By Graham "GSM" Matthews
NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe Signed the Contract For Their NXT TakeOver: London Match
Contract signings are such a tired gimmick in wrestling this day and age that they need to stand out in a certain way in order to break away from the rest. That's what I loved most about this short and sweet segment. Joe showed up like he couldn't care less, signed the contract and walked off before returning to lay out Balor from behind. Awesome. The build for the NXT Championship match has been really well done so far and I'm pumped for Balor vs. Joe more than anything else in either WWE or NXT right now.
NXT Tag Team Champions Dash and Dawson def. The Vaudevillians
As I've said quite a bit in recent weeks, Dash and Dawson are quickly growing on me. They're such old school wrestlers and it's a total breath of fresh air. For whatever reason, this was a much better match than their initial encounter a few weeks back, perhaps because it took place so early in the tapings and the crowd was hot for it. Although I figured Dash and Dawson were retaining, the nearfalls down the stretch were suspenseful and had the crowd buying into them. It's cool to see Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady back in the fold and a match between them and the champs at the next special makes perfect sense from a storyline standpoint.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke Went to a No Contest
It's amazing how simple and effective booking can make me care about a women's feud in NXT, even when a title isn't at stake. The main roster girls should take note. Emma and Brooke teased some shenanigans last week and it led to them getting extra heat by blindsiding Asuka this week. It was smart to have them get the upper hand since Asuka will likely be winning her match against Emma at TakeOver. On a side note, was there a reason why Emma was wearing a black hoodie to disguise herself when there was never any doubt who it was?
Apollo Crews def. Jesse Sorensen
Glad to see Sorenson found work after TNA cut him loose despite Dixie Carter saying he had a job for life back in 2012. Maybe I should let that go already. Anyway, this wasn't much more than a quick squash match for Crews, but him showcasing his skills is never not (pardon the double negative) fun. His new finisher is a huge improvement over his last one and I hope he sticks with it. His post-match promo was also excellent and has me looking forward to his upcoming match with Baron Corbin.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley def. Eva Marie
It's incredible that all of the drama behind this match, regardless of its one week build, stemmed from the fear that Eva Marie was going to win the title. That's the power of NXT and its fans. While it didn't go long at all, the main event slot was well-deserved and there were quite a few points in the contest where Eva actually came close to winning. Nia Jax as her enforcer came completely out of nowhere. Yes, it was teased just recently, but hasn't she been a babyface so far in her NXT run? I guess this was their way of setting up her match with Bayley for the belt in London, which I'm much more open to seeing on the show than Bayley vs. Eva again.
The strong line-up for this week's edition of NXT definitely lived up to the lofty expectations. The two title matches were very well-wrestled, the squash match was fun while it lasted, the contract signing was well done and the feud between Asuka, Dana Brooke and Emma was effectively furthered. Most importantly, the crowd was hot all night long, which was to be expected since this was the first of the latest set of tapings. Unsurprisingly, the card for the next TakeOver is shaping up to be must-see and December 16th couldn't come soon enough.