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Charles (Loss)

[2015-02-11-WWE-NXT Takeover: Rival] Finn Balor vs Adrian Neville

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This reminded me of a WCW cruiserweight match with WWE-style facial expressions mixed in. This was very good, but seemed to be missing something to go over the top. It had a good build and there were some great highspots and nearfalls, but it was kind of shallow. Not sure that's the right word, but it seemed pretty forgettable even though it was well worked. ***3/4

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Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville
I loved the mix of styles here. This was a Jr. Heavyweight match, like the ones these guys were used to in Japan, but it had the pacing of a WWE Heavyweight style match. Everything was deliberate. It was never just MOVEZ. These guys could put on one hell of a spotfest with each other, but it never devolved into that. There was proper and compelling buildup to the end. Which isn't to say they weren't going all out, but they knew when to take it slow in order to make the crazy fast stuff really matter. Balor's ability to take his style and easily transfer it into a WWE match like this is his biggest virtue right now. And damn, I'm not sure when exactly it happened (probably sometime around early Fall of last year) but Neville is a straight up workhorse now. He's on a whole different level then he was at this time last year. Excellent stuff all around. ****1/4 (4.25) stars

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I really liked Neville's early offense after the Balor shine. He was playing the subtle heel very well. I agree that it had a lot of WCW cruiserweight match to it. The end got a lot more spotty and was a departure from the early match despite the fact that it built well within itself. But if you're going to do a spotfest ending that was a Hell of a way to do it. I don't hate either part of the match, but I can't say put together they make a great match. It is a very enjoyable watch and something I will go back to from time to time, but it's not what it could have been.

 

I suppose it's a part of the nature of NXT that they are aping several different styles as well as adding in elements of their own and that makes for an odd mish-mash at times. There are definite elements of midcard WCW from the mid-90s with some modern new Japan and American indies thrown into the mix. One thing I am noticing about their big shows is they do a good job of separating the style from TV matches. They tend to go into more indy mode for the finishing runs with a lot more big spots and kickouts where TV matches are a few nearfalls, maybe some finisher teases and a finisher for the win. It does give a more big match feel to the big matches, but in a really superficial way. I have no problem with watching the NXT big show matches because for me they blow away straight indy matches because the big spots stand out more in a WWE controlled environment where the workers have to pick and choose their big spots instead of just having a million big spots to throw out. And they work a lot better for me than Raw/SD matches between good workers that are thrown out there with little to no meaning or story behind them. I love Tyson Kidd and Cesaro both in singles and from what I have seen of their tag work. But if you put them in NXT and give them an actual program that means something in the grand scheme of things with a 20 minute match every three months I would love them more. A smattering of really good to great TV matches that mean nothing can't compete for me. I'll live with the weaknesses of the wrestling style if they keep things moving the way they do so far.

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Excellent match as expected. Neville gets the early advantage with multiple headlocks but Balor manages to get the heat for awhile with his offense, then is cut off later going for a dive. Of course as the third act arrives the nearfalls become outstanding, as well as the fighting spirit moment of the match. Neville briefly absorbs Balor's Pele kick and gives a superkick before both collapse as the crowd is in a collective orgasm. At the finish, Balor got his knees up during the Sky Twister and went for the small package for a nearfall, but it was enough damage to put Neville down moments later. Rematches of this please. ****

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I think the idea of the demon is great, a nice added WWE spin to his special attraction on the indies but the problem is that Balor doesn’t wrestle much differently. A bit more aggressive facially but yeah, it’s mostly just the same Balor. Expectations can hurt matches. I don’t think it did here, but I imagine for some it might. Neville got to show off how he can work while on top, grinding down Balor, toning down the aerial offence for more strikes. Balor had some nice offence and gelled well with Neville. He got the crowd behind him, got some great nearfalls and looked great for the finish. ***1/2

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