From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Asuka vs. Cameron
Basically another sanctioned in-ring murder for Asuka here, as Cameron slaps her and Asuka immediately grabs her arm and tries to rip it off with an armbar. Free advice for thw women of NXT: STOP SLAPPING ASUKA. Cameron does get a little bit of leg split-based offense, but Asuka destroys her with hip attacks and mocks her poses, which is just the best. She gets to the kicking and the Asuka Lock mercifully ends it. If Bayley wasn’t the champion I’d say put the title on Asuka right now, but that would mean Bayley getting maimed and nobody good and decent wants that.
We recap Dash and Dawson taking Enzo and Cass out last week. Backstage, Tom Phillips asks Carmella about Cass’ injured knee but Dash and Dawson interrupt to gloat about taking him out and trade words with Carmella before revealing they have a tag title shot next week. Next week, they will show everyone they are the best tag team in the world. “Bada boom, baddest guys in the room”. They even bring out a wheelchair with the Vaudevillains name on it. This was a tremendous promo from Dash and Dawson.
NXT’s Greatest Tag Team talk about Takeover: Respect, but JJ wants the tag titles. Gable tells him they are still on an upward trajectory (with helpful visual cues) and soon people will be calling them the “World’s Greatest Tag Team”…but JJ reminds him that they agreed to not use that term. Jordan proposes they challenge the best tag team in NXT history, but Gable knows they can’t wrestle themselves! JJ means the Ascension and the challenge is laid. Does anyone outside of NXT see the Ascension as any kind of threat?
Bull Dempsey vs. Angelo Dawkins (w/Sawyer Fulton)
Bull has new music. That’s pretty much the only notable thing in this match. Pretty much a comedy match as Bull is relishing (no pun intended) his comedy character role and Angelo Dawkins is a big pile of nothing. Bull makes the athletic fat guy comeback and the top rope sitdown splash gets the win. Fulton walks out on Dawkins afterwards to trigger the feud that world won’t care about.
The Vaudevillains look upon the wheelchair and know that Dash and Dawson will be a tough challenge, but they are ready for them.
Bayley is asked if she has found partners for Alexa’s challenge and Bayley brings in The Hype Bros. So I guess she decided to fight Alexa’s goofy pair of losers by finding her own?
Eva Marie vs. Marley
Marley is the new name for Gionna Daddio, proving that NXT still misses the boat when naming people. Obviously Eva’s Paris vacation hasn’t affected her in-ring ability as she is still somehow robotic and awkward at the same time and Marley (who has been wrestling like six months) is roughly her same skill level at this point. Eva boots her on a charge but she must have missed by a mile because the camera tries to cover it and the crowd chants “what was that?”. Eva finishes with a running Downward Spiral, but Marley is kneeling in the ring so she’s dropping her like a foot to the mat. Newsflash: she still sucks.
Tom asks Emma if she is scared of Asuka, but Emma has the utmost respect for her as does Dana Brooke. Dana’s recovery must be going well as the mere mention of Asuka’s name doesn’t cause ‘Nam-style flashbacks for her anymore. Dana wants another match with her, but Emma is next in line.
Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” is the official theme for NXT Takeover: London.
Apollo Crews vs. Finn Balor (C) (NXT Championship Match)
They have an AWESOME new title match introduction as the arena goes dark and both competitors stand in a lone spotlight as they are introduced. It’s different and makes the match feel like a big deal.
The crowd is pretty split for both guys as they go through a feeling out process and we take a break a minute into the match.
Crews shows off his agility, doing a cartwheel over Finn and hitting a dropkick, but Finn answers with one of his own. Finn tries to ground him with a facelock, but Crews gets to his feet and hits an impressive delayed suplex. Finn avoids an elbow and hits a soccer kick for 2 before slowing things down again. Crews tries a sunset flip but Finn rolls through and DRILLS him with a dropkick for another 2. Crews answers with his own dropkick off a sunset flip and avoids a Finn charge, but Finn cracks him with a jumping kick to knock Crews to the floor, following him out with a dive as we take another break. This is such a great back and forth contest so far; both guys are just throwing everything they have into this match.
Finn chops away on Crews out of the break and levels him with a clothesline for 2. Crews escapes a Bloody Sunday attempt and hits a Samoan drop for 2 of his own. He hits a jumping enzigiri but Finn answers with the Slingblade, so Crews answers that with a big clothesline and hits the press slam, but the standing moonsault hits Finn’s knees and Finn hits an inverted Bloody Sunday for a close 2. He dropkicks Crews into the corner and goes up, but Crews avoids the Coup de Grace and hits a big boot, but Finn answers with a Pele kick before collapsing. An amazing sequence of big bombs being thrown there. Baron Corbin runs in for the DQ and attacks both men, focusing on Crews. He goes for Finn, but Samoa Joe runs in for the save. Corbin backs off up the ramp…..and Joe suddenly wipes out Finn! Joe sells that he doesn’t really want to do this, but he pummels Finn in the corner before setting Finn up for the Muscle Buster, reminding Finn who is doing this to him before hitting the move. Joe retrieves the NXT title and drapes it over Finn before walking off. Well, he tried the nice guy route and asking and that didn’t work out for him so…..
Without commercials interrupting the flow and with a clean finish, this match would have been in my top 10 of the year for sure. That doesn’t mean the finish they gave us was bad; now we have two big angles set up as Corbin goes after Crews for costing him a title shot in the battle royal and Joe zeroes in on the title. Presumably both those matches will take place in London, so that card is off to a good start.
OVERALL: Another enjoyable show with another great TV main event AND they set up a couple of what should be enjoyable matches for next week. And now we are starting to get a little of the Takeover buildup beginning, so things should just be building up from here.
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