As long as you didn’t partake in the #CancelWWENetwork movement this week, you would be in for a treat on NXT. The Royal Rumble might have dropped below expectations in a number of places, but as NXT heads towards the latest Takeover event, the action continues to step up for that live special. And the final segment of the night should be a particularly mouth-watering prospect for February 11th, as NXT Champion Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens partake in a contract signing for their match. It’s a match that fans want to see with a passion, but will Owens look to throw a curve ball into the mix?
The continuation of the Number One Contender’s tournament also is another highlight of this edition, after the victories of Finn Balor and Hideo Itami last week. In the final two quarter-finals, Adrian Neville will take on Tyson Kidd in a renewal of their epic rivalry in the summer, and Baron Corbin will battle Bull Dempsey in the battle of the behemoths.
If that wasn’t already exciting enough, there is also the small matter of an NXT Tag Team Championship match, as Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy look to cause an upset against the Lucha Dragons. And to cap it all off, the four women that will compete for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover will partake in tag team action this week, as Charlotte & Bayley square up against Team BAE, Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch.
- Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy defeat NXT Tag Team Champions The Lucha Dragons (NEW CHAMPIONS)
- Adrian Neville defeats Tyson Kidd
- Charlotte & Bayley vs. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch was a No Contest
- Baron Corbin defeats Bull Dempsey
NXT Tag Team Champions The Lucha Dragons vs. Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy
The tag team division in NXT currently appears to have more depth than on the main roster, but would still be considered thin by past standards in the company’s history. Yet, a team that has been on the rise has certainly been Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy. The pair pulled off somewhat of an upset last week over the Vaudevillains to earn this title shot, but they have been teasing a break out moment for a while now. I have always been impressed by their ability, and the Lucha Dragons would have to be on top form to keep hold of their titles.
Very nice reversal by Sin Cara with a springboard armdrag on both Blake and Murphy
Really enjoy Sin Cara’s transition from a roll-up into a one-armed powerbomb
Most of Kalisto’s offense is so impressive, he really deserves to get onto the main roster soon
Crowd pretty split early on between the teams, both getting decent pops
Audience reacted big time to the crowning of the new champs, a huge ovation
Not affording a lot of time to the strengths of Blake and Murphy, which meant this wasn’t the best match they’ve ever competed in, despite it being the most important
Blake makes a blind tag, so when Kalisto connected with Solita del Sol on Murphy, Blake rolled up the luchadore to win the titles for his team.
Certainly a major upset, after the Lucha Dragons had been on a huge roll in NXT, knocking off the Ascension and the Vaudevillains. But hopefully this means the company has big plans for Blake and Murphy, and see the potential that I have seen in them. They have a lot of athletic attributes and natural ability, and now they have the titles they might be afforded a greater gimmick to support them. And, it might not be the worst thing for the Lucha Dragons either, as though they no longer hold the gold, this could be an indication that Kalisto will soon be springing up on RAW and SmackDown.
Rating – 3/5
Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd
The NXT Championship is the prize that everybody want to get their hands on, and last week saw the beginning of a tournament to earn a shot at the coveted belt currently around the waist of Sami Zayn. In the first two quarter-finals Finn Balor and Hideo Itami progressed, and that leads to the third match in the tournament between two men that are very familiar with each other. Adrian Neville, the former champion, will be desperate to get another shot for the title and right his previous two defeats. But he stands opposite a long-time rival in Tyson Kidd, who will attempt to kick-start his pursuit of the championship.
Prior to the match, there was a short glitch in the TV which seemed to be promoting the arrival of Solomon Crowe
I appreciate Jason Albert bringing up the fact this is the first time Kidd can pursue a championship opportunity after being forced out with a loss to Neville last year – great continuity in the story
These two have some of the best mat-based offense around, and have chemistry in every area
Neville’s flips and speed may add up to the most athletically gifted competitor in history – he must have a case if the argument was to ever arise
Awesome baseball slide into a headscissors from Kidd, send Neville into the ring steps face first
Neville connects with a Spaceman Plancha
Huge sat-out powerbomb by Neville, it’s a wonder how he didn’t break Kidd’s neck in half
Crowd chanting “FACT” in reference to Kidd’s catchphrase
“Let’s go Neville”, “Let’s Go Tyson”
Neville fights away an attempted Sharpshooter attempt, then kicks Kidd in the side of the head, leaving him prone for the Red Arrow to advance.
These two have such phenomenal chemistry, I could watch them fight for an hour and be left entertained. They seem to know each other’s style so well that their chemistry makes such compelling matches. From the early mat work to the climactic near-falls, they are on-point with each others’ strengths and hide any weaknesses. The choice of Neville makes sense to advance considering how well Kidd is going on the main roster, he doesn’t really need the title shot. The prospect of Neville battling either Finn Balor or Hideo Itami for the contender spot is too exciting to ignore.
Rating – 4/5
Charlotte & Bayley vs. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
Last week, NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte once again battled Sasha Banks with the title on the line. However, shortly after it began it was interrupted by Becky Lynch, a move that even seemed to blindside her ally Banks. The hyenas once again turned on the fallen Charlotte, before the Nature Girl was rescued by Bayley. This savior proved to be less than altruistic, when Bayley hit the champion with the Bayley-to-Bayley when caught in her desire for the title. Thus, William Regal would make a Fatal Four-Way match for the belt at Takeover, but for tonight the women would have to coexist in teams.
The Charlotte’s Web pinning predicament is incredibly unique and athletic
Banks exploiting Bayley’s ponytail at any opportunity to gain a cheap advantage
Focusing the attack on Bayley’s leg demonstrates the heels are cunning and have long memories to their previous assaults on the plucky diva
The addition of a bridge to the Figure Four Leglock by Charlotte stamps her identity onto the famous move
Massive pop for the ever-popular Bayley, as she really connects with the audience
A few botches and mistimed moments, the most obvious being Bayley’s second springboard armdrag unfortunately
Bayley accidentally hits Charlotte when breaking up a pin attempt by Banks, which leads to their partnership imploding with fists flying. Banks and Lynch attempt to pick up the scraps, leading to a no contest, but they are ousted whilst backstage officials keep Charlotte and Bayley apart.
Not the greatest match these four women will ever be a part of, a number of mistimed moments and botches detracting from its quality. However, it succeeded in its purpose, which was to increase the animosity between Charlotte and Bayley over the championship. This new aggression from Bayley has been slowly building, and now is the perfect time to release it. However, the openness of the Fatal Four-Way means that at this point in my mind, any of the participants could take the strap home.
Rating – 2/5
Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey
In a feud that has been a few months in the making, Baron Corbin demonstrated his dominance a few weeks ago by handily defeating Bull Dempsey, ending his unbeaten run on NXT. However, the physical heavyweights will battle again in the final quarter-final of the NXT Championship contender tournament, with Dempsey looking to right the situation and progress further. But the question still remains at present; can anybody stop the rise of Baron Corbin?
I like Corbin’s backwards flip over the top rope to ringside, reminds me of Kane
Crowd continues to count the seconds of Corbin’s match, but as he gets into matches with other high-profile stars that should wear off fast
Very short once again, and Dempsey barely got in any offense – little more than a squash
Corbin hits the End of Days to once again dispatch of Dempsey and progress to the semi-finals.
Although this match was very brief and uninspiring, and as such will not receive a high rating, the best parts of it came from Corbin. He seems to carry this It Factor that I’m yet to put my finger on, but his presence and the ability he’s so far demonstrated convinces me he could do well in extended matches. As for Dempsey, I think he’s gradually being chalked up as a failed experiment by the creative team, joining Mojo Rawley once more.
Rating – 1.5/5
Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens Contract Signing
A moment that many fans wondered if they’d ever see again, myself included, took place in the final segment of the show. NXT Champion Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens had for years battled as both allies and rivals across the globe and numerous organizations, producing some of the best matches of the last five years. With Owens’ unprovoked assaults on Zayn following matches and celebrations, he has once again opened the door for this heated rivalry to be renewed at Takeover, as the contract signing takes place.
The overseer, General Manager William Regal, hands to contract to Zayn, the champ hurriedly accepting the prospect. When the contract is handed to Owens, his eyes do not shift from his upcoming opponent. Zayn asks whether he will tell why he did what he did to Zayn after over a decade of fighting both alongside and against one another, all to get to the WWE. But Zayn concedes that it has become irrelevant, because now all he wants to do is beat the hell out of his former friend at Takeover.
Owens revises the contract, and states that he does not intend to sign it until it is made a championship match. He points out Zayn is not the prize, but the money and prestige that comes with being NXT Champion is his goal. Regal initially hesitates at the request, but Zayn fervently requests that he reconsiders and gives Owens what he wants, a title shot. The crowd get behind this motion, eventually convincing Regal to make the amendment to the contract. Owens looks it over once more, signing it to the delight of the crowd, before staring down his future opponent. He throws the pen at Zayn, before casually retreating as Regal holds the champion back. This was an excellent foreshadowing to hopefully one of the most brilliant, physical and personal matches in the history of NXT.