NXT had its first major PPV-like show of the year with NXT Takeover: Rival
It’s a bit late but I am catching up so check out the full roundtable!
I thought NXT: Rival delivered a solid show. It wasn’t as perfect as NXT: R-Evolution, but the Balor-Neville match and the NXT Women’s Fatal Four Way both delivered the type of high quality, **** matches that NXT has become known for. I love Balor’s entrance being ramped up and made more grandiose only during special events, as it adds a nice mystique to his character and makes the shows truly seem more important, like they are a really big deal. As I predicted (I went 6-0 in my Roundtable predictions I posted in the Comments section), Sasha Banks won the NXT Women’s Championship and I really thought it was time for the BO$$ to get her due. Like Neville, I think Charlotte is about to be called up to WWE full-time, and having Banks beat her at Bayley’s expense sets up the next chapter in this story on NXT while closing the chapter for Charlotte.
As for the main event, I absolutely loved the finish of the Kevin Owens – Sami Zayn fight, especially since they allowed the title to change hands via Knockout. KO won via KO, and this was a lot like John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in the sense that it cemented Owens as a true dominant force and did so by having him take out the top guy in NXT at this time. It also sets the stage for a Last Man Standing Match or some other stipulation for the rematch, and since I feel like Zayn is about to be called up to WWE as well after said rematch, this booking makes perfect sense.
The tag match was very sloppy, and that is the only real negative I have with this show. Also, no more Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin, please. Thank you.
Solid live event overall. I give it a 7 out of 10.
How is NXT just this much better than the WWE? Nearly everything on this card sparkled.
Dempsey and Corbin was the only thing that truly kind of felt boring to me.
Otherwise, Itami and Breeze was entertaining. The introduction of the “Selfie Stick” has me hating Breeze’s character all that much more.
The Tag Titles match had a few very noticable botches, but was still fun. Even though Blake and Murphy’s entrance should come with a seizure warning before it.
The Number One Contender match between Balor and Neville was one of the best stories on the show, only to be beat (to be expected) by Zayn and Owens. Neville did everything right in the match to control the tempo. Balor is just better with all cylinders firing than Neville and they expressed that by him slowing Balor down. Once it ramped up, Balor just took control to win.
The Women’s Fatal Four Way match amazed and showed just how much better the NXT is at Women’s Wrestling than the Divas Division of WWE’s main roster. Heel or Face, you couldn’t really hate any one of them for the effort they put into this. I can’t wait to see this group get to the roster and everyone there had better look out or they will be shown up.
And of course, the NXT Title match. The commentary on this match nearly made me cringe at a moment where they compared it to Cena and Lesnar at Summerslam. Yes Owens was dominant through the whole thing and an even better tale was told through this. Let it be their story, though. Hearing “Fight Owens Fight” and “Kill Owens Kill” from the audience was fun and the crowd was certainly seeming to weigh toward him for most of the match. Finally, it was just a great visual to see Owens literally beating the title off of Zayn until he couldn’t respond. Pinning your opponent for the title is one thing. Having the ref call it and just hand it to you for what you did is quite another. KO, indeed.
The event started out a little rough with three short matches, but really picked up towards the end. Itami vs Breeze wasn’t anything to write home about, with both men acting like they’d wrestled an iron man match despite the short duration. Dempsey vs Corbin was only a little better than expected, but kept mercifully short to hide their weaknesses. Lucha Dragons vs Blake and Murphy was marred by multiple botches from the Dragons, but came together towards the end. Neville vs Balor was a great match, living up to expectations and showcasing two of the best young talents in the WWE. The fatal four way for the women’s championship was well done, with all of the divas working hard to put together a good match. Zayn vs Owens was excellent as expected, demonstrating how well each man knew the other.
NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT ! NXT !
And by that I don’t mean the show, performers, booking and all that alone, but also that crowd, that amazing wonderful crowd. Sorry they deserve some credit too in my mind.
Dear gods that was awesome !!!
Bear with me, still collecting my thoughts as I try to make the Roundtable deadline.
Itami and Breeze assembled a good opener that did exactly what it was supposed to do, get the crowd into the spirit of things. KENTA nailed his moves, Breeze acted with confidence, good, solid match from those two.
Corbin vs Dempsey was a bit of a mess, and the only minus point of this show. But they kept it short en route to a Corbin victory. I don’t like Corbin’s chances here, about the only thing he had going for him was the crowd counting how long his matches lasted. Once you take that away…
Tag team match was god, some rough spots, but quickly covered by the wrestlers. Hey, it happens, and all four were experienced enough that it barely slowed the pace of the match down. Good effort overall, but Blake and Murphy need to heel up some more.
Balor vs Neville. Really, need I say more ? I mean Balor vs Neville! What more do you want ?
Great storytelling in this match, from the entrance to the high octane start to the slower pace in the middle to the firing up for the finish, everything was in place and had a reason to be there. Every move was spot-on. Every expression added to the story. Great, great match-up, this is the kind of wrestling I wanna see each and every time. Period.
To the four girls involved in the Fatal-four-way… RESPECT ! It isn’t easy getting taken seriously as a female wrestler in the states from what I read, but when everybody is speaking of a great wrestling match, as opposed to a great Diva match, you know you’ve done something right. Fantastic effort by all four, extra credit to Sasha who bumped all over the place and ended up taking it… LIKE A BOSS ! Very enjoyable.
I told before that I usually watch at least one day after everybody else, so I usually start watching more or less knowing what to expect. In this case, I will admit I had some concerns over the finish. Boy was i wrong. Again, what more can be said, top-notch storytelling from start to finish, the emotion involved, the crowd reactions, Owens making it crystal clear that he wasn’t gonna stop powerbombing Zayn into oblivion until they put that belt on him. Who-ever’s idea this was, it was the right call, perfect ending to a perfect match.
NXT got everything right with this one (ok, yeah, almost everything but who cares about Corbin at this point anyway). My thanks to all involved this was a hugely enjoyable two hours for a wrestling fan. And, This is gonna hurt me but , gotta say it, thanks Triple H, that was awesome ! Ok now need to wash away that bad taste in my mouth…
NXT is the only reason I didn’t join the #cancelwwenetwork movement after the debacle that was the Royal Fumble. Boy am I glad I kept the Network. If there was any doubt that NXT was the best show the WWE puts on, NXT Takeover Rival should have erased that doubt. That alone was worth my $10 this month.
Itami v Breeze was a good start to the night. While it was nothing special, the match was solid, if slightly predictable. I’m not sure if either guy has a future on the WWE main roster, but they are perfect for NXT.
Corbin v Dempsey was the worst match of the night, but about as good as you could have expected from these two. Not a bad brawl from two tough guys. I didn’t like the one move finish though. End of Days is a nice finisher, but I don’t think it is that devastating.
Tag Team Title Match
Blake & Murphy v Lucha Dragons was a perfect example of tag team wrestling, aside from that one missed spot from Kalisto. The double team moves from both teams were very impressive. ‘m glad to se Blake and Murphy get the win here. I wish this match was given a little more time, they were that good.
Balor v Neville was the match of the night for me. I could watch these guys fight every week and not get bored for months. This was a great match on every level. The timing was good. The pace of the match was perfect. There was plenty of time for both guys to get some good offense in, but the match didn’t turn into a spot fest. Neville’s 2nd rope corkscrew was particularly impressive. The in ring story telling was great too. I don’t recall seeing a single rest hold from either guy. I loved this match start to finish.
NXT Women’s Championship Fatal 4 Way
This match was surprisingly good. I was expecting a complete cluster-f. Good action though. I was very surprised to see Charlotte take the pin though. If WWE is ready to call her up, they should have let someone else take the loss. It will be interesting to see where the NXT Divas go from here.
NXT Championship Match
Zayn v Owens sure did live up to the hype. I love when you have a matchup between a powerhouse and aerial threat. When you have two great workers, the contrasting styles make for a great in ring story. Owens playing the traditional heel role by slipping out of the ring repeatedly early in the match was a nice touch. Perfect booking throughout the match. Owens use of rest holds didn’t feel like rest holds. It felt like he was genuinely trying to use his size advantage to wear Zayn down. The finish was great. Owens comes out of it looking like NXTs version of Brock Lesnar, while Zayn showed is trademark resilience by never actually getting pinned. I can’t wait for the rematch.
This show, top to bottom, gets 5 stars from me. I hope Vince was taking notes on how to properly book a ay per view.
Tags: NXT, rasslin roundtable