WWE NXT Takeover: London
Location: London, England
Date: December 16, 2015
NXT capped off 2015 by making history with its first-ever international broadcast from the sold-out SSE Arena, featuring NXT Champion Finn Bálor’s latest defense, against his former friend, Samoa Joe. Many late lunches were taken across the United States, where TakeOver aired on WWE Network in the afternoon, as the American contingent of the WWE Universe set their gaze across the pond to see an action-packed show.
The historic broadcast began with women’s action, as the rivalry between Asuka and Emma reached its boiling point. The London crowd was firmly behind The Empress of Tomorrow, who kept Emma at bay with a kick attempt early on. Emma took control after an Asuka dropkick did not connect.
The two competitors traded holds back and forth before Asuka locked on a Fujiwara Armbar. Emma grabbed the ropes and escaped to the arena floor, but Asuka leaped off the apron with a flying hip attack. Emma’s cohort, Dana Brooke, took a moment to distract Asuka at ringside, allowing the Australian grappler to wear down her rival.
The NXT Universe rallied behind The Empress of Tomorrow, however, willing Asuka back into the fight. After the women collided with the official, Dana threw her studded belt into the ring to give Emma the advantage. Dana’s meddling led to her being ejected from ringside, though. Emma tried to capitalize by grabbing the belt and going after Asuka, but she ran straight into a spinning kick that knocked Emma out cold and earned Asuka the victory.
Though Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady promised Dash & Dawson that they wouldn’t leave London the same, it was the NXT Tag Team Champions that took advantage early on in the bout, trapping Amore in their corner and staying away from the raging seven-footer waiting across the ring to enter the battle.
Though Big Cass finally got into the match, the champions swarmed him in their half of the ring. Cassady fought off his rivals, before hurling Amore onto Dash & Dawson at ringside. The champions cut off their challengers once again, working over Amore in their corner. A battered Amore fell victim to a double team gourdbuster, but Dash & Dawson failed to ensure that the referee saw the tag that led to the move. The extra time it took for the legal man to get in the ring gave Amore the opening he needed to give himself a reprieve to get Big Cass into the match.
Cassady went on a rampage, but his fury was cut short when Dawson chop-blocked his previously injured knee. Big Cass fought through the pain and got to the ropes to break up a submission, getting his team back into the battle. Enzo & Big Cass nearly had the titles won, but Dawson broke up their pinfall, posted Big Cass and sent Amore crashing into the canvas with a Shatter Machine off the ropes to retain their titles.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews was out for payback after Baron Corbin cost him the NXT Championship several weeks ago. The fired-up competitor went right afterCorbin, but The Lone Wolf brought an end to his burst of offense with a well-placed knee. Crews sent Corbin scrambling with a picture-perfect dropkick, but the big man soon bought himself some time by tossing Crews over the ropes and crashing into the steel ring steps.
The Lone Wolf trash-talked his rival, telling Crews he shouldn’t have even come to the United Kingdom to face him. Corbin dominated Crews, slowing the bout down to a methodical pace. Crews fought his way back into the battle, tackling Corbin and pummeling him around the ring before hitting a standing moonsault off the apron to the floor.
Back in the ring, a rejuvenated Crews flipped out of the End of Days and connected with another standing moonsault, but he could not put The Lone Wolf away. Crews stayed on top of Corbin, trying to powerbomb him. Corbin held onto the ropes and caught Crews with the End of Days, however, handing his rival his first one-on-one loss in NXT.
With the London crowd firmly in her corner, Bayley showed no fear in charging after her much larger challenger. That may not have been the best move, as the powerful Nia Jax manhandled the NXT Women’s Champion, wearing her down with a cobra clutch in the middle of the ring. Bayley showed signs of life, like trapping Nia in a dragon sleeper, but just when it looked like the champion would get the upper hand, Nia cut her off.
Bayley changed her strategy to stick and move, landing a strike and moving away before Nia could get her in her clutches. Nia stopped Bayley in her tracks by viciously shoving her to the canvas out of mid-air. The challenger crushed Bayley with a series of brutal Samoan Drops and the devastating leg drop that has put many opponents away, only for the resilient champion to kick out.
A frustrated Nia went to work on Bayley’s shoulder before hitting three consecutive leg drops. Once again, though, the NXT Women’s Champion refused to give up her title, kicking out at the last second. Bayley pulled herself to her feet, only to be crushed by Nia once again. Bayley countered her challenger’s attempt at a move off the ropes with a guillotine submission that nearly put Nia to sleep. Jax slammed her way out of the first two attempts, but Bayley locked the hold right back on. The challenger escaped, but the NXT Women’s Champion locked the hold on once again, cinching it in deep. Fading fast, Nia had no choice but to tap out. A battle-worn Bayley soaked in the adulation of the vocal SSE Arena crowd, having been through a total war to successfully defend her title.
NXT Champion Finn Bálor def. Samoa Joe
Paying homage to the terrifying Jack the Ripper, the demon within NXT Champion Finn Bálor emerged for this personal championship showdown with Samoa Joe. Bálor did not back down from his much larger challenger, stunning Joe with a devastating series of kicks and sending the submission specialist into the steel steps. The NXT Champion tried to cave his former friend’s chest in with a double stomp onto the steps, but Joe evaded and slammed the demonic champion into the arena floor.
Joe pounded away at Bálor, putting a beating on The Demon like no one in NXT has before. Whenver it looked like Bálor was on the verge of rebounding, the submission specialist stopped him in his tracks. Samoa Joe even showed that he could fly like the NXT Champion, launching his nearly 300-pound frame through the ropes at Bálor onto the floor.
Back in the ring, Joe showed why he is a submission master, manipulating Bálor’s joints into torturous positions. Reaching his breaking point, Bálor dug down deep and fought back, crushing Joe with a double stomp over the ropes and connecting with the Sling Blade. The NXT Champion looked to be on the verge of victory, until Joe cut him off and crushed him with a senton.
Joe set the champion up for the Muscle Buster, but The Demon wriggled free. The two former friends engaged in a brutal exchange of strikes, the thuds echoing through the arena. A fed-up Samoa Joe locked on the Coquina Clutch, which has made Bálor pass out on several occasions. The NXT Champion survived and escaped the hold, setting off another struggle that saw Bálor gain the upper hand, only for Joe to get a second wind and nearly connect with a Muscle Buster off the ropes. The Demon stunned Joe with chops and punches on the ropes, sending him crashing to the canvas in position for Bálor to connect with the Coup de Grace and retain his coveted NXT Championship.