Jinder Mahal def. Richie Steamboat in an NXT Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
I was fairly down on Mahal's semifinal match with Bo Dallas because it bored me to tears and there wasn't anything exciting about it, and although I think Dallas was a better all-around performer than Steamboat at this point, this was a way better match in my opinion. At only five minute in length, it didn't overstay its welcome and there weren't any dead spots. Mahal continued to build momentum ahead of his inevitable NXT Championship clash with Seth Rollins.
Scotty 2 Hotty def. Heath Slater
Although this took place well after Raw 1000, Slater was still doing the open challenge gimmick with the Legends, and Hotty was the perfect person to answer the call for an NXT show given his Orlando roots and how we hadn't seen him in a while prior to this (and how he wasn't on the same level as Vader or Sycho Sid). He looked great in the ring even at 39-years-old and they had a fun little match with Hotty going over as expected. Slater really got over as an annoying heel with this gimmick, but it sadly didn't lead anywhere except for 3MB later that year.
The Usos def. The Ascension by Disqualification
I believe this was a rematch from an earlier episode of NXT where The Ascension beat The Usos in clean fashion. The Ascension lost by disqualification here (even though The Ascension hardly did anything to get themselves disqualified), so the finishes should have been reversed, but I liked the move to protect The Usos while also making The Ascension look strong with the post-match attack on the babyfaces. As a match, it was decent, but they were capable of better.
Seth Rollins def. Michael McGillicutty in an NXT Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
These two could have used several more minutes because this was a very well-wrestled matchup, but they made the most of the time they were given and Rollins proved he could hang on McGillicutty's level. He also showed just how great of a babyface he was with the crowd rallying behind him the entire time. The post-match angle with then-NXT General Manager Dusty Rhodes formally announcing the finals of the tourney before Rollins fended off an attack from Mahal to build to their bout the following week was well done.
The rhythm of these NXT shows started to pick up around this point with the NXT Championship Tournament progressing and a number of fresh faces getting showcased (a.k.a. not solely relying on the undercard competitors from Raw and SmackDown). There was still some of that on this edition of NXT, and in fact there was a main roster talent involved in every one of these matches, but they were all enjoyable and/or successful in furthering certain stories.
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