With NXT Rival in the books, we will have yet another 5-minute debate about whether the WWE’s upcoming PPV can outperform its younger sibling. With the way Fast Lane is shaping up, the odds are about as good as Bull Dempsey defeating Kevin Owens for the NXT title next week.
So is NXT really starting to take over? To test this statement, let's compare NXT's five live events against WWE's PPV that went on the same month.
NXT Arrival vs. Elimination Chamber
Looking at both shows each had three standout matches. The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield was absolute fantastic, the Elimination Chamber was surprisingly well booked, and Big E vs. Swagger (I'm not kidding, give it another watch) all provided great entertainment. On Arrival, they started off with a MOTY candidate in Cesaro vs Zayn. Adrian Neville began his championship run here by defeating Bo Dallas in a sublime ladder match. Finally, Paige took on Emma in a preview of how good the women's division was going to be.
Winner? WWE - Although not by much, can't deny how pumped everyone was when The Shield took on The Wyatts, and they delivered in fine fashion.
NXT Takeover vs. Extreme Rules
Takeover provided Breeze vs. Zayn, a show-stealing affair. Natalya vs Charlotte, which was one of, if not the best women's match of 2014, and Neville vs. Kidd for the NXT Title. Extreme Rules was hampered by a terrible main-event -- Bryan vs. Kane -- and overall was simply a weak PPV. The standout match was Shield vs. Evolution, unless you also enjoy insanity, then check out Wyatt vs. Cena.
Winner? NXT - Winner via KO, Kevin Owens style.
NXT Takeover: Fatal 4Way vs. Night of Champions
This NXT show was held up by basically two matches: Charlotte vs. Bayley, and Neville/Zayn/Breeze/Kidd. Also seeing Corbin destroy CJ Parker was good times. The main-event was something special, but Fatal 4Way's undercard lacked severely compared to previous shows. Night of Champions didn't get a lot of hype aside for Lesnar vs. Cena. Plenty of decent matches, but no storylines to get people excited.
Winner? Push - Both shows were right in the middle, can't really say one was exceedingly better than the other.
NXT R Evolution vs. TLC
So much good happened during R Evolution; Corey Graves started commentating, Kevin Owens debuted, Balor's mind-blowing entrance, Charlotte vs. Shasha Banks, and of course, Zayn vs. Neville for the NXT Title. If you ever needed to show a non-wrestling fan why you watch, this would be what you show them. TLC came on just days later, and fair to say they had an uphill battle. TLC was downright awful with terrible finishes, just re-read Geno's reaction to it, so bad...
Winner? NXT - An absolute blowout, I'm talking high school basketball 150-2 style blowout.
NXT Rival vs. Fast Lane
Yet again, NXT brought the goods. If you wanted just a damn good wrestling match, Balor vs. Neville. If you wanted a fatal four-way done right, Shasha/Charlotte/Bayley/Becky tore the house down. If you wanted a brutal match, with amazing in-ring psychology and storytelling, Owens vs. Zayn did the trick. If you want an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach and the desire to take up a new hobby, tune in next Sunday to Fast Lane.
Winner? NXT - Yes, already calling a winner in this one. With one Raw left, and only three matches booked, expectations are not exactly high for WWE's worst named PPV.
With a record of 3-1-1, it's clear NXT is on the right path with it's live shows. Hopefully, with the extra buzz, more eyes come to the product, and maybe we'll see some NXT-like changes on the main roster.
...a guy can dream, right?