Aleister Black def. Corey Hollis
This was only his second match in NXT and Black already feels like a big deal. His elaborate entrance alone is cool, but he has the presence of the star and I loved how he made quick work of his opponent via his fantastic finisher. That said, Baron Corbin received similar treatment when he initially arrived in NXT and the fans eventually turned on him, so I hope Black is allowed to have longer matches at some point because he can actually go, as seen in his debut against Andrade "Cien" Almas at TakeOver: Orlando.
#DIY def. Dylan Miley and Michael Blias
I was curious what would happen to #DIY following their loss of the NXT Tag Team Championship and their decisive defeat at TakeOver: Orlando, and perhaps they're not yet done in the title picture. Time will tell, I suppose. This wasn't a complete squash for them as Miley looked dominant throughout and scored a ton of offense. He has been down in developmental for a while and it was cool he finally debuted on NXT TV. The fact he attacked his partner afterward must mean we'll be seeing more of him going forward.
Ruby Riot def. Kimberly Frankele
We weren't able to see much of Riot in the ring at TakeOver: Orlando, so this was her opportunity to showcase her skills and she did a damn good job. Granted, it wasn't a lengthy match by any stretch, but it served its purpose. Besides, the focus was primarily on Nikki Cross at ringside and their simmering rivalry. I like that these two are continuing to feud while the entire women's division in NXT is on the ascent.
Drew McIntyre def. Oney Lorcan
Being released from WWE in 2014 was the best thing that could have happened to McIntyre. It allowed him to come into his own as a performer in other organizations, make a name for himself, and prove why he has the ability to be a top-tier talent wherever he goes. As for this match, I loved every second of the hard-hitting action and the crowd was engaged in the exciting action as well. McIntyre returned with a bang and he is already on the path to super stardom. On a side note, I know a handful of fans are disappointed he's no longer using "Broken Dreams" as his entrance theme, but it doesn't really fit his current persona. Plus, his new song isn't half-bad.
Shinsuke Nakamura Bid Farewell to the Fans
As I noted in my SmackDown review from last night, Nakamura's English has improved immensely from this time one year, when he struggled to put together a single sentence. Thus, he should be just fine on the main roster promo-wise. This was kept short and sweet and the audience ate it up. I firmly believe his extended stay in NXT was for the better because not only did we get great matches out of it, it helped him familiarize himself with the WWE fans and style and now he'll be even more popular on the bigger stage as a result.
This definitely did feel like a new era of sorts in NXT with the updated graphics, new opening theme (which is badass by the way), and awesome presentation of talent. Nakamura had his swan song while McIntyre, Black and Riot arrived on the scene in their first NXT TV matches and #DIY had a nice little match as well. None of the matchups were remarkable, but they didn't need to be, and I love that there are several stars that will continue to carry the brand going forward even in the absence of Nakamura, Dillinger and others. Speaking of Dillinger, he faces off against Eric Young in a Steel Cage match next week, so I look forward to what should be a fun farewell for The Perfect 10 from NXT.
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