Just been furloughed so have done this to try and take my mind off it.
As mentioned earlier in this thread, I attended this live in what was my first ever wrestling show in the flesh! What I didn’t mention though, was that I’ve actually already done a write up of this TakeOver for the forum already, posting a review literally the day after it happened (eat it Meltzer).
I’ve watched the show in full again just now, which I think is for the first time since being there on the night. Therefore, I’m going to be casting 2020 eyes on not only on the wrestling itself, but my own UKFF write up of the show as well, in order to find out what I make of both things five years on. Enjoy!
2015: Having attended last night’s show and then my work Christmas party I’ve spent a very hungover morning writing this up, it’s long but I hope you guys enjoy it.
2020: Heh, alcohol – classic. No change there in the last five years.
2015: A quick scan of the ticket and a pat-down later I bought a couple of pints of Fosters (£5 each) and made my way to my seat, six rows from the front with a superb view of the ring although the entrance way was a bit out of sight.
2020: Fosters? Ergh. I tried but couldn’t see myself in any of the footage on the Network unfortunately.
2015: In terms of the card:
Tag team opener was decent, Jordan and Gable were the stars of the show and got the Yaya/Kolo Toure chant in addition to “we want Jordan/Gable” whenever neither of them were in the ring. They need a bit of fine-tuning but I can’t wait until they get called-up as I can see them being main-eventers in the future.
Bullfit v Elias. “You’re a hipster” chants were richly deserved, the Macho Man elbow didn’t seem like it was going to be the finish and a few people were surprised it was over so quickly. I guess they’re pushing this guy.
2020: These matches were on the pre-show so weren’t part of the main card on the Network and I couldn’t watch them again, but I remember how fucking OVER Jordan and Gable were. If you’d have told me Jordan would be Kurt Angle’s storyline son a few years later it would’ve got me very excited and led me to believe he’d be doing huge things in 2020. Not really turned out like that has it? Elias looks like he stinks currently so can’t imagine why this would’ve been different in 2015.
I don't recall Motorhead's Ace of Spades being used as the theme song for this, its cool though, and much better than the "IT COULDA BEEN MEEEEEE" tune they also lined up as an official theme.
2015: Asuka v Evil Emma – A great effort, I didn’t think Emma had it in her but she was taking Asuka’s wicked offence like a soldier. Asuka did a lot of screaming and shouting towards our section and got a good response from the crowd in doing so. She has an awesome look.
2020: This was a good watch, Asuka’s offence looked brutal at times, have to admit I enjoyed Emma heeling it up and wouldn’t mind her seeing her back in either AEW or WWE at all. I wouldn’t mind her front either (sorry for the Lawler/Boydy).
2015: Tag titles match – How over are Enzo and Cass? Christ it was like the second coming. I sincerely hope that Big Cass chant to Hey Jude follows him back to Full Sail and beyond, loved the little touches on their outfits too especially London Bridge on Amore’s trunks. Dawson (or is it Dash?) reminds my mate of Perry Saturn, not sure on that shout myself.
2020: With hindsight Enzo and Cass have probably fallen the furthest out of anyone on this card. I don’t think it was known what a gobshite Enzo was by this point and Cass hadn’t discovered Krispy Kreme burgers yet, they’re with Carmella which I’d completely forgotten about somehow. She’s done the best out of all of them which would’ve been very weird to hear back then. Their entrance and pre-match promo (everyone goes nuts for Enzo having, and referencing, a Pound coin) was very good though and you could see why they were so over, charisma overload.
The match itself was decent, some good NXT Formula tag fare which I always enjoy, loads of football chants including the one I referenced above, which did not catch on in the States or elsewhere if I remember rightly. Dawson and Dash retain thanks to some Cheat 2 Win, the crowd aren’t wankers and don’t cheer the heels retaining.
One last thing on this, Carmella looks like she got her hat (a red pleather baseball cap with a Union flag on it) from one of those PRIDE OF LONDON gift shops in Covent Garden, not exactly “fabulous”.
2015: Corbin v Crews was the disappointment of the night, the match didn’t get going. Crews has wicked offense and a great look but is missing that “X” factor, I hope he can find it. Corbin is boring and got a LOT of swear words aimed him but he made a point of brushing them off with gestures and staring daggers at the neckbeards. His tattoos look worse in person than on telly.
2020: This was boring then and it is boring now, Corbin still sucks, and I can’t believe he’s got a match with Smelly Elias on a two-day WrestleMania that will have an attendance figure of 0. That would sound mental in 2015 or even two months ago but hey, thanks Coronavirus… Next!
2015: Jax v Bayley – Jax’s music sounded great over the arena sound system. I liked the story of this match, Nia is about twice the width of Bayley and I was actually struggling to imagine how Bayley could win. I don’t think they’ve built Nia that well, it’s just she’s massive and looks mean. Bayley adding a bit of steel and nous (ie, hang in there and hook this hold in as many times as I can until it works) is going to add layers to her character that she’ll need. She also seems like such a sweetheart, no wonder she’s over – her entrance had me clapping like a seal, I was giddy!
2020: Nia’s entrance jacket is pretty sweet and Bayley is over like rover, I remember clapping like a seal as I mentioned above, and in hindsight she was probably my favourite person on this card. I remember punching the air a few months later having come in from a night out when she beat Sasha in Brooklyn (can’t wait to see the UKFF’s review of that one) which is a testament to how over she was.
The match here was a bit plodding but told a simple story, giant versus smaller underdog was the right move here. The finish does a good job of protecting Nia too who would go on to big things, and who is an example of a decent success story from NXT really. The atmosphere is incredible all night but in this match in particular I think, the variety and volume in the chants is again more football than wrestling. Many of us love to self-flagellate and get annoyed with each other but I do think UK people just “get” how to create an atmosphere and enjoy ourselves at shows like this, the talent looked chuffed whenever they got a chant and I’m all for it.
Two hindsighty notes before the main event - Nia’s theme music is still on my gym playlist, and I got to meet Bayley in Orlando when I went to WrestleMania 33, and she remains the only wrestler I’ve ever met. She was lovely.
2015: Joe v Balor – Just a superb back and forth match, their blows were incredibly stiff – you could see the sweat fly off them each time a chop landed. Joe looks hard AF in real life. Can’t wait to see Finn’s entrance on TV.
2020: Joe does indeed look like a double hard bastard, even when he’s wearing “yer da’s” WWE branded black polo in the video package. This beef doesn’t come across as personal as they’re trying to make it, but this may be because I’m not in the moment. Finn’s entrance was cool, they got it right here when they definitely didn’t in Dallas in 2016 which I remember actually laughing at. The NXT belt they use is here is a lot better than the current one – the centre plate is lovely big golden “X”. It just occurred to me it must have been really cool for those long-time ROH/TNA fans to see Joe in a main event of a WWE show like this.
Finn looks muscular but still feels about half the size of Joe – it’s a bit weird, but once they get going you can definitely get into this and it doesn’t particularly look a mismatch. This develops into a right hard-hitter as I mentioned above, something akin to a modern NJPW match, and is free of the finisher spam fests that have become a bit of a hallmark of NXT in recent years. Balor wins via coupe de grace after escaping a couple of Joe’s coquina clutch attempts and avoiding a muscle buster off the top. Good match, good show – except for Baron fucking Corbin.
I had a few other things to say about the crowd and my Christmas party in my 2015 post, as well as the fact I missed Sami Zayn’s return, but I basically used a lot of words to explain the atmosphere was ace and I had a good night out with my work lot, so I’ve left it out . I had fun here though and watching it brought back some nice memories, I would love to go to another one of these one day whether that's here or in the US (I went to TakeOver: Orlando too but I think this was more enjoyable) and look forward to the day it comes.