By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sami Zayn def. Tyson Kidd
I was surprised to see this match kick off the show given its significance, but then I realized that the "big reveal" of Hideo Itami's tag team partner gets more precedence. Plus, it was a refreshing change of pace in the opening slot of NXT. As expected, they had a great match with a lot of sweet spots. Both competitors put forth a strong effort and had the audience invested in everything they did. Zayn's win came off like a big deal since he had never beaten Breeze before, but it would have helped if the production error from a few weeks ago didn't spoil it. Nevertheless, Zayn's three consecutive wins should qualify him for a shot at the NXT Championship.
Tyson Kidd def. Dash Wilder
The commentators did a nice job of begging the question of what's next for Kidd now that he's out the title picture. This match didn't answer that question in any way, but it served as a nice buffer between the hot opener and the Divas match (you'll never see that on the main roster). It wasn't much more than a squash match for Kidd. The crowd didn't care for Wilder since he hasn't been given an identity yet and I didn't see enough of his work here to determine whether he has potential or not.
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch def. NXT Women's Champion Charlotte and Bayley
Although the in-ring action was very good, what I liked most about this match was the story they told. Lych showed excellent fire for a newly turned heel and Banks looks like she could be on the main roster right now. Bayley and Charlotte teaming up was a nice trip down memory lane for those that remember their friendship from last year. No tension was teased between the two, so I'll take this as Charlotte's official face turn. I was glad the heels picked up the win since Lynch desperately needed it and the loss plays into Bayley's underdog character.
Finn Balor Debuted
After those weeks of The Ascension beating up Hideo Itami were worth it for this moment alone. The crowd didn't initially pop because I'm assuming they didn't know who Finn Balor was at first, but once they realized it was Prince Devitt, they reacted big. It made the moment all the more special and to see Balor and Itami teaming up against the former tag champs was very cool. As someone who isn't all that familiar with Balor's previous work, I was thoroughly impressed by him here and look forward to his pairing with Itami going into the next live special.
I absolutely love the episodes that feature less with each match/segment getting more time as a result, and this show was just that. It felt almost like a one hour version of a live special with all the noteworthy matches and moments. Needless to say, this was an excellent edition of NXT that is more than worth going out of your way to see. It had me highly anticipating the next live special in December, which is shaping up to be the best yet.