3/25/15 NXT Review – Finn Balor Takes Kevin Owens to the Limit

Kevin Owens def. Finn Balor by pinfall to retain the NXT Championship

Owens cut a pre-match promo, saying that both he and Finn had shown up around the same time, and both had made an impact. Owens said Finn’s impact was based on painting himself up like a demon, while Owens had decimated Sami Zayn and taken his title in just two months.

Finn landed the first offense, with a dropkick that sent Owens from the ring. Owens hit a sunset flip, but Finn rolled through and hit a basement dropkick for a two-count. Owens retreated to the apron, and Finn tried to suplex him back into the ring, only for Owens to counter into a jawbreaker.

Owens hit a short-arm clothesline and an elbow drop, then dumped Finn from the ring. Owens tried for a pop-up powerbomb, but Finn countered with a back bodydrop onto the floor. Back in the ring, Finn tried for a running crossbody, which Owens countered into a Go Home Driver.

Owens followed up with a running senton for another near-fall. Owens hit a release belly-to-back suplex for yet another two-count. Finn fought back, hitting a double footstomp to the back of Owens’ head, but Owens managed to kick out.

Finn landed a Pele Kick, followed by a Sling Blade and a huge clothesline. Finn hit a brainbuster, but Owens kicked out yet again. Finn tried for a corner dropkick, but Owens rolled out of the way, and Finn appeared to injure his left knee.

Owens immediately went to work on Finn’s knee with a variety of strikes, including a senton onto the knee. Owens locked in a half-crab, but Finn reached the bottom rope to break the hold. Owens tried for a pop-up powerbomb, but Finn countered and hit a double footstomp in the middle of the ring.

Finn landed a step-up enziguiri, and both men climbed up top. Finn set up for a top-rope brainbuster, but Owens countered into a Go Home Driver from the top. Finn managed to kick out and land an enziguiri, but Owens attacked his knee again, following up with a cannonball into the turnbuckle.

Owens hit another cannonball, this time connecting directly on Finn’s knee against the rope. Owens went for a third cannonball, but Finn rolled out of the way and hit a running corner dropkick. Finn climbed up top and hit the Coup de Gras, but his injured knee prevented him from making the pin.

Owens was able to get back to his feet, planting Finn with a pop-up powerbomb for the pinfall victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was an intense back-and-forth battle that delivered on every level. The pacing was tremendous, and the fact that they gave the men 20+ minutes from bell to bell was very much appreciated. It will be interesting to see where Finn goes from here, as Owens will likely jump back into his feud with Sami Zayn.

 

Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss by submission to retain the NXT Women’s Championship

Bliss opened up on fire, using several different pinning maneuvers, trying to put Sasha away early. Bliss followed up with a dropkick for a near-fall, but Sasha landed her double-knee to the gut for a two-count of her own. Bliss tried for a schoolboy, which Sasha avoided in what was a bit of an awkward spot.

Bliss managed a two-count with another more successful schoolboy, following up with a second-rope hurricanrana. Bliss hit a legsweep and the Blitz Flip, earning another near-fall. Bliss landed a very impactful sunset flip, but Sasha managed to kick out.

Sasha dumped Bliss off the turnbuckle with an arm drag, transitioning to a crossface, forcing Bliss to tap out.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was a pretty fun match, but not really up to the standard of NXT Women’s Title matches. I still have a bit of a hard time taking Bliss seriously with her current gimmick.

 

– Emma gave Bayley a pep talk, again trying to convince her to be more aggressive. Emma said that the NXT crowd isn’t what gets you where you want to be, but Bayley disagreed, saying that the NXT Universe helped her get the No. 1 Contendership twice. Emma slapped her and walked out. This seems like a bit of a last-ditch effort at salvaging Emma. Here’s hoping it works.

– Tyler Breeze cut a backstage promo, saying that he had beaten Hideo Itami and was moving on, setting his sights on the NXT Championship. Hideo interrupted, saying that he had beaten Breeze too. Hideo challenged Breeze to a 2-out-of-3 falls match on next week’s show. That will be fantastic.

– Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake interrupted Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady and Carmella backstage. Murphy and Blake gave Carmella a bracelet that they bought “with our tag-team championship bonuses.” Carmella pointed out that Enzo and Cass never buy her jewelry, but Enzo claimed the gems to be fake, and Cass said “shoulda gone to Jared, bro.” I couldn’t care less about Murphy and Blake, and this storyline is dead in the water, but at least this segment was entertaining.