By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship: A strong main event title match. Cole looked strong by getting so much offense in, and Balor looked resilient for kicking out of everything that Cole threw at him. Kyle O’Reilly put on his Triple H costume and then showed awesome fire while attacking Cole. I loved the touch of O’Reilly tearing the Undisputed Era armband off of Cole. Meanwhile, Karrion Kross showing up in the ring behind Balor led to the coolest moment of the show. Balor simply asking “What took you so long?” before he turned around was great, and the staredown sets the stage for what I assume will be the Takeover main event.
Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women’s Championship: A strong match. There was no reason to expect a title change, but they did a good job of creating suspense with some good near falls for Storm. It felt like NXT could have stretched out the Shirai vs. Storm feud for at least another match, but they clearly want to move on to Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez for Takeover.
NXT Women’s Tag Titles: I have no idea why they didn’t just introduce the tag titles as the original prize for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic rather than have William Regal present the belts to Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez last night. The angle that set up the need for the tag titles was clunky to say the least. Nevertheless, I’ve written several times recently that the NXT women’s division is deep enough to handle tag titles, so I’m all for this move.
Pete Dunne vs. Jake Atlas: A good television match. It didn’t last long, but it was fun while it lasted. I hope NXT creative has plans for Atlas, as I’d love to see them circle back to this match at a time when it would make sense to have a longer and more competitive match.
Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter: A solid continuation of the feud with the babyface duo of Carter and Kacy Catanzaro getting a small measure of revenge.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart for the new NXT Women’s Tag Titles: This was definitely Hit worthy in terms of match quality. The Miss is due to the oddball move of handing the tag titles to Kai and Gonzalez to start the show only to have them drop the titles roughly an hour later. I get that they wanted to free up Gonzalez to challenge Shirai, but this still felt awkward and rushed.
Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake: So it’s not just Tyler Breeze and Fandango. MSK performing one of Breezango’s campy entrances is also annoying. But that’s not the only reason this match landed in the Miss section. NXT booked another strange heel vs. heel tag team match and this one ended with a lame distraction finish. I realize that the distraction finish was meant to protect Gibson and Drake, but they shouldn’t be dropping any matches until they get back to working with MSK.