The War Raiders def. Ricky Martinez and Justin Storm
The War Raiders continue to roll by decimating enhancement talent. As I've said before, their gimmick is a bit too similar to that of The Bludgeon Brothers for my liking (even though they were doing it first), but their in-ring intensity speaks for itself and their short squashes are always entertaining as a result. Afterward, they teased targeting The Mighty/TM61, so that could be a fun feud if it spans a few matches.
EC3 def. Kassius Ohno
Wrestling isn't EC3's strong suit compared to most of the other athletes on the NXT roster, but he's competent enough to have a solid match like he did here. It helped that he had the excellent Ohno to work with and I enjoyed this while it lasted. Ohno is essentially a stepping stone for new talent, so it made sense for EC3 to rack up another victory here while being given his biggest fight to date by Ohno.
Bianca Belair def. Aliyah
Aliyah has never been a true regular on NXT TV, but I will say that she gets better and better with every appearance she makes. However, this was a complete showcase for Belair as she completely dominated and went over in decisive fashion. Belair has been built up very well in recent months and this was a good follow-up to the vignettes highlighting her background. Backstage, she got in the face of Dakota Kai, thus setting up a match between the two for next week.
WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne def. NXT Tag Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly
Holy hell, this was tremendous! The crowd was red-hot from the get-go, so the atmosphere was outstanding throughout and the action was exceptional. There never seemed to be a dull moment as they kept the pace consistent and they just beat the crap out of the each other. The reversals were also awesome, so props to Dunne and O'Reilly for putting together a terrific match in such a short span of time (10 minutes).
Lars Sullivan Attacked NXT Champion Aleister Black
Black has never looked this vulnerable before, which was crucial in establishing Sullivan as a legitimate threat to the title. I don't think anyone actually believes Sullivan will win the title at TakeOver: Chicago, but NXT has does done a damn good job of making it look like he has a fighting chance of doing so. I loved the final visual of Sullivan standing over Black on the commentators' table with the title held high above his head.
This was a proper go-home show that succeeded in getting me more excited for TakeOver than I was before. That's extra impressive considering I'll be in attendance for the event, too. In addition to the amazing video packages promoting Shayna Baszler vs. Nikki Cross and Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa, the main event segment was short and sweet and served its purpose, a handful of fresh faces received momentum boosts with wins, and Dunne and O'Reilly contested a fantastic match that it is well worth checking out.
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