WWE NXT – February 18th 2015
Full Sail University: Winter Park, FL.
After a recap of the TakeOver:Rival show, William Regal was in his office and opened the show with announcement that in NXT, championships can change hands via pinfall, submission or referee stoppage. Regal stated that Owens doesn’t get to make up his own rules and booked him in a non-title match against Adrian Neville and reminded everyone that Owens attacked Neville a couple of weeks ago and “sent him to the hospital.”
Owens came out for a promo; crowd was split with, “Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn” chants. He said people had no right to be upset about how he won the title, because from day one he told everyone that he was in NXT to fight anyone and everyone to make things better for his family. Owens stated that Sami Zayn was the past and the future was with Finn Balor. He told Balor to go ask Regal to set the date for their title match and declared that the same fate that befell Zayn was awaiting Balor. – Breaking news: Kevin Owens cuts a good and totally believable promo.
Rhyno vs. Elias Sampson – Rhyno over with the gore in a total squash at 0:30. Fans went crazy for Rhyno and chanted, “Holy Sh*t” and “ECW”. He didn’t appear to have aged much at all and still had his freaky, fridge with legs physique.
Finn Balor was with Devin in the back and said he’d take on Owens any time, any place. Rhyno showed up and gave Balor the once-over then walked away. The fans popped big for the tease of a Rhyno/Balor match.
The Vaudevaillains vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady w/Carmella – Enzo & Cass over in 2:15. The Yankees worked the crowd into a frenzy with their usual pre-match spiel. It looks impressive when a few hundred people are singing-a-long with your every word, however on the main roster the New Yorkers would almost certainly be met with apathetic silence. Match wasn’t much at all. Cass hit English with a big boot and Enzo got the pin. Big Cass seems to have filled out quite a bit, so that should help him get over with the cosmetic obsessives in the back. Blake & Murphy appeared on the Tron and said they proved everyone wrong by retaining the tag titles then told Enzo & Cass they weren’t good enough to beat them. Blake & Murphy then started hitting on Carmella and encouraged her to leave the two “sewer rats” for some real men. – Hey, Woman. Hey, Woman! Listen here. Since your old man ain’t got no heart, maybe you like to see a real man. I bet you stay up late every night dreamin’ you had a real man, don’t ya? I’ll tell you what. Bring your pretty little self over to my apartment tonight, and I’ll show you a real man.
The Generic Chumpstain, who they still have not identified yet, interviewed Adrian Neville in the locker room. Neville referred to Chumpstain as, “Greg”, so for now I guess he’s Chumpstain Greg. Neville tried his best at cutting a redemption type promo and said he’d get his revenge on Owens, however it was in stark contrast to the great opening promo from Owens. We had some words from Bayley and Becky Lynch about coming up short in the four-way at TakeOver.
CJ Parker was out in his street clothes and complained that he wasn’t on TakeOver. He said he was taking the show hostage and started to tape-off the ring with some yellow caution tape but Solomon Crowe’s interference interrupted him and Crowe jumped him from behind. Crowe grabbed the mic and said, “We now return to your regularly scheduled broadcast” then left back through the crowd. – Kind of a flat debut after the weeks of hype. I assume Crowe is going to be a face, however he attacked from behind so that was weird. Not even the hardcore NXT fans like CJ though, so it didn’t make much difference. There was also an element of, “To the back” about it, as they cut away from the segment very quickly and didn’t let it sink in.
Non-Title Match: Sasha Banks (NXT Women’s Champion) vs. Blue Pants – Sasha via submission at 2:45. Blue Pants got a couple of shine spots, but it was essentially a squash for Sasha, who won with her lung-blower into the Banks statement. Sasha did a short promo afterwards and said she was the baddest Diva in NXT. – Leva Bates has done pretty damn well for herself to say she isn’t even under contract. The NXT crowd love her and she is getting a lot of TV time in her jobber role. Plus Sasha got a ton of heat for beating the fan’s favourite enhancement talent.
We got a pre-tape from Dr Chris Amann of all people. He said they “terminated” the match with Owens because Sami Zayn suffered multiple blows to the head, however Sami wanted to fulfil his commitments so they let him go on the UAE tour.
Non-Title Match: Kevin Owens (NXT Champion) vs. Adrian Neville – Owens over in 12:15. Good stuff. Match was similar to Zayn/Owens: They brawled briefly on the floor then Owens cut Neville off and methodically beat him down. Neville landed a DDT for a double-down then made his comeback and scored with a moonsault off the post to the floor. Neville hit a 450 off the apron and rolled Owens back inside for a near-fall then delivered a couple of Germans for another close two count. Another big near-fall saw Neville hit a nasty-looking reverse rana, which I have a feeling someone is going to put the kibosh on sooner or later. Finish saw Owens avoid the Red Arrow and hit the pop-up powerbomb to get the three. Owens stood tall over Neville with the belt to close the show. – This was a lot of fun down the stretch and they pulled out some spots you don’t normally see during a typical NXT TV main event. Owens is being booked so well, with another clean win over a top guy and little things like hardly ever getting taken off his feet unless it is a big move is a great touch. (*** ½ )
A good show coming out of TakeOver, with a main event that you should probably all check out. There were a couple of pacing issues during the episode, like a bunch of short matches and segments that weren’t given enough time to sink in. Particularly, the Solomon Crowe debut which could have been handled a lot better. Even so, it was another enjoyable week of NXT TV that set up a couple of programs and matches for the weeks to come.