To celebrate 10 years of NXT, we at STEELCHAIR have taking a good long look into the archives of WWE’s most electrifying brand and picked our favourite rivalries. There have been so many to choose from, but we’ve done our best to bring you all the excitement of the feuds that have made a definite impression on us. So sit back and enjoy as we recount our favourite rivalries of all time within NXT.

Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens, Steph Franchomme

This is the story of 2 young guys from the suburbs of Montreal. They started together, they worked around the world together, they fought one on one or as a team, they were just the kings of the world. But in 2013, El Generico, aka Sami Zayn, was signed by WWE, and his best friend Kevin Owens was jealous. Like Owens said in his DVD, he saw the ink drying on the contract as Zayn was signing it. During the whole year of 2013, Zayn had impressed NXT fans with some great matches and even became the number one contender for the NXT Championship.

That night Zayn defeated Neville to become Champion, at NXT TakeOver: R-Evolution, Kevin Owens was making his debut with NXT because finally he was signed, and he decided to make his best friend pay. The celebration was over when, after hugging Zayn, he apron-bombed him abruptly. The war was declared. Two months later, at NXT TakeOver: Rival, Owens took the Championship away from Zayn in a brutal match. It was just the beginning of a love-hate relationship that has brought them to the main roster and new incredible encounters. Because best friends make the best opponents and provide the best matches.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe, John Dinsdale

When Shinsuke Nakamura appeared in NXT, many had the former NJPW star pegged as NXT champion material. He had the look, the history, and the charisma. It wasn’t that long until the title was in his sights and after beating Austin Aries and Finn Balor, he got his shot at Samoa Joe. I don’t think I’d ever seen someone wind up and get under Joe’s skin quite like Nakamura. With the tension built, the pair would then go on to clash multiple times with Nakamura beating Joe in Brooklyn and Joe handing his rival his first loss in NXT when he took the title back in Toronto.

They fought around the world with matches in Australia in a steel cage, Osaka, Japan, Toronto, Canada, and good ol’ Full Sail. While many would claim the feud went on too long, it gave us a series of high class and brutal bouts as Joe’s hybrid style met Shinsuke’s strong style. This feud helped give Joe a proper NXT send-off and cemented Nakamura as a star to the American audience.

Sasha Banks vs Bayley, Tom Beasley

There’s a lot of debate, both real and kayfabe, around who started the Women’s Evolution in WWE. Whoever got the ball rolling, though, the movement seemed to come of age in August 2015 at the first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn event. After months of adversity, first against Charlotte and Sasha Banks as the BFFs and then against Banks and new buddy Becky Lynch, Bayley finally climbed the mountain to win her first NXT Women’s Championship against Banks in what is almost certainly the best women’s match in WWE history.

This feud was built on ambition, animosity and two perfectly cast characters. Bayley was the idealised, aspirational figure for young women fighting against the odds, while Banks was the epitome of the ultra-popular mean girl. The addition of Bayley superfan Izzy at ringside gave everything an extra dose of emotional peril, helped by the terrific psychology of both performers in their matches against each other, including a stellar iron man match at NXT TakeOver: Respect in October 2015.

Both characters have been shoe-horned into more ill-fitting roles in their rather more rocky time on the main roster but, whether together or apart, there’s no denying that there’s dynamite between Banks and Bayley. It’s a chemistry you just can’t buy.

DIY vs The Revival, Sêan Reid

Over the past 10 years, NXT has almost consistently put the spotlight on tag team wrestling. From the dominance of The Ascension to American Alpha to the Undisputed Era, NXT has been home to some outstanding tag teams. When it comes to classic tag team NXT rivalries, arguably none have been as memorable as #DIY vs The Revival.

It could be considered that #DIY’s Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano became NXT superstars by accident. Initially used sporadically throughout 2015, the pairing came together for the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Over the coming months, the duo would endear themselves to the NXT crowd through their do-it-yourself attitude. In contrast, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were an old-school heel pairing, echoing the technical in-ring awareness of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.

At  NXT Takeover Brooklyn II in August 2016, the two teams treated fans to the first in a series of tag classics. While the Barclays Center crowd fully backed #DIY, it was The Revival who would retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. Nevertheless, it planted a seed of sympathy for #DIY, leading to an emotional connection with fans they continue to have to this day.

The rivalry would considerably peak at November’s NXT Takeover: Toronto. With a feverish Canadian crowd in attendance, Ciampa, Gargano, Wilder and Dawson served up a match of the year contender. With a two out of three stipulation, they took fans on an emotional rollercoaster. The Revival took the lead early on with a quickfire “Shatter Machine” before #DIY strived to comeback. After repeated close falls, the duo would deliver a running knee/superkick combo. The tremendous storytelling concluded with the memorable visual of the Revival simultaneously submitting to #DIY.

However, #DIY’s success would be short-lived as the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners, Authors of Pain, would capture the titles at NXT Takeover: San Antonio. With the addition of AOP, the three teams would write another memorable chapter in NXT tag team history in Orlando. Both former champions tried to defeat the monstrous duo of Akam and Rezar yet both would come up short.

Like many faces before them, #DIY were always better chasing the titles, yet by the conclusion of NXT Takeover: Chicago, and another failed attempt to overcome AOP, the chase had become too much for Tomasso Ciampa… As for The Revival, a move to the main roster has had mixed results, even though their style of tag team wrestling has won over many admirers. Together, both teams raised the bar of tag team wrestling throughout WWE and beyond.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

By admin

Leave a Reply