By Graham "GSM" Matthews
NXT General Manager William Regal Made Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin Official For NXT TakeOver: Dallas
It's amazing how effective an authority figure can be when they aren't prominently featured on the program every week and when they do show up, it's for a reason, not to take television time away from other members of the roster. Granted, I'm bias because Regal has always been my favorite, but it's a treat whenever he decides to appear on NXT and this was a worthy announcement. Coming off of last week's attack from Corbin on Aries, a match between them at TakeOver made sense and I look forward to it.
Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn in a 2-out-of-3 Falls No. 1 Contender's Match For the NXT Championship
How often is it that we get only one match on an episode of NXT? As someone who is a big fan of the "less is more" approach, I loved it. I'm well-aware that this wasn't everyone's cup of tea because of how slow (yet methodical and calculated) it was early on, but this was a perfect example of how 2-out-of-3 Falls matches should be structured. I've never understood why the first and second falls are typically so rushed. If it's supposed to be a match times three, it should feel that way, and this bout did that exceptionally well. The first two falls were nicely paced and the crowd was very much engaged in the entertaining action by the third fall with the momentum constantly shifting between Joe and Zayn. I was surprised to see Joe win with the submission (albeit via a knockout), but I liked it. Joe has been killing it since joining NXT and a rematch with Finn Balor for the NXT Championship should be stellar.
For my thoughts on the entire episode, reread the previous paragraph, because that basically was the show this week! But as noted, I really liked the move to have that be the only match of the night, thus giving it a big fight feel. Plus, that's an extremely rare case and I'll always applaud them for not sticking to the same tired formula each week. With TakeOver: Dallas now under a month away, the next month of TV should start to kick up in the coming weeks.