By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Asuka def. Emma
Asuka received the superstar treatment from the moment she made her entrance. Mark my words, she's destined for big things on NXT and beyond. Although the focus of this match was mostly on her, Emma had an excellent showing as well, making for a very good matchup to kick off the show. Personally, I thought it was the better of the two women's matches, but that might have been because they told a totally different story. Nevertheless, they did an effective job of making it look like Emma had a chance of coming out on top by cheating at the end only for Asuka to ultimately emerge victorious.
NXT Tag Team Champions Dash and Dawson def. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
Based off the video package that aired prior to the match, I was almost positive Amore and Cassady were winning the titles here. That's probably what made this match compelling because I found myself hanging on every nearfall, especially down the stretch. Even the first half of the match was well done with Amore and Cassady getting their signature spots in while Dash and Dawson worked over Cassady's previously injured knee. The final few minutes were fantastic as Amore and Cassady had the match won and were thwarted at the last possible second. Even Dash and Dawson hitting their finisher off the top rope was super sweet. As much as I wanted the babyfaces to finally take home the titles, I can't complain after such a great match. Dash and Dawson are growing on me more and more as each week passes.
Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews
I didn't know exactly what to expect from these two, but they ended up producing a relatively solid matchup. It had its fair share of sloppy spots, but they were far and few between and they made up for them by innovating a number of reversals as well (Crews getting out of the End of Days only to deliver a kick to the back of Corbin's head was particularly great). I was shocked to see Corbin win clean, but it was the good kind of surprise. Crews lost nothing in defeat and Corbin was due a win on a live special (his victory in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinals at Respect notwithstanding). It also sets up him and Finn Balor for a future showdown, too.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley def. Nia Jax
I understood what they were going for with this match, but I can't say I was a huge fan of it. It definitely wasn't the type of match we're used to seeing from the women on these live specials, but I wanted Jax to lose more than I wanted Bayley to win. Yes, since Jax is a heel, I should have wanted to see her lose, but she's just not ready for a title run at this point. This was her best outing to date, but that goes without saying. Jax dominating almost all of the match before tapping out protected her in a way, but she lost pretty decisively, so I'm curious to see how they set up a rematch if that's the current plan.
NXT Champion Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe
This was every bit as physical and as exciting as I figured it would be. Both competitors brought their A-game and delivered an exceptional contest. Honestly, there isn't much more to say other than that because this was just awesome all-around. It would have been cool to see Joe win the belt, but Balor has plenty more in the tank as champion with Corbin emerging as a contender earlier in the evening. I just hope Joe continues to be a dominant heel coming out of his phenomenal performance here.
Of the nine TakeOver specials we have had in the last two years, every one has been great, this one being no exception. The Women's title match wasn't my cup of tea, but that's not to say it was bad by any means and I liked the result. The main event was terrific, but the tag title match surprisingly stole the show and has my vote for Match of the Night. Asuka vs. Emma and Corbin vs. Crews were also enjoyable, so it was a strong special on the whole. And don't even get me started on the hot London crowd. They were invested in every match and only enhanced the electric atmosphere for the show.
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