WWE NXT Takeover Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from Unstoppable
Wednesday night, NXT took over the WWE Network, presenting its latest two-hour live special titled Unstoppable.
Kevin Owens defended his NXT Championship against Sami Zayn in the night's main event, a heated grudge match between two men who used to be the best of friends.
With the championship just outside of their grasps, Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze fought for the right to be called top contender to the title.
The NXT Tag Team Championships were up for grabs as Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake defended against Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Would Carmella have any direct influence on the outcome of the contest?
And the NXT Divas attempted to steal the spotlight once again as Bayley and Charlotte battled Dana Brooke and Emma while Sasha Banks defended her women's title against Becky Lynch.
With Baron Corbin and Rhyno filling out the rest of the card, fans of the developmental brand were poised to enjoy another outstanding outing by the NXT stars.
Did the show deliver? Who left victoriously, and who tasted the bitterness of defeat?
Find out now with this look back at Takeover: Unstoppable.
No. 1 Contender's Match: Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze
The No. 1 contender's match between Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze kicked off the evening's event.
The contest was full of counters and reversals. When they did not work, Breeze tried to gain the advantage by loosening the turnbuckle. Despite the referee watching, he avoided colliding with it and sent Balor into it before delivering the Beauty Shot for a strong near-fall.
In the end, though, it was Balor who executed the Coup De Grace for the pinfall victory.
Finn Balor defeated Tyler Breeze.
This may not have been up to the level of Balor's previous Takeover showings, but it was a great way to kick off the broadcast. The new paint as well as the outstanding entrance got the fans hot and helped add to the importance of the contest.
The action was fast-paced and, at only 11 minutes, never overstayed its welcome.
With Balor in the familiar position of challenger to the NXT Championship, it should be interesting to see if NXT's creative team decides to put him over the champion or if Balor is being set up for defeat again, falling just short of achieving championship glory.
Bayley and Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke and Emma
The first bit of Divas action pitted Charlotte and Bayley against Dana Brooke and Emma in a tag team match.
Dana and Emma seized the opportunity first, isolating Bayley working her over. Unfortunately for the heels, Emma's overconfidence hurt them, allowing Bayley to make the hot tag to former NXT Women's champion Charlotte.
The second-generation star exploded into the ring, delivering a DDT and applying the Figure Eight to Emma. With Bayley preventing Dana from making the save, Charlotte released the submission and delivered Natural Selection for the pinfall victory.
Charlotte and Bayley defeated Dana Brooke and Emma.
The booking of this one was a bit odd in that both Dana Brooke and Emma have been in the advent of heel pushes, but two babyfaces who certainly did not need the win nearly as much their opponents suddenly defeated them.
What do Charlotte and Bayley get from winning? Both are firmly established characters. Meanwhile, the heels are in the infancy of whatever run they are preparing for and are met with a major setback right out of the gates.
There is plenty of opportunity to build Dana Brooke into a competent heel, but Emma really needed a solid victory if she was to recover from the awful year she spent on the main roster.
The fact that the match was a quality tag team bout helped enhance the grade here.
Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno
The battle of the unstoppable forces pitted Rhyno against Baron Corbin Wednesday night.
The contest was slow, as one could have expected, and featured an NXT audience that grew somewhat restless midway through.
Late, Rhyno attempted the Gore, but Corbin caught him with a clothesline that flattened him. The End of Days ended the night on a winning note for the Lone Wolf of NXT.
Baron Corbin pinned Rhyno.
This was not exactly the most inspired bout on the show.
There was nothing inherently wrong with it, and the right guy went over. What did not work was the pace, which was the complete opposite of what fans expect from the action in NXT.
The fact that the competitors were selling it as if they had been involved in a 20-minute match despite only working five at that point really hurt the overall effectiveness of the contest.
Corbin picked up another big win, but it is imperative that he starts working with stars like Balor, Breeze, Zayn and Owens so he can continue his development as a worker.
Otherwise, the fans will turn on him more than they already have.
NXT Tag Team Title Match: Big Cass & Enzo Amore vs. Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake
After months of buildup, Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake defended their NXT Tag Team Championships against Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
Like the Divas tag match earlier, the story of this contest was basic tag team wrestling 101, with the heels isolating Amore while the bigger and more explosive Colin Cassady watched from the ring apron.
When the seven-foot big man finally got the hot tag, he unleashed a series of corner splashes and some big boots to top it all off. On the verge of a tag team championship victory, the babyfaces were rolling when Alexa Bliss made an unexpected appearance, attacking Carmella and shoving Amore from the top rope.
Blake scored the pinfall victory for the champions.
Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
The tag team match itself was much better than the typical fare we get from Amore and Big Cass. It was hot, energetic and featured an outstanding final few minutes.
Alexa Bliss' heel turn is what fans will most likely remember from this match, though, and that drags the grade down significantly. It was nonsensical, a turn for a turn's sake, as she sided with Murphy and Blake despite no real connection with them. And there's the fact that she was one of the better babyfaces in the Divas division.
Carmella, the natural heel, remains with the babyfaces, while Bliss now seconds Blake and Murphy, making for a dynamic that NXT's writers better hope works the way they designed it. If not, Bliss could be irreparably damaged.
NXT Women's Championship : Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
The Divas again stole the show as Becky Lynch challenged Sasha Banks for the NXT Women's Championship.
Lynch, rocking a new look, took the fight to Banks early as the action was fast and furious from the start.
Banks took control by working the arm then leveling the challenger with the double stomp. Lynch mounted a comeback, but being one-armed did her no favors as Banks was able to cut her off at almost every stop.
Late in the contest, Banks delivered the Banks Statement, trapped the injured arm of Lynch and scored the submission victory.
Sasha Banks defeated Becky Lynch to retain the NXT Women's Championship.
Sasha Banks is the best women's wrestler in the business right now.
No one is more consistent than she is, and that was again on display Wednesday night. The fans in Full Sail University greet her with respect and admiration because she has earned it over the last two years.
Becky Lynch has also developed into an outstanding talent, delivering another outstanding performance at a Takeover event, selling for the champion and showing great resiliency and guts as she battled through the pain in her arm to nearly wrest the title away from The Boss.
The great irony in the storytelling is that Lynch had used an armbreaker leading into the event, but it was the cerebral nature of Banks that allowed her to turn the tables on her opponent. That is storytelling the likes of which the main roster girls could only dream of employing at this point.
NXT Championship Match: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens, proving why he is the greatest heel in WWE, sported a John Cena shirt as he made his way to the ring.
The match was brutal, violent and aggressive, as one would expect a title bout between two sworn enemies to be. The action spilled outside the ropes, with Zayn getting the best of Owens early. The spills on the concrete were especially vicious but only a sign of things to come.
For the second straight championship bout between these two, Owens beat Zayn nearly to brink of unconsciousness, leading doctors and general manager William Regal to intervene.
Owens assaulted Regal with a headbutt and appeared unstoppable.
Then, in a shocking moment, Samoa Joe made his NXT debut, confronting Owens and drawing a no-contest finish.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fought to a no-contest.
This was everything the main event of this show should have been. It was hard-hitting, violent and featured ruthlessness from Owens that has helped him develop into the best and most compelling character on WWE programming.
Zayn again looks like the sympathetic babyface who did not officially lose, instead running into a vile villain hellbent on ending him rather than beating him. The fact that Owens did not defeat him should keep him in the title hunt.
The debut of Samoa Joe is a game-changer for NXT. Easily the only star on the brand capable of matching the attitude and in-ring tenacity of Owens, Joe should create magic with the NXT champion in the coming months.