NXT Takeover: Rival – Review and Reactions

By Victoria Tezangi

Spread The Word

Last night the WWE brought us the fifth live NXT show, exclusively on the WWE Network, and what an amazing show it was. Every single NXT live show has been outstanding and this one was no different whatsoever

With such an impressive card, the expectations were higher than ever and so the Superstars and Divas had to really impress but they didn’t let down the fans at all and put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen from a WWE product. I will admit I was a little disappointed at the fact we didn’t get the Solomon Crowe debut and we will have to wait until next week but the actual show was really good and really well put together. The commentary was impressive as usual and I really did, honestly enjoy the pre-show. Today, I’m giving you my full review and reactions, but you can let me know what you thought of the show by leaving a comment bellow or by tweeting me at @TezangiVictoria

Tyler Breeze VS Hideo Itami 
The first match of the night was actually announced on the pre-show, and it was a rematch against Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami. It was a couple of weeks ago that these two had their first match against each other on an episode of NXT and what an outstanding match they had; But it did mean that the expectations for their second match were much higher and now that we all knew they could put on an amazing match we were all expecting another one. In my personal opinion I think the match last night was better than their previous one. They just raised the bar that much higher and for me it was Breeze who was the stand out. What I love the most about Tyler is how well he tells a story when he wrestles, not everyone can do that and he does it so well. He has such a captivating and entertaining character that he honestly works so well and so convincingly. Breeze first really proved himself back at NXT Takeover when he went one on one with Sami Zayn, Since then he has been on a roll, proving week after week he is a top talent not only in NXT but in the WWE altogether. Last night was yet another outstanding performance from him and as I said, in my opinion he was the stand out of this match. The figure four leg lock on the post was just one of the amazing things he did last night and even though he didn’t win, the fact he has such a strong performance means he won’t be affected by the loss whatsoever. As for Hideo, he was amazing. Honestly, he just gets better and better. From watching his work before the WWE, I know that there is still so much left to see of him but I like the way we are getting more each time he comes on the TV and we’re just waiting for him to take it up to the next level. Of course there was a time during the match we thought we were going to see him use the GTS but last night just wasn’t the night. But he did have yet another great performance and picked up the win in the process. Altogether, a great start to the show.

Baron Corbin VS Bull Dempsey
Up next we saw the no disqualification match between the two power houses, Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey. After scoring two solid wins over Dempsey, Baron clearly had momentum on his side but after Bull cost him a huge match last week on NXT, Bull was in the head of Corbin and so had a slight advantage there. Now, I have to admit, I was really disappointed with this match. I was expecting it to be much longer than it was and the fact the match was no DQ, I was just all around expecting more. I think it was important for Bull to really stand out. I mentioned in my prediction post for this match that I was convinced Baron was going to win but Bull had to be the stand and out and to be fair he was. He did a great job staying in control and keeping the match at his pace but all around it was all just very disappointing. I think if the show was three hours they could of showed and done so much more and it would of met the expectations. I would have liked to see more use of objects, it was no DQ and wanted them to really use that because this match could of been one of the best no DQ matches in years. But with what we did get I was fairly impressed, and it was Bull that was the stand out even though Corbin walked away with the victory. I do think the WWE are higher on Corbin so it will be interesting to see what they do with both these superstars as of next week, as they should both be moving on to something new.

Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake VS The Lucha Dragons
We then saw the tag team championships being defended when current champs Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake took on Sin Cara and Kalisto, the Lucha Dragons. Everyone knows how much of a fan I am of Murphy and Blake, I have written so much about these two on my blog over the past seven months or so. In my opinion they just tick every single box and their potential is insane. The match last night was really good but I was expecting just a little more. I think I was just expecting it to be a little faster but it was an amazing tag team match and I honestly cannot complain too much about it. With Kalisto set to go up to the main roster really soon and Sin Cara working more on the main roster it was clear that the titles were not going to change hands but what I love about NXT is it is just so unpredictable. Literally, anything could happen at any moment. This was a really solid tag team match and all four superstars got their time to stand out and take centre stage. They all had a great performance but for me Kalisto was the top stand out but Murphy and Blake proved once again they are an amazing tag team and are more than worthy champions. I do think they still have so much more to show and as the weeks go by we will definitely see more of that, but after a successful title defence these guys left the night on a high anyway.

Adrian Neville VS Finn Balor 
Up next was most possibly the most anticipated match of the night, the final round in the number one contender’s tournament for the NXT championship, seeing Adrian Neville go one on one with Finn Balor. The expectations for this match were so high. These are two of the biggest stars around right now and two of the most talented and so everyone was excited for this match up including me. I was a little worried that because my expectations were so high that they wouldn’t meet them but this match was just phenomenal. I’m trying so hard not to swear here, but it was just outstanding. You couldn’t take your eyes off the screen because you knew that the moment you looked away for a second you could miss something huge. There’s honestly not much I can say about this match because it was that good. There was no clear stand out in my opinion. One didn’t stand out more than the other at all. It was such a great back and forth match, extremely athletic, it had so much character and story to it and most importantly it was convincing. After Balor scored the win it will be interesting seeing what they do with Neville and how they will write him out of NXT as he goes up to the main roster. Balor’s entrance was of course amazing and I’m glad the body point is going to be a regular thing.

Charlotte VS Bayley VS Sasha Banks VS Becky Lynch
We then had the NXT Women’s match, which saw Charlotte defend the title in a fatal four way against Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch. I know I say this about every NXT live show Divas match, but this was honestly the best Divas match I have ever seen. I don’t even know where to start. They all had such an amazing performance. A lot of the time with fatal four way matches, there is always one or two people who it feels like they shouldn’t be there. That they don’t have a place and do really do much, this was not the case in this match. Every single one of these Divas deserved to be there and all of them performed outstandingly. It’s almost impossible to choose a stand out but if I had to choose one it would have to be Bayley but they all did so well. Bayley just took it to another level. She did stuff in the ring last night I had no idea she was capable of doing and she really did out do herself. The weakest of the match has to be Lynch. She did have a great performance but out of everyone she was the weakest and that was clear. What I loved the most about this match was the length. These girls gout almost thirty minutes in the ring and honestly I couldn’t be happier. I’m always talking about the Divas getting more time and NXT just give them that. The fact they got such a long match means that they got to show so much and what frustrates me so much is that NXT only got two hours last night but they manage go give the girls close to half an hour in the ring, yet RAW is a three hour show and the Divas struggle to get ten minutes a week. The Divas on the main roster are capable of performing to this level but they don’t get the time to stand out. Last night these girls raised the bar and proved that women can do just as much as men. I was expecting Bayley to walk away as the new champ but it was beyond happy to see Banks crowned the new champ, She was the one I was personally rooting for and she more than deserved the win. We saw her use Becky at the start of the match and it was great seeing the tension between the two raise and see her eventually pin Charlotte to become the new NXT Women’s champion. It was also great seeing Charlotte and Banks have their little moment at the end of the match. It was also so nice seeing how much respect the Divas get down in NXT from the fans and live crowds, their storylines are so well written and NXT
proves people want to see Divas wrestling matches.

Sami Zayn VS Kevin Owens
Finally, it was time for the main event, which saw Sami Zayn defend his NXT Championship against Kevin Owens. The build-up for this match was amazing and the expectations were really high, but they did once again live up to the expectation. The match was slower paced than I expected but that was mainly because the match was Owens pace but I really liked that. The match had so much feeling to it, so much story and character and it felt extremely real and convincing. The fans were so passionate and everyone was glued to their screens. Owens dominated most of the match which as a Zayn fan was pretty painful to watch. The action in this match was just none stop and as the commentators said, it reminded me a lot of the John Cena vs Brock Lesnar Summerslam match, in the sense it was so one sided. Zayn got such little offence but when he did it was as usual a great performance. Towards the end of the match the referee declared that Zayn could no longer continue which meant that the title would change hands making Owens the new NXT Champion. I thought the match was good, the ending made me feel a little cheated, but storyline wise it fitted so well and made so much sense. The only problem I had was that I do think Zayn’s championship run should of been longer.

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