SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It’s Wednesday afternoon in the U.S. and Wednesday night at the SSE Arena Wembley for NXT’s first international “Takeover” special with all NXT titles on the line…
WWE “NXT Takeover” Results
December 16, 2015
Aired Live on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
NXT Takeover Pre-Show
– The pre-show panel from the WWE Network studios was Renee Young with Lita and Tom Phillips.
– Samoa Joe was shown getting off the bus “earlier in the day” looking tough ahead of his NXT Title shot. They cut to NXT champion Finn Balor walking into the arena with … friends! NXT tag champs Enzo Amore & Big Cass followed behind Balor.
– Outside of the arena, Greg Hamilton was standing by with wrestling fans to hype the U.K. Tour, culminating with tonight’s show in London.
– NXT Women’s champion Bayley was then shown entering the arena with Carmella, linking up the top singles champions with the Enzo & Big Cass & Carmella group.
– Greg Hamilton tried to get a word with Samoa Joe at his locker room, but Joe just gave him an icy glare before slamming the door in Hamilton’s face.
NXT Takeover Live Special – 3:00 p.m. EST
– The special started with a darkened arena and twinkling lights. The spotlight flashed on the middle of the ring to reveal Triple H standing by, playing his babyface NXT authority figure role. Hunter said he got his ass kicked on Sunday, but he would have had to have been killed to miss this show. Hunter growled as if he were on-stage at a rock show telling London that they wanted it, and they got it … NXT!
– A video package played highlighting the five advertised matches on the card.
– Back live in the building, WWE went to various crowd shots of a hyped crowd. The voices of Rich Brennan and Corey Graves were heard introducing the show. Byron Saxton was also on the call.
– Asuka was introduced first to a loud reaction to kick off the show. Brennan hyped her as NXT’s silent assassin. Asuka entered the ring for the first look at the arena set-up – a pit-like atmosphere down at ringside similar to the Full Sail environment at the end of a long entrance ramp from right-to-left. Dark Emma and Dana Brooke were out next to face Asuka.
1 — ASUKA vs. EMMA (w/Dana Brooke)
Once the heels hit the ring, the crowd picked up a “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chant. Asuka called for more of the chant before nearly knocking out Emma in the opening seconds. Asuka toyed with Emma, then taunted Dana on the outside. That allowed Emma to blindside Asuka, though, and take control of the match back in the ring.
Emma just pounded on Asuka for a few minutes, displaying her new aggressive side. Asuka had enough and fought back, firing up and engaging the crowd. Asuka hit a flying splash, but only got a two count. Emma came back with a big corner slam and running attack for a two count of her own.
The match then went to an attempted elaborate finish that seemed a bit over-produced. Ref Drake Younger was bumped in the corner, so Dana tried to hand her weight belt to Emma to use as a weapon. It took a while for the sequence to unfold, resulting in Asuka possessing the belt when Drake woke up. He opted not to DQ Asuka, then Emma tried to pin Asuka, but Asuka put her in a submission instead. Dana then got on the ring apron, Drake DQ’ed her as Emma tapped out, and everyone thought the face was going to get screwed by the heel. But, Asuka just kicked Emma right in the head and pinned her for the win, setting off a big crowd celebration.
WINNER: Asuka at 14:58. Asuka just has the “it” factor in the ring, so it was nice to see them continue her strong opening run. It’s really interesting how NXT takes WWE’s main roster tropes, like b.s. match endings, that fans have seen for years and turns them into big moments when the babyface overcomes the anticipated eye-rolling finish.
– Down at ringside, WWE spotlighted U.K. wrestling legend Johnny Saint.
– Enzo Amore & Big Cass, along with Carmella, were introduced to the ring for the Tag Title match. The crowd chanted along with Enzo Amore’s standard walk-and-talk introduction. Once in the ring, Enzo got serious talking about their Tag Title challenge against Dash & Dawson. Cass then described Dash & Dawson as “S-A-W-F-T” to close the promo. This brought out the tag champions for the grudge tag match with gold on the line.
2 — WWE tag champions DASH WILDER & SCOTT DAWSON vs. ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS (w/Carmella) — NXT Tag Title match
The crowd had fun in the opening minutes doing soccer-style chants for Enzo trying to throw off Dawson. Tags to Big Cass and Dash, prompting a “Which One’s Dawson?” chant from the crowd. The crowd broke into singing as the announcers went quiet letting the crowd provide the audio. Cass thought he had an opening for Air Enzo on Dawson, but Dawson scrambled out of the ring to avoid the tag team combination. So, Cass lifted Enzo in the air and chucked him clear over the top rope to splash the heels, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Back in the ring, Enzo tried to pin Dawson, but Dash was the legal man, so he grabbed Enzo from behind and tossed him out of the ring. The crowd played along with the referee doing a ten-count, echoing the next number. When the ref hit 9, they shouted “10,” then Enzo returned to the ring to avoid a count-out. So, the crowd broke into a “10! 10! 10!” chant for a Tye Dillinger reference.
The heels went to work on Enzo, drawing another soccer-style chant trying to rally behind Enzo. The tag champs thought they had Enzo pinned after a double-team move, but the ref played off another WWE trope by not acknowledging Dawson’s pin attempt because the ref did not see the tag while checking on Cass. So, Dash scrambled back into the ring to try a cover, but Enzo kicked out.
Hot tag to Cass, who teed off on Dawson. Big hip toss. Big corner splash. Big running boot missed, but he caught Dawson with a Sidewalk Slam for a two count. Suddenly, Dawson chopblocked Big Cass, trying to re-injure his left knee. Dash then tagged in and applied a reverse figure-four, trying to get Cass to tap out. Cass remained in trouble, but WWE took viewers out of the moment cutting to a wide-shot and then to a replay. Cass eventually grabbed the bottom rope for a break.
Reset at 14:00. Dash wanted to chopblock Cass again, but Cass ducked and smashed Dash to the mat. He then tagged in Enzo for the Big Enzo finish, but Dawson broke up the pin from behind. Carmella was right there celebrating prematurely and did not neutralize Dawson.
On the outside, Dawson tried to confront Carmella, who back-elbowed him in the face. But, Dawson side-stepped Big Cass and ended him with a slam into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Dash & Dawson combined for a flying facebuster across the knees on Enzo for a pin and the win.
WINNERS: Dash & Dawson at 14:58 to retain the NXT Tag Titles. A step above the basic WWE tag match. The crowd found the right balance of being fun with their chants, but not taking over the match at the expense of the wrestlers.
– After a video package break, Baron Corbin was introduced to the ring to boos for a battle of top NXT Title contenders. Apollo Crews was out next to a strong reaction. Saxton said if Crews wins this match, he might be in line for another NXT Title shot.
3 — BARON CORBIN vs. APOLLO CREWS
Crews dominated early on, frustrating Corbin, who sold being out-matched despite his size advantage. Corbin kept trying to get some room to breathe and eventually landed a knee to the gut to slow down Crews. Crews came back with a textbook dropkick, but Corbin caught Crews in the corner and lifted him clear over the top rope. Crews crashed down into the ring steps, smashing the steps with his hands on the way down to provide startling audio.
Crews sold on the floor for a while while Corbin yelled down at Crews that he should have stayed in Ring of Honor, then should have stayed home in the States. (We’ll give Corbin the benefit of the doubt that he was playing a heel not knowing and caring that Crews wrestled for DGUSA, not ROH.) Crews returned to the ring and Corbin was greeted by a round of unsavory chants. Corbin laughed and pointed down at Crews to indicate he’s dominating the match. So, Crews fired back with a smack to the face and small package for a two count.
Corbin came back with a corner attack and stomps to keep Crews on the mat as the crowd taunted Corbin. The crowd then broke into a “Crews … there it is” chant to rally behind Crews and continue taunting Corbin. Corbin decided he wanted End of Days, but Crews spun out into a kick to the head and standing moonsault for a close two count.
Reset at 11:00. Crews wanted a running powerbomb out of the corner, but Corbin blocked. Corbin then hoisted Crews into the air for End of Days, causing the crowd to freak out. Corbin covered, and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Corbin at 11:41. Crews offered a fraction of what he’s capable of in the ring to slow down for Corbin, who just didn’t seem to be at Crews’s level in the ring. WWE is high on Corbin, though, and he has improved as a heel, so his run back to the NXT Title picture continues.
– WWE ran a video package on Sami Zayn, focusing on his journey to a U.S. Title shot against John Cena on Raw in Montreal, his shoulder injury, and return back to NXT. Rich Brennan said that Zayn is coming back soon.
– Earlier Today: Greg Hamilton talked to Nia Jax about facing Bayley for the NXT Women’s Title. Jax said her strategy is simple. Suddenly, Asuka was standing off-camera. Jax approached her and Asuka just flashed her wry, confident smile. Asuka walked off, then Jax returned to the interview. She said she’s going to dominate and destroy Bayley or any woman who gets in her path.
– WWE ran a video package on Bayley’s journey to the NXT Women’s Title. Now, Jax has come along looking to ruin her dream title run.
– Nia Jax was introduced to the ring first for the semi-main event match. After a pause, Bayley’s music played to a big reaction and Bayley took her time greeting all of the ringside fans while her fun music rolled on. Bayley entered the ring to loud cheers while Nia towered over her and glared at the title held by Bayley.
4 — NXT Women’s champion BAYLEY (San Jose) vs. NIA JAX (San Diego) — NXT Women’s Title match
Before the match started, Greg Hamilton handled formal ring introductions with the cool-looking blue spotlight on the ring. Nia was booed, as expected, while Bayley got loud cheers. Before the bell sounded, the crowd broke into soccer-style chants and singing. Bayley smiled and played along as Nia sold being laser-focused and annoyed. Bayley then did some forward rolls to avoid Nia and make her use energy trying to chase the champ around the ring. Nia eventually got her hands on Bayley and slammed her hard to the mat, prompting the ref to check for signs of life.
Bayley avoided a standing submission, then tried to knock Jax off her feet with corner attacks, but Nia eventually just swatted down Bayley. Jax then took Bayley to the top turnbuckle as the crowd freaked. But, Bayley pushed Nia down to the mat before hitting a forward roll splash for a two count.
Bayley then walked right into a Samoan Drop, followed by a big leg drop, but Bayley escaped a pin when Jax went for a casual cover. Jax delivered even more leg drops, but Bayley kicked out again. Graves said Bayley just needs to live to fight another day and get a re-match down the road since she’s done.
Jax took Bayley to the top again, but Bayley blocked a super power move again. Bayley then went for a guillotine choke – her only resort unable to get any offense on Jax. They took the move to the peak to where the crowd was on their feet begging Jax to tap, but Jax broke free. Jax sold the effects of the move, then tried a power move, but Bayley countered by going back to the guillotine.
The crowd came to their feet again, Bayley locked the hold as tight as she could, and Jax fell to the mat, then Bayley nearly positioned her for a pin, but Jax sat up in the hold. Bayley then locked the hold as tight as she could as the ref checked for signs of life. The crowd was rabid wanting a tap-out, and they got one when Jax finally tapped on Bayley to end the match.
WINNER: Bayley via submission at 13:21 to retain the NXT Women’s Title. A heck of a battle. They had to make it look realistic with such a size discrepancy, so Nia dominated and Bayley had virtually no successful offense until the guillotine at the end since it was the only way she could win. Jax came out of this looking better than when she came into the match; she looked the part of the next Awesome Kong in women’s wrestling.
– Backstage: Samoa Joe was shown warming up and getting in a good sweat before the NXT Title match.
– WWE ran a video package on the Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe friendship turned feud heading into their NXT Title match.
– Back in the arena, Samoa Joe’s ominous music played, bringing out the NXT Title challenger. “Joe, Joe, Joe!” chants as Joe walked to the ring with purpose and eyes locked on the ring. After a pause, it was time to unleash Finn Balor. Balor’s music hit and there was a silhouette of a man crouched down on the stage wearing a top hat. The lights came up to reveal Balor dressed in his face/bodypaint with the top hat completing the ensemble, much to the crowd’s delight. Balor’s full ring entrance and crowd participation followed. The full lights came on and Joe was shown looking very unimpressed by the display.
The lights dimmed and the blue spotlight filled the ring for formal ring introductions. Samoa Joe was introduced to mainly boos, with the crowd playing along the lines of the heel/face dynamic. Some “Joe, Joe” chants followed. Finn Balor was then introduced to loud cheers.
5 — NXT champion FINN BALOR vs. SAMOA JOE (Huntington Beach) — NXT Title match
Champ and Challenger felt each other out early on, then Balor suddenly knocked Joe out of the ring. Joe checked himself, then Balor kicked him on the floor. Balor then wanted a running foot stomp onto the ring steps, but Joe moved. Joe then bodyslammed Balor hard onto the padded floor. Balor sold lifelessness as Joe reset a ten count.
Back in the ring, Balor tried to trade jabs with Joe, but Joe knocked him straight down to the mat with a right hand. Joe followed with his trademark corner enziguiri, sending Balor scurrying across the mat. Joe continued the onslaught, just destroying Balor. Joe then sent Balor to the outside and followed with a suicide dive/flying forearm to smash Balor to the floor.
Back in the ring, Joe covered Balor for a two count. Joe followed with a sit-out powerbomb for a two count into his trademark knee-grip Boston Crab. Balor refused to tap, so Joe flowed into a cross-face submission. Balor tried to counter, but Joe put him back in the cross-face. He then bent Balor’s right shoulder joint backwards, but Balor reached the bottom rope with his foot to get a break. That was a hot opening 10 minutes.
Joe tried to get Balor back to his feet for a short-arm clothesline, but Balor countered with a snap DDT to get some breathing room. Balor then fought out of the corner with forearms and chops. A flying forearm followed and Balor was feeling alive again. Joe came back with a back elbow smash, though. Balor sold for a second, then bounced to his feet and kicked Joe down to the floor. Balor was alive again and he landed a flying Swanton dive over the top rope.
Back in the ring, Balor nailed a double stomp to Joe’s back/upper shoulders, but only got a two count. Balor tried a corner attack, but Joe swatted his feet down to the mat and nailed a flying splash. Joe then hoisted Balor into the air for the Musclebuster, wowing the crowd, but Balor escaped and nailed a Pele Kick to get a breather.
Both men came back to their feet at 15:00. Big forearm blows and strikes. Joe then uppercut Balor across the ring. Roaring Elbow. Rear-naked choke teaser, but Balor flung Joe into the corner to escape. Joe blocked Balor’s kick strikes again, then dragged the champ back into the ring looking for the choke. But, Balor flipped over Joe, rolled to his feet, and flowed into a double stomp to the chest to get another breather. Both men sold as the crowd buzzed.
Balor came to his feet and nailed a two-foot pump kick to the chest. Another one in the opposite corner. Suddenly, Joe no-sold and fired himself up, but Balor dropkicked Joe a third time. Joe fell down this time. Balor thought about climbing to the top for the Coup de Grace, but Joe dramatically came to his feet. Joe wanted the Musclebuster, but Balor elbowed out. So, Joe kicked him in the head. Joe then climbed to the top looking for a super driver, but Balor kicked him down. And, Balor immediately flew down onto Joe with the Coup de Grace. One, two, and three. No kick-out. Balor wins.
WINNER: Balor at 18:22 to retain the NXT Title. That was a heck of a title match. Joe has been absolutely re-energized at NXT and Balor plays a great babyface champion working from underneath, absorbing punishment, and finding an opening to conquer his foe. The atmosphere for the title match put it over the top as one of the top NXT matches of the year. (****1/4)
After the bell sounded, Joe sold trying to regain feeling in his body as Balor caught his breath. Joe, with blood trickling out of his mouth, was helped out of the ring and then helped down the aisleway, his eyes still locked on the ring and Balor. Joe seethed, wanting another piece of Balor, who celebrated in the ring as the fans cheered along to his theme music. Balor eventually took a knee, then trainers checked on Balor, who sold being a little loopy.
After a replay of the finish, they returned to Balor standing tall in the ring as the ref and doctor continued to check on Balor. Trademarks flashed on the screen as Balor stood tall in the ring with the title belt held high in the air. Rich Brennan signed off from London seven minutes past the top of the hour, for a nice, clean two-hour-and-seven-minute broadcast.
Did you watch the NXT special? We’re looking for your Reax, 0-10-Score, and Best/Worst match sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.