By Graham "GSM" Matthews
NXT Women's Champion Asuka and Bayley Signed the Contract For Their NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Match
If I critique the main roster for having too many contract signings, the same must be said about NXT. It feels like we get one before every TakeOver special (usually from the women), but it's hard to complain when they're always so strong. This may not have been the best contract signing I've seen on NXT, as some of the lines delivered by both Bayley and Asuka felt scripted at times, but overall, it was a solid segment. We haven't seen too much interaction between them in recent months, so this final face-off was effective in getting fans excited for the anticipated rematch in addition to adding an extra edge to Bayley's character.
The Authors of Pain def. Adrian Nails and Rob Ryzin
We haven't seen too much of Authors of Pain since their arrival two months ago, but I have been impressed by everything they have done so far. Their match against American Alpha featured a breakout performance from them in my eyes, and this was another dominant outing from them here. Similar to The Ascension were in their early days in NXT, they are better in short squash matches, but I believe they have the potential to have fun longer form matches in due time, especially if TM-61 are their opponents.
Andrade "Cien" Almas def. Angelo Dawkins
The crowd was more behind Almas here than they have been in the past, but there simply seems to be a disconnect there for whatever reason. Was it the poor presentation of his character from the get-go? Or was it WWE's decision to unmask him? Either way, he still has work to do, but at least he's excellent in the ring, and I love the idea of pairing him with Bobby Roode at TakeOver: Brooklyn. The spotlight will obviously be on the "glorious" one on that night, but Almas should benefit from just being in the ring with him.
Billie Kay def. Liv Morgan
As I've said in the past, with so many women from NXT getting the call-up to the main roster in the past month and Bayley being bound for Raw or SmackDown Live in the very near future, it is imperative NXT begin to build up the women such as Kay and Morgan that have been a part of the division for a while but have yet to be prominently featured. Kay is a decent worker and a gorgeous girl, but I would like to know what her character (if she even has one) is all about. On a related note, I assume Kay will be Ember Moon's opponent at TakeOver.
Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa def. Tucker Knight and Patrick Clark
Gargano and Ciampa vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship was only inevitable for TakeOver, and that should be a stellar match. As for this bout, it was a pleasant treat while it lasted that allowed Gargano and Ciampa to showcase their skills a bit more. Additionally, I appreciated how they acknowledged their battle from the Cruiserweight Classic last week instead of completely ignoring it. The storyline consistency in NXT is one of the many things I love about the product.
WWE NXT Champion Samoa Joe def. Mojo Rawley (Non-title)
Joe's attack on Rawley last week was a nice way of setting up this week's main event so it didn't feel random. Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest differences. Needless to say, this was probably Rawley's best showing ever as he had his hope spots and Joe once again looked excellent in his destruction of the Hype Bro. The post-match (almost) brawl between Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura was well done and I might be looking forward to their match more than anything else that weekend (which is saying a lot).
I hate to repeat myself, but essentially every edition of NXT since the last TakeOver special two months ago has been worth watching and this installment was no exception. No match was exactly must-see, but there was still plenty of solid storyline progression, perfectly acceptable wrestling and multiple matches made official for TakeOver: Brooklyn, which should be nothing short of an exceptional event from what it looks like.