From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Enzo Amore and BIG CASS (w/Carmella) vs. Corey Hollis & John Skyler
No sing-along promo from Enzo and Cass tonight as they are ALL BUSINESS as they completely tear their opponents apart. It is a completely different look for them tonight and it honestly is really awesome. Enzo isn’t his usual hapless self in-ring as he steamrolls Hollis with a body check before Enzo and Cass end it with the spinning slam and Air Enzo for the pin. They then cut what just may be the best promo they have ever done (and that covers a lot of ground) as Enzo says Dash and Dawson tried to take food off their tables and screwed with his family when they tried to take Cass out. “Let me be clear boys, we can walk it like we can talk it….blindfolded.” Cass won’t let Dash and Dawson get in their way and they will take the tag titles from them in London. Cass ends it with probably the most sinister, serious sounding “How you doin'” I’ve ever heard. With two great promos (Dash and Dawson’s last week and this one), the tag title match has become one of my most anticipated matches of the card. Really, this isn’t that hard to do if you have talented people and exploit their strengths.
Emma and Dana Brooke talk about Asuka at Takeover. Emma is sick of the red carpet being rolled out for Asuka and says that the Emmalution paved the way for people like Bayley, Sasha and Asuka. Asuka will be put in her place in London. Dana suggests they will “take a closer look” at Asuka’s match tonight and she goes to pat Tom Phillips’ head, but he’s too tall so she forces him to scooch down so she can reach. Have I said how much I love Dana Brooke lately?
Tonight: Blake and Murphy face The Hype Bros and Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin team to face their Takeover opponents Finn Balor and Apollo Crews.
Asuka vs. Deonna Purrazzo
Is Deonna’s theme Ashley’s old theme? They dug DEEP into the archive for that one. And why the hell do I recognize ten year old Diva’s themes anyway?
Asuka works her over on the mat and locks in an armbar, but Deonna gets the ropes. She gets to the kicking and levels her with a hip attack…and sure enough here come Emma and Dana. Deonna is a student of WWE women’s matches so she goes for the sure distraction rollup win but ASUKA CARES NOT FOR YOUR TIRED TROPE and kicks her dead instead, getting the win by KO. The real money is Emma and Dana’s reactions as they look like they just saw a dog get run over by a semi. I hope they are proud of themselves; they got a poor jobber killed.
The Hype Bros bro around talking about Blake and Murphy while Alexa is mad at her boys for screwing up two weeks ago. She says they failed to take care of business but B&M are powered by the evilest of boners to take care of them tonight. I’d ask what the hell Blake and Alexa are wearing (they look like Freddy Krueger sweaters that the dog got a hold of), but I’ve learned not to ask any more questions like that.
The Hype Bros vs. Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss)
BAMF have their Christmas colors on this week and Alexa looks like the evilest, hottest elf. Mojo and Zack run through them to start. Blake breaks up the Broski Boot but ends up eating it himself but Murphy jumps him to take over. They work Zack over with their patented chinlock-based offense until Zack sends them crashing into each other and makes the hot tag to Mojo. Mojo hits a discus punch but Murphy breaks up the pin and a superkick gets 2 when Zack breaks up the pin himself and the Hype Ryder gets the win. OK match from two teams with not a lot going on right now.
Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin talk about their opponents. Corbin calls Crews a “nobody rookie” that doesn’t deserve anything and Joe bemoans Finn not doing what was right and giving him a title shot when he asked after everything Joe did for him. After the beating they get tonight they will be lucky to make it to London.
Bayley vs. Peyton Royce (non-title)
This is like Bayley’s fourth straight TV match it seems. It actually plays into the match as the announcers talk about the beatings Bayley has taken from Nia Jax the past few weeks and if she is 100% coming into this. Peyton hits a nice armdrag and the crowd chants “Better than Eva!” (“That’s not hard!”). Bayley takes her down with an armdrag but Peyton escapes a suplex and hits a nice running knee as Bayley is reeling. She shows off her flexibility with a boot choke in the corner as the announcers put over how Bayley as champion is a constant target and a win for Royce would be huge which is commentary that is needed SO much more nowadays. Bayley trips her and starts the comeback, but Royce cuts her off with a spinning kick (she seems to be putting more force into those kicks) but Bayley fights her off and hits a spinning elbow from the top but Royce cuts her off again with a jawbreaker and rolls her up for 2. Bayley quickly answers with the Bayley to Belly for the pin. Another example of a game challenger for Bayley and Bayley fighting through it to get the win. Peyton Royce is getting there both character and in-ring wise and she could be someone to watch in 2016.
Nia Jax and Eva Marie come out to the ramp as Eva has become the heat magnet for Nia to leech from. Nia says that Bayley is lucky that she didn’t come into NXT sooner because Bayley would have never been champion. Nia has been destined for greatness since day one. She’ll see Bayley in London. I’m still not completely sold on Nia in a longer match, but they’ve put together a decent story to the match. It’ll probably be one of the weaker women’s title matches in a while, but these specials have surprised me before.
Finn Balor warms up in the back and is approached by Apollo Crews. Crews wants to make sure Finn is ready for tonight but Finn is ready to give Joe and Corbin a taste of London. Crews is happy to hear that and reminds Finn they have unfinished business. He takes the NXT title and hands it to Finn, telling him that, after London, he’s coming for the title. Hmm….
We see Sami Zayn’s first WWE match in Montreal against John Cena earlier this year and the shoulder injury that has put him out to further build his return. He’s wrestling on some of the UK shows and will probably show up at Takeover in some respect.
Apollo Crews and Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe
Joe and Finn start in the ring, but Joe immediately tags himself out. Finn works over Corbin and tags Crews….but Corbin just smiles at him and tags out to Joe. Beautiful. Make em’ wait for it. Crews takes Joe out with a dropkick and Joe scurries to his corner as we take a break.
Corbin slugs away on Crews and Joe chokes him in the corner while the ref is distracted. They don’t give too much away as Joe and Corbin work over Crews with holds and punching until Crews avoids a charge and makes the tag. Finn runs wild on Joe and slugs away in the corner, but Joe switches positions and sets up for the Muscle Buster, but Finn escapes into a rollup for 2. Corbin and Crews take it to the outside as Finn slips going into the ropes giving Joe a brief comeback, but Finn hits the Slingblade and the corner dropkick. He goes up, but Corbin shoves him off and Joe hits a DVD while Corbin and Crews brawl into the crowd. Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch and Finn passes out once again. Joe stands over Finn with the title as we fade out.
Now, I know “the champion loses going into the PPV” is another tired PPV trope….but it works here. Everytime Joe and Finn have stepped into the ring it has ended with Joe coldly, remorselessly, choking Finn out. The story here is how will Finn deal with an extremely dangerous man hell bent on taking his title.
Will we see the Demon unleashed once again?
OVERALL: This go-home show is night and day compared to the RAW this week. Although Takeover still doesn’t have the one “must-see” match for me that the last few have (again, Joe-Finn should be incredible, but I’m not as hyped for it as I probably should be), there is still an extremely solid card full of well-built matches. Also, I know that a lot of people think that the booking of these Takeovers have been pretty predictable, but I could see pretty much every match on this card going either way. They’ve done a good job building up both the faces and the heels in these matches and it has led to a card where you want to see how things shake out. That’s just Booking 101, something RAW has desperately needed for far too long.
See you next week, possibly earlier than usual depending if I can actually watch the show live at the earlier hour.
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