WWE NXT Takeover Rival – Review, Highlights & Analysis

Tyler Breeze vs. Hideo Itami

While Finn Balor got epic face pain for his Takeover entrance, Breeze was given a crazy fan girl and a furry selfie stick. It couldn’t have been better suited to the over-the-top, glamorous persona of the Gorgeous One.

Prince Pretty had the perfect opponent as well. As expected, he and Hideo matched well in the ring because of their similar wrestling styles. Since they both rely on using their legs a lot, the fight they produced was technically and visually very different than any other match on the show.

It was a pleasure to watch Tyler Breeze move in the ring, as always. He used some cringe-worthy submission holds on top of his usual move set but still failed to pin Hideo.

Hideo Itami banked on the “warrior spirit” and fed off the crowd. My issue with Hideo is that as good of a wrestler he is, up until now, on NXT he’s been very limited in his abilities to tell a story. Realistically, if the fans didn’t already know and like KENTA, the Hedieo Itami character would have never been so over.

Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin

I don’t know why this match was given a no DQ stipulation. It could easily have been a regular match, since no weapons were involved. The one chair that got pulled out was never used.

That doesn’t mean that the match wasn’t good. I actually enjoyed it. If you like seeing two big man, who really don’t like each other, brawl without worrying about a count out, you probably enjoyed it too.

The way Baron Corbin would intercept Bull Dempesey mid-motion, break his momentum and then pick him up to execute a move of his own, was impressive, given the size of Bull. It made up for a few gasp-worthy spots. Corbin is so meticulous. It just keeps the attention drawn to every move he makes.

In the end, Bull came up short for the third time in a row. Baron Corbin established full dominance by sitting back in a char over his defeated opponent. Looking at that image, you know that the WWE’s building a legend.

As good as all this is for Baron Corbin, it leaves Bull Dempsey in a very unfavourable spot. His gimmick is solely based on being a monster heel that can’t be denied. Now that Bull’s been overpowered multiple times, he’s no longer unstoppable and he’s left without a purpose. I’m not sure how the WWE will build him back up.

Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake vs. The Lucha Dragons

Something was off in this match. The Lucha Dragons were not at the top of their game at all. This caused so many awkwardly timed spots and flat-out botches that I found myself unable to relax and enjoy the match.

Kalisto had some flashes of brilliance but with all the mistakes that occurred, I felt anxious about what could go wrong next.

Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake showed some good team work. They’re positive but in a natural, non-New Day type of way, which makes them easy to like.

Judging by Aiden English’ Twitter activity over the last few days, the next thing to happen will be the Vaudevillains vs. Murphy & Blake. Picking a favorite there will be a difficult task.

The Hack

That’s the hack we’ve been waiting for. It’s a debut way overdue.

If you’re new to NXT, I’ll give you heads up – get ready for Solomon Crowe next week!

Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville

Despite the incredible face paint that Finn wears so naturally, I felt Neville’s presence was more intimidating. Neville stood against a man, who looked almost non-human, and still stared Balor down with determination. That’s the sort of detail that makes a great character.

It was a five stars match without a doubt. No one expected any less from these two competitors. Without taking anything away from the technical quality of the match, I personally didn’t feel as engaged, as I was when Neville and Zayn faced off. The motivation behind the fight last night was the title shot and nothing else. It lacked a personal motive and it took away some of the tension.

Finn Balor won but that was to be expected. Adrian Neville already had his run with the title and is soon to go up to the main roster.

What bothers me is that in a bitter rivalry, such as Owens vs. Zayn, Finn Balor will get lost. The stakes between Owens and Zayn are much higher than just the title, regardless of what Kevin Owens says. Finn Balor will be the odd one out. That could actually turn out to be a good thing. While the other two are busy with each other, Finn could swipe the title from under their noses.

Fatal 4 Way

Sasha, Charlotte, Bayley and Becky stole the show last night. I hope the divas on the main roster watched this and took notes because that’s what real wrestling looks like.

The fans don’t want to see butt-slapping and hair-pulling. They want the double knee drops, the top rope throws, the dives to the outside, the power moves and the painful submissions that they saw last night.

All four women involved did an amazing job. It was impossible to tell who’d pick up the win. They were all so impressive. When Sasha stood victorious, it felt deserved. The Boss has been on the hunt for this title for so long.

Charlotte had tears in her eyes when she hugged Sasha after the match. Sasha played along with her gimmick and pushed Charlotte away but the show of respect felt real. It was an emotional moment without a doubt.

Good luck to Paige and the Bellas, following this match up at Fast Lane!

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

This match was hard to watch. The commentary team compared it to Cena vs. Lesnar at Summer Slam. That’s how badly Kevin Owens manhandled Sami Zayn. All I want to add is that Zayn vs. Owens was like Cena vs. Lesnar but with a whole lot more wrestling in it.

Sami kept trying to fight back but he just didn’t have the strength to. It was difficult to witness because Sami Zayn was the people’s champ, his struggle to the top was shared by the entire NXT Universe, however, last night we all knew deep inside that the comeback we were hoping for would never come.

By the end of the match, Sami was out. He hurt himself badly by diving off the ropes and hitting the back of his head on the ramp. After that moment on it was a beat down. Where Adrian Neville would have stopped to check on Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens kept attacking more and more brutally. The referee had to step in to save Zayn. The official called the doctors in, called the match off and handed the title to Kevin Owens.

That was the most heartbreaking outcome that this match could have possibly had. I rarely find myself forgetting that I’m watching a storyline but last night I kept thinking “Not this way, just not this way!”. For that, I salute the NXT writers. Great job!

What are your impressions of NXT Takeover Rival? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB, or Twitter!


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