By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Vaudevillians def. The Mechanics
The resurgence of The Vaudevillians as babyfaces has been fun to watch. I don't know how well their limited gimmick will go over on the main roster, but for now, the crowd is finally starting to connect with him unlike when they were heels. This was a competent match for what it was and the standard for NXT's tag division, but otherwise nothing special. At the very least, it set up the No. 1 Contender's match for the NXT Tag Team Championship next week between The Vaudevillians and Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady.
Baron Corbin def. Tucker Knight
I've officially gone sour on Baron Corbin. Perhaps that was the case months ago, but his squashes have gotten to the point where not only do I not care, but they've become a regular annoyance on the show. It's painfully apparent NXT Creative has zero clue what to do with him and if it's because he's not good enough, then take him off TV! I know his matches typically last a minute or less, but it's still a waste of time if he won't be involved in anything worthwhile.
Emma def. Carmella
While I didn't mind the match much and thought it was actually pretty passable, it wasn't the usual excellent outing from the ladies of NXT. It wasn't terrible by any stretch, but Carmella's lack of in-ring experience continues to serve as a determinant to the quality of her matches. That said, she is improving at a steady rate, so there is hope after all. It's encouraging to see Emma (and Dana Brooke for that matter) getting something of a push as a heel tandem and it will be interesting to see who ultimately teams up with Sasha Banks to take them on.
Tyler Breeze def. Tye Dillinger
This was a sad match to watch for a number of reasons. First off, what the hell is going on with Breeze as of late? I guess it's a good thing that he's winning matches, but without a substantial storyline, no one is going to care. In fact, the Full Sail University crowd sided with Dillinger more than they did with Breeze during this bout. He's tested his "10 Count" gimmick out on house shows and I've heard it's done rather well, and although he teased it in this match, it was never alluded to and yet again he was utilized like a faceless job guy, which is a massive shame.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. NXT Champion Kevin Owens and Rhyno
Above and beyond, this was the highlight of this show and my only complaint is that I wish it would have gone longer. While it lasted, however, I thoroughly enjoyed it as the in-ring action was extremely entertaining. All four competitors worked so well together and it made for a fantastic final few minutes down the stretch. I really like how Owens was protected after taking finishers from Rhyno (inadvertently) and Balor, which made his first loss in NXT feel like a big deal. It also did a great job in getting this viewer even more excited for their pending encounter over the NXT Championship in Japan.
As much as I hate to say this, the quality of NXT was been rather stale since the last TakeOver special in late May. I assumed the product would heat up (no pun intended) going into the summer season, but that has yet to be the case. Don't get me wrong, the stories involving Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor have been excellent, but everything else in the undercard has left a lot to be desired. Hopefully that changes with the next special in late August coming up.