By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sami Zayn Addressed NXT Champion Kevin Owens
It's great to have Zayn back on NXT after a near two month absence. As much as I love to see the guy coming out like a house of fire, he's even better when he stays serious, and he had every reason to be here given the way he was taken out by Kevin Owens at NXT TakeOver. He established his chase for the NXT Championship very well and got viewers excited for the inevitable rematch (as if we weren't already looking forward to it).
Rhyno def. Local Athlete
This was nothing more than a basic squash for Rhyno, as it lasted less than a minute long. Yet, the crowd ate it up. His post-match promo was fine, and it did a decent job of letting the fans know that he was gunning for the NXT Championship. Personally, I'm a fan of Rhyno's work and think he can really add something to the program if he's here to put over younger talent. A match against Zayn in the near future as teased on this show should be fun.
Bayley def. Emma
NXT is superior to the main roster programming in many ways, but one thing NXT does better than anyone else is their character development, particularly with the women. Whether it's Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and now seemingly Emma, they do an excellent job of building toward heel turns and lord knows Emma is in desperate need of one. They wrestled a nice match and the planting of the seeds of Emma joining the dark side continues. I'm glad they didn't pull the trigger here as it'll make for an even bigger moment when it eventually happens.
NXT Tag Team Champions Blake and Murphy def. The Lucha Dragons (Non-title)
Of the three or so matches these two teams have had in recent months, this was probably their best encounter to date. That's not to say it was great, but it was definitely well wrestled and they pulled out some nice spots. While it wasn't at all a bad match, it just lacked excitement, maybe because we've seen it before, but at the very least, it was a good non-title win for the champs. They just need to develop more of a personality for the fans to boo them, and they took a step in the right direction by using heel tactics to win here.
Jason Jordan def. Tye Dillinger
I would really like to care about a feud between these two, but I just can't. Thankfully, a feud between them doesn't look likely as this was just a one-off. The crowd couldn't have cared less, and why should they have? They have never been given a reason invest in either guy, so their breakup fell flat. The match was fine for what it was, but it appears they're going with Jordan instead of Dillinger which is disappointing given how good Dillinger is and can be. Jordan is an impressive athlete, but I don't know he can establish an identity for himself like Dillinger could.
Tyler Breeze def. Hideo Itami in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
NXT is known for its stellar 2-out-of-3 Falls match and this one definitely didn't disappoint. I was surprised to see both guys get their respective falls so early, but that's usually the case with these kind of matches. When it came to the third fall, they went all out and delivered a great match filled with suspenseful counters and entertaining action. The final few minutes were especially fantastic and Breeze's clean win came as a total shock. Itami looked great in defeat and it leaves me wondering where Breeze will take his momentum next.
While it wasn't as much of jam packed as it usually, there was still enough enjoyable aspects about it to make it worth watching. Zayn's promo was short, sweet and to the point, Rhyno's squash win gave him some momentum, the women's match told a really nice story, the two subsequent matches were mediocre, and the main event pulled through with an exceptional matchup that served as the blow-off to the feud between Breeze and Itami. On the whole, it was a good show that left me looking forward to next week.
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