Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss def. Heavy Machinery
Heavy Machinery have been appearing sporadically since losing their shot at the NXT Tag Team Championship over the summer, so while I wish they showed up more often, it's always a treat whenever they're in action. The audience ate up everything they did here. Sabbatelli and Moss scored some offense but were largely dominated before picking up the surprise win via dirty tactics. Moss had his feet on the ropes when he scored the pinfall, so I assume a rematch will be held sometime soon.
Roderick Strong def. Fabian Aichner
As I've noted many times in the past, Aichner has impressed me every time he's been in action on NXT TV. He had another quality performance here, but this was all about Strong for the most part. Afterward, he cut a decent promo about wanting more competition and specifically called out Lars Sullivan. It looks like those two are destined to do battle at TakeOver: Philadelphia. I figured it would be Sullivan vs. Killian Dain, so this was an interesting development. Triple Threat match, perhaps?
Lacey Evans def. Aliyah
Aliyah has made great strides in the ring over the last few years, but Evans is the new shiny toy officials are keen on pushing at the moment in the women's division (even though she too has been here a while). This wasn't the most stellar showing, but she certainly looks like a star and her promo ability is much better than her in-ring ability at this point. I'm looking forward to seeing her progress going forward, Also, Shayna Baszler choked out Aliyah and further staked her claim at an NXT Women's Championship match.
Johnny Gargano Challenged The Velveteen Dream
Prior to this, Zelina Vega made a remark to NXT General Manager William Regal backstage that Dream deserves an opportunity to become No. 1 Contender considering he wasn't around last month, leading to Gargano coming out and challenging Dream to a match next week for the No. 1 contendership. This was a fired-up side of Gargano we haven't seen in a while and I loved it. Those two should have a great match and the bout will give Gargano one last chance to build momentum ahead of TakeOver.
Authors of Pain def. Street Profits in an NXT Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Authors of Pain have been main roster ready since August I'd argue, but I guess they'll be receiving a final NXT Tag Team Championship match before they get the call-up to either Raw or SmackDown Live. Street Profits have plenty of potential to be a top tandem in NXT and they were able to look good in defeat here, but Authors of Pain were dominant in the end. Here's hoping Street Profits end up back in the tag title picture soon enough.
Unsurprisingly, the card for TakeOver: Philadelphia has come together very nicely and this edition of NXT did an excellent job of not only finalizing the rest of the event but also building toward next week's go-home show with Gargano vs. Dream and No Way Jose returning (the video package on the returning TM-61 was also awesome). There weren't any must-see matches on this show like there were last week, but everything served a purpose. And again, the atmosphere in Center Stage is a welcome change from Full Sail University. They're just so much livelier and it adds a lot to my enjoyment of the episodes.