December 11th 2014
-Opening video package with various NXT stars vowing to make this their night. The first figure we see is Kevin Steen (!!!) as Kevin Owens, and he promises to take over.
-From Winter Park, Florida. Our hosts are Corey Graves, Rich Brennan, and Alex Riley.
-Kevin Owens enters the NXT arena for his official debut! He looks to be in significantly better shape than the last time I saw him wrestle in ROH (which was amazingly over a year ago by this point). The smarky NXT crowd gives him a heroís welcome.
-Backstage, Adrian Neville is warming up. It cuts to an interview where Neville says heíll have to end Sami Zaynís career if it means saving his own career.
-Becky Lynch helps Sasha Banks dress up for her entrance.
-Corbin takes a moment to stare Dempsey down before taking his leave. Iíve got to give NXT credit, we have two guys who win their matches in under a minute, neither of whom are proven to be good workers yet, but Iím actually curious about what sort of match they could have together. Could be a train wreck, could surprise me, either way, Iím interested.
-Sami Zayn is seen holding his head in his hands in the locker room. It cuts to a second screen shot of Sami talking about his match with Neville, and about how he needed to take away the safety net to get to the next level.
Thereís no bell as both teams brawl in the ring. Otami and Balor hit their newly patented stereo drop-kicks in the corner and the Ascension flees to regroup. The match officially starts with Hideo dropping Viktor with a leg lariat. Balor gets caught by a Viktor knee-lift, but manages to stay in it with a drop-kick on Konnor. Otami lights Konnor up with stiff shots before suffering a flap-jack. Hideo gets caught in Ascension territory for a heat segment. The Ascensionís ground and pound move set is frustrating here, as I find myself imaging Hideo in the ring against better opponents while he works his way out of Viktorís chinlock. Hideo has an opening for a tag, but Konnor wrenches Balor off the apron. Hideo keeps his momentum and makes a tag anyway, and Balor cleans house on the Ascension. Balor wipes out Konnor and Viktor with a flying somersault senton to the floor. Balor misses the flying double stomp but hits an inverted DDT (which I think was supposed to be a Brainbuster, but hey, botches happen). Viktor rebounds with an STO, but Itami makes the save. The crowd pops big for Hideoís GTS attempt, but Konnor breaks it up. The Ascension are unable to hit The Fall of Man on Balor, who bounces back with a Pele kick. Hideo and Balor arrange for stereo diving foot stomps and Balor pins Viktor at 11:31. A spectacular finishing sequence makes up for the heat segment that dragged on too long, **ĺ.
Winners: Hideo Otami and Finn Balor
-Renee Young interviews Roman Reigns backstage. She congratulates him for (allegedly) winning the voting for the Superstar of the Year Slammy Award. Reigns says heís here to watch and awesome show and canít wait to see the main event. Roman adds that he wants to become the first NXT alumni to win the WWE title (Daniel Bryan says hi, but I suppose heís probably only considering the Full Sail era).
-Ric Flair wishes his daughter, Charlotte, luck. Sheís going to need it, after suffering a ridiculous loss on Monday Night Raw.
-We see Sami Zayn making his way to the gorilla position backstage. Excuse me while I mark the fack out.
The crowd is fired up for this one. Neville is playing a subtle heel, so the fans are rallying firmly behind Sami. They take a minute to absorb the crowd heat before locking up, and Neville scores the first takedown. They exchange wristlocks and rapid fire headlocks and head scissors until reaching a stalemate. They exchange more holds, Sami breaks a wrist lock, but Neville shows off by landing on his feet in a somersault. Sami seems to get flustered, but still manages a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Zayn scores a split legged moonsault off the ropes to ringside! At this point, the VOD stream freezes, and it takes a long time for me to sort it out, kind of a buzz kill. Ah, technology. Anyways, Iím resuming the feed on my tablet. Neville returns and walks into a stiff kick. Sami takes control and the commentary is actually enhancing the match, as they discuss the fact that Sami and Adrian are former friends who currently cannot stand to be in the same room with each other. It sure beats JBL and Michael Cole trying to pop Vince over the headset on Raw. Neville catches Zayn in a chinlock and is instantly back in the driverís seat. Neville dishes out a missile drop-kick, but itís not enough for the win. Zayn pops back up with a hard lariat! They take turns dumping each other to the floor until Sami nails a running dive! Zayn catches Neville on his shoulders and counters with the Michinoku Driver for a close near fall! Adrian puts together a string of offense, complete with a German suplex! They exchange counters until Neville hits a sit-out power bomb for another scary 2 count. They stand nose to nose and exchange a flurry of strikes. Neville avoids the Helluva Kick but Sami blocks the Red Arrow! Zayn applies the Koji Clutch! Adrian comes back with a roll-up but Zayn inadvertently thrusts him off and into the referee. Sami checks on the ref, which allows Neville to hit a super kick and reverse-rana, but Zayn kicks out! BRILLIANT false finish, as Samiís kindness nearly cost him another match. They trade forearm shots until Sami delivers rolling German suplexes! Neville avoids another Helluva Kick, but Sami flies through the turnbuckles for the tornado DDT! The Helluva Kick connects, but the ref got caught in the crossfire when Adrian pulls him into the way. Adrian grabs the NXT title, but Sami kicks him down. Sami considers using the belt as a weapon as the crowd chants NO! Zayn is clearly torn, but decides not to, and Adrian nearly pins him in a roll-up! Zayn pops up and suplexes Neville in to the corner! The Helluva Kick connects and Zayn pins Neville at 23:09! The building absolutely explode and Zayn seems overcome with emotion. Insanely off-the-charts awesome main event that was also the culmination of Samiís entire run in NXT to this point. Iím giving this ***** and I donít care if you disagree.
Winner and new NXT Champion: Sami Zayn
-Zayn celebrates his win in a cathartic moment. After video highlights of the match, the NXT locker room (including Sami Callihan and Pat Patterson) fills the ring to join the party. Kevin Owens embraces Zayn, just when I thought this moment couldnít get any more awesome. This is going to rank pretty high in my all-time favorite moments in my wrestling fandom. Neville returns to the ring and hugs it out with Sami and puts him over.
-And after I think the show is really over, Kevin Owens TURNS ON SAMI! Owens powerbombs the new champion onto the apron! THE GENERICO/STEEN FEUD IS REBORN! William Regal rushes out and looks furious! Well played, NXT.
Final Thoughts: A five-star main event, close to four star womenís match, and a stellar undercard make this an easy recommendation, and one of the best shows of the year. Go watch this right now. Thumbs way up.