There certainly is a new era in NXT: old faces are gone while new ones just came in. And William Regal made sure that everyone is just as excited as he is. The question is: will there be another champion apart from Kevin Owens in this era?
Short fun segments to dribble into the new era
We started the show with a short replay of events from the NXT TakeOver: Rival special last week, especially the murder of Sami Zayn by Kevin Owens. That lead to this little gem:
So GM William Regal basically said, “you can do whatever you like as far as it pleases me and it is within my rules”. Shortly after the new NXT champion, Kevin Owens, appeared inside the ring to answer to that in stating that always did what he said, that he doesn’t play games and that he will indeed fight anybody – now for the title. And he indeed knows that Finn Bálor is the #1 contender for the title, so he advised him to go to William Regal to make a date. The answer to that Finn Bálor only gave backstage today. He said that he has got a high opinion on himself as well and that he’s not afraid of the new force in NXT. And he was just finished when Rhyno strolled by to stare Finn Bálor down before he disappeared again. Rhyno had just destroyed Elias Samson within half a minute in the first match of this episode of NXT. And the stare-down might suggest that sooner or later both men will meet inside the ring.
Simply hilarious was the next match between The Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (w/ Carmella). First Simon Gotch and Aiden English came out in their usual way and already hilarious about that was that referee Drake Wuertz acted like he was actually surprised about the black & white surroundings. But Enzo Amore really shot the bird with his new beard. His new nickname should be Yellowbeard. Their usual introduction culminated in mocking the Vaudevillains and claiming that it was now time for Amore & Big Cass to go for the NXT Tag Team title. And they made their statement heard when they defeated The Vaudevillains within just two minutes. So the challenge was heard by Blake & Murphy who appeared on the big screen after the match. But the challenge wasn’t accepted. Instead they invited Carmella to join them. But (so far) she seemed to not like this thought. Could led to some tension within the trio.
In a backstage interview Adrian Neville then made it clear that he will take his match against Kevin Owens personal, not just because for himself but also to get revenge for his friend Sami Zayn. I really like it that NXT always tries to get some meaning behind any little match. Nothing actually happens without a reason. Literally everything is explained when it isn’t entirely obvious. Or – in this case – it even hypes the actual meaning even more to push the main event match. Really well done. Also interesting were the short backstage statements by Bayley and Becky Lynch. While Bayley is still focused on the big price that is the NXT women’s championship, Becky Lynch was actually satisfied enough about the fact that Charlotte lost. No real mention about the title and that she would go for it. Very much looks like Bayley is next in line again. So the question is: will she ever get that title?
Next inside the ring was CJ Parker, and he was furious because he wasn’t part of the NXT TakeOver: Rival special. Because of that he wanted to end the show and take everyone hostage. He made his point clear with wrapping up the ring into yellow caution band when finally Salomon Crowe made his debut by beating down CJ Parker, so the show was able to continue. Looks like CJ Parker will lose in a legit match against Solomon Crowe next week.
And we also got to see the new NXT women’s champion, Sasha Banks, in her first match as the owner of the belt. It was a non-title match and it was against Blue Pants of all people. Sasha Banks very much looked offended and didn’t really want to even start this match. But Blue Pants mocked her first and shoved Sasha Banks out of the ring. Now the new champion had reason to actually compete with defeating Blue Pants within just over two minutes. See, WWE, it’s actually possible to do a fun women’s segment without embarrassing women. Who would have thought?
At least Adrian Neville showed us that Kevin Owens might be human, too
And now there was the main event. Including one commercial break this one lasted for around 14 minutes and started almost as a déjà vu to the Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens fight. The bell rang and Kevin Owens went outside the ring to start his mind games and fighting strategy. But Adrian Neville didn’t want to wait inside the ring. Straight forward he came for Kevin Owens and so the brawl began. As you might have expected it was a good match and Kevin Owens most of the time had the upper hand, so to speak. He actually held down Adrian Neville in several chin-locks. But right at the end Adrian Neville seemed to have the upper hand. He was able to land several high flying moves – including one impressive 450 splash outside the ring – on Kevin Owens to get at least some revenge for himself and Sami Zayn. Then Kevin Owens survived a few pins while he finally got the win with basically the first real pin on Adrian Neville.
And now that Adrian Neville finally got that revenge he’ll certainly join WWE as well. I somehow still hope that he’s not given this stupid gnome / dwarf gimmick like the rumours suggest. But I doubt that he’ll be taken seriously in WWE. Instead I’m afraid that he’ll be turned into a joke like The Ascension.
That was what William Regal had to say after the show about the return of Rhyno and the second coming of The Brian Kendrick next week. He also teased a mysterious opponent whom the NXT Universe will love. Mmm, who could that be? Stay tuned…