WWE NXT Takeover 2014 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
Thursday night, World Wrestling Entertainment's developmental brand NXT presented its second live special exclusively on the WWE Network.
The show was headlined by an NXT Championship match between Adrian Neville and top contender Tyson Kidd.
Despite a valiant effort by Kidd, Neville was able to dig deep within himself to overcome the challenger's onslaught and retain the NXT Championship following the Red Arrow.
History was made earlier in the night when Kidd's wife Natalya took on Charlotte in the finals of the tournament for the NXT Women's Championship. With the legendary Bret Hart and Ric Flair at ringside, the generational Divas delivered a match that made their Hall of Fame family members proud.
Charlotte scored the win, and the first championship of her career, as her father watched with tears in his eyes. The emotional embrace after the match told the story of just how much energy was put into the bout.
Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze stole the show as they battled for the right to challenge for the NXT Championship. The controversial nature of the finish should allow Zayn to remain in the title hunt, but it is Breeze who is celebrating following his victory.
The Ascension and Adam Rose picked up big wins while Rusev returned to NXT and flattened Mojo Rawley.
With Takeover in the books, relive the action from the show and take a look at the report card for NXT's latest two-hour special.
Adam Rose vs. Camacho
Adam Rose kicked off Takeover by attempting to exorcise NXT of its biggest lemon, Camacho.
Rose started the match with his typical theatrics before Camacho took control. Camacho channeled his aggression and strength into an onslaught that kept Rose grounded.
Camacho thwarted Rose's attempt to "hulk up" and leveled him with a big legdrop despite the attempt by the audience to will Rose back into the match.
Rose caught Camacho with a spinebuster, a back elbow and finished him with the Party Foul.
Adam Rose, via pinfall, with the Party Foul.
Highlights and Quotes
"Party pooper!" -Fans in reference to Camacho
"What goes on in the mind of Adam Rose?" -Byron Saxton
"It shouldn't be any surprise how aggressive Camacho is in this match." -Saxton
"I'm loving the resilience of Adam Rose. He's taken a beating and he's as fresh as a daisy." -William Regal
"I'm looking for one in particular. I was out with him the other night. There's a one-legged Elvis impersonator..." -Regal on the Rose's Rosebuds
An energetic way to kick off the show as Rose and the Rosebuds had the fans on their feet.
With that said, if you have seen Rose compete in NXT once, then nothing he did tonight was fresh or new. His hulking up is a nice throwback to the babyfaces of days gone by, and both men worked very hard, but there was nothing extraordinary about the opening match of the show whatsoever.
A "B" for effort and for energy but easily the worst match of the night.
Given the quality of the bouts that followed, that is not quite the indictment it would be on any other broadcast.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Kalisto & El Local vs. the Ascension
El Local and Kalisto became the latest team Thursday night to challenge The Ascension for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
The Ascension attacked at the bell and caught the charging challengers with vicious uppercuts, preventing them from picking up any momentum early.
The champions isolated Kalisto, working the much smaller competitor over with their power-based offense while the crowd, split, took turns chanting for their favorites.
Outside the ring, Kalisto made a comeback using the ropes, but Konnor and Viktor cut him off back inside the squared circle. A headscissors, however, paid off for Kalisto as he was able to make the hot tag to El Local.
The luchador, who bears a strange resemblance to a certain personal ring announcer, exploded with a fast-paced, energy-filled offense.
The overwhelming force of the champions proved too much, however, as The Ascension retained their titles following the Fall of Man.
The Ascension, via pinfall, following the Fall of Man.
Highlights and Quotes
"You can feel the menace in the air." -Regal on The Ascension's entrance into the NXT Arena
"I'm thinking Kalisto and El Local have bitten off more than they can chew." -Regal
"The caliber of competition hasn't been as good as it could have been." -Regal on The Ascension's title reign possibly being tainted
"Another chapter in The Ascension's book of total, maximum carnage." -Byron Saxton
The Ascension wrestled its best match of the year Thursday night when they met Kalisto and El Local for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Despite stronger competition from the game luchadors, Konnor and Viktor still managed to dominate the challengers for the majority of the bout en route to another victory.
With the defeat of another team, one has to wonder if NXT is capable of pumping out quality opposition for The Ascension as quickly as the champions mow them down. There is no other team, outside of possibly Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger, who threaten Konnor and Viktor's title reign.
That could be a problem as the champions continue what should be a historic reign.
No. 1 Contender Match: Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze
The No. 1 contender's spot was on the line when Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze took to the ring at Takeover.
Zayn outwrestled and outclassed Breeze early, frustrating Prince Pretty.
Breeze tripped Zayn up, sending him crashing to the arena floor and turning the tide in his favor.
NXT's resident model worked over the head and neck of Zayn, showing great aggression while doing so. The crowd cheered on Zayn, who tossed Breeze off of him and began mounting a comeback.
A springboard moonsault to Breeze on the arena floor elicited the first "NXT" chant of the night from the crowd.
The Blue Thunder Bomb netted a two count for Zayn, and an implant DDT scored two for Breeze as the action moved back and forth between the talented competitors.
Breeze ratcheted up his aggression and was warned repeatedly. This gave Zayn an opening on which he capitalized, delivering an exploder suplex into the corner.
Near-falls abounded late, and the NXT Universe rewarded the work of the competitors with loud chants of "this is awesome" and "NXT."
Zayn attempted the Helluva Kick, but Breeze ducked out of the way, accidentally (or not) catching his opponent with a low blow. The Beauty Mark finished Zayn off, giving Breeze a future NXT Championship match.
Tyler Breeze, via pinfall, with the Beauty Mark.
Highlights and Quotes
"My night has just been made. I'm sure he's looking fabulous." -William Regal on the announcement that Breeze had entered the building earlier in the night
"Don't let any of this facade fool you. Tyler Breeze is more than a pretty face and pretty clothes." -Regal
"There are not enough cameras on the planet to cover Tyler Breeze in his opinion." -Tom Phillips
"He feeds off the audience a little too much sometimes." -Regal on Sami Zayn and his connection with the people
The best match of the night featured Sami Zayn. Big surprise, right?
While there were high hopes for the No. 1 contender's match, few could have expected the level of performance Zayn and "Prince Pretty" turned in. Thursday night was Breeze's breakthrough performance, the type of showing that immediately catapulted the Gorgeous One into the consciousness of not only NXT fans but also those primarily familiar with Raw and SmackDown.
This was a match that thrived on near-falls and the body language of the competitors. "This is awesome" and "NXT" chants greeted the performers and justifiably so.
An absolutely phenomenal match that only strengthens the reputation of NXT.
Mojo Gets Hyped, Hurt Courtesy of Rusev
Lana introduced Rusev, and the Bulgarian Brute made his way to the ring.
The Ravishing Russian discussed Rusev's recent success on Raw and SmackDown before demanding that the NXT Universe rise to show respect for Rusev.
Mojo Rawley interrupted, carrying the American flag. He hit the ring and was immediately taken down by Rusev, who unleashed without mercy on the former college football standout.
Rusev locked in the Accolade as the beautiful Lana watched on approvingly.
Lana screamed "crush," and Rusev reapplied the Accolade on the ramp as the typically hyped Mojo was left writhing in pain.
Highlights and Quotes
"I don't see anything that could possibly go wrong with this man's career." -Regal in regards to Rusev
"Well, I'm on his side." -Regal after watching Rusev destroy Rawley
The Mojo Rawley character is annoying. Rusev crushed him.
Hence the A+ grade.
NXT Women's Championship Tournament Finals: Natalya vs. Charlotte
The war between Hart and Flair waged on into a second generation when Natalya took on Charlotte in the finals of the NXT Women's Championship tournament.
Former NXT champion and current WWE Divas champ Paige made her way to the ring as the crowd welcomed her back to the NXT Arena.
Charlotte was accompanied by her father, two-time Hall of Famer Ric Flair, as advertised. Natalya had her uncle Bret in her corner.
Natalya showcased her technical wrestling ability, using a side headlock and a leglock early. Charlotte escaped and grabbed a headlock of her own.
The former Divas champion trapped Charlotte in a bodyscissors as she continued to outclass her inexperienced opponent. Emotions got the best of the competitors, and they exchanged slaps.
Charlotte caught Natalya with a jawbreaker, gaining control of the match for the first time. She locked the figure-four headlock in, targeting the head and neck of her opponent.
Natalya reversed an abdominal stretch, but Charlotte cut her comeback off with a short dropkick to the face.
The third-generation Diva mounted a comeback, but Charlotte leg-whipped Natalya to the arena floor.
Charlotte climbed the ropes and missed a moonsault, and another "this is awesome" chant broke out.
Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte countered into a figure-four leglock in a cool spot. Charlotte refused to break the hold, even after she spilled to the arena floor. Adding insult to injury, Charlotte locked in the Sharpshooter.
Charlotte delivered Bow Down to the Queen for the win.
The Divas embraced following the match, both in tears. Hart and Flair joined them in the ring, the Nature Boy with tears streaming down his face.
Charlotte, via pinfall, following Bow Down to the Queen.
Highlights and Quotes
"I want to thank each and every one of you because I wouldn't be where I am today without you and NXT." -Paige
"Not only are they both very skilled competitors, but imagine the knowledge they have in the corners they can go to if needed." -William Regal
"Natalya does have somewhat of an advantage." -Regal, in reference to Natalya's experience
Two NXT prime-time specials have featured two outstanding matches from the NXT Divas.
Natalya vs. Charlotte was not only a great women's match—it was a great wrestling match, period. The wrestling and counterwrestling involved was top-notch, and the finishing sequence, which saw both women focused heavily on submission wrestling, only for Charlotte to break out Bow Down to the Queen for the pinfall victory, was the perfect way to cap off the stellar match.
The post-match embrace, which featured both competitors openly crying, sold the emotion of what had just taken place. That Ric Flair had tears running down his face added legitimacy to the moment.
NXT Championship Match: Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd
The most anticipated match of the night took to the ring with a half-hour remaining in the show.
Technically sound wrestling and counterwrestling dominated early. Kidd and Neville mirrored one another while the NXT Universe applauded their exchange. A stiff forearm from Kidd floored the champion as all pleasantries came to an end.
Kidd tied Neville to the tree of woe and caught him with a brutal kick to the back, taking control of the title bout.
The challenger dove over the top rope onto Neville and continued to wear the champion down.
Neville mounted a comeback with flying forearms and kicks. He returned the favor, tying Kidd up in the ropes and wearing him down with kicks.
Kidd caught a charging Neville with a kick to the head and covered for two. Neville responded with a big powerbomb for two.
Kidd brought Neville crashing to the mat with a modified Russian legsweep. Both men appeared exhausted. A suplex took champion and challenger over the top rope and to the arena floor.
Neville slowed Kidd, hooking his ankle and preventing him from delivering a move off the top ropes. He caught Kidd with a beautiful headscissors and the Red Arrow to retain his title.
Adrian Neville, via pinfall, following the Red Arrow.
Highlights and Quotes
"This is probably his last chance to make it here in WWE." -William Regal putting over how important tonight's match is for Tyson Kidd
"This is a special night for everyone who dreams of being here in WWE." -Regal as he told the story of Kidd and Neville's journey to this match
"This is what NXT means to everyone here." -Regal
The main event of Takeover was a heavily hyped encounter between two great wrestlers. Those two great wrestlers did what great wrestlers do: had a great wrestling match.
The athleticism on display was unmatched by anything else on the card, but one still could not help but think that there was a better match to be had. Kidd was great as the ring general, and Neville's resiliency was on display, but there was something missing, perhaps an element of surprise, that kept it from succeeding at the level that the other two marquee matches did.
Still, a spectacular match to cap off a show that, arguably, eclipsed Arrival.