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Smark Hen-XT (12/9/15): London Calling

This week, NXT wraps things up nicely as we prepare for TakeOver: London.

Prediction Time

As we always do, this week we’re going to take a look at next week’s big card and see what we can expect from NXT’s first foray in (literally) foreign land.

  • Asuka vs Emma: Historically, NXT live specials deliver on great women’s matches. Between the two Divas matches on the card, the fight between the villainous Aussie Emma and the ass-kicking Japanese Asuka looks poised to deliver on that promise. They’re both talented individuals with something to prove, so I expect them to blow the roof off with solid technical wrestling and stiff striking. I’m predicting the win for Asuka.

  • Apollo Crews vs Baron Corbin: Two hosses who don’t like each other? Count me in! This match is going to be a hard-hitting one, as Crews looks to get payback on the man who cost him a shot at the NXT Championship, while Corbin looks to spoil the young upstart’s stellar run. It’s pretty hard to predict who’s going over here, as both have great potentials as the next challenger to whoever wins the main event, but I’m going with Corbin here. A signature win against a great competitor like Crews can bring him back to the title hunt.

  • Dash and Dawson (c) vs Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for the NXT Tag Team Championship: This feud has turned personal for the challengers, as the Realest Guys in the Room bring in a newfound intensity to the table. No witty verbal smackdowns, just fisticuffs against the newly minted Tag Team Champions. The Mechanics, though, are no pushovers so expect them to try and target any weaknesses—as is there MO—with great submissions and grappling. I’m going with Enzo and Big Cass in this match, even at the cost of a short run for an obviously talented team.

  • Bayley (c) vs Nia Jax for the NXT Women’s Championship: Honestly, I’m not expecting much from this match. Not that I don’t trust Bayley to put on a great match—far from it—it’s Nia Jax I don’t trust. She’s green, she hasn’t faced any real competition, and I’m not really buying her whole partnership with Eva Marie. Nevertheless, the powers that be are big on her, so I’m at least excited to see what Jax is capable of doing against a credible opponent. And who could be more credible than the reigning NXT Women’s Champ? I’m hoping that Bayley retains here.

  • Finn Balor (c) vs Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship: Oooh, this is going to be painful. Joe’s been on a tear lately, and by the looks of things, there’s no stopping the Samoan Submission Specialist. Balor’s not looking so lively these past few weeks, but everything changes when the Demon comes out to play. This is going to be one violent affair. I’m predicting Balor will retain the title, and this will probably lead to a well-deserved call-up for one or both of these guys.

So there we have it. We have five announced matches for next week’s live special. As per Triple H’s usual pre-TakeOver conference call, they’re also going to be taping another episode at the London show, as they did at Brooklyn, including the television return of former NXT Champion and all-around likeable guy Sami Zayn.

The rest of the show:

Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady def. John Skyler and Corey Hollis

  • A no-nonsense Enzo and Cass made quick work of the job squad. After the match, they took to the mic and promised to deliver a beatdown on the champs.

  • While I enjoy the goofy antics of the Realest Guys in the Room, this intensity and focus is a breath of fresh air for them. I’m not expecting something like this to come up again, as tag team feuds are notoriously badly booked on WWE, but it’s glad to see that they’re being given the opportunity to create more depth for their characters.

Asuka def. Deonna Purrazzo

  • Asuka kicked Purrazzo’s head off, despite interference from Emma and Dana Brooke.

  • Let me just say this: I’m not buying knockout victories. And we already have 2 from NXT this year. I guess the fact that both Kevin Owens and Asuka—both of whom are legitimate ass-kickers—earned them makes it a bit easier to swallow. But it’s still a bit tough to believe that when Samoa Joe probably gave Tommaso Ciampa a concussion last week and the former still needed to lock in the Coquina Clutch to win this week. Consistency is the key.

Hype Bros def. Blake and Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)

  • The team of Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley got the win after nailing the Hype Ryder on Blake.

  • Two things about Blake and Murphy: first, massive props for trying to pull off the Freddy Kruger look, but it’s six weeks after Halloween. If they’re going to play dress up, Christmas elves would have been more holiday-appropriate. Second, I feel bad for the former champs. They had one good feud and now they’re losing to Mojo Rawley. I hope they find their footing again.

  • Fun fact: Zack Ryder has a winning record this year, mainly because he’s been teaming up with Rawley, who’s big with the powers that be. I love that the Long Island Iced Z is relevant again, but the Hype Bros really have to fine tune how they interact on TV. They’re already doing a good job at it on Social Media.

Bayley def. Peyton Royce

  • Bayley picked up the win after hitting the Bayley-to-Belly hug-plex.

  • The match was OK. Royce looked better than her last outing and we got a typical Bayley match, which is to say, she hulked back up to pick up the win. It was the post-match promo that was more interesting. Nia Jax and Eva Marie came out to boos. Surprisingly, Jax did well, given the circumstances. Despite the noise from the crowd, she got what she wanted to say without big problems. She still has to work on threatening people, but for a first timer, it’s not bad.

Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe def. NXT Champions Finn Balor and Apollo Crews

  • The heels picked up the win after Samoa Joe locked Finn Balor in the Coquina Clutch.

  • The main event was a taste of what we’re getting from TakeOver: London’s biggest matches. All things considered, this was a fun match with the team of Joe and Corbin dominating most of the match. We’re not seeing anything new from Corbin, Joe, and Crews—they’ve been in action since the whole main event shebang started—but this is Balor’s first match since the Joe turned heel. The way he started the match with that uncontrolled fury towards Joe is new. We haven’t seen this much emotion from the normally calm and collected champion, so seeing him lose his cool adds depth to his character. Will this lead to a heel turn? Probably not.

This was a good show, despite once again being filled with one-sided matches. The main event—short as it was—was an interesting affair. As far as go home matches, we’ve seen worse, but we could have gotten better. This show gets a B.

Excited for next week? Agree with our predictions? Let us know and drop us a comment!

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Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT,'s weekly NXT review.

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