NXT Takeover Rival Coverage: A New ‘Boss’ in NXT, Owens KOs Zayn for Title

If you need proof that the best wrestling in the world isn’t on RAW, Smackdown or Impact, NXT Takeover Rival proved it once again.

From a pure wrestling point of view, this was the best two hours of WWE programming since last year’s Wrestlemania.

This show just felt special. By the end of it all, the proof was in the pudding. Six amazing matches set the scene for easily one of the best NXT events ever. As a matter of fact, it’s fair to say that all six matches were better than anything seen on RAW- in years.

With an amazing roster of young and hungry talent, led by the likes of Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, as well as the best female performers in the business, NXT continues to prove that you don’t need a cable network to put on a one-of-a-kind show.


Video Itami vs. Tyler Breeze: Armed with a fluffy selfie pole, Breeze set the charismatic tone from the beginning, but Itami laced Breeze with several kicks in the early going. Breeze got back into the match with kicks of his own, but he was also smart enough to work on Itami’s legs as well with ground strikes and a Figure Four around the turnbuckle. Later on, Breeze applied a standing variation of the Figure Four, but Itami refused to tap out. Itami then almost got Breeze in the GTS, but Breeze countered with a Super Kick for a near-fall. With both competitors down, the crowd was evenly split. As Breeze laid strikes on Itami, Hideo hit strikes galore to regain the advantage. After the Hesitation Drop Kick in the corner, Itami got the win with his Diving Yakuza Kick.

No DQ: Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey: Corbin ran into the ring, but the more experienced Dempsey was sharp with strikes and a Suplex on the outside. While Corbin hit the Spinebuster to get back in the match, Dempsey was tough as hell, with an Avalanche on the outside. Once back in the ring, Dempsey even hit his Diving Head Butt, but couldn’t put Corbin away. Frustrated, Dempsey got a chair and went for the kill shot, but Corbin countered with the End of Days for the win.

NXT Tag Team Champions Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy vs. Sin Cara and Kalisto: The action was frenetic in the early going and because of that, Kalisto and Cara were in control. As a matter of fact, Cara even got a near-fall mega early with the Powerbomb variation from the top. Add in high-flying maneuvers and effective double teams and the Lucha Dragons were totally in control. It wasn’t until a Double Elevated Neckbreaker that Murphy and Blake got into the match. Kalisto then went on a tear, hitting a vicious Head Scissor Spike and then reversing a Murphy Powerbomb, but in a matter of seconds, the near-falls were too many to count. The action continued to speed up once Blake and Sin Cara tagged in, turning the match into a counter-palooza until a nasty Sin Cara Powerbomb got the Dragons back in it. But after a quick blind tag following a nice running Brainbuster from Murphy, Blake hit the Frog Splash for the win.

Finals of NXT #1 Contender’s Tournament: Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville: Back and forth wasn’t the word for this matchup between two evenly-matched competitors. While they hit maneuvers and strikes throughout the match, the pace was more methodical as the two felt each other out. Balor eventually broke through though with a Senton to the outside and a Running Dropkick that sent Neville through the barricade. Baylor then hit a Double Stomp to a standing Neville, but Neville fought back and in a matter of seconds, with competitors were brawling. Neville hit a few German Suplexes, but Balor also hit his signature Reverse DDT, while Neville hit the 450. After a kick to the head, Neville nearly attempted the Red Arrow, but Balor got his knees and nearly won himself. Following a Turnbuckle Dropkick, Balor won with the Double Stomp from the top.

NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks: This was a war and arguably the best women’s match in WWE history. After the insane Balor and Neville match, this could have easily been a letdown, but it was anything but that. Lynch stole the show early on with a Pump Handle Release Suplex and a Dragon Screw, but every competitor shined with signature offense. Although Banks hit most of the High Impact offense, Bayley nearly won with a Frankensteiner and her Belly-To-Bayley Suplex. After all four competitors took each other out with High flying offense, Lynch hit the Capture Suplex, but Bayley hit Lynch with the German Suplex and a top rope Belly to Bayley Suplex before Banks broke up the pinfall. Banks then latched on the Crossface (which see had locked in, in the center of the ring for a good minute) and then turned it into a pinning combination for the win.

NXT Champion Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens: This was like a indie version of John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, but better. For the first ten minutes, this was all Owens. Strikes, Signature maneuvers, Owens laid on Zayn with all of his B+ moves and weakened Zayn. Eventually Zayn fought back and hit the Blue Thunder Bomb, but that’s when Owens brought out the A offense. From the Cannonball in the corner to the Fisherman Neckbreaker, Owens was dominant. However, Zayn countered the Powerbomb with a Half Nelson Suplex. Owens then went for the Senton, but Zayn got his knees up and then hit the Exploder Suplex, but Owens was smart enough to get out of the ring before the Helluva Kick. Zayn then took Owens on the outside with the Springboard Moonsault. Groggy, Zayn went for the Helluva Kick again, but Owens hit the Powerbomb and nearly won. Owens then hit another pair of Powerbombs and somehow, someway, Zayn kicked out. Medical staff then hit the ring, but Owens hit two more Powerbombs before the referee stopped the bout and awarded Owens the belt by knockout.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13227 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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