Nikki Cross def. Taynara Conti
Conti was clearly green during her performance in the Mae Young Classic and that was evident here as well, but given that she is more of a long-term project, I thought she fared well for herself here. It was smart to keep the bout as short and as sweet as possible with Conti showcasing her skills on offense and Cross working as a babyface for a change. She has momentum on her side as she prepares to vie for the NXT Women's Championship at TakeOver: WarGames.
Fabian Aichner def. Johnny Gargano
Aichner really impressed me in his NXT debut against Kassius Ohno a few weeks ago and he benefited from facing an equally excellent opponent in Gargano on this show. As always, Gargano was brilliant as the underdog fighting from underneath and I love the story they're telling with Gargno not being able to win when it matters most (or really winning at all). Similar to when Cezar Bononi scored an upset over Andrade "Cien" Almas earlier this year, I'm not sure if Aichner will be pushed from here on out, but I look forward to seeing more of him in the future, nonetheless.
Andrade "Cien" Almas Attacked NXT Champion Drew McIntyre
Contract signings are probably the most tired troupe in wrestling today, and while NXT usually executes them well, I'm glad we skipped this one all together with Almas instead ambushing McIntyre from behind. It was a simple yet effective tactic to further get heat on the duo of him and Zelina Vega ahead of his shot at the NXT Championship. Their match won't have had the longest build by TakeOver, but it's been fun to follow thus far and I have no doubt they'll kill it together.
NXT TaG Team Champions SAnity vs. The Authors of Pain Ended in a No Contest
Unsurprisingly, their TakeOver: Brooklyn III encounter was much better than this, but this was still an enjoyable match once they picked up the pace in the second half. It was complete chaos down the stretch, especially once The Undisputed Era entered the fray and the match got thrown out (which made sense in order to protect both tandems). Another storyline was furthered when Roderick Strong confirmed he isn't joining The Undisputed Era, leading to the announcement from general manager William Regal that the three trios will meet at TakeOver in a Triple Threat WarGames match. Holy shit!
NXT TakeOver: WarGames is quickly approaching and it's safe to say I am much more excited for that event than I am for Survivor Series that same weekend. With the main event now set in stone, there's plenty to look forward to on the stacked card and I have no doubt it will deliver. As for this edition of NXT, it was another entertaining hour of wrestling between the tag title main event, the extremely brief contract signing, Cross vs. Conti and Gargano vs. Aichner and there was plenty of successful hype for TakeOver as well.