LIVE from the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England with a crowd of 10,079. Your commentators (who aren’t at ringside and sound like they are doing this in a studio) are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
HHH starts the show mid ring and he cuts a babyface promo where he says he got his ass kicked on Sunday but he’d have to be dead to not be there tonight. The UK fans asked for NXT, so they got it.
A great opening video to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades gets things going.
Asuka vs. Emma (w/Dana Brooke)
Asuka gets a monster pop on her entrance and she just owns the crowd from the second she steps out there. Emma has incorporated sunglasses into her entrance and it’s one of those little touches that makes a huge difference. Asuka throws a big KO kick right off the bat which Emma avoids and scurries to the ropes to get away from her. Emma tries to wrestle her down but Asuka has an answer for everything she has and drags her down into an armbar. Emma gets the ropes and takes some kicks before bailing but Asuka follows her out with a running hip attack from the apron. Dana distracts Asuka long enough for Emma to knock Asuka down and go to work grinding her down with holds while Dana screams encouragement. The crowd picks up an “Asuka” chant in the “Ole'” cadence to rally her into a comeback but Emma clotheslines her down. Asuka screeches at her but Emma keeps up the punishment and slaps her,going for a whip but Asuka runs the ropes and drills her with a dropkick.
The ref counts as both are down and the crowd does by far their most annoying chant of the night, yelling out the number after the one the ref is at (“FOUR!” after three, “FIVE!” after four and so on) which is worse than the Full Sail crowd on their worst day. Asuka makes the comeback with strikes and hits another hip attack. She DRILLS Emma with a backfist and hits another hip attack for 2. Emma avoids a charge and locks in the DilEmma (Dana: “GOOD GIRL!!”) before hitting a butterfly suplex into the corner and the Emma Sandwich, but Asuka kicks out at 2. Emma grinds her face into the mat and goes for the curbstomp, but Asuka turns it into an ankle lock and then a German suplex before a running kick to the face gets 2. She goes for the Asuka Lock and Emma grabs the ref’s shirt to keep herself upright and sends both him and Asuka into the corner. Dana takes her chain belt off and slides it over to Emma, but Asuka pulls it away from her as the ref revives. Emma holds her jaw and points to Asuka as Asuka pleads her innocence to the ref. Emma tries to steal a rollup but Asuka turns it into the Asuka Lock as the crowd LEAPS to their feet. Dana distracts the ref again as Emma taps and gets ejected. Emma tries to use the belt but Asuka kicks her head into the fifth row to get the pin. Started pretty slow, but this turned into an incredibly fun match as Emma and Dana are a tremendous heel duo and Asuka is an absolute star.
Recap video for the Tag Title match.
Enzo Amore and BIG CASS (w/Carmella) vs. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder (C) (NXT Tag Team Title match)
The London crowd (predictably) goes batshit for Enzo and Cass. I’d like to explain Enzo’s hairstyle and outfit, but I don’t have that much time. He looks like if you put 80’s Michael Jackson and Billy Idol in a blender and hit puree for a minute. Enzo promises to leave pieces of themselves in the ring and Cass says the champs won’t walk out the same way they walked in.
Enzo and Dawson start as the crowd picks up an “Enzo Amore” chant in the style of Seven Nation Army (that earns some points from me). The champs work him over until Enzo trips Wilder up and hits a faceslam for 2. Cass and Enzo work Dawson’s arm and shoulder over as the crowd sings Hey Jude with “Big Cass” added in (more points). Dawson and Dash work Cass over until he clotheslines them both, but they don’t go down leading to an awkward spot where Cass picks up Wilder in a press while Dash just kind of makes faces at him until his partner is thrown on him. The champs scurry to the outside, so Cass just throws Enzo out onto both of them. Enzo tries to roll up Dash but Wilder tags in and tosses Enzo to the outside where he takes an awkward bump and sells his arm. The champs smell blood and go to work on the arm and Dawson busts out the Slingshot Suplex if the comparison wasn’t clear enough for you. Enzo takes out Dawson and goes for the tag but Wilder takes down Cass and the champs hit an assisted Gourdbuster…but the ref refuses to count since he didn’t see a tag, which Wilder gets and gets 2. Enzo drills him with a DDT off the ropes and makes the hot tag.
Cass tears through Wilder and hits a spinning slam on Dawson, but Wilder cuts off the pin. Cass tosses him out which allows Dawson to chop block the injured knee. Wilder locks in the same inverted figure four that made Aiden English tap and Dawson clotheslines Enzo to cut off the save. Cass punches himself in the head to keep himself going until he can reach the rope to break the count. They go for the same move that took Cass’ knee out in the first place, but Enzo shoves Dawson off the top and Cass rolls Dash up for a CLOSE 2. Cass boots him with his good leg and Air Enzo is hit….but Dawson yanks Enzo out right before the three count. Dawson tries to hide behind Carmella, but she elbows him in the face. Cass charges, but Dawson shoves him into the post. Enzo goes up, but Dawson cuts him off and throws him at Dash for a Super Shatter Machine to retain. A bit of a slow start like the opener, but a wild finish and a bit of a surprising result. I think Enzo and Cass’ time in NXT is just about over and it’s time for them to get involved with New Day. They really don’t have much more to do here.
Video of Bayley arriving earlier with Carmella (BAYMELLA~!) leads to a video package for Nia Jax that makes her look like a monster.
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
Crews takes the advantage to start and a frustrated Corbin takes a breather. Corbin catches Crews with a knee to take over but Crews answers with a dropkick and charges into the corner, but Corbin tosses him all the way to the floor with Crews seemingly hitting the steps on the way down which may have knocked him a bit loopy because he doesn’t seem to be quite all there after that. Corbin yells that he “should have stayed in Ring of Honor” which is doubly hilarious when you realize Apollo never WAS in RoH, but Corbin doesn’t care about that indy shit so the insult still works.
The crowd gets on Corbin with various chants as he dominates on Crews, including a pretty direct “Fuck you Corbin” chant, which Corbin seems to relish in. He catches Crews off the top but Apollo turns it into a small package for 2. Corbin sends him hard into the corner and bends Crews over his knee but Apollo fights back and Corbin goes to the outside again, but Crews follows him out, hitting a moonsault from the apron. Crews runs through him, but Corbin catches him with a spinning slam off a charge for 2. The crowd picks up a “Crews…there it is!” chant (points revoked) as Corbin goes for the End of Days, but Crews rotates through it, hits a jumping kick and the standing moonsault for 2. Crews goes for the powerbomb, but Corbin holds onto the ropes to escape and hits the End of Days for the pin.
Another somewhat surprising finish, but I just didn’t think these two clicked that well. I don’t know if Crews was knocked off his game after that spot with the steps or they just had an off night, but this match was pretty average. Corbin is getting better in the ring, but he needs the proper opponents to make him look even better.
Sami Zayn video reveals that he will return to NXT next week, which is an episode taped from this very building.
Greg Hamilton talks to Nia Jax, but she notices Asuka watching her. Jax stares her down, but Asuka just smiles at her. Nia regains her composure and promises to do to Bayley what she has done to everyone else so far.
Nia Jax vs. Bayley (C) (NXT Women’s Title match)
Of course the London crowd goes nuts for Bayley and she is loving every second of it until she gets into the ring and realizes what is in front of her. The crowd serenades her like they’ve been doing on the entire tour and she tries to get Nia to chase her around and strikes where she can. Nia catches her and tosses her across the ring before hitting a gutbuster. She locks in a cobra clutch and Bayley is just whipping herself around to sell it. Bayley tries a Dragon Sleeper, but Nia squishes her into the corner. Bayley delivers some elbows and dropkicks the knee to try and cut her down, but Nia won’t go down. She tries some flying back elbows, but Nia stays vertical and swats her down. Bayley tries Hell’s Gate (!!) but Nia easily powers her up and puts her on the top turnbuckle. She goes for a superplex but Bayley fights back and sends her to the mat, following with a rolling senton for 2. Nia catches her with a Samoan drop, then another and then a pop-up Samoan drop before dropping the leg. She tries the one foot pin but Bayley kicks out.
Nia avalanches her in the corner before sending her spinning across the ring onto her face, dropping a leg on her arm and then THREE legdrops on the back of her neck, but Bayley just kicks out before 3. The crowd sings to rally Bayley on as Nia hits another avalanche and puts her on top for a super Samoan drop, but Bayley locks in a guillotine choke out of nowhere, her last bullet in the gun, but Nia slams her to the mat. Nia goes to pick her up, but Bayley just locks the hold back on until Nia slams her down again. A weakened Nia goes to pick her up again and Bayley ONCE AGAIN locks it in, pulling back with everything she has until Nia finally taps out.
A GREAT take on the Vader/Sting dynamic as the babyface suffers through the beating while trying to grind the bigger opponent down. I was pretty sure Nia was going to win this match, especially after the staredown with Asuka. Bayley’s kind of run through a lot of the roster over the last few months so I don’t really know where they will go with the title from here, but this just reinforces the belief that Bayley is the best pure babyface in a long, LONG time. The crowd passionately singing at her to rally her on was great.
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor (C) (NXT Championship Match)
THE DEMON RETURNS!! In a Jack the Ripper motif that….actually looks kind of goofy. It just didn’t work for me. Finn having a giant Mr. Hyde scaling Big Ben painted on his back IS badass though.
Balor takes it to Joe and sends him to the outside with a dropkick, following with a soccer kick from the apron. He sends Joe into the steps with another dropkick and goes for a double stomp, but Joe avoids and plants Finn with a uranage on the floor. Back in Joe dominates, sending Finn into the corner and cracking him with a jumping kick. Joe facewashes him in the corner and hits a running boot that has Finn looking glossy eyed. He tries a senton but Finn moves and hits a kick of his own, but a springboard is met by a chop and Joe wipes him out with a dive to the outside. That’s still just a scary sight: a giant pissed off Samoan barrelling towards you. Back in, Joe hits a powerbomb and turns into an elevated crab before turning THAT into a crossface. Finn tries shifting his weight for a pin but Joe keeps the hold in, cranking on Finn’s arm as he reaches for the ropes leaving Finn only his feet to reach for the ropes. Finn ducks a clothesline and hits a DDT to get some space and make a comeback. Joe cuts him off and goes to the middle rope, but Finn answers with another jumping kick to send Joe to the outside, following him out with a dive of his own that just gets enough of Joe.
Back in, Finn hits a double stomp to the back of Joe’s head for 2. He tries the Bloody Sunday, but Joe fights out so Finn hits Trouble in Paradise and the Slingblade. He goes for the corner dropkick, but Joe swats him out of the air and hits a senton. He goes for the Muscle Buster, but Finn fights out into a sunset flip for 2 and barely gets him with the Pele kick. They slug away on each other and Finn tries another Pele, but Joe grabs his foot and locks in the Coquina Clutch for a second, but Finn gets him into the corner to break. Finn tries another kick from the apron, but Joe swats it away and locks in the Clutch, dragging Finn back into the ring. He goes to pull him to the ground, but Finn rolls through and hits a double stomp. This is some crazy back and forth stuff.
Finn hits another Slingblade and corner dropkick, but Joe just roars at him and charges. Finn avoids and hits one more dropkick to the back, going up, but Joe cuts him off and goes for the Muscle Buster, cracking Finn with a kick and then going up for a Super Buster, but Finn fights him off and follows with the Coup de Grace to retain.
An absolute goddamn WAR between those guys. It had elements of the Bayley/Jax match as Finn had to deal with a guy that outweighed him by 100 pounds, but they just went out there and beat the SHIT out of each other for 20 minutes. This is going on the top 10 list for sure. The trainer looks at Finn as he seems to be a bit out of it but he still stands tall and raises the title as we fade out.
OVERALL: Remember when everyone was so over the moon about Takeover: Brooklyn, saying that it’ll be hard for NXT to top that show?
They’ve done it twice in four months.
Aside from Crews/Corbin, every match on this card was just tremendous. Finn/Joe is a late MOTY contender and everyone else put in great performances that were aided by a RABID UK crowd. This didn’t feel like any WWE show you are going to see this year aside from maybe the post-Mania RAW. NXT really has become it’s own promotion with it’s own identity over the last year and it is just continuing to get better and better. Can’t wait for Sami Zayn’s return and the debut and maturation of some of the newer crop of talent coming in 2016.
Onwards and upwards.
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