If you haven’t seen this show so far, do it. There won’t be a better show this year with all around good matches and well told stories from start to finish – well, except there will be another NXT special this year. Sometimes I wasn’t pleased with the outcome but that didn’t take away from the quality of the matches.
After a short vignette of praise from some old Hall Of Famers and other wrestlers, NXT TakeOver Unstoppable started with the entrance of Tyler Breeze that was done like a runaway show with four female “models” (a new trainer in NXT and three new women in developmental) and Tyler Breeze himself with a fluffy red coat on. He basically gets more fluffy from one NXT special to the next. Then it was time for Hideo Itami to come out but instead we saw a vignette from the parking lot where Hideo was lying on the street and a sarcastic Kevin Owens walking by. Now it was already know that Hideo Itami wouldn’t be able to compete but it wasn’t just told that he got injured. It was actually woven into the storyline. So it appeared like Kevin Owens had got something to do with it to get rid of one of his most dangerous opponents. Hideo Itami will have good reason for revenge when he’ll come back.
tyler breeze vs FINN BÁLOR (11:04mins)
When you look at the appearance of Finn Bálor during his entrance, you certainly have noticed these horns that stuck out of his back. Then he had this cape that appeared like bat wings when he spread them. And together with the face paint he basically looked like one of William Regal’s reptiles. Finn Bálor still describes it as the demon of Bálor and he also had the Eye of Bálor painted on his back this time. His entrance lasted for exactly four minutes. So that was longer than almost every Divas match on the main WWE roster.
Now this was entertaining to look at and for the very first part of this show it certainly was a good start. But the match itself wasn’t that great. I was rooting for Tyler Breeze because I wanted something different. Kevin Owens vs Tyler Breeze would have been great. But now we’ll have another match between Kevin Owens vs Finn Bálor for the NXT championship. I think that Tyler Breeze deserves something more. His last title dates back to June 2012 when he – still Mike Dalton at the time – held the tag team title in FCW together with Leakee. Tyler Breeze very well works to his gimmick, not just during interviews and his entrance but also in the matches. And I can’t really say the same for Finn Bálor. Again, all this body paint, demon entrance is well enough performed but he stops working to his gimmick the moment the match starts. He could act a bit reptile-like during his matches, have some positions that he does during his entrance, trying to intimidate his opponent. Instead the only fear he spreads is that he’ll kick out of any finishers of his opponents, no matter what. Tyler Breeze was furious at the end when Finn Bálor kicked out of the Supermodel Kick and the Beauty Shot. But Finn Bálor comes with Coup de Grace and there is nothing to kick out for Tyler Breeze. So, Finn Bálor is the #1 contender for the NXT championship – again.
dana brooke & emma vs CHARLOTTE & BAYLEY (6:50mins)
This match offered a lot of questions but very few answers. Like: Why is Charlotte still in NXT? There is talk since ages now that she would be called up but nothing happened. And now she’s only good enough for such tag team action with no title on the line and even no real storyline behind this match. Or: Why was Dana Brooke in this match? I guess officials wanted for her to prove herself but she was basically non existent. Like I guessed, Emma did the most work and she was really good as a heel. I really enjoy her this way. Also Bayley and Charlotte brought much to this match. There were a few spots where you could see the helping hands that Dana Brooke needed and got. So after all it wasn’t that bad that she didn’t have a more prominent spot in this match. But this leaves us with the question, Why was she put into that match at all? Thankfully enough Bayley and Charlotte won in the end.
rhyno vs BARON CORBIN (7:12mins)
For some strange reason this was really a good match. I still remembered the disappointment that had been Baron Corbin vs Bull Dempsey but against Rhyno Baron Corbin has improved a lot. He got a decent amount of heat from the crowd, so he really worked to his recently changed heel character. He also showed lots of aggression, especially towards the end of the match. I still don’t really get why Rhyno is in NXT but together with Baron Corbin he put on a decent enough match. So hopefully Baron Corbin won’t go back to the 20-second-matches now. He needs a good storyline and a few longer matches, so he can improve in the ring. He should also say something from time to time. He isn’t a born talker and he doesn’t seem to be very confident on the mic. But he can’t be the silent assassin. Even Clint Eastwood did have a few sentences to say in the Dollar Trilogy and he made the most out of his weak voice. So in the end Baron Corbin won again with The End of Days. And for both of them there is a huge question, Who’s next?
enzo amore & colin cassady (w/ carmella) vs BLAKE & MURPHY (w/ ALEXA BLISS) (8:53mins)
Just a few days ago I’d seen a joke floating around the internet: Q: What’s Enzo’s finisher? – A: Tagging in Big Cass. And this seems to be slightly unfair to Enzo Amore who really put on a good show, together with some impressive moves. And Big Cass played out his height and strength. And the champions on the other side? Despite the ridiculous hair, I still can’t find anything about them. Maybe that’s partly because of their entrance that makes it hardly impossible for an epileptic to watch it. But at least we had reason to hate them. Carmella was at ringside to cheer for her boys Enzo & Big Cass. But she was attacked by Alexa Bliss, who later on shoved Enzo from the turnbuckle to get “her boys” the win with a pin on Enzo to retain their tag team championship. This feud will definitely continue.
becky lynch vs SASHA BANKS (15:29mins)
And now for the best match of the night. I won’t join in the chorus of people who declare that this was the best female wrestlers’ match ever because it would do injustice to all the other women in NXT who already competed in epic women’s matches during previous NXT specials. But without a doubt was this a great match, very much worth re-watching. I could have put in here easily a dozen of Gifs. Instead I’ve chosen just these two. But you can watch here, here, here, here, here and here for other great moments and spots during this match.
I was very much rooting for Becky Lynch here because for some strange reason her abilities are highly underrated – or they were underrated before this match. I’m not really sure why. Maybe most men are just intimidated by her voice and her muscles and therefore degrade her, so they don’t have to admit that she’s just a great wrestler. As for me I like that she’s different. I like her lower voice and her wild steampunk gimmick. She’s a good fighter and has got some good moves and in-ring acting. So she deserves every bit she gets – not just because of this match. Saying this I don’t really get the hype around Sasha Banks. She’s great, too, and definitely a great heel. But I miss this connection with her that I have for Becky Lynch. Everyone has got personal tastes and probably all the “smart marks” like her because it’s cool to like her, I guess.
“Smart marks” always like and cheer for the heels, just to say, “you want us to cheer for the faces? haha, nope”. It’s the most childish behaviour. If I like and cheer for a heel then because I like his or her style, not because I know I can piss off the company with my behaviour. Yes, it can be frustrating to be a fan of a babyface because most likely they’ll never win an important match, most of the time get upstaged by the heels while the heels can do what they like and how the “smart marks” would like to be in reality. But now a few guys say that Sasha Banks is the ultimate female wrestler, so every other sheep follows. And they say that Becky Lynch’s gimmick is over the top and she’s got a male voice, so every sheep follows and find her not worthy or green or whatever. People should really trust their own eyes and mind, not following people telling them what they should like and what not.
Now for the actual match it was a good decision by Becky Lynch to change her hair colour because otherwise her and Sasha Banks would have had the same. I’m not saying that both women look similar but with all the fast moving during the match it was a good way to separate them from each other. Now Becky Lynch also looked like Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element with her orange / tangerine hair and definitely badass with the dark coat for her entrance. The story of the match was all about the left arms of both women. They worked on them basically all the time and some moves, especially from Sasha Banks on Becky Lynch were hard to watch. Also great selling here from Becky Lynch. The crowd also had fun with some “Suplex City” chants as a reference to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and the usual “This Is Wrestling” and “This Is Awesome” chants. At the end Sasha Banks was able to overcome Becky Lynch’s submission maneuver while Sasha Banks countered a Becky Lynch move into her own submission maneuver for the win.
Like I said, I was rooting for Becky Lynch and it was almost heartbreaking watching her crying after the loss. But these tears probably also happened because of pride about a great match. So I definitely liked the reaction from the crowd who celebrated Becky Lynch with a standing ovation. At this time Sasha Banks had already left the ring with her title belt, so the crowd’s praise was only meant for Becky Lynch. Great showing of respect. Also by NXT because they also played Becky Lynch’s music when she walked her way up the ramp backstage. Watch and learn, WWE creatives, that’s how you treat women with respect.
sami zayn vs KEVIN OWENS (6:43mins / 15:26mins)
NXT probably already knew that the women’s match would be a great one that couldn’t be topped. So they went for a quite short main event match. Effectively it did only last for 6:43 minutes, until Kevin Owens powerbombed Sami Zayn onto the edge of the ring. The second bell was never heard for the match, so I guess it was just declared a no contest afterwards. I didn’t really expect for Sami Zayn to win. It was a possibility but NXT is building Kevin Owens as the monster heel, the indestructible force, so it wasn’t going to happen. With the latest happenings on RAW in mind, where Kevin Owens basically destroyed John Cena, he now came out with Cena’s champ shirt on which was really a great spot to mock both Sami Zayn and John Cena. I still believe that Sami Zayn will cost Kevin Owens his win against John Cena at Elimination Chamber. And I’ll be very disappointed if that doesn’t happen.
Since it was highly unlikely that Sami Zayn would get a clean win here, he still had something to prove. He certainly didn’t want to get beaten up that badly like he was during their first encounter. Kevin Owens wanted to play with the same strategy when he slid out of the ring just after the bell but this time Sami Zayn didn’t wait too long but went after Kevin Owens. Most of the action happened outside of the ring now, even a bit into the crowd. Sami Zayn basically was in control until Kevin Owens powerbombed him outside of the ring. From there on Sami Zayn was unable to compete. Three referees and later on a doctor were checking on him while Kevin Owens occasionally kicked his former friend. I was slightly annoyed by the “Let Them Fight” chants by the crowd at this point but apparently Kevin Owens obeyed and got Sami Zayn back inside the ring. But this was the moment when William Regal came out, telling Kevin Owens that he should leave the ring now. Now orders are basically meaningless to Kevin Owens, so he tried to kick Sami Zayn again. So William Regal had to lay hands on Kevin Owens, pulled him back on his nose but Kevin Owens had the guts to headbutt William Regal, so the General Manager went to the floor and rolled out of the ring.
If not even the General Manager William Regal was able to control Kevin Owens to save Sami Zayn from him, who could? And after a little teasing by Kevin Owens with a chair and now four referees and the doctor trying their best to keep Kevin Owens in a distance, finally an unfamiliar music hit and out came Samoa Joe. There were rumours out for months basically now that Samoa Joe could come to NXT. There were also other rumours that said that these rumours were untrue and Samoa Joe would never go to NXT / WWE. But now here he was and Kevin Owens all of a sudden looked frightened and like he knew that this was the man he wasn’t able to play around with. Samoa Joe made his way slowly inside the ring for a stare down with Kevin Owens. Somehow still the NXT champion he backed out, went up to the ramp, came back but apparently was too frightened to let this one-on-one fight happen. And this was the end of the show.
Now what to make of this finish? For my liking Kevin Owens showed slightly too much fear. For a man who just headbutted one of the greatest villains in WWE history and now General Manager of NXT, William Regal, he acted like the real Devil was standing in front of him (or the real God like we know from the Old Testament that God can be the most evil creature ever graced the entire universe). He showed no respect whatsoever and always says that he’ll fight anyone and everyone. Now Samoa Joe was presented like someone who didn’t even fit in the category “anyone and everyone”.
What I’m more interested in is the reaction of William Regal. There was certainly a line crossed here. Kevin Owens previously didn’t show much respect with his words but adding physicality to it, certainly put him into hot water. I still don’t expect that William Regal will now have a match with Kevin Owens. He knows what he’s capable off, so William Regal certainly doesn’t want to loose his last remaining drops of dignity against the man. Just within a few weeks, Kevin Owens is now in feuds with Sami Zayn, Alex Riley, William Regal, Hideo Itami, Finn Bálor, John Cena and Samoa Joe. What about a 7-on-1 handicap match inside a steel cage? I know, too unrealistic. Also Hideo Itami is out with an injury for real, Samoa Joe won’t have a permanent deal, so they’ll have him fight in just one or two matches in the next NXT specials. I can’t see John Cena having a match in NXT (at least I hope so) and Sami Zayn is also out now. That just leaves us to Alex Riley and Finn Bálor. The latter is the #1 contender and very likely will have a one-on-one match at the next NXT special. And Alex Riley already proved to everyone for a couple of times that he’s no competition for Kevin Owens.
So there needs to be something different. But there needs to be a punishment at all costs. For some reason I can now see the main storyline of NXT not being about who’s the NXT champion but how can William Regal get Kevin Owens to show some respect to the position of the General Manager of NXT. And, yes, I like it very much because it will be interesting to see how or if William Regal is going to get this respect.