NXT is two weeks away from it’s latest live special, Takeover, and this week’s edition allows some of the integral components of that card build upon their rivalries and develop some momentum heading into the big show. Nevertheless, for tonight at least, the question on everybody’s mind is who would become the next NXT General Manager? Triple H made the announcement that they would debut this week in the build-up to Takeover, and at the point of his arrival, nobody was left disappointed.
With regards to the actual wrestling, the main event would see four of the biggest names on the roster square off in tag team action, as NXT Champion Adrian Neville teams with Sami Zayn to take on the pairing of Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze. Also, Bayley takes on Sasha Banks in a rematch from two weeks prior as she continues to prepare for her match with NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte at Takeover. And if that isn’t enough excitement for the discerning wrestling fan, Bull Dempsey looks to send a message to Mojo Rawley and the NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension plow through two more victims ahead of their upcoming title defense.
- The Ascension defeat Two Jobbers
- Bayley defeats Sasha Banks
- Bull Dempsey defeats Angelo Dawkins
- Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze defeat Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn
The Ascension vs. Two Jobbers
In all of the excitement that has surrounded the tag team division in NXT at the moment, especially surrounding the ongoing tournament to crown number one contenders for the NXT Tag Team titles, may want to step back and remember who the champions are. Though there is glory in winning a tournament such as this and getting a championship match at Takeover, it won’t feel like a prize when standing in the corner opposite The Ascension. Konnor and Viktor have smashed through anybody who has stood before them; in their minds, everybody is an equal-opportunity victim. So, tonight with two local jobbers taking the role of proverbial chew toys, this will likely be a message to the future contenders.
Konnor starts in the ring with whoever his opponent is, as the commentary team haven’t given any indication, and actually were conspicuously silent for about thirty seconds at the outset of this match. It isn’t long before the jobber is flat on the canvas, the victim of a double shoulder tackle courtesy of Konnor and the now-legal Viktor. The crowd ironically start chanting for “Power” (due to the guy having the word Power on his ring attire), as he is methodically beaten down. Viktor throws the poor guy shoulder first into his partner, tagging him in and allowing him to experience the Fall of Man. A simple and dominant victory as per usual for The Ascension. Nothing much needed to be said, if you’ve seen one Ascension match, you’ve likely seen them all. The promo at the end also is standard, stating whoever the tournament victors are will suddenly become victims. I don’t envy either the Vaudevillains or Sin Cara/Kalisto for what they could be getting into.
Rating – 1.5/5
William Regal Is Named New General Manager
The anticipation is over, and the choice to succeed JBL as the new General Manager of NXT is William Regal, and arguably there is no better choice in the whole of the company. Regal has been intimately linked to NXT since its revamping two years ago, as a commentator, trainer and occasional competitor. Therefore, there are few people more invested in the product at Full Sail University then the Englishman, and this is a smart and popular appointment for the company. Regal states that it is an honor to become the new GM, but instead of milking the adulation of the crowd, he gets straight down to business by calling NXT Champion Adrian Neville to the ring to discuss his opponent at Takeover.
Neville makes his way out, and immediately congratulates his fellow Brit for being appointed the next GM. But, he bluntly asks Regal who is next to challenge for the title, but before the veteran can announce it, Tyson Kidd makes his way to the ring. He immediately throws his name in the hat to be the next challenger, assuming Regal was about to say his name anyway. This prompts Tyler Breeze to emerge from backstage, who states Kidd does not merit a title match. In fact, Prince Pretty suggests everybody on the roster deserves a title match more than Kidd, including his wife Natalya. And, if things couldn’t get more interesting, Sami Zayn heads down the stage to argue that he is the rightful challenger. Neville at this point chooses to interject, and being the fighting champion he is, suggests all four men fight for the title at Takeover. Regal decides that he likes that idea, and makes the match official, and afterwards makes a tag team match between the four men for the main event of tonight’s show.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
The ladies take center stage next, as No. 1 contender for the NXT Women’s Championship Bayley makes her way to the ring. The popular and bubbly diva faces Charlotte at Takeover, and will need to maintain momentum, considering the champion’s impressive victory over Becky Lynch last week. Tonight, Bayley has to concentrate on an opponent both her and Charlotte know extremely well, former BFF member Sasha Banks. “The Boss” lost her chance to face Charlotte for the title two weeks ago against Bayley, and so would love to get some payback tonight.
Sasha wastes little time getting in the face of Bayley, slapping her hard across the mouth. This unsurprisingly angers Bayley, who charges Banks into the corner with shoulder tackles, until she is lifted over the apron and face first into the turnbuckle. Banks continues the pressure by wrapping up Bayley in the turnbuckles, jumping on her with both knees to the gut. Banks trash talks her opponent as she chokes Bayley with the effervescent diva’s own arms. Any attempt to break away by Bayley is met with frustrated aggression by Banks to keep her grounded. She stomps across her back, and slows the pace of the match with cheap kicks to her fallen adversary, and stepping on her head mockingly. As Banks lifts her opponent back to her feet, Bayley escapes with a forearm smash, bounces off the ropes but is followed by Banks, until the Boss is caught in the Belly-to-Bayley for the pin. This match appears to present Bayley as a gutsy underdog, taking a lot of punishment from Banks before using her power for the victory. Banks is undoubtedly the better wrestler, so having her control most of the match whilst having the babyface maintain her momentum with a quick victory shouldn’t hurt her much in the long run.
As Bayley talks at the end of the match about how winning the NXT Women’s Championship would be a dream come true, she is cut off by the arrival of the current champion Charlotte. The Nature Girl states that Bayley is too nice and fragile to take on the responsibility of being the champion. She demonstrates her father’s charismatic promo skills, putting down the audience to keep her as the heel to Bayley’s sympathetic face. She advises Bayley to give up before she destroys her at Takeover. Bayley argues that Charlotte would be mistaken to not consider her a threat, and while she offers her hand to wish the champion luck, Charlotte continues to look down on her challenger with disdain as she leaves the ring. This was a short but effective promo that builds genuine animosity and tension over their characters, which will make their match seem even more than being a title match, but about whether Bayley can step up in the big time.
Rating – 2.5/5
Bull Dempsey vs. Angelo Dawkins
Bull Dempsey makes his way out to the ring for his latest match in his fledgling NXT career, and in the wake of starting his first true feud with Mojo Rawley. Rawley called out the upstart brawler last week, stating that he was taking this latest challenge seriously. Dempsey was given opportunity to speak before this match, informing his former partner that when he stepped foot in the ring with the “Wrecking Bull”, he would need a priest at it’s conclusion. For tonight, Dempsey would take on Angelo Dawkins, who actually has an entrance this week, where he dances to the ring like a cross between the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and a web designer. The Bull didn’t look too impressed.
The pair lock up, but it doesn’t take long for Dempsey to get into his comfort zone with strikes and elbows raining down onto Dawkins. Dempsey tosses Dawkins against the ropes, but as Dawkins attempts a sunset flip, the Bull just sits on his chest, and actually gets up from the pin as if h didn’t want to win that way. The next two or three minutes is a vicious display by Dempsey with all sort of punches, elbows and kicks landing on Dawkins without any chance of a reprieve – doesn’t even attempt to employ any “wrestling” moves. Dawkins attempts to fight back with a few shots to the face and a bionic elbow, but a crossbody is countered into the Bulldozer for an easy victory for Dempsey. An emphatic victory, demonstrating the faith WWE officials have in the brawling style of Dempsey, and Rawley had better be prepared for a bruising encounter.
Rating – 2/5
Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze vs. Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn
As per the decision by William Regal earlier in the night, the main event of the evening would feature all four of the men that will compete for the NXT Championship at Takeover. Though there is little affection shared between all these talented superstars, at least Neville and Zayn demonstrate respect for each other. That might give them a degree of an advantage over Kidd and Breeze, who have been at each other’s throats in recent weeks over the fallout from Breeze’s title opportunity against Neville a few weeks ago.
Neville and Breeze open the match with some chain wrestling, the champion gaining the advantage with a nice arm drag. Some quick tags between Neville and Zayn maintain the pressure on Breeze. An atomic drop by Zayn followed by a clothesline sends Breeze out to ringside. Kidd interjects, only to be met with another atomic drop, and a tag to Neville leads to some fancy teamwork, and the Geordie climbs on Zayn’s back to land a corkscrew moonsault on Kidd. Neville goes to retrieve Breeze, but the beauty-obsessive forces the champ back to his corner to tag in Kidd. Kidd lifts Neville over the top rope, and blocks a high kick to connect with one of his own, before Breeze takes advantage of a distraction for the referee to land a superkick on Neville.
Returning from the break, Kidd is wrenching the throat of Neville, but the champion escapes with a back body drop. Kidd is able to get to Breeze before Neville, and Prince Pretty brings him back to the center to maintain the beating. Kidd continues the assault when tagged back in, ramming his knee in the face of Neville. But a low dropkick to the onrushing Kidd gives Neville an opportunity to escape and get the hot tag to Zayn. The redhead charges at Kidd with clotheslines and dropkicks, before forcefully bringing Breeze into the fray. Zayn takes out both with a crossbody, and then a driver on Kidd earns a near fall. An attempt at Blue Thunder is blocked by Kidd into a modified swinging neckbreaker for another close call. Breeze tags in, but gets hit with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle, and Zayn tags the champion, who arrives with a springboard dropkick. A standing shooting star into a pin is broken up by Kidd, and the attempted double team is blocked by Neville, who sends Breeze into Kidd before coming close with a roll up. A roundhouse kick appears to have Breeze prone for the Red Arrow, but he jumps up to take Neville down on the top turnbuckle. Zayn attempts to Helluva Kick Breeze but hits Neville instead. Kidd tags himself in, and shoves Breeze into a Blue Thunder by Zayn, before Kidd tosses his opponent out of the ring and covers Neville for the victory.
Kidd celebrates, but this is cut short as Zayn hits another Helluva Kick, and then stands tall alone holding the NXT Championship. Very exciting match throughout, as these superstars know each other really well and have great chemistry. The fractures among all the competitors should make for a fantastic main event at Takeover, and a new champion certainly isn’t out of the question.
Rating – 4/5