By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Ascension def. Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger
All of The Ascension's matches pretty much blend together after you've seen them a million times over. You see one Ascension match, you've seen them all. This was nothing short of a dominant showing from the former tag champs and at least their opponents weren't nameless competitors. There's that, right? I see what they're doing with the Hideo Itami story, but Itami can get beat up only so many times before fans start to lose interest. The pay-off better be coming sooner rather than later.
Tyler Breeze def. CJ Parker
This was a complete mess of a match. I enjoy Breeze's work immensely, but I've been left wondering since NXT: Takeover 2 whether he's a heel or transitioning into a babyface role. If it's the latter, then I'm fine with it, but they've done a poor job of clearly establishing him as such. Even if he was, why would a face put someone on the shelf by ramming their shoulder into a ring post? It makes very little sense and it therefore made this match awkward since Parker is also a heel.
The Vaudevillians def. Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy
Similar to the last match, it was odd seeing Blake and Murphy portray the babyfaces in this bout after portraying heels in their match against The Lucha Dragons last week. If officials really don't want The Vaudevillians to get cheered, why put them against two guys the crowd won't get behind? It was a half decent matchup that was better than anything The Ascension did during their year-long reign as tag champs, but it was merely a showcase to the soon-to-be contenders to the twin titles.
Sasha Banks def. Bayley
Banks and Bayley are two competitors who have faced off far too many times in the last year or so, but with their matches being so good, it's hard to complain. The action in this match was enjoyable and both ladies looked impressive by the end. Banks appears to be next in line for a shot at Charlotte's NXT Women's Championship, so her win here wasn't surprising. Becky Lynch's heel turn was predictable after last week's tease, but it was also simple storytelling. Bayley and Lynch could have great matches together if they end up feuding in the near future.
NXT Champion Adrian Neville def. Titus O'Neil
O'Neil found himself in a position very similar to Brodus Clay's earlier this year. He was a joke on the main roster before coming to NXT, so it was hard for fans to take him seriously as it was. Like Clay, he's very talented and deserves so much better, and I give NXT credit for building him up as a credible threat in the last month, but it was still a foregone conclusion Neville was winning this match. Despite that, they worked a solid matchup with Neville playing the role of underdog well. It wasn't as great as some of Neville's past title defenses, but it was better than O'Neil's match with Sami Zayn a few weeks ago. Speaking of whom, his post-match handshake with Neville atop the stage was a nice teaser for their pending title clash.
We've seen better episodes of NXT in the past, but that isn't to say this was a bad show. Lynch's heel turn and Neville's title defense made it somewhat noteworthy, but aside from that, none of the matches were as entertaining as usual with the exception of Banks vs. Bayley. I attribute that more to the amount of matches on this show than the storytelling since there's a lot to like about NXT these days (when isn't there?) and the road to the next NXT live special continues to heat up.
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