By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Authors of Pain def. Local Athletes
The Authors of Pain had a pretty impressive initial outing, but that isn't difficult to do when they're only allotted one minute. I don't mean to slight them by any means because they're definitely a dominant duo, but we'll see how long it lasts. I really wanted to invest in The Ascension, but all they did for two and a half years was decimate enhancement talent in NXT, so here's hoping The Authors of Pain will be more advanced than that. I was hoping to hear from Paul Ellering here so he can explain why he's back and who he's managing, but I'm sure that promo is coming in time.
Carmella def. Tessa Blanchard
I realize there were those that were disappointed Carmella wasn't called up to the main roster with Enzo Amore and Big Cass following WrestleMania 32, but keeping her down in NXT was the best thing for her. She has certainly made strides as a singles competitor in the ring, though there is still plenty of room for improvement. Blanchard looked good here herself and she played the heel role very well. I think it's only inevitable before she is signed to a contract if she hasn't been already.
TM-61 def. Blake and Murphy
I assumed Blake and Murphy had split up, but I guess that backstage segment we saw from them a few weeks ago was meant to show that Alexa Bliss has ditched them and they're on their own again. However, it shouldn't be long before they're broken up themselves if their latest loss was any indication. TM-61 had a strong showing versus the former tag team champions and their offense is extremely exciting. They're quickly winning over the faithful at Full Sail University and I'm looking forward to them challenging The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship down the road.
Andrade "Cien" Almas def. Tye Dillinger
These two obviously work well together and have awesome chemistry, but Dillinger has outshined Almas in both of their bouts because he is so damn over with the audience. Cien had his fair share of supporters, but he would be getting so much more fanfare if he wasn't facing a cult favorite in Full Sail University. From an in-ring standpoint, however, this was another fun match from them and Almas would benefit from taking on talent in NXT that don't have as big of a following as Dillinger does.
Shinsuke Nakamura Challenged Finn Balor
What was next for Balor coming off his second defeat to Samoa Joe was one of the most prominent questions from TakeOver: The End, so I was glad we didn't have to wait long to have that answered. He cut a solid promo recapping his history in NXT over the past year and a half and the confrontation with Nakamura was fantastic. The electric atmosphere gave it a big fight feel and has me anxiously anticipating what could and should be a match of the year candidate. If I had to take a guess, it will be held at the next Brooklyn special in August, but it's possible they collide before then.
The week after every TakeOver usually marks a new chapter in NXT and this episode was no exception. We didn't see or hear from a majority of the wrestlers that were in action at last week's special, but there were a number of fresh faces on this show from The Authors of Pain to Andrade Almas to TM-61. The closing segment also set up a potential future clash for Brooklyn and it's cool to see they're not wasting any time in building to that show.
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