WWE NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable
Winter Park, Florida 5/20/15
1.) #1 Contender’s Match – Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze: ***1/2
This was originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match, also involving Hideo Itami. However, Itami had to be removed from the match after news broke that he had suffered a bad shoulder injury. They explained this injury, in storyline, by having Itami “attacked” by someone in the parking lot, and while they didn’t show the actual attack in the video on the kickoff show, they seemed to imply that it was NXT Champion Kevin Owens. Now, the match is simply a singles match between Balor & Breeze, who both get pretty cool entrances (Breeze with a number of supermodels, Balor in his usual demon attire). This was a pretty solid opening match. It was slow to start, but things really picked up towards the end. There were some good near-falls, and at one point, Balor actually dove off part of the NXT Entrance Set onto Breeze! In the end, Balor would score the victory to earn another shot at the NXT Title! A good start to show.
2.) Bayley & Charlotte vs. Emma & Dana Brooke: **1/2
This might be the first NXT TakeOver Special to feature two women’s matches (if I recall correctly). Emma recently made her return to NXT, as a heel, and aligned herself with newcomer Dana Brooke. Here, they’re taking on the team of Bayley & Charlotte, which is a significant pairing, since those two were feuding the latter half of 2014. This match wasn’t anything special, but it was a solid tag team match. It had some a sloppy moment or two (mainly from Dana Brooke), but still, for its spot on the card, it was perfectly acceptable for what it was. Bayley & Charlotte would get the win in this match.
3.) Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno: **1/4
So it seems like Baron Corbin’s story thus far in 2015 is that he’s been going up against other “monsters”. He first went through Bull Dempsey, and now, he’s going after Rhyno. There really isn’t much to say about the match itself, other than it was pretty much what you would have expected, with a ton of brawling both inside and outside of the ring. Corbin would get the win, but unfortunately for them, nobody is going to remember this match, because news broke while the match was going on (via Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter) that Destination America was going to be cancelling TNA Impact later in the year.
4.) NXT Tag Team Titles – Blake & Murphy vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (with Carmella): **3/4
It still is a little baffling that the NXT Tag Team Titles were actually held by Blake & Murphy. Here, they’re defending against a team who are true fan favorites in Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady. I’m not sure if this is the first time that Enzo & Cass have gotten a shot at the NXT Tag Team Titles, but it’s definitely their first shot on a major NXT show. The match itself was, for the most part, solid. It was definitely a better performance from Blake & Murphy compared to their first major title defense against The Lucha Dragons at NXT TakeOver: Rival. Of course, the crowd was really behind Enzo & Cass, and it looked like at a number of points that they were going to win the NXT Tag Team Titles. However, towards the end of the match, they became distracted when Alex Bliss came out and attacked Carmella! This allowed Blake & Murphey to take advantage, and retain the NXT Tag Team Titles.
The newly heel Alexa Bliss celebrated with Blake & Murphey after the match.
5.) NXT Women’s Title – Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch: ****1/2
Sasha Banks won the NXT Women’s Title from Charlotte in a Fatal Four-Way Match at NXT TakeOver: Rival in a match that also involved Bayley, and her challenger for tonight, Becky Lynch. There is a story behind this match, as Becky Lynch turned heel late in 2014 to form a unit with Sasha Banks, but this pairing quickly dissolved when Banks became NXT Women’s Champion. This continued the trend of awesome NXT Women’s Title Matches on these NXT TakeOver Specials and, in my opinion, this might have been the best one yet. I thought this match was amazing!! It had a big fight feel right from start, and the match as a whole was just awesome to watch. They told a great story throughout the match, as both competitors targeted each other’s arms, but there was also some really cool spots throughout the match. Both also played their roles really well. Banks, once again, has another incredible performance on one of these NXT TakeOver Specials, but this was a real breakout performance from Lynch. This was just an awesome match from start to finish (I’ve used that word “awesome” a lot, but that’s the best word I can use to describe this match). Eventually, Banks would score the submission victory. Even though Banks emerged victorious, Lynch (who was really disappointed with coming out on the losing end) got a huge reaction from the crowd as she left. Definitely check this match out.
6.) NXT Title – Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn: ***1/2
Of course, Owens defeated Zayn via referee stoppage at NXT TakeOver: Rival to win the NXT Title. Speaking of Owens, he comes out wearing a John Cena T-Shirt (playing off his feud with Cena, which had kicked off recently on RAW). Now, while this match wasn’t nearly as good as their previous encounter, this was still pretty solid, for what it was. The match featured a lot of brawling outside of the ring, and for the most part, was more of an angle/storyline vehicle as opposed to an actual match. I think part of that had to do with the fact that, going into this match, Zayn was suffering from an injured shoulder, which occurred when he challenged John Cena for the United States Title on RAW, and I think many at the time figured this would be Zayn’s last match before undergoing surgery. In that sense, I guess the way this match turned out shouldn’t be a surprise. It actually had a silver lining a bit as well, from a storyline perspective, as Owens could brag about how he put Zayn on the shelf.
The match actually didn’t have a proper “ending”. The two kept brawling, and at one point, Owens actually knocked down NXT’s General Manager, William Regal. After they made their way back to the ring, it looked like Owens was going to use a chair on Zayn, but he was stopped, when SAMOA FREAKING JOE came out!!!! The crowd went nuts as Samoa Joe made his way down to the ring. He had an intense stare down with Owens in the ring, but Owens eventually backed down. Samoa Joe stood tall in the ring as the show came to a close.
While I don’t think this was the best NXT TakeOver Special up to this point, it was definitely one of the most memorable. You had an awesome NXT Women’s Match, which was easily the best match of the night. There was also the continuation of the Owens/Zayn story, and the massive debut of Samoa Joe. Even though Samoa Joe would only go on to have one match with Kevin Owens on NXT TV before Owens got called up to the Main Roster, his debut here was arguably one of the biggest moments in the history of NXT, and in a way, it represented a change of philosophy with WWE, where a wrestler didn’t need to change his name when he came into the company (and this was something that would continue several months later when a number of other big outside names came to the WWE). As far as this show as a whole is concerned, the Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch NXT Women’s Title Match is really the only must-see match on this show. Everything else was either pretty good (like Balor vs. Breeze) or just ok, but again, while this show really only had one amazing match, it concluded with one of the most memorable debuts in NXT (and maybe even WWE) history.