clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE NXT TakeOver: London full match previews: Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe, Bayley vs. Nia Jax, more!

Later on today, WWE NXT will bring their live special to the world when TakeOver: London broadcasts on WWE Network at 3PM Eastern.

Each TakeOver has a habit of being as good as if not better than the last...and when the last one was phenomenal, that's a pretty good habit. The five matches announced for the two hour portion of the card airing today (an episode's worth of footage will be shot for next Wednesday's regular hour), certainly have the potential to continue that trend.

You can see some predictions from yours truly and a band of trusty Cagesiders here. In this post, we'll give you a little bit of background and insight into each bout to get you ready for the show from London's SSE Arena.

Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe - NXT Championship

Former Ring of Honor (ROH) and TNA World champ Joe came to NXT to get his groove back, and after a bit of a slow start...mission accomplished. His stated reason for joining the promotion was to become the top man in the up-and-coming organization. To do so, he agreed to play by the rules and do whatever General Manager William Regal asked of him.

That included teaming up with the NXT champ, Finn Bálor, to compete in the tag team tournament honoring Dusty Rhodes. There was tension between the two friends throughout, as Joe never hid the fact that his primary goal was the belt the Irishman carries, but in the end they were victorious. To his surprise, however, that wasn't enough to earn him a title shot.

Eliminated in the battle royal Regal announced to determine the #1 contender, it looked like Joe would continue to wait his turn behind the winner, Apollo Crews. But when Baron Corbin broke up the Crews/Bálor match, he came to the rescue...but also used the opportunity to attack the champ and force the issue.

Finn was understandably angered by what he saw as a betrayal - just as Joe thought his not demanding a match between them was. Promo duels, contract signing and tag matches between the two have all ended up the same way...with the Samoan Submission Machine living up to his name, and the champ on the receiving end of beating and, often, Coquina Clutch.

Momentum seems to be on the side of the challenger. But the old wrestling Even though some fan support has drifted away from Bálor, NXT officials still have his back and he's been front-and-center on the United Kingdom tour that's lead to London. A win for either man seems plausible; hopefully after a bout worthy of the high standards we've come to expect from TakeOver main events.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax - NXT Women's Championship

After winning her title against Sasha Banks in Brooklyn and defending it in an Iron Man match at Respect, Bayley hasn't slowed down. The fighting champ has worked programs with and earned victories over Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie on the way to only half-joking comparisons to John Cena - both in terms of her character and how its presented.

It was in the Eva Marie feud that newcomer Nia Jax entered the picture. After a never-ending series of hype videos that continued even after a long line of squash victories began, the former plus-size model was approached by the Total Divas star. A partnership was formed, and Jax first intimidated Bayles backstage during the Bliss feud, and then accompanied All Red Everything to ringside for her championship match.

The Hugster overcame everything that Eva and the booking through at her to retain, but was assaulted by Nia after the match. A second interview segment between the two women ended with Bayley thrown through a wooden door, and the fighting champ couldn't back down from there. She now has her first giant to topple.

In all likelihood, she will. Jax, another of Dwayne Johnson's cousins being groomed for greatness by WWE, is going places, but remains pretty green. But Bayley's run thus far has been booking first and workrate second, so be on the lookout for interference, shenanigans and maybe even a schmoz in this one.

Dash & Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady - NXT Tag Team Championship

The writing was on the wall for Aiden English & Simon Gotch's title reign when they were eliminated on a road show during the Dusty a team that would prove to have their number. Dash & Dawson didn't win the tournament, but they won the titles from The Vaudevillains shortly thereafter, and the customary rematch shortly after that.

In between, however, they took a surprising loss to the Realest Guys. And being heels, they didn't take it well. So, before a rematch of that one could even get started, the throwback brawlers attacked on the ramp - injuring Colin Cassady's knee in the process.

Once he recovered from what was reported as a sprained MCL, it was announced that the attack put Enzo Amore and the seven-footer in a familar role...that of #1 contenders to the tag team titles. They've come up short of attaining those on several occassions in the past - most notably against Bliss' charges Blake & Murphy - but are displaying a new, more serious edge since Big Cass' return.

NXT doesn't usual hot shot belts or run short title reigns, and the duo sometimes refered to as the Mechanics have a lot of support from fans and industry insiders who love their Arn Anderson-esque style. But if there's any division where Triple H and his writers are willing to bend formula, it's been the pairs scene. London is an unusual place to pay off an angle whose heroes are from New York & New Jersey, but "How You Doin?"s will probably still ring out in SSE Arena - just in a different accent.

Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Two highly ranked prospects will duke it out in an unofficial #1 contenders match that has its roots in the battle royal that made Crews the official #1 contender after Respect. He and Corbin were the final two men in that match, and Baron carried his bad blood from there into attacking during Apollo's title shot and triggering the disqualification.

A fired up Crews took the action to the Lone Wolf the next time he had a match, and a war of words since got this one booked - and highlighted the differences in the two men's background and character. The former Dragon Gate USA standout has risen quickly in NXT because of his indy experience, while the former NFL lineman has slowly reached this point through a ton of time at the Performance Center, a couple long runs of squash matches and a crowd-forced alignment flip.

Apollo still hasn't technically lost since joining WWE, and he'll be putting that, pride and a probable second chance at Bálor when he steps in the ring with Corbin. Some have speculated that Baron's service time might have him on the verge of the main roster, and a loss here would have him following Tyler Breeze's lead by losing on his way out without ever reaching the top.

Asuka vs. Emma

For many, this is the highlight of the night and a potential showstealer.

The joshi star formerly known as Kana has captivated audiences since debuting in NXT shortly after a surprise appearance ringside at Brooklyn. Despite promo abilities that are limited by her English skills, the woman redubbed Asuka has smiled and kicked her way to fan favorite status.

Similarly remarkable is how completely Emma has turned things around from a gimmick that kind of accidentally became a comedy face one that contributed, along with some other things, to a disastrous main roster run. Since being re-assigned to Developmental, the Australian has reinvented herself as a heel with a chip on her shoulder, and formed a dangerous and hilarious partnership with newcomer Dana Brooke.

Their stories collided when Regal introduced Asuka to Full Sail, and Emma & Dana crashed a party they felt would more justly been thrown for them. Their antics earned Brooke the honor of being in the Japanese's debut match at Respect - a fairly brief affair that ended with the former fitness model unsure of the outcome of the bout.

Both women have torn through everyone NXT put in front of them over the last couple of months, including a highlight reel knockout for Asuka during a match the dastardly duo tried to disrupt just last week. It seems that Emma may have bitten off more than she can chew by pissing off a women that fans believe will "kill" anyone she faces, but if the Lance Storm trainee has proven anything, it's that she can adapt to whatever opportunities present themselves.


That's our rundown of what should be a great afternoon/evening of pro wrestling, Cagesiders! Be sure to follow along as the action unfolds in our live blog.

Will Finn, or Asuka, bring The Demon? Who will leave England with gold? Can the string of excellent TakeOvers continue?

Let us know what you think about those questions or anything on the London card below!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats