Sofia Cortez def. Paige
It was weird yet interesting to see this match positioned as an exhibition for both girls given that this would be a championship-level contest five years later. It was also interesting that Cortez received the spotlight over Paige here considering Paige wound up being the inaugural NXT Women's Champion the following year. This was a very fun opening match and a successful showcase for Cortez as well as Paige.
Seth Rollins def. Camacho
I said way back when that Rollins was the second coming of CM Punk early on in his NXT career, so Jim Ross making that comparison as well on commentary was a major endorsement, as it should have been since he was one of the brand's top prospects. Camacho has never done much for me, but Rollins sold nicely for his offense and battled back at the end with the crowd behind him to score the victory. Bo Dallas coming to Rollins' aid afterward to fend off Hunico set up the six-man tag team match for later in the night.
Jake Carter and Corey Graves def. CJ Parker and Nick Rogers
The name Jake Carter sounded familiar, and not because he is apparently the son of Vader. I actually liked the look he and Graves had, so I'm not sure why they didn't last longer as a tandem. Rogers is a total unknown to me, though Parker would eventually get his just due in late 2013. With NXT's tag team division beginning to take shape, this was a decent introduction to the duo of Graves and Carter, and I thought the "Bottom's Up" name for their tag team finisher was clever.
Kassius Ohno def. Mike Dalton
I remember not being the biggest fan of Ohno when I was watching NXT back in 2012, but now knowing how good he truly is, I appreciate the different in-ring style he had compared to everyone else on the roster in retrospect. Him yelling "Oh no!" before hitting Dalton was a little goofy, but other than that, he made a solid first impression here by showing off his hard-hitting and highly physical arsenal. Additionally, his post-match promo was kept short and sweet, but the "Oh no!" line, as noted, was slightly silly.
Jinder Mahal def. Derrick Bateman
If officials saw something in Mahal, they really should have freshened up his gimmick upon his return to developmental, because this incarnation of his character bored me to tears. He wasn't/isn't a terrible wrestler, but his matches were rarely anything above being mediocre. Thankfully, Bateman had much more energy and helped carry this contest to being passable. Mahal winning wasn't surprising as he was being built up to be the brand's top heel that summer.
Michael McGillicutty, Hunico and Camacho def. Tyson Kidd, Seth Rollins and Bo Dallas
From a storyline standpoint, this match made sense after what happened earlier in the evening along with the established issues between Kidd and McGillicutty. All six stars worked well against each other, and although the bout was largely formulaic, it was a smart way to allow the fresh faces of Rollins and Dallas to gain experience competing against main roster wrestlers. Kidd and Rollins was a cool combo and the final few minutes helped make the match entertaining.
NXT was still in its early stages of developing new incoming talent at this time, so don't be alarmed by the overwhelming amount of squash matches on this show. Each of them were effective in getting those people over, and it wouldn't be for a while that real rivalries began to form. Nevertheless, it's awesome to look back at NXT in 2012 and see where so many of these future champions are today.
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