By Frank Lucci
NXT TakeOver: London is in a unique position in many different ways.
Unlike most NXT live specials, this event takes place after a main roster Pay-Per-View rather than before. In addition, that PPV, TLC, was a surprisingly good event.
Instead of giving wrestling fans a high standard to judge WWE specials on, now the shoe is on the other foot. There is no reason to believe that NXT TakeOver: London will fall short, but it will be curious to see how NXT responds to the pressure of TLC’s quality.
Secondly, with the NXT roster in flux and the main roster’s injury woes, the results of the London could be a preview of what NXT will be like in the new year.
Finally, several NXT superstars such as the returning Sami Zayn and the teams of Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake and Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are not booked for the special. These wrestlers could appear on the episode of NXT being filmed before the live portion of the special, but their shadows may loom large if the special fails to live up to the hype. With that being said, here are Spaceman’s Frank predictions for NXT TakeOver: London.
Asuka vs. Emma (with Dana Brooke)
Both of these women have been on a roll lately.
Emma has expertly grown into her heel role and has shown that she is still the great performer we all fell in love with. With her catchy yet dark theme song, goofy half gloves (seriously what possible function could they have) and her pet (I mean friend) Dana Brooke by her side she could be in line for a championship run. On the other hand, Asuka has been a force of nature. Her hard hitting matches are full of moments worth capturing in GIF form and she even made the perpetually stupid Flying Butt in the Face attack look viscous.
Asuka has all the makings of a future superstar, and for that reason I see her getting the win in an excellent match over Emma and continuing her spectacular run.
Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (with Carmella) (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
When Dash and Dawson first won the NXT Tag Team Titles, many thought that they would become Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake 2.0. Instead, they have quietly shown flashes of brilliance both in the ring and on the mic. However, they still have a lot of work to do if they are to rise to the level of the The Vaudevillains, Jordan and Gable and their challengers Enzo and Big Cass.If they weren’t the champs they would be lost in the shuffle – which may be why they’re champs in the first place.
Enzo and Cass are perpetually in the title hunt, but have never grabbed the brass rings. They deserve a run with the belts, but Dash and Dawson need a good run to prove their worth. Dash and Dawson win in a decent match.
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
This match could (and should) be a number one contenders match.
With Crews already having challenged for the NXT title before and Corbin recently spotted working dark matches on SmackDown, both these men look to be moving up sooner rather than later.
While Crews has skyrocketed to the top of NXT with his amazing moves and buckets full of charisma, Corbin has shown incredible attention to the little things that make him a gem. For example, Corbin may have the best punches in the WWE and the former NFL player can throw his body weight around in ways that help sell the force of his moves tremendously. Despite all that, there is no denying Crews’ rise to the top and it looks as though he will pin Corbin for the victory.
Bayley (c) vs. Nia Jax (with Eva Marie) (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
Poor Bayley. She went from headlining the last NXT TakeOver event to being in a hastily put together feud with the new monster heel on the block (perhaps Triple H is preparing her for life on the main roster).
Bayley has had several mini-feuds since her epic rivalry with Sasha Banks came to a close and while Alexa Bliss did well, Eva Marie (to put it kindly) served as bait for this new feud.
Side note: If you think that Eva Marie’s ability to garner jeers somehow makes her a standout performer then shame on you. The woman cannot perform in the ring and her matches are either short exhibitions done at a quarter speed or dangerous (as seen when she gave Carmella a concussion). She showed in her promo challenging Bayley for the Women’s Championship that she also cannot handle live promos as she just attempted to repeat the same lines over and over again and her attempt to combat the crowd was pathetic. Being a manager is a better fit for her, but she does not need to be paired with another newbie. She should be managing a veteran who can show her the ropes. She is not a grand-meta example of brilliant commentary on the modern heel, she is a reality TV star that will be gone the moment Total Divas ends.
Anyway, with little build up besides Nia Jax throwing Bayley through a door, expect the champ to retain in a match that could either be good or expose Jax for the green wrestler she is.
Finn Bálor (c) vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Title Match)
Balor and Joe are sure to put on a great showing here, but the build to this match has been on and off.
The parts of this feud that don’t involve the combatants getting physical have been great, but besides Joe’s initial attack on Finn the physical portion of this feud has been subpar. We already know how much of threat Joe is, so having him choke out Balor repeatedly signals (to me at least) that he will not win the championship.
Both these men will deliver a hard-hitting match that sees Joe and Balor beating the holy hell out of each other, but Finn will walk out champ to set up a rematch. Perhaps before Wrestlemania 32? We shall see.