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Found 2 results

  1. NXT Champion Adrian Neville vs Sami Zayn - NXT Takeover REvolution 12/11/14 NXT crowds are far from perfect, but for this match they were undoubtedly perfect. This match goes from a normal MOVEZ~! match to a great match and a star-making performance for Sami Zayn because this crowd was totally invested in the Sami Zayn character. They also proved me wrong. The past couple of years my confidence had been shaken that babyfaces could exist in this cynical, jaded wrestling climate. When Sami Zayn had the chance to blast Neville with the championship belt, they all chanted "NO!" in unison throughout the segment. They cared about how Zayn won the match and that meant a lot to me. It restored my faith that real babyfaces can still exist in this world. The pop for his victory would have been the feel good moment of the year if not for the amazing Daniel Bryan story that began the year. The match also represented something that I personally fear the growing homogenization of American and Japanese wrestling. The match felt like a very good Pro Wrestling NOAH main event circa 2009, more than a big time WWE match. You had these moves alone: Split Leg Asai Moonsault, Kawada Kicks, a convoluted Blue Thunder Bomb, Koji Clutch (called by the announcer as that!), Dragonrana, Half Nelson Suplex, and Exploder into the turnbuckles. Of course, the most telling sign was the strike exchange. It was such a barrage of moves that I felt that the humanity of the match sometimes was stripped from it. The Zayn story was sometimes lost in getting to next spot. Kudos to the crowd for never faltering and always making this about Zayn with their constant exhorting of Zayn and Ole Chants. Besides the finish, I liked the beginning of the match the most because it exploited the more interesting parts of the story: Zayn's confidence and crowd dynamics. Neville was doing all the little things to mitigate Zayn's crowd advantage and stop him from getting out of the gates hot. The chain wrestling was very entertaining and a great way to bottle Zayn up. Then he would get into his heads with the front handsprings to show him up. Neville gets too cocky is caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Zayn goes on that early fast break run with a split leg Asai moonsault. There is a weak transition that allows Neville to get back on top. Again, Neville is bottling Zayn's excitement up with a reverse chinlock and kneedrops to the face. Again, Neville cocky hits some playful kicks to the face before the Kawada Kicks. Zayn hits a nice swandive to the outside. I liked how Zayn was not letting Neville breathe and forced his advantage. After this, it got a little move trade-y. The setup for the Powerbomb was lifting from Japanese in a very good way. I liked how Neville had to use a forearm sledge, withstand a Zayn counter, and kick him in the head to hit the powerbomb. That is pro wrestling at its best, having to earn that move. As much as I may be complaining, I marked out for the DRANGONRANA~! I just think it would have looked even cooler if it was not surrounded with other standard big spots. The ref bumps were perfect and returned the match back to the story. The crowd was on point telling Zayn to not worry about the ref only to eat a thrust kick and the Dragonrana. The crowd was so pumped for that kick out. Then again during the aforementioned "Should I blast him with the belt or not?". The crowd pleading with Zayn not to do it only for Neville to sneak in with the roll up. These were great false finishes. Zayn winning with the Yakuza Kick was a spectacular moment after not being able to win the big one during his career. He pulled out all the spots in this one and still held himself to his moral code. It was nice to see fellow Quebecois, Kevin Steen (now Kevin Owens) and Pat Patterson celebrate with him. Even Nevilled embraced Zayn. However, just as they were going off the air, supposed best friend Kevin Owens threw Zayn down on the back of his head on the ramp and then brutally powerbombed him on the apron (that's just Indy, ). I thought these NXT shows needed a big angle to hook you into the next show and this was perfect. ****1/4
  2. NXT Women's Champion Charlotte vs Sasha Banks -NXT Takeover REvolution 12/11/14 It was love at first sight for me and The Boss. I could just tell from her mannerisms that she would be a Sleeze Favorite, then she called Charlotte, "generically basic" and I knew she could do no wrong. However, this Lady (She ain't ratchet!) from Titletown, USA (Home of Winners such as the New England Patriots, John Cena, and Myself, the First Ever Winner of the First Ever Pro Wrestling Trivia Internet Podcast, Brainbuster), is no slouch in the ring and most importantly is not afraid to heel it up. Whether it was getting into Charlotte's face like who ya think ya are or taunting Charlotte with Woos making me laugh like heidy heidy ha, Sasha Banks was wrestling this match like a Flair. Hell, she even had the Flair transition of using the outside and corner to your advantage. Ric Flair is perhaps the greatest corner wrestler of the time. It was in the ropes that Flair was at his most dangerous because that is a break in the steady-sate action of wrestling and he was used these transients to get one-up on his opponents. Here, we see Sasha bait Charlotte to the outside, yank hair from the corner (never turned you back on an opponent, Charlotte, love how Sasha made her pay for the lapse in focus), or the the drop toehold in the corner. The announcers were on point noting these elements of Sasha's game plans, kudos. What they missed and this where Bobby Heenan really would have shined is that Sasha Banks was not just taunting Charlotte by using the chop and the figure-4 headlock, she taught Charlotte those moves! That was one of the cruxes of the video package. Heenan would have been right on top of that and BANG! We would have gotten the will you stop from Gorilla. One last thing, I dug from Banks early on, when Charlotte looked to regain the advantage, we saw Sasha tackle her into the corner and deliver double knees in the corner. it showed a desperation and violence mixed together. It was a wrestler that knew their grasp was tenuous at best. I liked Charlotte using her natural strength to overcome Sasha. Charlotte is an interesting case. I don't if she would be better suited as a heel or face. I liked her as a heel in the Bayley match a lot, but I feel like her natural gifts and moveset would make her a babyface. I think starting off as a heel and maturing into the face is always the safest route, but I could see her going either way. Towards the match got all move trade-y and athletic and stuff. I have seen it all folks, a strike exchange in a WWE-sponsored women's match. That damn fucking sequence is going to follow me to my grave. I thought I was safe, but they went and pulled it out. Admittedly, I liked Charlotte shortening the ring up on the tackle to end the exchange. Charlotte's moonsault into a somersault senton was very, very impressive. There were a couple other spots, but I was disappointed they abandoned a great narrative to hit MOVEZ~! Certain people would say that would be the most Flair thing to do. That being said it does play into the fact that in an athletic match Charlotte would smoke Sasha so once Charlotte could set her pace and implement her gameplan it was over for The Boss, but constant move trading took away from any sort of hot crescendo. Anyways, first half of this match Sasha Banks wrestled this match Like A Boss and the best pure heel performance in a WWE ring since Stephanie McMahon at Summerslam. The second half is not bad, but it is forgettable, but the story hook is eschewed for moves. ***1/2
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