Once again, we’re back with another NXT special and this one is called NXT: Takeover Rival and I had high expectations for this special but not as high as NXT: Takeover Revolution. Let’s see how this plays out and you can catch it on the WWE Network for only $9.99 and for new users, the month of February is free. Let’s Get Started!!!
Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze
This is the opening match between Hideo Itami facing Tyler Breeze, who attacked Itami in the locker room after Itami lost to Finn Balor in the tournament to crown a new #1 contender for the NXT title. During the entrance of Tyler Breeze he was attacked by a “random” female fan, which was pretty cool and adds to his character. The match was a really good match and the crowd was definitely into it and the finish come after Breeze hit a crazy super kick on Itami for a nearfall. That woke Itami up and he rallied back hitting a dropkick in a corner that followed by a running knee for the win. Winner: Hideo Itami
Match Rating: 3.75/5- This was a great way to start the evening off and the crowd was hot after the match.
This match had an intriguing build to it with having several face-offs and a bunch of times they were playing mind games with each other. I’m a big fan of Bull Dempsey and I believe if Baron Corbin focuses on his mic work and in-ring work he can be a big time player on the main roster. This was a no DQ match and it wasn’t too bad but could’ve been better and the crowd seemed to voice their displeasure. In the end, Corbin hit the End of Days for the win!! Winner: Baron Corbin
Match Rating: 2.5/5
This is a rematch for the NXT tag team championships as the Lucha Dragons try to get their championships from Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. This was a pretty sloppy match between these teams and the finish came when Blake hit a running suplex and Murphy hitting the splash from the top rope for the win. Winners and Still NXT Champs: Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy
Match Rating: 2/5
This is one match that I was ready for and have actually seen them face each other when Neville was Pac and Balor was Prince Dewitt. This match was to determine who would be the new #1 contender for the NXT championship. Once again, Balor came out with the amazing and the crowd absolutely loved it. The match was great with a lot of back and forth action, nearfalls and just both guys working their asses off. Great match that you’ll need to go out of your way to watch and the end came when Balor hit the double foot stomp from the top rope for the win. Winner and new #1 Contender for the NXT title: Finn Balor
Match Rating: 4/5- Great match!!!
This is a battle for the NXT Divas Championship as Charlotte defends her championship against Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch. This match was amazing from the beginning to the end with several cool spots and all 4 women working their butts off. I would’ve been happy with any of these girls walking out with the title but in the end, Banks had Charlotte in the crossface then got up to kick Bayley & Becky Lynch off the apron then she reapplies the crossface again. Charlotte continued to fight to get to the ropes but Sasha rolled her up to get the win. Winner and New NXT Divas Champion: Sasha Banks
Match Rating: 4/5- Another great match by the ladies!! Great moment after the match with the interaction between Sasha Banks and Charlotte!!!
Here is the main event between 2 real life best friends as Sami Zayn face Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. These 2 have met each other several times on the Independent circuit when Zayn was El Generico and Owens was Kevin Steen. This came about when Zayn won the championship at the last NXT special from Adrian Neville and after celebrating with everyone including Owens, he was attacked by Owens after everyone left as they headed up the ramp. As far as the match, this was a brutal match between these 2 and they went all out for the title and the crowd was really into it. In the end, Owens was beating the hell out of Zayn and hit him with a couple of powerbombs and told the referee to count but Zayn barely kicked out. While the medics was checking on Zayn, Owens grabbed him and hit him with a couple of powerbombs then went for another one but was tackled in the corner by the referee and winning the championship on a stoppage. Winner and New NXT Champion: Kevin Owens
Match Rating: 4.25/5
Overall Rating: 8/10- What another amazing NXT special but not as good as the previous one though. The opening match was really good and a great way to start off the special and it was good to see Itami get the win. The Dempsey/Corbin and tag titles match was pretty lackluster but hopefully more experience will help them out by the time the next NXT special comes on. Finn Balor has superstar written all over him from his entrance, his look, his abilities and he could be the face of the WWE in the next couple of years. The match with Neville was excellent and I’m hoping when Neville hit the main roster that he’ll get a great gimmick and get the chance to shine. The NXT Divas match was just spectacular and all the ladies should be great assets to the main roster in the future if given the chance. The main event was great and I just want to know what’s next between Owens and Zayn but how great does Owens look and I believe he’s another star as soon as he hit the main roster.
What are your thoughts of NXT Takeover Rival? What were your highlights and lowlights of this special? Should a NXT featured match be at WrestleMania this year?