Johnny Curtis and Michael McGillicutty def. Derrick Bateman and Bo Dallas
Curtis and Bateman had been feuding on-and-off since the Redemption days of NXT, hence the reasoning behind this bout. Dallas was the only real "rookie" of the four wrestlers, but he did nothing here to impress me. In fact, he spent a majority of the match getting beat up by the heels only for Bateman to eat the pinfall. Plus, this was way too short to be anything of note.
Antonio Cesaro def. Alex Riley
I'm actually somewhat surprised Riley wasn't bigger a star when NXT was initially revamped considering how much untapped potential he had and how he was a glorified enhancement talent on the main roster by this point. Aksana interfering and costing Riley the win actually made sense with the story they told during their backstage encounter the week prior, and Cesaro winning was the right call. They made the most of the time they had and produced an enjoyable little bout, but this could have gone longer.
Sofia Cortez def. Natalya by Count-out
Cortez was an excellent wrestler even this early into her run, so obviously, pairing her off with Natalya was a smart move. They contested a very well-wrestled match in the time they were allotted and Cortez definitely proved her worth against the former Divas Champion. Unfortunately, the finish felt flawed (not botched) in that it was weird for Natalya to intentionally get herself counted out and then proceed to attack Cortez. If nothing else, it kept their feud alive.
The Ascension def. Garrett Dylan and Dante Dash
If you couldn't already tell, I wasn't too high on the previous matches being so brief, but I was perfectly content with this being as short as it was because that was where The Ascension shined. They made quick work of their opponents and they showed promise with their aggressive in-ring work. It's a gimmick that you either love or you hate, but at least at this point, it came off as cool and I thought it worked for Conor O'Brian and Kenneth Cameron here.
Drew McIntyre def. Seth Rollins
Imagine how great this mach could be in 2018. Hell, even at five minutes in length, this was an awesome encounter between them. Rollins was a tremendous top prospect on the brand, while McIntyre definitely benefited from being a part of NXT and working with talent such as Rollins. They played off each other very well here and Rollins looked super strong in defeat.
These early episodes of NXT aren't exactly must-see as a result of the quick matches, but they did offer a sneak peek of the wrestlers on the rise in WWE's developmental territory. The women's match and the main event were worth watching, and the other three matchups were decent. Less is more with these one-hour shows, but the overall quality was improving ever so slightly each week.
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