This week on NXT we saw the two semi-final matches with Hideo Itami and Finn Balor battled it out to take on the winner of Adrian Neville and Baron Corbin at next week’s Takeover special.
Already announced for NXT Takeover: Rival is the highly anticipated NXT Championship clash between the champion Sami Zayn as he takes on Kevin Owens who made his NXT debut around two months ago.
Charlotte will also defend her NXT Women’s Championship in a fatal 4 way match with the odds stacked against her, with Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch aiming to dethrone the champion after a lengthy reign.
NEVILLE VS CORBIN
Kicking off the night was Carmella but the fans want to see Blue Pants in action instead of Emma, Enzo Amore and Big Cass try their best to win back the fans and they succeed with Big Cass leading the crowd into spelling ‘SAWFT’.
Carmella chokes Emma to begin the match after a short brawl and Carmella mocks Emma’s dancing but pays the price as Emma hit the Dilemma, but it didn’t have much effect on the match as Carmella brought down Emma and locked in the leg lock cross face for the submission victory.
The first of two semi-finals followed with Adrian Neville and Baron Corbin looking to advance to the final at Takeover, with the winner being crowned the number one contender to the NXT Championship.
Baron Corbin took control early on by taking Neville into the corner as Neville realised it wouldn’t be easy. He tried to hit a cross body but it had little effect on Corbin before eating a number of kicks to the ribs. Corbin then reversed a running dropkick attempt into a big right hand before bringing Neville back into the corner and beating down on him to slow down the much faster Adrian Neville.
Corbin hit a big slam on Neville but only for a two count but Neville got back into the match by hitting a dropkick on Corbin’s knees to send him to the turnbuckle. Neville successfully connected with a springboard dropkick and then attempted the springboard plancha only for Corbin to throw him on to the barricade. Adrian Neville got back inside the ring as Bull Dempsey also made his way out and threw Corbin into the ring post, allowing Adrian Neville to hit the Red Arrow and advance to the final next week.
Sami Zayn said that Kevin Owens played the whole thing perfectly and he got exactly what he wanted, William Regal also didn’t see it coming and he’s seen it all before hyping up Takeover: Rival with Sami Zayn saying he will bringing everything he has.
A no disqualification match between Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey is announced for Takeover.
Divas action next, with Bayley and Becky Lynch looking to gain all-important momentum heading into the championship match next week with the fans struggling which heel to side with. Becky Lynch targeted the bad knee of Bayley and hit a snap suplex and then hit three legdrops, one after another before Nayley sent Lynch to the outside.
As expected, Sasha Banks made her way to the ring and the distraction cost Bayley, allowing Lynch to aim for the knee again. Sasha Banks threw her partner back into the ring as she ate a Belly to Bayley to give Bayley the win, after the match Becky shoved Banks down to the ground as the champion made her way out to watch the action.
Kevin Owens next, he admits that this whole thing was a plan and Sami Zayn knew what was happening, and now he’s going to become the NXT Champion two months to the day of his explosive debut.
The next tournament match graphic then appears, and once again we see the ‘technical difficulty’ – which is a tease for the arrival of Solomon Crowe.
BALOR VS ITAMI
Another match is announced for NXT Takeover: Rival as The Lucha Dragons get their championship rematch, taking on Blake and Murphy.
Tyler Breeze is now out of the tournament and says he’s going to watch the remainder of the tournament closely, teasing a match with the losing finalist.
The fans were into the main event right from the get-go, fans started to chant “we’re not worthy” and “better than Raw” as Itami and Balor put on a great performance.
The match started with a great back and forth wrestling sequence, a great way to show how there’s nothing to split the two superstars. The entire match was full of back and forth action with plenty of roll-ups and technical manoeuvres to keep the fans interested. Balor started to chop Itami a number of times before Itami fought back with a running knee in the corner followed by a top rope clothesline for only a two count.
Once more, Itami teased the GTS but Finn Balor fought out of it and the two went on to trade kicks. Hideo Itami looked to get the better of exchange and hit a running dropkick into the corner. Balor then hit the Sling Blade and then hit a big dropkick on Itami to send him into the corner and followed it up with his top rope double stomp for the victory, setting up the final against Adrian Neville.
After the match both Finn Balor and Hideo Itami shook hands as a sign of respect with Adrian Neville and Finn Balor engaging in a stare off as a final Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn video package aired. Sami Zayn said he should have seen this coming but Kevin Owens surprised him, getting married and becoming a Father changed things and next week at Takeover he’s going to see what Owens is really made of.