Richie Steamboat def. Leo Kruger in an NXT Championship Tournament Quarterfinal Match
Although Steamboat's offense was fairly limited to chops and strikes, there was no denying he was over with the audience, and so the decision for him to advance was a wise one, especially after he previously lost to Kruger via dirty tactics. Kruger was on offense for a majority of the match, but it did lead to the crowd rallying behind Steamboat during his comeback. They received more time than any other rookie up to this point on the revamped NXT, so that was appreciated as well.
Big E Langston def. Adam Mercer
For a guy with little prior wrestling experience, Langston absolutely shined in his debut. The video packages that hyped up his arrival made him out to be a heel, but the crowd quickly took to him as a babyface after witnessing him completely decimate his opponent here. This bout was the perfect length as Langston showcased his skills, displayed his dominance, and left. How could you not be impressed with him after this?
Raquel Diaz def. Audrey Marie
Diaz is more of a character than she is a wrestler, but I think the "You can't wrestle!" chants that were directed at her toward the end of this contest weren't deserved. This wasn't the strongest showing, but she did fare well and pick up another victory. As for Marie, she looked like a typical Diva, but she wasn't terrible in the ring and totally held her own. I don't think she lasted much longer down in developmental before getting cut, though.
Huncio and Camacho def. Mike Dalton and JAson Jordan
Hunico and Camacho were doing a whole lot of nothing on the main roster around this time, so giving them a run in NXT to attempt to repackage them and give them more experience as a tandem was necessary. They were on offense for almost all of this match and looked good before Dalton won on a roll-through at the very last second. I don't think there were any plans to push Dalton and Jordan, especially as a team, so perhaps the heels got their win back on an upcoming episode.
Seth Rollins def. Drew McIntyre in an NXT Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
These two had a tremendous match one week earlier and they managed to top themselves with an even better bout here. The fact Rollins worked from underneath and how there was something at stake was perfect because it made this match feel all the meaningful. Plus, they were given a few more minutes to work with compared to their original encounter and it was easily the best main event on NXT up to this point. Rollins came across like a major star in this match and was the odds-on favorite to come out on top in the tourney as the inaugural NXT Champion.
After two months of introductions to the up-and-coming stars of NXT and other brief bouts that didn't serve too much of a purpose, the NXT Championship Tournament finally gave the black-and-yellow brand some much-needed direction. The first semifinal match of the night was decent, but Rollins vs. McIntyre clearly stole the show. Also on this episode, Langston debuted and the women's and tag team scenes were given some time, so all things considered, this was an excellent edition NXT.
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