The final TakeOver special is now in the books and the London crowd witnessed an epic battle between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship.
There was a lot of excitement and expectation heading into this event as it was the first TakeOver to take place in the UK, and judging by the end result it definitely won’t be the last.
It’s been a great 2015 for NXT, and the pressure was on the stars to deliver on Wednesday night, but did it manage to live up to the expectations that had been set? Let’s take a look.
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THE LONDON CROWD
The London crowd were fantastic throughout the night and deserved a lot of credit. The UK fans as a whole have been excellent during the NXT tour of the UK where they visited cities from Newcastle to Sheffield to Blackpool, and they made sure TakeOver received the same treatment.
We weren’t able to see all of the matches on the Network as some had been taped for future NXT episodes, but it’s been reported that the likes of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were hugely over yet again. There wasn’t any match on the card that felt like the fans let it down; we had the British humour, the songs and the chants which all made it feel like a UK event.
EMMA VS. ASUKA
Heading into this event nobody would have expected this match to be one of the best matches on the card. Both Emma and Asuka brought it and got the fans in the mood for a great night as we saw Asuka establish herself as a top star on NXT already.
Credit has to go to Emma as well who continued to perform as a top heel and deserves all the plaudits she’s getting today. Both of them were fantastic as was Dana Brooke at ringside and it’s a women’s match of the year candidate for sure.
Some matches also told great stories, most notably the Bayley and Nia Jax match which felt almost like a David vs. Goliath encounter. Nobody was expecting a match of the year candidate, and it was never going to live up to previous NXT women’s matches involving the likes of Sasha Banks and Charlotte.
However, not every match needs to be a technical masterclass, and we saw them show great emotion and this match helped Nia Jax look strong. She’s a future NXT Women’s Champion and we a glimpse of what her potential reign could bring.
It was a solid finish as well as it helped Jax look strong and showed a resilient Bayley fighting through yet again, and it felt like a similar story to the Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens match. This was a lot better than fans expected it to be.
The fact that TakeOver was taking place in the UK meant fans believed something memorable would happen, such as a title change. Bayley wasn’t going to drop the title to Nia Jax this early while Samoa Joe could have walked out with the NXT Championship thanks to some incredible performances in recent months.
However, fans did believe TakeOver: London would be the night Enzo Amore and Big Cass walk out as the new Tag Team Champions. Obviously, that didn’t happen as Dash and Dawson retained the championships much to the fans disappointment, but this was a huge win for Dash and Dawson and it showed that they’re not going to be bit-part champions.
There’s a reason people are high on the two, and their in-ring style is perfect. Along with them, a Baron Corbin win over Apollo Crews came as a huge surprise as well, but it was needed as it helped Corbin remain relevant. It was a good decision not to have all of the fan favourites win every single match.
JACK THE RIPPER
The night concluded in great fashion with Balor wearing a Jack the Ripper costume over his regular demon attire, and the ripper’s final victim was Samoa Joe in a hard fought, entertaining battle. This was obviously the match fans were most looking forward to, and it delivered.
Joe is a phenomenal heel, and it was like we’re back in 2005 with some of the moves he was pulling out with, and how he was moving, he’s main roster material and should be allowed to move up very soon. He had the hard-hitting style fans love him for and the longer the match went on, the more it felt like we were going to crown a new champion.
The pace of the match was perfect, and it was the right result, it was a win for Balor, but it wasn’t the most convincing, so both men still left the event looking strong.
The only downside of the event – in my opinion – was the fact that Triple H was there hyping up the event looking healthier than ever. Three days before TakeOver he was receiving an almighty beating from Roman Reigns and TLC and the following night he was recovering in hospital.
Obviously, Hunter wanted to be there as NXT is his project but it just felt like everything that happened with Triple H went down the drain, we forget he was attacked and how badly Reigns had beaten him.
All in all, I thought TakeOver: London was a fantastic event. It didn’t match the same heights as some of the previous TakeOver events but with less star power that was always going to be an issue. Other than that you can’t fault any of the talent or the event as a whole, and you can bet NXT will take over the UK once again.
NXT FANS – WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF TAKEOVER: LONDON? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.