March 20 • Nick

An NXT tournament will be held this Thursday at WrestleMania Axxess, with the winner earning the right to compete in the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal days later at WrestleMania.

Tournament participants will include former NXT Champion Adrian Neville, Finn Bálor, Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami, WWE.com has confirmed. WrestleMania Axxess, which is the year’s biggest gathering of WWE fans, takes place at the San Jose Convention Center Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29.

Find out which NXT Superstar will outlast the competition and make his debut on The Grandest Stage of Them All when the action goes down this Thursday at Axxess!

Posted in WWE.com

February 12 • Devin

#1 Contender’s Match
Adrian Neville vs. Finn Bálor

Balor starts in control with dropkicks and elbow strikes, until Neville slows things down with a side headlock. Finn battles back but runs into a nice dropkick. Back to the headlock for a few minutes. Balor fights back yet again and hits a bit enzuigiri, then flies over the ropes to take both guys into the ramp. Neville takes a breather in a chair at ringside, but Finn comes out of nowhere with a dropkick sending him into the barricade.

They slowly fight back into the ring with both guys hitting dropkicks. Neville counters a lariat attempt with a huge German suplex, followed by another for two. He heads up to the top and connects with a swanton bomb off the second rope for two. Balor comes back with a slingblade, followed up with a reverse lifting DDT for two. He climbs the ropes but Adrian recovers and hits a step-up enzuigiri.

Neville sets up for the Red Arrow but settles for a kick to the side of the head. Red Arrow attempt #2, but Balor gets the knees up for two-and-a-half. Finn with a dropkick that sends him flying. He heads to the top and connects with a double foot stomp. 1-2-3.

Winner: Finn Bálor

Related Links, Photos & More:
» FINNishing TOUCH: World Wrestling Entertainment > Live Event Digitals > NXT > 2015 > February 11th (Takeover: Rival)
» FINNishing TOUCH: Screen Captures > World Wrestling Entertainment > NXT > 2015 > February 11th (Takeover: Rival)


February 10 • Devin

Reason No. 1: They’re world-traveled

NXT might be considered a developmental system for WWE, but that doesn’t mean Neville and Bálor lack seasoning. Before arriving to NXT, the Englishman Neville and Irishman Bálor competed for eight and 14 years, respectively, and during that time, they fought not only in their native countries, but also throughout Europe, Japan, the United States and Mexico.

According to Regal, this type of globetrotting — though a circuitous path to WWE — accelerates Superstars’ maturation as performers.

“Just traveling the world, and getting to live the highs and lows of what we do, makes you a better talent and a better performer,” Regal said. “And knowing what it takes to make it in Japan, the physicality of the Japanese wrestlers, it’s just a different world.”

Regal compared Neville and Bálor’s trajectories to those of WWE main roster Superstars Daniel Bryan and Cesaro.

“Those type of talents are used to being in difficult, strenuous situations; they’re used to the pressure of performing on a big stage,” Regal added. “Anybody who chooses that life and goes out there, it’s better for WWE because they’re more ready for the big show whenever they’re called up.”

Reason No. 2: They represent the death of the generic wrestler

The value of Bálor and Neville’s international exploits extends past their incredible poise.

“The days of just being a generic, punch-and-kick wrestler are pretty much over,” Regal said. “You don’t see those guys on our show anymore. Everybody’s very rounded, skill-wise.”

Leading the pack are Neville and Bálor. They’re frighteningly well-rounded — almost futuristic — and that goes hand-in-hand with their well-stamped passports. Neville and Bálor carry on a proud tradition of incorporating elements of different wrestling styles from around the world. In that sense, they share a lineage with names like Rollerball Rocco, Marty Jones and Tiger Mask. The unifying spirit is the same force Dynamite Kid rode into Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling in the 1980s, and that enlivened WCW’s cruiserweight division during the Monday Night War, Regal said.

“It should never have been classified as a weight class — they’re just exceptional talent, no matter what size they are,” Regal said. “It all seemed to spread from there, mixing the best of the best of the styles from different parts of the world. Neville and Bálor are definitely two fellows that continue that great tradition.”

Reason No. 3: They’re respectful risk-takers

So often, Superstars are brought into conflict because of a personal grudge. Over the years, the WWE Universe has seen everything from sordid love triangles to vengeful plots give cause to big-time matchups.

Not Neville vs. Bálor. Instead, these two respected peers are battling for a coveted opportunity at the NXT Championship. After Bálor secured his place in the No. 1 Contender’s Tournament Final, he celebrated not by talking trash about The Man That Gravity Forgot but, rather, by shaking Neville’s hand.

Don’t mistake mutual respect for timidity. Former NXT Champion Neville is in dire need of reclaiming the title, while Bálor looks to establish himself as a main-event player in NXT for the first time. One Superstar (Neville) seemingly creates new aerial maneuvers every time he steps in the ring, and the other (Bálor) so thoroughly shocked the NXT Universe with his metamorphosis at December’s TakeOver: R Evolution that fans are still buzzing about it.

Both men left high-paying jobs abroad to try to make it in WWE, and neither is taking his experience in NXT for granted. During a roundtable discussion last September, Neville admitted he “never really expected to be [in WWE].” Bálor, then fresh to NXT, called WWE “the great unknown.”

Don’t expect Neville and Bálor to shy away from taking big risks.

(more…)

Posted in WWE NXT, WWE.com

January 15 • Devin

Finn Bálor vs Tyson Kidd

Balor hits an immediate dropkick before he heads up top, then Kidd bails outside and Balor gives chase and rolls him back in the ring. Kidd rolls out the other side so Balor follows him again, but Kidd slams him into the barricade and kicks him a few times. Kidd rolls him inside and hits a legdrop, then he taunts Balor a bit and hits a neckbreaker. Kidd applies a side headlock before he puts Balor in tree of woe position, then he stomps Balor a few times before Balor kicks him in the face.

Balor hits a reverse bulldog and an enziguri, then Kidd falls outside so Balor hits a suicide dive on the ramp. Kidd connects with a kick to the head, then he hits a springboard elbow drop for two before he applies a Sharpshooter. Balor gets to the ropes to break, then he pulls Kidd through the ropes and hits an inverted elevated DDT (Bloody Sunday), followed by a top rope diving kick to the head for the win.

Winner: Finn Bálor

Related Links, Photos & More:
» FINNishing TOUCH: World Wrestling Entertainment > Live Event Digitals > NXT > 2015 > January 14th
» FINNishing TOUCH: Screen Captures > World Wrestling Entertainment > NXT > 2015 > January 14th


January 2 • Nick

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Finn Bàlor

Those who witnessed Finn Bálor compete alongside Hideo Itami at NXT Takeover: R Evolution saw exactly why the Irish-born Superstar is one to keep an eye on in the coming year. For those who haven’t, stop what you’re doing and check out the match on the WWE Network or this clip right here.

Bálor has already emerged with one unique and unforgettable entrance, and the budding Superstar’s in-ring work is hard-hitting, energetic, athletic and, most important of all, innovative. Bálor’s been so impressive down in NXT that he’s gone from debut to marquee spot on a live special — against the brand’s most dominant tag team of all time, mind you — in less than two months.

If that’s what he can do in such a short amount of time in 2014, then you better believe Bálor will be contending for the NXT Title — and maybe even a spot on the main roster — before 2015 comes to a close. — MIKE MURPHY

Posted in WWE NXT, WWE.com

January 2 • Nick

The Ascension vs Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor

They go at it immediately with the dream team taking over. Ascension bails before the seated corner dropkicks can connect until it settles down to Viktor vs. Balor. Finn charges into the corner with a running chop before it’s off to Itami, who the fans are really excited to see. Back to Finn for more forearms and chops before Itami drops a knee for two. We hit the chinlock on Viktor as a Hideo chant starts up.

Finn does a nice jump over the ropes to avoid a charging Viktor before kicking Konor off the apron. The distraction lets Viktor get in a big uppercut to knock Balor outside though as we take a break. Balor fights out of a chinlock from Konnor but the Ascension uses their old school double team beatdown to keep him in trouble. Off to a reverse chinlock from Konnor for a bit before a big uppercut gets two.

Finn gets spiked like a football to break up a hot tag attempt as the beating continues. Slugging it out with Viktor goes as well as you would expect it to go so it’s back to Konnor to just hammer Balor in the head.

The Pele Kick finally gives Finn an opening and the double tag brings in Itami and Viktor as things speed up. Hideo snaps Viktor’s neck across the top rope and scores with a top rope clothesline, only to walk into an STO for two. Itami teases the GTS again to another big reaction (and a GTS chant) but Konnor makes the save. Finn takes Konnor to the floor, leaving Itami to kick Viktor in the head for the pin.

Winners: Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor

Related Links, Photos & More:
» FINNishing TOUCH: World Wrestling Entertainment > Live Event Digitals > NXT > January 1st
» FINNishing TOUCH: Screen Captures > World Wrestling Entertainment > NXT > January 1st


December 12 • Devin

The Ascension vs Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor

Itami snapmares Konnor and Balor chops him in the corner, then he holds him in the corner and Itami connects with some chops and kicks. Itami gets caught with a flapjack for two, then Viktor stomps him a few times and hits an uppercut for two. Konnor applies a chinlock and kicks the back of Itami’s head, then he goes back to a chinlock but Itami fights out and he sidesteps a shoulder tackle in the corner. Itami sends him into the ringpost and tries to make the tag, but Viktor knocks Balor off the apron and pulls him into the corner.

Itami kicks him in the face and finally makes the tag, and Balor connects with some forearm shots, then he sends Konnor to the floor and splashes both opponents with a somersault dive. Balor goes for a double stomp but Viktor sidesteps it, and Balor hits a Brainbuster but Konnor breaks it up the pin. Balor goes for a spinning enziguiri but Viktor ducks and takes him down, then Itami tries to assist but he gets knocked outside. Konnor and Viktor set up for Fall of Man but Itami pulls Konnor outside, then Balor connects with a Pele kick, and both Balor and Itami connect with top rope double footstomps and make the simultaneous covers.

Winners: Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor

Related Links, Photos & More:
» FINNishing TOUCH: World Wrestling Entertainment > Live Event Digitals > NXT > December 11th (TakeOver)
» FINNishing TOUCH: Screen Captures > World Wrestling Entertainment > NXT > December 11th (TakeOver)



Finn Balor

While you might know him as Prince Devitt“The Real Rock ‘n’ Rolla” or “The Real Shooter”, one thing’s for sure: Finn Bálor will offer the WWE Universe something they’ve never seen before. Born and raised in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland; Finn is not your average WWE superstar as he brings the wrestling experience of a man who competed in places like Mexico, the UK and Japan. He might not be the “Prince” anymore, but that won’t stop Finn Bálor from claiming his throne in the WWE as the resident Demon King on the SmackDown brand.

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