Friday, October 3, 2014

WWE NXT Takeover Review

A Flair For The Gold!

This was the 2nd Ever Live NXT Special. The first one was a pretty great show, with a Match of the Year Contender. Let's see how this one compares! Much like every other episode/special edition of NXT, you can catch this on the WWE Network.......for $9.99.

WWE NXT Takeover
Winter Park, Florida 5/29/14

1.) Adam Rose vs. Camacho: **

We kick off the show with The Exotic Express, who actually came out from The Exotic Express itself, through the front door, into the building, and into the ring! The story here is that Camacho has been acting like a "lemon" (as Adam Rose himself would put it), becoming increasing annoying with Rose and his party goers. He even had a match against one of them on an Episode of NXT leading up to this. As far as this match goes, it was fine for what it was. Camacho got in some offense, but Rose was able to make a comeback & score the victory. Not much else to say really.

2.) NXT Tag Team Titles - The Ascension vs. Kalisto & El Local: **3/4

Kalisto was formerly known as Samuray del Sol on the independent scene, gaining the most notoriety  while working for Dragon Gate USA/Evolve. Here he teams with El Local (aka Ricardo Rodriguez) to take on the destructive force that is Konnor & Viktor. While this wasn't anything spectacular, it was still a pretty decent match. Both teams got their chance to shine, plus the crowd being into both teams certainly helped. The Ascension were eventually able to hit The Fall of Man, and score the win to continue their reign of dominance.

3.) #1 Contender's Match - Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze: ***3/4

Sami Zayn is coming off his incredible Match of the Year Contender against Cesaro from ArRIVAL, while the eccentric Tyler Breeze, with nicknames like "Prince Pretty" & "The King of Cuteville" has seen his stock rise a good deal since the last NXT Special. The winner of this one will become the #1 Contender to the NXT Title. This was a really good match. At point, it's hard for Sami Zayn to have anything less than a match that's really good, but Tyler Breeze really showed off what he can do. He impressed a lot of people, myself included, and convinced him that he's not just a "pretty face". These two guys worked really hard, and it resulted in a very solid back & forth contest, with a lot of near falls that excited the crowd. Just when it looked like Zayn had victory in hand, Breeze was able to snatch it from him and take the match, along with the #1 Contender Spot. Once again, really good match.

Up next, we get Lana & Rusev coming out. These two recent made their debut on the Main Roster, where Rusev had only just begun his path of the destruction. Lana praises Russia & President Vladimir Putin, while insulting America. It was the typical Anti-American Stuff that you've come to expect from these two. This leads to Mojo Rawley came out to defend America, but ended up getting his ass kicked by Rusev for his troubles. I feel like Mojo Rawley is slowing descending the Land of Jobbers (more on this in the next NXT Special).

4.) NXT Women's Title - Charlotte (with Ric Flair) vs. Natalya (with Bret "The Hitman" Hart): ****

After winning the WWE Diva's Title on RAW (and subsequently becoming a part of the Main Roster), then-NXT General Manager JBL forced Paige to give up her title. I really don't get why they did this. Couldn't they have just had Paige lose the title to someone. She could have easily been in this match, making it a Triple Threat, or she could have dropped the title beforehand. Vacating it just seemed unnecessary.

Anyway, a Tournament was held, and here we have the finals. WWE build this up as a clash between two of the great Wrestling Dynasties: The Flair's & The Hart's. Paige comes out before the match to officially give up here title and wishes good luck to the two ladies fighting for the title tonight. Charlotte & Natalya had a lot of expectation after the great Paige/Emma Women's Title Match from ArRIVAL. Not only did they meet those expectations, but they completely surpassed them. This match was awesome!!! From start to finish, this was wrestled incredibly well. Everything these two did just looked great, plus the atmosphere in general (both the crowd and Ric Flair & Bret Hart being at ringside) just felt special. After a grueling match, Charlotte is able to finally put away Natalya to win the NXT Women's Title. Both sides embrace after the match in a really cool moment. Definitely one of the best women's matches WWE has ever done.

5.) NXT Title - Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd: ***3/4

Back at ArRIVAL, Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas in a Ladder Match to win the NXT Title. Since that time, Tyson Kidd was given a push (which was long overdue) towards the Main Event, leading us to this clash for the NXT Title. While I don't think it had a chance of being able to top the incredible women's encounter that proceeded it, this was a very solid Main Event Title Match. These two are both great wrestlers so it's no surprise that they put on a really good match. It's wasn't anything fantastic, but it was really entertaining pretty much the whole way through. The action picked up in the last several minutes, with the two going back & forth in an attempt to get the win, and it was definitely exciting to watch. Eventually, Neville was finally able to get the decisive advantage, hitting the Red Arrow on Kidd to score the win and retain his title.

After the match, Neville offered a hand shake, but Kidd declines in a very heel-ish manner, purposely bumping into him on the way out.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was a very solid show. I would put it on par with ArRIVAL as a whole. While this show didn't have the Match of the Year Contender like ArRIVAL did with Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, Takeover was definitely the more consistent of the two. Not only did we once again get a great women's match, but it stole the show, taking Match of the Night for me. Everyone involved in that match deserves all the credit in the world. The #1 Contender's Match & The NXT Title Match were both very good matches that definitely delivered, and even the first two matches, while being on the average side quality wise, weren't that bad. It was an enjoyable night of wrestling, and you really can't go wrong with that. Another solid showing from NXT.

PWG Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll Review

Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly battle it out for the PWG World Title!!

PWG Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll
Reseda, California 5/23/14

1.) Brian Cage vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2

The show starts off with a Ring of Honor Stalwart taking on Mr. GMSI. This turned out to be a really fun match. Roderick Strong can have great matches with pretty much anyone, and Brian Cage was no exception. These two went at each other right at the opening bell, and didn't let up in the slightest. We saw a lot hard hitting stuff in here, along with some unique offense, such as Brian Cage pulling off a 619 (or an 818 as he like to call it)!!! In the end, Strong is able to finally put Cage away and score the win. Once again, really fun match.

2.) AR Fox vs. Rich Swann: ***1/4

These two Dragon Gate USA/Evolve Mainstays spent a few shows towards the end of 2013 as a Tag Team, but now they're facing off against each other in singles action. This was a fine match. While it might not of been as good as you would think, given the two guys involved (and they've had better matches with one another), for its position on the card, it was perfectly acceptable. Swann & Fox busted out their unique high-flying offense that of course got the crowd into it. Eventually, Swann is able to get the win with the Phoenix Splash.

3.) Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) vs. The World's Cutest Tag Team (Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae): ***1/2

Both of these teams had each lost a Tag Team Title Match to The Young Bucks, and the winners of this will presumably get another title shot. Now this is the point of the show where things got....a little weird. Essentially, the story of the first part of the match was that Chuck Taylor didn't want to wrestle Candice LeRae, because she's a woman and Taylor, of course, is a "Kentucky Gentleman". No matter what Candice does, he doesn't fight back. At one point, Taylor just decides to head to the back. After about a minute or so of Trent? wrestling by himself, Taylor comes back out.....wearing a blond wig and a dress, and NOW is ready to wrestle Candice. You seriously can't make this stuff up. Through all of this madness, they actually managed to have a pretty solid match. Both teams were fan favorites, so I was curious as to how they would work this. In the end, they were able to put together a really entertaining contest. Plus, honestly, how can you not have an entertaining match with these four involved. Joey & Candice pick up the win, and presumably are getting another shot at The Young Bucks.

4.) Alex Kozlov vs. Rocky Romero: **3/4

The Forever Hooligans EXPLODE!!! Originally, this was supposed to be Johnny Gargano vs. Rocky Romero, but due to injury, Andrew Everett had to pull out. Gargano was moved into the Six Man Tag to take Everett's place, and Kozlov stepped up to take his partner. This was....decent. The issue here was that this match went WAY too long. This match did not need to go nearly 20 Minutes. It just dragged a good deal, and at points, just wasn't that entertaining. It had its moments, but for a PWG Show, it was definitely disappointing. Romero eventually gets the win.

5.) ACH vs. Ricochet: ****

Once again, PWG gives us another Dream Match. These two really don't have a change to wrestle each other, besides in PWG, due to contractual agreements with ROH & Dragon Gate/Dragon Gate USA/Evolve respectively. ACH's star continues to rise, and Ricochet once again proves why he's one of the best performers anywhere in 2014 (without a doubt). Great effort from both of these guys. There was a lot of solid action, and the crowd was definitely into it. Ricochet picks up the win over ACH with the 630 in a really great match.

6.) Six-Man Tag Team Match - Cedric Alexander, Johnny Gargano & Trevor Lee vs. Mount Rushmore (Kevin Steen & PWG World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks): ****1/4

As I mentioned earlier, Johnny Gargano is filling in for the injured Andrew Everett. As you would expect, this was totally insane. Just craziness from bell to bell. Ever since Mount Rushmore formed, they've been putting on these Six-Man Tags that have just been absolutely crazy, all over the place, balls to the walls action every singe time, and this match was no different. Of course Steen & The Young Bucks were awesome, as well as Gargano, but Cedric Alexander & (especially) Trevor Lee once again got to showcase themselves and looked really good. The last several minutes of this match were insane!! Mount Rushmore pick up the victory.

After the match, Kevin Steen takes the mic, and it sounds like he's going to do a farewell speech (and he would be on his way to WWE in a few months), but he pulls a switcheroo, saying that he's going to iHop after the show, and that none of the fans were invited. Fantastic!

7.) PWG World Title - Submission or KO Only - Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly: ****1/4

This is a rematch from Matt Rushmore several months prior. In that title match, interference from his fellow Mount Rushmore stablemates led to Cole retaining his title. This time however, the match can only be won by submission or knockout. These two had a fantastic match! Both Cole & O'Reilly did great work in this one, constantly going after each other's limbs in numerous attempts to get a submission victory. I'd say this was the best Adam Cole/Kyle O'Reilly Match we've seen anywhere (PWG, ROH, and elsewhere). At one point, Cole goes after Referee Rick Knox, and as you would expect, this led to a massive brawl. Mount Rushmore came out to interfere, but Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan came out to fight them off. O'Reilly stood his ground also, taking it to Mount Rushmore! He eventually hits a brutal finishing sequence on Cole, and gets the Tap Out Victory, winning the PWG World Title!! Once again, a fantastic Main Event!!

The New PWG World Champion Kyle O'Reilly gives the traditional babyface speech to close the show.

Overall: 8.5/10

I thought this was a really enjoyable show. At this point, it's almost impossible to get a PWG Show that isn't entertaining in some fashion. Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll (I love that show title, by the way) had a lot of really good stuff on it. We had a number of very unique and interesting singles matches on the undercard (Strong/Cage, Swann/Fox, ACH/Ricochet), as well as a really entertaining tag team match that had a good combination of action and wackiness. While there was one match on the undercard that really dragged, that was my only real complaint. Mount Rushmore once again puts on a crazy Six-Man Tag, and the Main Event, with the crowning of a new PWG World Champion in Kyle O'Reilly (a well deserved title win, I might add), was a fantastic match and a good way to close the show. Another solid outing from PWG. Would you expect anything less?