The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Rival
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves & Jason Albert
Hideo Itami v. Tyler Breeze
Tyler now has a blinged selfie stick, which you have to figure will factor into the finish. Also of note, a hot chick jumps out of the crowd and clings to Breeze before getting hauled off. Breeze with a pair of elbows in the corner to start, but Itami gets his own and puts him down with a knee to the gut that sends Breeze to the floor. Back in, they collide on a bodypress attempt and Itami nails him with kicks. Breeze makes another run for it as Brennan notes that “some OBSERVERS say we’ve only seen bits of pieces of Itami’s potential…” WINK WINK. Breeze catches him with a cheapshot on the apron to take over. He goes to work on the leg with a ringpost figure-four and a modified Sharpshooter. Very nice! Itami makes the ropes. We AGAIN get the mean tease of the GTS and a high kick gets two, but Breeze superkicks him for two. If Itami ever hits that damn move the place is gonna explode. They slug it out on the mat while the crowd is actually torn between them, but now Itami is PISSED. Backfist and a spinkick set up the kick combo on the ropes, and Breeze eats the corner dropkick and big kick to the face to finish at 8:20. Heck of an opener. ***
Baron Corbin v. Bull Dempsey
Baron attacks and runs into an angry Bull, and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Corbin gets a spinebuster for two and they tumble to the floor again. Bull comes back with a diving headbutt for two, and he goes with a chair to end it, but walks into the End of Days in a sloppy finish at 4:15. Yeah, even this crowd wasn’t very forgiving of that ending. *1/2 Match was OK for what it was, but really we’ve seen Corbin squash him decisively twice now anyway.
NXT tag titles: Blake & Murphy v. The Lucha Dragons
AAAAAAAAGH SO MUCH DUBSTEP. Brennan compares their title win to the Mulkeys getting their one win 30 years ago. Ouch. The champions have matching tights AND put their names on their asses so I can tell them apart. That makes them OK in my books. Sin Cara gets double-teamed, but comes back with a flying headscissors on Blake and they all fight to the floor. In the ring, Sin Cara takes Blake down from the top with a victory roll for two, but lets him tag out for some reason. Kalisto (Spanish for “fake gay hairdresser rumor”) comes in with a senton for two on Murphy, but Sin Cara walks into a massive double-team neckbreaker. That should probably be a finisher. Murphy hits the chinlock, but Kalisto comes in with a springboard bodyblock and a knee to the head for two. Ouch. SDS is countered into a facelock and a powerbomb, which Kalisto reverses into a rollup for two. They trade near-falls off that and Sin Cara springboards in for two. Blake with a suplex, but Cara reverses into a rollup for two. Another one is countered for two. Blake with a sunset flip for two. Murphy gets powerbombed for two. Kalisto gets knocked to the floor and Cara is on his own, and the champs finish with a brainbuster into a frog splash at 7:45. Crowd didn’t really get who to cheer for, but this was a fun and energetic indy style tag match. ***1/4 Blake & Murphy need a big heel foil, though.
Next week: SOLOMON CROWE.
#1 Contender finals: Finn Balor v. Adrian Neville
Full entrance for Finn, although sadly my wife doesn’t get the deal with him. Neville with the headlock and they fight to the stalemate, but Balor gets a low dropkick and Neville bails. Back in, Balor with the dropkick and Neville rolls out again, but cuts off a dive attempt a second time. Springboard dropkick gets two for Neville off that. Neville with a couple of chinlocks (“His makeup is rubbing off!” notes my wife on color commentary. “That stuff is expensive, I bet.”) Balor bails and tries a springboard dropkick, but Neville nails him with his own dropkick and gets a suplex for two. Neville goes up and Balor kicks him in the face to put him on the floor, then follows with a dive. Neville retreats to the timekeeper’s area, and Balor stalks him and dropkicks him into the railing in a crazy spot. Speaking of crazy spots, Neville crawls in and Balor double-stomps the BACK OF HIS HEAD off the top for two. Balor tries a dragon sleeper, but Neville fights back with kicks and they do the DUELING HEAD KICKS and both guys are out. Neville recovers first with a german suplex, and a second one gets two. To the middle rope for a mini version of the Red Arrow, which gets two. Balor catches him with the Sling Blade and comes back with a lariat, and the inverted DDT gets two. To the top, but Neville cuts him off with a head kick and goes up himself, but the Red Arrow misses and Balor gets a small package for two. Corner dropkick and the flying double stomp finish at 13:27 and the crowd goes BATSHIT. Well that’s gonna be a tough one to top. ****1/4
NXT Women’s title: Charlotte v. Sasha Banks v. Becky Lynch v. Bayley
Everyone attacks Charlotte to start and Bayley rolls her up for two before the heels pull Charlotte out and beat her down, breaking the LED board on the side of the ring in the process. I was wondering when that would happen. Back in, Becky and Sasha pound on Bayley, but can’t decide who gets the pin and Becky turns on her. So Becky takes over with legdrops on Bayley for two, and she goes to work on the leg with a grapevine. Sasha breaks it up and beats on Becky in the corner, but Becky gets a missile dropkick for two. Charlotte comes back in and hits Sasha with a neckbreaker for two. Another neckbreaker on Lynch gets two. Sasha comes back and mocks Charlotte, and that goes badly for her. Charlotte and Bayley team up with a codebreaker on Sasha that’s pretty awesome, but Charlotte turns on her and boots her out of the ring. Sasha manages to stack Charlotte and Becky in the corner and hits them both with double knees in a funny spot, and that gets two on both. Bayley returns with suplexes on the heels and she elbows Charlotte into the corner, setting up a top rope rana and Bayley to Belly for two. Becky saves and she brawls to the floor with Bayley, allowing Sasha to hit both of them with a dive. And then Charlotte hits all of them with her own. Back in, Becky catches her with a cheapshot and a suplex for two. They fight to the top and Bayley saves by suplexing Becky, and hits Charlotte with a top rope Bayley to Belly for two. Sasha saves and steals a two count off that. Sasha with the crossface on Charlotte, but Charlotte fights for the ropes, so Sasha smartly rolls her over in a crucifix for the pin and the title at 12:00 in something of a shocker. So she won the title in a match by beating the champion due to being a better wrestler? Like that shit would ever fly on RAW. Another contender for “Best Divas match ever” in the running series of them on NXT. **** Charlotte gives her the victory hug, but Sasha shoves her off instead. Because she’s the Boss.
NXT title: Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens
The opening video package is one of the best that WWE has ever produced and sums up their entire feud in 2 minutes, giving both guys their motivation for anyone new that’s watching. If they can finish with something great this show is gonna be an all-timer. Owens immediately ducks out of the ring to mess with the fans, until Zayn has had enough and hits him with the dive. They slug it out in the ring and Zayn gets the best of that by unleashing his anger, but Owens drops him on the top rope and clotheslines him to take over. He whips Zayn around the ring while the crowd is very split on who they’re cheering for here. It’s a new golden age of Canadians in the main event! Owens with a chop for two and they trade forearms, but Owens slams him for two and works on the chinlock. Back elbow gets two as the announcer discuss the brass ring in veiled terms. Sami fights back, but Owens suplexes him onto the top for two and goes back to the chinlock. Sami fights up and Owens suplexes him for two. To the floor and Owens throws some very loud chops and beats on Zayn, and back in for two. Gutbuster and senton get two. Sami keeps fighting like he does, and the announcers reference Brock v. Cena at Summerslam, which is so weird because it’s like the main roster is something out of a different world than these shows. Sami keeps fighting and clotheslines Owens to the floor for another fight out there, where he makes the comeback with a clothesline. Back in, Zayn with the Blue Thunder bomb for two. Owens hits a superkick and Zayn is loopy, allowing Owens to hit the cannonball in the corner for two. Owens with a crazy pumphandle backbreaker for two. Zayn fights back again with the dropkick to block the powerbomb, and he suplexes Owens for two. Owens bails to the apron and necks him, then goes up, but Zayn pops up with a superplex and Owens fights him off. Top rope senton hits knee, however, and Sami comes back again. Owens charges and Sami suplexes him into the corner, and the Heluva kick misses as Owens runs away. They fight on the floor and Sami escapes a powerbomb out there, then follows with an equally crazy moonsault press that causes Sami to knock himself silly on the ramp. Sami, who is never not awesome, sells it like he’s concussed and staggers around the ring, unable to hit the kick. He walks into the powerbomb, and Owens gets two. Sami is just the best at selling a beating like this. Owens keeps beating on him and levels him with an uppercut until the trainer has to come out and check on Sami. Another pair of powerbombs follow for Owens, but Sami barely rolls over at two while WOMEN ARE LITERALLY CRYING IN THE FRONT ROW. The trainers want to stop it, but Owens powerbombs him two more times and the ref stops it at 22:46 and awards him the title. The crowd is shocked and horrified. I LOVE IT. Sami Zayn fighting from underneath is money and this is the finish I’ve been waiting for someone to try for a long time. ****
It astonishes me that the monkeys who produce the garbage for the main shows don’t watch these and LEARN. This was probably one of the best two hour wrestling shows you’ll ever see and well worth your $9.99 to check it out. Highest recommendation.
Tags: Kevin Owens v. Sami Zayn, NXT, NXT Takeover: Rival, SmarK Rants, SmarK WWE Network Rant