January 30, 2015 by gorillapressonline
After Kevin Owens once again attacked his friend Sami Zayn at the end of the last episode, leaving a lot of questions on the minds of the NXT Universe, it’s clear that he wants to destroy him and, as spirited a competitor as Zayn is, would it necessarily be wise of him to defend the gold against his ex-BFF?
NXT GM William Regal has announced that a #1 contenders tournament has been arranged, and will kick off tonight, on this episode, which will give an NXT Superstar the chance of a lifetime to become the next in line for the title.
Zayn immediately comes out to the ring and demands a match against Owens. He is furious – the fans have never seen him like this before, which the GM duly notes.
Regal advises Owens that he hasn’t earned a title shot and he therefore cannot allow the attacks to be a stepping stone for him, nor any up and comer in the division. Zayn is dead set on a match, however, and Regal reluctantly grants a non-title match for the upcoming Takeover special on February 11th.
NXT Title #1 Contenders Tournament 1st Round Match: Finn Balor Vs Curtis Axel
Tonight’s in-ring action opens with the first round match, of the NXT title tournament, as Finn Balor faces up to returning star Curtis Axel.
Axel has a chip on his shoulder since his return to NXT, and this could mean he overlooks the talent of Balor in this hugely important qualifier match.
Axel is cocksure from the get-go, being the aggressor for the majority of the match, smashing Balor with axe handles and stiff elbows. However, Axel soon falls victim to his own ego as he overly gloats as Balor connects with a Pele Kick, followed with the Sling Blade and quickly proceeding to wrap things up with the coup de grace footstomp from the top rope.
A brilliant opener to the tournament, with Balor rightfully progressing, leaving Axel to fall short once again due to his own sense of entitlement. This could really help his new run in NXT, as they are settling up the losses to fuel his aggression, giving him a point upon which he can build his promo work.
Finn Balor is the first to advance to the semi finals
Bull Dempsey addresses his loss against Baron Corbin last week and announces that next week on the show, he will get the chance for retribution in the #1 contenders competition as he faces Corbin for a semi final spot.
NXT Divas Title Match: Charlotte Flair Vs Sasha Banks
Before the match starts, Sasha takes a second to tell the assembled crowd in Devon that she will once again defeat Flair and become the champion as she should be.
This feud has been boiling over quite nicely, with plenty of depth, which is great to see in the Divas division. Sasha cheated her way to a victory last week and it has pissed off Flair considerably to say the least. Charlotte and Banks both get into each others faces, and the intensity is immediately evident – the boss has her eyes on the prize from the get go.
Becky Lynch tries to get involved at ringside and eats a clothesline for her trouble. Flair is noticeably angrier in her offence, as Lynch once against gets involved, subsequently getting Banks disqualified.
As Team BAE (Best At Everything, as opposed to teen slang for a paramour of two minutes, for the uninitiated) attack Flair, Bayley runs to the ring for the rescue, reversing the roles for once and helping the champion to her feet. As she hands her the title belt, her eyes linger on the gold and she is a little reluctant to hand the belt back to Flair.
Flair notices and snatches the title back, which in turn forces Bayley to Suplex Charlotte in anger, a moment that is set up perfectly as it appears that Bayley is just going in for her trademark hug.
Regal sets a fatal four way match for the Takeover special, which will see Flair defend against Bayley, Lynch and Banks, as once again the odds are stacked against the champion
Charlotte retains via DQ
Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy Vs The VaudeVillansA run of bad luck has dogged The Vaudevillains of late as they have failed to overcome The Lucha Dragons on several occasions. Tonight, they set out to prove they are still the #1 contenders and subsequently take Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake out of the title equation.
The less experienced tag team also are set to prove to the NXT Universe they are worthy for the titles, for what it’s worth.
Gotch and English waste no time in assaulting the duo with a new-found rage and relentlessness. The experience of The Vaudevillains shows in bounds as they cut the ring in half, keeping Murphy away from his tag partner as they take turns inflicting pain on him.
When Murphy finally gets the tag, Blake speedily takes the upper hand with a big powerbomb, forcing Gotch to break a close two count. Blake looks confident in the ring, making this a huge change from when the NXT Universe first witnessed the duo in action. This time around, the team are working well and progressing nicely together. They also clearly have the confidence of the back office behind them, if this encounter is anything to go by.
English eats a huge knee in an unusual tag team manoeuvre, allowing the newcomers to get the victory. After the match, they set their sights firmly on the champs, calling out the Dragons for a match at Takeover, which the Dragons happily accept.
Blake and Murphy get the upset over the Vaudevillains and a title shot in the process
NXT Title #1 Contenders Tournament 1st Round Match: Hideo Itami Vs Tyler Breeze
Prince Pretty himself appears in a pre-match interview, in full on Zoolander mode, proclaiming that when he wins the NXT title he will separate the world into two categories: beautiful people like himself and uggos.
Breeze has it all and could soon be called up to the main roster, but first he must overcome Hideo Itami. The Japanese legend has been making waves, and has his eyes firmly set on his first championship reign.
The prospect of all this talent just shows how much the NXT product and its roster is thriving, and this tournament will have all eyes on them over the next few weeks.
Breeze does well to evade the deadly kicks of Itami, but eventually he strikes Breeze with a huge knee to the chest. Prince Pretty forces Itami into the turnbuckle, in a great example of his ring awareness, evicting the Japanese superstar so he can catch a breather.
As the crowd are audibly behind Itami, this only angers Breeze further, with his attacks becoming significantly more aggressive as he tries to assert his dominance over Itami and, as a result, the fans.
A beautiful leg sweep allows Itami to set up the over the top rope tornado DDT and shift the momentum in his favour, following up with a flying clothesline for a hairpin count as Breeze barely escapes defeat.
Once again Prince Pretty kicks out after a textbook fisherman’s Suplex. Breeze hits Itami square in the jaw with the supermodel kick, forcing yet another close call in the match. As is a running theme in this episode, aggression signals the downfall of Breeze as Itami valiantly fights back with a combination of kicks and knee strikes.
Itami hits a kick to the face of Prince Pretty, nabbing his spot in the semi finals, and bringing him one step closer to meeting his friend and tag partner Finn Balor.
Itami Advances to the semi final
If he defeats the victor of the Corbin/Dempsey feud, and Balor wins his next match, they would square off in the final and fans appetites’ were well and truly whetted at the prospect of that dream match.
NXT is broadcast every Wednesday on the WWE Network