Von Wagner def. Kyle O'Reilly in a Steel Cage Match
The fact this match wasn't saved for New Year's Evil in a few weeks tells me O'Reilly is indeed on his way out this week and he absolutely should be. If that man doesn't go to AEW and reunite with Adam Cole and Bobby Fish, unless the money WWE is offering is too insane to pass up, he'd be a moron to stay. As for this match, Von Wagner just isn't good at all, but at least O'Reilly carried him to a competent contest and did the honors on the way out.
Diamond Mine Interrupted Bron Breakker
As expected, Breakker came out and acknowledged that he and Tommaso Ciampa are one win apiece (counting his victory over him in WarGames) before challenging him to a rematch for the NXT Championship. He didn't mention a specific date, but I would have to think it will happen at New Year's Evil. Malcolm Bivens interrupting him and setting up Breakker vs. Roderick Strong for next week was random, but I'll take it. Bivens mentioning that there's no longer a weight limit for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship is interesting, but why not just disband it all together?
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen def. The Creed Brothers
Grizzled Young Veterans sat at ringside for this and stole the tag rope so Briggs couldn't tag in toward the end. I can't say I've seen that before. The match itself was fine, but Briggs and Jensen are among the crop of people in NXT 2.0 who do nothing for me. They're decent in the ring as a team at best, whereas Creed Brothers have a ton of upside. They really shouldn't have lost here, but I guess they have to build up babyface teams to challenge Imperium.
Cameron Grimes Challenged Duke Hudson to a No Holds Barred Match
Hudson wore a wig and wrestling headgear during this segment a la Kurt Angle in 2002. I'm not sure it was meant as a tribute or if they honestly didn't know, but I found it funny and I'm sure Grimes will rip it off in their No Holds Barred match. Speaking of which, I'm fine with this feud continuing for a little longer. It would explain why they didn't go all out in their TakeOver match and should be fun.
Dexter Lumis def. NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes by Disqualification (Non-Title)
Lumis returned at WarGames and it looks like he has his sights set on the NXT North American Championship again. He and Hayes had a well-wrestled match and Trick Williams played his role nicely at ringside. The disqualification finish means we're going to get more of these two and I can't say it's a feud that overly excites me. I guess Lumis is another name Hayes beat, but there's plenty of other people I'd rather see in Lumis' spot instead.
NXT Women's Tag Team Champions Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jane) def. Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon (Non-Title)
Feroz and Leon have been appearing regularly on 205 Live as of late, so while they're far from polished, at least they've been getting their reps in there. They scored more offense than I thought they would and were relatively impressive, but Toxic Attraction went over as they should have. Cora Jade interrupted Mandy Rose afterward, so they're clearly building toward that rematch for the NXT Women's Championship sooner rather than later.
Santos Escobar def. Xyon Quinn
I honestly can't think of one valid reason why Escobar isn't on the main roster right now. Rumors suggest he hasn't been called up because of his age and that's a massive shame if true. On the bright side, guys like newcomers like Quinn will benefit from working with him. This was easily the most competitive match Quinn has had to date and he held his own. I had no issue with Escobar snapping Quinn's undefeated streak because Escobar hasn't won anything meaningful all year. That isn't to say this was extremely meaningful, but it was better than him losing for the umpteenth time.
Grayson Waller Attacked Johnny Gargano
I appreciated that Gargano was allowed to speak from the heart and get as much time as he wanted. I was worried the segment would be brief because we were getting dangerously close to the top of the hour by the time the segment started, so then I forgot Season 1 of Chucky ended and they could afford to bring the overrun back and interrupt whatever movie USA Network plays afterward. Nonetheless, I loved all of this. He spoke openly about his NXT stint, his connection with the audience, fatherhood, and how he doesn't know what's next for him. I believe him when he says that. I assume he ultimately stays, but it seems like he'll be taking time off for the foreseeable future and weigh his options for now which is the smartest call to make. Waller attacking him at the end didn't bother me because Gargano is all about elevating other people and I didn't think this would be any different. He wanted to put over one of the new guys over on his way out and I thought he did that effectively. The question now is whether NXT will follow up on it properly.
This was hyped up as a big show with what was being advertised coming into it, but only the opening and closing segments felt important to be honest. The Steel Cage match isn't worth going out of your way to see by any means, but it was notable in that it likely marked the end of O'Reilly's time in NXT. Same with Gargano at the end, but that promo is absolutely worth seeking out. We also found out that Riddle was the "shaman" for MSK, which was slightly disappointing, but it could have some entertaining storyline possibilities. The rest of this show was business as usual as they attempt to build up the newer names. It doesn't make for the most thrilling two-hour program, but it's what I've come to expect from the brand at this point.