are as follows:

    1. Lesnar/Cena/Rollins at the Rumble
    2. Balor/Neville
    3. Owens/Zayn
    4. Bayley/Becky/Sasha/Charlotte
    5. Hideo/Balor from last week's NXT

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  122. Yeah Balor/Neville was good but I think they could get ***** with enough time. The women's match is an all time classic but I bet it gets forgotten over time because I think one or two of those 4 gets ***** in their careers.

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  123. Don't forget to call him The Renegade

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  124. I don't think there was a universally considered "great" PPV in 2007. Backlash had the best overall card, but it's not a show that created any genuinely long lasting moments. It was, like most Backlash shows before it, a show that came and went. Really the only Backlash that had any legit classic moments was 2000, and that's primarily because of Hunter/Rock with Austin returning. I still get goose bumps from that finish. If there's any one thing Vince has over Triple H and Steph, it's that Vince was always willing to make himself look like a goof on TV if it was for the good of the company.

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  125. With the right story they absolutely could get the full monty. The story in Neville/Zayn helped propel it to the full monty, didn't it?

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  126. This show made me sorry for anyone who gets called up to the main show, because they won't be allowed to be treated with even 1/10 of the dignity & respect NXT has given them

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  127. Dana said like two years ago (and I can't believe Vince didn't pick this up at some point in the last 20 years) "I've kind of maximized my male demo, all the guys that want to be big UFC fans already are UFC fans, I've got to get girls to give a shit about this sport."

    Hunter won't be perfect, but no one can be, at the very least a little more logical wrestling/morality tale will be a huge upgrade.

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  128. You mean Owens/Zayn or the last Takeover show?

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  129. That doesn't always happen, we all remember Angle and Benoits 4.987 star Mania match before their 5 star Rumble match.

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  130. Hunter's got his head screwed on, unlike Vince who's got his head somewhere in the Alpha Centauri system. NXT at this point is the superior promotion, and the main reason for that is because Vince has no direct part in the creative side of it. Raw for the last 6 months has been legit some of the worst TV that WWE's ever produced, and it's the ultimate breaking point after years of not creating new stars and not putting guys over that the audience was clamoring for. NXT has none of those problems, because the guy running the show down there is not a lunatic.

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  131. My favorite thing about NXT is of course the amazeballs wrestling matches and storyline, but a very close second is that it makes my favorite wrestling writer since like 1998 actually give a fuck about wrestling again.

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  132. Balor/Neville with the right story could get the full monty.

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  133. Oh absolutely. I don't think they wanted them showing up the main which is how it should be.

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  134. Don't forget their 4.784 star match from Unforgiven 2002, featuring Kurt putting Benoit in an ankle lock WHILE HE WAS IN A CROSSFACE.

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  135. Wow, this sounds pretty awesome. Will have to watch tonight.

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  136. Won't be touched? Course it's opinion but I'd put Owens/Zayn and the four way ahead of that triple threat. The right things the triple threat did were amazing, but didn't have enough consistent qualities that Zayn/Owens and the four way had.

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  137. I fucking love nxt. Such a great show.

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  138. I'm still blown away by how perfect the Zayn/Owens feud has been so far. I don't think I've ever seen a feud where there's been such a clearly defined hero, a clearly defined villain, both fit into their roles so well, and yet they're both portrayed as real human beings with real human motivations. It's impossible not to root for Zayn to get up and keep fighting and while it's so easy to hate everything about Owens and the way he so easily stabbed his friend in the back to get ahead, it's impossible to fully hate him because the fact that he's doing it to support his family is very laudable.


    I love everything about this. Wrestling hasn't had THIS in many years and I don't even know how you follow-up with something so perfect. They're also in a great position, because if they called up Zayn today, they still leave Owens as the horrific butcher that destroyed the ultimate babyface and ran him out.

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  139. Sin Cara/Mistico is the biggest argument in favour of every new signing going through NXT first. Mistico seemed like a no-brainer to immediately click as a top in-ring worker, yet he had a lot of trouble adjusting to the WWE style and was out of the company within a year. I can't blame the company for insisting that even the likes of Itami or Balor go through some NXT motions first just to be sure.

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  140. "Reality was, his contract had come up and there was a belief he’d be headed back to the WWF, welcomed with open arms. However, right before it came to fruition, Vince’s attitude completely soured and ordered his staff never to mention his name again."

    How much does history change if Savage ends up back in the WWF at this point? Can you imagine Savage ending up on the babyface side against the Hart Foundation? And what would they have done with DDP if Savage wasn't there to put him over for good? That's the kind of stuff that Marvel "What if?" scenarios are made of.

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  141. This. All day yesterday even at work all I could think was today is nxt special, can't come quick enough. Even on wm days I don't get that feeling

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  142. Balor vs. Neville was easily match of the night. ****

    I actually wasn't feeling Owens/Zayn. It was decent but never thought it reached the next level. The finish was good and referee stoppage was good but it felt like it lacked intensity much of the way through the match itself.

    Opener and Divas 4-way were both good too. The divas match especially had an awesome finish. And Breeze working the Figure Four on the post was sweet as hell.

    Good wrestling show!

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  143. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can already see a hundred miles away that Stephanie McMahon is already plotting out the Summerslam feud with Charlotte where she will undoubtedly put herself over. This is such an inevitability, it isn't even funny.

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  144. I think WWE are trying to attract the female demo. Steph, more specifically has been trying to target that demo since she got into power, which is why we get stuff like Total Divas, though I think WWE would be better off trying to target the black/hispanic fanbase.

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  145. I'm sure the main roster are having a talent meeting on how they'll outdo this show at fast lane.

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  146. Only way the WWE guys have a chance is if they add Big Show and Kane to the match.

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  147. Dougie is somewhere hating this show because Owens is TOO FAT.

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  148. I honestly thought the Fatal 4 Way was the best match of the night. Neville vs Balor was indeed great too though.

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  149. Like my thoughts on Balor/Itami part 1 (at least in NXT), I got the feeling they don't want to go all-in too quickly. Then it's much harder to improve on it.

    It's sensible booking - give a very good match, but leave some room for it to grow.

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  150. I noticed that, in the video package, they cut it off when he said "That means a better life..." and didn't include the "for my family" part. Subtle twisting there!

    But I agree, it's been booked very very well. I think Balor will be a great foil for Owens until Zayn "recovers" too.

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  151. Does Corey Graves annoy anyone else? He's always sounding argumentative and sounding like he's correcting or one-upping the other guys on commentary. Like one of those annoying people where you say something and they'll always chime in with "Well, actually..." and try and correct or disprove you and it just makes them insufferable to be around.


    I dunno, maybe i'm just projecting because I know people like that and I dread it every time i'm forced to spend time with them.

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  152. The thing I've loved about the Zayn/Owens feud has been the little touches. My favorite moment is still that first one, with Zayn sitting quietly backstage, Owens staring him down in the background.


    Tonight's show had a close second with Owens' reaction to winning. Yeah, he gloated over Zayn and all that, but he also acted like he won a goddamn major title. Kevin Owens pulling off that blend of "I won, fuck you Sami" and "With a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment of my life" is top level stuff.

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  153. Impressive rating for match under 2 minutes..

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  154. I feel a bit dumb, as I can't tell him and Albert apart on the commentary at times.

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  155. Probably tells you that Steph is the only woman who has enough power that Kevin Dunn's "women are only good for showing their tits" rule doesn't apply.

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  156. I agree. Saying it was decent doesn't give enough credit to the story of the match. The story of the match was really good but the action within the match felt either like they held back a bit. Never fully clicked workwise to reach the next level.

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  157. The "WWE Style" doesn't seem like something that you can get the hang of in a week or two. I mean, Jericho seemed to really struggle for months to begin with and he's a fantastic all-round wrestler. If he struggled with it, I imagine it'd take quite a wrestler to get the hang of it with a snap of their fingers.

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  158. That Fatal Four Way got really good by the end and they did some interesting things throughout with the dives, everyone looked good and I particularly loved the finish.

    Balor/Neville was awesome and the nearfall off the spot where Balor got his knees up to block the splash was great and one of the best nearfalls in a long time. My only beef was that the double foot stomp to the back of the head looks way better than the double stomp to the gut. I think he should reverse those in his moves pecking order.

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  159. I think the story put it over the top as the best match of the night by a decent margin, actually. It completely worked on every level for me, and the methodical way that Owens led us to the end, with Sami staggering around like a Walking Dead zombie, was character-revealing.


    It's a minor quibble, though, at least to me - sort of a "well, the steak was excellent, but that lobster was on another level" type deal. I do think that Owens and Zayn told a better story than Balor/Neville, which was much more a straight wrestling match than a story being told in many spots; I was all but screaming for Neville to turn heel at the end of that match out of frustration, but no go.


    But it still amounts to arguing over which match broke **** by the largest margin, and that's a good problem to have.

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  160. Steph vs Ric & Charlotte in a handicap match where Steph goes over. Book it WWE.

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  161. Yeah, because there's no way Vince could make money off someone raising their profile.

    Now let's make some horrible, money losing, direct to DVD films.

    To raise their profile.

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  162. I watched the match six times between last night and now, and I have to say it's a **1/2 - **3/4 range. I can't decide on a final rating, so I'm going to rewatch it again.

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  163. I watched Wrestle Kingdom on PPV and have been following the Axis tv show. How could i watch this show?

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  164. Pity the old reviews are lost too. Sad day. Anyways, I've always enjoyed your reviews of shows. So keep up the good work. Reviews like this keep me interested in the Japanese product.

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  165. You don't come off as a smarmy douche.

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  166. Via NJPW's equivalent to the WWE Network: http://njpwworld.com/ - no English commentary, but a huge archive for less than $9.99 a month.

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  167. The reason Naito gets booed in Osaka is because at a show there shortly before Wrestle Kingdom 8 he cut a promo saying basically that the next time he returned there he would be the heavyweight champion and if he wasn't then the crowd should boo him. Well, he lost the championship match and sure enough they've booed him every show since then and they probably will until he becomes champion.

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  168. Just signed up for this earlier in the week, and it's awesome. Also, just like WWE Network, it's free for new subscribers in February!

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  169. Thank you so much. I was at a complete loss on that one.

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