By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Oney Lorcan def. Tye Dillinger
First and foremost, what the hell kind of name is Oney Lorcan? For those unfamiliar, he is the former Biff Busick from the independent scene, and he went under the name of Christopher Girard for a while in NXT, which was significantly better. That aside, I was pleasantly surprised he was able to showcase his skills for the first time in this match. He has largely been an enhancement talent during his NXT tenure, but he might be more than that going forward if his upset victory over Dillinger was any indication. Unlike Andrade Almas, he benefited from working against the fan favorite Perfect 10 because he is seemingly a heel whereas Almas is babyface.
No Way Jose def. Josh Woods
No Way Jose remains one of my favorite wrestlers on the roster right now just because of how damn fun the character is. This was another standard squash from him, but it was what happened afterward that I loved the most. The heel turn from Austin Aries was predictable, but him coming down and dancing with No Way Jose for as long as he did gave viewers the impression it wouldn't happen after all, but when it did, the crowd popped huge. It was an excellent attack on a cult favorite in Full Sail University, though it was strange they started chanting for Aries after he turned. Only in NXT. Still, this should be a fun feud. I don't want to last until TakeOver: Brooklyn, but it will keep Aries busy in the meantime.
Bayley def. Deonna Purrazzo
Purrazzo has been doing squash matches in NXT for ages now and has yet to be signed if I'm not mistaken. She'd be an awesome addition to NXT's women's division, so hopefully it's only a matter of time. At any rate, this match was obviously all about the returning Bayley and the crowd ate up everything she did. The road to her NXT Women's Championship rematch with Asuka has begun, and once she loses that, fingers crossed a main roster call-up isn't too far behind.
Nia Jax def. Liv Morgan
Jax is an absolute beast. She still isn't all that amazing in the ring, but she's at least improving, and it's quick and effective matches such as this one that she thrives in. Morgan sold her offense very well and made her out to look like a dominant force. If anything, it helped her get her heat back following her loss to Asuka at TakeOver: The End.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Buddy Murphy
I genuinely feel bad for anyone who steps in the ring with Nakamura. He lays in his shots stiff, and that's what makes his matches so entertaining. This was another hard-hitting affair from The King of Strong Style as he completely kicked the crap out of Murphy. It was confirmed earlier in the evening that he will face Finn Balor on NXT in three weeks, so expect Nakamura to win before challenging for the championship in Brooklyn the following month.
On paper, I was expected a straightforward show with several squash matches, but this exceeded my expectations in being a very enjoyable edition of NXT. Lorcan scored a surprising victory, Bayley returned to action, and Aries cemented his heel turn. Oh, and Shinsuke freakin' Nakamura wrestled. Need I say more? I was also happy to see Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella set up for next week. The coming months of NXT TV should be a blast as the Brooklyn special draws closer.