Finn Balor and Hideo Itami advance in NXT Championship tournament

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This week on NXT General Manager William Regal made three big announcements for the show in February, whilst the tournament to determine the number one contender for the NXT Championship also started with Hideo Itami and Finn Balor both in action against tough opposition.

Tension was high heading into this week’s episode after Kevin Owens made another appearance last week and laid out Sami Zayn and kicked the championship to his head. The Vaudevillians were also in action against Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake, with both teams looking to challenge The Lucha Dragons for the NXT Tag Team Championships.


The show started with a recap of the Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens saga which ended with Kevin Owens attacking Sami Zayn last week, after Zayn successfully defended his NXT Championship against Adrian Neville in a fantastic match last week; whilst Adrian Neville has promised revenge.

General Manager William Regal announces that NXT Takeover will take place on February 11 and it will host the finals of the NXT Championship #1 contender tournament before announcing that Charlotte will be defending her NXT Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks for later on in the evening.

The first match saw Tye Dillinger waiting inside the ring for his opponent and it was Sami Zayn who ran down to the ring and he destroyed Dillinger before the bell could even ring, so there was no match.

A frustrated Sami Zayn demanded that Kevin Owens comes down to the ring so they can fight but William Regal interrupts him. Sami Zayn tells him that he won’t wrestle any more matches unless Kevin Owens is his opponent so he suggests Owens comes to the ring. William Regal can’t accommodate his request as Kevin Owens isn’t the number one contender for the NXT Championship and needs to earn his shot. Sami Zayn offered to make it a non-title match, anything he needs to do to get his hands on his so-called friend.

Zayn told Regal he won’t take his anger out on him out of respect and will do whatever the General Manager asks of him, William Regal agreed and announces a non-title match between the two for Takeover and they will sign the contract next week.


Eight superstars have the chance to advance to Takeover and compete in a number one contender’s match with the possibility of facing the NXT Champion in the near future. This week there were two matches with some great match-ups.

This week Finn Balor and Curtis Axel would battle it out and in the main event Tyler Breeze attempted to bring down Hideo Itami. The final two quarter-final matches which take place next week will see Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd go at it and a rematch between Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey is also set.

The first match in the tournament saw Finn Balor and Curtis Axel going for the win, the fans were behind Balor the entire match which saw Axel elbow Balor to kick the match off but Finn came back to knock him to the ground and hit an impressive flip dive to the outside. Axel took control with some clotheslines to the back of the head for a two count and hit a clean-looking dropkick.

The fans didn’t hide their feelings for Axel as he continued to dominate by hitting a knee to the head but Balor got back into the match, hitting the Pele Kick and a Sling Blade and followed it up with the top rope double stomp to advance to the next round where he will take on the winner of Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami.


Sasha Banks tells the fans that Charlotte will have nobody to protect her in her match against Banks and it’s time for her to capture the gold before walking off from the interview – Bull Dempsey also swear revenge next week against Baron Corbin.

The championship match started with both divas grappling to the mat with Charlotte getting the better of the exchange and had to take Becky Lynch out in the process. Charlotte continued to dominate and Becky Lynch interfered to cost Sasha Banks the win to give Charlotte the victory through disqualification. After the match, Bayley ran down to the ring and picked up the NXT Women’s Championship, that didn’t sit well with Charlotte and she ate a Belly-to-Bayley for her troubles, prompting William Regal to announce a Fatal 4 Way match between the four divas at Takeover.

Kevin Owens was then on-screen, saying he doesn’t want to be interviewed and will say whatever he needs to Sami Zayn’s face next week.

Tag Team action followed, the Vaudevillians taking on Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake with a surprising outcome. Simon Gotch and Aiden English started off the stronger out of the teams hitting forearms and beat downs on Buddy Murphy. He finally tagged in Wesley Blake who hit an impressive power slam for a two count, Buddy Murphy kicked Aiden English while the referee was distracted and Wesley Blake scored the pin. The dup demanded a title shot next week against The Lucha Dragons after citing that the result wasn’t an upset.


The second match from the NXT Championship tournament saw Tyler Breeze take on Hideo Itami with Marcus Louis still obsessed with Tyler Breeze.

A great back and forth main event match lasting under 15 minutes with Tyler Breeze taking control for most of the match. Itami was struggling in the corner before Breeze connected with a snap crucifix for a very close call. Tyler Breeze started to shout at Itami but Itami refused to stay down and shouted back.

Hideo Itami continued to use the famous kicks before setting up and connecting with the running dropkick in the corner and followed it up by hitting a running boot to the face, Hideo Itami will meet Finn Balor in two weeks.

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