NXT Recap: May 13th 2015

Takeover: Unstoppable is on the horizon, with NXT’s latest live special only a week away. These live editions have generally been exceptional, and very well received by fans. However, it’s original card has been slightly disrupted by some unfortunate injuries. Hideo Itami will certainly be unavailable, and will be a big miss for the remainder of the year. It especially sucks for the Japanese star, who seemed set to become the next contender for the NXT Championship. But, Sami Zayn, who was feared to be also sidelined, is healthy to compete, and will have a confrontation with champ Kevin Owens before their heated bout in next week’s main event.

The main event this week is a prelude to the number one contender’s match at Takeover. Finn Balor teams with Hideo Itami (as this was taped prior his injury) to take on Tyler Breeze and Adam Rose. Obviously there is respect between Balor and Itami from when they first joined NXT, but will that be able to overcome their competition over the biggest prize available. Breeze meanwhile will be desperate to show he has a genuine chance of becoming the next title challenger with a big victory in this contest.

Also on show tonight is NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks in an exhibition match against newcomer KC Cassidy before her title defense opposite Becky Lynch. Alexa Bliss battles Carmella, and Baron Corbin goes one-on-one with the bizarre Solomon Crowe.

Quick Results

  • Baron Corbin defeats Solomon Crowe
  • Sasha Banks defeats KC Cassidy
  • Alexa Bliss defeats Carmella
  • Tyler Breeze & Adam Rose defeat Finn Balor & Hideo Itami

Baron Corbin vs Solomon Crowe

One of the lower ranked matches on the Takeover: Unstoppable card is a clash of powerhouses of the past and the future. Baron Corbin has been middling around without any direction for a long time, as he seems to be one of the few guys in NXT that the company don’t really know how to build. His winning matches in a matter of seconds shows WWE still have faith in him, and hopefully a match with the veteran Rhyno at the live special will imbue fans with more confidence in him. Here he faces Solomon Crowe, a superstar the crowd is yet to get its full bearings on.

Highlights

A wicked clothesline by Corbin turning Crowe inside out

Crowe’s kicks to the heads looked really vicious

Crowd Reaction

“Boring” – the crowd’s delight in seeing Corbin dominate his opponents has seemingly come to an end

Low Points

Short as to be expected with Corbin, and the negativity of the crowd didn’t help matters

Corbin has seemingly turned heel without any build around that

Finish

Corbin catches Crowe jumping off the ropes into the End of Days to win. Rhyno comes out after the match and challenges Corbin, and the two brawl. They are eventually separated by security, with Rhyno goring two of them.

The post-match brawl between Baron Corbin and Rhyno was far better build to their bout than the match preceding it. I don’t recall a moment where Corbin officially turned heel, and maybe this is just a reaction to the fans no longer buying into his rapid victories and clear lack of technical ability. It’s a shame for Solomon Crowe, who actually looked good with the small amount of offense he landed, as it seems there is little direction for him quietly. Still, I am confident Rhyno can drag a decent match out of Corbin by the reaction their fight endeared from the audience.

Rating – 2/5 (mainly for the post-match brawl)

Sasha Banks vs KC Cassidy

One of the matches that I am most looking forward to at Takeover: Unstoppable is the NXT Women’s Championship match between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Both athletes are very well adept at submissions and can brawl with the best of them, and despite their previous alliance, the contract signing last week showed neither will hold anything back in the pursuit of the gold. The Boss has a final chance to show why she is the champion in a final warm-up match against newcomer KC Cassidy.

Highlights

Nice running crossbody from Cassidy to earn a near-fall on Banks

The double knees in the corner from Banks looked especially painful

Banks mocking Lynch’s signature heavy metal pose on the ropes

Crowd Reaction

A whole section of the crowd marked themselves out as Banks’s fans

“Let’s go Sasha! Let’s go Black Shorts” – if you aren’t going to give fans a wrestler’s name they’ll come up with one themselves

Low Points

Quite short, but that is to be expected in order to push the dominance of the Boss before her title defense

Finish

Banks locks in the Bank Statement crossface for a decisive submission victory.

This was a squash, but necessary in order to promote Sasha Banks before her title match against Becky Lynch. This allowed KC Cassidy to get onto TV, and if she proves good enough then her time in the spotlight will come too, even in this fiercely competitive NXT women’s division. But for now the focus shifts to Takeover, and with the strengths of Banks and Lynch tangling over the prestigious championship, it should prove a compelling and heated encounter.

Rating – 2/5

Alexa Bliss vs Carmella

A second divas match of the evening pits Alexa Bliss against Carmella. The Queen of Staten Island has been more preoccupied in recent weeks with her boys Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady as they pursue the NXT Tag Team Championship, and resisting the mind games of champions Blake & Murphy. Bliss also has taken a brief absence after her challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship fell short, so it is good to see both return to in-ring competition.

Highlights

Carmella’s selling and expression at the presence of Blake & Murphy added well to the match’s story

Bliss agility with an armdrag takedown from the top turnbuckle was impressive and inventive

Crowd Reaction

“You look stupid” – hopefully this was directed at Blake’s new hairstyle

Low Points

Some sloppy spots and poorly executed maneuvers by both women with sullied the contest

Finish

Bliss connects with the Sparkle Splash to earn the victory. After the match Blake & Murphy insulted Carmella, Amore and Cassady, before Carmella ran them down with a strong promo.

I’m not sure what is going to take place with Carmella at Takeover, as I could now see her remaining alongside Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady or betraying them in equal measure. She has all the makings of a heel, but the post-match promo directed at Blake & Murphy really got the audience behind her. The match itself was okay, but it is clear both Carmella and Alexa Bliss require some refinement if they are going to stand out in NXT from a technical standpoint.

Rating – 2/5

Tyler Breeze & Adam Rose vs Finn Balor & Hideo Itami

The final match of the night concerns the build for the number one contender’s match for the NXT Championship. Originally a Triple Threat match at the time of this recording, Hideo Itami’s injury in the time between the taping and now makes the bout a singles match in all likelihood. Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze have both had opportunities at the coveted belt in the past, and their losses mean both will be even more determined to get one more chance at the prize. To build momentum heading into the match, Breeze teamed with Adam Rose to face the combination of Balor and Itami.

Highlights

Aggression showed by Breeze when on top is very compelling viewing

Excellent transition by Rose from a Spinebuster into a Boston Crab

Balor’s Pele kick lands right on the face of Rose

Itami looks so good when he is peppering an opponent with kicks and strikes

Crowd Reaction

“That was awesome” – response to Balor’s very dramatic entrance

Crowd mostly behind Balor out of all the participants

Low Points

Very few, all four of these guys were technically sound – maybe just a little bland

Finish

After some miscommunication between Balor and Itami, the Japanese star is caught in a small package by Breeze. When the two exchange words following the match, Breeze shoves Itami into Balor, and takes both of them out with kicks. Rose celebrates, but is then also laid out with a Supermodel Kick by Breeze.

This was an excellent way to showcase Tyler Breeze as a genuine threat in the number one contender’s match, as he is the clear underdog despite his longevity in NXT. Leaving every other participant in the contest laid out with kicks after a victory was a nice touch. It was a decent match, and I was particularly impressed by Adam Rose as a heel. The tension between Finn Balor and Hideo Itami would have been nice to witness in a Triple Threat match, but hopefully Balor/Breeze will be just as exciting.

Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn Face-Off

Much speculation has been made of the upcoming contest between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn over the NXT Championship. The headline bout of Takeover: Unstoppable features the most heated feud in the history of the brand, but risked being overshadowed by a shoulder injury suffered by Zayn in his United States Championship match with John Cena two weeks ago on RAW. But, he says that he is healthy and the match is going to take place, as they stand face-to-face before the clash takes place.

Zayn tells Owens that he doesn’t plan on fighting tonight, but just wants to know what his former best friend’s motives were for his targeting of Zayn. The redheaded underdog does not buy that this was all about the title, and providing a better life for Owens’ family, and sees something more personal behind it. Zayn muses over whether it is jealousy because he made it to NXT first, and even goes so far to mention that Owens’ son wears a Sami Zayn shirt to school rather than his father’s.

Owens refuses to answer, teasing to before departing from the ring. He stands at the top of the ramp, before finally breaking his silence, although not looking directly at Zayn as he talks. Owens says he knows that Zayn didn’t leave after their last title match to clear his head, but because he was hurt. He continues to state that he knows Zayn is still hurt, Owens was the one that hurt him, and at Takeover, he will hurt him so badly that he’s never coming back. If the match reaches the intensity of this succinct promo, it is going to be a battle not to be missed.

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