Who Got NeXT: Kevin Owens is the Top Dog in the Yard


Coming in hot off of one of the best pay-per-views of the year, NXT Takeover: Rival, this week’s show developed a couple of intriguing new storylines to pay attention to in the upcoming weeks.

– First, we focus on NXT’s top dog in the yard, Kevin Owens.

If you didn’t get a chance to see last week’s pay-per-view (which I recapped here), Owens massacred Sami Zayn until he couldn’t physically continue the match to win the NXT Championship two months to the day after he debuted. It was a shock to everyone and Owens immediately made his mark on the brand.

Owens came out basically talking himself up at first and then talked about how Zayn is in the past. He said that he is moving on to the number one contender for the NXT championship, Finn Bálor. Owens continued by letting his challenger know that he will be ready for him anywhere, any time, any place. The brand new champion went on to say that what happened to Zayn at Takeover will happen to Bálor when they face-off.

But first, Owens had a familiar face to take on in the show’s main event: Adrian Neville. Just under two months ago, Owens put Neville on a stretcher after a double count-out in the main event after powerbombing him on the apron (reminiscent of what he did to Zayn at NXT Takeover: Arrival two PPVs ago).

WWE, Inc.

WWE, Inc.

The match was a fantastic main event. The quick, high-flying style of Adrian Neville meshed with the brutal, powerhouse-like moves of Owens. The most notable moments of the match were a 450 splash from Neville onto Owens on the floor outside of the ring and Neville literally DEADLIFTING Owens (who is nearly 270 pounds) into a bridging German suplex for a near three count. The match ended with Neville being thrust into the air and powerbombed by Owens for the three count after landing on his feet on a shooting star press attempt. Owens has made his presence felt and is clearly the top dog in NXT as it stands.

– Mark-out moment alert: Out of nowhere, the man-beast Rhyno, yes THAT Rhyno made his return to the WWE in a squash match against some guy named Elias. And yes, Elias got GORED. The part of Rhyno’s comeback that made me ponder, however, is what transpired after.

As Finn Bálor was cutting one of his best promos on his number one contendership and the obstacle that lies ahead of him in Kevin Owens, he stopped near the end because Rhyno walked right by him and sort of stared at him. The man-beast then gave him a little smirk then walked away. This has to make you think that these two are going to have a program soon, and it could be a filler feud before Bálor’s NXT Title opportunity.

– The tag team picture is pointing to a feud between the NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy and one of my favorite teams in the NXT, Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady. The New York/New Jersey duo are the most entertaining combination in NXT when it comes to mic skills and cutting promos on the spot. Not to mention they are incredibly over with the NXT crowd. If you look up Enzo Amore promos on YouTube, you won’t be disappointed.

Anyways, the two haven’t had a true direction in quite some time due to the time they’ve spent developing their manager Carmella as a diva. A win over the Vaudevillains vaulted them into contention for the tag team championship. Blake & Murphy even cut a little promo after the match that mocked Amore & Big Cass, turning them heel in a quick fashion.

– They may as well rename C.J. Parker to the guy that puts the new debuting guy over because that’s literally all he does. Solomon Crowe made his debut after weeks of “hackings” and vignettes by beating up Parker, NXT’s resident hippie and most annoying character on the show. Crowe did a couple of cool moves and cut a quick face-like promo after he made his mark.

– The brand new NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks took care of business versus Blue Pants (yes, there is a character named Blue Pants, and she is over. You can thank Colin Cassady for that one).

WWE, Inc.

WWE, Inc.

– And finally, Sami Zayn’s condition was updated by Dr. Chris Amann (the guy suing CM Punk and Colt Cabana for $1 million). He said that Zayn underwent tests and even an EKG to get cleared to travel with WWE in their most recent trip to Abu Dhabi. But the most encouraging news was that he said Zayn was cleared for in-ring competition and will be back in NXT in no time.

So there you have it, another solid episode of NXT with new storylines being created and developed, and fans (including myself) can’t wait to see where it goes.

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