By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mojo Rawley def. Riddick Moss
I don't know if we have yet to be introduced to Moss on NXT TV, but he definitely has an impressive physique. He came out as an unknown, but he did his best to elicit genuine heat from the crowd. Nothing he did in this match stood out to me, but I assume he's just starting out. As for Rawley, he entered to a mixed reaction, but he had the crowd in the palm of his hand by the time the match ended. Fans chanted along with Rawley at Ross, "He ain't hyped!" before one fan loudly exclaimed, "Who is he?" Funny. Rawley won with something other than his normal finisher, which is awful so I'm glad he switched it up. I don't know how far he'll go in NXT without Zack Ryder, but he did well for himself here. NFL star Rob Gronkowski was also in the audience. I didn't recognize him at first from afar but someone informed me after the show it was him.
Bayley and Carmella def. Dana Brooke and Peyton Royce
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I'm in an absolute love with Bayley. Granted, I was in attendance when she won the NXT Women's Championship in Brooklyn last August, but seeing her again in Lowell was awesome. And that entrance is simply sensational. The match was mostly a showcase for the babyfaces, but a fun one and the crowd ate it up. Bayley won with the Belly to Bayley. Was this Brooke's first match back since suffering the injury? I don't think so, but we haven't seen her in action on TV at all in 2016. Royce didn't look out of place, either.
Christopher Girard def. Tomasso Ciampa
I assumed this would be a quick squash with Ciampa going over, but what we got instead was a pleasant surprise. And when I say pleasant surprise, I mean an exceptional wrestling match. Ciampa scored the big reaction I knew he would, but Girard was a hell of a lot more over than I I figured he would be, and that has to do with him being from the area. I had no idea! The former Biff Busick looked phenomenal here and there were at least two or three points where the crowd gave them a standing ovation. Girard shockingly picked up the upset win, but I'm glad he did because he deserved it. They embraced each other after the match. Hopefully Girard will be more than an enhancement talent in the future on NXT.
Austin Aries def. Manny Andrade
Andrade was another competitor who came out to almost no reaction but had the crowd cheering him by the conclusion of the contest. Aries was his usual great self, but Andrade impressed me immensely with his performance. For those unaware, he is the former La Sombra, who was a top star in Mexico and was signed to a lot of buzz. He and Aries contested a very fun match, and even in defeat, Andrade shined. I'm looking forward to seeing him on NXT TV real soon.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Elias Sampson
Nakamura's entrance gave me goosebumps. Pardon my French but holy shit! Seeing him in person is an experience to say the least. I was all hyped up before the bout even began! Sampson came out first to sing some song, but I couldn't hear a single word he said/sang because the boos were so loud. Not the right type of heat, either, because I have zero idea where the gimmick goes from here. That said, he was a fine foil for Nakamura, who hit all of his signature spots and finished off Sampson with his patented knee for the victory. Is it too soon for him to be headlining WrestleMania next year?
NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha def. The Revival
This was on the same level as their match from NXT TakeOver: Dallas, meaning it was very good. Both teams know their role and therefore are perfect opponents. Revival teased throwing their shirts into the crowd early on only to hold on to them while American Alpha simply sweat charisma (credit: RJ Marceau). Very enjoyable tag team work from American Alpha and The Revival. Chad Gable won the match for his team with a roll-up after getting out of the Shatter Machine. I picked up an American Alpha shirt, too!
NXT Women's Champion Asuka def. Alexa Bliss
I read a report shortly after the event that indicated this match was poor, but I really didn't think it was that bad at all. If anything, it was proof to me how far Bliss has come as a character and as a wrestler in the last two years. Once Bayley gets her rematch, I would love to see Bliss enter the title picture again. Of course, the match wasn't as great as other women's match from NXT's past, but Bliss held her own and Asuka carried her to a competent contest.
Samoa Joe def. Finn Balor to Win the NXT Championship
Similar to the tag title match, it's hard to say whether this was better or worse than their last two TakeOver matches, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The match was hard-hitting, filled with suspenseful near-falls and entertaining action. The one spot that got everyone talking saw Balor deliver a dropkick to Joe into the barricade at ringside. I didn't see him make contact because everyone was standing up in front of me, but it sounded brutal, though not brutal enough that I thought the injury was legit. Medical personnel rushed to ringside, but before they could call the match off, Balor hopped back in the ring showing no ill-effects. He went for his finisher on the top turnbuckle only for Joe to catch him with the Muscle Buster. I think everyone assumed he was kicking out, and when the referee's hand hit the mat for the three count, the place came unglued. My jaw was on the floor (as well as my phone after chucking it in the air out of excitement and shock), but at the same time, I was freaking out like there was no tomorrow. Easily one of my biggest "mark-out" moments ever. We left a few minutes later, but as you've likely heard, Balor "too sweeted" the fans and said "See you Monday!" on his way out. Obviously, his main roster debut is imminent and I can't wait for it.
First of all, I love the idea to do the title change at a house show (and no, not just because I was there but that was a super cool coincidence). Some will argue they should have done it at TakeOver, but this way, Balor was able to break Neville's record as the longest reigning NXT Champion in history, it was third time's the charm for Joe, and it gives NXT live events the feeling that anything can happen. Tom Phillips did mention on NXT on Wednesday night that big things were in store for NXT Lowell, but I could have never anticipated that title change going down. Even without that, the show was fantastic. The crowd was hot all night long, the wrestling was wonderful, and that title change capped off the evening on an extremely high note. We're two days removed from the event and I'm still debating whether it beats NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn as the greatest wrestling show I've ever attended. If not, it undoubtedly comes close. A very fun show on the whole and I can't not stress enough that buying tickets to NXT will be one of the best investments you ever make.
SEE ALSO: "Event Photos - WWE NXT Live - Lowell, MA - April 21, 2016"