By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Carmella def. Emma
It's been depressing to see Emma and her tremendous talent completely wasted on the main roster over the last year and I was hoping to see her career resurrected upon her return to NXT. Well, apparently not. This match was barely better than their last bout from a few months ago and it wasn't given enough time to really show what Emma is capable of. I've never been a fan of Carmella. It's not that she's bad, she just shouldn't be beating people who are better than her. Fans don't get behind her (insert your own sex joke here) because she acts like a heel, so why she won this match was mind boggling to me.
Adrian Neville def. Baron Corbin in an NXT Championship Tournament Semifinals Match
Is it safe to say that this was Corbin's best match to date? Okay, so that goes without saying, but he really impressed me here with his showing against Neville. The longer match allowed him to showcase some skills we wouldn't ordinarily see from him in a quick squash match. The dynamic was also interesting given their drastic difference in size, making for a fun match. The finish confused me, though. Why hand Corbin his first loss in a tournament match? It felt very anticlimactic. They had the out to have him get counted out, which would have kept his undefeated streak a little while longer.
Bayley def. Becky Lynch
Bayley and Lynch worked a good match, but I was waiting for them to reach the next gear. It was also inevitable before Sasha Banks and/or Charlotte got involved, so I think that's why the crowd wasn't invested in the match all that much. Still, it was better than anything you'd see on the main roster, though that can be said for most matches on NXT. It also provided nice final hype for the Fatal 4-Way NXT Women's Championship match next week.
Finn Balor def. Hideo Itami in an NXT Championship Tournament Semifinals Match
I was surprised to see them give away this match so early into their respective runs, but hey, I'm not complaining! It was a great match and both guys put forth a strong effort. The action was entertaining from start to finish and the crowd ate up everything they did. Adrian Neville was also effective on commentary and didn't take away from the bout at all. I expected Tyler Breeze to interfere since it was Itami who beat him in the quarterfinals two weeks ago, but I liked the clean finish. I'd love to see more from these two down the line, and the match between Balor and Neville at next Wednesday's special is sure to be stellar.
Every episode of NXT so far this year has been great and this episode was no different. It featured three awesome matches, two of which have NXT Championship implications and the other building toward the women's match. I could have done without the Carmella vs. Emma match, though, especially since neither of them (seemingly) won't be at the live special next week. They could have used that time for something more effective, but it didn't ruin the show by any means. Moreover, the video package that aired highlighting the Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville rivalry was excellent and my anticipation for that match as well as the rest of the Rival card is at an all-time high.
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