NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Recap

Few things in life are certain, but one of those things is the assumption that when NXT put on a live special it is going to be unmissable. And the brand once again proved that statement to be true with their latest installment of Takeover: Unstoppable. This event had an incredible card, full of potential classic matches, and the stars of developmental did not disappoint. Whilst I’d argue this wasn’t the best live special they have hosted, from a production stand point they kicked it up a notch, showing how seriously WWE is backing the success of NXT.

The main event would be the second battle between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn over the NXT Championship. These former best friends have become the bitterest of rivals, and Owens increased the intrigue in this bout even further with his attack of United States Champion John Cena on the latest episode of RAW. Zayn though was determined to show that his opponent had not hurt him in their last encounter, and recapture the title that he worked so hard to attain in 2014. And, the finish would see a shock new signing make an immediate impression.

The rest of the card supported this final contest exceptionally well. Sasha Banks defended the NXT Women’s Championship against previous ally Becky Lynch. And the Tag Team titles were contested, with Blake & Murphy facing Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady. Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze would look to become the next challenger for either Owens or Zayn, Charlotte & Bayley fought Emma & Dana Brooke, and a clash of the behemoths pitted Baron Corbin opposite Rhyno.

Quick Results

  • Finn Balor defeats Tyler Breeze
  • Charlotte & Bayley defeat Emma & Dana Brooke
  • Baron Corbin defeats Rhyno
  • NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy defeat Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
  • NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks defeats Becky Lynch
  • NXT Champion Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn ended in a No Contest

Finn Balor vs Tyler Breeze

Originally intended to be a Triple Threat match featuring Hideo Itami, his shoulder injury meant that the Japanese superstar was shown in a pre-taped segment as the victim of an attack. Therefore, this became a singles match between Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze, which is definitely not a bad consolation. Both superstars have become integral components of NXT’s main event scene, with numerous feuds over the NXT Championship to their name. With another shot at that precious gold on the line, that is a prize they will not want to let slip through their grasp in this heated encounter.

Highlights

The entrances were amazing. Breeze’s was stylish and really added to his narcissistic gimmick, but Balor has undoubtedly the best entrance in WWE today without any shadow of a doubt

Excellent springboard dropkick by Breeze, shades of Chris Jericho

Breeze verbally castrating the referee on a regular basis is hilarious

Great double foot stomp by Balor from the apron onto the back of Breeze

Love Breeze’s Supermodel Kick, and how Balor sells it

The course of action leading to a Beauty Shot by Breeze was very well orchestrated, and the crowd popped big for Balor’s kick out

Balor dives of the NXT stage stanchion onto Breeze on the ramp

Crowd Reaction

When the fans are chanting “This is Awesome” after the entrances alone, you know you’re onto a winner here

“Breeze is gorgeous” “No he’s not!” – then later switching it to Balor

“Please don’t die!” as Balor climbed atop the stanchion

Low Points

Move along, nothing to see here, besides the disappointing exclusion of Itami beyond anyone’s control

Finish

After a bullet dropkick, Balor becomes Number One Contender following the Coup de Gras on Breeze.

An excellent way to kick off the show on a high note, as both Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze are on top form in the ring, especially against one another. They just seem to click, and some of their chains of maneuvers and reversals were phenomenal to watch. Their chemistry and an extremely hot crowd helped get Takeover: Unstoppable off in the best possible manner, and the right man won. Breeze is an excellent hand, and more than ready to step into the main roster, but Balor is the guy right now, and thus the ideal challenger for the main title.

Rating – 4/5

Charlotte & Bayley vs Emma & Dana Brooke

NXT’s women’s division is one of crowning glories of their brand, as the confidence and technique of their talented group of ladies has matched or bettered the exploits of the men. They were able to build two separate, compelling contests for Takeover, the first being this tag team contest. The main angle behind this match was the bitterness between Bayley and Emma, as the Aussie has sought to “toughen up” the bubbly diva. But, another aspect is the rise of Dana Brooke, who considers herself the Total Diva, and was looking to prove that against Charlotte, one of the best in the division at the moment.

Highlights

Emma using Brooke as a shield, only for Bayley to take both down with a sliding dropkick

Excellent teamwork by Emma and Brooke keeping Bayley trapped in their corner

I never expected Emma to be as good a heel as she clearly is

Charlotte has grown into a near flawless competitor as she takes down both Emma and Brooke

Crowd Reaction

The reaction that Bayley receives is arguably stronger than anyone else on the roster, male or female

A minority start chanting for Brooke, but are drowned out by the majority – she is a heel after all

Low Points

Limited ring time for Dana Brooke, as she clearly is still very green at this stage of her career

Finish

Bayley takes out Brooke with the Bayley-to-Belly, leaving Charlotte free to win the match with Natural Selection on Emma

This was a solid tag team contest, as it allowed all four women time to perform and tell a story. Dana Brooke did receive less exposure than the others, but she is still learning the ropes and will be afforded more trust with time, so her budding rivalry with Charlotte for dominance was less explored. Emma was the star for me, as she plays a remarkably good heel, belatedly mocking her opponents and toying with the audience, and that helped steer the course of this match into a positive outcome.

Rating – 3/5

Baron Corbin vs Rhyno

Two hungry and powerful brawlers would compete next to prove who was the true dominant force in NXT. Baron Corbin has made a living out of squashing opponents in a matter of seconds, but his time as the bulldozer has been challenged by the re-emergence of Rhyno. The Man-Beast has also been decimating any challenger that dare step in the ring with him, and has thus looked to Corbin to determine once and for all which of them rules the roost. Don’t expect much chain wrestling and mat-based offense.

Highlights

Corbin showing a lot more aggression than previously, like he is incensed that Rhyno is fighting back

Huge clash of heads that sent both men crashing to the mat hard

Excellent spinebuster by Rhyno taking his giant opponent down

Crowd Reaction

“Rhyno’s gonna kill you” – not many opponents of Corbin get that confidence of the crowd

“Corbin sucks” to the tune of New Day Sucks, a sign that the crowd now hold him as a heel

Low Points

Corbin makes an early hash of a kick from Rhyno that he didn’t really sell effectively

Finish

Corbin blocks a Gore attempt with a clothesline, then quickly ending the contest with the End of Days

This was probably the weakest match of the night, which is a positive in some ways because this was far from terrible. I still have concerns over Baron Corbin’s prevalence in NXT considering the fact he is so green in the ring – I don’t think he employed a single wrestling move prior to the End of Days. Really, this was more of a brawl than a wrestling match, which is fine as these two were able to pull it off, but among such competition as the other bouts on the night it really didn’t shine.

Rating – 2/5

Blake & Murphy vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (NXT Tag Team Championship)

The first title match of the night is for NXT’s Tag Team Championships. This division has appeared a little bare in recent months with the promotion of both the Ascension and the Lucha Dragons to the main roster. However, one extremely popular team remains in the form of Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady, who have captured the adulation of the audience with their humor and charisma. They have all the support when battling champs Blake & Murphy over their prized belts, and the desperation to bring them back to New Jersey.

Highlights

Excellent dropkick by Amore, who has often been criticized for his lack of in-ring ability in comparison to on the microphone

Big Cass scaring away both Blake and Murphy when they attempt to corner Amore

Brilliant powerbomb/backstabber combination by the tag champions

Jumping tornado DDT by Amore off the middle rope onto Murphy

Huge big boots by Cass taking down both champions one after the other

Crowd Reaction

Unsurprisingly, the crowd hang on every word of Amore & Cass’ opening promo, and support their bid to become champions throughout

Low Points

Very few besides the the fact that Blake & Murphy could have been afforded more time for some of their ring work

Finish

Alexa Bliss interferes attacking Carmella at ringside, which distracts Cass. Then when Amore ascends the top rope, Bliss pushes him off, and he is pinned by Blake

This was undoubtedly Enzo Amore’s best action between the ropes, as he may not be Bret Hart, but he demonstrated he can get it done in the ring. This was a good title match, not spectacular but serviceable. The heel turn of Alexa Bliss aligning with Blake & Murphy was unexpected, as I can’t really buy her in her current gimmick as a heel, but I’ll give it a chance to win me over. The screwy finish does breed hope for a rematch in the near future.

Rating – 2.5/5

Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch (NXT Women’s Championship)

The penultimate match of the evening was treated as one of the co-main events, as Sasha Banks defended her NXT Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch. These two were once allies, as Banks brought out a new fiery aggression in her Irish opponent, only for it to potentially come back to haunt her. Lynch is in the form of her life, and wants to prove she belongs in NXT by capturing the coveted belt, but the Boss is a tough prospect no matter what momentum you have. The only thing for sure is that if prior Women’s Championship matches are any indication, this had the potential to steal the show.

Highlights

Loved Lynch’s new look and entrance to the ring, really got the blood pumping

The early exchange of pinfalls and chain wrestling was about as crisp as it gets

Banks grabbing the arm of Lynch on the apron and dragging her hard down to turn the tide

Banks’ offense on Lynch’s arm is sickeningly vicious, with the added salt of mocking the Irishwoman’s taunts

Even Banks’ rest submission holds look painful, rather than simply there like in most matches

Lynch able to escape a key lock on her arm by lifting Banks off the mat and slamming her down hard

Amazing suplex by Lynch sending Banks half-way across the ring

Crowd Reaction

The fans were really enamored with the performances of both ladies throughout, but more towards Banks from the outset

“Like a Boss” whenever Banks struts her stuff around the ring

“This is wrestling”

Low Points

The only really minor foible was a spot outside the ring where Lynch could have perhaps done more catching Banks and pushing her into the steel steps, but this did not spoil anything whatsoever

Finish

Banks pulls Lynch off the turnbuckle, and locks in the Bank Statement submission that forces her opponent to tap out. Lynch receives a standing ovation after the match.

This is a night that fans can look back on where Becky Lynch established herself among the elite, and she belongs in the big matches as much as anybody else. Without the need of weapons or even spending a lot of time outside the ring, these two performers made me wince due to the agonizing look of a number of submission maneuvers. Sasha Banks and Lynch stole the show, and they uphold the incredible performances of the ladies down at NXT. This was a contest worthy of watching over and over again.

Rating – 4.5/5

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (NXT Championship)

The night’s final bout would not be for the faint of heart, as the most fierce rivalry in NXT was contained in a match for only the second time. NXT Champion Kevin Owens has made a habit of getting on people’s bad sides on his rise to the top of the roster, but nobody has felt that loathing more than Sami Zayn. These former best friends have no love for each other anymore, as Owens used his foe as a platform to ascend to the summit of NXT, and Zayn was desperate to bring him crashing down at Takeover: Unstoppable. With the intrigue of this fight at an emphatic high, it was up to the fans just to sit back and enjoy.

Highlights

Owens stands on the stage donning a John Cena shirt, a clear sign he is thinking about their upcoming Elimination Chamber match

Early brawling all around ringside, with Zayn flinging Owens into the steel steps, and then fighting in the crowd

Exploder suplex from Zayn dropping Owens right on the back of her head

Owens reversing an attempted tornado DDT off the top rope with a well-placed backbreaker

Crowd Reaction

Crowd booing Owens heavily when he does his traditional stepping out of the ring immediately

Fans firmly behind Sami Zayn from the outset and throughout

Low Points

Was fairly short, but that could be due to Zayn working whilst carrying a shoulder injury

Finish

Zayn attempts a Helluva Kick with Owens on the steel post outside, but is caught with a Pop-Up Powerbomb into the ring apron. Referees tend to a clearly injured Zayn, whilst Owens knocks past them to land a few more cheap shots. William Regal’s attempts to stop him earn him a headbutt out of the ring, but Owens does finally curtail his assault with the shock arrival of Samoa Joe to NXT. The pair staredown in the center of the ring, before the champion retreats.

As a match, this was somewhat underwhelming. It was a great spectacle to see both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fighting all over the arena, with the plucky underdog getting the better of the dominant champion for the most part. But, the No Contest ending does open the door for a third iteration to build upon the brawls of their first two encounters in NXT, whenever Zayn returns to full fitness. As for the arrival of Samoa Joe, the impact was impeccable, as without laying a finger on anyone, he made his presence felt in his new surroundings, and I’m optimistic he will make a big impression very quickly.

Rating – 4/5

Tags

Latest Articles

WWE Spoilers: Final card for Clash of Champions 2017

WWE Spoilers: Final card for Clash of Champions 2017

Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 2017

Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 2017

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: December 12, 2017

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: December 12, 2017

WWE RAW Results: December 11, 2017

WWE RAW Results: December 11, 2017

REVIEW: Star Trek Discovery, season one (first half)

REVIEW: Star Trek Discovery, season one (first half)

WWE Spoilers: Scheduled card for Tribute to the Troops 2017

WWE Spoilers: Scheduled card for Tribute to the Troops 2017

WWE Spoilers: Big tag match announced for Clash of Champions

WWE Spoilers: Big tag match announced for Clash of Champions

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: December 5, 2017

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: December 5, 2017

WWE RAW Results: December 4, 2017

WWE RAW Results: December 4, 2017

The Empire Strikes Back made Star Wars “Star Wars”

The Empire Strikes Back made Star Wars “Star Wars”

WWE Spoilers: Three more title matches announced for Clash of Champions

WWE Spoilers: Three more title matches announced for Clash of Champions