NXT TakeOver: London was well worth the wait. It was a card full of great matches and a very energetic crowd in London. It’s interesting how there weren’t any major swerves at the event, but it was still a great show. That just proves the effect of really consistent strong wrestling and storytelling in the ring can have on a major show to finish off the year.
The major surprise of the night was Baron Corbin defeating Apollo Crews. That was a major win for Corbin, and something Crews can get over. Asuka got a great win over Emma as well. Unfortunately, Enzo and Cass failed to beat Dash and Dawson for the Tag Team titles. Fortunately, Bayley survived Nia Jax in the emotional climax of the night, and Finn Balor defeated Samoa Joe in a war to finish the night. It was a great show from top to bottom, and now NXT moves onto 2016 stronger than ever.
In the last episode of NXT of 2015, Gable and Jordan continue their streak, a new face emerges and a familiar face finally makes his triumphant return to NXT. The episode was taped before TakeOver: London, so it’s always a little weird to hear the commentators speak in hypotheticals when we know what happened. But this week is a sign of things to come for 2016 and a few moments have already changed the game for NXT starting next year.
Here are the top five moments from the latest edition of NXT:
5) Gable and Jordan Win Fatal Four Way
The Vaudevillains arrive in their Sunday best. The Hype Bros do their thing despite being booed by the London crowd, and Blake and Murphy remain one of the most underutilized tag teams in NXT. The match was good with everyone getting a chance before Jordan took the match over and gave them the win almost singlehandedly. That’s a good note to leave NXT on going into 2016.
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan are the hottest team in NXT and maybe WWE. They’re mega over, and I’d be shocked if NXT wasn’t planning on giving them a title shot immediately. Their chemistry is unbelievable, and they work well with everyone. The dynamic they’d have with Dash and Dawson would be a great combination of grace and brutality. That would make for a very interesting in-ring dynamic. I can’t wait to see big things from Gable and Jordan.
4) Elias Sampson vs. Bull Dempsey
OK, my thoughts on Bull Dempsey have been made clear in the past. I’m sorry if “I’m the fat guy” isn’t a gimmick that works for me, but whatever this “drifter/singer” gimmick Elias Sampson is doing is just as confusing. It’s not that Sampson looks bad, but I’m not sure how this is going to get over.
Ideally, wouldn’t Sampson play a song on the guitar for his entrance before dominating the match? That would make sense, but the guitar comes off as a prop rather than a tool. The Flying Elbow from the top looks great because Sampson is a big guy, but I’m not sure how a flying elbow is a good finisher. It’s only the first night, and he got the win, but I’m going to need to see more here than what he showed this week. These gimmicks rarely work, so he needs to make it unique.
3) Asuka vs. Dana Brooke and Emma Will Continue
At NXT TakeOver: London, Asuka and Emma had a great match that told a good story in the ring. Their feud isn’t the deepest story happening in NXT, but the crowd is really behind Asuka and that means it’s working. NXT threw us a tease of Asuka vs. Nia Jax. I have no doubt that is going to be phenomenal someday, but I’m happy to see Dana Brooke and Emma continue their feud with Asuka.
My only question: Where does this go next? A triple threat has a lot of opportunity for all three women and adding a stipulation could make it very interesting. It’s a confusing concept, but a triple threat submission match would be a lot of fun even if that’s a match that Asuka clearly wins. The tension between Dana Brooke and Emma is there, but if Emma wants to do something well in NXT, she may want to put over Brooke. I’m not really into that, but getting two women over instead of one makes sense.
2) Baron Corbin Declares Himself No. 1 Contender
I may be the only one, but I didn’t think Apollo Crews was going to lose for awhile. I especially didn’t think Baron Corbin would be the one to beat him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on board. It’s just a surprise. But, it does make a lot of sense from a booking standpoint. We’re not going to have another TakeOver special until February, so Corbin is a good guy to build around over the next two months. Corbin is a decent heel who just came off a big win. He’ll be a solid opponent for Finn Balor between now and the next TakeOver.
My only question is where Baron Corbin goes after that. If NXT had a midcard title, Corbin would be the champion. It’s very likely Crews will get a second chance at Corbin over the next few weeks in a No. 1 Contender match that Corbin will win again. There may even be an interference costing Crews the match. I’d love to see NXT push Tye Dillinger against Apollo Crews. That would be a lot of fun.
1) Sami Zayn Finally Returns
Sami Zayn is finally back in NXT, and it’s wonderful to have him back where he belongs. He had a good match with Dillinger that accomplished what it was meant to, but where does Zayn go from here?
I have a strong feeling that we’re getting Balor vs. Zayn at NXT TakeOver: Dallas. That’s a great plan, but I’d love to see Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn in the meantime. Joe is done with Balor for now, and Corbin is looking like the next challenge for Balor. Both men are open for us to see Joe vs. Zayn over the next couple months. The complexion of NXT is also going to change when Hideo Itami returns over the next few weeks or couple months.
There is a lot of opportunity in 2016 and next week will be the recap of a great year for NXT. It was an honor to be a part of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn live, and it’s been a spectacular year of wrestling. I’ve had the most fun this year watching NXT. I can’t wait to see what is next for NXT in 2016. Happy holidays to all.