NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas def. Fabian Aichner (Non-title)
Almas is such a treat to watch in the ring, and he's especially been motivated more lately as a result of his "resurrection" of sorts. We've seen what Aichner is capable of in past outings against Johnny Gargano and others, and he never ceases o impress me with his exciting offense, especially considering he isn't exactly a Cruiserweight anymore. This was exactly what it needed to be with the champion going over clean, but Aichner also being made to look good in defeat.
Authors of Pain def. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
I was totally convinced Authors of Pain were main roster bound following their loss at TakeOver: WarGames, but it looks like they might be hanging around in NXT for a little while longer. I was really looking forward to this match because Lorcan and Burch are a blast of a duo, and although this was fairly brief, it was an entertaining squash match. Lorcan and Burch took the fight to the two monsters, but Authors of Pain prevailed in the end.
Aleister Black def. Adam Cole in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Qualifying Match
I thought it was strange this was given away as a qualifier and not saved for a TakeOver special down the road, but it was a real solid main event, nonetheless. The early goings were fun, but the second half was strong once they picked up the pace. This marked Cole's first singles defeat since coming to NXT, but I doubt he'll be damaged by this loss. A great promo in the next few weeks would make up for it. Both guys are exceptional performers, so I love that they were exposed to a bigger audience through the USA Network.
This was a very successful debut for NXT on the USA Network. It's merely a one-off as of now, of course, but if it pops a decent rating, it could become a permanent fixture on the network in the future, which would be really cool. The presentation of the episode wasn't much different than usual other than the longer commercials, but I did appreciate the video packages looking at some of the brand's most notable competitors. Each of the three matches were enjoyable, but the main event is especially worth checking out. Next week's show should be stellar between the WWE United Kingdom Championship match and the NXT Tag Team Championship match, so if this was your first time watching NXT, tune into that episode as well!