By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa Interrupted The Revival
Not only are they excellent wrestlers, but The Revival have certainly come into their own as talkers as well. They're not the greatest mic workers of all-time or anything, but they seem significantly more comfortable on the mic than they did even a few months ago. Ciampa fared well for himself here as well, but why was it that Gargano was the only one who wasn't allowed to talk? I haven't heard too much of him, so perhaps it might have been for the better, but then again, how will he ever improve if he isn't given an opportunity? Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see a tag team main event receive proper build in the opening segment for once. It's a sign the tag team division in NXT is becoming a bigger priority than it already is.
Tye Dillinger def. Buddy Murphy
Corey Graves made a great point on commentary about how sad it was that Murphy has lost his girlfriend and his tag tag partner yet got his first name back. And that first name sucks. He better drop it again soon because I've always been high on him as a singles performer and he won't get anywhere being called Murphy. Officials likely don't have major plans for him in the near future if his loss to Dillinger was any indication, but I'm not upset over it. Dillinger deserved the victory more and hopefully with so many stars getting called up to the main roster, he can get that long overdue push. He's too damn good to be wasted, not to mention the Full Sail University crowd absolutely adores him.
Corey Graves Sat Down with NXT Champion Samoa Joe and Finn Balor
Holy shit! This was freaking fantastic. These sit-down interviews are always exceptional and this was no different. Balor has never been the most amazing promo guy, but Joe really brought the best out of him here. They also did an excellent job of talking about their history together and their battles, going all the way back to tagging together in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and Joe subsequently turning on Balor because he felt he didn't get the title shot he deserved. I don't know about anyone else, but I've been enjoying the hell out of this feud since it started many months ago and this only made me more amped for next week's Steel Cage match.
Austin Aries def. Elias Sampson
I'm sorry, but I immediately lose interest in anything involving Sampson. He does absolutely nothing for me. On the bright side, he showed more aggression than usual while on offense, but that was about it as this was a standard squash for Aries otherwise. Aries cut an effective promo afterward after why he'll beat Shinsuke Nakamura come TakeOver and that's a match I can't wait for. Aries is already a teasing a heel turn, so they should go all the way with it sooner rather than later.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa def. The Revival
Needless to say, Gargano and Ciampa gel really well as a team and they found nice chemistry with The Revival. They worked a very good tag team matchup that had a surprising result, but I liked it. Yes, The Revival are one week away from challenging for the NXT Tag Team Championship, but it continued the hot streak Gargano and Ciampa have been on and Revival were able to get a measure of their heat back with the attack afterward before American Alpha made the save.
NXT Women's Champion Asuka and Nia Jax Signed the Contract For Their NXT TakeOver: The End Match
Is it just me or does it seem like we always get a contract signing from the women before every TakeOver? Not that I'm complaining because they're usually very well done. Both women kept what they had to say short and sweet and it resulted in a solid segment. Jax's ambush on Asuka was necessary in making her a threat to the title. She has been fairly dominant in as of late, so if she loses next week (and I imagine she will), she shouldn't look weak.
Obviously, every TakeOver special up to this point has been stellar, but this has been the best build to a TakeOver in recent memory. They didn't wait too long to confirm the card for the show and each bout has been building for a while. Even the NXT Women's title match, which seemingly came out of nowhere, feels meaningful. This was an awesome go-home show that only furthered my excitement for The End. Next Wednesday couldn't come soon enought!