One thing I know for sure is that I wish I was in London for this event. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a crowd as live as the London crowd. NXT presented a decent show, but the fans in attendance knew how to make the most of it.
Asuka vs Emma
I never got a chance to check out the capacity of the arena, but it looked much larger than I anticipated. It could have also been the camera using the right angles.
I thought this was a great choice for the opening match. Their music alone is good enough to get the fans pumped up. The performers picked up the pace early on in the match after exchanging wrist locks, and they never looked back. These two are both capable of wrestling at a fast tempo, and they showcased it. Emma wasn’t the favorite to win this match, but I’m glad she received the chance to look strong against a monster babyface like Asuka. The added drama in the finish truly made this the perfect opening match. With Asuka picking up two wins over Emma and Dana, I believe this feud is over.
Dash & Dawson vs Enzo Amore & Big Cass – Tag Team Championship
The enigmatic tag team is lucky they have a ton of mic charisma, because the in ring excitement of this show took a step back. I was mainly entertained by the different crowd chants, which were quite creative. In fact, I thought this crowd kept the match alive. Considering how hot this crowd was for Enzo and Cass, I thought having Dash and Dawson retaining was a terrible booking decision. Crowning new tag champs could have been the pop of the night. I just don’t know where you go with Enzo and Cass now, because they always seem to lose big matches.
Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews
These two titans were not looking to start off slow with chain wrestling. Since they’re both capable brawlers, I’m glad they decided to wrestle that style to begin. The spot of the match occurred early, and it was Crews’ face crashing into the ring steps. That spot received a genuine “OH SH*T” from me. Say what you want about Corbin, but this man knew how to work the crowd against him. Pairing with Apollo was also a guaranteed way to get him jeered by a smarky crowd. The two competitors here showcased amazing chemistry with each other, because every move clicked. Their explosive move sets meshed amazingly well together. This turned out to be a great match capped off with a perfect finish. It was clean, and it gives Apollo more depth as a character.
Nia Jax vs Bayley – Women’s Championship
That small Nia Jax-Asuka interaction was extremely intense. It’s a great way to plant seeds for a future feud.
Where was Eva Maire? It would have been awesome for her to accompany Nia to the ring to maximize crowd heat. There was one moment in the match where Bayley had a look of concern and fear in her face; that alone shows how strong her in ring acting is. This wasn’t the most technical match, but it was entertaining, at least until the finish. Something just didn’t click with Bayley winning by submission. She hardly got executed any offense, so watching her make Jax tap out just felt empty. After a few minutes of reflecting back, I came to the conclusion that this match happened way too soon, as it didn’t benefit anybody.
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe
Finn coming out as Jack the Ripper was brilliant. This was easily the most creative version of the demon thus far. From the very beginning, these two did a superb job at selling their hate for one another. Every move was executed with intention to hurt the other, which is how a grudge match should be worked. Between the two, I thought Joe was easily the stand out. Normally his move set is aggressive, but he found a way to take it up a notch in this contest. The spot of the match was executed by him as well, and it was his suicide dive. Watching a man his size execute a move like that is impressive. At the same time, you can’t take away Balor’s ability to sell like a magician. I lost it every time Joe almost locked in the coquina clutch, because I had no idea how Finn would counter it. I’m happy that it was never fully locked in, because it keeps that finisher strong. Overall, this was a solid match, and just about everything was done right.
It wasn’t the best Takeover special, but it wasn’t the worst. For some reason, I had my expectations rather high and imagined a similar show to Takeover: Brooklyn. However three of the five matches were still quite good, so I don’t plan on complaining too much .The low point of the show was Bayley vs Jax, while the high point was the main event. Overall, this show receives a 7/10 from me.