Hey! A show I actually watched! Let’s get right to it then!
Asuka def. Emma – 3.75/5
This match was a great starter to the show. Finally a match for Asuka to really sink her teeth into. But at the same time it was also nice to have a match where Asuka’s vulnerable for the first time. I loved how the more punishment Asuka took, the more she’d shriek and the louder it’d get, as if she wasn’t in pain, just getting more pissed off. They also hook the crowd and the viewers into believing she was going to take her first loss, plenty of interference, including the “she tapped out to her submission hold but the ref never saw it” spot that usually results in the opposing talent winning the match due to bullshit. But instead, Asuka gave Emma a swift kick to the face and victory to my new favourite female wrestler.
Dash & Dawson def. Cass & Enzo to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships – 3.25/5
I think I speak for everyone in saying man do I feel salty about that match. I’m pretty sure we were all in agreement that this is the time to finally give Cass & Enzo the belts, they can’t keep having them lose big matches like this and expect them to still be as popular as they are. The match itself wasn’t all that great, but then again Cass & Enzo aren’t known for their in-ring work as much as their personalities. In the end the flapjack into a codebreaker from the top rope was really badass looking and really it puts a ton of heat on the champs now for beating Cass & Enzo like that. But man, that was really deflating.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews – 2.75/5
I was one of few who called Corbin winning this match actually. At least the poll I did through r/SquaredCircle confirmed that, I was in the 15-20% who had Corbin winning this at the time I voted. The match itself wasn’t that great to me, I have it as the lowest rated match on this card. But in the end, the End of Days strikes, one of the most protected finishers in NXT and Corbin picks up the win. Honestly, I’d say more, but I skipped a bit of this match, I really don’t get too excited about Apollo Crews matches. He’s a tremendous athlete, but his matches so far for me have been really dull.
Bayley def. Nia Jax to retain the NXT Women’s Championship – 3/5
This was a tough one, I had no idea how Bayley would come up with the win in this one. For pretty much the entire match, it was all Nia Jax. I know they’re trying to make Bayley look tough and resilient, but the sheer amount of offense Nia Jax got in should’ve done her in. Bayley was looking Cena-like out there kicking out after a ton of leg drops, samoan drops, etc. to the point I actually got a little annoyed. Not to mention Bayley never went for the Bayley-to-Belly, which can go either way. Most of all though, the finish was terrible to me. Guillotine chokes over and over again, that ending was way too slow and really didn’t do anything for me. I know the crowd popped cause she one, but I doubt the finish itself had much to do with it.
Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe to retain the NXT Championship – 4/5
The Jack the Ripper demon entrance is exactly what we’ve been looking for from Finn as of late. The same entrance style with the demon crawl was getting silly. Now if he could just switch up the color schemes, maybe even a little change of the design every major feud would be nice. The match itself was solid, a few hiccups here and there, but two guys of that level of talent can really make you forget. Joe looked his best since arriving in NXT here, he really came off like the Samoa Joe of old in Ring of Honor here. He was quick, strong and fought like a goddamn monster out there. I was sure Joe was winning this match at the end there, but Balor pulled out all the stops, hit the Coup de Grace and retained the title. Now it sounds like Corbin’s up next and I can actually see him winning. He could really use the belt to propel him up. A side note as well, when Finn’s in his demon form, I don’t want to hear him speak when wrestling. Hearing his not so threatening “No!”s while in submission holds really takes you out of it. I want to hear nothing but grunts, cries, screams, growls and shrieks the entire match, really sell us that a demon has possessed Finn’s body for this match.
In the end, the show was pretty good, though the crowd really helped as well. Hearing “Hey Jude” for Big Cass and “Hey Baby (If You’ll Be My Girl)” for Bayley was fantastic, I loved this crowd. In terms of the matches, it was a solid show, especially when you compare it to the garbage we usually see from the main roster.
The only thing kind of pissing me off is them holding back Sami Zayn till the NXT taping they did either before or after Takeover. You’ve been hyping his return for a month and he’s not worth at least coming out and talking on the big Takeover show? Also, I’m surprised no one either made a surprise appearance, return or debut at the show, even if it wasn’t a big name. Would’ve really meant a lot to that UK crowd.
Regardless, it was a good show, as usual I can’t wait for the next one.
Overall score – 3.5/5