Tag Archives: kevin owens

5 Best Moments Of Raw 5/23/16: Enzo Returns!

It’s the day after WWE Extreme Rules and it’s time to shift focus to the next special event, Money in the Bank. Raw was filled with qualifying matches to see which competitors would take 5 out of 7 of the spots in the popular briefcase ladder match.

Seth Rollins made his Raw return after returning at the end of Sunday’s Pay-Per-View. The ovation he got was great and I was more than willing to place the appearance on this edition of this article…but then he went heel. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine heel and did well in turning the crowd against him. But it all felt too soon. I don’t really want to boo him any more than the majority of crowds want to cheer for Roman Reigns. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but the miscast here didn’t set well with me.

That’s enough of the negativity from me. Even if I don’t like the roles they’re in, Reigns vs. Rollins is still a match that excites me. They should put on something special and I’m glad it was announced as the MITB headliner. As for the rest of Raw, here are the 5 moments that I identified as the best of the night.

5. An Independent Woman

Not all of this felt like a total winner of a segment, but I did appreciate Charlotte’s ability to get the heat from the crowd. I guess having to win her match at Extreme Rules without Daddy nearby reminded her of the 30 years of her life that he wasn’t there anyways, so she decided to give him the boot on this night.

The WWE Women’s Champion told The Nature Boy that he abandoned her as tears poured down his face. The crowd viciously jeered her to which she turned it all back onto Ric, saying that he might be immortal to them but he was dead to her. Ouch. Some of those Flair waterworks might’ve been authentic after those comments.

It’s hard to figure out how Dana Brooke factors into whatever’s the next direction for Charlotte. I was hoping in the moment that she might defend Ric’s honor and turn on his daughter but that obviously didn’t happen. Still, if she’s allied with her now then certainly there will be a turn at some point in the future. I’ll cross my fingers that I don’t have to wait forever to get to that point.

4. No Longer Brothers

Before AJ Styles competed in the ring, he grabbed a mic and tried to explain his loss at Extreme Rules. He did put over Roman as one of the best talents he’s ever wrestled but also put some blame on the involvement of The Usos as well as his own buddies, Gallows & Anderson. This prompted an appearance by the Good Brothers.

Both Luke & Karl took offense to the AJ blame. The allegiance between these three came to a close during this time in the ring. The falling out ended with Anderson saying that not only are they not brothers anymore, but they’re not friends either.

I expected Gallows & Anderson to come out a little later in the night and cost AJ his match, but that didn’t happen. That’s probably for the better because there’s no real hurry to rush the next steps in the dissolution of The Club – especially if the next step is the appearance of Finn Balor. They can wait until after his cage match against Samoa Joe to make that happen.

3. Owens’ Brilliant Banter

The main event Money in the Bank qualifier between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles was a fine TV contest and easily the best match of the night, but that’s not what I’m wanting to highlight here. Kevin Owens knows how to be funny as well as snarky and brought those factors several times during this contest. There are technically 3 moments in this entry, but I’ll cheat a little and group them all together.

First, there was the dropkick attempt from AJ that missed. Kevin Owens simply clapped at his opponents’ misstep, giving him a sarcastic bravo. Check that one out above in .gif form.

Second, Styles was outside of the ring when Owens got a running start off of the ropes. The announcers gasped at the thought of Kevin possibly performing a tope or a suicide dive, but Kevin had a different attack in mind. He simply rolled under the run and gave AJ a clothesline.

Finally, there was this glorious line: “Shut up Cole, I can hear you from here!” THAT’S why Kevin Owens is a hero to so many.

2. An Owens Upset

Is it fair to call Kevin Owens’ win over AJ Styles an upset? It might not be a huge upset, but AJ did just come off of two months of feuding with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He was at least a little bit higher up the card than KO. This was the best match of the night, highlighted with a 45o Splash by Styles and a Powerbomb onto steel steps by Owens. They both brought their A game and it was a match more than worth going back and seeing if you missed the show.

When looking at all of the qualifiers (so far) for the MITB ladder match in a few weeks, the talent pool is deep. Owens joins Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, and Dean Ambrose in the battle for the briefcase. I’d be happy with any of those guys winning it. There are still two more spots left in the match and I can only hope that it’s a talent as exciting as what’s already involved in this contest.

1. Enzo Amore Returned!

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Colin Cassady began making his entrance, then signaled that he wasn’t alone. Enzo Amore came out to join him to a huge pop and oh boy was he wired! While in the ring he recited a slew of wise cracks that I didn’t completely follow but still found myself entertained by. His energy was through the roof. Like, Robin Williams in the 1980s through the roof.

The funniest moment of the bit was when Big Cass talked about how he was going to kick off a Dudley head into a swimming pool. When he said that he was not going to miss, Enzo went ballistic reciting “not gonna miss” over and over. Seriously, he came across as psychotic here and it was great.

WWE has tested the waters with a Big Cass singles run and you know that Vince is more than ready to push him hard. It’s good that they’re not pulling that trigger just yet because there’s still so much potential in this tag team.

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Jim Cornette vs. Cowabunga 8/19/93 Highlights (GIFs)

Some wrestling finds are exciting. This match sort of can be described as exciting…sort of.

Apparently,  Jim Cornette once booked himself against a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle knockoff in Smokey Mountain Wrestling way back in 1993 – I was certain that this would be one of those exciting finds. I had no expectations of a technical masterpiece or anything but surely it would be at least humorous, right?

Before passing too much judgment, here is the original match in its entirety. Watch it for yourself if you’d like. Don’t worry, I’ve compiled the .gifs and written out my comments ahead of time, so I’m good if you want to watch the whole thing. Otherwise, keep on scrolling down.

Did you watch it all? It’s okay if not because holy crap, the whole thing is 18 minutes long. Sure, that includes entrances and post-match stuff, but it somehow feels way longer than 18 minutes. Maybe it’s all the hard to hear banter for the first few minutes.

The wrestling’s fairly boring but I can acknowledge that I’m looking at it from 2016 standards. For a 1993 match and considering that Jim Cornette is one of the wrestlers (no offense to him, it’s just that he made his career not as a wrestler), it probably wouldn’t have been so bad at the time. I would’ve been 11 if I watched this one live so I’ll be honest and admit that I probably would’ve thought this match was fantastic if I saw it in person.

Here are some of the best moments of this gem from 23 years ago, with my own snarky comments to accompany the visuals. Enjoy…

Jim Cornette vs. Cowabunga (August 19th, 1993)

There were lots of shenanigans in the early goings here. The two competitors kept taunting each other and delaying any physical contact, like when Cowabunga tunneled under the referee’s legs to startle Jim. Sneaky, sneaky.

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Okay, the following one IS NOT PG at all. Cornette had his green opponent in a simple side headlock. No worries so far, right? Well, Cowabunga then used only his thumb to escape from Jim’s clutches, inserting it into a very specific orifice. He probably needed to wash his turtle fingers after the match was over.

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Cornette did exercise some ring awareness in this matchup, like when he performed this leg sweep to Cowabunga. The turtle took the roughest bump of the match here, landing accordion-style on the mat.

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You’ve got to at least give some props to Cornette here. He was bumping and throwing hip tosses and made an actual effort to put on a somewhat serious wrestling match. Well, serious in the sense that you still have to ignore the fact that Jim’s in a red full body spandex outfit grappling a dude in a lime green turtle costume. Not enough attention is given to Jim’s getup – why the all red?

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He’s hulking up! Cornette, you’ve done messed up!

This is easily the biggest high spot of the contest. Cowabunga walked the ropes while holding Cornette’s arm a la Undertaker’s Old School, then went all luchador on his opponent with a pretty sweet arm drag.

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At this point, Cowabunga took a body slam from Jim and found himself…turtled. Because of course he did. He is a turtle, after all. That shell probably helps absorbs chair shots but it isn’t going to help with his mobility.

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That Jim Cornette, he’s the type of guy who doesn’t shy away from putting over the younger talent. That green guy better have shook Jim’s hand and thanked him for doing the favors. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Cowabunga!

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Final Thoughts

The turtle won. That’s pretty much my conclusion because Jim Cornette wrestling a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle simply is what it is. It’s a strange thing to witness but wrestling’s a subjective artform…or something.

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson.

SmackDown 4/21/16 Results & Reactions

I’m writing this a couple of days after viewing SmackDown, so I’m leaving out match ratings during this recap article. I still have all of the results here and my reactions to everything, minus the Puerto Rico stuff from the Colon boys. What’s the point of all of that, anyways?

On to the show…

MizTV w/ AJ Styles

There’s some questions toward AJ here about whether or not Gallows & Anderson are colluding with the Number One Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or not, but the part I was loving the most was the interactions between Miz & Maryse. When Miz asked her to say “I love you again” simply so he can respond like Han Solo to say “I know,” I died laughing. This guys is money right now. Aj attacked Miz to end the segment.

Ryback def. Kalisto

This was a non-title match. It didn’t blow me away but it wasn’t bad or anything. I just don’t really care that Ryback wants to prove that his WrestleMania loss was a fluke. Kalisto went for his Salida Del Sol but Ryback countered it into a Shellshock for the win.

Baron Corbin Strikes Dolph Ziggler From Behind

I think these two were supposed to have a match together. Dolph was definitely coming into the ring for a match but never made it. Corbin attacked him while his making his entrance and gave him an End of Days on the floor. It was short and sweet. I’m looking forward to their eventual singles match. I assume that’s happening at Payback.

AJ Styles def. The Miz

I watched the first half of this one night and was too sleepy to finish it, so the first half of it was a blur to me. The ending was pretty strong as Anderson & Gallows prevented Miz from bailing on the match early. Miz ate a forearm while on the outside, followed by a Phenomenal Forearm in the middle of the ring. It was good from what I saw and added a new chapter to the AJ/Anderson & Gallows drama.

Finn Balor dropped his NXT Championship to Samoa Joe last night at an NXT live event. That doesn’t have anything to do with this particular episode of Smackdown but it does add to the intrigue of what could happen with these former New Japan stars over the coming weeks. WWE has a ton of interesting ways they can take this and I’m excited to see how it all plays out.

Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn were in a backstage interview in which they discussed potential tag team names. It was mildly humorous. They keep giving Dean Ambrose cheesy stuff like this and attacks with hot dog condiments and making green slime pop out of briefcases, but I won’t complain too much. His charisma usually makes up for the weak material.

Anderson & Gallows talk about their first match on Raw against The Usos next week. They said they’re going to make an “Impact.” Get It?! That’s probably not what they meant.

Paige & Natalya def. Tamina & Naomi

I love Naomi’s glowing shoes. They need to sell those in kids sizes to I can buy them for my children. Natalya and Paige made their opponents tap out while they both applied submissions. Natalya challenges for Charlotte’s title at Payback, so win here makes sense. It’s good to see Paige on a winning team as well as she’s kind of been an afterthought in recent months.

R-Truth def. Fandango (With Special Referee Goldust)

Lots and lots of dancing here. I don’t mind the silliness and didn’t think they drug it out too long. R-Truth defeated Fandango, who tagged with Goldust in the tag tourney that’s going on. Truth and Goldust danced together post-match, which I’m guessing is their way of implying that they’re finally cool with each other now and will form The Golden Truth.

Promo Time With The Tag Tournament Finals Teams

Enzo & Cass were in the ring when they were interrupted by The Vaudevillians, who were at the top of the ramp. I think they’re finally presenting English & Goth correctly, having them being super proper and offended at the classlessness of their opponents. There was no big revelation but I hope that The Vaudevillians get this kind of mic time on Raw on Monday.

Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens def. Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn

I don’t recall any gangbuster exchanges but I did enjoy this main event. There were too many hot talents to not. Jericho tripped up Ambrose while he was climbing the ropes, setting him up to be pinned by Kevin Owens. After the match, Owens and Jericho hugged like best buddies forever. There could’ve been more excitement here but it was still decent affair.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not a big fan of making secondary champions look like losers, but that’s what happened to U.S. Champion Kalisto and IC Champion The Miz tonight. I have less of a problem with it in The Miz’s case because he’s a slimy heel and lost slightly cheaply to a guy who’s main eventing the next Pay-Per-View. In the Kalisto’s case, I don’t see how a clean loss to a guy that doesn’t have much direction helps him in any way.

Miz was my favorite part of the show tonight. The guy is hilarious. The AJ Styles drama was furthered as well. That adds more intrigue to the main event at Payback. I just realized that the other half of that main event in a little over a week, WWE Champion Roman Reigns, was not on this show. There’s so much drama for Styles at the moment that his challenge to Reigns is kind of an afterthought to at all. That’s kind of strange.

Check out other recent show reviews from me for NXT and Lucha Underground, both great shows this week.

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SmackDown 4/14/16 Reactions

SmackDown is in San Diego this week and I’ve been on a show review kick. (Check out this week’s NXT, Lucha Underground, and TNA Impact when you have some spare time.) This is the same crowd that got to see the awesome Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler match on Main Event, which was great. Here are my thoughts on all of the fun stuff that went down…

MizTV With Maryse

I’m quite fine with Miz and Maryse being the current “It Couple” in WWE. They’re hilariously full of themselves and fawned all over each other during this segment until they were interrupted by the former Intercontinental Champion, Zack Ryder. Ryder almost got a rematch against Miz but instead found out he’d be facing off against Baron Corbin instead. I hope Ryder remains a presence in the IC division. He doesn’t have to regain the title or anything but it would be nice if his WrestleMania win doesn’t get treated like a total fluke.

Baron Corbin def. Zack Ryder (End of Days, Pinfall)

Well, maybe Ryder is getting the fluke treatment after all. This was a fairly quick match that saw Ryder taking the loss clean after eating Corbin’s finisher. I like Big Banter and hope he gets treated like a threat, I’m just poo-pooing the fact that Ryder can’t stay relevant.

Corbin keeps beating on Ryder after the match and gets saved by Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler will probably lose to him in a singles match at Payback because Dolph’s good for stuff like that. He’ll make Corbin look like a million bucks.

Kevin Owens was backstage being interviewed by Renee Young. Owens hinted that he was going to get involved with Sami Zayn’s match in the main event.

Emma def. Paige (Top Rope Trip-up, Pinfall)

Nothing too special here, but it’s interesting to see where these girls are. Emma seemed like a dead in the water character several months ago while Paige seemed like a cornerstone to the formerly Divas division. Emma’s defeat of Paige is odd, but good for Emma.

There was a recap of the Anderson/Gallows debut on Raw and Mauro used the phrase “Number one with a bullet.” Get it, bullet? GET IT?!

Enzo Amore & Big Cass def. The Ascension (Rocket Launcher, Pinfall)

Enzo used his fantastic zero dimes and gave Konnor & Viktor the sickest burn ever. He called them The Ascension.

The match was formulaic, but nobody was expecting The Ascension to get any significant offense here. Enzo & Cass are getting great responses with the live crowds. They’ve also appeared on Steve Austin’s podcasts twice last week, which are worth a listen.

Alberto Del Rio interrupted a backstage promo with AJ Styles to set up their match. ADR tells AJ that he’s way out of his league. I’m excited about this first time ever matchup.

AJ Styles def. Alberto Del Rio (Rollup)

The .gif of Alberto Del Rio’s scary inverted Superplex against Styles was something that made the rounds online long before I witnessed this match and it was just as scary as the first time I saw it. I’m not sure where the mistake lied but it was still dangerous.

Styles and Del Rio delivered with a solid match. It wasn’t the best thing ever, though. I’d put the weakest of the Styles/Jericho matches ahead of this one, but it was the best match of this night. I wish I could say that this left me wanting more but it doesn’t.

Gold-Dango?

Apparently Goldust still doesn’t want to be R-Truth’s partner. Fandango, who still exists on WWE’s roster, showed up to inform us that he will be teaming with Goldust. These humor segments have been more miss than hit but I didn’t mind this one. It got a little chuckle out of me.

The Vaudevillians def. Goldango (Whirling Dervish, Pinfall)

I’m not sure how the team of Goldust & Fandango is supposed to be spelled. It doesn’t matter, I guess. This loss most likely signals the end of their run together.

Simon Gotch & Aiden English face The Usos in the next round of the Tag Team Tournament. The other match remaining is between Enzo & Cass and The Dudley Boyz. I’m rooting for Enzo & Cass to win this but I’m not sure how Anderson & Gallows play into it all. After taking out The Usos on Monday night I assume that they’ll keep targeting them – or other tag teams. Either way, tag teams should be scared.

Zayn def. Jericho (KO Interference, DQ)

As if this matchup needed spicing up, we were treated to both Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens on commentary. It was great. Inadvertently, it was also a negative for this match because I was paying way more attention to the voices then to the action in-ring.

The final few minutes of this showed that Jericho vs. Zayn could be an amazing singles match if given proper time and build. Instead of that happening on this night, the guys in the ring targeted the guys on commentary. Jericho attacked Ambrose and Zayn back body dropped Jericho onto Owens. KO made his way into the ring a few moments later to attack Sami and officially end this match. I love every combination that these four guys can wrestler in and expect them to have a couple of stellar singles matches (Zayn vs. Owens and Ambrose vs. Jericho) at Payback.

Final Thoughts:

Not a bad SmackDown on paper. AJ Styles vs. Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn are a couple of pairings that had me excited prior to this show. They didn’t end up being four star matches but were still good. I like the Miz/Maryse stuff in the beginning and the promo time for Enzo & Cass before their match. Plus, Owens and Ambrose on commentary together are gold. The bickering back and forth was highly entertaining.

Overall, this was a slightly above average show.

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

Quick Thoughts On The Three Title Wins At WWE Night Of Champions 2015

Three out of the five titles that were on the line at Night of Champions changed hands. All three winners can be viewed as positive changes for their prestigious titles. Here are a few quick thoughts about the US Championship, the Diva’s Championship, and the Intercontinental Championship.

John Cena Regains His US Championship

Looking back at 2015 so far, one of the bright spots of WWE programming will no doubt be the season of John Cena US Open Challenges on Raw. Since having that mid-card title, it’s become one of the most well-defended belts in all of wrestling. It felt like many NXT alums would go the route of a lengthy US Championship match against Cena on Raw as a way of being properly introduced to the main roster. Even though they were almost always losers to Cena, it’s hard to argue that they weren’t better off for it.

Now that Cena has regained his title, I look forward to him resuming the US Open Challenge matchups. Having the belt off of him for a month not only raised the prestige of the title even more by having it paired alongside the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but it also gave the WWE Universe a chance to take a break from the regularity of defenses. This clearly turned out to be a case of absence making the heart grow fonder.

Charlotte Defeats Nikki Bella To Win Diva’s Championship

A big sigh of relief could be heard in the WWE Universe when Nikki finally broke AJ Lee’s record of longest reign for the Diva’s title. That was the goal of McMahon and Co. and any other competition had to take a back seat to breaking that one record. Once that task was crossed off of the to-do list, Charlotte won the belt about as quickly as she could have.

The match that Nikki lost her belt in was a pretty darn good match. She proved that she can be a dominant force in the ring, even against the imposing Charlotte. She brutalized Charlotte’s leg, targeting the very appendages she uses for his signature submission move.

Even though Sasha Banks has an IronWoman match on NXT to prepare for in the coming weeks, I’m salivating at the thought that she too can be moved into the Diva’s Title picture opposite of Charlotte in the near future. Even the obvious heel turn of Paige is an exciting matchup. Now that Bella doesn’t have to be champ for the purpose of erasing Mrs. CM Punk’s name from the top of the record books, the options are wide open.

Kevin Owens Wins Intercontinental Championship

As a personal mark for The Big Guy, it’s bittersweet to see him drop the Intercontinental Championship. He generally gets a good babyface pop in most arenas and is an overall marketable guy. I saw the writing on the wall that Owens was going to win the strap but sort of hoped that they dragged it out for a few months. Oh well, a Kevin Owens IC Title run is not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a very good thing. (Hi, DDP.)

Owens is still a hot commodity in WWE and has tons of heat that any babyface would love to work opposite of. The IC Championship is seemingly the one belt that hasn’t had the chance to get elevated in 2015 due to an unplanned Daniel Bryan injury, but it’s in great hands now.

Owens has had about as good of a first year into WWE as anyone could have been planned. His run with the NXT title was exciting and then his feud with John Cena will probably go down as WWE’s feud of the year. He’s great in the ring so this a great pairing between him and his new title.

Final Thoughts

This was a tad longer than I planned but I guess I’m just excited about the direction of WWE right now. Sure, there’s negatives if you want to dwell on them but with John Cena, Charlotte, and Kevin Owens carrying three of the gold belts in this company, those are some pretty big positives.

If you want to check out some fun .gif analysis of last night’s Night of Champions event, head on over to WhatCulture.com and click through my latest article, 16 Most Insane Spots From WWE Night Of Champions 2015. It’s got a ton of wild spots that you’ll want to see!

Interview Recap: Triple H Is A Roman Reigns Dream Opponent

Speaking at a Q&A Session at Wizard World Comic Con in San Jose, CA, Roman Reigns fielded a few interesting questions. One of which was who he thought would be a dream opponent for him. He offered two very interesting names:

“I’ve been in a couple of tag matches against Triple H. I would love to have a singles match with him. Let’s go completely different ends of the spectrum. I’ll fight Triple H or Kevin Owens.”

He was also asked about the possibility of facing The Rock one day, to which he said the following:

“I think it would have to be a very big match, not just a regular match. There would have to be a title, something that we are trying to win. That way you have true competition, not just between each other, but for something. And I think the WWE Championship would be the best thing to put that on the line for.”

All three would be fantastic opponents, but my pick between all of them would be Triple H. Especially if the match got physical and Hunter brought out the sledgehammer. Roman always had trouble connecting with the audience in the babyface way that WWE always hoped and an evil Triple H could bring out the best in him.

Or maybe they try another direction. Perhaps a heel turn on cousin Rocky could set up not only an intriguing character development for Roman, but also a big-money matchup. Regardless, I hope that he gets the chance to fight against all of these guys at some point in a big way in his singles career. He’s still a young worker with plenty of room to grow so I’m optimistic that he can make these opportunities successful if he gets the chance.

Match of the Week: Kevin Owens vs. Adrian Neville

Welcome back to your weekly dose of getting told what is the absolute best match of the past week. Just like last week I am not only picking a bout from NXT but I am also picking one that features Adrian Neville. Pardon the deja vu. The Man That Gravity Forgot lost to Finn Balor in the finals of NXT’s Number 1 Contender tournament and then faced off against current champion Kevin Owens a mere seven days later. Would he rebound with a win? No, no he would not.

Despite losing two weeks in a row, we fans have been treated to a couple of outstanding matches by the former NXT Champion. Don’t forget that he’s also put in the effort to put over Sami Zayn in equally fantastic matches not very long ago. Neville may be in his final run of losing to the remaining talent before his (hopefully soon) jump to the main roster.

Neville challenged Owens in a non-title bout. William Regal explained in the show opening that he didn’t earn a shot at the belt but he did earn a right to a match since Owens sent him to the hospital several weeks back. During the match, Neville executed a highly impressive spot when he pulled off a dealift German Suplexed on Owens. He went just slow enough on the delivery of it to make it seem like it was one of the mightiest feats of strength any man could achieve.

There were several other memorable spots by Adrian, including a 450 Splash TO THE FLOOR and a sick looking Reverse Hurricanrana. Actually, all Reverse Hurricanranas look sick…surely that move has broken some necks. Despite the incredible effort by Neville, Kevin Owens finally upended him with a Pop Up Powerbomb and it looked nasty. This was a fantastic match to be included in the early chapters of Owens’ NXT career. He’s definitely being given some big opportunities at this point in his career and his peers are helping him capitalize on what he’s been given.

Do yourself a favor and check this match out along with the entire NXT show this week. It also included Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillians, Sasha Banks vs. Blue Pants, and the return of Rhyno.

I’d point out some Honorable Mentions now but not much really wowed me this week. Raw and Lucha Underground had some decent moments but nothing near as good as what NXT is doing right now. I assume that something from WWE Fast Lane should take the title of best match next week but I wouldn’t count NXT out.

What did you think of my Match of the Week this week? If there’s better wrestling that I’m not watching let me know either in the Comments below or shoot me a message on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Take care.

NXT Rival Predictions

Tonight on the WWE Network is the next installment in NXT’s spectacular series of Takeover events. Rival is stacked with a mostly loaded card and a couple of matches that should be phenomenal. What are my thoughts on the event? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey
(No DQ)

This is the only match on the card that I don’t really care about. Baron Corbin is huge and brought quite the presence to his recent match with Adrian Neville. I’m interested to see how he’ll eventually perform with stronger workers but I have zero desire to see this match with Dempsey. Hopefully it’s short.

Mitch’s Pick: Baron Corbin

Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville
(Number 1 Contender’s Match)

This and the main event could be match of the year contenders. Both guys are beasts in the ring and I’m hoping that Finn gets one of those cool over-the-top entrances. It makes more sense to me that the new guy (Finn) will get the win over the former champ (Adrian) to secure himself at the top of the card.

Mitch’s Pick: Finn Balor

Blake & Murphy vs. Lucha Dragons
(NXT Tag Titles)

I don’t know much about Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, but kudos to NXT for giving them a shot. Sin Cara has been on and off on the main roster for a while and rumors have been abounding about Kalisto’s imminent debut so I’m calling for the Champions to retain in this one.

Mitch’s Pick: Blake & Murphy

Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
(NXT Women’s Title)

This is a match that could be fantastic. I’m a little leery with so many involved but I guess I shouldn’t underestimate the NXT Women’s division. I feel that Charlotte’s departure to the Diva’s division should have already happened by now so that makes me hesitant to say that she’ll retain. I guess I’ll pick Sasha Banks to win it because that will give Bayley a heel to chase the title against. Becky Lynch seems like the longest shot to me, but I guess that’s just because I know the least about her.

Mitch’s Pick: Sasha Banks

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
(NXT Championship)

This should be great. I’m hoping that it’s a multi-match series so I’m scratching my head on how to call this. I feel like it could be a victory by Owens but a cheap one so that Zayn still retains. I haven’t seen a time limit draw in a while but since they never announce match times that ending probably won’t happen. NXT has only done lengthy title reigns during my brief time as a fan and I’d like Zayn to at least get a few defenses out of it.

Mitch’s Pick: Kevin Owens (by DQ or something, NO title change)

So there are my picks. Do you agree with me? Banter below with who you think will win or hit me up on Twitter @MitchNickelson and we can talk there. These NXT shows are always great, so don’t miss out!

Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville: Mitch’s Match of the Week

Welcome back to my weekly installment of what I consider to be a highly prestigious award, Mitch’s Match of the Week. With The Lego Movie getting a first-class Oscar snubbing many people might have a tarnished opinion of these sorts of awards, so hopefully I can help regain your trust. (Unless the best match of the week came from TNA or Ring of Honor. Since I didn’t view those shows they can be my personal Lego Movies for this week.)

What I did watch was the Hulu version of Raw, Main Event, Lucha Underground, only the first match from Smackdown, and the show to host what I consider to be this week’s finest match, NXT. The bout that I’m awarding Best Match to is a rematch from the main event of R Evolution and it’s the NXT Championship bout between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville.

While I found Zayn and Neville to start off a few steps behind their previous encounter, I think much of that can be attributed to having to follow-up themselves from just a few short weeks ago. They set their own bar up way too high. Thankfully, plenty of time was given to properly build this match and the final few moments were off the charts good. Earlier in the match, Neville pulled off a particularly brutal Hurricanrana reversal off of an Electric Chair setup that legitimately made me concerned for Sami’s well-being. To top off this great match, Kevin Owens graced our presence to deliver a pretty sweet post-match beatdown on Zayn after his win. Check out the highlights for yourself…

This was a pretty decent week for the honorable mentions. Seth Rollins and John Cena had a fun Lumberjack match on Raw. Tyson Kidd and Finn Balor faced off in the NXT opener. Prince Puma defeated Felix in the first ever one-on-one match for Lucha Underground’s top prize. Lastly, Daniel Bryan faced off against Kane on Smackdown and showed virtually no signs of ring rust. Check out all of these matches alone with this week’s Match of the Week for a great playlist of quality professional wrestling.

What did you think of this week’s best match? Did I get it right? If not, put your comment below. Also, check out my new podcast over at Blog Talk Radio. It’s called Curb Stomp Radio and my buddy Sgt. Damage banters with me. Click HERE to give it a listen.

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NXT R Evolution: 3 Quick Highlights

NXT proves over and over again what a quality wrestling show is supposed to look like. If you didn’t watch last night’s R Evolution, do yourself a favor and go watch it now. If you don’t have the WWE Network (and you should, even just to support NXT), then watch for free-but-probably-legally at THIS LINK.

There are a ton of great reviews online, so instead of writing a full recap I’ll simply list a few things I loved from last night. I numbered them but I’m really just writing them as I remember them. Don’t take the order seriously…

1. Finn Balor’s Entrance

I have not seen much of Balor or Itami prior to NXT so I consider the past few weeks to be my initiation to these talented performers. The match was great and did well to put over the news guys in the company. The live audience especially went nuts when Hideo teased the GTS.

But while I might not go back and watch the match again, I’ve already re-watched Balor’s entrance several times. I’ve heard about the elaborate body paintings that he’s done in the past and this was my first exposure to all of that. It was phenomal. I love the creativity and I look forward the next time he does this.

2. Women’s Wrestling is Good!

Not only did the audience chant “This is Awesome” for Charlotte and Sasha Banks, but they also chanted “This is Wrestling” as well. These two were given plenty of time and they put on a traditional pro-wrestling match that I’m hoping both the guys and the girls were taking notes on. Charlotte is the real deal and I’m glad that Hulu cut her loss to Natalya from Raw earlier in the week because I can live in a world were ALL of WWE’s  women’s wrestling sort of makes sense at the moment.

3. Sami Zayn is a Superstar

I think I was the only person calling that Sami would lose at R Evolution and boy was I glad that I was wrong. Not only did he and Neville pump out a match of the year contender but we viewers also get to look forward to Kevin Owens becoming Zayn’s immediate rival. I’m a bad internet wrestling fan and have to admit that I’ve missed much of their independent work. But I look forward to what the future hold because apparently these two can do amazing things.


I only wrote three quick points but the whole show was pretty great. NXT knows how to put on a 2 hour show that matters and I hope that whatever they’re doing right finds a way to trickle up to the main roster.

In the meantime, feel free to catch up on my most recent episode of Mitch Nickelson Radio. Sgt Damage joined me as we discussed recent UFC happenings. Also, the mind-blowingly hot Rosie Piper helped me make picks for WWE TLC later in the podcast.  Bottom line is that you should click PLAY below and listen for yourself…