NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega Addressed the Audience
It's a good thing Vega is Almas' manager because in all honesty, I hardly understood half of what he said here. He looks like a superstar and is incredible in the ring, but he doesn't speak the strongest English. That's where Vega comes in. On the whole, this was a nice way to kick off his reign as NXT Champion and I continue to love Almas and Vega as an act. This also helped set the stage for the No. 1 Contender qualifying matches we'll be seeing in the coming weeks.
Killian Dain def. Trent Seven in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Qualifying Match
I was expecting more from these two because they're bigger dudes but can flat-out go in the ring. Unfortunately, it didn't last long and was largely a showcase for Dain. It was certainly successful in solidifying him as a dominant force, but it didn't do Seven any favors despite his strong showing in last week's excellent tag team main event. On the bright side, this gave me hope that we'll be seeing more of the U.K. guys on NXT going forward.
Sonya Deville def. Ruby Riot in a No holds Barred Match
What have Riot and Deville done to justify them having a No Holds Barred match? Their feud has been decent over the last month or so, but I feel like NXT just wanted to give them a big send-off from NXT in a specialty matchup even if it wasn't necessary. Hell, there wasn't anything extreme about it other than Deville forcing Riot to tap out on the ropes, which was a flat finish. I actually enjoyed their previous outing more, so I'm not sure what purpose this served other than to give Deville her win back en route to the main roster (where Riot also now resides, so this was weird).
Johnny Gargano def. Kassius Ohno in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Qualifying Match
I heard plenty of positive reports regarding this match coming out of the most recent set of tapings and it definitely did not disappoint. Both guys can have great matches with just about anyone, so the fact they produced magic against each other was no surprise. The action was hard-hitting and highly physical from start to finish and once they picked up the pace down the stretch, the crowd was super hot for everything they did. Those final few minutes were fantastic and I'd argue they could have gone even longer. Gargano's redemption story is officially underway with this win and it'll be fun to follow in this mini No. 1 Contender's tournament.
TakeOver: Philadelphia isn't for another month and a half, but I love that NXT is wasting no time in building toward the event, especially with the NXT Championship picture. This was a solid show featuring an above-average main event that is well worth checking out. The next few weeks of TV look fantastic on paper between the qualifying matches and the Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate WWE United Kingdom Championship rematch on Dec. 20. If that isn't exciting enough, next week's edition will air on the USA Network, so it's super cool that the brand is closing out the year on such a high note.