Kenny King def. Jushin "Thunder" Liger
I'd argue King officially turned heel following his victory over Adam Page on this past week's edition of ROH TV (where he used underhanded tactics to pick up the win), so despite this event emanating from his hometown, he was in full-blown heel mode here. Meanwhile, Liger never ceases to amaze me with what he's capable of still at his age. This was a quality contest where King came across as ruthless for putting Liger away even when Liger was clearly hurt.
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes def. The Addiction
This was well on its way to being a great tag team match before Frankie Kazarian's legitimate injury, which occurred halfway through and sidelined him for the rest of the bout. It basically became a Handicap matchup by that point, and as excellent of a job as Christopher Daniels did of fighting underneath as a resilient babyface, the crowd didn't seem to buy into the idea of The Addiction becoming the new tag team champs. I could see it happening either before or at Final Battle, though.
Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard def. Faby Apache
Apache only just debuted on IMPACT! Wrestling last week, so while there was obviously zero doubt regarding the outcome of this contest, it had a nice pace and they did a solid job of making viewers believe Apache had a chance of winning the title in her native Mexico. The match was on the shorter side, mind you, but what we got was good. Afterward, Taya Valkyrie challenged Blanchard to a title matchup at Bound for Glory, which Blanchard accepted backstage later on in the night.
Impact X-Division Champion Brian Cage def. Jake Crist (Non-title)
This was a total mismatch on paper, but in the best way possible in that it was fun to watch Cage annihilate his much smaller opponent. I was expecting a glorified squash with Cage making short work of Crist, but Chist scored a surprising amount of offense over Cage (including a cutter off the top rope) before finally losing. The post-match angle with Cage, The Lucha Brothers and oVe was just more build for their upcoming six-man tag team bout at Bound for Glory.
Hiroyo Matsumoto def. Rachel Evers in a First-Round Match
I wasn't familiar with Matsumoto whatsoever coming into this tournament and didn't know what to expect, but she absolutely impressed me with her strong showing here, as well as Evers. She has been featured on NXT plenty of times in the past and was even in last year's Mae Young Classic, so I was glad to see her get another opportunity to shine (which she did). This was an excellent outing and a great way to kick off the night.
Taynara Conti def. Jessie Elaban in a First-Round Match
This is actually the first match I've seen Elaban involved in, even though she has been training at the Performance Center for about a year and a half by this point. She fared well for herself, and Conti is pretty passable as well, but this wasn't that good of a match at all. Conti was the right choice to advance between the two of them and hopefully she'll continue to improve in the future. At least she has a presence about her.
Undisputed Era Interrupted NXT General Manager William regal
It's rare nowadays that we get a Regal appearance in front of the live crowd, so him coming out to address the Aleister Black situation was cool. It wasn't long before Undisputed Era interrupted him to complain about their own problems, which led to Regal announcing that it will be Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole for the NXT North American Championship in two weeks and Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong vs. War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championship in three weeks. This was a strong segment to kick off the show and Regal remains the best general manager in all of WWE right now.
Lars Sullivan def. Victor Orchant
Sullivan squashing fools will never not be fun. It was what got him over in the first place about a year ago, and if done sparingly, having him face local athletes is effective in establishing him as a monster heel. I also liked the pre-match vignette that showcased his dominance, as well as the post-match angle that saw EC3 return and take the fight to Sullivan. They will collide one-on-one on next week's edition of NXT.