Heavy Machinery def. The Mighty
Personally, I've been digging The Mighty as heels so far. Their new attitude and attire is a step in the right direction, but they really should switch up their babyface-sounding entrance music. At any rate, this was an enjoyable albeit slightly formulaic tag team affair as The Mighty and Heavy Machinery worked well together yet nothing they did stood out as special. The Street Profits causing a distraction halfway through was the highlight, though, and it elicited a big reaction from the crowd. It's good to see those guys back on NXT TV because it's definitely been a while.
Moustache Mountain def. Matt Knotts and Brandon Taylor
Moustache Mountain are still reeling from their loss of the NXT Tag Team Championship last month, so this squash match was designed to allow them to bounce back. The audience was into all of their offense and thus this was fun while it lasted. More importantly, they established afterward during their post-match promo that they plan to invoke their rematch clause for the championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV, and assuming War Raiders are involved as well, that should be a blast of a bout.
EC3 def. Kona Reeves
I've made it pretty clear by this point that Reeves does absolutely nothing for me, but this was easily his best performance to date even though the match was barely above average. Velveteen Dream's promo on the stage during the contest was a treat and it was later confirmed backstage by William Regal that he and EC3 will be going one-on-one at TakeOver. Oh, and I'm glad EC3 didn't lose to Reeves despite the distraction, because that would have done some damage to EC3 for sure.
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler def. Candice LeRae (Non-title)
I would have saved this for a future TakeOver special, but Kairi Sane and Baszler have faced off on NXT TV before and they'll be clashing at TakeOver this month, so these two could always have a rematch on a TakeOver down the road. Besides, it isn't as if they hadn't done battle before, because they had a nice little match during last year's Mae Young Classic. It's apparent how much Baszler has improved since then because this was another entertaining outing from them. I loved the story they told with LeRae playing the underdog role to perfection, selling the injured arm throughout and coming so close to beating Baszler only to fall short in the end. Plus, the crowd was hot for Baszler and Sane nearly coming to blows afterward.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa Addressed the Audience; Aleister Black Attacked Johnny Gargano
As expected, Ciampa held nothing back in gloating about his huge NXT Championship victory from last week and bragging about beating both Black and Gargano in the past two months. He's undoubtedly one of the hottest heels in all of wrestling right now and his exceptional mic skills are proof of that. I liked how Black's music interrupted Ciampa but it was Gargano who beat Black to the ring and immediately brawled with Ciampa. During his verbal tirade against Ciampa, Gargano was blindsided by Black, planting the seeds for their likely TakeOver Triple Threat match.
The card for TakeOver: Brooklyn IV has come together quite nicely over the last two months and I'm extremely excited to be in attendance for the event. There was plenty more hype for the show on this edition of NXT with two more matches being officially announced (EC3 vs. Dream and Adam Cole vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship). Plus, Baszler vs. LeRae was great and several other feuds were furthered as well. This was a super focused and entertaining episode that is well worth checking out.