December 17, 2014 by gorillapressonline
NXT Takeover R Evolution was an absolute game changer, no matter how you look at it, with even the pre-show managing to shock us, thanks to a bitter-sweet revelation from Corey Graves, who revealed what fans had suspected for a while, that he is unable to perform in the ring anymore due to a series of rather serious concussions. Graves also announced that he will move into an announcing role as of tonight, which is a wonderful example of a way in which the WWE does not suck.
The air of change started early in the night, as the beginning of the special, 2-hour programme saw another, highly-anticipated début in the form of Kevin Owens.
The involvement of Owens on the PPV was unknown prior to his music hitting, with him opening the show against NXT eco-warrior CJ Parker.
Owens started the match off by aggressively attacking Parker rather ruthlessly, clearly set to destroy the superstar methodically, with agile high spots including a top rope targetting Parker from the get go.
After a surprisingly stiff face-palm Owens’ face was the proverbial crimson mask and boy did this help add to the feel of the match, fans watching at Full Sail knew this was magic and were thoroughly raucous throughout.
Owens has already made an excellent impression with this his first win as a NXT Superstar
An interesting build-up to this match took place over the past few weeks on NXT. The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch and Aiden English) are currently in an excellent position to make a name for themselves in this championship title shot.
The Lucha Dragons are also highly respected by the NXT Universe, with the Sin Cara character coming into his own alongside his buddy Kalisto.
The two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum here, with the high flying Luchas taking early control of the match. Sin Cara and Gotch start proceedings nicely and don’t waste any time in putting the fans on the edge of their seats.
Both teams work the match well, allowing it time to breathe, as the Luchas use their speed to try to control Gotch and English, who utilise a more traditional style of wrestling, giving the fans time to savour the action on display.
A beautiful corkscrew moonsault from Kalisto ups the tempo again, as Aiden English takes a double dive from the Dragons.
Kalisto gets the win with his Solida Del Sol to retain the championship for his team, in a well fought and excellently executed tag match.
This is clearly just the start of an excellent feud and the future of NXT will see this develop further, while simultaneously cementing the Dragons as a team to be reckoned with.
The Luchas take the win and retain
Baron Corbin has been wreaking havoc in NXT lately, destroying a number of talents in rapid time. The imposing Superstar has brought upon some attention from Bull Dempsey, who watches from ringside as Corbin demolishes Dillinger in under 40 seconds, completing the match with the End of Days finisher.
All eyes are on Dempsey as he and Corbin stare each other down, in an excellent build-up to a match with little effort and a lot of intrigue.
Corbin takes the win in a ludicrously short time
With Konnor and Viktor set to make their much-anticipated move up to the main roster in the near future, this is a chance for the duo to make a lasting impression on the NXT fans, and who better to have your swansong match with than Balor and Itami?
Balor teased that he was bringing something special with him – a nod to his Indy persona and excellent in-ring face-paint, made famous during his stint with NJPW – and woah does he deliver! The menacing look that he brings with the face-paint tonight rounds off the sinister edge of the Balor mythos and suits him to a tee.
The Ascension are well over with the crowd, but Full Sail absolutely erupts as Balor snakes his way through the smoke to reveal what all fans had hoped for.
Konnor and Victor look bemused at ringside as the camera lingers on them, Balor getting into the heat of the competition. Itami and Balor take no time in attack their opponents, working admirably well in unison with the double corner rope dropkicks kicking off the match in style.
Itami has stepped things up a notch here and the passion and ability on show in this match from him is much more like the KENTA of old, a hungry, aggressive and emotive Superstar who is now finally finding his feet in the NXT ranks.
A lot of pressure was on both Itami and Balor ever since they were both drafted to the NXT and they have exceeded expectations thus far. The feeling in the air tonight is that this is just the start of something special.
The Ascension will adjust well to the main roster, and the way that they work together shows a good chemistry as a tag team – quick, successive tags between the two slow the pace down and work the crowd like an old school team.
They single out Itami and work him down, preventing a tag and building the suspense of the match nicely. When Balor finally gets the tag the crowd go wild, proof that the talent on display here can work a crowd no end.
Balor hits a huge ensigury before taking out both Konnor and Viktor with a fearless rope dive, executing an impressive brain-buster Suplex on the larger athlete effortlessly.
The match ends with an impressive double-diving footstomp from Balor and Itami and although The Ascension lose this bout they have cast themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Both tag matches delivered different styles and ring-work, yet both hit the mark so well, something which is sadly becoming a rarity in the modern WWE product. The main roster could prove to be a lot brighter in the near future, with this lot involved.
Itami and Balor pull out all the stops to claim an awe-inspiring victory over the hot favourites
Another match with excellent build-up and talented wrestlers involved. Charlotte is another NXT Superstar pegged for the big leagues in the near future and she possesses a lot of demonstrable talent. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are working well as the two main heel Divas and have brought a lot of heat coming up to this PPV match.
Duelling chants start this emotional and hard-fought bout. Banks comes out with some vicious chops and the execution of her finish move The Bank Statement looks devastating – Charlotte sells this well and the action evolves nicely between the two.
Charlotte’s rich wrestling heritage plays out nicely as an angle and an electric chair drop is reminiscent of her father, which the crowd eats up. There are lots of genuinely close calls, and good use of the ring by both women, making this a wonderful championship match – and around two-thirds of the main WWE Divas division could learn a lot from these two.
The fans rightfully chant “this is wrestling”.
A Natural Selection from the top rope wraps this match up perfectly as Charlotte Flair retains in what could possibly be the Divas match of the year, excellent stuff.
Charlotte and Sasha show ’em how it’s done, with Flair’s girl taking the win and retaining the belt in the process
The build-up to this match has taken several months with some absolutely fantastic matches and a heartfelt and tenuous journey for Sami Zayn, in particular. As he enters the ring to raucous applause, he deservedly takes time to savour the moment. The fans can see this is something special and the whole air surrounding it is electrifying.
Both Superstars have a magnetic energy between them, chain wrestling and beautiful flourishes of attacks from both work perfectly as they have the crowd captivated through every moment.
Despite a few setbacks which, although relevant, hinder the pace of the match – the ref taking a bump and Zayn checking on him keep the good-natured Zayn in the forefront of the fans’ minds, but this does have a tiny knock-on effect of the flow of the match.
Neville resorts to using the NXT belt as a weapon and is overpowered by Zayn, who looks like he will finally use underhanded tactics to win, but thankfully he decides against it and with a powerful Helluva Kick finally wins the big one to the deafening applause of the NXT Universe.
Zayn finally wins the belt in what is easily one of the matches of the year
The moments that follow have the crowd on edge as the entire roster comes to celebrate with Zayn and a distraught Neville joins them in the ring. Zayn reaches out a hand only for it to be kicked away by the former champ, who then elects to pull his friend in for a bear hug, in what is easily one of the most genuinely moving moments in pro-wrestling.
NXT newbie and Zayn’s real life friend Kevin Owens is out to congratulate the new champ and when the dust settles and the roster disperses, he hugs his buddy and all is well with the world.
That is, of course, until Owens brutally attacks his friend on the ramp and sets up one hell of a follow-up show as he leaves Zayn battered and bruised, and himself firmly in the minds of all the fans.
An amazing PPV all round, from the future of the WWE. This event comes highly recommended, it is jam packed with a variation of styles, there’s something for everyone and once the two hours are up (they fly by, too) the audience is salivating for more.
The future is bright and HHH is right, the brass rings are well and truly taken now.
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