Candice LeRae def. Shotzi Blackheart
Both of these women are tremendously talented, so unsurprisingly, this was a quality contest to kick off the show. It was also a meaningful match because they've been feuding for months now, which is why I would have advertised this at least one week in advance. Indi Hartwell interfered as expected, but at least it protected Blackheart in defeat and gave LeRae the cheap victory. The feud will continue as it should.
Undisputed Era Saved NXT Champion Finn Balor From Pete Dunne and NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
Next to Pat McAfee, Balor has got to be the next best talker on NXT. He always brings the intensity and comes off better than he ever did on the main roster. I'm happy Dunne interrupted him as it likely means he's next in line for a shot at the NXT Championship. Kyle O'Reilly and the rest of Undisputed Era making the save also means O'Reilly isn't done in the title picture, either. This was a solid segment that achieved a few different things.
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Ever-Rise in a Men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First-Round Match
Ever-Rise have had an issue with Grizzled Young Veterans since the latter team's return to NXT, so this was a logical match to open the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match with. It's been nice to see Ever-Rise get more television time lately because they have a lot more to offer than some may realize, but Grizzled Young Veterans were always going to win here. It was a quality contest. Grizzled Young Veterans may be making it to the finals for the second straight year and possibly winning it all this time.
NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano def. Dexter Lumis (Non-Title)
Lumis has been protected pretty heavily these last six months with wins over Roderick Strong and Cameron Grimes, so I didn't think he would lose to Gargano here. Gargano shouldn't have suffered the non-title loss, but at least the interference from Austin Theory protected Lumis in defeat. It was a decent match, but it didn't really click for me. Kushida came out afterward to confront Gargano as it will be Gargano and Theory against Kushida and Leon Ruff in the first round of the Dusty Classic next week.
Wade Barrett Hosted a Sit-Down Interview with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher
We don't ordinally see segments like this that take place backstage in a pre-taped setting, but it was really well done. Both guys were great and even Barrett played his role well. Thatcher made an excellent point when he said that Ciampa may have won at TakeOver, but Fight Pit is where he thrives (even though he's won only one of them). That should be killer. NXT needs to do more stuff like this in the future.
MSK def. Isiah "Swerve" Scott and Jake Atlas in a Men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First-Round Match
MSK is, of course, the former Rascalz from IMPACT. I don't think it was ever explained what MSK stands for, and their new names aren't great, at all. That aside, they're a tremendously talented team and it was wise to have them debut in the Dusty Classic with a win. This was a blast of a bout. MSK got to advance while Scott and Atlas furthered their feud. Scott's slow-burn heel turn continues. I'm interested to see Scott as a full-fledged heel because I think that might be the better role for him.
Xia Li def. Valentina Feroz
Li re-debuted last week with a dominant showing and this was no different. The entrance is awesome as well, and although I'd like to see her and Boa's master (or whatever they're calling the person they're answering to) finally reveal their identity, at least Li is kicking ass in the meantime. This was exactly what it needed to be. Where the hell was this Li a year or two ago? She's an absolute badass now.
Undisputed Era (Adam Cole and Roderick Strong) def. Breezango in a Men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First-Round Match
Breezango are always entertaining, but I appreciate that they can ditch the comedy stuff whenever the bell rings and shine as the great wrestlers they are. This was a fun and chaotic main event, thanks to the interference at ringside from Dunne, Lorcan and Burch. They went a bit overboard with it by the end, but it did make me think we were going to get Breezango going to the next round. Balor brawled with the heels as well, so I'm curious if this will lead to an eight-man tag with Balor and Undisputed Era against Dunne, Lorcan, Burch and a returning Pat McAfee if we're headed for a Triple Threat between Balor, O'Reilly and Dunne for the NXT Championship.
It was announced that the women's Dusty Classic will be kicking off next week, so the men's and women's Dusty Cups will be happening simultaneously heading into next month's TakeOver special. Although there wasn't anything overly newsworthy or exciting about this episode (at least compared to last week), but the men's Dusty Classic was the central focus this week and the wrestling delivered. We also got the debut of MSK, which was cool. I'm really looking forward to next week's Fight Pit between Ciampa and Thatcher.