There were several solid matches on WWE's flagship shows this week, but it was NXT Takeover—the sophomore live event put on by the blossoming developmental brand—that stood out as the best WWE has to offer.
It would appear that's an opinion shared within the company. As noted by F4WOnline via WrestlingINC, there's a feeling within the company that Takeover set the bar for this Sunday's Payback.
Something of a surprise on the night, the final bout in the tournament to determine the second NXT Women's champion was a strong indication that the future of the Divas division is bright.
Credit has to go to both competitors. Charlotte has come along leaps and bounds since her debut, and Natalya put her considerable experience to great use. Many fans of indie star Sara Del Rey were disappointed when she was signed to WWE for a backstage role, but it's clear that she is making a great contribution to women's wrestling at the company
The presence of Ric Flair and Bret Hart in the two women's respective corners added to the big-fight feel of the bout, but make no mistake, it was the in-ring work that made the bout one to watch.
Similarly impressive was the match between Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship, which was a fast-paced, high-risk showcase of what both men can do. Even on a very strong card, the fight proved to be a worthy main event.
Neville and Kidd are both in very different stages of their WWE careers, but based on the strength of their performances in this match, both made a great argument for their future in the company.
Match of the Week for May 31: Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze at NXT Takeover
This match was a near-perfect example of why NXT is unmissable programming for any wrestling fan. Over the past few weeks, Zayn and Breeze have clashed over the course of several multi-man matches to decide who would face Adrian Neville at Takeover, and it's this sort of meaningful, organic build that is all too rare in WWE.
Excellent video packages focusing on each competitor aired ahead of the match, fleshing out their charactera but never straying too far from the fact that this bout was to decide the No. 1 contender for the NXT Championship.
Rather than the back-and-forth lead to a match we so often see, both Breeze and Zayn were established as having what it takes to be No. 1 contender. Even before the match had begun, the two men had benefited from the programme, and as such, so had the belt that they were vying for a shot at and the NXT brand itself.
The in-ring work had a couple of minor rough patches, but it wasn't hard to look past such moments, given the sort of manoeuvres the pair were attempting to pull off. Anyone who is familiar with his work in NXT or the independent scene knows that Zayn is a superperformer, but Breeze certainly held up his end as well, proving his in-ring ability complements his excellent character work.
All in all, an excellent build combined with impressive ring work made this match something really special to watch. It's hard to shake the feeling that, if they can continue at this same high standard, these two are going to be ones to watch in the months and years to come.
Did something outside of NXT catch your eye this week? Make your case in the comments below.
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