For the third time in a row, NXT put another test in front of itself with one of its live specials.
Back in August, NXT was trying to see if it could succeed in front of a crowd that dwarfed the ones it routinely performs in front of in Florida. The stage was never bigger, and NXT passed the test with flying colors.
In October, NXT was out to prove whether it could put on a main event that featured not only women, but also put those women in a 30-minute ironman match. Once again, NXT aced the test.
This past Wednesday, NXT put itself to a logistical test, as it presented a live special from London — not on tape delay, but live in London and all over the world via the WWE Network.
So at the odd hour of 3 p.m. ET in the United States, NXT set out to make history and yet again, it easily passed the test.
Before 10,079 raucous fans at the SSE Arena, Wembley, NXT once again proved why it has received almost universal acclaim from fans and pundits alike by having great matches, but more importantly, telling great stories that fans, no matter language they speak, can become invested in.
Before I get to my in-depth analysis, let's run through the full match results:
- Asuka def. Emma
- NXT Tag Team championship – Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson def. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
- Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
- NXT Women's championship – Bayley def. Nia Jax
- NXT championship – Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe
Finn Balor vanquishes Samoa Joe
The story heading in sort of telegraphed that Finn Balor would overcome the odds and fend off Samoa Joe, but it was still a lot of fun getting to that outcome.
Balor, who came out dressed as Jack the Ripper, showed just how gritty he could be by slaying the proverbial monster known as Samoa Joe after one of the best matches of 2015.
It was a fitting end to a stellar year for the upstart promotion, which has seen about half-dozen matches that could be worthy of being called the best to take place since January.
Balor and Samoa Joe beat each other up and let it all hang out in the ring, which was only right given how personal the feud had gotten. The match looked more like a fight than a traditional wrestling encounter, which added to the storytelling element.
At the end of the day, Balor and Samoa Joe tore the house down and left the English fans satisfied and happy.
Baron Corbin hands Apollo Crews first loss
Before the event, I personally thought that Baron Corbin was due for a big win, as it had been a while since he had defeated someone other than a jobber.
With that said, I still didn't think he would hand Apollo Crews his first real loss, but that was the case in London, as Corbin beat Crews clean.
Corbin didn't use any dirty tactics or anything like that. He beat Crews fair and square.
Thankfully, Crews had been built up to this point so that taking this loss won't completely halt his momentum. He can easily bounce back from this in due time
The real intrigue is what is on the horizon for Corbin. I would imagine that an NXT championship opportunity is in his future. Once he gets that opportunity, will he win?
I keep thinking that Balor isn't going to be on NXT much longer and maybe Corbin is the guy to escort him out of the door and onto the main roster. I suppose time will tell.
Nia Jax taps out
I wasn't all that surprised Bayley, like Finn Balor, overcame the odds to slay the proverbial monster, but I was a bit surprised in the manner it occurred.
Nia Jax suffered her first loss Wednesday after submitting to a chokehold from Bayley, ending what was a very good match between the two.
Was the match on the same level as Bayley's classics with Sasha Banks or Banks' classic with Becky Lynch? No, but it was very good from the standpoint of telling the David versus Goliath story that never gets old.
Except in this case, Goliath submitted instead of being upended out of nowhere. I figured that if Jax lost, it would be done in a way that still made her dominant since she's recently debuted on NXT television.
However, having her submit does further a story of her not being quite ready to defeat the wily veteran Bayley, who despite being thrown from end of the ring to the next, found a way to pull out the win.
Enzo and Cass fall short again
While Balor and Bayley saw happy endings to NXT Takeover: London, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady came up short once again.
For whatever reason, Amore and Big Cass' moment to become NXT Tag Team champions has yet arrive, and I personally believe that ship has officially sailed.
I would have like for it to have happened in London, especially after a very good rivalry beforehand that saw them show their serious side, but it was not to be.
I take solace in that there may be bigger things on the horizon for the entertaining pair. At least I hope that is the case. The New Day are quickly running out of opponents to defend their WWE Tag Team titles against and I don't see The Usos getting another run or The Lucha Dragons getting their chance just yet.
Maybe, just maybe, it's finally time to promote Amore and Big Cass to the main roster and bring that very entertaining act to the masses.
If that's not the case, then I don't see what else you do with Amore and Big Cass as a tandem, and I would hate to see them breakup because of that.
By the way, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are a lot of fun to watch in the ring. It's not because they do a bunch of cool moves or spots. It's because they provide a change of pace to all of the other teams that do all of the flashy moves.