Reviews

NXT Takeover: London Review

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We start the show with a cold open and Triple H in the middle of the ring. He welcomes us to the show and also basically no sells the attack from Roman Reigns on Sunday. I saw a lot of people upset about this but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, in 2015 it’s unrealistic for someone to sell that level of a beat down for more than a few days. Anyway, on to our first match.

 

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Asuka vs. Emma (w/Dana Brooke)

What a way to start a show. Coming into this match, and indeed her entire run in NXT since coming back, Emma had a lot to prove. After a pretty bad run on the main roster, most people thought Emma’s career in WWE was over. Yes she had a series of awesome matches with Paige in NXT but that was in a very different era of Women’s Wrestling in NXT, now she had to prove that she could match up to the likes of Sasha Banks and Bayley and who better to try and do that against that one of the best female wrestlers on the planet in Asuka. Asuka’s run so far in NXT has been a lot of fun to watch and she is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. While she spent a lot of this match selling, Asuka had a lot of really beautiful looking strikes and I loved that she immediately went for her finisher, Asuka isn’t one to waste time with foreplay. For her part, Emma brought an intensity and aggression that I don’t think I’ve ever seen from here, including an incredibly stiff looking clothesline. Asuka wins with a head kick on Emma after shenanigans ****

 

They show British legend Johnny Saint sitting front row which probably means nothing but could be a tease for something bigger similar to how they showed Kana at Takeover: Brooklyn.

We get a video package hyping the tag title match.

 

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Dash and Dawson © vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) (NXT Tag Team Championship)

I am not saying anything new here but holy shit are Enzo and Cass over. Again this isn’t new information but Enzo has really outdone himself on looking ridiculous, Corey Graves calling him a chav, which he is not at all, was hilarious. Dash and Dawson have an awesome, old school look and I loved their ring jackets. The champs controlled the early part of the match and worked over Enzo which I personally did not enjoy, I like their whole “no flips, just fists” mantra but the slow, methodical pace just doesn’t entertain me. Thinking about it now the slow pace did extenuate the increase in energy and urgency of the match after Big Cass got the hot tag so in that regard it worked, but I am not sure if it really added all that much to my overall enjoyment of the match. Towards the end of the match there was a great spot where the referee refused to count a pin because he didn’t see the heels tag, which worked really well as it protected the champs and also made the officials look like they actually know what they are doing. Dash and Dawson hit a top rope lung blower on Enzo to retain *** ½

 

At this point I’d like to take a minute to talk about the crowd. Throughout the night the crowd were adapting football chants into wrestling chants and I personally thought it was great. I never felt like the crowd took away from the show as Full Sail is often accused of doing, this wasn’t a crowd trying to get themselves over as much as it was a crowd that added atmosphere and excitement to the matches and I loved every minute of it. Expect when they kept chanting ten like Tye Dillinger, that was the dirt worst.

 

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Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews

This was a real nothing match. I don’t know if it’s just because these two have no real chemistry together or what but it was just there. The highlight of the match was Corbin screaming at Crews to “go back to Ring of Honor” because of course Indie Hater Baron Corbin has no idea that Uhaa Nation has never worked for ROH. Apollo Crews has been very underwhelming in NXT so far, I know he hasn’t been there long but there hasn’t been a match of his so far that I really liked a lot. A lot of people seem to think Baron Corbin has improved, and he’s obviously showing a lot more personality that I love, he still needs a lot of work in the ring. Corbin wins with the End of Days *3/4

 

After the match we get a promo package hyping the long awaited return of Sami Zayn. After that we get an interview with Nia Jax about the title match later in the night featuring an appearance by creepy Asuka.

We get another great video package hyping the next match.

 

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Bayley © vs. Nia Jax (NXT Women’s Championship)

Emma wasn’t the only woman with a lot to prove tonight, after two incredible matches with Sasha Banks and being made the ace of the NXT Women Bayley had to show that it was all well deserved. She also had to prove that she could take someone not as good as her in Nia Jax and have a high quality match, and boy did she deliver in spades. Bayley spent most of this match bumping around for Nia and making her look like a legitimate monster. I’ve seen comparisons to Sami/Owens but this reminded me more of Cena/Brock in that the beat down was almost uncomfortable to watch at points. Bayley did an incredible job of both selling the hopelessness of her situation and also giving that slight glimmer of hope that maybe she could beat the monster. Nia Jax also played her part very well, at first the overconfident heel who tried to pin Bayley with one foot to realising that Bayley wasn’t going to give up until she was dead. Make no mistake about it though, Bayley was the star in this match and, in my humble opinion, showed herself as one of the best babyfaces on the planet. Her desperation was palpable, she knew she couldn’t knock Nia down long enough to pin her so she kept going for the submission. She wanted to wear out the monster, and it eventually worked as Nia tapped out to desperate pleas from Bayley. Bayley retains after Nia Jax tapped to a Guillotine choke ****

 

Another video package setting up the main event.

 

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Finn Balor © vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Championship)

Finn was in full demon regalia for this match, with a tinge of Jack the Ripper. Joe played a great snarling heel and, unlike any of the other matches so far, this had a real big fight feel to it. Both men had their working shoes on for this as we got a crazy looking running dropkick into the steel steps from Balor followed by a sick looking uranage on the outside by Joe. We also got some awesome striking exchanges between the two and a cool reversal of a pele kick into a coquina clutch. It was also very refreshing that there weren’t a lot of near falls in this match, it’s something interesting and different in the era of a million near falls in every major match. I enjoyed this match but, much like the crowd, was a little burnt out after the last match and so wasn’t as into it as I probably would’ve been at some other point. Finn Balor retains after hitting a Coup de Grace *** 3/4

 

Overall Thoughts: This was a really good show overall, aside from Crews/Corbin, everything delivered and was either good to great. These last two big arena NXT shows have been a lot of fun, there’s an added energy and excitement that isn’t there in other Takeovers. Bayley/Nia Jax is probably my match of the night because of the incredible performance by Bayley, but Joe/Balor and Emma/Asuka aren’t that far behind. Overall Rating: 7/10

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