WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 25
Armageddon is upon us.
If you are as wildly against Eva Marie as the NXT faithful in Full Sail University, that is.
Wednesday night featured the star of Total Divas in her first truly high-profile championship bout, as she squared off with Bayley in this week's main event.
With all eyes on the still fairly inexperienced young performer and whether NXT Creative would go all in with her push by booking her to win the title, the atmosphere surrounding the match was certainly heated.
That was hardly the only championship bout of importance on Wednesday night.
After dissecting The Vaudevillains and winning the tag titles two weeks ago, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson put their gold on the line in a rematch against Aiden English and Simon Gotch.
Asuka returned to the squared circle, squaring off with a familiar foe in Dana Brooke to round out the night's in-ring competition in what was a better-than-expected Thanksgiving Eve episode of NXT.
Who emerged victorious? Which matches graded out the highest?
Find out with our analysis.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe Contract Signing
Michael Cole is the new NXT general manager in the absence of William Regal, who is recovering from neck surgery.
First, he announced that Bayley and Eva Marie would compete in the main event, then officiated the contract signing between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for their match at TakeOver on Dec. 16.
Balor vowed to stick his foot down Joe's throat following his betrayal a few weeks ago.
Joe silently walked to the ring and signed the contract, apparently having nothing else to say about his actions of late.
As the champion made his way up the ramp, he was attacked from behind by the No. 1 contender, who was able to thwart an impassioned onslaught by Balor and choked him out.
A hot way to start the show—first with the revelation that Michael Cole will take over from William Regal (who thought that was a good idea?) and then the signing of the contract for the upcoming TakeOver main event.
Joe's ambush on Balor was a great way to establish the heel as a guy who likes to portray himself as tough but is also a coward who attacks from behind rather than face-to-face.
With two of the most celebrated and decorated international stars of the last decade slated to do battle in London, the TakeOver main event could well be one of the most anticipated matches in NXT history.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Vaudevillains vs. Dash and Dawson
The Vaudevillains were look to avenge their defeat from two weeks earlier when they took to the squared circle for a NXT Tag Team Championship match against new titleholders Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson.
Whereas the first match saw the heels focus their attack on Aiden English's knee, the rematch again saw them isolate The Artiste, this time working over his arm.
Simon Gotch was on the receiving end of the hot tag and appeared to be surging, heading toward a victory and a second tag title reign when Dawson managed to breakup an attempt at The Whirling Dervish.
The worn down English endured the Shatter Machine from the champions, ending The Vaudevillain's quest to regain the titles on a sour note.
After the match, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady hit the ring, looking to get revenge for an assault from October, when Big Cass suffered a knee injury.
Dash and Dawson defeated The Vaudevillains to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships
The Vaudevillains were seriously over, with the crowd eating up everything from their in-ring work to their awesome entrance. Unfortunately, they simply do not mesh as well with Dawson and Dash as they do with a team such as Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake. The result of that was a so-so match.
Dawson and Wilder are a quality team, reminiscent of great teams from wrestling history such as The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, but trying to have the energetic tag bouts the brand was once known for simply will not happen, mainly because their style does not allow for it.
The post-match stuff seems to position Big Cass and Enzo Amore as the top contenders to the titles, creating a big question about the status of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke
A match promoted as Asuka vs. Dana Brooke in a rematch from TakeOver: Respect never got started.
Instead, Emma capitalized on a brief distraction to jump Asuka and beat her down. She trapped her rival in the Emma Lock and left the Japanese star lying to close out the segment.
Emma was in desperate need of something to give her some momentum heading into TakeOver, especially if fans are supposed to believe she has the even the slightest chance of beating Asuka. This was a great way of proving the numbers advantage NXT's resident mean girls have could prove costly for the international Diva.
Even if Asuka is going to destroy the Aussie whenever they do lock up.
Apollo Crews vs. Jesse Sorensen
This week's jobber du jour for Apollo Crews was one Jesse Sorensen, he of TNA Wrestling fame.
The showdown lasted but two minutes as Crews overwhelmed Sorensen with a standing vertical suplex and an Alley Oop into a powerbomb won the match for the surging young star.
After the match, Crews grabbed a microphone and vowed to lay Baron Corbin down when they meet one-on-one.
Apollo Crews defeated Jesse Sorensen
This was a garden-variety squash designed to put Apollo Crews over.
The promo after the match put over the ongoing rivalry between him and Baron Corbin and provided Crews with a rare chance to talk in front of the live crowd. In that respect, it was a solid and effective segment.
NXT Women's Championship Match: Bayley vs. Eva Marie
Senior official Charles Robinson made his way to the ring and was announced as WWE Corporate's choice to ensure there was no controversy in the night's main event. This, amid suggestions throughout the night that the fix was in.
Nia Jax accompanied Eva Marie to the ring, confirming their new on-screen association.
The challenger allowed her hubris to get the best of her early, leading to Bayley delivering a huge Bayley-to-Belly. Before the three count, the original official was pulled out of the ring by Jax, leading to a quick two count from referee Robinson off of a rollup.
The crowd erupted into a chorus of boos as the All Red Everything Diva wrested control of the bout, suggesting a screwjob was in the works.
Robinson cut off Bayley in the corner, leading to Sliced Red and a molten-hot near-fall. A second attempt at Sliced Red led to Robinson taking a bump and Jax again getting involved.
Bayley took her down and delivered a super Bayley-to-Belly suplex from the top rope for the win.
After the match, Jax laid out Bayley and held the NXT Women's Championship to close out the show.
Bayley defeated Eva Marie
The main event of this week's show was everything that makes pro wrestling awesome.
There was a story, a clear heel and a clear babyface. There was conflict and, most importantly, emotion.
The fans completely bought into the story about WWE Corporate fixing the main event to ensure Eva Marie left as champion, and the result was a wicked-hot match. Fans hung on every near-fall, certain that the least desirable outcome was about to occur.
But it did not.
Bayley retained, Nia Jax inserted herself into the title picture and all was right with the world.
The main event was a masterclass in booking and showed what can be accomplished when the fans have a reason to care. The Bayley character has such a connection with the audience it made everything about this segment successful.
Perhaps WWE's main roster creative staff should sit back, take notes and dissect why this worked and why so much of what they throw out every Monday and Thursday night does not.