WWE NXT TakeOver: London Review
December 16, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It really is amazing. Every time I watch an NXT TakeOver special – heck, even just a regular NXT show, though I am not a weekly viewer – it’s like I’m watching a completely different company. There’s just no way that this is the same WWE. The storylines are simple and easy to follow and the matches are completely unique with each talent incorporating their own style into each. This afternoon, WWE broadcast yet another phenomenal NXT TakeOver special, this time from London. Was it the best one ever? I don’t think so, but the product match-wise blew away anything we saw on the WWE TLC show.
What really blows me away is just thinking about how these NXT talents get treated upon their arrival to the main roster. Granted, Finn Bálor and Bayley haven’t been called up, but following the examples of those that have been called up, namely Neville and Tyler Breeze, I’m not sure I’d ever want to be called up. The money is better for sure, but it seems each guy is creatively restricted and has to work a certain match, something they didn’t have to do on NXT. I highly doubt Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe would be as phenomenal if it were on the main roster.
Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk about NXT TakeOver.
Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe absolutely tear the house down
When I saw the match listed earlier this week, I knew this was going to be a good one. I haven’t had time to watch NXT lately, but I know both guys and their work, so I figured this would be awesome. Well it turned out “awesome” was an understatement. This match was incredible. It was back and forth, physical, and an instant classic. Samoa Joe showed a lot in this one. I don’t know what the reason is for why he hasn’t been called up to the main roster to be one of the top heels (age, size, who knows?), but I would get on that right away, especially because Roman Reigns is eventually going to need an opponent other than Sheamus and Triple H. Joe was absolutely fantastic in this. You could feel the urgency behind every move and both men really elevated the title with such a hard fought match.
Finn Bálor was wonderful in this as well. That guy can really take a beating and keep on coming back. It was a wonderful story told between both guys. My hat is off to the commentators. Instead of hawking the latest trend on Twitter and talking about anything but the match, they put both guys over and how important the title is. Again, how is this the same company? It’s night and day looking at both products. I’m definitely going back and watching this again. It’s that good. Go out of your way to see this one.
Bayley really is the ultimate underdog
Looking at Bayley standing face-to-chest with Nia Jax, it seemed to me the match wouldn’t be that great. Even if Bayley won, it would look totally unrealistic because how could she physically stand up to this monster of a woman? As the match went on and because of how fantastic the Bayley character is, I completely forgot all about that and began to get invested. Bayley was dominated for a good portion of this match, but she kept getting up and eventually applied a desperation guillotine choke. Even though Jax got out of it a few times, she kept hooking it on until she got the submission. It was a simple underdog story and it totally worked. It was a really great performance.
I’m really impressed by Nia Jax. She’s a little rough around the edges, but that size and strength advantage should get her far. WWE really missed the boat with Awesome Kong/Kharma, so this is the next best thing. I’m sure she’ll be up on the main roster in some capacity probably by next summer or fall. She could be a force to be reckoned with if they don’t compromise her character or flatten her out by calling her fat or something equally as distasteful. They’re doing that with Neville and his ears right now.
Back to Bayley, the following that she has and the reaction that she gets… if they can replicate this on the main roster, she could be the number two babyface in the company. I’m talking this is actually a person that a little girl could look up to and aspire to be like. That’s something that’s really missing on the Divas side. I don’t have a reason to care about any of the women on the main roster. If they handle Bayley right when she gets called up, it could be really special. That’s a big “if,” but we’ll see.
I absolutely loved the Asuka/Emma match. Once again, I’m not sure what either woman is doing in NXT, but I’m glad they are. I highly doubt they’d be allowed to have that match on the main roster. Asuka is a hell of a talent, but so is Emma. They gave most of the men on the card today a run for their money. Excellent match with great heat.
The NXT Tag Team Championships match was a lot of fun. Enzo Amore has such amazing charisma. In the ring, he’s good, but not great, but the buzz he creates before a match can make one overlook whatever he lacks in the ring. There were a few mistimed spots, particularly during Colin Cassady’s comeback, but this was still a good match accentuated by the great teamwork and mannerisms of Dash and Dawson.
Probably the only thing I didn’t like on this entire show was Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews. This wasn’t much of a match at all. Corbin dominated Crews for a good portion of the match and then just kind of pinned him out of nowhere. The crowd was giving Corbin “go away” heat, which is never great. They just didn’t click working together and it was the one hole in the show.
I’m really glad I got the opportunity to recap this event. I went to NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and was blown away with the atmosphere in the crowd and the match-work. Watching on TV today, I’d kill to be in that crowd and feel all those moments the people of England felt today. It’s what wrestling is supposed to be about. This has been a great week for WWE. They finally figured out what to do with Roman Reigns (though they have to make sure to follow-up strong on him), and they continued on by putting out a fantastic NXT TakeOver special. Find a way to watch this show. You won’t regret it.
Bump of the Night: Samoa Joe killing Finn Bálor with a suicide dive!
Match of the Night: Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe ****
Final Rating: *** 1/2
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of WWE NXT TakeOver: London by clicking here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.