Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) def. Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher to Win the NXT Tag Team Championship
Riddle and Thatcher have been a fun tandem over the last month and I thought they worked well with Imperium here. It was an enjoyable encounter that could have been even better with more time. However, Thatcher walking out on Riddle came out of nowhere. I know they weren't meant to be a permanent pairing, but this was the first time they've teased tension, so it seemed a bit random. It makes me wonder whether Riddle and Pete Dunne would have split up in similar fashion if Dunne was still around. As for Barthel and Aichner taking the titles, I like the move as they never cease to deliver and it adds more gold to the Imperium ranks.
Tegan Nox def. Indi Hartwell
Hartwell didn't get a chance to showcase her skills at all when she was swiftly squashed by Shayna Baszler on Raw recently, but I'm glad she got to shine briefly here before losing to Nox. She'll be one to watch going forward. This was a nice little match on the whole that allowed Nox to rebound from her tag team loss to Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Speaking of Kai, based off the vignette that aired for her later on, it's possible their program is not yet over.
Jake Atlas def. Tony Nese in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Match
Nese was the perfect person to help highlight Atlas' abilities, but much like last week's tournament matches, this deserved more time. They maximized their minutes and produced a fun match, but it was never able to hit that next gear. On the bright side, Atlas scored the victory against the former Cruiserweight champ and stays alive in the tourney, while Nese is officially out.
Cameron Grimes def. Finn Balor
I still don't care much for Grimes' character (whatever it's supposed to be), but there's no denying that he can go in the ring and hang with the best of them, including Balor. This was a really fun, hard-hitting sprint with a surprising finish. Grimes is only the second man to beat Balor since the former NXT Champion's return to the brand (the other one being Adam Cole), so hopefully he can capitalize on it. Meanwhile, I like Priest being revealed as Balor's attacker from a few weeks ago as that could be a cool feud.
Jack Gallagher def. Isiah "Swerve" Scott in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match
This was even shorter than Atlas vs. Nese, which didn't do either guy any favors. WWE has done very little with Gallagher since he returned with his new look and it's a shame because he's too talented to be underutilized. I figured Scott winning was a foregone conclusion, so I actually appreciated that Nese cost Scott the victory by ambushing him beforehand because he had nothing to lose. As a result, neither Gallagher nor Scott will be advancing in the tourney.
Kayden Carter def. Aliyah
Aliyah inadvertently helped Chelsea Green beat Xia Li last week on NXT, so this was Aliyah's chance to impress Robert Stone so she could be added to whatever stable he seems to be setting up. Maybe she wowed him in defeat, but personally, I don't think she had a breakout performance whatsoever and the match was very forgettable. Hopefully Carter winning means Aliyah won't be joining The Robert Stone Brand after all.
Matt Riddle def. Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher turning on Riddle so soon is one thing, but I would not have rushed into their first one-on-one encounter on the same show where the turn happened. It just felt like hot-shot booking you would normally expect from the main roster. That said, this was an excellent main event with hard-hitting action and a frantic pace. I question Riddle beating Thatcher in Thatcher's first singles match in NXT, but I understand it was done to lead to Thatcher attacking Riddle afterward so he could cement his heel status. A rematch at TakeOver would be welcomed.
The story with Riddle and Thatcher dominated this show, and on the whole, it was well done. Although this edition of NXT lacked the usual excitement that the brand is known for, it was a solid show that featured quality wrestling, hype for next week, and a notable announcement (TakeOver: In Your House, baby!). The Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship matches continue to be cut short and I don't care about anything involving Aliyah, but there are a few storylines on the show that I'm digging at the moment and am curious to see where they go next (Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae vs. Keith Lee and Mia Yim ranks high up there, as well as whatever Karrion Kross and Scarlett are doing).
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