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WWE NXT Takeover: R-Evolution

by Samoa Rowe

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.

Kevin Owens vs. CJ Parker

Hmm, I wonder who's going over here. Owens overwhelms Parker with clotheslines and the running cannonball in the corner. Kevin destroys Parkerís homemade poster and nails a somersault senton to ringside! The referee tries to force a break, allowing Parker to nail an axe kick and scores some token offense. Parker misses a senton, but connects with a palm thrust for a 2 count. Owens bounces back with a lariat and a nasty shoulder breaker onto his knee! Owen, bleeding from the nose, delivers a power bomb for the win at 3:11. Great squash match that should please Kevin Steenís old fanbase and properly establish him to Kevin Owensí new fans, **.
Winner: Kevin Owens

-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.

NXT Tag Team Championship:
The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) © vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch)

Sin Cara locks up with Gotch and quickly makes him look foolish with a springboard head butt and cross body. Sin Cara blocks Englishís interference and drops Kalisto onto Gotch in a senton. Gotch takes some punishment but makes the blind tag to English, who swings Sin Cara to the floor like a lasso. The Vaudevillains wear Sin Cara down in their corner. Inevitably, Kalisto gets the hot tag and plows through the Vaudevillains with a burst of energy. Kalisto and Sin Cara dump the challengers to ringside for stereo suicide dives! English pushed Gotch out of the way and took both dives! Kalisto plants Gotch with Salida del Sol for the win at 6:38! Formulaic match, with some cool spots thrown in along the way, **Ĺ.
Winners and still NXT Tag Team Champions: The Lucha Dragons

-Becky Lynch helps Sasha Banks dress up for her entrance.

Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin

Over the past few months, the NXT crowd has gotten into the habit of counting the seconds of Corbinís matches, which is usually more entertaining than the match itself. Corbin lawn darts Dillinger into the turnbuckles and nails a boot to the face. Bull Dempsey is watching from the front row and applauds as Corbin wins with the End of Days at 0:40. I still have no idea if Corbin is worth a damn or not, but so far this booking works for him.
Winner: Baron Corbin

-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.

The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. Hideo Otami and Finn Balor

In the off chance you donít know, Finn Balor is the wrestler formerly known as Prince Devitt, who was a big deal in New Japan. Also, I find it hilarious that between these two teams, the still-green Ascension are the ones about to join the main roster, but I suppose itís now or never for them. Balorís entrance has been altered for this event, adding a heart beat effect. Balor crawls out on the stage with Predator-esque monster face paint and tassels on, and itís beyond bad-ass. The Ascension donít know what to make of this transformation.

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.

NXT Womenís Championship:
Charlotte © vs. Sasha Banks

Sasha has altered a Charlotte t-shirt and tosses it in her face to start things off. Itís not wise to anger Charlotte, who turns up the aggression, but Sasha is game and holds her own with a chop. Charlotte returns the favor with, pun intended, flair. Sasha drives Charlotte into the stairs, injuring her back in the process. Charlotte fights through the pain to hit a chop, but Sasha is in control, working over her back and mid-section. Sasha mocks the Nature Boy strut while a dueling chant breaks out. Charlotte ducks a slap but is too hurt to follow through with a suplex, and Sasha twists around her for a vicious back submission. Charlotte powers out, but Sasha pulls the hair to snap her head to the canvas. Charlotte desperately counters with an electric chair. Charlotte musters through an epic comeback. Sasha tosses Charlotte for a suicide dive to ringside! They struggle to their feet and exchange blows in the ring, until Charlotte turns flips Sasha over with a shoulder tackle. Charlotte blocks the Bank Statement, but Sasha sneaks in a close roll-up. Neckbreaker by Sasha only gets 2! Sasha loses her composure while a ďThis is Awesome!Ē chant breaks out. Charlotte scores a suplex but lands on her feet in a moonsault attempt and hits a senton without missing a beat. Sasha counters with a modified head scissors into the turnbuckles but Charlotte counters a superplex with a top rope flap jack. Charlotte nails Natural Selection from the top rope for the win at 12:08! Seriously awesome match here, with high emotion, lots of surprising counters, and an impressive display of high athleticism! Both women really shined here, ***ĺ.
Winner and still NXT Womenís Champion: Charlotte

-We see Sami Zayn making his way to the gorilla position backstage. Excuse me while I mark the fack out.

NXT Championship:
Adrian Neville © vs. Sami Zayn

Iím writing this review two days after the show aired, but I do not know the result and Iím super excited for this. In fact, this might be the match Iíve been most excited for all year, at least since Daniel Bryanís adventures heading into Wrestlemania. Watching the recap video for the Zayn/Neville feud gives me goose bumps, but sort of frustrates me too, because if Sinclair could have ponied up some money, THIS is the product that Ring of Honor could have been producing in 2011, back when El Generico was still available to them. I have not watched ROH properly in over a year, and I believe itís because NXT has taken their formula (and their stars) and made a more compelling, interesting product.

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.

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