NXT Recap: April 29th 2015

NXT begins the march towards Takeover: Unstoppable on May 20, and it is already shaping up to be a typically outstanding live special on par with anything the brand has produced before. The main event for that night will be the rematch everybody wants to see, as Kevin Owens defends his NXT Championship against Sami Zayn. Their heated personal rivalry is the centerpiece of NXT currently, and Zayn would feature in the main event in a match against another man very familiar with Owens, Alex Riley.

In the night’s opening contest, the NXT Tag Team Champions were in action in a prelude to their title defense at Takeover. Blake & Murphy would face Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady in a match before they compete with the belts on the line. And the question is whether Carmella would prove a distraction for her own boys or the apparently smitten champs.

As for the remainder of the matches, Becky Lynch warms up for her clash with Sasha Banks at the live special with a match with Sarah Dawson, Bayley takes on the newest addition to the women’s division in Dana Brooke, and Hideo Itami battles Adam Rose.

Quick Results

  • Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady defeat Blake & Murphy
  • Dana Brooke defeats Bayley
  • Hideo Itami defeats Adam Rose
  • Becky Lynch defeats Sarah Dawson
  • Sami Zayn defeats Alex Riley by disqualification

Kevin Owens Opening Promo

The night opened with the arrival of NXT Champion Kevin Owens, who did not appear to be in the best of moods after an attack by Sami Zayn following his match with Alex Riley. Owens was not willing to elaborate too much on the microphone, and instead made it plain that he wanted his former friend to come to the ring to fight it out. This brought out General Manager William Regal, who did not wish to see his show held hostage by violence like last week, but Owens did not seem interested in his pleas.

Zayn made his appearance and was set to take Owens up on his offer, but Regal was adamant that they would not fight unless he said so. With that, he scheduled a match between the pair at Takeover: Unstoppable for the NXT Championship. This caught Owens off-guard, and he argued that Zayn, due to his lengthy absence following their previous encounter, had not done anything to merit a title opportunity.

This led to one of Zayn’s greatest promos, demonstrating his growth as an all-around performer. He talked at length about how Owens needs to prove himself in this match, because everything he’s ever accomplished has had Sami Zayn’s name right next to it. He provoked his former friend by stating that Owens has always lived in Zayn’s shadow, and then echoed his rival by pointing out that he fights for a prize, and the NXT Championship is the prize. This riled Owens enough to accept the match, and both will add another chapter in their storied rivalry on May 20.

Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs Blake & Murphy

The Tag Team Championships are another set of titles that will be determined at Takeover: Unstoppable, as Blake & Murphy will have to overcome a tandem that are totally not SAWFT. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady have pushed themselves into the number one contender’s position with a number of solid victories. But, the champions’ attentions have been less focused on their opponents, but on the shapely form of Carmella. Are these mind games, or will they truly be distracted by the Queen of Staten Island in this warm-up match.

Highlights

I like how Amore during matches comes across as this lovable loser that tries his hardest but gets beaten down a lot – it suits his underdog character really well

Crowd Reaction

Fans firmly behind the Jersey natives, especially the popular underdog Amore

Crowd getting on the back of Blake for his interesting new hairstyle

Low Points

Not really much action at the beginning, could have been more in the initial damage of Amore by Blake & Murphy

Finish

Murphy spends too much time taunting Carmella, which sees him get caught by a Big Boot by Cassady, and then an aided splash from the top rope by Amore earned them a win over the champions.

This was an okay match, but it will need huge improvement at Takeover to avoid it being the worst match of the night. It just appeared as though they were working to a deadline, and Blake & Murphy didn’t do enough interesting things to work over Enzo Amore in the first half of the match. Colin Cassady is a wrecking ball and makes an impression despite a limited move-set, and their tandem’s popularity thus comes through their words and not actions. I believe that for the title match, the deciding factor will be where Carmella’s allegiance truly lies.

Rating – 2/5

Dana Brooke vs Bayley

This will be the first big test of the newest Diva in NXT, as Dana Brooke tries to prove she is the real deal against the established and popular Bayley. Last week saw Bayley lose out in the battle to become number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship to Becky Lynch, so will be desperate to bounce back tonight. However, Brooke will be equally as motivated to triumph and show as quickly as possible that she is the Total Diva she proclaims herself to be.

Highlights

Bayley having fun with a spot where she body surfs on the back of Brooke

Brooke looks good as a heel, a little unrefined but plenty of upsides to work with

Crowd Reaction

Bayley obviously with the crowd’s backing, a situation Brooke does not seem to comprehend

“Bayley’s gonna hug you” – might be my favorite chant in NXT currently

Low Points

Not really much to note here, it was a technically good match with few mistakes

Finish

Emma distracts Bayley when she is in the ascendancy by coming out to her entrance music. This distraction allows Brooke to hit the Samoan Driver to win.

This was a good match, another signal that Dana Brooke has potential to make waves in this women’s division. She is far from the Total Diva she claims to be, but she has made a solid start as a heel. As for Bayley, a feud with Emma is a really compelling story, especially as the Aussie seems to be a natural heel for the happy-go-lucky Bayley. It is refreshing to see a divas feud not concerning the championship belt, and will make for a great story.

Rating – 2.5/5

Hideo Itami vs Adam Rose

Whilst the NXT Championship match will be the main focus of Takeover: Unstoppable, the show will also look towards the future of the title and its next challenger. William Regal announced that there would be a Triple Threat match to determine the next challenger for whoever walks out of the Owens/Zayn match champion, which will feature Hideo Itami, Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor. The Japanese superstar would look to build momentum for that match against the host of the Exotic Express, Adam Rose.

Highlights

Itami looking strong throughout is a good sign to see, using his strong kicks at every opportunity

Rose dropping Itami hard on the back of his head from the ring apron

Crowd Reaction

Audience firmly behind Itami and chanting wildly for the International Sensation

Low Points

Very short match with very few standout moments

Finish

Itami connects with the Shotgun Kick to defeat Rose.

A short, forgettable match. There was nothing particularly special about it, it was kept to a brief amount of time and doesn’t have a great deal of consequence. This was merely a simple way of getting Hideo Itami momentum before the triple threat match, and he has proven more than enough that he can and will produce when the time calls for it. I really like his chances in that match.

Rating – 2/5

Becky Lynch vs Sarah Dawson

The NXT Women’s Championship will be on the line at Takeover: Unstoppable, as the fiery Irishwoman Becky Lynch gets her chance to capture her first title from Sasha Banks. The Boss clearly will not let go of her firm grip of the belt without a significant fight, and so Lynch will need to bring her best to dethrone the champ. In this match with independent wrestler Sarah Dawson, the redhead will be looking to show her opponent and the fans that she will walk out of Takeover with a title around her waist.

Highlights

Lynch matrix sliding out of a pinning predicament is always a cool spot

Crowd Reaction

The fans fairly evenly split between the two athletes, with Dawson reasonably well-known by the smart NXT audience

Low Points

A very short squash, with the only real goal of displaying the best of Lynch’s abilities

Finish

Lynch locks in an armbar on Dawson, forcing her to submit

Not much of a match, more of an exhibition to build up Becky Lynch before her match with Sasha Banks. Sarah Dawson performed her role to the best of her ability, but she didn’t have a chance to get in much offense besides some pin attempts. Besides that, it was a demonstration of Lynch’s dominance and torturous submission holds, and Banks had better take note because she won’t hold onto her belt without a fight.

Rating – 2/5

Sami Zayn vs Alex Riley

The main event of the evening saw a battle between two people that have Kevin Owens firmly in their crosshairs. Sami Zayn will fight his former best friend over the NXT Championship at Takeover: Unstoppable, and this situation angered Alex Riley, who was desperate to get one more crack at defeating the man who has caused him nothing but anguish for the past few months. So, their shared hatred of Owens brought them together for a match, with Riley wanting to prove himself worthy of a final chance.

Highlights

Owens on commentary is absolutely incredible – he really makes you listen to what he’s saying without detracting much from the action in the ring

Riley looking very good for someone who only returned to active competition a few months prior – his maneuvers are very crisp

Sami Zayn soaring over the top rope onto Riley

Crowd Reaction

The fans showing more support for Zayn, but it’s nice to see them pop for Riley as well

Low Points

Just the fact that this match was pretty short – this would make a very good match with more time

Finish

Owens attacks Zayn, causing a disqualification. With Zayn laid out on the ramp, Owens powerbombs Riley against the ring apron.

This could end up being a really interesting match-up should it one day be given more time to play out. However, it proved to be a fitting way to progress the main feud leading into Takeover, whilst simultaneously curtail Kevin Owens’ current feud with Alex Riley. With the former commentator now out of action indefinitely, the full focus can be placed upon Owens and Sami Zayn, and what is sure to be an intriguing match for the NXT Championship.

Rating – 3/5

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