Johnny Gargano Attacked Tomasso Ciampa
Ciampa has been doing this thing for weeks where he'll come out in front of the audience and not say anything because the crowd would be booing him so loud. Well, he finally spoke here, albeit briefly, screaming, "HE'S GONE!" (in reference to Gargano). It was a masterful segment that led to the return of Gargano posing as a fan and taking the fight to his former friend before being hauled out of the arena by security. William Regal making a match between them for TakeOver: New Orleans is only inevitable.
WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong def. Oney lorcan and Danny Burch in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinal Match
An injury to Tyler Bate forced him and Trent Seven to pull out of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Regal told Strong that he can enter the tournament if he can find a partner, and after what we saw with him and Dunne last week, this shouldn't have been a surprise. That said, the crowd popped huge anyway for Dunne when he made his entrance (perhaps what happened last week hadn't aired on TV by the time this was taped). This started out slow but turned into an extremely entertaining and hard-hitting affair. Burch and Lorcan losing was never in doubt, but they looked damn good in defeat. Strong and Dunne should be a treat in this tourney.
NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon def. Aliyah (Non-title)
Aliyah has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years, so I thought she fared well for herself versus the champ here. However, this was all about Moon and giving her some momentum ahead of her title defense against Shayna Baszler at TakeOver. Speaking of whom, Baszler came across as a confident punk on commentary, thus playing her role well. I liked their initial encounter in Philadelphia, so I'm interested to see what type of story they'll tell in the rematch.
NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas Addressed Aleister Black
I loved how instead of simply coming out for his promo like it was business as usual, Almas illustrated how angry he was over his manager Zelina Vega being embarrassed by Black last week by laying out Raul Mendoza before he could compete in his scheduled match. Almas' mic skills are still lacking, if only because you can barely understand what he's saying most of the time, but this was solid, nevertheless. Plus, at least he has Vega to help him with that. His feud with Black is heating up nicely.
Adam Cole def. Kassius Ohno
There really wasn't a reason behind this bout taking place aside from both men wanting to prove themselves as future championship contenders. I've talked before about how Ohno is essentially a stepping stone for the younger guys/bigger names in NXT, but I mean that in the best way possible. He constantly puts forth an excellent effort and this match was no exception. He and Cole put together a highly enjoyable main event where they had the crowd engaged in the action every step of the way. Cole needed a significant singles win, so him going over was the right call.
As has been the case for the past month or two, NXT continues to do a hell of a job of building toward TakeOver during WrestleMania weekend. Most of the card has been made official, but there is still one or two more matches left to be added. This was a strong show from NXT between the awesome tag team match and the main event, and everything else serving a purpose. Next week, the Dusty Classic rolls on with Strong and Dunne facing SAnitY and The Street Profits battling Authors of Pain in the next round of the Dusty Classic while Black and Lars Sullivan are also slated to appear.
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