While we bemoan the current state of the main roster, we're also less than two weeks away from the next NXT live special. Those events, which air live on WWE Network and are dubbed TakeOvers, have become the stuff of legend, with each show receiving more acclaim than the last.
Last night's pre-taped edition of NXT officially announced two more matches for the next show, December 16's TakeOver: London, and laid the groundwork for at least one more.
So let's run down what we know, think we know and are hoping for when that shows broadcasts at 3PM Eastern time a week from next Wednesday. But first, a reminder...
Everyone at Cageside Seats is aware that NXT is pre-taped and that there are ways to find out what happens ahead of time (including but not limited to clicking right here), but many choose not to read results until they can watch the show themselves. If you're here to reveal things before they're broadcast to show how smart you are or whatever, you will be banned. If you just want to talk about those things in advance, please head to the latest spoiler post or fully block them out using the tool in the icons above the comment box.
On with discussing the show...
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews
This one has its roots in a the fact that they're two of the fastest rising stars on the roster, and they were the final two men in the ring at the end of the battle royal to determine the #1 contender for the NXT championship (coincidence? I think not).
Heel-ish indignation at being eliminated by Crews led the Lone Wolf to break up his title match with Finn Bálor, and Apollo sought revenge by attacking Corbin before his next bout could even get started. Several back and forth promos where they both expressed an interest in settling things in a British ring, and we have what should determine who will challenge the man that leaves London with the big gold X.
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Bálor (c) for the NXT Championship
Crews' championship match that Baron interrupted ended with Samoa Joe assaulting Bálor. Joe has been angling for a title shot since he signed with WWE, and he's done waiting.
A pull apart brawl the next week included the champ telling his former tag partner that he had his match, and a subsequent contract signing made it official. The challenger has stood tall to end all of their encounters to date, which is either telegraphing Finn's retaining or a sign that the Irishman might get killed on English soil later this month.
Dash & Dawson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady for the tag team championship
Even before the current champs had claimed the straps from Aiden English & Simon Gotch, they had heat with the Realest Guys. Even though they've never been champs, Enzo & Cass have been around the top of the tag scene for a while now so attacking them made a statement.
There was an element of payback, too, when they jumped the New York/New Jersey duo before a match and sent the big guy to the trainer's room with a knee injury, as Zo & Cass had slowed the roll Dash & Dawson were on coming out of the Dusty Rhodes Classic by beating them in their first match after the tournament.
Last week, the faces returned the favor with a post-match assault, and now we'll see if the Certified G and the seven-footer can finally win the big one across the pond.
Asuka vs. Emma
The Aussie has added a mean streak since her failed main roster run, and picked up a protege in Dana Brooke. The pair were frustrated at not being pushed at the level of Bayley and the other NXT Horsewomen, and decided to take it out on the newly signed Asuka.
That proved to be a mistake, as the Japanese veteran worked over Brooke fairly decisively at Respect. Emma hatched a scheme to get revenge, and managed to put Asuka in her submission finisher last week. But she may have bitten off more than she can chew...
Ever the fighting champion, Bayley has successfully fought off challenges from Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie over the past couple of weeks.
In the wake of her victory over the Total Divas star, however, Eva's new friend Nia Jax followed up on some in-match interference by attacking the champ. The Hugster told an interviewer that she's up for a challenge from the larger woman should NXT officials book that match...and Nia expressed her interest by throwing the champ through a door backstage.
Expect this one to be added to the card on the go home show next week.
Sami Zayn returns
He's training in the Performance Center. He's booked for shows on the United Kingdom tour. They're playing hype videos.
We don't know if he'll be wrestling or what exactly he'll be doing, but the former NXT champ and all around likeable guy will be in London.
Other possibilities for December 16 include:
- With the Vaudevillains showing heel-ish tendencies and Chad Gable & Jason Jordan getting a push, a second tag match could make the show.
- Elias Sampson's Drifter gimmick has received two lengthy promos featuring him singing about the show and the title. He's worked matches as straight enhancement talent before, but it seems they're going to raise his profile and they don't have a bigger stage than TakeOver.
- A tag team break-up feud between Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton was getting a considerable amount of play a little while back, but that doesn't look to have made the cut for the last taping...greatly decreasing the likelihood it will play a part in London.
- Big acquisitions that haven't been on television yet are stacking up in Orlando. Though they often hype a big debut ahead of time, we could see something from Rich Swann, Athena or even La Sombra - even if it's just a video announcing a future appearance.
- Veterans floating around the brand such as James Storm, or a few other ex-TNA stars who were rumored to be backstage at the last Full Sail show, could be used to fill time and pop the crowd.
We're close to a full dance card, and only one show to go. How is London shaping up in the illustrious history of NXT live events?
It's your turn to take over!