By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kevin Owens Addressed his NXT Championship Victory
If you're going to kick off a wrestling show with a promo, this is how you do it. Owens addressed his actions in the main event of TakeOver excellently and immediately shifted his focus to his next challenger: Finn Balor. The lack of Sami Zayn mention was interesting, though I'm sure he'll be back at some point. Still, Owen's promo was short, sweet and everything it needed to be and then some.
Rhyno def. Elias Sampson
Well, this was a pleasant surprise! Never in a million years would I have expected a Rhyno return, and the Full Sail University crowd popped big for it. This was a glorified squash that showcased Rhyno's dominance nicely, and as we saw in the backstage segment with Finn Balor, it looks like this wasn't just a one-off. It's great that they're seemingly bringing in veterans to help put over the younger stars, and this made for a very cool moment.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady def. The Vaudevillians
While the match wasn't anything special, it was nice to see Amore and Cassady pick up a win for once. Meaningless matches like these have become par for the course for the tag team division in recent months, but I'm really hoping it evolves into something more in coming months. This apparent feud between Amore and Cassady and Blake and Murphy is a step in the right direction and it's about time they were finally entered into the title picture.
Solomon Crowe Attacked CJ Parker
It took long enough, but Crowe has finally arrived in NXT. Parker is the perfect foil for anyone debuting in NXT, and he was hilarious before he got taken out by Crowe. Crowe's first impression was a good one and personally, I'm a huge fan of the hacker gimmick. How limited it is remains to be seen, but on night one, I liked it. He also seems to have quite a bit of charisma and I look forward to how his character will continue to develop the more we see of him.
NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks def. Blue Pants (Non-title)
The entrance video for Blue Pants and Colin Cassady singing her "theme" had me dying of laughter. One week removed from her title win at TakeOver, this was a logical win for Banks and she cut a good promo afterward. Also, this was a fresh matchup that we haven't seen before, so that was a nice plus. Based of Banks' comments, her feud with Charlotte may not be over after all, but hopefully they do the title rematch and be done with it.
NXT Champion Kevin Owens def. Adrian Neville (Non-title)
What is there to say about this match other than it was fantastic? Neville's incredible athleticism never ceases to amaze me and it was on full display here. He was on offense for most of the match, which was kind of the opposite of Owens vs. Zayn, but it made sense given Neville was out for revenge. It was excellent throughout, but the final few minutes were especially stellar, and I really like how Owens won clean by the skin of his teeth. I can only imagine the kind of matchup he'll be having with Balor when they go one-on-one for the title.
Taking everything into account, would it be too much to say that this was among the best episodes of NXT so far this year? Rhyno's return was awesome, Solomon Crowe finally made his debut, and the main event was phenomenal. Granted, the tag match and women's match weren't particularly memorable, but they both served a purpose at the very least. With the roster stacked more than it's ever been, I'm extremely excited as well as optimistic about the future of NXT.