by Shanna Harris (@AbsoluteSmark)
Wrestling friends! Welcome back. It’s been far too long since I’ve last done a show review, but after TakeOver ended on the Network, I felt compelled to write about it.
NXT, if you haven’t been paying attention, is the best televised wrestling program you’ll see not just on WWE TV, but everywhere. No exaggeration. It’s hard to find a bad thing to say about Takeover when just about every Takeover NXT has put on this year has been better than the last. I’m at a loss as to how NXT continues to outdo itself, but I’m here to telling you this with all the honesty I can muster: NXT is the business. Period.
Anyway. I’m sure you don’t want to hear me prattle on and on about how much I love NXT. You want to read about what happened on the show, right? Of course. Let’s get started.
Commentary for the evening provided by Corey Graves, Rich Brennan, and the irrelveant hack Alex Riley.
Match 1: Kevin “Steen” Owens vs CJ Parker
REvolution starts off with the debut of Kevin Owens AKA Kevin Steen. It warmed my cold black heart to see him so full of emotion during his entrance. He could hardly hold back the tears. Hell, I almost cried with him. And, can I just tell you guys that Kevin Owens looks fantastic? Dude has dropped serious weight, but he’s still the wonderful hunk of man that you know and love.
Anyway. CJ and Kevin squared up and it was GLORIOUS. Owens beat CJ Parker like he stole something and the crowd was red hot the entire time. Naturally, something had to go wrong.
It appeared that CJ Parker messed up on the palm strike and Owens got a little color in his NXT debut. Which only added to the match because Owens wiped that blood on his face and kept wrestling like the boss he is. Didn’t even phase him. I loved this.
And for record keeping purposes: 5 minutes and 25 seconds into the show, we got our first “holy shit” chant. Which wouldn’t be the last time that was chanted on this show.
I love NXT.
Move of the Match: Owens with an over the top dive (backwards!) to CJ Parker, taking him down to the floor. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
Winner: Kevin Owens.
Match 2: The Lucha Dragons (c) vs The Vaudevillans
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
I honestly would’ve been happy if either team won, but I LOVE The Vaudevillans and everything they’ve been doing lately has been off the charts. This match is no exception. This was a fantastic tag team match, highlighted by the fact that Aiden English is SHREDDED. Okay, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything.
The thing that surprised me most about The Vaudevillans is the crowd being so behind them. There’s nothing wrong with The Lucha Dragons, but the focus of the entire feud has been Vaudevillan skits and them being “dastardly.” Which isn’t bad. But I’m confused about The Vaudevillans. Aren’t they supposed to be bad? Because they don’t act like it. I’d love to cheer them, but I need NXT to tell me that it’s okay to do that. I’m getting mixed signals, and I’m not a fan.
I had my heart set on a Vaudevillans victory at TakeOver, but it was not to be. All the sadfaces.
Dare I say that this match was quite manly? No?
Okay, I’ll stop.
Move of the Match: Aiden English pushes Simon Gotch out of the way and eats two outside dives from The Lucha Dragons. Because, you know, they’re a tag team that cares about each other. #Chivalry
Winners (and still NXT Champions): The Lucha Dragons
Match 3: Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger
Baron Corbin arrives. He soaks in the atmosphere. He enters the ring. He squashes Tye in about 30 seconds. Bull Dempsey stands up somewhere during the match and stares at Corbin. Corbin stares back. It ends. Goodbye.
Move of the Match: N/A
Winner: Baron Corbin
Match 4: The Ascension vs Hideo Itami and Finn Balor
So, here’s the deal. I’m not an expert on the indy scene. I’ve heard the names KENTA and Prince Devitt before, but never took the time to seek out their matches.
When they signed with WWE, I was excited for them. It’s a dream that had finally been accomplished. From a performance standpoint, I didn’t really know what I was in for with these two.
As they’ve continued to appear on NXT, they’ve been impressive, particularly Balor. Itami and Balor have both got a massive case of “it”, but I think Balor has a little bit more of it. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re fun to watch.
People have told me about Balor’s epic entrances, but I thought it was exaggeration. There’s no way an entrance is that game changing, right?
Wrong. I’m stupid and wrong.
I’ve never watched Balor’s entrances, so I was completely blown away when he CRAWLED OUT ON STAGE in face/body paint and TEETH KNEEPADS. He brought the house down without even stepping in the ring. No bones about it. I marked out HEAVILY for Balor here. The crawling, Balor’s mannerisms. He was deeply into it, and I dig the fuck out of it. Yes, I cannot say this without cursing.
I’ve read interviews where Finn Balor where he said he loves wrestling. It’s not about the money or the fame for him. It’s about going out there and putting on a show so unbelievable that people will never forget it. Balor accomplished that last night. I will guarantee that seeing an entrance at Wrestlemania will cause me to mark out so hard that it causes spontaneous combustion.
Fact: Having the privilege of excessively replaying Finn’s entrance is worth $9.99 per month. I will fight anyone who disagrees with me. If for some reason you missed this, see it and wrap yourself in it’s embrace. Balor is magnificent, and he’ll be a giant star.
This match was pretty good too. The crowd nearly brought the building down when Itami teased hitting the GTS, so of course HHH and Co. are going to literally blue ball us with GTS teases.
I LOVE NXT
Move of the Match: Itami teases the GTS, crowd becomes unglued. Crowd screams with rage when Connor stops the attempt. I sob.
Is that a move? No? Oh well.
Winners: Finn Balor and Hideo Itami
Meanwhile, backstage: Renee interviews Roman Reigns. Who cares? Let’s move to what really matters!
Match 4: Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks
NXT Women’s Championship Match
After this match, I’m finished caring about the WWE Divas. Like Emma and Paige, Sasha Banks and Charlotte have proved that the women of NXT are on a totally different level.
Sasha Banks went from being a bland, forgettable face to an in-ring surgeon and the brightest heel personality wrestling has ever seen. Make no mistake, Sasha Banks is the real deal heel. There’s not a single woman better than her on the main roster or on NXT. REvolution was her official Evolution to being the greatest of all time. Yup, I said it. Greatest of all time.
I’ve gone back and forth on Charlotte many times. She was outstanding going against Sasha on the show, but I’m hesitant to fully get behind her because I feel like she phones it in. Those feelings aside, she worked her ass off in this match and gave her best big show performance since her match with Natalya at TakeOver 2: Electric Boogaloo.
I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but I have to repeat it: NOBODY on the main roster can outperform the women of NXT. Nobody. That’s a fact. There’s a reason AJ Lee outed these women on Raw. Because they’re the best. Never forget it.
Move of the Match: Sasha Banks dives to the outside, bringing Charlotte to the floor along with her.
Winner (and still NXT Women’s Champion): Charlotte
Match 5: Adrian Neville (c) vs Sami Zayn
NXT Championship Match
There’s so much you can say about this match. You can talk about how brilliant the year and a half build up to this match was the best and most consistent story on NXT. You can say that Adrian Neville was the perfect finale obstacle for Sami Zayn to overcome.
Or you can do what I did and cry when Sami and Kevin Owens embraced after Sami finally climbed the mountain.
I’ve said before that NXT is a product that rewards you for loyalty. If you’re new to the product, NXT does just enough good stuff to keep you interested and watching. If you’re someone familiar with NXT, they give you enough new characters and surprises to keep you hook line and sunk into the stories they tell.
NXT’s writing team is literally two guys in a bar scribbling on a napkin and they are annihilating almost every single main roster show, almost every single time.
I’ve never heard a crowd so rowdily behind a guy like on this live special. When Sami Zayn picked up the NXT Title and teased hitting Neville with it, the crowd launched to their feet and screamed no. Because WE didn’t want Sami to do what Neville did to him. We want him to remain the guy we know he is. The guy that is good and pure and cares about the people around him.
Wrestling, as much as it’s about good guys and bad guys, is nothing without a story to tell. If anything, I don’t think it’s too far out of line to say that REvolution was NXT’s Wrestlemania. The culmination of everything good and wonderful that NXT fans love, with a very special HOLY SHIT WHYYYYYYYYYY at the end to keep us around until the next special.
This match, as good as it was, was start of Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens. In the hands of NXT, this one should be a spectacle like no other.
My body is ready.
But before we get that, let’s do a happy jig for Sami’s NXT Title win. I can’t think of another person who deserves it more than him.
Move of the Match: The entire match. Just watch it already.
Winner (and NEW NXT Champion): Sami Zayn
And THAT’s the show. Normally I’d write a cute little exit paragraph here, but I do not have time to rewatch this entire show again and finish this. I’ll leave you with this:
Watch NXT. It will change your wrestling fandom forever and for the better.
Farewell, friends. Let’s do this again soon.