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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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NXT Takeover: R Evolution – Hits & Misses

NXT aired its 4th live special of the year on the WWE network, and it did not disappoint. The developmental system goes above and beyond to outshine the main roster in terms of quality, and it really paid off at NXT R Evolution. The show was built around the main event of Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville for the NXT title, but the rest of the card did quite a good job trying to take the spotlight from them.



The Debut of Kevin Owens
The man formerly known as Kevin Steen made his long awaited debut in NXT, both opening and closing the show. Owens put away CJ Parker in the opening match and closed the night out by turning on his best friend Sami Zayn, reigniting one of the best indie rivalries of the past decade. Owens looks to be a major player in NXT immediately, which is a good sign for all wrestling fans.

Finn Balor’s Entrance
Balor made quite the theatrical entrance at NXT RĀ­Evolution, giving the NXT universe a taste of the creativity that hardcore wrestling fans have been seeing for years back when he was Prince Devitt in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Balor has quite a future ahead of him on the main roster, and with elaborate entrances like this, he should have no problem getting over on monday nights.

The Main Event
This match was an example of everything pro wrestling, err, sports entertainment, should be. From the wonderful build over the last couple months, to the video packages throughout the night, this match had a big fight feel. This rivalry has been everything the main roster has been lacking. Watching Zayn come out on top and celebrating with the rest of the babyfaces on the NXT roster was a great scene and having the night end with Kevin Owens turning on Sami Zayn was an incredible ending that left fans anxious for the next episode. It’s hard to argue that NXT is putting a better product out than their big league counterparts.



Tag Title Match
I had high hopes for this match following the last few Lucha Dragons matches, but for some reason this match fell a little flat. Maybe it was the shortness of the match, maybe it was the chemistry with The Vaudevillians. Kalisto looked like the next Rey Mysterio, but this match was still a flop.

CJ Parker
A few months ago this guy was winning matches and involved in actual programs, but lately it seems that he is used exclusively as fodder for the new big tough guys. I think he has potential as a mid card heel, but he needs to be taken seriously for the fans to really care.

The Ascension
I guess you could say that these guys are the biggest winners of all since they’re headed to the main roster, but on this night, they came across looking very weak against Itami & Balor. For the second straight big show, they came out as losers. I know that you have to put guys over before you leave, but in the eyes of NXT fans these guys have been sliding downwards after a long run at the top of the tag team food chain.

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