NXT TakeOver London is in the books, and while there was some solid action and character development for a roster that can seemingly do no wrong, Triple H’s brand made some critically flawed booking decisions that pushed the overall show into the realms of disappointment.
Notably three of the bigger matches were badly booked, a point that will be discussed in a moment at length.
Firstly, however, the good.
NXT TakeOver London benefitted from stellar opening matches (and angles) between Emma and Asuka and the tag team combinations of Dash/Dawson and Enzo/Big Cass.
These matches were handled expertly from every angle. Bad guys were bad. Good guys, intense. The right people won, but the losers still looked incredibly strong. They essentially represented everything right with the brand.
Unfortunately, where NXT TakeOver London started to unravel was the Apollo Crews-Baron Corbin match. Corbin is simply not entertaining in the ring and light years behind where he needs to be to be on Crews’ level.
Right now it seems like he is being pushed down fans’ throats, and giving him a clean victory over Crews devalued a true wrestling talent’s character.
That said, the bad booking was the least of NXT TakeOver London‘s problems.
The real head scratcher was how the Women’s Championship and NXT World Championship matches were booked and executed.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) December 16, 2015
Bayley getting the win over Nia Jax didn’t work in the context of the match itself. That’s because Bayley took six or seven finishers from Jax (counting the heavy leg drops and the bear hug power slams, which have been used singularly and together to dispatch previous Jax opponents).
While it is understood that Bayley is the champ for a reason, the constant kicking out was hard to buy. The finish also lacked credibility.
Jax was far too dominant and had weakened Bayley far too much to make a chokehold believable as the champ’s finisher. Bayley’s arm barely reached around Jax’s neck for most of the choke, which was done primarily from a standing position.
Given how strong Jax had been booked in that match, it lacked authenticity that she didn’t just plow the much smaller Bayley into a turnbuckle.
No problem with Bayley getting a win, but the execution should have been handled differently.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) December 16, 2015
Finally, the Finn Balor-Samoa Joe match suffered from much of the same.
While Balor is talented, his finisher is one of the worst in the business, and many of the strikes that set it up were phoned-in and amateurish at best.
Joe also put far too much on Balor for the champ to bounce back the way he did, getting the W with such unconvincing offense.
Balor should have dropped the belt. He is a phenomenal wrestler but his run has been an undeniably boring one, not helped by an overly long entrance perfect for taking a trip to the refrigerator.
He needs to go away for a few weeks and come back with a more interesting move-set, especially the finisher.
Having Joe decimate Balor would have set that return match up perfectly. NXT TakeOver London would have been a great place to do this, but now it’s just a missed opportunity.
But what did you think about the NXT TakeOver London show, readers? Was it a hit or a miss? Sound off in the comments section, and while you’re at it, share your picks for best match of the night.
[Image via WWE Network]