Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NXT Advent Calendar Day 15: Takeover London preview

Takeover London finishes up the NXT event calendar for 2015, but much like R Evolution last December, it looks to send out the WWE's top brand with a huge end of the year event.

Image credit: WWE.com.
The card is shorter than most recent Takeover cards, shortened from the usual six matches to five despite a longer showtime of 2 hours 30 minutes. This could mean an added match or it could mean an extended Sami Zayn return segment or it could really mean just about anything. But with only five scheduled matches, I would expect each of the announced contests to get at least ten minutes of in ring time, certainly up from a lot of match times at recent NXT supercards.

Here's the rundown of the five matches in the order I expect to see them on the show.

  • Asuka vs. Emma: The feud between these two women has been slowly boiling since Dana Brooke's defeat by Asuka way back at Takeover: Respect. Now with Dana at her side, Emma wants to hand Asuka her first loss, but Asuka's dominance and mind games definitely have the heel unit on edge. Emma has been allowed to show how gifted a competitor she is on recent episodes of NXT however, so I suspect this one will be Asuka's longest match to date. But I just cannot see Emma handing Asuka her first loss yet, especially when I suspect the Japanese megastar will face off with Bayley sooner rather than later. 
  • Dash & Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady: I see a lot of love online for the old school style of Dash & Dawson, but I'm honestly already tired of hearing them compared to the Brainbusters. While they certainly have a more old school tear down style in the ring, they are far from being true throwbacks when you see much of their in ring move sets are things that weren't being done regularly twenty-five years ago. Enzo & Cass are the longest running team in NXT, but still haven't picked up the big one. But they are also perhaps two of the talents on the roster that seem to have a call up imminent, so I'm not sure a tag title win is in the future. And honestly, they don't really need the titles to continue to be over with the fans. At the same time, Dash & Dawson moving on to a title feud with Jordan & Gable seems to have money written all over it to this writer. 
  • Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews: We recently saw Crews get a big raise on Breaking Ground, and that's with good reason. Not since Kevin Owens has someone risen to the top of NXT as fast as Crews. In less than six months, he's already working regularly in main events on the brand and his charm and natural in ring abilities are winning him tons of new fans in the Apollo Nation. I suspect Breaking Ground has also helped Corbin find a bit more support from hardcore fans, but don't expect any of them to cheer the Lone Wolf anytime soon. While the NXT veteran has come into his own and is finally getting half way comfortable on the microphone, he still doesn't have the natural chops Crews came in with back in Brooklyn. These two men could have a great match though as their styles are just dissimilar enough to make for an interesting clash. 
  • Bayley vs. Nia Jax: While this match does make sense as Jax's Takeover debut, it still somehow feels too soon for the massive new player in the women's division. And while Jax almost had to move into this place in order to help firm up the open field left by three quarters of the Four Horsewomen's departure, part of me wonders if perhaps a slower build might have been better for this feud, while someone like Billie Kay was brought onto television as a credible threat for Bayley. Whatever the case, it seems unlikely Bayley will drop her title to Jax and because of that, Jax's undefeated streak will come to an end. I doubt it will derail Nia entirely, but I am not sure how a win for either woman really increases the prominence and talent of NXT's women's roster. 
  • Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe: I honestly hope this is the beginning of a long feud, because I think Balor and Joe have everything in place to be a great long running series of battles. While the two men have never met in the ring before NXT (despite sharing time at the Onoki Dojo in Los Angeles with Daniel Bryan), they have put on some great bouts as opponents and partners since debuting. It's rather amazing to think neither men have much more than a year with the company under their belt, but both have cemented a place as major players in the future of the developmental brand and quite possibly WWE. I expect this one to get tons of time as Joe keeps on going for the Coquina Clutch while Finn does a lot of fighting from the bottom. Personally I would love to see Finn debut his own submission for the win, but it's anyone's guess how this one ends. But we all can at least look forward to some new face paint, I suspect.
Overall, the card is giving us five great matches with twelve great stars, an impressive feat after the loss of Tyler Breeze, Rhyno, Sasha Banks and Kevin Owens to the main roster.  Hopefully the great talent involved will continue the streak of amazing Takeover events, even if I do have to wake up at 2 in the afternoon to watch it.

What are you most looking forward to at Takeover London? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

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