By Graham "GSM" Matthews
NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension def. Two Local Athletes (Non-title)
I'm honestly at a loss for words. The fact this match even happened boggles my mind. Are the Ascension squash matches merely a rib by this point? Could they not have faced a team that lost in the recent tournament? If nothing else, at least it was kept short and sweet. Their post-match promo was fine for what it was, but they could have cut that same promo without competing in a meaningless match.
William Regal Was Named the New NXT General Manager
I absolutely love this move. Not only because I'm a big Regal fan, but it makes perfect sense. JBL, the former GM, was rarely ever there and therefore did nothing in the role. We know from his time as Raw GM that Regal can be an awesome authority figure and he's there for every NXT taping anyway. The interaction between Adrian Neville, Tyson Kidd, Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn was pretty paint-by-numbers, but at least the NXT Championship match for NXT Takeover 2 has finally been announced.
Bayley def. Sasha Banks
These two have always worked well together and I was happy to see them face off again. This was another nice match from them and although nothing was on the line this time around, it was a good tune-in match for Bayley as she prepares to contend for the NXT Women's Championship at Takeover 2. I also really enjoyed the post-match verbal exchange between Bayley and Charlotte. They're both still a bit shaky on the mic, but I like how Bayley is becoming more aggressive and Charlotte has improved leaps and bounds compared to where she was one year ago. Their upcoming match should continue the strong streak of entertaining women's matches at NXT live specials.
Bull Dempsey def. Angelo Dawkins
This was the typical Dempsey squash match with Dawkins scoring very little offense. He had a few hope spots, which was refreshing, but the ending outcome was no different than always. I'm not all that surprised with Mojo Rawley not making an appearance since Dempsey didn't show up after Rawley's match last week, but I assume they're headed for a match against each other at Takeover 2.
Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze def. NXT Champion Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn
When these four competitors are involved in same match, you can't expect anything less than excellence and that's exactly what this was. The first half was solid and they picked up the pace with some very entertaining action down the stretch. I like that the heels scored the victory but Zayn was the last man standing, giving him a much-needed boost. Tension was teased between Zayn and Neville as well, adding to the "every man for himself" feel in a Fatal 4-Way match.
While there wasn't anything must-see featured on this week's show (outside of maybe the main event), everything served a purpose and was effective in building toward Takeover 2. The Ascension addressed the tag tournament, Bayley and Charlotte confronted each other, Bull Dempsey sent a message to rival Mojo Rawley, and the NXT Championship match for the event was officially announced. The reveal of William Regal as the new NXT General Manager also made this show somewhat newsworthy, so I'll give the episode a thumbs up.