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WWE NXT Tapings: Finn Balor defends his belt against Apollo Crews (updated)

Submitted by J.J. Williams

Dark Match - 

Hugo Knox defeated Riddick Moss with a sunset flip of sorts. Crowd was quite into Hugo, his dancing is entertaining and his energy shines through. Moss's work is good. He just needs direction or a character to work with. Knox, on the other hand, has an infectious energy with his dancing. 

November 4th - 

Asuka defeats Cameron via submission with the Asuka Lock

The crowd was behind Asuka completely including "Asuka's Gonna Kill You" & "Asuka City" chants, there also isn't much backlash towards Cameron, she's just a heel working Asuka so it's no big deal that she's here. Asuka did her best to showcase submissions. Post match Asuka mocks Cameron by doing the Funkadactyl drop down while looking at the camera smiling. Crowd laughed big for this. 

Bull Dempsey defeats Angelo Dawkins w/ Sawyer Fulton with his top rope seated maneuver

Bull does his usual routine and mocks Dawkins with his "Bull" front "Fit" back to his singlet, turning back and forth. Just a showcase for Bull here.

Eva Marie defeats Marley (aka Gionna Daddio) via pinfall

Immense heat on Eva, she is despised and thus lead to a good reaction for the debuting Marley, a house show favorite who people actually like. Post match people are booing Eva away and even chanting "That Was Stupid" at her win. 

NXT Champion Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews ends in a DQ when Baron Corbin attacks Apollo after an outstanding match.

We get Crews' entrance including the fog machines in front of his tron, we were very in to Apollo, singing and chanting for him. Then a huge reaction for Balor, the two stand face to face under a spotlight in the center of the ring as Finn is still wearing the title around his waist. In ring introductions to huge cheers, major big fight feel. The crowd was so conflicted as we would never booo either of these men, so it was cheering for one or the other or just clapping/stomping and moments of uncertainty. Excellent work here.

Apollo even got Finn up in the gorilla press, Finn got the knees up to counter the standing moonsault, there was also a big dive to the outside by Finn on to Apollo, late in the match Balor even hit a variation of the Bloody Sunday, the match was so deep in that people were feeling a title change before Baron Corbin ended it. The crowd was furious at Baron here, as he pummeled Crews first and Balor next before Samoa Joe makes the save, Joe stands over Finn and even helps him up before turning on him. Punches in the corner before a muscle buster in the center of the ring. Referees assist Balor to the back after some time. Looking forward to how this translates to tv, I'd say Balor v Crews was the best NXT match for both these men thus far, would love to see more of this someday. 

November 11th:

Adrien Reese (aka Athena) defeats Peyton Royce after an incredible finisher, a leaping off the top rope stunner

Fans were in to Adrien from the start but increasingly reacted louder to her work, some smooth transitions, roll throughs, and that finisher got a giant "Whoah!" reaction and cheer for the finish. Great debut here.

Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin never happens as Apollo Crews rushes the ring and lays in to Baron to a brawl

The people were going wild, an intense brawl where Apollo's shirt even got ripped open during the fight. Baron is the most hated man in NXT, it also feels like Crews was elevated even with the non finish. He's a star. Dillinger had new music, a good face reaction even before people knew he was facing Corbin, sadly we didn't get to see any more of him at this set. 

NXT Women's Champion Bayley & The Hype Bros defeated Alexa Bliss, Wesley Blake, and Buddy Murphy when the Hype Bros hit the super rough ryder from the top

Amazing atmosphere for Bayley here, crowd was singing her theme song, singing chants for her "Heyyy We Want Some Bayley" a play on the New Day's recent chant for themselves. This was all about Bayley yet Mojo and Zack were able to go with it, Mojo doing his "Hammer Time" wacky dancing, telling Blake & Murphy that they get "Zero Chicks" and building up to Bayley finally getting her hands on Alexa. Near the finish, Alexa slips away to steal the NXT Women's title and run off with it, Bayley tries to go through the ring but Blake stands in front of her only to be hit with a Belly To Bayley which received a gigantic reaction, Bayley made her way after Bliss as the Hype Bros finished off Blake & Murphy for the win. 

Nia Jax squashed Deonna Purrazzo

Bear hugs, tree slam, leg drop. We'll be seeing similar matches for a while. 

Dash & Dawson win the NXT Tag Team Championships from The Vaudevillains

This was completely unexpected, crowd was in to the Vauds early on and through the match yet seemed happy with the finish knowing how hard Dash & Dawson work. "You Deserve It" chants and you could see genuine emotion on Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, these men are proud to be wrestlers and now champions. 

- November 19th:

Samoa Joe makes his way to the ring for a promo, he's met with booing and "Why? Joe, Why?" chants. He goes on to say he carried Finn to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic win, that he deserved a title shot from the day he walked in to NXT, that William Regal putting him in the battle royal was an insult. This leads to an angry Finn Balor on his way to the ring, referees and security try to cut him off and are in the ring between the two before Joe gets a cheap shot and is able to lock in the clutch, choking Finn out in the center of a dog pile of referees and security. Finn is again helped to the back after this segment. 

Nia Jax defeated Carmella

Nia womanhandled Carmella here, winning easily with her slam and big leg drop. No sign of Enzo & Cass at these tapings.

Chad Gable & Jason Jordan defeated The Ascension with the assisted German suplex

The Ascension were out first to a gigantic ovation, these men are loved here. Then an equal and shocked reaction when Gable & Jordan's music hit since we knew this would be good, these two are made men. The crowd continued singing "Gable - Jordan" to the tune of Kurt Angle's old theme music, then The Ascension received "Yah" chants which lead to "Gable - Yah! - Jordan - Yah!" amongst other chants for both teams. Good match, crowd was super in to it. Post match The Ascension make their way back in the ring for a staredown followed by embracing and raising the winners' hands. The Full Sail crowd appreciated this sportsmanship and endorsement. 

Emma defeated Mary Kate aka Andrea via Emma Lock

 Another fun case of when a veteran is not facing someone adored by the crowd, they'll be cheered even as a heel. "Evil Emma" chants, quick showcase match for Emma. No sign of Dana Brooke on this set either. 

NXT Tag Team Champions Dash & Dawson defeated Corey Hollis and John Skyler

Quick showcase match for the champs here, clean in the middle with their assisted codebreaker type finish. 

NXT Women's Champion Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss via pinfall with the Belly To Bayley

Alexa worked a lot of holds trying to slow the pace and keep Bayley under control. Crowd wasn't expecting a title change here and there weren't any intense near falls to worry about. Plenty of cheers and chants for Bayley along with taunts towards Alexa Bliss. Finish was mostly out of nowhere in the center of the ring. After Bayley celebrated for a moment Eva Marie's music hit and she made her way to the ring to a chorus of booos. Now she has been boood before in NXT for her matches and it was pretty bad for her on stage interview.

This was the loudest negative reaction I have ever heard. She was boooed down and it was deafening. Bayley would lean in and try to hear what Eva was saying, then look back at us and her hand to her ear. This was unbelievable. After being booed out of the building, Eva left and Bayley was able to take the mic and say she accepts. I believe that title match will happen the first episode of the November 19th taping. Bayley's music hit and everyone was sent home happy.