Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae Addressed the Audience
Gargano finally showing a smile here after exacting revenge on Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: New Orleans was a cool sight. He cut a pretty straightforward promo after vanquishing Ciampa and wanting to do the same with Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega in the night's main event pitting LeRae against Vega. He also teased wanting to re-enter the NXT Championship picture, and it was later revealed he will challenge new champ Aleister Black for the belt on next week's show.
Ricochet def. Fabian Aicnher
Aichner always impresses no matter who's in the ring with and this outing was no exception. It's a shame he's usually positioned as an enhancement talent, but at least he looks good in defeat. That said, this was all about Ricochet with this being his in-ring debut on NXT TV. His offense was exciting and his finisher is fantastic. He'll be a big star on NXT in no time.
War Raiders def. The Metro Brothers
I'm glad War Raiders wasted no time in wrestling their first televised match for NXT after arriving on last week's episode. They made quick work of the knockoff Deuce 'n' Domino and won over the audience with their sheer domination. For those unfamiliar with them, they're basically The Authors of Pain but better. NXT's tag team division was already solid but the addition of War Raiders to the scene is huge.
Lars Sullivan def. Killian Dane in a No Disqualification Match
Their initial one-on-one encounter two weeks ago wasn't much of note (likely because it was less of a match and more of an angle), but this was a vast improvement. They made excellent use of the No Disqualification stipulation and produced an entertaining hard-hitting matchup. This was also a wise way of writing Dane out of NXT (if this was indeed his final appearance on the brand) now that he and the rest of SAnitY are SmackDown Live bound.
Candice LeRae def. Zelina Vega
Vega hasn't been established as an in-ring competitor up to this point in her NXT run, but she has experience as a wrestler from her days in TNA, and she's also in action often on the NXT live events. This wasn't as great of a match as some might have been expecting, likely because they weren't given a ton of time, but it was fun while it lasted and served its purpose in allowing Gargano and LeRae to give Almas and Vega their comeuppance and send them on their way out of NXT.
For the first real edition of NXT coming out of TakeOver: New Orleans, I was surprised by how stacked of a show this was between the in-ring debuts of LeRae, Ricochet and War Raiders. Plus, Gargano was back in full form while the No Disqualification match delivered big time. On top of all that, The Undisputed Era will be appearing next week in addition to Adam Cole defending his NXT North American Championship against Oney Lorcan, and let's not forget Black vs. Gargano for the NXT title!
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