By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger
It was basically the squash match you figured it would be, but at least it was fun while it lasted. Even the enhancement talent in NXT have characters, which makes quick matches such as this one more entertaining as a result. Corbin has definitely grown on me these past few months and he's come into his own as a dominant heel. Apollo Crews' backstage promo afterward was good and I look forward to what kind of match he and Corbin can produce in London.
Nia Jax def. Blue Pants
I'm still not sold on Jax. Her in-ring work is coming along nicely, but it might be how (and I've said this before) she doesn't have a true character. I know her motivations have to do with her cousin The Rock or something like that, but the crowd doesn't know how to react to her when she comes out and wins. Are they watching the same backstage segments we are? If they aren't, I could see why it would be confusing whether she's a face or a heel based off her matches.
James Storm def. Adam Rose
It's encouraging that Storm is back in NXT despite all the drama that went down with Billy Gunn, who (for those unaware) brought Storm in to begin with. He looks more motivated than ever and had a fine opponent in Rose. Speaking of whom, I'm shocked the crowd still cares about him. Give them the party character back and relegate him to NXT only. Anyway, it would be cool to see Storm in London or at the very least become a regular on the roster.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable def. The Vaudevillians
It looks like Jordan and Gable are officially babyfaces, which is a smart move. They can be awesome heels, but it's gotten to the point where they're so popular and over with the audience at Full Sail University that they shouldn't fight it and instead just roll with it. They contested an enjoyable matchup with The Vaudevillians that had the right result. No one cared about The Vaudevillians as babyfaces the first time around, so we'll see where this slow-burning heel turn goes.
Emma def. Liv Morgan
Morgan previously wrestled a match against Eva Marie under the name of Marley, so her new name Liv Morgan might be permanent. That match was horrid, but this was a significant improvement. Amazing how big of a difference a quality opponent makes, right? It's evident Emma is losing to Asuka at NXT TakeOver, but I applaud the effort to give her some momentum going into the event.
Samoa Joe def. Tommaso Ciampa
This felt like a match straight out of Ring of Honor, and I mean that as a compliment. They have similar styles and thus it made for a hard-hitting matchup. Ciampa was a great opponent for Joe as he was able to score an ample amount of offense before taking the loss which he won't be harmed by because he still (reportedly) isn't signed to NXT. Joe has been built up like a monster in recent weeks and his pending match with Finn Balor should be spectacular.
NXT has been firing on all cylinders for close to two months now and in my opinion, this has been the best build for any TakeOver ever. I might be wrong on that, but I can't remember the last time a card was built up so well. Yes, the NXT Tag Team Championship match was added almost at the last minute, but at least Dash and Dawson and Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady have history dating back a month or two. The two women's matches should be solid, Crews vs. Corbin will be interesting and the main event is sure to deliver. Only two weeks away!
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