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NXT TakeOver: Rival Preview: Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze

Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami will each be in search of payback when they battle one-on-one at NXT TakeOver: Rival.

The WWE Network special’s newest match, announced on the TakeOver Pre-Show, stems from the first round of the NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Tournament, where Itami eliminated Breeze in a competitive contest, dashing the gorgeous Superstar’s hopes of winning the NXT Title. Furious over his elimination, Breeze fired back weeks later, sneak-attacking Itami backstage after the Japanese Superstar narrowly lost to tag partner Finn Bálor in the tournament’s semifinals.

Though Breeze’s ambush proved effective, now that TakeOver: Rival’s newest matchup is official, could Breeze’s selfie-ready good looks be in jeopardy when he faces the slicing, debilitating kicks of Itami? Or will Breeze, denied an opportunity at the NXT Championship he craves so dearly, crank up the intensity like never before?

Watch this fierce conflict unfold tonight at NXT TakeOver: Rival, airing live on WWE Network at 8pm. ET/5pm. PT.




NXT Results and Photos – February 4th 2015

Live Event Digitals > February 4th, 2015
Screen Captures > February 4th, 2015

Finn Bálor def. Hideo Itami (NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Tournament Semifinals)

With Neville watching from the announcers’ desk, Finn Bálor and Hideo Itami set aside their friendship with a chance to face the high-flyer for the No. 1 contendership to the NXT Championship on the line. The two allies showed how well they knew each other, putting on a display of chain wrestling that had the NXT Universe on the edge of their seats.

The two friends launched blow after blow, neither man able to gain a clear advantage, until Itami connected with a rapid-fire series of punches and kicks that looked to finally give him the upper hand. However, Bálor rebounded and sent Itami crashing into the corner with a huge dropkick. That left Itami in position for the Coup de Grace off the top rope, allowing Bálor to pick up the win and take his place in the finals of the No. 1 Contender’s Tournament against Neville next week at TakeOver: Rival!




NXT Results and Photos – January 21st 2015

Live Event Digitals > January 21st, 2015
Screen Captures > January 21st, 2015

Hideo Itami def. Tyler Breeze (NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Hideo Itami was hoping to join his friend Finn Bálor in the semi-finals of the No. 1 Contender’s tournament, but would have to get through the wily Tyler Breeze to make it. Prince Pretty did well at avoiding Itami’s hard kicks at first, but soon found himself on the receiving end of a fierce boot to the chest.

Though Prince Pretty took control after throwing Itami face-first into the turnbuckle, Itami refused to give up. The Japanese star battled back with fighting spirit, stunning Breeze with a tornado DDT onto the ropes. After surviving another onslaught from Breeze, Itami secured his spot in the semi-finals with a huge flying boot to the face.




WWE.com: Daniel Bryan’s 15 Greatest Matches

Daniel Bryan vs. KENTA (Ring of Honor Glory By Honor 2006)

WE SAID: In the final months of his 462-day reign as Ring of Honor Champion, Daniel Bryan defended his title in New York City’s Manhattan Center against a Japanese sensation who would later emerge in WWE NXT as Hideo Itami. Then billing himself with the stylized handle of KENTA, the Pro Wrestling Noah standout possessed a style that was extraordinarily similar to Bryan’s — both favored heavy strikes, wrenching submissions and an unmistakable arrogance — and the resulting battle became one of The American Dragon’s defining bouts as champion.

In a match that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin may have described as “snug,” Bryan and KENTA exchanged blistering kicks that seemed capable of shattering bone. At one point, the champion became so frustrated with the challenger’s constant boots that he began throwing careless headbutts that cautioned his own wellbeing. Despite his recklessness, Bryan ultimately locked Itami in his Cattle Mutilation submission hold — after countless attempts — to secure the victory. It was ugly, but the war instilled a respect in both men that persists to this day. — RYAN MURPHY

BRYAN SAID: “I’d just separated my shoulder and torn a couple of tendons maybe three weeks before going into the Manhattan Center again in New York City. The emotion was very, very high, everybody knew I was hurt, and KENTA kept kicking the crap out of my arm. My sister was in the crowd and she actually cried. I consider wrestling art. You want people to be entertained. If you can, make ‘em laugh, but when you really get ‘em, you make ‘em cry. And that was one of those matches that was able to do that.”




NXT Results and Photos – January 8th 2015

Live Event Digitals > January 8th, 2015
Screen Captures > January 8th, 2015

Hideo Itami def. Curtis Axel

Curtis Axel finally got his chance to make a mark in NXT, and wasted no time getting in Hideo Itami’s face. The former Intercontinental Champion tried to gain the upper hand by pounding away at Itami’s back, but the Japanese star quickly caught Axel off-guard with a series of rapid-fire kicks. Axel rebounded and stomped his foe into the canvas, but the resilient Itami refused to relent, fighting back to his feet and clobbering Axel with a devastating spinning kick to earn the victory.




NXT Results and Photos – January 1st 2015

Live Event Digitals > January 1st, 2015
Screen Captures > January 1st, 2015

Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor def. The Ascension

These rivals wasted no time in battering each other, not even waiting for the bell to begin brawling. Bálor & Itami got an early advantage, sending Konnor & Viktor retreating to ringside to regroup. The Ascension looked to be in trouble, until they trapped Bálor in their corner and Viktor caught him with an uppercut that sent him crashing to the arena floor.

Konnor continued the punishment, slamming Bálor onto the floor. The Ascension cut the ring in half, preventing Itami from entering the bout. Though his foes were dominating him, Bálor remained resilient, fighting out of the monstrous team’s clutches, stunning Konnor with a Pelé-esque kick and tagging in Itami. The Japanese Superstar leapt into action, clobbering Viktor with lightning-fast kicks. Bálor neutralized Konnor with a diving double stomp on the floor, while Itami decked Viktor with a devastating spinning kick to the head to start 2015 with a huge victory.




NXT Results and Photos – NXT TakeOver: R Evolution

Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor def. The Ascension

One of the most bitter rivalries in NXT came to a head at TakeOver: R Evolution, as the once-dominant Ascension looked to “rise again” against the international sensations who’ve refused to back down, Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor. Itami & Bálor clearly viewed this encounter as nothing short of a war, entering Full Sail University in special garb, Itami sporting an elegant ring robe and Bálor taking away the collective breath of the NXT Universe with a headdress and monstrous red-and-black body paint that matched a truly epic entrance.

Though not ones to be easily intimidated, Viktor & Konnor watched with visible uncertainty as Itami and the new-look Bálor soaked in the adulation of the NXT fans. However, after being caught off guard by an initial onslaught, The Ascension slowed down the pace of the match and gained control of the bout. Itami endured an extended attack by both Viktor & Konnor before miraculously bringing Bálor into the ring. Bálor showed his teeth-literally and figuratively, considering his body-paint design – and took out The Ascension with a variety of innovative kicks and a tope con hilo.

Thanks to the quick thinking of Itami, who prevented The Ascension from hitting Fall of Man on his partner, he and Bálor were able to get the final upper hand, landing double foot stomps from the top rope to claim the victory. With the win, Itami & Bálor silenced all doubters.




NXT TakeOver: R Evolution Predictions

Jason Albert: I am absolutely, 100 percent taking Itami & Bálor here. I know them well. I think, with all due respect to The Ascension, desperate times call for desperate measures, which is a recipe for making a mistake. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Sara Amato: I’ll go with Hideo & Finn, because they’re both guys I’ve been watching for a very long time. I know what they’re capable of. I wouldn’t want to be The Ascension. They’ve just been needling them, like two tigers in a cage. That’s not a team I’d want to mess with. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Norman Smiley: Up until a couple of months ago, I thought The Ascension was the big dog on the block. However, with them losing the titles to The Lucha Dragons, I see a crack in their armor. I’m going to have to give the nod to Hideo & Finn. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami: 3, The Ascension: 0




NXT Results and Photos – December 4th 2014

Live Event Digitals > December 4th, 2014
Screen Captures > December 4th, 2014

Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor def. Tyson Kidd & Tyler Breeze

NXT GM William Regal placed Tyler Breeze into this bout after he could not find the missing Marcus Louis for a rematch against Prince Pretty. Itami and Bálor looked like a well-oiled machine, in the opening moments of the match, until Kidd and Breeze used dirty tactics to take over.

The makeshift team of Breeze and Kidd worked well together, until Bálor got back on the attack with a surprise soccer kick and tagged in Itami. While Kidd occupied his partner, Bálor hit Breeze with a double stomp off the top rope, setting up Prince Pretty for a devastating kick by Itami that gave their team the win.

After the bout, Bálor told The Ascension to be ready for their battle at TakeOver: R Evolution, because he’s bringing something they’ve never seen before.




NXT Results and Photos – November 27th 2014

Live Event Digitals > November 27th, 2014
Screen Captures > November 27th, 2014

Tyson Kidd may have been extra confident heading into his match with Finn Bálor, but the Irish-born Superstar was out to make a statement in his first singles NXT match. Bálor was able to match speed and holds with Kidd, though the Hart Dungeon graduate was not afraid to use his wife, Natalya, as a shield when things got too dicey.

Bálor looked to be on the verge of victory when he had Kidd in perfect position for his top-rope double stomp, but The Ascension stormed the ring and attacked him. When Hideo Itami ran to the ring to even the odds, there was no stopping the all-out brawl between the teams that will meet at TakeOver. Officials and members of the NXT roster tried their best to stop them, but chaos reigned as NXT went off the air.