NXT Takeover: Unstoppable
May 20, 2015
Full Sail University
#1 Contender NXT Championship
Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze
Alex Wendland (@AlexWendland): What a great idea to put this on first. I was initially concerned (in our stellar preview for NXT Takeover: Unstoppable) that the lack of Hideo Itami as a connector for these two would hurt the story of the match. NOT SO FAST, MY FRIENDS. I don’t think anyone really expected Tyler Breeze to win this match, but the wrestlers did a helluva job making me think they were going put Breeze over. Finn Balor has been main-roster-ready since he debuted in NXT, but he’s also a huge key to developing guys like Breeze in whatever time he has left in NXT.
Oh, and the entrances, stellar for both, but I think I liked Breeze’s more. Sacrilegious, I know, but dark and brooding has been done so many more times than white lights and Periscope. ***1/2
Larry: SPECIAL ENTRANCES! I marked out very hard for Tyler Breeze’s intro. BUT THEN…DEE MOAN BALOR. This dude comin’ out lookin like Unibouzu’s tag team partner at the next Kaiju Big Battel show, bros. Not only that, his war paint is something else. The Eye of fucking Sauron is just plastered on his back. Five stars for the entrances alone. As for the match, it was a basic RAW type solid mid-card match until a nice closing stretch with some near falls by Breeze and Balor being a crazy man jumping off the top of the entrance onto Breeze before the shotgun dropkick and coup de grace for the win. Good match. ***
Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling): Great match to kick off NXT Takeover: Unstoppable. There were a few legit points where you ALMOST thought Tyler Breeze could pull it out including a Beauty Shot after sending Balor into the exposed turnbuckle. When it was all said and done though Balor emerged after a beautiful dive from a platform above the entrance ramp. It did its job as an opener and Finn Balor continues to be one of the most over guys on the NXT roster. Great start, let’s keep it up! ***1/2
Bryan Rose (@br26): This was solid with some good nearfalls, but I didn’t see anything particularly special. Balor is good, Breeze is good, and they had a good match. NXT TV main event quality bout. Should be interesting to see where they go with Balor and whoever wins later tonight. Both entrances for this match were pretty awesome and were actually more memorable than the match, honestly. ***
Bayley & Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke & Emma
Alex Wendland: Well, this was straightforward. I expected something a bit more schmozzy to serve as a storyline advancer, but this felt definitive. Dana Brooke was graciously minimized and the three others in the match got to do their thing. I might be the minority, but I think Emma, when she isn’t dancing, is the best of the four in this match even though she doesn’t have as high a ceiling as Charlotte. I’m interested to see how these storylines continue since Bayley has been in a holding pattern since the fatal 4-way at the last Takeover. **1/2
Larry: Meh. It was a little sloppy. It wasn’t very interesting. However, it wasn’t bad. On the plus side, Emma looked hot and the closing stretch was pretty good. On the other, Dana Brooke looked out of place next to these women at this juncture. This would have been better placed as a main event on one of the weekly shows and given a little more time as this was a total program advancer. It really didn’t have much of a place on a Clash of the NXT Champions show. **
Rich Kraetsch: This had a few sloppy points (mostly when Dana Brooke was in the ring) but by and large this was good. Emma continues to improve at a tremendous rate and is really harnessing her asshole gimmick, she was far and away the best component of this match. She worked stiff and did a great job tossing Bayley around the ring. Charlotte has looked solid as of late and this was no exception and Bayley is what she is, she’s not going to wow you but she’s a solid hand. The finish and the miscommunication between rookie Brooke and veteran Emma will no doubt lead to a series of matches between the two which could go a long way in improving Dana. **1/2
Bryan Rose: This was fine. Brooke looked completely lost in there at times but the other three helped made this a solid bout, but nothing beyond that. Not many thoughts beyond that. **1/4
Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno
Alex Wendland: Unlike my contemporaries, I have the ability to focus on the task at hand. Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about this because, well, I’m not crazy about Baron Corbin, but this is what NXT needs to do to get these new guys over. This was probably Corbin’s second-best match following his go-round with Adrian Neville, but that isn’t saying much. Corbin continues to do Corbin things and will for the foreseeable future. **
Larry: Another match best left for weekly television. Too many of these types take away time that would be best served to make the major program’s blowoff matches longer form. With that said, what else would you expect from a Baron Corbin match? I guess this was ok? I wasn’t interested to begin with and it was a lot of punching and kicking. *1/2
On topic…RIP TNA
Rich Kraetsch: While this match was going on Dave Meltzer reported that Destination America is cancelling Impact Wrestling in September. Needless to say I was a bit distracted but I don’t think I missed much. I’m glad this went over five minutes as Corbin is going to have to learn how to work longer but this wasn’t great. With that said, it may be the best Corbin has looked and it was a good step in the maturation of his career… even if I was bored. *1/2
Bryan Rose: This turned out to be solid, though nothing memorable. Like Rich said, news broke out over TNA’s cancellation (again) during this match so I didn’t pay complete attention to this match other than they need to book Corbin as a heel going forward because I doubt he’s getting over as a face anytime soon. Rhyno helped make this a solid match, and if anything, Corbin should be working with more veterans in the future if they see him as a big time project. **1/4
NXT Tag Team Championship
Blake and Murphy © vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
Alex Wendland: Blake and Murphy have fallen so far since I called them the best tag team in WWE when they won the NXT Tag Team Championships. Even though they’re improving as a team, I don’t even want to boo a maybe-sexual-predator gimmick. This match rose to the occasion of the evening, however. This was never going to be a barnburner, but it served its purpose. I don’t think Enzo can burn barns to be honest, but It was a nice match. I’m disappointed to see Alexa Bliss turn heel and get involved with a bit of a nowhere feud, but NXT is lousy with babyface women’s wrestlers right now. **
Larry: This was a perfectly acceptable and maybe edging on good. Well…as good as these two teams could pull off anyway. Enzo had a prolonged beatdown that led to a great hot tag to Big Cass. It was the best I’ve seen of Cass in a single stretch in the ring during his entire run with the WWE. The heel turn and interference by Alexa Bliss added a little juice to the Dubstep Cowboys, who do nothing for me, to be honest. **1/4
Rich Kraetsch: Enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. This was the best Big Cass & Enzo have ever looked, Enzo in particular looked like a competent wrestler! It’s a miracle! Murphy and Blake are fairly generic but I enjoy the act, so you won’t hear complaints from me. I loved the finish her as Alexa Bliss took out Carmella and helped Blake & Murphy retain the title. I’m looking forward to Bliss’ heel run and I think she’ll make a nice accompaniment to the Dubstep Cowboys. Another solid match. **1/2
Bryan Rose: I enjoyed the comeback and the last few minutes of the match. Other than that, just solid work, kind of felt lackluster at times. Interesting heel turn by Alexa Bliss, though. I don’t buy her as a heel initially, though that’s also what I thought when Naomi turned a few weeks ago, and now she’s really good as a heel. So it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here as I was sure Blake and Murphy were transitional champions, but I guess they’re going somewhere with them. **1/2
NXT Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks © vs. Becky Lynch
Alex Wendland: I loved this match. This was the first women’s match I can think of in a long time that felt like a legitimate prizefight, and that’s a huge, huge step for women’s wrestling. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch had something for everyone, they put three or four different styles into one match and the outcome was a masterpiece. I loved seeing a match focus on arms. Too many are based around head or leg damage and the false finishes actually felt legitimate thanks to superstar-level selling from both Lynch and Banks. The cherry on top was seeing how much it meant to Lynch to come away with the loss and the response from the Full Sail crowd. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen this show, you need to seek out this match. This match should place higher in our Match of the Month competition than any other so far. I actually think this was better than anything on the April MOTM top 10. This was the best of the much-touted NXT women’s matches. Truly exceptional regardless of gender. ****3/4
Larry: The best women’s match that’s ever taken place outside of Japan. It will be considered historically significant. This was special, brothers. ****3/4
Rich Kraetsch: I’ve never watched All Japan Women so maybe my scope is a smaller but that was the best women’s match I’ve ever seen. Better than any of the previous NXT special women’s matches and far and away better than anything I’ve ever seen on WWE TV. Shit, let’s throw gender out, this was legitimately one of my favorite matches ever. Spectacular story told through, with the ladies both working the other’s arms to try and get the other to tap. Numerous times throughout the match, I felt one or the other had a chance to win — that’s hard to do in 2015. The limb work not only held throughout the match but played into the finish. That type of psychology is hard to get out of main roster, main event guys let alone “developmental” women.
Becky showed herself as a legit player in the present and the future of this division and Sasha is, without doubt already one of the best women wrestlers WWE has ever employed. This isn’t hyperbole, that match was spectacular and will show up on numerous Match of the Year lists. ****3/4
Bryan Rose: This match managed to exceed expectations and was probably the best divas match of the year, maybe even the last couple of years. Hell, the whole decade. Lynch was awesome and so was Sasha and they gelled well to have a really outstanding match, full of great matwork from the start, some hot nearfalls, and some crazy moves toward the end. Every woman, hell even every man training right now in NXT needs to watch this and hope to aspire to be as good as these two ladies were tonight. ****1/2
Kevin Owens © vs. Sami Zayn
Alex Wendland: The bell never rang. Is this match even over? Just like their last match, Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens was more of a story than a match. More of a cutscene than gameplay. But this one? This one was so much better. There was some great back and forth, including some brawling in the crowd that reminded me of Austin-Hart, at the start and then the now-signature Owens powerbomb onto the apron pretty much ended the match and turned the whole thing into a segment. The story, of course, is that Zayn can’t continue and Owens is going to end Zayn. Eventually I would love to see Zayn and Owens have an actual match, and it will be a massive disappointment if they do a third match without a finish. It was great to see William Regal get involved trying to talk Owens down, but the sorta-swerve ending was legitimately newsworthy.
Yes, the rumors are true, Samoa Joe finally debuted in NXT. Not Polynesian Pat, not Joe Uso, but Samoa Joe. Joe made the save for Zayn without lifting a finger and backed Owens down. There’s a hoss fight coming NXT. Get ready. NR
Larry: NXT is everything an Indy geek always wanted the WWE to be. Steen versus Zaynerico in its many incarnations will be the stuff of legend. It already was on the Indy scene, but its taken on this new life in the NXT/WWE bubble. Permeating the main roster with John Cena being the catalyst and branching out to include Prince Devitt and Samoa Joe – its like Triple H is e-fedding…how fucking awesome is this shit!? The level of brutality in these Owens-Zayn “matches” border on uncomfortable if I wasn’t marking out. Obviously, no rating…but I love this shit so much. SAMOA FUCKING JOE!
Rich Kraetsch: Much like Owens/Zayn No. 1, this was more of a story vehicle than a match and really that’s okay. Zayn’s legitimate shoulder injury gave NXT an out whereas they can build to yet another Owens/Zayn rematch down the line. Let Zayn get fully healthy and have him come back strong for his big eventual title win. Otherwise, there was so much here it’s hard to even contextualize. NXT commissioner William Regal came down to stop Owens’ assault on Zayn (which was set up beautifully by the apron powerbomb, the same move that’s laid Zayn out prior), Owens shoved Regal meaning we’ll likely see that match somewhere down the line. Then, as you’re already aware Samoa fuckin’ Joe debuted. The two stared down and yes, one of the last few indie dream matches of this generation will take place on NXT — what a world.
This was masterfully booking from top-to-bottom, immediately following this match Owens has FIVE potential matchups: Balor (new No. 1 contender), Regal, the eventual Zayn rematch, Samoa Joe and of course his United States title match with John Cena. This is some next-level booking. NR
Bryan Rose: This wasn’t much of a match but more akin to a brawl and a story. They had a back and forth brawl that spanned the arena until Owens laid out Zayn with the pop up powerbomb onto the apron, seemingly putting him out of action for the foreseeable future. Of course, with Balor now as number one contender, we do have our next title program. Or do we? All of a sudden Samoa Joe (using that name, at least for tonight) came out and Owens backed off. It’s certainly an interesting dynamic with Joe here in NXT, and a match we’ve never seen on the indy scene before (at least, not from what I can remember) might come into fruition. Certainly an interesting time for NXT moving forward. NR