Candice LeRae Confronted Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa continues to be the best heel in NXT (as well as the entire WWE) right now. He hits all the right notes during his promos and runs down his archrival Johnny Gargano in glorious fashion. I loved how LeRae stood up to Ciampa and slapped him across the face. Assuming a one-on-one rematch between Gargano and Ciampa is in the cards for TakeOver: Chicago, I'm curious to see how they'll top themselves from New Orleans.
Lacey Evans def. Brandi Lauren
Lauren competed in IMPACT for a time as Ava Storie, though she must have been released a while ago and I had no idea. Nevertheless, she looked fine here, but this was largely a showcase for Evans, who is improving in the ring. Her gimmick remains a question mark with me, but at least she's taking the necessary steps in getting better, and working with someone as seasoned as Kairi Sane will certainly help with that. Her moonsault off the top rope was beautiful, so why wasn't that her finisher instead of the weak-looking punch?
Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream Ended in a No Contest
These two have been embroiled in a Twitter rivalry for months, so I was excited at the idea of them facing off on this edition of NXT and they did not disappoint. Granted, it ultimately ended with a non-finish, but neither man should be beaten right now anyway, so it was understandable. Besides, what we were treated to before Lars Sullivan's interference was a ton of fun. Next week, Ricochet and Dream will take on Sullivan in a 2-on-1 Handicap match.
Kona Reeves def. Raul Mendoza
To his credit, Reeves had a better appearance here than he did when he debuted a few weeks ago, but he has yet to win me over. I'm sorry but he screams average to me, and nothing he did in this match convinced me he has a bright future on this brand. Hell, Mendoza impressed me more in this match than Reeves did. Time will tell, but so far, I'm not sold on "The Finest."
WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan def. Undisputed Era
This looked like a terrific main event on paper, but I wasn't expecting it to be as excellent as it ended up being. All six stars put forth an awesome effort and the pace was phenomenal as there never seemed to be a dull moment. The action was tremendous throughout and the final stretch was especially outstanding with the babyfaces battling back against the dastardly heel faction and finding a way to win. If this sets up Lorcan and Burch vs. Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver: Chicago, count me in.
TakeOver is a little over a month away, yet no matches have been confirmed for the card as of now. That said, the seeds are being planted for multiple matches and I have a feeling it's going to be an exceptional event (surprise, surprise). As for this episode, it was an enjoyable hour per usual. A few prospects are being built up while others are firing on all cylinder, so NXT is accomplishing a few different things simultaneously. TM61 vs. Heavy Machinery is on tap for next week's show, along with the aforementioned 2-on-1 Handicap matchup.
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