After months of anticipation and build-up, the third NXT special event has come and gone. NXT Takeover II lived up to the high expectations as only one championship changed hands.
The entertainment kicked off early as the pre-show featured General Manager William Regal, Jason Albert, Renee Young and Alex Riley; whilst CJ Parker continued his attempted movement to save planet earth by paying a visit to the panel before being placed in a match for the evening.
The crowd were excited from the very start as expectations were sky-high after the great success we saw with NXT: ArRival and NXT: Takeover, with all of the champions on the line and the excitement surrounding the new signings in KENTA, Fergal Devitt and Kevin Steen; the fans had a perfectly good excuse to be loud from the beginning of the show, right until the very end.
The NXT Tag Team Championship match kicked off the evening as the winners of the NXT Tag Team Championship tournament Kalisto and Sin Cara attempted to bring The Ascension back down to earth after their 300 plus day reign as champions.
Match One (NXT Tag Team Championship): The Ascension © vs. Kalisto and Sin Cara
New music and attire for Sin Cara and Kalisto and even though they are smaller in stature, you could tell that they would still be The Ascension’s biggest challengers to date. As usual early dominance from Konnor and Viktor as they roughed up their opponents but Kalisto and Sin Cara fought back and used their speed and high-flying traits to their advantage to get back into the bout.
Towards the end the entire match was very fast paced and a couple of forgivable botches from Sin Cara and Kalisto – who dubbed themselves as The Lucha Dragons - resulted in the champions catching Kalisto in mid-air from the outside of the ring. Konnor and Viktor looked to have this match wrapped up as they signalled for the Fall of Man but Sin Cara tripped up Konnor, Kalisto then hit the Salida Del Sol on Viktor and attempted the pin-fall; and just like that we had new NXT Tag Team Champions after a very good opening match.
Result: Kalisto and Sin Cara defeat The Ascension – NEW NXT Tag Team Champions.
After a quick moment’s silence in memory of 9/11, we see a video package of the NXT Champion Adrian Neville where he talks about his very tough year – but he still hasn’t lost one match. He says we will remember that he’s the man that gravity forgot and although he’s beaten all of his challengers but now he has to beat them all at once.
Match Two: CJ Parker vs. Baron Corbin
The only impromptu match of the night saw CJ Parker go up against an intimidating Baron Corbin who towered over Parker. Corbin was already waiting inside the ring for CJ Parker, and Parker’s entrance lasted longer than the match itself.
Corbin slammed Parker into the corner before hitting an impressive one armed Downward Spiral for the victory in 32 seconds. A very good re-debut for Baron Corbin who could have an interesting couple of months ahead of him.
Result: Baron Corbin defeats CJ Parker
Match Three (Hair vs. Hair): Enzo Amore w/Big Cass vs. Sylvester Lefort w/Marcus Louis
After a quick video package on Tyson Kidd hyping up the main event, we go into the hair vs. hair match between Lefort and Amore. Enzo Amore and Big Cass ensured the fans were pumped from the start, bringing out a bucket full of hair removal cream before getting on the microphone and suggesting a few new hairstyles for Lefort. A combover and a mushroom are suggested whilst the fans shouted back ‘How you doin’ very loud.
Not the longest of matches but still entertaining, Lefort looked the stronger of the two and it looked all over for Enzo after a clothesline from Lefort which was a result of a Marcus Louis distraction but it was only a two count. Big Cass took out Louis as Amore rolled up Lefort for the win.
Result: Enzo Amore defeats Sylvester Lefort.
Lefort was never going to sit quietly in the chair and have his head shaved, instead he ran away from Enzo and Big Cass. With no option left they dumped the bucket of hair removal cream over the head of Marcus Louis.
Tyler Breeze’ turn to tell us why he deserves to be the next NXT Champion and states that every single one of his outfit goes with gold.
Next, William Regal is brought into the ring and talks about the great times NXT is enjoying right now, before finally ending the fans excitement by bringing out International sensation, KENTA.
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A number of superstars such as Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins talk about how good KENTA is in a video before the arena turns red and blaring music as KENTA walks on to the stage in a suit. An extremely loud reaction for KENTA which was fantastic to see from a very impressive crowd at Full Sail University. He welcomes the fans in English before talking in Japanese before reverting back to English. Then, the one pieve of news the die-hard fans were avoiding was confirmed by KENTA; he is starting fresh and starting fresh means a new name, no more KENTA as now he will go by Hideo Itami, a hero of his.
He says he wants the NXT Championship as fans are left stunned with The Ascension interrupting Hideo Itami.
They throw Itami outside of the ring before demanding a rematch. They are left surprised as Itami gets back into the ring and wants to fight. He loosens his tie before hitting a double dropkick after a forearm to take out both Konnor and Viktor. He sits on the chair and taunts the former NXT Tag Team Champions to get back into the ring but they don’t. A very good debut for Hideo Itami and hopefully there’s more to come.
Match Four: Mojo Rawley vs. Bull Dempsey
Another very short yet predictable match between the hype-man Mojo Rawley and the dominant Bull Dempsey. The fans are chanting for Kevin Steen as Mojo Rawley hits a spear on Bull, but Dempsey runs over him with great force. He then gets on to the top rope and hits a diving headbutt to pick the win in just over a minute. After the match Dempsey decided to hit another diving headbutt on Rawley.
Result: Bull Dempsey defeats Mojo Rawley.
Backstage again where Enzo is annoyed that he didn’t get to see anyone go bald. Big Cass and Enzo then notice Marcus Louis with a towel over his head before carrying him to the ring for the big reveal. Amore ripped off the towel to see a very disturbing looking Marcus Louis with patches of hair still on his head and without any eyebrows. Enzo Amore leads a ‘B-A-W-L-D’ chant before leaving.
A quick video package of Bayley wanting to become the new NXT Women’s Champion whilst Charlotte reiterates she won’t be beaten.
Match Five (NXT Women’s Championship): Charlotte © vs. Bayley
The second of three championships on the line in another very good divas match involving Charlotte. The match was very back and forth as Bayley looked a genuine threat to Charlotte’s gold.
Bayley looked to have the match won and attempted a Bayley-To-Belly but couldn’t connect it. Charlotte then managed to hit Natural Selection to retain her Women’s Championship but still a great effort from Bayley.
After the match Sasha Banks tried to attack Bayley but Charlotte threw her out of the ring.
Result: Charlotte defeats Bayley – STILL NXT Women’s Champion.
Main Event (NXT Championship Fatal 4 Way): Adrian Neville © vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd.
After another video package, this time Sami Zayn we receive confirmation that Hideo Itami will make his NXT debut next week.
Words cannot describe how great this match was, and the fans deserve credit for being very loud and into the match all the way with some incredible chanting at the right moments to keep the four superstars going.
All four men had clear opportunities to win the match and walk out with the gold but none of them could manage to keep the others down for the three count, whether it was a kick out or dragging the referee out of the ring.
Some fantastic manoeuvres which left the fans in awe, great high-flying from Adrian Neville whilst Sami Zayn also displayed his great technical ability and heart. But yet again, Sami Zayn came very close to becoming champion but was unable to go the distance. After dragging the referee out, Adrian Neville hit Sami Zayn with a huge kick to the face before hitting a Red Arrow on Tyson Kidd to retain the championship and to end a very successful night of wrestling.
Result: Adrian Neville defeats Tyson Kidd, Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn – STILL NXT Champion