By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Vaudevillians def. Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight
You can cite two things for the flat reaction to this match. Firstly, it took place late in the taping, and secondly, The Vaudevillians are difficult to get excited about, especially at this stage. It was a standard squash for the most part, but having it take place toward the end of the night did the bout no favors. Are The Vaudevillians going heel again? Because honestly, I couldn't care less. They showed more aggression in their outing here, but having already won the NXT Tag Team Championship, I don't know what's next for them other than feuding with The Hype Bros in the meantime.
Emma def. Santana Garrett
Garrett was most recently featured on NXT in a match versus Asuka and I said at the time that she should be in line for a developmental contract. She's made enough appearances for the brand and she's tremendously talented, so I have no doubt she'd make for a great addition to the growing women's division in NXT. She had an impressive showing here and hopefully isn't the last we see of her in NXT. As for Emma, I love her heel act, but I question what's next for her since she's already unsuccessfully challenged for the NXT Women's Championship.
Baron Corbin Attacked Austin Aries
At long last, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived has arrived in NXT! I've been anxiously awaiting his debut since it was spoiled in late January and the moment more than lived up to my expectations. I've been a big fan of his since he returned to TNA five years ago and he should be a major player for NXT now that he's here. As for Corbin laying him out almost immediately, I thought it was great and not at all a "burial" of Aries. It makes sense from a storyline standpoint since Corbin's been frustrated with William Regal for weeks now and it sets up a matchup between the two for NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
Elias Sampson def. Steve Cutler
Is this the second or third time the Orlando was forced to endure The Drifter? Either way, it's two or three times too many. I'm basically a broken record by this point repeating my thoughts on Sampson, but simply put, the character isn't working and is desperate need of some tweaking. The crowd sat on their hands for this one, but if nothing else, it was kept relatively brief. Still, it shouldn't have happened at all.
NXT Champion Finn Balor def. Neville (Non-title)
I was extremely excited at the initial announcement of this match and I completely forgot we saw it just a little over a year ago at TakeOver: Rival. I also loved the story they told with Balor wanting to surpass Neville's record for longest-reigning NXT Champion. It's a shame this match came at the end of such a long night of tapings because otherwise the reaction would have been much more electric. Don't get me wrong, Orlando was invested in the action, but it was apparent they were exhausted. They were given great time and delivered a very fun main event.
The NXT crew will be back at Full Sail University next week for the final few weeks before TakeOver: Dallas on April 3. As amped as I am for the card on paper, there hasn't been too much build for it on the program, so hopefully that will start to kick in starting next week with the 2-out-of-3 Falls match between Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn which should be stellar. Additionally, I really like the NXT Tag Team Championship match between Dash and Dawson and Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady at WWE Roadblock next weekend.