Exciting times at Full Sail University, as NXT hosted it’s third 2-hour live special in the form of Takeover II. This much-anticipated spectacle features some of the most thrilling and talented young superstars and divas on the roster, and with an extra hour to perform, the matches they produce should be of the highest quality. The main event has been the bout on everybody’s mind however, as Adrian Neville’s NXT Championship was in greater jeopardy than ever before. He faced three of the most gifted wrestlers on the roster in the shapes of Tyson Kidd, Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn. Though these men featured in tag team action on the latest edition of RAW, all alliances would disappear when the biggest prize was on the line. Would the Man that Gravity Forgot remain seated on his perch atop the roster, or would a hungry challenger send him crashing to the ground?
Two more championships would also be under threat on this spectacular card. The NXT Tag Team Championships had been the subject of a bitterly contested tournament to find worthy contenders, and found them in the high-octane luchadores Kalisto and Sin Cara. However, it would take an immense effort to curtail the dominant reign of the Ascension. Also, the NXT Women’s Championship would also be defended, as the genetically gifted Charlotte would battle the plucky Bayley. Bayley’s demands for the champion to take her seriously have fallen on deaf ears, but will she finally earn that respect by ripping the gold away from the Nature Girl?
Additionally, Enzo Amore fights Sylvester Lefort with both their precious locks on the line, Bull Dempsey tangles with the hyperactive Mojo Rawley, and Baron Corbin makes his return opposite the champion of Mother Nature, CJ Parker. If that weren’t enough, NXT General Manager William Regal also introduces the highly-rated Kenta to the audience for the first time. So, with all the excitement surrounding this packed event, it’s about time to get started with the real action.
- Kalisto and Sin Cara defeat NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension (New Champions)
- Baron Corbin defeats CJ Parker
- Enzo Amore defeats Sylvester Lefort
- Bull Dempsey defeats Mojo Rawley
- NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte defeats Bayley
- NXT Champion Adrian Neville defeats Tyson Kidd, Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension vs. Kalisto and Sin Cara
The pairing of Kalisto and Sin Cara demonstrated that they were the rightful challengers to the dominance of the Ascension when they defeated three teams in the tournament leading to this championship bout. Their tandem has demonstrated remarkable teamwork despite their short time together, and have a speedy, high-flying offense. However, it will take more than good teamwork to topple the sheer dominance of the champions. Since defeating Adrian Neville and Corey Graves 344 days ago, the Ascension have crushed any challenge that has confronted them. Of course, most of these were jobbers and unknowns, but they have been built as unstoppable wrecking balls, whose sole purpose is to subjugate all that stand before them to a beating like they have never felt before. Nevertheless, Kalisto with former partner El Local came closest to dethroning the champs, and with his more experienced partner, surely he has a good a chance as any?
The challengers enter to loud “Lucha!” chants pulsating through the crowd, but the champions end that with their own imposing entrance. Viktor opens for the champs against Sin Cara, and wastes little time in putting his size advantage to good use. Sin Cara though responds with a trithectca of springboard attacks, the final one an Asai moonsault that brings quick pin attempt. Sin Cara is then hoisted over the top rope onto the apron, and when distracted by the onrushing Konnor he gets knocked to the floor by Viktor. Konnor then tags himself in and proceeds to ram his masked opponent into the ring apron twice before sending him back into the ring. They keep Sin Cara penned in their corner, every strike met with the customary “Ja!” chant from the crowd. Viktor slows the pace following a jumping fist drop, restricting Sin Cara’s arms in a submission hold. The luchadore’s attempts to regain a vertical base see him thrown on the back of his head to the canvas with contempt. An attempted powerbomb by Viktor on the top rope is then countered by Sin Cara into a hurricanrana, and the opening for a tag is made.
But, Konnor is in quickly to knock Kalisto off the apron, followed by charging his partner into the turnbuckle. Sin Cara once again opens a gap with a hard enziguri, and desperately crawls to his own corner, but the powerful Konnor refuses to let go. He gets himself between the luchadores and shoulder barges Sin Cara back to his own corner, but the flexibility of Sin Cara allows him to flip over the top and reach his partner. Kalisto meets a charging Viktor with a high kick from the apron, followed by a springboard crossbody. A corkscrew springboard is next, and Kalisto is wary to keep Konnor out of play. This allows Viktor to set up for a powerbomb, but Kalisto rolls through into a sunset flip bomb that is somewhat botched, but brings a near-fall. Sin Cara sends Konnor to the outside and then follows up with a dive through the bottom rope. Viktor joins them on the floor following a hurricanrana, and Kalisto dives onto them, only for the diminutive superstar to be caught by the champs. He is thrown overhead but lands on his feet, as the larger Sin Cara dives once again to take out both Ascension members. Kalisto ascends the top rope, but misses with a moonsault despite landing on his feet, and suffers a hard STO from Viktor. The champs set up for the Fall of Man, but Sin Cara kicks Konnor to the floor. He is then knocked down by Viktor, but the distraction gives Kalisto the chance to land Solita del Sol and earn the victory. There are new NXT Tag Team Champions, and the dominant reign of the Ascension finally comes to an end. In a post-match interview, the new champions proclaim their team name the Lucha Dragons.
A very good match between these two teams, the Ascension looking more impressive against real competition. Outside one noticeable botch, the teams meshed well with the high-flying maneuvers of the luchadore team a strong means of countering the power of the former champions. As a wrestling purist, it is good to see Kalisto and Sin Cara take the gold, as it will likely be the end of one-sided tag team squash matches, and there can be some strong feuds for the titles against the likes of the Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady. This also is likely facilitating a move for the Ascension onto the main roster soon, and with their gimmick they have the potential to have a good few years at least.
Rating – 3.5/5
Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker
On the pre-show for Takeover, CJ Parker demanded a match on the card from new General Manager William Regal. The GM was more than happy to oblige his request, and decided to make him the first opponent of the returning Baron Corbin. As Parker approaches the ring, Corbin is already waiting after being given a “jobber entrance”. Corbin was previously a forgettable member of the roster, not known for any spectacular performances or notable victories. Being given an opportunity on this live special against the eco-warrior Parker is a massive step up for him in victory or defeat. Parker however has had a good run since his repackaging, with back-to-back victories against Xavier Woods somewhat scuffed by a defeat to Adrian Neville last week.
Corbin stares blankly towards Parker before the match begins, showing a very eerie nature that wasn’t evident in his past run. The pair lock up, and the 6’8 Corbin shows his power by forcing Parker back to the mat. Frustrated, Parker charges toward his opponent only to be met with a hard clothesline. Corbin then picks up Parker and turns a swinging side slam into a reverse STO with great speed for a quick victory. Hard to know what to say here, as the WWE clearly has some big plans for Corbin in NXT. He’s a big guy, and that finisher looked awesome, but until he has some extended matches it is difficult to know if he is worth the time. Parker turns into the fall-guy, and whilst his gimmick is good, this might be a sign that NXT will be the furthest he will climb in the WWE hierarchy.
Rating – 1/5 (for the finisher alone)
Enzo Amore vs. Sylvester Lefort
It is time for someone to pay a visit to the barber. Following a tag team match featuring Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, they were ambushed by the Legionnaires, Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis, who proceeded to shave part of Amore’s beard off. Now, they both put they prized hairdos on the line. Will the mane of Lefort fall apart at the roots, or will Amore be left with two tonnes of hair gel going to waste? Amore and Cassady cut a promo before the bout, showing their impressive connection with the audience. Next to the traditional barber’s chair is a bucket of liquid that can make one’s hair fall out immediately, as demonstrated by a poodle that was an unintended victim.
Lefort takes the early advantage with a quick cover following a shoulder tackle, mocking his opponent with his flowing locks. A drop-toehold by Amore is then followed with a few stamps on Lefort’s back, frustrating the Frenchman, which leads to him being caught in a roll-up for a two-count. Lefort reasserts himself with a kick to the gut and some shots to the back of the Certified G, but Amore ducks a couple of clotheslines and slips through Lefort’s legs before landing a sweet dropkick. Amore pulls at the hair of Lefort on the apron before throwing him over the rope back into the ring, but a second attempt at the same sees him guillotined on the top rope. A scoop slam is followed with a headlock, but Amore fights out of the submission. A kick to the head of Lefort has him reeling, but angers the Frenchman who responds with a hard knee on Amore in the corner. Lefort soaks in the disdain of the crowd as he keeps Amore grounded, but the New Jersey native battles back with quick fists to the face of Lefort, before Louis on the outside causes a distraction. A big clothesline by Lefort brings a two-count, and Louis again tries to get involved, but is cut down by Big Cass. Amore takes advantage with a roll-up with a handful of tights to get the victory. Good match, but now the real fun begins. Let the shaving commence!
Lefort attempts to escape with his flowing locks still intact, but is cut off by Cassady, who directs him towards the barber’s chair. Louis arrives to save his partner, but as soon as he reaches him, Lefort is scarpering to the back, leaving Louis with Amore and Cassady. They beat the Frenchman up the ramp, before introducing him face first to their bucket of wonders. Louis’ face is completely soaked, and later in the night Amore and Cassady bring him back to the ring to expose his new look to the crowd. They remove the towel shielding his face to reveal Louis only has a few patches of hair remaining and no eyebrows. It may not have been the person intended, but the Jersey boys were able to make one person SAWFT tonight.
Rating – 2.5/5
Kenta Debuts; Changes Ring Name to Hideo Itami
The new General Manager of NXT William Regal makes his way towards the ring, who puts the brand over as the place to be in professional wrestling right now. He then proceeds to introduce the latest member of this exciting future for NXT, the Japanese sensation Kenta. A video package runs, showing Kenta with Hulk Hogan and Triple H, as well as various superstars’ reactions to having the talented performer join the ranks of NXT. Kenta makes his way to the ring, shaking the hand of Regal, before proceeding to address the crowd. Initially, he speaks in Japanese only for around a minute, before he speaks his first words in English on NXT – “This is a dream come true”. Kenta is clearly still learning the language, but that will come in time, and the few words he does say immediately endear him to the audience. He also announces that as part of WWE, he is changing his ring name to Hideo Itami in tribute to one of his heroes.
This feel good moment however is interrupted by the Ascension, clearly angered by their loss of the NXT Tag Team Championship. They toss Itami out of the ring, and confront Regal about getting their titles back. But, Itami is not gone long before he steps up to confront the former champions. He ducks a clothesline from Konnor and lands a big boot on Viktor, before returning to Konnor with forearms, knocking him to ringside. Another forearm to Viktor is followed by a hard kick to the face, and both Ascension members retreat, leaving the International Sensation standing tall on his debut. Big things are expected of him, and hopefully his unique style translates well to a global audience.
Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley
Last month, these two were part of an odd couple tag team, and after a defeat to the Vaudevillains in the tag team tournament, they imploded. Bull Dempsey assaulted his one-time partner following the loss, blaming Mojo Rawley as the cause for the team’s defeat. This is Dempsey’s first real feud since his debut, and whilst he has look strong and imposing in the squash matches he has faced thus far, Rawley has been around a while and should prove a tougher prospect. These are two powerhouses with explosive aggression, with their major contrast their demeanor in the ring. Rawley is the hyperactive, happy-go-lucky entertainer, whilst Dempsey as the brutal, no-nonsense brawler that lives to beat people up.
Rawley charges down the ramp towards the ring where Dempsey is waiting, and the brawling starts immediately. Dempsey is in control early as Rawley takes a while to get a vertical base, and takes a number of hard hits to the back. Dempsey forces his opponent into the corner and rains down strikes to the gut without any signs of relenting. Rawley though refuses to go down, and blocks a whip into the turnbuckle and lands an elbow to the charging Bull, before a double-legged takedown gives him control for the first time. Dempsey tries to block the punches from Rawley until he escapes the prone position, but is forced into the corner with shoulder barges and kicks to the gut. But, just when Rawley is taking over the momentum, it is killed dead by a squash by Dempsey in the middle of the ring, hitting the hyperactive one with the force of a freight train. Then, in an unexpected move, Dempsey ascends the top rope and crashes down with a diving headbutt on Rawley for the pinfall victory. Dempsey takes the victory, but he is not finished as he once again climbs the turnbuckle for another headbutt on his fallen adversary. Solid, hard-hitting encounter despite its short time, and Dempsey demonstrates that he has a number of strings to his bow.
Rating – 2.5/5
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte vs. Bayley
The night’s second championship match is next, as the Nature Girl Charlotte defends the belt against Bayley. The bubbly Bayley has shown great perseverance in her determination to be considered a serious threat to the genetically gifted diva. She is sweet and friendly in her demeanor, but when she gets in the ring she is all heart, and she proved this in back-to-back victories over Sasha Banks on her way to the championship bout. However, she has yet to earn the respect of the snooty champion, who has made it clear that she feels that Bayley is beneath her. Charlotte doesn’t view Bayley a true contender, and the bubbly challenger’s goal is to earn that right by taking it to the champ and taking the belt home to her cuddly toys.
The bell rings, and Charlotte shocks the world by offering her hand to Bayley. However, even more shocking is that Bayley refuses, with Charlotte screaming at her that “this is what you wanted”. Bayley responds by barging the champion into a corner, with repeated shoulders to the gut followed by smashing Charlotte’s face into the top turnbuckle. Charlotte fights back with chops, shades of her father Ric Flair, but is caught by a running crossbody. She kicks out, but whilst sitting is met by a running uppercut to the back followed by a jumping elbow drop by Bayley. Bayley has shocked the champ with her quick offense, but her attempt at a backslide is blocked by the powerful champion into a neckbreaker. Charlotte takes control, using her long legs as dangerous weapons to keep Bayley grounded. Some hard knee drops are followed by a figure-four headlock, which Bayley attempts to reverse into a pin, but the strength of Charlotte is too much. Bayley breaks free, but her only reward is a low dropkick. They exchange chops, but unsurprisingly Charlotte wins that battle, before returning to the headlock.
Bayley attempts to roll through but is caught in a pinfall, before she reverses Charlotte into a pin of her own. Bayley returns with a sunset flip, but Charlotte rolls through and attempts the Figure-Four Leglock, but its reversed into a small package. Another dropkick floors the challenger, but an attempt to scoop slam suffers another counter into a roll-up, as Bayley refuses to give in. Charlotte continues to knock down and taunt Bayley, telling her to give in, and laughs of a jumping forearm to the face. But, Bayley comes back with another forearm, and then another, until she forces the champion to the corner, until another knee drop takes Bayley down once again. Charlotte climbs the turnbuckle looking for a moonsault, but Bayley cuts her off and seats her on the top rope before nailing a perfect hurricanrana. A Bayley-to-Bayley attempt is blocked into a creative pin, and after the kick out Bayley suffers a nasty blow as an attempted schoolgirl knocks her head on the bottom turnbuckle. Charlotte then hits the moonsault, and just when it looks over, Bayley kicks out and stares the champion right in the eyes. Charlotte responds with her Natural Selection finisher for the pinfall.
After being rather disappointed with Charlotte’s last title defense against Summer Rae, she was incredibly impressive tonight. She controlled the pace, and showed fantastic showmanship in progressing the story of the match, the most difficult lesson to learn. She will soon make an excellent addition to the WWE Divas roster, her legs some of the most dangerous weapons in the company. Bayley also looked great, the top rope hurricanrana a tremendous spot. She could soon be the battling underdog of the division, a female Daniel Bryan or Sami Zayn. Post-match, Sasha Banks arrives from the back to take a few shots at the fallen Bayley, only to be pulled away by Charlotte. Has the champion finally found respect for the plucky Bayley?
Rating – 4/5
NXT Championship: Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze
The highly anticipated main event approaches, as four men will battle it out for the biggest prize in NXT. This bout has been so heavily touted for success that it even featured on RAW this week, and these talented individuals have a great deal of expectation to live up to. Adrian Neville has been the epitome of a fighting champion since winning the belt against Bo Dallas back at NXT Arrival, but this is a prospect that even the greatest wrestlers have fallen foul of. A Fatal Four-Way means the champion does not have to be pinned to lose the title, and these four have shared a number of victories in singles competition. The Red Arrow might be sent crashing to Earth tonight, and a new champion could be on the horizon.
Immediately, the match splits into two single affairs, as Neville and Kidd battle whilst Zayn and Breeze lay into one another. Both sets of athletes battle at ringside, with Neville and Zayn eventually getting the better of their respective skirmishes. The two friends have a stare down in the center of the ring, but before a collision can happen Kidd and Breeze take their rivals down again, and battle once again commences on the outside. Zayn hits Breeze over the head with his phone, before taking a selfie of his own and discarding it. However, in this time Kidd has been able to briefly dispose of Neville, and goes after Zayn from behind before throwing the well-traveled star into the ring. But, Zayn recovers quickly with the reverse STO transitioned into the Koji Clutch, but Breeze breaks it up before Kidd taps. Prince Pretty gets no respite however, as he is dragged out once again by Neville, who chops him up the ramp before being caught by a chop block to the knee by Kidd. Kidd and Breeze put their differences aside briefly to deliver a double-suplex to the champion on the stage, and then they perform the same move on Zayn on the steel ramp.
Breeze and Kidd continue to double-team Zayn in the ring, but following a double reverse elbow Breeze attempts a cover which is broken up by Kidd. They get in each other’s face before Kidd kicks it clean off of Prince Pretty and lands a neckbreaker on Zayn. Kidd continues to keep Neville out of the action as he works over Zayn with a headlock, before its reversed briefly with a jawbreaker. Kidd responds with a clothesline, and then a hard kick to the back of the head of a sat-up Zayn. He hangs Zayn in a tree of woe, before moving briefly to once again take out Neville with a vicious punt from the apron, before a basement dropkick to a helpless Zayn brings another near-fall. Zayn is finally able to create some separation from the vicious assault by Kidd with an elbow out of the corner, and Neville is also able to at last unleash some of his explosive offense onto the Dungeon survivor. A big back body drop sends Kidd reeling, but Breeze is able to take down Neville, until Zayn is able to get in some attacks of his own on Breeze. A dropkick leaves Kidd and Breeze vulnerable at ringside, but before Zayn can dive out onto them, Neville cuts in with his own Asai moonsault with amazing elevation. That leaves the two friends left standing, and a fight is now on our hands.
Neville unloads a flurry of kicks onto Zayn, sending him back into the corner, but an attempt a handspring elbow is overshot into a backdrop of sorts, likely a botched attempt to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kidd breaks up the cover, and places Neville on the top rope before being fought off by the Brit. Zayn charges at Kidd, but is launched into Neville sending him to the floor, and Kidd connects with a modified spinning neckbreaker to Zayn which is a close call. Kidd looks for the Sharpshooter, but Zayn forces him back into the turnbuckle, but in an attempt at a Helluva Kick, he is caught by the Beauty Shot by Breeze, who then kicks both Kidd and Neville out of their boots for a pair of two-counts. Breeze and Kidd attempt a double-superplex on Neville, but Zayn enters and slams all three down hard in a Tower of Doom. Zayn charges at Neville to get only a boot in the face, and the champ connects with a Shooting Star Press, but is thrown from the ring by Breeze who covers Zayn for another long two-count. Breeze goes for another Beauty Shot but is caught by Kidd, who puts him in the dreaded Sharpshooter. Neville grabs Breeze’s arm to stop him from tapping as Zayn breaks up the submission, as the friends go back to trading punches.
Zayn lifts Neville over the top rope to the floor before connecting with the exploder suplex on Kidd against the turnbuckle. Zayn is fired up now and can taste the gold as he suicide dives onto Neville, sending him over the barricade, and follows up with his patented dive through the corner into a tornado DDT on the floor on Breeze. He gets back in the ring and lands the Helluva Kick on Kidd, but before the referee’s hand comes down for three, he is pulled to the outside by Neville. Zayn stands stunned at this act by the desperate champion, and as he heads to the floor to confront him he is caught by a superkick. Neville then climbs the top rope and lands his Red Arrow on Kidd for the victory.
Excellent contest between these four, with only one real mistake. The battles on the outside may have gone on a little two long, but they all were able to build to a crescendo at the climax. What was great about this main event was every participant had a well-defined role. Kidd was the workhorse heel, who unleashed a beating on Zayn throughout and took no prisoners. Breeze looked to feed on the scraps of any of his rivals and get in a dastardly attack here and there. Zayn was the never-give-up fighter, who took the majority of the punishment only to keep getting up and asking for more. And Neville was a desperate champion, initially on the outside looking in, and in the end willing to keep hold of his precious belt through any means necessary. Zayn was within a second of taking the title from the Brit, and expect this to be the start of an extended feud between the friends with the belt on the line.
Rating – 4.5/5