Reviews

Retro Reviews: WWE NXT Takeover Unstoppable 2015

This was written live on the date that it took place. I decided to leave it untouched and then I’m going to add some updated 2021 thoughts in blue font as well.

NXT Takeover Unstoppable
May 20, 2015
Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida

During the pre-show, they showed “fan footage” of Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady and Carmella arriving. Then there was yelling on the other side of the parking lot and Hideo Itami was down on the cement grabbing his shoulder in pain. There were several people around with Kevin Owens walking by as if he did nothing.

It was announced that Itami is now out of the #1 Contender’s triple threat match, so it will just be Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze instead of a triple threat.

Analysis: The angle was done because Itami needs shoulder surgery and is probably out for 6-8 months. We knew about the injury for a few weeks now, but NXT TV shows were taped in advance, so they decided to do the injury angle at this event.

(Itami had such bad luck with injuries in his NXT run. I feel bad for the guy because he was a big signing when WWE signed him.)

The announcers for the pre-show are Renee Young, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. The majority of the pre-show is just summarizing feuds, talking about some of the matches at the show and showing the crowd outside the arena.

There was an interview with Stephanie McMahon outside the arena and she spoke about being a fan of NXT. Stephanie mentioned all of the great characters, but also put over the women of NXT particularly Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.

A video package hyping up the Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn match ended the pre-show.

NXT Takeover Unstoppable Main Show

The opening video showed fans getting excited for NXT as well as the build up to Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch and brief highlights of the other matches as well.

Tyler Breeze had some models out to walk the runway before his entrance. The announce team of Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. They showed the attack on Hideo Itami from earlier in the day. Kevin Owens said “that’s a shame” when he walked by the camera. Brennan said torn rotator cuff for Itami. They didn’t say it here, but he’s out for about six months.

Finn Balor made his full entrance in his demon attire with the body paint. He even had a cape with him with spikes on it. Amazing entrance like usual for Balor.

#1 Contender To NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze

Balor has body paint on his upper body, face and his entire back as well. The announcers said it was the “eye of Balor” on his back. Dropkick by Balor and then he laid in a hard chop in the corner. With Balor on the apron, Breeze hit a springboard dropkick to knock him to the floor. Breeze hit a neckbreaker for two. Breeze grounded Balor with a chinlock and there’s a “Chinlock City” sign in the crowd to represent that. Breeze with a sunset flip, but Balor came back with a dropkick. Balor hit another hesitation dropkick and then a double foot stomp to the back after jumping off the apron while Breeze was outside the ring. Back in the ring, Balor hit a running kick to the head for two. Balor hit the slingblade neckbreaker, but then he walked into a Supermodel kick by Breeze for a two count. Breeze exposed the top turnbuckle. He missed the Beauty Shot and got a rollup for a two count. Balor got a rollup, Breeze shoved him off and Balor’s upper body hit the exposed turnbuckle. Breeze hit the Beauty Shot kick for a two count after Balor kicked out. Balor rolled out to the floor.

The fans were chanting “you’re not counting” at the ref since he was getting yelled at by Breeze. Balor hit a forearm shot on the entrance. Balor climbed a part of the stage that was about eight feet high (crowd was chanting “please don’t die” at him) and took out Breeze with a cross body block. Cool spot. Back in the ring, running dropkick by Balor and then he hit the Coup de Gras for the win at 11:30. It looked like the ref counted to four. Anyway, the match is over.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 A very good opening match that had some really cool nearfalls later in the match and Balor hit a big spot off the staging area. It’s not a huge arena, so it’s not like there are a lot of places where they can do huge spots although this one looked pretty cool. After Balor hit that it was an easy win for him. I figured he would win just because I think Kevin Owens is winning later, so it makes sense. Both guys are very good in the ring and have gimmicks that work. They can definitely be successful at the next level, but they are good assets on NXT too.

(Balor was on the rise as we would find out over the next year after this. Breeze was a good worker who had stop-start finishes, but this was all about putting over Balor in a big way.)

They showed replays of the key spots in the match. Kevin Owens was shown watching on a TV backstage. Balor celebrated the win.

There was a guy from Game of Thrones named Hafthor Bjornsson at ringside sitting beside Stephanie McMahon. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so no idea who he is although he is a really big dude.

There were clips from the NXT live events in Philadelphia and Albany.

Dana Brooke & Emma vs. Charlotte & Bayley

Nice tag team move by Bayley and Charlotte with a slingshot into a clothesline that took down Brooke. After a Bayley chop, Brooke tagged Emma in. The issue here has been with Emma who turned heel and has targeted Bayley. The crowd was urging on Bayley, Brooke distracted her and Emma yanked Bayley off the middle rope to take her down. Emma worked with Brooke to keep Bayley isolated in their corner. Emma hit her cross body attack in the corner. Bayley hit an overhead suplex to break free and she tagged in Charlotte while Brooke also tagged in. Charlotte nailed some chops, hit a neckbreaker and then a big boot to the face. Emma did a distraction, so Brooke hit a forearm to the back of Charlotte and the heels tried to double team, but Charlotte hit a double DDT on them for two. Big ovation for that. Emma tried a flying cross body block, but Charlotte caught her and hit a Figure Four Leglock that she turned into her Figure Eight by bridging back. Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex on Brooke, so Charlotte hit the Natural Selection on Emma for the win at 6:51.

Winners by pinfall: Charlotte & Bayley

Analysis: ** A good match for the time given. They followed the tag formula with the heels working over Bayley, Charlotte was great on the hot tag, hit some cool looking moves and the crowd was into it. The heels really didn’t look like they were going to win. I thought maybe Brooke would win because she’s pretty new and management has high hopes for her, but no win tonight. Nothing wrong with Charlotte winning. I just think she’ll be on the main roster within a few months, so it’s okay if she loses some matches.

(This was two months before Charlotte got called up to Raw/Smackdown as the Women’s Evolution began. Bayley would get called up later, but she was obviously a big part of it as well. Emma was never booked that well on the main roster. Dana Brooke…is still around. That’s good for her at least. I think she has potential even though the creative team has nothing for her to do.)

Sami Zayn’s injury from Raw three weeks ago was shown and then he was shown looking in a mirror. It looked like a bathroom.

Some new WWE NXT signees were shown sitting at ringside. The last one was Uhaa Nation, who got a big reaction from the crowd. That’s probably not his NXT name, but that’s what he was known as before. He was laughing about it.

(Uhaa Nation would go on to be named Apollo Crews in his WWE career.)

Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin

Rhyno was aggressive early with a clothesline that sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Rhyno climbed on the turnbuckle and Corbin shoved him to the floor. Corbin drove Rhyno back first into the ring apron. When they got back in the ring, Corbin did a hard whip on Rhyno and then he did into the other turnbuckle. Fans were chanting “Corbin sucks” while clapping “New Day sucks” style. Corbin aggressively attacked Rhyno in the corner with knee strikes. Corbin nailed a huge uppercut when Rhyno was against the ropes, which was good for a two count. They did a collision spot, so both guys were down. Back to their feet, Rhyno took control with a forearm shot as well as a shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle. Corbin fought him off briefly, but Rhyno hit a spinebuster for two. Fans were chanting “Gore” for Rhyno. Belly to belly suplex by Rhyno. Rhyno charged in for the Gore, but Corbin decked him with a clothesline. Corbin connected with the End of Days. Corbin covered, then floated over to the side where the camera could get a shot of him covering. The match went 7:15.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: *3/4 The effort was there, but it was far from a technical classic and the announcers even mentioned that early on. There were some spots in the match where it was pretty boring. When Rhyno made the comeback the crowd was really behind him. They wanted the Gore, but Corbin hit that big clothesline to stop it and that set up his finisher. It makes sense for the younger guy to go over. That’s the whole reason why they did the match.

(A typical story with the veteran Rhyno putting over the younger guy Corbin, who WWE had really high hopes for especially at this point. I’ve always thought the End of Days was a cool finisher.)

A replay of NXT Champion Kevin Owens on Raw was shown.

Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage. It was a short promo where he said that Sami Zayn shouldn’t have shown up for their match.

NXT Tag Team Titles: Blake & Murphy vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (w/Carmella)

Enzo hit a crossbody block as well as a dropkick on Blake, but then Murphy tagged in. Big Cass tagged in for his team. After Murphy hit some chops, Cass tossed him against the turnbuckle and then threw him across the ring followed by a punch for two. Tag in by Enzo, who hit a corner splash and then a cross body block for a two count. Blake distracted Amore, so Murphy nailed him with a clothesline. The heels worked over Amore in their corner. Blake held Amore from tagging out, Murphy took out Owens on the apron and they did a double team move where it was a Powerbomb into a backstabber. Amore kicked out. That looked like a potential finishing move. They battled by the turnbuckle and Amore hit a massive DDT leading to the tag to Cass while Blake also tagged in. Cass cleaned house with big boots to the face to both guys. Elbow drop by Cass for two on Blake, but Murphy broke it up. Cass hit a clothesline followed by a sidewalk slam. Cass tagged in Enzo, set him up on the top rope and there’s Alexa Bliss attacking Carmella outside the ring. Cass checked on Carmella, so Murphy nailed Cass with a kick. Enzo was on the top rope, then the ref was distracted by everything and Bliss tripped up Enzo. That led to Blake making the cover for the win. It went 8:50.

Winners: Blake & Murphy

Post match, the champs put Bliss on their shoulders and she held up the Tag Team Titles.

Analysis: ** I was surprised that Alexa wasn’t out for the opening of the match, but it made sense by the end. She has been interacting with the champs for weeks. The finish was just a continuation of that story. Most Amore/Cass matches follow the same formula with the heels working on Amore leading to a hot tag to Cass. That’s the way to do it with a big man/little man team, but it’s also pretty predictable because they do it every time. I thought a title change was possible. However, they can do that down the road. The crowd is going to love Enzo and Cass for a long time with or without the gold. It’s good to establish Blake & Murphy as long-term champs since they are still developing as characters.

(I liked a lot of the NXT tag teams in this era. Enzo and Cass did a great job of getting the crowd involved, but their matches were never that great. Blake & Murphy was a solid pairing with Alexa Bliss joining them.)

Eva Marie was shown at ringside. She played with her hair because that’s what she likes to do.

(What a career. Inspiring.)

There was a good video package to set up Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch.

Becky Lynch was shown backstage walking to the ring prior to the match. After Becky was in the ring, Sasha Banks was shown walking to the ring. I like when they show that. Banks is my favorite diva in NXT. She’s going to be a huge star on the main roster one day that’s for sure.

NXT Women’s Title: Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

It’s tough to tell with the NXT crowd sometimes, but Banks is the heel and Lynch is the face. Becky’s got orange hair and some different ring gear. Pretty cool looking. Lynch went for an armbar early and Banks was able to avoid it. A kick by Lynch sent Banks on the apron, but Banks came back with an arm wringer on the side of the ring. It was unique. Banks worked on the left arm of Lynch by yanking it against the ropes. Banks yanked her down by pulling on the left arm again. Banks pulled on the arms of Lynch to try to make her submit. Banks tossed Lynch into the turnbuckle and she hit her double knee attack to the left arm of Lynch for a two count. Banks pulled back on the arm when Lynch was on the side, so she stepped on her arm while doing it. That looked vicious by Banks. There was a side armbar by Banks. Lynch fought out of it and slammed Banks down. Lynch made a comeback with missile dropkick for two. She covered using her left arm to hook the leg. She could have sold it by not doing that with the left arm, but it’s not a big deal. Banks with a huge arm drag off the ropes followed by a running double knee attack for a two count. Another two count for Banks. With Banks frustrated, Lynch sent her out of the ring. Lynch slammed Banks’ arm into the steel post.

In the ring, Lynch hit a suplex that dropped Banks on her arm. Lynch went for an armbar move, but Banks fought off and Lynch hit a German Suplex on the arm for two. There was a sweet inside cradle by Lynch that she turned into an armbar, which is Lynch’s finisher. Banks got to the ropes. Banks sent Lynch outside the ring. Banks hit a suicide dive and Lynch caught her although not a clean catch. Lynch drove her back first into the steps at ringside. Lynch sent Banks back into the ring. Lynch was on the top rope, but Banks brought her down by pulling on the left arm again and Banks applied the Banks Statement submission. Lynch tapped out after trying to fight it off. That’s it at 15:33.

Winner by submission: Sasha Banks

Analysis: **** Wow! What an awesome match! Four stars out of five. It was a classic wrestling match between two people who know each other really well and were able to tell a great story. It wasn’t just great for a couple of divas. It was fantastic for any two wrestlers whether they are male or female. Once again NXT shows that WWE’s women can really wrestle if they get a chance to show what they can do. I loved the psychology of the match. Banks went after the left arm of Lynch viciously from the beginning of the match and it was the reason she won. Like I said in the details of the match, there were a few times where I thought Lynch could have sold a bit more. Maybe that’s me being picky, but she could have done it to add to the story. It was still the best singles match I’ve seen from Lynch. It’s one of the best matches from Banks, but I think I liked her title win over Charlotte more. Well done ladies. That was a lot of fun to watch.

(I was really impressed with this match especially because of Lynch’s performance. By this point, I think most of knew Sasha Banks was going to be a huge star although in Lynch’s case she had yet to have a breakout match until this moment. This was when she really opened my eyes and I’m sure other fans as well. Anyway just like I mentioned with Charlotte, these two women were called up to Raw/Smackdown two months after this. Over the next six years, both women went on to become WrestleMania main eventers. Pretty cool!)

The crowd cheered big time for both ladies. Replays showed the key spots of the match. Banks left with the title while Lynch was all emotional in the ring. The crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Analysis: Cool moment for Lynch, who has wrestled for a long time to get there and to see her get that respect from the crowd is awesome for her. Hard work pays off.

A video package set up Kevin Owens defending the NXT Title against Sami Zayn.

Sami Zayn made his entrance for the main event. No tape on his shoulder if you’re wondering. Kevin Owens is wearing a John Cena “US Title” shirt. That’s awesome. When the match started, Owens took it off and was wearing his “KO” shirt.

NXT Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

Owens went to the floor to escape at the start of the match. Zayn aggressively attacked him outside the ring. Zayn sent Owens into the steps at ringside. When Owens tried to into the ring, Zayn pulled him out and nailed him with a punch that sent Owens over the barricade. They went brawling into the crowd. Owens tried to hit a Powerbomb, but Zayn grabbed the railing to hold on. Owens charged and Zayn hit a back body drop over the railing leading to Owens landing on the floor outside the ring. The ref could have counted them out, but he wasn’t counting at all. Zayn with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. There’s a Quebec flag in the crowd. Both are from the province of Quebec. Zayn hit a one arm Dragon Suplex for two with Owens landing hard on his head and shoulder. That led to a two count for Zayn. There was a Tornado DDT attempt by Owens, but Owens countered it. Owens went for the cannonball attack in the corner and Zayn moved. Exploder suplex by Zayn. Owens escaped to the floor again, so Zayn hit an overhead suplex on Owens. Zayn ran at Owens, who caught him and Owens hit a Powerbomb right onto the side of the ring apron. Huge move! Crowd chanting “holy shit” for it. The match seemed to be over at that point. It went 13:01.

Match Result: No Contest

Following the move by Owens, multiple referees came out to check on Zayn. The doctor checked on Zayn while the referees tried to keep Owens back. Owens attacked Zayn with punches and kicks. Owens put Zayn back into the ring. William Regal showed up to stop him. When Regal tried to physically pull him off, Owens hit Regal with a headbutt to the face.

Analysis: **1/2 Tough to rate since it was incomplete, but that seems fair. They really made Owens look like a killer there. He really only hit the one move, but it was so devastating that it ended the match just like that due to Zayn’s previous shoulder injury. Zayn was absolutely on fire before that looking as good as ever. Major sell job by him to end it. I get why they did it that way.

(I certainly didn’t expect a match like this. Owens retaining? Sure, that made sense. I just didn’t think it would be like this. When Owens went after Regal, it put over Owens even more as a crazy heel that would do anything to get attention.)

Owens brought in a steel chair. He was set to attack Zayn when some mysterious music started up. It’s Samoa Joe! Wow! What a reaction to Joe. The crowd cheered.

The announcers called him Samoa Joe and his shirt said Samoa Joe on it, so it’s nice to see that he is still using that name. Joe went face to face with Owens. Instead of a physical confrontation, Owens just left. Owens went up the aisle with the NXT Title.

Joe posed for the crowd, who chanted “thank you Joe” at him. Replays aired of the attack on Zayn. Owens walked down the aisle near the ring, but then he backed away with the title. The show ended right before 10pm ET.

Analysis: What a memorable ending. Joe’s debut was anticipated for months and we weren’t totally sure if he’d show up, but there he was. The crowd chanted his name, cheered for him and even did the familiar “Joe’s gonna kill you” chant as well. I’m glad that he was so well received. It made him look like a massive threat right away. A brawl with Owens would have blown the roof off the place, but I get that they want to save it to make people tune in to see what happens next. It also adds more heat to Owens, who is such a cold-hearted heel.

(I loved the debut of Samoa Joe. I had known about him for nearly 15 years at this point due to his runs in other companies – mainly TNA/Impact – but we didn’t know for sure if he would be in WWE. This was rumored, but it wasn’t a sure thing that he was appearing at this show. When it happened, I marked out. I loved it. I’m sure a lot of fans did too. Anyway, it was a nice tease for a Joe match against Owens.)

 

Five Stars Of The Show

1. Samoa Joe – Sorry everybody else. I’ve been waiting for this man to be in WWE for so long that he is the first star. He’s been my favorite non-WWE performer for about a decade. I’m glad he’s here.

2. Sasha Banks – The ladies had the match of the night. Amazing work.

3. Becky Lynch – She proved she belonged.

4. Finn Balor

5. Kevin Owens

(I think my explanation for Joe as the first star was very fair!)

 

Final Thoughts

It gets an 8 out of 10 from me. Excellent show.

That ending with Samoa Joe making his WWE debut was incredible. I’m sitting here after the show and just smiling because of how happy it made me as a fan of that guy for over a decade. I watched him in Ring of Honor and TNA hoping he’d get to WWE one day just because he did all he could for those companies. Now it’s finally here. What an amazing moment to see him face to face with Owens like that.

Sami Zayn was on fire before the Powerbomb. He’s such a great seller. Owens looks like the baddest man in WWE with the way he’s booked. That’s why Joe coming out when he did and going face to face was perfect.

Loved the Banks/Lynch match. Go see it please if you didn’t watch it. Those ladies told a great story and proved they belong with the men in terms of having long, competitive matches. Banks has such a bright future. I love watching her work. Lynch is pretty damn good too.

Balor over Breeze was the second best match. They always have competitive matches and that was no different. Huge fan of Balor’s look and entrance too.

Most Takeover specials are very good and this was no different. That finish was unforgettable.

(There are certainly better Takeover shows in terms of match quality. No question about that. However, this one was memorable to me because of the big moments mixed in with the matches. I liked it a lot.)

Thanks for reading.

John Canton –mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter@johnreport

Personal FacebookandTJRWrestling on Facebook

More Reviews