NXT Takeover: London
Date: December 16, 2015
Location: Wembley Arena, London, England
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Takeover goes outside the US for the first time as the show hits England. This isn’t the most stacked card in the world but almost all of the matches could go either way. The main event is Finn Balor defending the NXT Title against Samoa Joe while Bayley defends the Women’s Title against the monster Nia Jax. Let’s get to it.
As is the custom, we open with HHH in the ring saying the beating he took on Sunday night was one of the worst he’s ever had but he would have had to be dead to not be here tonight. This is your brand and this is your time because WE ARE NXT.
The opening video recaps all of the matches on the card in rapid fashion.
Asuka vs. Emma
Asuka likes the “ASUKA’S GONNA KILL YOU!” chants and is moving at about double Emma’s speed. Emma’s hammerlock goes nowhere with Asuka quickly spinning out of it over and over. A Fujiwara armbar has Emma in trouble but she gets her foot on the ropes. Emma tries to bail to the floor but takes a running hip attack (thankfully not called the Rear View) from the apron. Brennan: “Asuka is just having fun out there!” Oh for the love of all things good and holy don’t let that nonsense creep into NXT’s commentary.
Dana gets in a distraction so Emma can pound away a bit, causing the fans to cheer for Asuka even more. Emma pulls on both arms with her feet on Asuka’s shoulders before trying a full nelson on the mat. Dana: “Don’t give up Emma!” A hard whip into the corner lets Dana talk even more trash but Asuka comes back with a quick middle rope dropkick. Emma tries those forearms to the back that people use when they’re desperate but it’s time for Asuka’s rapid strikes.
Some spinning back fists set up another running hip attack for two but Emma grabs a quick Dilemma to come back again. A butterfly suplex into the corner gets two (Referee: “Please kick out.”) and Emma rubs her face into the mat. Emma loads up the Emma Lock but takes too much time and gets countered into an ankle lock. Asuka cranks her over with a German suplex followed by a hard knee to the jaw.
The Asuka Lock goes on but Emma drives them into the corner for a ref bump. Dana throws in what looks like a belt but Asuka grabs it as the referee gets up. That’s almost a DQ but Emma tries a rollup, only to get caught in the Asuka Lock. Dana distracts the referee as Emma taps, meaning Asuka breaks the hold. That’s fine with Asuka as she kicks Emma’s head off for the pin at 14:54.
Rating: B+. This was WAY better than I was expecting and is pretty easily Emma’s best match ever. The women’s matches continue to be star making performances and this was no exception. I’d be stunned if Emma doesn’t have the title before Takeover: Dallas is over and she could have a great match against Jax or Bayley to get there.
We recap Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady vs. Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder. The champs hurt Cass’ knee so he and Enzo got serious for the first time ever, vowing revenge. The video treats this like their last shot at the titles.
Tag Team Titles: Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady vs. Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder
Dash and Dawson are defending. Enzo says there will be pieces of he and Cass in this ring when this is over. The difference between them is that if Enzo had a pound for every time they got knocked down and didn’t get up, he would have zero pounds. Dawson and Dash have old school Brainbusters style jackets. We start with a loud HOW YOU DOIN chant as Dawson powers Enzo into the corner.
Dash comes in and gets punched in the face before it’s off to Cass to give Dash a corner beating of his own. They head outside for a bit with Dash clotheslining the post by mistake. Back in and Cass starts in on the arm as the fans chant what sounds like Hey Jude. Dash gets thrown at his partner but it’s too early for the Rocket Launcher.
Instead, Cass just picks Enzo up and throws him over the top to take out Dash and Dawson in a huge crash. Enzo can barely get up and it’s time to start on the arm. Wilder puts him on the apron for some kicks to the ribs followed by a slingshot suplex (Tully Blanchard’s old finisher) for two. The champs switch without a tag behind the referee’s back, meaning he won’t count a cover off a gordbuster (Arn Anderson’s old finisher). That’s something you almost never see.
Enzo grabs a DDT and makes the hot tag to Cass as everything breaks down. The East River Crossing gets two on Dawson with Dash making the save. A chop block takes out Cass’ knee and Dash grabs a leg lock. Enzo gets turned inside out trying to make a save but Cass crawls over and makes the rope anyway.
The champs load up the same move that took out Cass’ knee in the first place but Enzo makes the save. A big boot sets up the Rocket Launcher for a VERY hot two as Dawson pulls the referee out. Dawson goes after Carmella but she slaps him in the face to save herself. Enzo goes up, only to get caught in a super Shatter Machine for the pin at 14:58.
Rating: B. Another match that was way better than I was expecting with a bit of a surprise ending. They had me believing that they were going to change the titles here but after that I’m pretty sure Enzo and Cass are never getting the belts. There comes a point where it’s time to send them to the main roster and let them trade hilarious promos with New Day and I think we’ve reached that time.
Nia Jax video.
We recap Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin. Crews beat Corbin to become #1 contender so Corbin broke up Crews’ title shot. Apollo got far more aggressive, setting up this showdown.
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Corbin shoves him around to start so Crews drives him right back across the ring in a nice power display. Apollo slugs away but Corbin backdrops him over the top and face first onto the steps. Corbin: “YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN RING OF HONOR!” He didn’t actually wrestle there but it was a good line. The fans swear at Corbin as he gets two off a boot to the face.
A small package just seems to annoy Baron so he bends Crews’ back over his knee. It spills out to the floor and Crews actually gets the better of it, sending Corbin hard into the barricade, followed by an apron moonsault. Back in and Corbin takes him down with a spinning slam (called Deep Six apparently) for two more. Crews spins out of End of Days and kicks Baron in the head, setting up the standing moonsault for two of his own. Back up and End of Days out of nowhere gives Baron the pin at 11:22.
Rating: C+. I just couldn’t get into this one but it’s cool to see Baron getting a big win like this for a change. I’m not sure where this leaves Crews and I’m pretty surprised to see him lose here. The match was good but Crews is still having issues connecting with the crowd. I’m assuming it’s Corbin vs. Balor coming up then.
Sami Zayn video.
Nia Jax says she’s going to do to Bayley what she’s done to everyone else. Asuka interrupts and gives Nia the creepy smile.
We recap Bayley vs. Nia Jax, which is mostly about Bayley defying all expectations and proving she can hang with anyone. Nia is a whole different animal though.
Women’s Title: Nia Jax vs. Bayley
Bayley is defending and there’s no Eva in sight. I’ve seen it for months now and I’m continually amazed at how over Bayley is. She’s the biggest star in NXT and only Finn Balor is even close to her level. Bayley ducks a clothesline to start and fires off the elbows in the corner, only to get thrown down like a doll. We hit an early cobra clutch with Nia swinging Bayley around like she’s nothing.
Bayley gets out and kicks her in the face, followed by back to back middle rope elbows. Nia is staggered but shoves Bayley out of the air on the third attempt. With nothing else working, Bayley tries a triangle choke of all things, only to be lifted up for a powerbomb. Bayley fights back again and gets two off a Swanton with Nia launching her to the floor on the kickout. Three straight Samoan drops and the legdrop get two and Jax is stunned. She throws Bayley around by the head and drops a leg on the arm.
Three more legdrops to the back of the head only get two and Nia can’t believe it. Saxton: “Wow. Just wow.” Nia puts her on top and Bayley looks mostly dead. A super Samoan drop is countered into a guillotine choke of all things but she just slams Bayley down for another break. Bayley grabs it again and Jax goes down to her back. She sits up with Bayley pulling as hard as she can for the tap out at 13:28.
Rating: A-. That was straight out of Sting vs. Vader with Bayley taking the worst beating of her career but never quitting no matter what. I didn’t believe they would actually go with the guillotine for the finish but it’s always cool to see them change things up, especially when the Bayley to Belly would have looked pretty bad here. Another awesome match here on a night of them.
We recap Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe. They won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic together and Joe wanted a title shot. Balor was fine with that but Commissioner Regal said it had to be in a battle royal. Joe didn’t win and blamed Balor for not putting enough weight behind giving Joe the title shot. This sent Joe over the edge and he’s choked Balor out a few times now.
NXT Title: Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor
Balor is defending and we get the full demon entrance with Balor as Jack the Ripper from the vignette they’ve been running for a few weeks now. Feeling out process to start and the fans are split. Balor sends him outside for a kick to the face and a dropkick into the steps. The double stomp from the apron misses though and Joe plants him with the release Rock Bottom.
Back in and a corner enziguri gets two, followed by a knee drop for the same. There’s the Facewash but Balor nails an enziguri (WAY too common of a move as well) from the apron. His springboard is broken up though and Joe does his 300lb flying monster out of control suicide dive to take him out again. Back in and Joe puts on a Boston crab into a Crossface into a modified Rings of Saturn.
Balor gets his foot onto the ropes for the save and spins over into a DDT for a breather. It’s time for the chops from Finn but he runs into an elbow. Joe goes up but takes another enziguri to send him outside again. There’s the big flip dive to the floor, followed by a top rope double stomp for two back inside. The Sling Blade has Joe reeling but he sidesteps a dropkick and drops the backsplash. Balor counters the Muscle Buster into a sunset flip for two, followed by a Pele to put both guys down.
They slug it out again and Joe grabs the standing Clutch, only to have Balor send him into the buckle. Another enziguri is blocked (thank you) and Joe drags him back in by the throat. He can’t get Balor on the mat with the Clutch though as the champ rolls out and hits a quick double stomp. Another Sling Blade and some running dropkicks just tick Joe off so Finn dropkicks him down one more time. Balor has to shove him off the top to set up the Coup de Grace to retain at 18:20.
Rating: A. This was the heavyweight slugfest that everyone was wanting to see from these two. They beat each other up for nearly twenty minutes and had me believing that the title was in jeopardy a few times. I’m not sure who goes after Balor next but there’s a long list of people who could be up for a shot, which makes things that much more interesting.
Balor is checked out by the trainer before posing to end the show.
Overall Rating: A. What a great night of wrestling matches. The worst match on the show was Corbin vs. Crews and that was more than fine. Takeover continues to be one of the most entertaining shows of the year every time they run this thing because NXT puts in the effort coming into the specials every week on TV. Awesome show here and one of the strongest cards I’ve seen top to bottom in a long time.
Asuka b. Emma – Spinning kick to the face
Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder b. Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady – Super Shatter Machine to Amore
Baron Corbin b. Apollo Crews – End of Days
Bayley b. Nia Jax – Guillotine choke
Finn Balor b. Samoa Joe – Coup de Grace
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