NXT Takeover: London Review

NXT Takeover London Logo.png

Hello everyone and welcome to the NXT Takeover: London review! This is looking to be one hell of a show, with a great UK crowd and some awesome matches. It is so refreshing to see a show under the WWE banner with so much hype that probably won’t be bad. There are logical storylines, good characters, and no bullshit finishes. I cannot wait another second for this show to begin, so lets get the review underway.

We start with Triple H in the ring with a chorus of NXT chants. Triple H says he got his ass kicked Sunday, but he “would have had to be dead” to miss this show. He says that this is the fans show, and, with the crowd saying it along, says, “This is NXT”. This is a very good way to start the show. Its electric, feels huge, and gets me so pumped for the show. A great package plays that hypes all of the biggest feuds going into the show. I seriously cannot get more excited. Our first match is…

 Asuka vs. Emma.png

Asuka vs. Emma (w/ Dana Brooke)

            This was pretty much as good of a choice for opener as you could get. The match structure was very basic, with Emma getting the heat and working over Asuka’s body, the back, ribs, and neck. Asuka had to make comebacks to stay in the match, which were molten due to how hot the crowd was for Asuka. Even though the structure overall worked, I would have liked some more Asuka offense in the middle of the match, since it seemed like Emma was in complete control for a very long time. Once the heat ended and the finishing stretch came, though, it was awesome. The action really picked up, and the back and forth was quite fun to watch. The finish, though, was great and the nearfalls prior flowed directly into it. The previous two nearfalls were very convincing and had the crowd on the edge of their seats, but the finish got them to their feet cheering. The crowd really improved this match, as they made the match seem much bigger than it was and made Asuka seem like a huge star. The only real issue, other than a little too much offense from Emma, is that Emma also wasn’t the crispest at points; she didn’t botch, but I knew if a crisper wrestler was in there the match would have been faster and more polished at points. Otherwise, this was a fun match that set the tone, and got the crowd hot for the rest of the show.

Rating: ***½

Johnny Saint, a UK wrestling legend, is show in the audience, and a video of Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe entering the arena is show. Also, Motorhead is thanked for the theme of this show. A video package plays us into…

Dash & Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy.png

Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson (c.) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy (w/ Carmella) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

            Oh my god, I LOVE this match. Everybody in this match put in a very good performance, even the referee. This match was a gritty, Brainbusters-esque match brought into 2015 perfectly, with good action and a great story. This match had layers, with there being great characters, a well executed main story, and beautiful sub plots. Enzo and Cass were the ultimate faces and the hot crowd was INSANE for them; they chanted, cheered, and even sung, like when they sang nananana Big Cass to the tune of “Hey Jude”. The crowd added immensely to the match, with the crowd improving the performance of Cass and Enzo and vice versa. While they aren’t the crispest or most polished wrestlers, their exciting offense and fun personalities made the lack of polish a non-entity. On top of all this greatness, Dash & Dawson put in a word class performance with great strategy, gritty yet crisp offense, and very logical spots. They actually communicate as a team, and you can hear them shouting strategy or commands to one another. I love that, because they aren’t psychics to my knowledge, so they couldn’t read each other’s minds and know what the other wants to do. Also, their offense made sense, with them wanting to isolate Enzo since he is smaller, and always double teaming Cass to neutralize his size. On top of double teaming Cass, they also played off the feud and worked over his leg, showing that the feud was relevant and Dash & Dawson inflicting damage on the leg actually mattered. I could continue with my analysis on every little detail, like the ref’s performance or Cass’ wonderful comeback, but I think you get the picture. This match is pro wrestling brilliance and it should be watched right now.

Rating: ****¼

(Sidenote: I can tell you, with how great Dash & Dawson are at getting heat, I need to see them face Chad Gable & Jeremy Jordon.)

Post match, another band is thanked for one of the show’s theme songs. Next, there is TIME TRAVEL. They say Bayley is just arriving now with Carmella, but Carmella was just in the previous match. Apparently Carmella has Hermione’s time turner, because that is straight up witchcraft. A video hyping Nia Jax plays, and then some social media images recapping the UK tour are shown. A video recapping some events last month brings us to our next match, which is…

Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews.png

Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews

This was by no means a great match, but it was highly enjoyable and well done. Baron Corbin has been allowed to blossom under his gimmick as the anti-indie wrestler. He is pretty good as the cocky heel that is always mouthing off, and it was made even funnier when he said to Crews “Go back to Ring of Honor” even though Crews never wrestled for ROH (outside of a PCW ROH union show), according to cagematch.net. Apollo did solid in his role, and did a great job showing fire while they were both brawling around the ring. Also, the action was rock solid, and Apollo added some much needed athleticism. Apollo’s backflip reversal out of the End of Days was awesome and a thing of beauty. However, the real back and forth action was too short and Apollo didn’t get nearly enough offense. Crews looked rather weak in this match up until the end, and Baron took too much of the match, for both booking and entertainment reasons. While Baron has improved greatly (and his strikes actually have weight behind them now), he still isn’t really good enough to carry a match. Maybe someday, though. Overall, this match was good, but it never really got out of first gear and became something really memorable.

Rating: ***

A video showing Sami Zayn’s journey in NXT hyping his return is shows. I love Zayn and cannot wait to see him back in NXT. An interview with Nia Jax is shown, and Nia begins the promo, but gets interrupted by an Asuka stare down. She than says that she will dominate and destroy Bayley. Then, a video package plays that pushes out next match, which is…

Bayley vs. Nia Jox.png

Bayley (c.) vs. Nia Jax – NXT Woman’s Championship Match

            This was another very good matchup with a simple, well-executed story. Its pretty obvious, Nia = Big scary person and Bayley = spirited underdog. The contrast here is evident with the sheer size and massiveness of Jax, but that will not stop Bayley. She fights through all adversity to try and make her comebacks, which starkly contrasts how Nia nonchalantly dominates and totally disrespects Bayley. Nia is fantastically hate-able as the cocky heel here, especially since her size means that she can back up her cockiness. Due to this contrast, the crowd is once again molten for this match in favor for Bayley. This adds so much atmosphere to the match, making this feel like such a huge deal, and adds to Bayley’s comebacks. Hearing the crowd roar with support as Bayley tries to slay the proverbial dragon is amazing. One of the best parts of this match is that both women were kept strong, but the finish was also clean. There was no need for bullshit because both competitors had fantastic performances, so neither person lost by losing. Overall, this was a very good match with a simple story and great performances.

Rating: ***½

A fatal four way tag is hyped for next week’s show, and Joe is shown backstage preparing. There is next to no delay. A video package gets us hyped, and then its time for our MAIN EVENT!

Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe.png

Finn Bálor (c.) vs. Samoa Joe – NXT Championship Match

           This match was very good for a while, but the finishing stretch put this over the threshold of a great match. The beginning started very hot, with both guys bringing the hatred, but after an STJoe on the floor, which was cool, they pretty much lost the emotion and it jut became a story of the big guy vs. the small guy. While the meat of the match had solid action and good performances, it was a bit underwhelming after the emotion that was shown earlier. However, that complaint is forgotten, as Finn makes his comeback and an incredible finishing run starts. They teased both their finishers, had loads of drama, not too few but not too many nearfalls, and a clean, decisive finish. The action went back and forth, and utilized both the size of Joe and the heart of Finn. They played to their strengths, which really improved the finishing stretch a ton. On top of all that, they never got close to overkill, if that is a concern of yours, yet the finish had enough action to be highly satisfying, if that is a concern of yours. Really, this match is two great wrestlers going out there and killing it.

Rating: ****

Finn Bálor celebrates in the ring for about 75 years before the announcers bid us farewell. Close curtain.

Overall:

            This show didn’t have any MOTYC, but it was overall one of the most consistent shows of the year. There was nothing below 3*, two 4*+ matches, and all the storylines were advanced well. On top of all that greatness, the incredible UK crowd made this show feel huge, and added to just about every match. They were molten for the whole show, and made this show very enjoyable and re-watchable. If you have the WWE Network, watch this right now. If you don’t have the WWE Network, buy it and watch this right now. It’s really great.

Overall Rating: ****

So that was the NXT Takeover: London Review. If you enjoyed, please drop a like, comment, and follow my blog to keep up with My Journey Through Wrestling. Also, if you want to follow me on social media or contact me, my contacts are here or in the sidebar to the right. I might be a bit content light until 2016 since I’m trying to catch up on all the great wrestling in 2015 I missed. However, expect the AJPW 90s review series to begin next month, and maybe expect a RMR soon as well. Also, the Starrcade review series is NOT dead; expect one out in late January or early to mid February. Other than that, I also write for Free Pro Wrestling, so check that out for a ton of really great opinions on wrestling. I really hoped you enjoyed and see you next time!

-Terrance Smith

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