NXT is serenity. NXT is peace, love, and understanding. When the main roster has me pushed past my breaking point as a fan, I can always fall back on NXT. Great wrestling, logical booking, interesting storylines. It’s like watching shows from the territory days where they take their time building to the big matches, let the storylines simmer before blowing them off.
Not a fan of HHH appearing on the show. He’s supposed to be hurt. Kayfabe only.
Asuka vs. Emma
Heel Emma is a total fox.
I loathe the NXT crowd’s smart mark chants. If you really think “this is wrestling,” cheer for one of the competitors in the match.
This match was a lot more competitive than I expected it to be. I was expecting a borderline squash for Asuka, but Emma got a lot of offense in and really looked strong. Overall, this was an excellent opening match. I appreciated how they kept teasing shitty finishes but then just had Asuka win with a big kick to the jaw.
Rating: ***. Really thought that came together well. Asuka is over huge in NXT. I have a feeling she’s too weird for Vince and Kevin Dunn, so she’s probably best off staying in NXT for awhile. Emma is ready for the main roster, but there’s such a logjam of heels up there that she’s probably sticking around for awhile.
NXT Tag Team Championship: Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy
Said it before, but Dawson and Wilder really remind me of Blanchard and Anderson. The jackets and trunks are an intentional homage, and they just have an old-school nastiness and physicality to their tag team work. I think a manager would be nice for them, but in 2015 WWE that just doesn’t happen.
I’m really not sure why Enzo and Cass aren’t on the main roster. Is there any question they’d get over? Their schtick is a 2015 version of the New Age Outlaws. But Enzo’s mic work is more than just schtick. He’s one of the most charismatic guys in wrestling right now.
That opening promo had me pumped. I’m ready for a fight.
This was straight out of the late 1980s NWA, and I loved it. Crowd was on fire, the heat segments were tight and intense. They had me popping on the roll-up by Cass and the Rocket Launcher. And the dastardly heels retained with a double team after using Carmella as a human shield. Great work from everybody here.
Rating: ***¼. Continue to be impressed by both of these teams. They’d both be worthy additions to the main roster tag division.
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Loved Corbin’s trash talk. He seemed different here. His attire and music were tweaked, he had more heel swagger and mannerisms than before.
This was good work from both guys. I thought they brought out the best in each other. Corbin’s size and power gelled with Apollo’s athleticism. Corbin getting the win feels like it was the right call. He’d had a few losses in a row on the TakeOvers.
Rating: **. I’ll cut against the grain and say I’m high on Corbin. Naturally dickish, cool look, getting better in the ring and on the mic. I think there’s real potential there.
NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Since I’m rolling with old-school metaphors tonight, Nia Jax is straight out of the WWWF heel factory days. New bad guy rolls into town, kills people for a few weeks, challenges the champion. How will our hero possibly retain against this new monster?
This falls into the something completely different category. Nothing flashy. Bayley gets her ass handed to her for 90% of the match, but she keeps fighting back and getting Jax in chokes. Finally, she manages to choke her out.
I wish we got more matches like this. It wasn’t loaded with high spots, but it made sense. Bayley’s overpowered, but has unbelievable willpower. And strong as Nia Jax is, nobody can take having the blood flow to their head cut off. Awesome match.
Rating: ***¾. Bayley has been one of the best wrestlers in the world this year.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Samoa Joe
I’m still not a fan of Joe’s music. Too peppy. Especially now that he’s playing a heel. Big fan of Balor’s Jack the Ripper entrance.
Huge battle here. Absolute war. They fought in and out of the ring, up the ramp, all around ringside. Big bumps, big spots. Balor was overpowered, but his high-flying ability kept him in the game. And in the end, Joe couldn’t take his punch.
Rating: ****. Excellent main event. Great way to cap the show.
Overall: It’s another excellent NXT special. They’ve really all been tremendous, this one was no exception. I’ve lost track of which I think was the best, but London was a strong contender. No bad matches, every match brought something different. 2015 was a huge year of growth for NXT, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.