EC3 Interrupted NXT General Manager William Regal
EC3 was "fired" from IMPACT last week, and he just so happened to make his long awaited debut on NXT six days later. What are the odds of that? He came across like a complete star here, and while this was a very good introduction for him in NXT, I hope we get more insight on his character at some point. Oh, and by the way, Regal announced that there will be a six-man Ladder match for the all-new NXT North American Championship at TakeOver: New Orleans featuring EC3, Lars Sullivan, Adam Cole, Killian Dain, Velveteen Dream and the debuting Ricochet. Hot damn!
Authors of Pain def. The Street Profits in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal Match
I didn't particularly care for the last encounter between these two teams earlier this year, and somehow this was even worse. It didn't last long at all, as Montez Ford got distracted with Paul Ellering outside the ring and left his partner Angelo Dawkins to be beaten (unintentionally, of course). Thus, this less of a match and more of an angle. Authors of Pain advancing is fine since they are the defending Dusty Classic winners, but this put a halt to Street Profits' recent momentum.
Lars Sullivan def. John Silver
Sullivan hasn't been seen since suffering an injury a few months ago, but I'm happy he's back. Him killing dudes (especially enhancement talent) is always entertaining to watch and this was no different. He made short work of Oliver here and looked impressive in doing so. Afterward, he was informed by Regal backstage that he'd be wrestling for the North American title at TakeOver, before challenging Dain to a match on next week's go-home show.
NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas Attacked Aleister Black
Dakota Kai was originally supposed to compete (against whom, we were never told), but the cameras cut to the backstage area and it was revealed Almas had ambushed Black upon his arrival at the building. It was a vicious beatdown, too, and the most aggressive I think I've ever seen Almas. The feud has heated up nicely lately, but this was necessary in making Almas out to be more of a threat to Black considering it's fairly obvious Black is winning the title.
WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete dunne and Roderick Strong def. SAnitY in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal Match
As proven last week, Dunne and Strong are a hell of a tandem, and I appreciate that they aren't best buddies despite partnering up in this tournament. They have such strong chemistry together, and they once again got an enjoyable match out of their opponents (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe) on this night. The crowd wasn't as hot for it as they were for Dunne and Strong's outing with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch last week, but it was a quality main event, nonetheless.
All things considered, this was a pretty noteworthy edition of NXT. In addition to the North American Championship match announcement from Regal at the start of the show, Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa was made official for TakeOver and EC3 and Ricochet debuted (well, kind of in Ricochet's case). Plus, Sullivan was showcased, Almas and Black furthered their feud, and the semifinals of the Dusty Classic were held and the tourney will commence next week, so this was a strong episode ahead of TakeOver next weekend.