By Graham "GSM" Matthews
American Alpha def. Blake and Murphy
American Alpha continues to take the tag team division by storm as I'm entertained by all of their matches. This outing against Blake and Murphy was no exception, and while Blake and Murphy don't do much for me, they are solid hands in the ring and deserve credit for holding their own here. Picking up a win over a set of former NXT Tag Team Champions definitely adds to the building credibility and momentum of American Alpha and I'm hoping they earn themselves a shot at the NXT Tag Team Championship at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
Nia Jax def. Liv Morgan
Jax has undoubtedly improved in the ring since her debut several months ago and believe it or not, I actually like her pairing with Eva Marie. It will help her elicit heat and, more importantly, it keeps Eva Marie out of the ring! Or at least momentarily. The match itself was a glorified squash with Morgan scoring a few offensive maneuvers only to be decimated in the end. Based off what we saw a few weeks back, I assume Asuka will be feuding with Jax and Eva sooner rather than later.
Alex Riley def. Bull Dempsey
I know most people couldn't care less about Riley, but I, for one, am glad to see him back in action. He's had a long layoff and he looked pretty decent in his first match back from injury. He didn't display any heel tendencies, but his post-match promo indicated he was a heel and it was a damn good promo at that. I have zero idea where he fits in as the next TakeOver special approaches, but it will be interesting to see at the very least.
Elias Sampson def. John Skyler
We have seen Sampson's gimmick only three times in the last month and I'm officially not sold on it. It would be one thing if he was slow yet methodical (i.e. Randy Orton circa 2009), but he's just slow. There isn't anything about him that's exciting, not even his arsenal. Sadly, we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the weeks to come based off what I heard from people who attended the latest set of tapings in Orlando.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match for the NXT Championship Ended in a No Contest
Needless to say, this was far and away the best bout on NXT this week and it met my expectations in being very enjoyable from start to finish. All three competitors were able to hit their signature spots and the nearfalls down the stretch were suspenseful. I was surprised the commentators didn't make a bigger deal out of Corbin tapping for the first time ever. As for the finish, I was initially disappointed by it, but looking back on it now, it was effective in setting up a rematch between Joe and Zayn or potentially a Triple Threat for the NXT Championship. I wish they would have made the announcement here, but I can't lie that it made me want to tune in next week to see what will happen.
As entertained as I was by the main event, the rest of the show was tame in comparison. Personally, I'm happy Riley has returned, but it wasn't too newsworthy of a moment. The other two squash matches were fairly mediocre as well. The opening tag team match was solid, so check that out in addition to the main event and call it a day. Hold out for a future episode that will likely be better than this one on the whole.