Oney Lorcan def. Austin Theory
These two brawled last week because they claimed their tag team partners would have won the number contender's Triple Threat for the NXT Championship. Thus, it made some sense to do this (I guess), but kicking off the night with a heel vs. heel match (no matter how well wrestled it was) was a weird call. It was an enjoyable, fast-paced opener that gave Lorcan a rare singles win. That said, I don't know what purpose it really served other than tying into Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano's involvement in the Fatal 5-Way main event at TakeOver: In Your House.
NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed and NXT Tag Team Champions MSK Accepted Legado del Fantasma's Challenge to a Winners Take All Match at TakeOver: In Your House
Santos Escobar was angry over Reed running him into the wall last week, which Reed replayed several times over. I thought this segment would lead to Reed accepting a challenge from Escobar to an NXT North American Championship match at TakeOver, but it's going to be a six-man tag team matchup for all the titles instead. That should be fun, but are Legado del Fantasma going to lose again? MSK and Reed haven't been champions for very long, so I'd be surprised if we saw the titles change hands so soon.
Isiah "Swerve" Scott def. Killian Dain
It's so refreshing to see Scott work against someone who isn't in the Cruiserweight division or Leon Ruff. He's so good and I'm glad he's finally getting his due. This was a solid match with the right result as Hit Row continues their ascent. They're already one of the best things going in NXT right now and I'm glad they're being booked accordingly. I'd hope to see Scott in the NXT North American Championship picture eventually.
Mercedes Martinez def. Amari Miller
Xia Li ambushed Martinez on the ramp while she was making her entrance and continued to attack her before throwing her in the ring. It didn't matter because once the bell rang, Martinez put her unknown opponent away in record time. This was your basic build for Martinez vs. Li at TakeOver on Sunday. By the way, for Martinez's sake, I hope the rumors aren't true about her being called up to Raw to be Eva Marie's enforcer. RETRIBUTION was bad enough. I do think Piper Niven wouldn't be a bad fit for that role, though.
Ted DiBiase Announced the Return of the Million Dollar Championship
As soon as it was advertised that DiBiase was going to be giving a "priceless announcement," you had to know what it was going to entail. The face-off between Cameron Grimes and LA Knight was decent for what it was and I love the idea of them feuding, but it's too early for a Ladder match, even though I know what will be at stake. The return of the Million Dollar Championship is exciting no matter who wins it at TakeOver. My only nitpick is that I wish Knight was plugged into this program sooner. Despite that, Grimes and DiBiase have had my favorite storyline on NXT for the past two months, so I have faith the payoff will be worthwhile.
Grizzled Young Veterans def. August Grey and Ikemen Jiro
Grey has been on NXT TV a bunch in the last year, but Jiro is a new face to those who don't watch 205 Live (which I assume is most of you). He's only had one or two matches so far, but he's very talented and will get over with ease when NXT starts having bigger crowds. He has an energy about him that makes him stand out. It was a well-wrestled match while it lasted with Grizzled Young Veterans picking up a necessary victory. We found out afterward that they'll face Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher next week under Tornado tag team rules.
Io Shirai Attacked NXT Women's Tag Team Champion Candice LeRae
Is it bad I forgot LeRae was one-half of the NXT Women's Tag Team Champions until she made her entrance? It's definitely a dead division with so few teams. Yes, NXT has a loaded women's division, but giving them their own set of tag titles was a mistake in my opinion. Ranting aside, this was a simple segment that effectively reintroduced Shirai following a two-month absence. Are we really headed for another Shirai vs. LeRae match? Don't get me wrong, they work well together, but Shirai has already beaten her multiple times and another loss to Shirai won't do LeRae any favors. Oh, and Poppy was a part of this, too.
Ember Moon def. Dakota Kai by Disqualification
Didn't Kai give Moon her first singles loss when Moon returned to NXT last year? Was that acknowledged by the commentators? It's not that big of a deal that they didn't, but it would have added some intrigue to the outcome I think. Unsurprisingly, this was a quality contest featuring two of NXT's finest female talents. The disqualification finish was lame, but I guess they didn't want Kai to get beat. I don't at all expect her to win the NXT Women's Championship from Raquel Gonzalez, but I have no doubt it'll be good.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross, Kyle O'Reilly, Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole Brawled
All of the talking should have been saved for separate segments or, I don't know, various promos over the span of a month and not a show-closing segment that barely lasted 10 minutes. The mic work was on point, with some promos being better than others, but the brawl was what I wanted to see more than anything else. It served as a nice preview of what to expect in what is sure to be a wild Fatal 5-Way, and Cole standing tall was logical following his hot return last week. He isn't winning, of course, but I'm not completely positive who will. For now, I'm sticking with Kross, but I could see someone like Dunne taking the title without pinning him in order to move Kross on up to the main roster.
The buildup to In Your House on Sunday has felt really rushed. I'm looking forward to it and I think it'll be a kickass TakeOver per usual, but it was evident on this episode that NXT put this card together in the last few weeks instead of letting things play out over a month or two. That said, this was as efficient of a go-home show as you could probably want with a ton of stuff happening, almost too much. I liked that they also hyped a big tag team match for next week, but they should have held off on that Shirai return because it got lost in the shuffle once the night was over. All in all, it was a jam-packed and chaotic two hours that did its job in hyping up Sunday's show.