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Ruthless Roundtable - NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable

Smark Henry's Ruthless Roundtable is back for the second time this week, for NXT's next TakeOver special, Unstoppable.

Kevin Owens defends his NXT Title against a familiar foe, Sami Zayn. Meanwhile, the scheduled triple threat #1 contender's match for NXT's top prize becomes a one-on-one bout between Finn Bálor and Tyler Breeze, as Hideo Itami was taken out of the match due to injury.


Baron Corbin vs Rhyno

Stan Sy: As Jocs said last week in his Smark Hen-XT column, it's only a matter of time until Full Sail turned on Baron Corbin. Corbin has turned full-on heel and he just does not give a fuck. For what it’s worth, the turn can only be good for him, since being a silent babyface lone wolf could only take him so far. Feuding with Rhyno can give Corbin the heat he needs to be taken seriously as an imposing heel in NXT, so he needs this win. Not only that, Baron Corbin needs to lay a massive beatdown on Rhyno because the ECW original is one tough S.O.B.

Jocs Boncodin: Baron Corbin goes over. Let’s not kid ourselves, Rhyno’s in NXT just to put some people over. He’s essentially doing Tyson Kidd’s job a year and a half ago.

Romeo Moran: I… have a feeling Rhyno is taking this one to begin a long-ish feud with Corbin, and this will be a catalyst for his growth. While Rhyno is a veteran, he is still pretty over, and it would be a shame to waste all that potential heat on sealing the rivalry with a Corbin win this early. Let Rhyno get the win here and Baron beat him down afterward to get his heat back and move it forward.

Anthony Cuello: I love the fact that Rhyno is at Full Sail University to fuck things up and show these young ‘uns what it takes. However, I feel as if he’s also here to make talent look good, being a veteran of the wrestling scene. Baron Corbin had a feud with Bull Dempsey that seems to have just ended, so he’s back to setting records for how much time it takes to squash someone else. A win for Baron Corbin would do well to put him over as a big, silent monster-type, which is where I think his character is headed.


NXT Tag Team Championship - Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady aka "The Realest Guys in the Room" vs Blake and Murphy aka "Dubstep Cowboys" (c)

Stan: Fearless forecast: Carmella turns on the Realest Guys in the Room and helps Blake & Murphy retain the NXT Tag Team Championship. It just seems so difficult for Carmella to keep working heel and yet align herself with Enzo and Big Cass, who are insanely popular. That being said, Enzo & Cass aren’t ready yet for the NXT Tag Team Championship. But give them a loss now and have them face the Dubstep Cowboys at the next Takeover special, and maybe I’ll say they’re ready to hold the straps.

Jocs: Here’s a nice little wrestling trope. Female managers are likely to cost “big” matches for their boys, either by turning on them (if the boys are faces) or just by being a distraction (heels). I wouldn’t be too surprised if something similar happens on Unstoppable. That being said, I’m hoping WWE decides to go against the predictable and give the Realest Guys in the Room the win, just because it would be a much more satisfying ending to the arc.

Romeo: I’m also putting my money on the Realest Guys in the Room. As much as the Dubstep Cowboys are a solid team, their little heel run has been nothing but forced and mishandled, and honestly, they’re more sitting ducks than the Lucha Dragons ever were as NXT Tag Champs. Let the faces finally have their moment in the sun, force them to wrestle better as champions, and let the Dubstep Cowboys regroup and find a new edge. Nobody should give up on Blake and Murphy.

Anthony: How you doin’? As much as Enzo and Cass have been entertaining, I’ve got this gut feeling that we won’t be seeing new champions this week. Dubstep Cowboys will sneak the victory here, maybe with some Carmella shenanigans. What these guys above said makes sense.

Here’s a fearless forecast, though: Enzo and Cass will win the titles at the next live special, when the Tag Team Title match is the main event. Yes, that’s right, we’re gonna be closing a show out with bonafide studs celebrating in the ring. These guys have been getting loud reactions at Full Sail, and I think we’ll see that rewarded. I’ve heard comparisons between The Realest Guys in the Room and the New Age Outlaws, as a team that says the same damn thing every week but still gets the crowd rolling with it. I’d say that’s accurate, and a good peg for how Enzo and Cassady’s path as a tag team will turn out. They won’t be the best in the ring, but they’re damn entertaining. And you can’t. Teach. That.


Bayley and Charlotte vs Dana Brooke and Emma

Stan: The Bayley-Charlotte pair is growing on me, especially since Charlotte is just too adorbz in her role as Bayley’s ate. I wonder if WWE has any plans of creating a Divas Tag Team division, now that we’ve got the Bellas, the Blood Sisters, Bayley and Charlotte, and Dana Brooke and Emma.

Or, this partnership could be short-lived. Go figure. In any case, I think Dana Brooke and Emma will win because they need to build up both Brooke, who needs to prove herself as the newcomer, and Heel Emma—or Dark Emma, as Jocs calls her.

Jocs: Bayley and Charlotte is a pairing we’ve seen time and again, and one that works too. Also, no amount of love I have for Emma’s new ironic heel character can make me want to cheer for Dana Brooke.

Romeo: Dana and Emma are winning this one. You can’t undercut the momentum of the new girl, and Emma needs the win more. Let the feud continue.

Anthony: After a subpar start to her main roster career, Emma is now back at Full Sail to try and find herself again. She’s been "Emmataining" in her little spat with Bayley, going so far as to mock the Doctor of Huganomics’ shirts and gear as something that won’t work for her once she goes up.

I like feuds that have a little bit of realism in them, like this one. Teaming up with each are Charlotte, who we know can go, and Dana Brooke, who isn’t someone that has convinced me. She’s obviously got the physique, but her in-ring action still lacks a certain something to it. I think this match can go either way, but I’ll place my bet on Emma and Dana Brooke to pick up the win here. I think the heels a a lot more to gain from scoring the fall here.


NXT Women’s Championship - Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks (c)

Stan: I like how they’ve been writing Becky Lynch since she broke away from the Boss. They positioned her as a tough gal who’s been all over the world and had to go through adversity, but fought every step of the way to get to where she is now. She’s seasoned, she’s hardened, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

But at this point, I don’t think she’s built enough sympathy towards herself so that more people can get behind her. I wouldn’t mind seeing her take the belt off Sasha Banks one day. But I think this is not the time for that. Sasha needs to keep warding off challengers to establish her dominance as the Boss of NXT.

Jocs: Sasha Banks wins this, but it wouldn’t be match of the night, as some might expect. I like Becky, but I find her gimmick not working for me. OK, so she’s trying to paint herself as the hardworking underdog, but she just comes off as annoying. But let’s assume that she somehow pulls it off, underdogs are better written as challengers, not champions. Banks, though, is perfect for the arrogant heel champ. On the mic and in the ring, she proves that she really is the BOSS of the women’s division.

Romeo: Sasha Banks wins this, as much as I would rather see Becky take it. I still don’t understand what other people see in her, I really don’t, but they’re obviously grooming her to be something special. To have her drop the title now would be to abort that mission, and I don’t think Becky is that ready to be champion.

Anthony: The Boss wins this, mainly for her to continue looking strong as the top dog of the women’s division.They’re obviously building up Becky to something, but I think it’s still too early to pull the trigger on her. She has the look, and the story, but it isn’t at a good level yet.


#1 Contender’s Match - Finn Bálor vs Tyler Breeze

Stan: If the reports about Hideo Itami being out six to eight months are true, then there’s no chance he’s winning this. Hell, it’ll be a miracle if Itami even makes it to Takeover: Unstoppable. (Update: He won't.) Meanwhile, Tyler Breeze has had his shot at being the #1 Contender to the NXT Championship, plus, there’s no way Kevin Owens is dropping the title to an injured Sami Zayn. That leaves Bálor as the only likely candidate to win. We’ve seen Finn Bálor and Kevin Owens in the ring together in the past, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that they can tear down the roof again in a rematch.

Jocs: When this match was announced, there was no doubt in my mind that Hideo Itami was going to win this. With rumors flying around that he’s injured, it puts us in a conundrum. Tyler Breeze, barring a surprising face turn which is nigh impossible, isn’t going to win this, and Finn Bálor has had his shot at the championship and failed. That being said, Finn Bálor does have an interesting story pre-made for the rematch: Does he need the demon to win big matches? That would be something NXT creative should explore, and therefore I’m going with him as my prediction.

Romeo: Hideo Itami has actually been announced to not be participating in this match due to his shoulder injury, so I don’t know if they’re going to run with the one-on-one match or insert someone else into it. (Honestly, I don’t know who else could take his spot, unless they do something really, really ballsy and put someone like, say, Uhaa Nation in it.) NXT is hopping back on the Bálor wagon, perhaps, one more time.

It’s also a possibility that we could see something different, like maybe a draw to lead into a triple threat match for the title, but the brand likes to keep its storytelling simple.

Anthony: Sadly, Hideo Itami is now out of this match due to an injury. I don’t think Tyler Breeze will win this. He’s a good talent, but he isn’t the best NXT has, and unfortunately he’s up against two of the best here. It’s unfortunate that so much talent is ahead of Prince Pretty right now, as he’s quite good, but that’s just the way things are.

That leaves our Irish import from Japan, and I think Finn Bálor will get this one. He’s already fought for the NXT Championship before, but came up short, but a Bálor win still makes a lot of sense. If the rumors of him having a shorter stay at Full Sail are true, then it’d be natural to put him under the spotlight as much as possible. You can make a case for Itami here, but I don’t think they’ll pull that trigger just yet. Let him continue to hone his craft first.


NXT Championship - Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens (c)

Stan: Sami Zayn’s got a torn rotator cuff and Kevin Owens is heading into the biggest match of his career against John Cena in two weeks. All of that being said, all signs seem to be pointing towards Owens retaining the title. That match against Cena at Elimination Chamber could be billed as an epic clash pitting champion versus champion. Plus, with Finn Bálor being my pick to win the #1 Contender’s Match, it only makes sense to have him go up against Owens. #FightOwensFight

Jocs: Kevin Owens wins this. Even if Sami Zayn isn’t injured, I don’t see how he can overcome the monster that is the NXT champ KO. With the announcement of the match between John Cena and Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber, it would make sense for Owens to keep his belt. He’s probably getting called up to the main roster soon, but it wouldn’t be the first time the reigning NXT Champion has tussled with the main roster.

Romeo: Kevin Owens is winning this, if only because a non-title Champion vs. Champion match against John Cena at Elimination Chamber is a lot better on the marquee than if Owens was coming into it empty-waisted.

Unless… they’re switching up plans, giving Sami the championship, making the match for the U.S. title, and having Owens win. That could happen, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that hell, that might happen. Cena’s wrapped up the Rusev feud and isn’t really doing anything with anyone now outside of the U.S. Open. But personally, with a stacked main roster, I wouldn’t do it. It’s tempting, but I wouldn’t do it. Not yet.

Anthony: When Kevin Owens came out on RAW and hung with John Cena, I realized that we might be seeing Owens come up earlier than we all thought he would. It all makes sense: his contract supposedly says that he won’t stay in NXT too long, and he’s had a short, but memorable stint so far at Full Sail. There’s reason to believe that Owens will lose at Takeover to transition to the main roster, where he’ll continue his feud with Cena.

There’s just one thing, though. Sami Zayn isn’t in the healthiest state, and I don’t think they’d put the belt on someone who has health risks (see: Bryan, Daniel). So I’m going to say that Kevin Owens will win this, and move on to another match with Finn Balor. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will win that match, but it could be more realistic for the title drop then.


Do you agree with Smark Henry's predictions in this roundtable? Who are your own picks to win at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable? Go ahead, we won't stop you from commenting below.


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