NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch Interrupted NXT Champion Finn Balor and Karrion Kross
Balor continues to kill it on the mic and do his best work on the mic since coming to WWE. Additionally, it was refreshing to hear from Kross as Scarlett normally does the talking for him. Unfortunately, the rest of this segment was stupid. I hate when rivals randomly team up to challenge for tag titles. Worse yet, we're already seeing it right now on SmackDown with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair.
Dexter Lumis def. Austin Theory
The rest of The Way didn't appear in-person this week, so Theory flew solo. I still find him entertaining in the comedy role, and although it's difficult to take him seriously, he can still more than hold his own in the ring. The match itself wasn't anything special, and if you haven't been into this feud, then this probably wasn't for you. But I thought it served its purpose in giving Lumis another win before he likely contends for Johnny Gargano's NXT North American Championship at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
NXT General Manager William Regal and Kyle O'Reilly Interrupted Adam Cole
Cole showed great fire while addressing O'Reilly, and O'Reilly's rebuttal over the big screen was well done. William Regal also played his role well as always, making for a super solid segment on the whole. Cole and O'Reilly brawling outside of the venue later on in the show was equally good. Cole and O'Reilly had their handful of wars in Ring of Honor and I'm sure their upcoming encounter at TakeOver will be no different. The build so far has been excellent.
Legado del Fantasma def. Breezango; NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin Attacked NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar
Legado del Fantasma and Breezango have been feuding for a little while, but I can't say it's a feud I particularly care about. The resurgence of Breezango when they initially returned to NXT was fun while it lasted and I was fine with their brief reign as NXT Tag Team Champions, but I'd rather see Tyler Breeze spotlighted as a singles star at this point. The match was decent for what it was. The bigger story was Devlin returning afterward and attacking Escobar. I've been eagerly anticipating that clash of Cruiserweights and I can't wait for it at TakeOver.
Dakota Kai def. Zoey Stark; NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai Confronted Raquel Gonzalez
Stark's character needs more development, but the video packages they've aired for her in recent weeks have helped, not to mention she's delivered in the ring every opportunity she's been given. The same can be said for Kai, who is one of the most consistent performers in the entire promotion, male or female. All that said, this was a hell of a sprint. Io Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Women's Championship is now official for TakeOver and we'll be getting Shirai and Stark vs. Kai and Gonzalez as a preview next week.
Tommaso Ciampa def. Marcel Barthel
Imperium vs. Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher was originally scheduled for this show but was changed to Ciampa vs. Barthel one-on-one. Hopefully Thatcher's back soon because I was looking forward to that. This was a well-wrestled match, but the outcome was never in doubt. In reality, it only existed so WALTER could return afterward, lay out Ciampa and reunite with Barthel and Fabian Aichner. It's not Finn Balor, but Ciampa should be a strong opponent for WALTER if that's where this is going.
LA Knight def. August Grey
Although I like Grey, Knight's in-ring debut for NXT needed to be a straightforward squash and that's exactly what this was, at least for the most part. Knight was on offense throughout up until Reed distracted him on the stage by ripping up his jacket. Thankfully, he won anyway. This succeeded in giving Knight a win in his debut as well as setting the stage for Knight vs. Reed at TakeOver. Both guys need victories right now, so I'm curious to see who will go over.
NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch def. NXT Champion Finn Balor and Karrion Kross
As previously mentioned, this was dumb main roster booking. The action was enjoyable, but it was a lose-lose situation. Either two rivals were going to win the tag titles for no reason, or they were going to suffer an unnecessary loss. The predictable happened with Balor accidentally running into Scarlett, causing Kross to get pissed and attack Balor and cost them the contest. Burch was injured in there somewhere and word is that it's a separated shoulder. I'd be a massive shame if he and Lorcan had to relinquish the tag titles because of that, but maybe Pete Dunne can fill in for him.
It was well known coming into this show that yet another COVID outbreak forced NXT to cancel two matches (Imperium vs. Ciampa and Thatcher as well as Isiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Leon Ruff) and change plans, which would explain why this was such a subpar show. That's no excuse, however, especially for that pointless main event. Was that really the best they could come up with? Kai vs. Stark was the match of the night and the stuff with Cole and O'Reilly effectively furthered their feud, but on the whole, this was definitely down in the quality you can usually expect from NXT.