Tyler Breeze def. Austin Theory
Theory has impressed in every outing I've seen him have up to this point and this was no different. Breeze is the perfect person for him to be working with at this stage of his career, but it doesn't change how he lacks a compelling character and doesn't get as much mic time as he should. That needs to change soon. This was an entertaining opener, but I felt Breeze beating Theory was the wrong call.
Killian Dain def. Tehuti Miles
If I recall correctly, it's been a while since Dain was last featured on NXT, so this was a nice way for him to get back on track. I've never even heard of Miles before, but I thought he fared well for himself here. This was a standard squash match for Dain that didn't last longer than it needed to. Dain deserves some direction, not fed to someone higher up on the totem pole on the brand.
Cameron Grimes def. Tony Nese
The last time Grimes wrestled on NXT two weeks ago, he fell short of beating Keith Lee for the NXT North American Championship, so he was able to bounce back here. Nese is not a regular on NXT, but the brand was clearly short on stars for a variety of reasons due to the current circumstances, so Nese was a good guy to bring in to make Grimes look great. It was a nice little match for the five minutes it lasted for.
Io Shirai def. Aliyah in an NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match Qualifier
Aliyah was originally supposed to face Xia Li, who apparently legitimately injured her in a match on NXT TV four months ago. Li was "mysteriously" attacked backstage beforehand, leading to the returning Shirai taking her place. To say Shirai has been missed would be a massive understatement. She made short work of Aliyah and went over as she should have. Shirai in a Ladder match sounds absolutely amazing.
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee Brawled with Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest
I like Lee a lot, but it seems like a lot of his promo segments sound the same, not to mention that most of them feature the same faces. Lee and Dijakovic are tremendous together, but I'm ready for them to take a bit of a break from each other after next week's Triple Threat with Priest. This served as a solid preview of that with Dijakovic standing tall in the end. I'd argue it's too early to take the title of Lee, so here's hoping he retains.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch def. Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink
Lorcan and Burch are basically "jobbers to the stars" more often than not, specifically whenever they appear on NXT, so them winning here was much-needed and a pleasant surprise. As for Thorne and Vink, they looked a lot more competitive against Lorcan and Burch than they they did against The Street Profits on Raw but lost all the same. They're no TM61, but maybe with a bit more development, they can be a decent addition to NXT's depleted tag team ranks.
Candice LeRae def. Kayden Carter in an NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match Qualifier
I don't know if anyone actually bought into the possibility of Carter winning, so that made the outcome of this pretty predictable. That said, it was exactly what it needed to be with LeRae going over in decisive fashion within a matter of minutes. It's worth noting that Byron Saxton brought up on commentary how LeRae may be tired of being too nice before she used her husband's finishing maneuver to beat Carter. I'm curious if a concrete heel turn is imminent for her as well.
NXT Tag Team Champion Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong
I was curious if Riddle's partner Pete Dunne has been affected by the recent travel ban, but I believe he relocated to the U.S. last year, so maybe they just left him off this show for other reasons. Nonetheless, this was the best bout on the show by a long shot. These two had a hell of an encounter last year at TakeOver: XXV, and while this wasn't quite that excellent, it was still very well wrestled and a lot of fun. Following Riddle's victory, he was laid out by two men whose names I don't know. Accompanying them, however, was Malcom Bivens, the former Stokley Hathaway from Ring of Honor and the independent scene. He's been under contract for a while and it's about damn time he officially debuted on TV.
Triple H Announced Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa Will Face Each Other in Two Weeks
Say what you will about the Gargano vs. Ciampa feud being done to death (and it undoubtedly has), but they never cease to knock it out of the park with their promos. They proved that last week with the sit-down interviews and that was evident once again here, even in the empty arena. Ciampa is a changed man despite his past actions and is hell-bent on getting revenge on Gargano for what he did at TakeOver: Portland. As for Gargano, he's playing the victim card and puts all the blame on Ciampa. Triple H made it clear that when they face off in two weeks, it won't be a regular match but rather a fight at an undisclosed location. A referee will be present to determine when it's over. After their Performance Center brawl went so well, I'm optimistic they can make it work.
I honestly didn't have high hopes for this show when it started because it looked like it would featured thrown-together matches with little purpose, but it ended up being a fairly enjoyable and newsworthy episode. Bivens finally debuted and brought a new tag team with him, Dexter Lumis and Kross revealed themselves (get your mind out of the gutter) in vignettes, and Shirai returned. We also found out two top matches that would have happened at TakeOver: Tampa will be happening on NXT in two weeks instead. Here's hoping they have all of this in the can already because WWE reportedly won't be able to tape anything at the Performance Center past Thursday night for at least the next two weeks.
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