In Episode 280 of NXT, the repercussions of NXT Takeover: Unstoppable (click here for my review of Unstoppable) were on show for all to see. Kevin Owens dominated the programme, with an impressive in-ring segment at the beginning and an easy victory at the end. Wrestling-wise, it ranged from decent to good. The show developed the plots from NXT Takeover: Unstoppable in largely satisfying ways.
IN-RING SEGMENT: Kevin Owens came out to Sami Zayn’s music and wearing John Cena’s US Champ T-shirt. His withering putdown of the ‘Open Challenge’ rang true. Why allow people to have a shot at a championship if they haven’t earned it? Owens said he wasn’t insecure, unlike Cena, who needed to prove every week that he was worthy of being US Champion. “I am a good man,” he pleaded, in his most effective and brilliant promo yet in NXT. The problem is, every time he criticises Cena (“as ridiculous as the colours of John Cena’s merchandise” was my particular favourite!) the crowd go wild! He was interrupted by William Regal, who barely said anything before Solomon Crowe showed up. Kevin Owens showed that he was a good man by challenging Crowe to a match. Crowe accepted.
SEGMENT: Hideo Itami vowed that when he comes back, “there will be no stopping” him. I believe him!
Bayley vs Emma
Any women’s match after the blinder that was Banks vs Lynch at Unstoppable will be disappointing, but Bayley and Emma gave us a short and sweet match. Emma’s aggressive side has worked wonders for her in-ring ability. She took the fight to Bayley, setting up Bayley for the babyface comeback spots. Bayley’s always entertaining to watch. This was miles better than their first match a few months ago. Emma’s aggression finally paid off as she defeated Bayley by submission. I was surprised by the clean victory, as Emma was accompanied to the ring by Dana Brooke. I thought there would be interference of some sort. However, it works well storyline-wise. Emma’s aggression is earning her victories. How long before Bayley copies Emma?
VERDICT: 6/10. Entertaining and short, a cut above average.
However, after the match, Emma and Brooke teamed up on Bayley before Charlotte made the save. The save wasn’t effective, however, and Brooke laid Charlotte out with her finisher. Good luck, Charlotte. Dragging a decent match out of Brooke will be your biggest challenge yet!
Blake and Murphy vs Mike Rollas(?) and Elias Sampson
An easy victory for the NXT Tag Team Champions. A decent match, but not much more to say about it than that. It was mainly on to see the new addition to Blake and Murphy: Alexa Bliss. I think it’s a move good for all three. It gives Bliss a useful position and adds to the heelish elements of Blake and Murphy.
WINNERS: Blake and Murphy
VERDICT: 4/10. Average fare demoted by the predictable finish.
INTERVIEW: Alexa Bliss impressed with scathing talk about Carmella. As the Princess of Statten Island, Carmella is princess of a garbage dump, according to Bliss. Bliss gave her reasoning for joining Blake and Murphy: she aligns herself with winners. There you go!
Finn Balor vs Tye Dillinger
The number one contender to the NXT Championship fights Tye Dillinger? The outcome can only go one way…Balor’s! Another easy victory. Nothing more to say about it!
WINNER: Finn Balor
VERDICT: 4/10. Average fare demoted by the predictable finish (hopefully that will be the last time in this review I use that line!)
SEGMENT: In a gym of some sort, Jason Jordon, Dillinger’s former tag team partner, said that he had a new tag team partner. Chad Gable hands Jordon a sweat towel with Gable written on it and offers his help as a tag team partner. Jordon refuses, but uses said sweat towel to wipe himself down. Had Gable used the sweat towel beforehand? If so, ewwww!
Kevin Owens vs Solomon Crowe
Crowe has failed to make much impact (in-ring or out of the ring) since his debut on NXT. Owens’ one-sided battering of Crowe highlighted that fact. In the entire match, Crowe only got three or four moves in. He was presented as no threat to Owens. In the closing moments of the match, Crowe managed to hit a running knee into Owens, but his momentum was immediately stopped by Owens’ forearm. After that, it was a senton splash and a Pop-Up Powerbomb. The end! Where does Crowe go from here? He’s had three matches in NXT so far. The first match was terrible, the second match was mediocre. He showed nothing in this match against Owens. But then again, this match served only to demonstrate the killer instinct of Owens.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
VERDICT: 4/10. A one-sided affair with not a lot on offer.
Post-match, Owens goes for the apron powerbomb on Crowe but Samoa Joe again makes the save. Owens avoids confrontation yet again, but shouts to Joe that what happened to Crowe will happen to Joe if they meet in the ring. “The champ is here” he screamed before the show went off the air (just a thought: Why doesn’t Owens try the apron powerbomb on the other side of the ring? By the time the person making the save has come down to the ring, Owens will be able to hit the powerbomb!). The tease for Kevin Owens vs Samoa Joe continues. And it’s going to be big! But will we see what Joe is capable of before that? I hope so!
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. A show held together by the brilliance of Owens. But even he couldn’t help Solomon Crowe in the main event. As a whole, the wrestling was average, serving only to tease out the storylines hanging over from NXT Takeover: Unstoppable.