By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Nia Jax def. Carmella
Well, Nia Jax is improving, but that's all I can say right now. Her in-ring skills are passable, but her entrance music and overall presentation still needs work. As I said after her match last week, is she a babyface or a heel? It's hard to tell, especially when she goes up against fellow faces such as Carmella. On the bright side, this was a far better bout than I originally expected given who was involved. It wasn't too much of a train wreck and the match was kept relatively short and sweet. Some character development would go a long way in making me care about Nia Jax.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable def. The Ascension
It's amazing how much of a win over The Ascension means in NXT yet how little it means on the main roster. Granted, everyone is over in NXT, but The Ascension might as well stay down there at this point as they could flourish as babyfaces. Jordan and Gable got the best match they possibly could out of them, making for a fun matchup. Hopefully these wins mean Jordan and Gable will be going after the NXT Tag Team Championship sooner rather than later.
Emma def. Mary Kate
I've been enjoying the hell out of "Evil Emma" these past few months and this was another effective squash from her. I knew absolutely nothing about her opponent, but she sold Emma's offense well. I don't think there's any doubt that Asuka will be beating her when they eventually go one-on-one presumably at the next TakeOver special, but it should be one hell of a match. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing how much better Asuka vs. Dana Brooke will be next week compared to their last match against each other.
NXT Tag Team Champions Dash and Dawson def. Corey Hollis and John Skyler (Non-title)
And in just two weeks, Dash and Dawson have made more appearances on NXT than The Vaudevillians did throughout their entire reign as NXT Tag Team Champions! In all seriousness, Dash and Dawson have been growing on me and with more character development (there are those two magical words again), they can be something special. Similar to the previous match, the opponents were enhancement talent, but I appreciated the commentators bringing up how Dash and Dawson had history with them from before they came to NXT.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley def. Alexa Bliss
Although this was nothing compared to other NXT Women's title matches we've seen at the specials, this was still a fairly good match and showed just how far Bliss has come as a worker in the last year. There's room for improvement, of course, but she held her own here against Bayley and Bayley made her look credible in defeat. Giving them the main event slot was also a nice touch. I feared it was coming, but Eva Marie challenging Bayley to a title match was cringe-worthy. She's awful in the ring and the heat she received during her promo is indicative to what we'll hear during their match next week.
This was a standard show highlighted by a solid main event title match and a fun tag team match featuring the return of The Ascension. The other three matches weren't anything out of the ordinary, but at least each of them served a purpose. As always, there was plenty of hype for next week's episode throughout the night and I'm already excited for what's in store for NXT TakeOver: London.