By Graham "GSM" Matthews
No Way Jose and TM-61 def. SAnitY
First off, it's worth mentioning that they were selling a poster at the merchandise stand listing the "official" match card for the night, which they sell at every NXT event and I already own three of them. I bought the one from this show, and what was funny was that none of the matches listed on the poster (with the exception of the main event) actually happened. That said, people were confused when Eric Young (and the rest of SAnitY) came out to face Jose. That was when they ambushed him instead and TM-61 made the save, leading to NXT General Manager William Regal (so cool to see him live!) coming out and making it a six-man tag team match. It was the perfect bout to open up the night with, and I think TM-61 are a lot better than most fans give them credit for and I hope they win it all in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic on Saturday. Afterward, TM-61 danced with Jose as well as referee Drake Wuertz, which was hilarious.
Oney Lorcan def. Elias Sampson
Similar to when he wrestled Tomasso Ciampa in Lowell back in April, Lorcan received a strong ovation when he made his entrance due to being from Boston. But before that, Sampson came out to a chorus of boos, yet he was somehow able to turn himself babyface when he sang "Free Bird" for the crowd. The match wasn't too much of note, but Lorcan looked as great here as he did against Kalisto earlier this week on SmackDown Live.
Nikki Cross def. Liv Morgan
Morgan isn't as atrocious as she once was, but she still isn't that good. As the illustrious RJ Marceau said to me, however, at least she's hot. That she is, my friend. I think another issue she has at the moment is that she doesn't have a defined character, in addition to losing so many matches. Hell, she lost here! Cross is crazy, so there's that. She won with something I can't recall, so the finish felt anticlimactic. It was a decent match, but Morgan remains a work in progress.
Cedric Alexander def. Roderick Strong
I knew this was going to be special once I realized both of these guys are Ring of Honor alumni, and that the company dropped the ball on both of them while they were there. Alexander has been the breakout star of every match I've seen him have in recent months and this was no exception. Meanwhile, Strong has an excellent look and is exceptional in the ring in his own right. Put all of those things together and you have yourself one hell of a match. Seriously, this was tremendous. The crowd was hot throughout the bout and they received a standing ovation after Alexander won. I hope this was taped for a future DVD release because they freakin' killed it.
NXT Women's Champion Asuka def. Peyton Royce and Ember Moon in a Triple Threat Match
Royce really hasn't shown me anything in terms of her wrestling ability as of late, but she worked very well with the two ultra babyfaces here. She has "Poison Ivy" character down pat and I enjoy her chemistry with Billie Kay. The crowd popped for the various teases of Asuka and Moon going at it and it's going to be a huge deal once they eventually clash one-on-one. Royce looked strong in defeat and this was easily the best women's match I've seen in NXT since Brooklyn in August.
Tye Dillinger def. Bobby Roode
This was more or a less a preview of what we will likely on Saturday, and I have my fingers crossed that they repeat some of these spots because this was so incredibly entertaining. Roode and Dillinger are amazing opponents in that they play so perfectly off each other. It was the little things about the match that made it so damn fun, including Roode begging Dillinger to spare him but the crowd mistaking his hand gestures for a "10!" chant. To me, this was the second best match of the night next to Alexander vs. Strong. Dillinger won with his Tye Breaker finisher after Roode attempted to get himself counted out and disqualified.
NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and DIY def. Samoa Joe and NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival
I've experienced it twice before, but Nakamura's entrance never ceases to give me goosebumps whenever I witness it live. Simply surreal. Anyway, the match was a blast with Nakamura mostly working with The Revival and DIY getting a ton of in-ring time. The audience adored them. The babyfaces went over after a fantastic flurry of finishers at the end, and DIY did Nakamura's rope deal post-match in a cool moment. Also, during the match, Dash tried to use Joe's towel to wipe his forehead while Joe intensely stared him down. Funny.
I think Mr. Marceau said it best in calling NXT the premier brand in wrestling right now. I have attended over a dozen wrestling shows this year, but the three NXT events lead the list as the best I've been to in 2016. The atmosphere is always amazing and most of the matches deliver. The only downside to the show was the annoying row of guys sitting behind us who thought it would humorous to chant for stupid stuff the entire evening, but that's a part of the experience. This show was worth it for Alexander vs. Strong, Dillinger vs. Roode, and the main event alone, and the near-three hours flew by. If NXT ever comes to a town near you, I can not recommend enough that you attend.
SEE ALSO: "Event Photos - WWE NXT Live - Boston, MA - November 18, 2016"
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