Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn make plans for Takeover; William Regal books tremendous #1 Contender’s match
Owens entered the ring, saying that the last time he was in the NXT arena, he was about to get rid of Alex Riley for good before Zayn ran in to make the save. Owens said that he had arrived ready for a fight, and called out Zayn. William Regal’s music hit instead, and the NXT General Manager entered.
Regal told Owens that he would not use NXT to further his own agenda, reminding him that his role is not to make demands whenever he sees fit. Owens responded — “with all respect” — that he didn’t remember calling Regal out to the ring, so he didn’t care what Regal had to say.
Zayn entered the arena, and Regal warned him that “this will not turn into a circus like last week.” Regal said that if Owens and Zayn want at each other so badly, then he would agree to book a match between them on May 20, an NXT Championship rematch at the next Takeover special. Owens said that he hadn’t said anything about putting the title on the line, and asked what Zayn had done to earn a rematch.
Zayn said that Owens needed the match more than he did, because anything Owens had ever done in his career had Zayn’s name next to it, even now. Zayn said that Owens had lived in his shadow for too long, and said that it must eat at him. Zayn told Owens that he fights for prizes, and that Owens himself is not the prize.
Owens angrily agreed to a title match, saying that Zayn wouldn’t be happy for long. “You think the first time was bad? You have no idea what’s coming.” Regal then made the NXT title match official for Takeover. Later in the show, Regal also set a triple-threat for Takeover — a No. 1 Contender’s match between Tyler Breeze, Hideo Itami and Finn Balor.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was a fantastic segment between arguably NXT’s three best talkers. I also like the booking, because I was concerned for a bit that Zayn would give in to the non-title stipulation, which would have made him look weak. Furthermore, any fan of wrestling has to be marking out at the thought of that Breeze/Itami/Balor triple-threat. We’ve got ourselves two more classics coming our way on May 20.
Alex Riley and Sami Zayn wrestled to a No Contest
Later in the show, Riley faced Zayn in the main event, with Owens taking Riley’s former spot at the announce table. (Owens: “Let’s rage, let’s all rage together!”) The match began with a back-and-forth mat-based exchange, until Riley hit a dropkick for a near-fall.
Riley followed up with a spinning neckbreaker, earning another two-count, as Owens started to speculate as to why Zayn seemed to have lost a step. “Probably because Kevin Owens beat him within an inch of his life? Let’s all agree. By the way, I really like you [Rich Brennan]. You just agree with me over there. It’s awesome.”
Riley hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for another very close two-count. (Brennan said, “You have to be impressed with Riley right now,” prompting Owens to say, “Do I? Do I really have to be impressed with Alex Riley?”) Zayn finally dumped Riley out of the ring, then hit a somersault plancha to the outside.
Owens jumped out from behind the announce desk and took out Zayn, causing the referee to call for the bell. Owens powerbombed Riley onto the ring apron, taking great pleasure in doing so. Owens held his title belt in the air as he walked out, leaving Zayn and Riley incapacitated on the floor.
Scott’s Thoughts: Another good match from Riley. Yet another very good match from Zayn. I loved the no-contest finish, as it keeps Riley from having to absorb a third-straight loss, while making Owens look like an absolute beast. Regarding Owens, his commentary was so fantastic that I rewound it several times to make sure I had his phrasing just right. He’s that good.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) def. Blake and Murphy by pinfall
Carmella told Enzo and Cass that she can handle herself, and that she wanted to be left alone. Blake and Murphy showed up and tried to hit on her, but when they made fun of Enzo and Cass, she said “Nobody make fun of my boys like that, but me.”
Alexa Bliss entered, asking Carmella why she didn’t handle herself with more class. Carmella slapped her and walked away, as Blake and Murphy asked Alexa if she was okay. She flirtatiously responded that she was, indeed, just fine. None of this was good in any way.
For some reason, even though Enzo and Cass are already #1 Contenders, this was a non-title match, which didn’t make much kayfabe sense. What more do they have to prove? Once the match got underway, Blake and Murphy teamed up on Enzo, until he responded with a front jawbreaker.
Cass tagged in and hit a running high knee and a spinning side slam on Murphy, forcing Blake to make the save. Enzo tried to take out both Murphy and Blake with a flying crossbody, but came up empty. Carmella made a distraction that allowed Cass to hit a big boot on Murphy. Enzo tagged in and Cass assisted him with a frog splash to polish Murphy off.
Scott’s Thoughts: I put most of my thoughts into my running commentary, but here’s a side note for you: Isn’t it interesting how Carmella is finally getting over? Now that her gimmick fits more closely with Enzo and Cass, instead of constantly antagonizing them, fans are accepting her. It also helps that she used a distraction to help Enzo and Cass win this match.
Hideo Itami def. Adam Rose by pinfall
Hideo hit a series of kicks for a two-count, and Rose rolled from the ring. Rose took Hideo’s legs out from under him on the ring apron, then followed up with a snap suplex for a near-fall of his own. Rose hit an elbow drop for another two-count, but Hideo fought back with a heel kick, two clotheslines and a legsweep. Hideo landed a corner dropkick and a single-leg dropkick to earn the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: Whenever he returns to NXT, Rose reminds me at least a little bit of why he got over in the first place. For Itami, this was solid work as always.
Dana Brooke def. Bayley by pinfall
Before the match, Emma revealed in a backstage segment that she had stolen Bayley’s headbands. How compelling. The match got started, and it was mostly a brawl that minimized Dana’s very green wrestling ability. Dana hit a fireman’s carry slam for a two-count, immediately transitioning into a half-crab.
Bayley fought her way out of the hold and took the advantage with a fisherman’s suplex. Bayley climbed to the second rope, but Emma entered to Bayley’s own music. Bayley tried to take her headband from Emma, which gave Dana time to hit a fireman’s carry reverse sit-out powerbomb for the pinfall. As Dana exited, she gave Emma an enthusiastic high-five, as Emma taunted Bayley.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was a pretty corny distraction finish. I don’t particularly care for Bayley jobbing to Dana on a simple distraction, but Emma turning other wrestlers against Bayley is an intriguing angle. As for Dana, she needs more than strikes and her two fireman’s carry variants if she’s going to hold her own in the NXT Women’s Division.
Becky Lynch def. Sarah Dawson by submission
Becky hit a basement dropkick and three sharp leg drops for a near-fall, then worked Sarah into an armbar, forcing her to tap.
Scott’s Thoughts: Quite the inauspicious debut from the jobberly named Sarah Dawson. I wonder if she’s kayfabe related to Scott Dawson. I wonder if anyone even remembers who Scott Dawson is. I barely remember who Scott Dawson is.
– Rhyno cut a backstage promo against Baron Corbin, saying that he’s not just the past, he’s also the present and the future. Rhyno said that if Corbin stands in his way, he’ll teach him a thing or two. Seems pretty likely that we can pencil these two into a match at Takeover, especially since they wrestled at the NXT San Jose show.