The wait was finally over for NXT fans and personnel as NXT Takeover: R Evolution proved to be another huge success. The fourth NXT special saw the highly anticipated debut of Kevin Owens whilst Sami Zayn attempted to finally win the big one, but did he defeat Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship?
The event didn’t start off with the best news, as Corey Graves joined Renee Young, Jason Alberto and Alex Riley on the pre-show panel as he announced his in-ring retirement on doctor’s orders after sustaining injury after injury. But that doesn’t mean Graves won’t be on our screens anymore on Thursday nights as he officially joined the broadcast team and made an impressive debut as a broadcaster at the event.
KEVIN OWENS VS CJ PARKER
An explosive start to Takeover with the highly anticipated debut of Kevin Owens kicking off the show, and as expected CJ Parker was his opponent and Owens left the fans wanting more. Owens wasted no time as he hit Parker with two huge running clothesline into the corner before hitting the cannonball in the corner all within the opening few seconds.
Owens tore up CJ Parker’s sign and then left the fans in awe by hitting a massive front flip over the top rope and telling the fans that this is only the beginning. He took CJ Parker back into the ring and even though he ate some boots to the jaw, it was all going Owens’ way as he hit a huge powerbomb for the win.
We got a small glimpse of Adrian Neville as he prepared for his main event match up against Sami Zayn, before a video package of The Vaudevillains and The Lucha Dragons aired in time for their match.
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NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS THE LUCHA DRAGONS © VS THE VAUDEVILLAINS
The first title defence of the evening as The Lucha Dragons took on The Vaudevillains who were on an impressive run heading into this event. Sin Cara and Kalisto made a very quick start after hitting a standing lionsault for a two count before Aiden English restored balance in the match.
The crowd played a big role in this match with some epic chants throughout the entire evening as the Vaudevillains took over this match as both Gotch and English tok turns to dish out some punishment. Kalisto was finally tagged in and the speed instantly picked up, a double top rope dive took out Aiden English as Simon Gotch moved out of the way, back inside the ring Kalisto hit the Salida Del Sol on Gotch to retain the gold.
TYE DILLINGER VS BARON CORBIN
Baron Corbin in action could only mean one thing, a quick yet dominating victory and that’s exactly what we got. It was longer than usual but still well under a minute, the fans started the count at the bell as Corbin threw Dillinger into the corner for the snake eyes before hitting a big boot followed by a power slam and then the End of Days for the win at 39 seconds.
Bull Dempsey was at ringside and the two entered in a very long stare off even as Corbin was walking back up the ramp to build up the tension, it will be a great occasion to see them in a match at another special event.
Backstage, Sami Zayn was warming up as he turned down Enzo Amore and Big Cass’ offer of milk before looking over to see Kevin Owens sitting down. A Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and The Ascension video package was shown as their match followed.
THE ASCENSION VS HIDEO ITAMI AND FINN BALOR
Right from the first entrance to the closing bell this was fantastic, The Ascension’s entrance always send goosebumps around the arena whilst Hideo Itami donned some new gear but Finn Balor stole the show with an incredible entrance, bringing his infamous face paint with him; something which could not be missed. A back and forth match with both teams on the offence throughout the match after a brawl kicked things off. The key events saw Balor starting with a knee into the corner as The Ascension then dominated Hideo Itami for the majority of the match.
Viktor went to the top rope but ate a kick to the face courtesy of Balor as he cleaned up house with the enzuigiri but missed the top rope double stomp as Viktor rolled out of the way and his an STO, Itami broke up the pin. Fans started to cheer as Itami went for the Go To Sleep but it wasn’t to be as Konnor broke it up before Itami broke up the Fall of Man. The match finished with both Itami and Balor hitting double foot stomps off the top rope as Balor pinned Viktor for the win.
Renee Young was backstage with a very special guest in Roman Reigns, an NXT alumni. He talked about being excited to watch an awesome show and an awesome main event as he knows Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn will tear the house down. He talked about his own goals, as he wants to become the first NXT alumni to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion – I doubt Daniel Bryan counts as this format of NXT is a lot different to when Bryan was on NXT.
We see The Nature Boy, Ric Flair backstage giving his daughter Charlotte a pep talk, followed by a video package highlighting the events that took place between Charlotte and Sasha Banks leading up to this NXT Women’s Championship match.
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – CHARLOTTE © VS SASHA BANKS
Another divas match which suggest that there is some hope for the divas division as Sasha Banks and Charlotte put on an incredible match, one of the best matches of the evening at that. Sasha Banks played a great heel by mocking Charlotte’s t-shirt with her own as Banks took the early advantage, hitting a quick kick to the head before sending Charlotte into the steel steps.
After mocking Charlotte a little more the champ became fired up and took control, lifting Banks up for an electric chair drop. Charlotte then countered the Bank Statement before her figure four attempt ended up in a roll-up from Banks. The match finished on a brilliant note as Charlotte hit the Natural Selection from the top rope to retain her gold.
More build up to the main event as the pressure piled on Sami Zayn about the fact that he doesn’t have what it takes to win the big one.
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP – ADRIAN NEVILLE © VS SAMI ZAYN
Absolutely incredible from start to finish. The long entrances, the stare off, the fact that the two had over half an hour to compete was fantastic and the match hadn’t even begun but you could tell this story was one fans wanted to finally see come to an end. There was so much passion and energy in this match that it was enough to main event any event on the WWE calendar. So much technical wrestling, high-flying antics, close calls which kept the fans on their feet throughout the entire match and they showed no signs of stopping cheering or chanting and they played a massive role in the brilliant main event.
Sami Zayn was close to using the NXT Championship but couldn’t bring himself to cheat, Neville then grabbed a roll up for two but Zayn kicked out this time as Neville walked into an exploder into the corner before the Helluva Kick connected as Sami Zayn finally became the NXT Champion.
The entire locker room came to celebrate with Sami Zayn as Kevin Owens led the pack and hugged it out with his best friend, the superstars celebrated by carrying him around the ring and Neville was humble in defeat by hugging Sami Zayn. After more celebrations Kevin Owens helped his friend out of the ring but out of nowhere, he attacked Sami Zayn by hitting a massive power bomb on the apron to knock out the new champion, Kevin Owens wasn’t kidding when he said he’ll fight anyone and everyone in what was a great night for Sami Zayn and the fans, but an epic debut for Kevin Owens.