By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Hideo Itami def. Sean Maluta
After over a year out of the ring due to injury, one would expect Itami to have some ring rust, but that didn't appear to be the case whatsoever if his showing here was any indication. It didn't blow the roof off Full Sail University, but he hit all of his signature spots and the crowd was happy to have him back. I don't know if it's too late for him to join the TakeOver: Brooklyn card, and I'm unsure who he would even face, but he should start to build momentum going forward.
Mojo Rawley vs. Chris Atkins Ended in a No Contest
Thank you, Samoa Joe! I'm not as much of a Rawley hater as others are, but I couldn't care less about his singles outings. That said, Joe did everyone a favor by cutting this match short, even if he might have been late breaking up Rawley's pinfall attempt on Atkins. He made up for it by coming off like a complete monster in his attack on Rawley, and as I've been saying since the start, a motivated Joe is the best Joe.
NXT Women's Champion Asuka def. Aliyah (Non-title)
Aliyah has wrestled a few televised matches before, though most people might remember her from the first season of Breaking Ground on the WWE Network late last year. She actually looked a lot better and much more confident here than the last time we saw her. Asuka was excellent per usual and showed a bit more aggression than we're used to seeing from her. The fact she refused to let go of her submission move on Aliyah afterward might indicate she's turning heel in the near future, though I question how smart that would be if Bayley is main roster bound beyond SummerSlam.
Bobby Roode Addressed the Audience
I have been highly anticipating the arrival of Roode in NXT since he initially appeared onscreen back at TakeOver: Dallas in April and his debut on this show definitely lived up to the hype. I was wondering whether the "Glorious" gimmick would replace what he had in TNA as the "It Factor" (which the commentators acknowledged by the way), and I'm totally fine with that since the fans already seem to dig it. Having him praise the people only to turn on them at the end was... well, glorious, and Roode has always been a better heel. He was right about one thing, though: his presence should certainly take NXT to that next level, and I reckon he'll be the promotion's top heel once Samoa Joe gets the main roster call-up sooner rather than later.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival def. TM-61 (Non-title)
Some may say NXT's tag team division is just now hitting its stride, but I'd argue it's been on fire for close to a year now, and it's because of teams such as Revival and TM-61. They contested a very fun match with plenty of entertaining action mixed in. It's a good thing Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa are great wrestlers because their promo wasn't too stellar. I mean, are Pokemon references the new cheap pop in 2016? At the very least, the brawl that followed was well done and built up their likely tag title match for Brooklyn effectively.
I honestly don't think there has been a below-average edition of NXT since the last TakeOver nearly two months ago, and the build to Brooklyn has been exceptional. Even as we approach the event a little over two weeks away, we're still getting newsworthy matches and moments on the show, such as Itami's return and Roode's debut. Throw in two solid tag team and women's matches and a short and sweet Samoa Joe attack and you have yourself another excellent episode.