By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady def. Corey Hollis and John Skyler
Although I missed Amore and Cassady doing their amazing entrance, it was nice to see them show another layer of their characters by coming down to the ring more serious than usual. Their post-match promo wasn't a home run, but I appreciated how it was something different from the duo and how it was fitting with the story they're telling between them and Dash and Dawson at the moment. If it isn't their time to win the NXT Tag Team Championship next week, I don't know if it ever will be.
Asuka def. Deonna Purrazzo
From the unique entrance to her excellent in-ring skills, Asuka pretty much has it all to become a star in NXT if she isn't one already. Her mic skills could use some work, but that should come over time. Purrazzo is an absolute smokeshow, but her performance here wasn't anything out of the ordinary, so I can't speak for her wrestling ability. The staredown between Asuka and Emma afterward was enough to get me looking forward to their pending matchup.
The Hype Bros def. Blake and Murphy
This was far from the most exciting match I've seen on NXT recently, but at the very least, I liked how they made sense of it by explaining that Blake and Murphy had unfinished business with them from last month. It didn't make the match any better, but it was something. The Hype Bros are a fine tandem, but Blake and Murphy seem to have already peaked. Without Alexa Bliss, they're nothing, and they might not even have her soon if she splits away from them as it was teased here.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley def. Peyton Royce (Non-title)
Royce is another female talent who has been around in NXT for a while as an enhancement talent but has been showing more of her character in her last few appearances. She's competent in the ring as far as I've seen and she looked good in defeat against Bayley, so perhaps there is hope for her yet. More importantly, though, this was designed to be a quick win for Bayley going into her title defense at TakeOver: London. I'm still not sure if Eva Marie is getting the right type of heat, but if nothing else, it's helping Nia Jax elicit a real reaction.
Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin def. NXT Champion Finn Balor and Apollo Crews
Thank you, NXT, for the backstage segments that featured each team talking before the bout. It explained why Joe and Corbin were partnering up despite their checkered past and that Crews is still after Balor's NXT Championship. As for the match itself, it was solid for the most part and an effective way of furthering the feuds involved. Joe has been booked like an absolute beast since turning heel and it's awesome he's riding a wave of momentum heading into TakeOver. Now the question is whether all this momentum will lead to him winning the belt in London. It could really go either way and that's what's so great about it.
This was a pretty standard go-home show in that most of the matches were squashes, but we were treated to a fun main event and every match on the card for TakeOver was hyped in some way, shape or form. Correct me if I'm wrong, but has this not been the best build for any TakeOver yet? I would certainly say so, and it's almost a foregone conclusion that it will deliver because they always do. Hell, I might be more excited for this event than TLC, and I'll be at the latter!
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