By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Cesaro def. Sami Zayn
Did anyone honestly expect this match to be anything less than spectacular? They set the standards quite high with their 2-out-of-3 Falls match last August, but they managed to have just as great (if not better) of a match here. The action was extremely exciting and these two proved once again that they chemistry is some of the best of anyone else on the roster today. The finishing sequence was fantastic and I was genuinely surprised to see Cesaro go over. I was hoping for Zayn to win, but he looked super strong in defeat and wasn't damaged at all. The post-match hug between the two was a very nice tough and planted the seeds for an eventual face turn for Cesaro.
Mojo Rawley def. CJ Parker
Both competitors are still very green in the ring, so I questioned the move to put them against each other, it was a relatively quick match that didn't overstay its welcome. Parker didn't show any character development after turning heel a few weeks ago, but he didn't need to. It was all about Rawley for the most part and it was nice to see him emerge victorious.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension def. Too Cool
As a massive mark for Too Cool, it was cool (no pun intended) to see them on this show, even if they are by no means the future of WWE. Nonetheless, the live crowd seemed to enjoy them as much as I did and were actually into the matchup while it lasted. It was better than any squash match we've seen from The Ascension in the last six months, that's for sure. Props to The Ascension for debuting a cool new entrance. Now they just need a fresh set of challengers to contend for the straps.
NXT Women's Champion Paige def. Emma
As great as of a match as this was by women's wrestling standards, it made me sad. First, you will never see anything like this on the main roster (especially one night removed from Aksana pinning Natalya on WWE Main Event). Second, Emma's character is being wasted on WWE TV at the moment as Santino's eye candy, so hopefully WWE officials realize after seeing this match that she is worth so much more. Similar to their title encounter back in August, Paige and Emma had a very good, impressive outing that showed why they are two of the best women workers in WWE today. I'd be completely content if this was Emma's final match on NXT for the time being now that she's on the main roster, but if that's the case, who will be next to challenge Paige for the title?
Alexander Rusev Attacked Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze
My god, Woods badly needs to retire the tiresome "Somebody Call My Momma" song and go back to using his NXT entrance theme. It was nice to see Breeze get some TV time on his historic show, even if he was destroyed by Rusev. That being said, why couldn't Rusev have beat up on two nameless jobbers? Officials are obviously high on him and Lana, so I guess they wanted him to look credible. His post-match promo was nothing different than anything we've seen in his recent vignettes, but I look forward to his debut on the main roster.
Adrian Neville def. Bo Dallas in a Ladder Match to Win the NXT Championship
While Neville's in-ring skills are incredible, I don't think Dallas gets the credit he deserves. His matches have gotten increasingly better since turning heel last year and he more than held his own during this contest. There were several cool ladder spots and Neville's style especially fit well in the stipulation. Neville hitting the Red Arrow on Dallas while lying on a ladder was awesome and seeing him win the title made for a great moment. The timing was perfect for a new champion to be crowned and it closed out the show on a high note for sure.
The pre-show format was very well done and served as a great precedessor to the show, informing fans on feuds who yet to be exposed to the product and getting loyal NXT viewers even more excited for the event. It had a big-fight feel to it and promoted NXT as the future of WWE. As for the show itself, I absolutely loved it. The unadvertised matches were decent and didn't at all bring the show down, serving its purpose as filler. The top three matches (the women's match, Zayn vs. Cesaro, and the NXT title match) were all excellent and lived up to my lofty expectations. I have to imagine that fans who hadn't tuned into NXT before now had to be impressed and surely convinced them to tune into the product on a regular basis going forward. WWE did a great job promoting this event, so fingers crossed they continue to treat it as a big deal going forward.