NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
So, this is just the week that keeps on giving and giving, huh?
The internet has practically broken itself three times in the span of four days.
First, The Shield reunited for a good 45 seconds with a Triple Powerbomb at WWE Payback. Then, NXT Champion Kevin Owens came out on Raw and dropped John Cena on his head after a memorable promo exchange.
Now, Samoa Joe makes his NXT debut in a standoff with Owens at the conclusion of TakeOver: Unstoppable, a show that was already delivering on all fronts with yet another excellent effort.
With Joe recently taking independent bookings, the sight of him in NXT also fell on the rumor mill, but seeing it for ourselves was almost like the heyday of WCW’s rise in the 90’s when main eventers jumped ship.
Coinciding on a day where TNA reportedly was cancelled by Destination America (still not officially confirmed), it only made sense one of its former top stars (and original Beat Down Clan member as recent as March) came to “the place to be.”
– The opening video put over NXT’s popularity rise, well said by established superstars and fans alike. This brilliantly transitioned into footage for hyped feuds like Sami Zayn-Owens II, Becky Lynch-Sasha Banks and Rhyno-Baron Corbin. It truly looked like the place to be.
– Loved the “selfie fashion show”-inspired aspect of Breeze’s entrance. It almost felt like an appearance of the “NXT Girls” until you put two and two together. Given that Hideo Itami was injured and couldn’t partake in the match was disappointing, but at least they played up a “who did it?” injury angle in the parking lot. Sure, a lot of NXT’s fanbase are “smart” enough to know of the injury, but even the toughest critics of the IWC can respect this creative decision. Couldn’t make out a single thing that Enzo Amore said there, but Owens just walking by with a “Oh, that’s a shame” remark was classic. Getting to Balor’s entrance that saw the demon come out to play and sick-looking artwork on his back, the crowd chanted “This is awesome!” before the bell even rang and you know things were going to be great already. The match itself was very good, as both men traded offense and kept an upbeat pace throughout. Balor’s stage jump was an awesome spot. Also have to commend both guys here for their work on the near-falls, making the inevitable almost appear in question. The near-fall that occurred after the exposed turnbuckle came into play had everyone standing up in near disbelief. With Owens’ soaking up more heat than Florida concrete as NXT Champion, it was hard to not see Balor go over, but it was done in believable fashion.
– The Dana Brooke/Emma-Bayley/Charlotte match headed in suffered from a lack of an extended storyline beyond headbands and commercials and really depended upon the divas’ athleticism. Though there were some rough parts, the action for the most part was smoothly entertaining. The finish was the best part of the match, pointing to miscommunication by the heels and Natural Selection/Figure Eight for Charlotte to beat Emma.
– WWE continues to smartly go with the “less is more” aspect in showing Uhaa Nation on camera, as the crowd chanting his name loudly once the camera panned on the NXT 2015 Performance Graduates.
– The Corbin-Rhyno match supplied the expected physicality and while it wasn’t bad, nothing particularly memorable compared to the rest of the card. Corbin’s matches are beginning to extend in length, but his character feels a bit too generic still at this point. You can hear it in the crowd reaction. Corbin getting the win wasn’t shocking here, but Rhyno is beginning to look like someone who can’t back his words up.
– Owens’ backstage promo was brash, overconfident and utterly brilliant. He put over his successful title defenses on the live shows, took credit for Zayn’s injury and bragged about laying Cena out on Raw. His comments towards Zayn particularly provided the perfect reason to want to see Zayn kick his ass later on. His shots at Cena were also gold.
– The NXT Tag Team Championship match between Amore/Colin Cassady and Wesley Blake/Buddy Murphy began with a promo from Team SAWFT that was over as always. They’re the New Age Outlaws of the new age. Nothing can break their popularity. While the action was solid, you had the feeling something was being set up in the end. A turn by Carmella? Popular opinion, but not the outcome thankfully, as Alexa Bliss helped the Champs retain by directly costing Amore/Cass the match. Guess we can count this as an official heel turn? Would’ve been a tad more convincing had Bliss not worked as a heel the week before without explanation.
– The Lynch-Banks match for the NXT Divas Championship was hands-down match of the night and that really says something about the state of the NXT ladies. Now, while we never felt Banks’ title reign was in true jeopardy, this match was all about making a star out of Lynch in the ring, whereas the buildup to the match sold her credibility outside it. Smart booking actually. Looking back at this match, Lynch looked downright resilient as she took on Banks’ relentless technical prowess. Especially down the stretch, this was all-around fantastic. Banks’ suicide dive alone was worthy of a jaw-drop, but turning it into a Lynch counter took it even further. Of course, the action built to a desperate point and a Bank Statement from the top rope was a fittingly appropriate finish. Lynch was taken to her absolute limit before tapping out. It’s clear her orange hair wasn’t the only thing that shined here. She earned that crowd’s reaction post-match and we got the feeling she could take a performance like this one and really get over now.
– The NXT Championship match between Zayn and Owens initially lived up to the hype from the opening bell on and took the action outside the ring, reminiscent of a “blood feud” match. Owens took about roughly four of five hard back bumps on the mat as Zayn just kept coming back and coming back. The turning point was the Pop-Up Powerbomb on the apron, which has always been sold as a big deal, with no difference here. The constant beat downs by Owens added a legitimate “How far will Owens go?” aspect to the match-turned-injury angle, especially once we saw William Regal get involved and headbutted for his troubles, drawing a strong reaction from the crowd. Of course, little did we know at the time that this was a beautiful set up to Samoa Joe’s NXT debut, essentially shocking everyone watching. Their staredown/near-blows was a thing of beauty. This match is going to be excellent.
– NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Finn Balor def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall
– Charlotte/Bayley def. Emma/Dana Brooke via pinfall
– Baron Corbin def. Rhyno via pinfall
– NXT Tag Team Championships – Wesley Blake/Buddy Murphy (Champions) def. Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) via pinfall to retain
– NXT Divas Championship – Sasha Banks (Champion) def. Becky Lynch via submission to retain
– NXT Championship – Kevin Owens (Champion) and Sami Zayn to a No-Contest; Owens retains
Posted on May 21, 2015, in NXT, WWE and tagged Baron Corbin, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Brent Phillips, Buddy Murphy, Byron Saxton, Carmella, Charlotte, Colin Cassady, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Emma, Enzo Amore, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Rhyno, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Tyler Breeze, Uhaa Nation, Wesley Blake, William Regal. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.