By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Karrion Kross vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship with Samoa Joe as special referee: The buzz of Kross potentially moving to the main roster helped create a sense of unpredictability regarding the outcome of the match. The closing minutes of the match were especially good, and the post match angle with Kross choking out Joe was fantastic. One can only assume that Joe will be returning to the ring given that the company seems to be setting him up with matches against Kross, Adam Cole, and Pete Dunne.
Ember Moon vs. Dakota Kai: A good, physical opening match. Kai continues to be one of the brand’s most consistent performers and makes everyone she works with look good. Both wrestlers worked at a Takeover pace and got the show off to a strong start. The post match angle with Xia Li walking past Kai to confront Raquel Gonzalez was unexpected and interesting on multiple levels. Was Li ignoring Kai while walking right up to Gonzalez meant to be a slight that will play a small part in Kai eventually growing insecure with Gonzalez being the center of attention?
Sarray vs. Gigi Dolin: Sarray’s energetic entrance was fun. The in-ring action was good and the finishing sequence with Sarray throwing a wicked dropkick and following up with a nice suplex really put the match over the top. The surprise appearance of Mandy Rose was an unexpected development. Wait, so all those confusing segments with Rose and Dana Brooke bickering with Natalya and Tamina that left us wondering who were the babyfaces and heels somehow led to Rose returning to NXT? Strange.
Dexter Lumis vs. Santos Escobar: A well executed Lumis style match. The post match angle with Hit Row confronting Legado Del Fantasma on the stage was interesting. Hit Row had been working as heels, but this segment made them out to be the babyfaces at least in the feud with LDF. It’s probably for the best, as it’s hard to see fans booing such a cool new faction.
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro vs. Jessi Kamea and Aliyah: A soft Hit for Carter and Catanzaro going over in a fairly predictable match. Aliyah beating up Robert Stone and walking out was an interesting development, as I assumed that she and Kamea would be leaving Stone to join forces with Franky Monet. Instead, it came off like Kamea and Stone will be aligned with Monet, which should be fun.
Overall show: A solid outing for NXT. I also liked the way they set up an Adam Cole vs. Bronson Reed match, and there was some light humor with Cameron Grimes playing the butler role for LA Knight.
Tyler Rust vs. Bobby Fish: A well worked match, but the Miss is for Diamond Mine feeling a little flat coming out of the gate. There’s obviously history between Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish and they are both fantastic once the bell rings, but it will be interesting to see if they can build this up in a way that makes me anxious to see the characters meet inside the ring for more than just match quality reasons.
Ikemen Jiro vs. Duke Hudson in an NXT Breakout Tournament: A solid match with the right guy going over. Jiro is charismatic, but his wrestling in the jacket gimmick is too cutesy for my taste. I could be in the minority and if it catches on then good for him, but it’s just not for me. The Miss pertains largely to the presentation of the tournament. It feels like its being thrown together on the fly due in part to the tournament starting before the brackets were even announced. For that matter, they didn’t even announce another tournament match for next week.