Ladies and gentlemen! Meet us back here at 8pm EST sharp for live results from NXT Rival tonight. Match results, thoughts and future facing implications from yours truly. Chime in in the comments section or chat with us at @sbfantom and @PulseWrestling
Match 1: Hideo Itami vs Tyler Breeze
Winner: Hideo Itami via pinfall
The Action: A selfie stick and a crazed fan – Breeze’s entrance continues to improve. Hideo opens with some angry kicks but Breeze uses the ref for coverage for early offense. Itami quickly comes back with a flurry. Breeze drops Itami from the floor and drapes his leg over the apron to start in on the focus of the match – Taking the kicks away from Itami. GTS tease from Itami, followed by a Supermodel Kick from Breeze for a huge crowd reaction and a two count. The Fighting Spirit flows out of Hideo and he lands about a dozen kicks and the hanging dropkick followed by the one leg dropkick to win it.
The Reaction: About what I’d predicted earlier today – Itami needed this win. Looks like the single leg thrust kick will be the finisher they stick with for him. Kudos to Breeze for hanging with Itami kick for kick in this match. He may need some kind of extra oomph, but Breeze has superstar written all over him.
Match 2: Bull Dempsey vs Baron Corbin, No Disqualification
Winner: Baron Corbin via pinfall
The Action: Hard open with Corbin chasing Dempsey around the floor with punches and then the wrecking ball hits him with a suplex on the ramp and a toss into the ringpost. Spine buster back in the ring from Corbin (guess we know what his “ppv move” is!). Corbin throws himself at Dempsey in the ropes and somehow ends up on the floor first. Dempsey hits his diving headset for only a two count. Dempsey tries a chair shot and Corbin intercepts him with End of Days to pick up the quick win.
The Reaction: Well thanks, Corbin now I’m 1 for 2 on the prediction game. So even with a no dq match to work with they still only went five minutes. Story wise it’s great, we set the precedent that Corbin truly is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately the assumption still has to be that he can’t really hold his own as a wrestler. We saw this with The Ascension: Nothing but squashes and then off to the main roster and abject failure. Corbin still needs a ton of work. Throw away match.
Match 3: Lucha Dragons vs Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy (c), NXT Tag Team Championship
Winners: Blake & Murphy via pinfall
The Action: Sin Cara completely misses a head scissors but is quick enough to just sell being hurt, so props to him. Kalisto botches and quickly recovers a dive of his own – He’s not usually one to do that. Sin Cara hits a top rope victory roll for two and Blake makes a tag to reset to Murphy and Kalisto. Huge elevated neck breaker from the Dubstep Cowboys but it’s only good for two. Kalisto comes in on fire and hits the spiking ‘rana followed by some funky reversal work from both Murphy and Kalisto. Running duplex and a frog splash from the champs to retain. Solomon Crowe does his hacking stuff and says to stay tuned until next week, so I guess he won’t be debuting on this show after all.
The Reaction: That was pretty sloppy from the start but they stayed on course and didn’t let it shake them. Well done for them recovering from some odd moves and flops and a decisive win this time for the champions. The tag part of this match was all over the place but developmental is the place to hammer that stuff out. Blake and Murphy are great athletes so if they can learn from this experience, they can really advance.
Match 4: Adrian Neville vs Finn Balor, Number One Contender’s Match
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall
The Action: The Balor war paint is on for tonight. Good way to get this crowd solidly behind Balor.
Explosive open between the two men. Neville is so agile that he can get back in the ring while Balor runs the ropes for a dive. Twice. Aside from the open, a pretty methodical pace from Neville with a lot of headlock takeovers and chin locks. Third time is the charm for Balor to hit a swan dive tope followed by a hanging dropkick through one of the barricades (The “Holy Sh*t” chant from the crowd actually makes it to TV). Balor hits the double stomp to the back of the head back in the ring but Neville kicks out. Huge exchange of a pele and a super kick leaves both men down. Neville hits a second rope Phoenix splash (this is terrible timing for this move, to be honest what with Rollins making a huge deal of it at the Rumble). Baylor hits the reverse Bloody Sunday but gets cut off on the top rope before he can finish things. Balor avoids the Red Arrow once then gets his knees up on the second attempt and cradles Neville for a very close two. Shotgun dropkick and the Coup de Grace solidifies Balor as the number one contender.
The Reaction: You absolutely must see this match. The above text cannot convey the energy put forth in the ring between these two. The question for WWE at this point becomes “If these guys can have matches like this in NXT, will they be allowed to do so on the main roster and reignite the “wrestling” part of World Wrestling Entertainment or will they be neutered every week?” Balor’s finishing sequence of the shotgun dropkick and the double stomp is excellent and will be welcomed on the main roster when he gets there. The War Paint needs to remain a “special occasion” item, though.
Match 5: Bayley vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks vs Charlotte (c), NXT Women’s Championship Fatal Four Way
Winner: Sasha Banks, new NXT Women’s Champion via pinfall
The Action: Sasha and Becky start off on the same page and Bayley tries for a roll up early on. Charlotte is thrown into the ring apron/LED board and she lets out a huge scream – She’ll be out of the action for a good portion of this match. Team BAE both try to cover Bayley after tossing her into the turnbuckle and it’s the start of the breakup. Quickly after, Lynch tosses Banks clear across the ring with a pump handle suplex and goes to work on Bayley herself targeting the legs. Sasha tries her corner double knees but whiffs, allowing Becky to hit a missile dropkick, followed by Charlotte coming back into the ring to take charge. Sasha tries a wheelbarrow but gets intercepted by Bayley for a chest blower, but she’s quickly disposed of. Sasha hits her double knees this time on both the champion and Lynch.
Bayley gets back into the action with a series of corner elbows and a Frankensteiner on Charlotte followed by Bayley to Belly, but it’s broken up by Lynch. As they fight on the floor, Banks flies out with a cross body on both of them. Charlotte follows suit and leaves the whole crew in a pile on the floor. Charlotte elects to bring Lynch back in the ring and ends up taking a t-bone suplex for two. Bayley gets rid of everyone and hits a super Bayley to Belly but Banks breaks it up and tries to steal the win and Charlotte kicks out at two. Banks locks in the Bank Statement, drops it to kick Lynch into Bayley and puts it on again. Charlotte looks like her ribs are about to rip out of her torso, then she slumps to the mat. Banks adjusts and cradles her with a crucifix to becomes your new NXT Women’s Champion.
The Reaction: I used to say this almost weekly when I did the Yellow Ropes Report regularly – This was not “good for a women’s match”. This was “a good match”. A great match even. No nonsense, a logical progression both storyline and physically. A breaking friendship, a determined babyface and a dominant champion all involved. Bayley has toughened up for weeks now and although she had it won twice, the factors at play prevented her from walking away with the title. There are people who have doubted Bayley so far based on her goofy gimmick, but she can deliver in that ring with the best women WWE has seen. Becky Lynch got to shine more tonight than in her entire NXT tenure thus far, throwing multiple suplexes and showing the athleticism that’s been held back by lame booking. Sasha has chased this belt as long as Bayley and one of the two of them winning was the only logical end here. I look forward to Bayley chasing Sasha and Becky coming into her own. This is the type of match that should make a little girl watching WWE go “I want to be a wrestler”. Bayley and Charlotte? Much better influences than Nikki Bella.
Match 6: Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (c), NXT Championship
Winner: Kevin Owens, new NXT Champion via referee stoppage
The Action: I’m still a little awe struck that I’m seeing Kevin Steen and El Generico main event a WWE event for a title. I’m happy. WWE has made me happy.
Owens starts with some mind games by bailing to the floor repeatedly. The ref admonishes him and Zayn has enough, diving over the ref and onto Owens. Owens quickly turns it around, bashing Zayn all over the ring. From this point, it’s all Owens for quite some time, beating the champion to the floor and staying on him. The difference in Owens throwing mostly strikes and say, Corbin is enormous. You can believe that Owens just wants to beat the hell out of Zayn all night.
Zayn starts to fire up and sends Owens over the top to the floor and throws him into the steps. Back in the ring, Zayn hits a Blue Thunder for two. Zayn rushes the corner and eats a super kick, then stumbles into the opposite corner, perfect for Owens to hit the Cannonball for two. Owens hits the pump handle neck breaker for two. He tries the Popup Powerbomb but Zayn dropkicks out and hits a half nelson suplex for a two of his own. Owens snaps Zayn across the top rope and heads to the top himself. Zayn cuts him off and gives a bit of a BRAINBUSTAAAH tease, but gets thrown to the mat. Owens tries a Swanton but the champion gets his knees up. Zayn hits the exploder into the corner and wants a Helluva Kick but Owens bails. Zayn avoids the apron power bomb and hits a split legged moonsault, taking the brunt of it on the ramp. Zayn wants the Helluva Kick again but can’t keep his footing and runs into a Popup Powerbomb for a very near fall. Owens starts beating the hell out of Zayn, using multiple five counts in the ropes. After a trainer checks on Zayn, Owens picks him up and power bombs him twice. A lacking cover lets Zayn barely roll his shoulder up. Now two trainers are in the ring mid-match to check on the man. Two more power bombs and the ref stops a third and calls for the bell?
The ref declares Owens the winner and hands him the NXT Championship.
The Reaction: I expected a kind of schmoz ending, but not quite like that. I think NXT has gone a bit overboard with the trainer involvement/shaky knees/passing out thing with Zayn and I hope that doesn’t follow him to the main roster which must be where he’s heading after this. I wouldn’t at all doubt we get at least one rematch before Zayn packs up and hits the road with Raw/Smackdown, if only to give the new champion a decisive victory. My guess would be a Last Man Standing match. It seems like they like to end rivalries on NXT with gimmick matches, whether it’s just an end or to send someone off to the main roster and a LMS would make perfect sense given this match’s ending. One thing I really like about this is reclaiming the Powerbomb as a move to be feared and not something that everyone and their mother throws around like the super kick nowadays. Owens has injured people with it on the apron, he’s won a championship with it and he’s bound to defend the title with it.
This was not the blow away match that Neville/Balor had, but it wasn’t meant to be. It told a totally different story and did so in a different manner. Which is perfect – You don’t need two of the same match on a show.
All in all another completely successful NXT event. It’s so frustrating to see two hours of great wrestling here and then have to sit through a two hour Smackdown that advances nothing or a three hour Raw full of nonsense, shenanigans and garbage.
Tags: adrian neville, bayley, charlotte, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, KENTA, Kevin Owens, Kevin Steen, PAC, prince devitt, sami zayn, sasha banks