Thursday, February 12, 2015

NXT Takeover: Rival 10 Observations On The Night

NXT Takeover: Rival continued the tradition of awesome events for NXT. It was a night of change with both a new Women’s Champion crowned in Sasha Banks and Kevin Owens is the New NXT Champion. Instead of doing a re-cap of the show, I thought I would offer 10 observations based on last night’s show. There was a lot to talk about coming out of this show that is for certain.

1. Selfie Sticks Rule When Used By Tyler Breeze
: It was a late edition to the card with Tyler Breeze taking on Heido Itami. When Breeze came out with a selfie stick all styled to match his outfit. I have missed Tyler Breeze and he had a good match with Itami that as I stated prior to the match both needed. Match aside the Selfie Stick stole the show as far as this match went.

2. Baron Corbin Is Not Ready For Prime Time
: Corbin’s feud with Bull Dempsey has damaged him. The third in this trilogy of doom was suppose to be a no disqualification match but had very little in the way of weapons as part of the match. There were a few botched spots and Corbin just didn’t look good in a longer match. It is not like Corbin can’t succeed, but much like how people are critical of Roman Reigns and the position he holds currently. People seeing Corbin as this next big thing is not a role he is ready for at this time.

3. NXT Tag Team Division Needs Help
: The Lucha Dragons and Blake & Murphy had a very sloppy tag-team championship match. Blake and Murphy are just to babyface for me liking. While people rave about Kalisto, I have seen him look like a red-hot mess on two NXT specials now. Sure, you have the Vaudevillians and Big Cass & Enzo, but just like on the main roster tag-teams are few and far between. It was a toss up for worst match of the night between the tag team match and Corbin and Dempsey.

4. Finn Balor A Better Version of Jeff Hardy
: Finn Balor is a much more together version of Jeff Hardy in some ways. The introduction he has is a much better version of Jeff Hardy for modern times. His introduction is almost bordering on performance art. Once the bell rings with or without the pain, he is an amazing talent. He doesn’t have the baggage and bad habits that have held back Jeff Hardy from having the true career he could have had. Finn Balor should have a tremendous chance of success on the main roster and could be a big merchandise seller.

5. Ladies Hit A Home Run: Triple H talked about wanting to expand the roles for women on main roster on Stone Cold’s Podcast. A big reason for this desire has to be the talent he has seen in NXT. The four-way match that the ladies put on last night validated his opinion. All four women worked about as solid a 4-way match that you could hope to see regardless of gender. The success of Ronda Rousey in MMA is proof that times are changing and women fighting can sell. It may sound silly in the scripted world of pro wrestling it feels more real than the guys may at times. The talent is there to take the Women’s division back to its glory days with Trish, Lita and a host of other ladies.

6. Charlotte and Sami Zayn Next Stop Main Roster: Sami Zayn and Charlotte Flair both lost their titles and that seems to scream that time are now for them to be heading to the next level. If Triple H wants to expand the women’s division Charlotte Flair is the WWE’s Ronda Rousey to run with. The fact her dad is Ric Flair adds to her credibility. While Sami Zayn has nothing left to prove on the NXT level. While many fear what will become of Sami on the main roster his support from Triple H. Clearly, Sami has been taken under the wing of Triple H and just as other guys like The Shield and Bray Wyatt have had success I feel Sami will be able to do the same with his support and backing.

7. What is next for Adrian Neville: Some will say it also time for Neville to move on to the main roster. I have a feeling he will not and would almost be inclined to see him make a heel turn in NXT. He has lost in many face vs. face matches of late and always been taken the losses with class. Eventually he has to snap from this you have to figure. His size will always be a major concern on the main roster. Maybe with a Napoleon complex as a heel he would have a better chance than being the rumored Mighty Mouse type gimmick they planned. I still say face or heel he must have a manager and given faces seldom have mangers these days this is another reason to turn him heel. They teased a heel turn in his feud with Zayn so why not go all the way with it. 

8. Sasha Banks Is Finally The Boss Of The NXT Women’s Division
:  Sasha Banks has lived in the shadows of Summer Rae and after that Charlotte but she now can truly be The Boss she has professed to be. I often felt her work was somewhat underrated as people were dazzled by Paige and after that the quickly developing Charlotte. The NXT fans have been behind her long before this moment but this is validation of her gimmick and she finally is on top of the mountain. It will be interesting to see how she handles being on top moving forward with Charlotte likely off to the main roster soon. 

9. Cory Graves A Work In Progress On Commentary
: Cory Graves was thrown into commentary out of the blue after being forced to retire as an in-ring competitor due to concussions. I felt on his first show in December he was somewhat better than he was last night. He probably has too many voices in his head telling him what he should be doing. I still like him and his style is unique from the other cast of characters. He is the closest thing we have seen to a heel announcer in NXT. If he is given the chance to grow into the role, I think he can be very good at this eventually.

10. Kevin Owens the Greatest Debut In NXT History: if you had told me 18 months ago, that Kevin Steen would even be in the WWE, I would have had a hard time believing it. It would not be that Kevin wasn’t good enough but that Kevin wasn’t the typical mold of what a WWE Superstar is. I could never have imagined not only is he here in NXT but also has been brought in as the dominant heel of the brand. In his words two months to the day, he debuted in his third televised match he has won the NXT Championship. It is mind-boggling and to see him pictured with Triple H with the NXT Title seems almost out of a dream. It is all very real though and Kevin is truly one of the best performers I have been privileged to see.  It is so great to see him succeed and have success. It is so amazing the confidence and push he has been given on his way in the door in WWE. It really is a magical ride that Kevin has been on after months of waiting for him to debut. I don’t think this is the last title Kevin Owens will lay his hands on. He perhaps without knowing celebrated the same way as Brock Lesnar did when he beat The Rock head butting the title. I made the joke on twitter is it too late for Lesnar vs. Owens at Wrestlemania?  It is one of those wrestling moments that I will remember for a long time... if not forever. Now the work begins, as Owens will look to stay on top and validate what has been afforded him in entering the company with such a strong push.

Fast Lane will have a tough act to follow. This is nothing new for the folks on the WWE Roster who finally have some competition that TNA could never provide. NXT has become not just the future of the WWE but a true force that should motivate people on the main roster that have a pulse and a competitive bone in their body. It was another fun night in the wrestling fantasyland that is NXT. In a place where things make sense, more than they don’t and talent exceeds the high expectations of demanding pro wrestling fans more often than they do not.