By Darren Gutteridge
Dot Net Members are listening to the NXT Takeover: London live special audio review that Zack Zimmerman and Jason Powell recorded after the show on Wednesday, and the new Pretentious Wrestling Podcast with Will Pruett and Jake Barnett. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership today via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
WWE NXT Takeover Hits:
Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Title: As expected, Bálor and Joe put on an excellent main event, with a five-minute home stretch that was simply phenomenal. Though Bálor retaining was my guess, the story of Joe choking out Bálor several times during the build did the job of creating doubt in my mind that Bálor would be leaving with the title, which only improved the match that much more. I was expecting something to happen post match to outline our direction in 2016, but the lack of anything didn’t scupper a thing.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax for the NXT Women’s Title: This match had me sold all through the later stages. I mentioned several times to fellow Dot Net staffer Haydn Gleed, who attended the show with me, that “Bayley’s screwed” (or words to that effect), believing the end was nigh. But she wasn’t, and the pair told a fantastic “plucky and resilient babyface hanging on” story. My opinion may have differed had I watched it on TV, but live this may have been my favourite match of the night.
Asuka vs. Emma: I thought we might be seeing an Asuka squash here. Instead they gave both women time to put on a show, and they both excelled. Asuka is a special presence in an arena, and I’m so hyped for her 2016.
Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for the NXT Tag Titles: Good Lord was Enzo over. He had arguably the biggest pop of the night. It brought the match up a level, making for a very exciting tag title encounter that may represent the best work both teams have put out so far. Dawson and Dash retaining was ultimately the right long term decision, but the place would have come unglued for an Enzo and Cass title win, which may have been worth the change.
Overall Show: This was the best live show I’ve ever been to, hands down. Even the unaired, taped-for-TV stuff was excellent, and the crowd were super in to everything all night. Takeover: London was a special show, and I’d be amazed if this didn’t become a yearly tradition (if not, something that happens every other year).
WWE NXT Takeover Misses:
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin: The only down point in the entire night. There was just something off here. Corbin’s command of the middle of the match was dull, and the match just never felt like it got out of the lower gears until right at the very end. As good as Crews is, it turns out you may need an elite veteran such as Samoa Joe to get a good match out of Corbin at this point.