WWE NXT Takeover R Evolution – Review, Highlights & Analysis

Kevin Owens vs. CJ Parker

When I saw CJ Parker coming out my instinctive reaction was to dismiss him with a laugh, wondering what he did wrong to be assigned the role of a doormat. However, I’d like to give props to the guy who decided to not make this a squash match. Owens wanted a fight and he got one. This allowed him to give the NXT Universe a taste of what he can do.

Whoever wasn’t familiar with Kevin Owens before NXT Takeover, must have been surprised to see him in action. For a man of his size, diving through the ropes like that is simply amazing.

By the end of the match, Owens was bleeding out of his forehead but he kept going and delivered such an amazing finisher that the audience in Full Sail erupted.

At first, having Kevin Owens open the show seemed like an odd decision but knowing what followed, I understand why the WWE booked his debut first. That way Owens would get all the attention he deserves without being outshined by all the incredible action that was coming up.


The Vaudevillains vs. The Lucha Dragons

If I was watching NXT for the first time, I would have thought that the Vaudevillains are the face team. The fans kept willing them on, while the Lucha Dragons got a much less enthusiastic reaction.

I have to say though that Kalisto’s style is overwhelming. He’s so fast that it’s so almost superhuman. It must be hard to wrestle against this guy when he’s on a roll.

Even so, I was still rooting for the Vaudevillains. Aiden English won my heart by pushing Simon Gotch out of harm’s way and sacrificing himself for his friend by taking the hit from both Kalisto & Sin Cara on his own.

The NXT Universe was chanting CHIVALRY.  Meanwhile, I was almost in tears, watching Kalisto hit the SDS and pin Gotch for the titles.

I hope that this feud is not over and that the Vaudevillains finally get the championship they so rightfully deserve!

Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin

Baron Corbin’s match lasted 41s and that felt terribly long. This comes to show how used we’ve become to seeing the Lone Wolf just walk in, pin and win. I guess, since it was a special, he graced us with a match that’s twice longer. Isn’t that what wrestlers usually do?

Bull Dempsey was in the audience and he finally got Corbin’s attention. Baron stopped right opposite him on his way out and stared him down. The tension over that barricade felt so thick it could have been cut with a knife.

I’m not sure how smart it was form Bull to set the Lone Wolf on his own tracks. This will probably end in Baron Corbin’s favor.

Finn Balor & Hideo Itami vs. The Ascension

Where do I even begin?! This match was so epic that I forgot to take down notes at one point. I couldn’t stop watching.

Finn Balor in his new face paint finally looks comfortable in his own skin. He looked naked without it. The Ascension’s reaction Balor’s entrance was priceless. They were probably wondering since when they were the normal ones in a match.

Konnor and Viktor looked strong. They kept Hideo Itami away from his partner for so long that when Itami and Balor barely missed to make a tag, it actually felt dramatic. The Ascension used veteran heel tactics with Konnor sweeping Balor’s legs so he won’t be able to tag in.

Actually, if it wasn’t for the referee who got in Viktor’s way, things could have played out differently. However, in the end Finn Ballor and Hideo Itami did a double diving feet stomp from the top rope and won.

It’s worth mentioning that at one point, Hideo Itami seemed to be setting up for the GTS but he got interrupted. When he finally hits it, the crowd will go insane.

Now the Ascension should be free to join the main roster, while Finn Balor and Hideo Itami take NXT by storm. Although they lost, Konnor and Viktor went out with a bang, looking strong.

Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns was backstage for some reason. He announced that he had his eyes set on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The WWE is just using every opportunity to put Roman in the spotlight, since he’s been out for so long.

Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

If the divas’ matches on the main roster were anything like this one, people would actually want to watch them.

The fight was brutal and unapologetic. The wrestling was top-notch. I don’t think I’ve seen another diva in the recent years doing the things that Charlotte did last night.

I don’t like Sasha Banks’ gimmick but that couldn’t have been of a lesser importance last night. The Boss owned the ring. She wasn’t hiding behind anybody and she charged full on against the best female wrestler in the WWE at the moment.

The match was simply amazing and Charlotte ended it in a fitting way –with the Natural Selection from the top rope.

That match should be the standard that the WWE needs to aim for. I’m petrified by the thought of what will happen to Charlotte and Sasha when they finally move up to the main roster. The fact that WWE has reached this state is scary.

Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn

I didn’t think anything could have topped off the matches that preceded the NXT Championship bout but I’ve never been so wrong. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’d have personally taken that Match of the Year Slammy off of Team Cena’s hands and I’d have handed it to Neville and Zayn.

There was absolutely everything in this match. Both men gave their all. The referee got knocked out a few times because he somehow always ended up in the way. Adrian Neville tried to take advantage of it but didn’t succeed.

Sami Zayn had his moment of contemplation where he could have crossed over to the dark side by using the NXT title to attack Adrian Neville but he resisted and won clean.

The intensity of this fight kept me on the edge of my seat and the end almost brought me to tears. The whole locker room came out to congratulate Sami Zayn. He deserved to win more than anyone else but I felt bad for Adrian Neville, who was sitting all on his own with his head in his hands in the corner, while Sami was celebrating.

When Sami finally remembered about him, he offered him his hand. Adrian kicked it away and hugged him instead. Despite my pessimism, their friendship survived even this. Respect.

The surprise came on the way out when Sami Zayn got stabbed in the back by a friend but not the one he suspected. Kevin Owens attacked Sami on the ramp and delivered a cringe-worthy power bomb. What made it so bad was that Sami landed with the small of his back on the ring apron. He was carried out on a stretcher.

The fans were on their feet almost throughout the entire match. Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn deserved that respect

There are no words to describe how amazing NXT Takeover R Evolution was. If I had to pick only one wrestling show to watch, I’d go with NXT.

How did you feel about last night’s show? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!


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