SAnitY def. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinal Match
Sabbatelli and Moss previously teased tension the last time they teamed up, so it was obvious they weren't winning here. It's a shame because they were starting to find their footing as a pairing, and I thought they fared well for themselves here. That said, SAnitY are much higher up on the totem pole in the tag division and still have unfinished business with Undisputed Era, so I can't say I was shocked when they punched their ticket to the next round.
Tommaso Ciampa Storms Off in the Face of a Defiant NXT Universe
Although this was virtually a carbon copy of the segment Ciampa was involved in last week where he appeared in front of the crowd and said nothing before leaving, it was still very well done and further illustrated just how despised by the audience he is. The segment didn't overstay its welcome and the atmosphere was electric for Johnny Gargano. Just imagine how the audience is going to be during their likely match at TakeOver: New Orleans. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it!
Dakota Kai def. Lacey Evans
Kai has been off NXT TV since being unceremoniously attacked by Shayna Baszler two months ago, so I was glad to see her back in action here. Unfortunately, the match didn't last long at all. Evans has proven in the past she can hang in the ring with talent that are better than her, but this was way too brief to be anything of note. Thankfully, the post-match angle made up for it with Baszler attempting to ambush Kai and then Ember Moon making the save.
The Street Profits def. Heavy Machinery in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinal Match
It's tough when you put two babyface teams against each other because you want both to advance in the tourney, but this turned into a quality contest. They made the most of the time they were given and the crowd was engaged in the action. The Street Profits are definitely the hotter tandem at the moment, so I was happy to see them advance to the semifinals.
WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne def. Adam Cole by Disqualification
It's tough to pull off an entertaining match when you have two heels facing each other, but you can count on Dunne and Cole to deliver an above-average matchup and keep the crowd on their feet. I didn't think there was a chance of Cole capturing the championship, but it was a treat to see him try and Dunne fighting off Undisputed Era at every turn. No, the post-match angle didn't turn Dunne babyface, but the potential pairing of him and Roderick Strong has me very intrigued and it could lead to a ton of fun matchups.
Candice LeRae Crashed the TakeOver: New Orleans NXT Championship Contract Signing
NXT is usually good about switching up the tired formula of contract signings and making them worth watching. Andrade "Cien" Almas was a no-show here, but we got Zelina Vega instead and I liked the interaction she and Aleister Black had. It didn't sell me on the main event of TakeOver more than I already was, but it was solid. Plus, LeRae was finally able to score some revenge on Vega by attacking her, so that was nice to see.
While this edition of NXT featured nothing must-see, it was an enjoyable hour of wrestling with a lot of notable stuff packed in. I'm a big believer in less being more, but we're only a little over three weeks away until TakeOver: New Orleans, so I don't blame the brand for speeding up some storylines and specifically the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Dunne vs. Cole is the one match I'd suggest you check out, but everything else served a purpose as well.
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