Johnny Gargano def. Raul Mendoza
Gargano hasn't lost a step in the few months he's been away from NXT, and Mendoza was the perfect opponent for him in his return to the ring. If you can recall, these two took part in last summer's Cruiserweight Classic, though Mendoza was eliminated in the first round and we didn't get to see too much of him as a result. He and Gargano gelled really well together here and it made for a fun opening match. I'm excited to see Gargano embark on a singles run and continue building momentum going forward.
Ember Moon Attacked NXT Women's Champion Asuka
I don't think Asuka has been seen since her Last Woman Standing match with Nikki Cross over a month ago, since it was nice to have her back and heel it up by not taking Moon seriously as a threat to her title. Moon's response was easily the best promo I've ever heard her cut to date and it was wise to have her stand tall over the champion for a change. The crowd ate all of this up and it was exactly what this feud needed to get going.
Sonya Deville def. Jenna Van Bemel
Deville is still extremely green in the ring, but she is seemingly making strides with each outing he has on NXT. She looked better in this match than she did the last time we saw her and she certainly has potential to be something special in NXT's women's division in time. That said, the timing is weird with the Mae Young Classic being right around the corner. I assume WWE will sign plenty of established talent from that who are far superior to Deville in the ring.
Aleister Black def. Kyle O'Reilly
For someone whose English isn't amazing, Hideo Itami did well with his promo beforehand and he's already infinitely more intriguing to me as a heel. The seeds were planted for a future feud with Black, and as awesome as that might be, it's unfortunate Kassius Ohno will likely be left off TakeOver: Brooklyn after all. As for this match, it has been rumored for a while that O'Reilly was NXT bound and I'm happy he's finally here. This was much more competitive than your average Black squash and O'Reilly scored a ton of offense. They put together a real solid main event with O'Reilly looking credible in defeat. Ranallo put O'Reilly over huge afterward and I'd say he made a tremendous first impression in NXT.
Who said NXT was losing its luster? This was as excellent of an episode as I've seen in some time, and not only did everything serve a purpose, but it was all entertaining. All right, so Deville vs. Van Bemel was nothing to write home about, but that's what developmental is for. The rest of the show was strong with Bobby Roode hyping his NXT Championship match for Brooklyn (and furthering his feud with Roderick Strong), Gargano returning to the ring, the women killing it in their segment, and O'Reilly debuting in phenomenal fashion in the main event.
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