By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bo Dallas Returned to NXT
Dallas has improved immensely in his heel role in recent months and although I can't believe I am saying this, but it was nice to have him back after a month-long absence. I guess absence does indeed cause the heart to grow fonder. His "slideshow" was comical and Sami Zayn's interruption was logical. Zayn provided good mic work and foreshadowed an eventual rematch with Dallas for the NXT Championship. It was also nice to see JBL make an appearance, seeing how the general managers of NXT are rarely ever make appearances on television.
Alexander Rusev def. Colin Cassidy in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
It is a shame that Enzo Amore was put on the shelf with an injury, as he was the only entertaining thing about his tag team with Cassidy. Cassidy isn't bad without Amore, but it just comes off as bland. His match with Rusev was surprisingly solid, as I expected it to be a bit more clunky given their similar large statures. Rusev continues to be pushed aggressively and it is hard to oppose it when he has talent and will only get better over time.
Kassius Ohno def. Tyler Breeze in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
The match was rather slow early on, but they picked up the pace down the stretch. Both competitors are very much over with the Full Sail University crowd, so the audience seemed to enjoy the action as much as I did. William Regal made a good point on commentary in saying that Breeze should have gone for the count-out victory when Ohno was knocked out on the outside, but aside from that, it was a fun match with Breeze and Ohno rapidly going for covers at the end like they should have. Seeing Ohno win doesn't do much for me considering he was recently released (thus giving viewers the impression that he didn't have any chance of winning the challenge anyway), but at least he will have a brief feud with Rusev for the next few weeks based off his post-match comments.
Hunico and Camacho def. Jonathan Ortagun and Chris Rockwell
It really wasn't much of a match since it was over in two moves and didn't go longer than a minute, but it was a strong way of reintroducing Hunico and Camacho to NXT programming. Their post-match comments (as well as The Ascension's comments from later in the show) indicated that they are now babyface, which is odd considering their highly stereotypical gimmick, but it is hard to complain about The Ascension finally getting competition. I would rather waited to see Hunico and Camacho get built up a bit more and get over as babyfaces before going after the titles, but it isn't a huge deal.
Adrian Neville def. Aiden English in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Similar to the previous BTCC matches, these two worked a quick paced match that grew to be more suspenseful as the final buzzer drew near. Following his huge victory over Corey Graves in the main event of last week's show, it only made sense to give Neville the win in this match, but it still leaves English directionless. I enjoy English's act, but he needs to be put in a real program to really start building momentum.
Sami Zayn def. Leo Krueger in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
I was very much looking forward to this match given their differences in styles and good chemistry, but it wasn't given enough time to truly feel memorable. The ending was predictable, but it also seemed to completely come out of nowhere with Kruger looking like a dope in defeat. The controversial finish makes for an exciting match between Zayn and Neville next week, so I am glad to see JBL not screw Zayn out of his rightful title shot just yet.
I have never been much of a fan of the Beat the Clock Challenge gimmick if only because it shortens matches, but it was still a refreshing change of pace to crown a new No. 1 contender to the NXT Championship. The tournament essentially dominated this show, but all of the matches were well wrestled, so I have no complaints. I am happy to see them go forward with the Dallas vs. Zayn feud and I look forward to the highly anticipated match of Zayn vs. Neville next week.