By Graham "GSM" Matthews
SAnitY def. Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round Match
At long last, SAnitY has been revealed! And wouldn't you know it, all that hype wasn't for nothing. First and foremost, while I have never been the bigger Eric Young fan, he is perfect in this role as the crazy leader of the group and is already infinitely more interesting than he would have been on his own. I'm not entirely familiar with the rest of them, but they do look familiar from their various appearances on NXT in recent months/years as enhancement talent. The match itself wasn't much of note, but it succeeded in telling the necessary story with Roode ditching Dillinger. That should be a really fun match come TakeOver: Toronto.
Billie Kay def. Liv Morgan
It's super refreshing to have a feud in the women's division that isn't over the title. When was the last time that was the case? Granted, neither Kay nor Morgan are exactly there in the ring yet, but they should be in due time. They are making strides week to week and Kay and Peyton Royce have brought the best out of each other in their pairing thus far. It was a decent match, but the start of a real rivalry was what excited me.
TM-61 def. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round Match
Anyone who watched Breaking Ground on the WWE Network regularly would remember Sabbatelli, and would know that he is tailor made for that douche heel character he was portraying here. Moss doesn't have as much personality, but if they become a tag team in the future, they could be something special someday. They actually scored more offense than I expected them to, but TM-61 won over the audience with their flashy, fast-paced offense. If they can continue to hone their characters, they could be a solid staple in NXT's growing tag team division.
Buddy Murphy vs. Wesley Blake Ended in a No Contest
Of course, this ended up tying into the subsequent attack angle with Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura, but I was happy this was hardly advertised in advance because very few fans cared. That said, I will give credit to Murphy for busting out some new moves we haven't seen from him before, and it led me to believe he could be a breakout babyface down the line. The "Thank You, Joe!" chants that ensued once the match was thrown out were pretty comical, I must say.
NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe Brawled
I would say Joe was an absolute killer here, but that would simply be stating the obvious. That might have been his most vicious promo to date, and once Nakamura's music hit and he walked out on the stage, I desperately wanted to see them go at it. That's the feeling I should get from watching any brawl in wrestling but that magic isn't always captured. They gave this segment the time it deserved and the audience went nuts when Nakamura ultimately laid out Joe. At this point, I don't know how they couldn't do this match at TakeOver: Toronto next month. I realize I initially suggested holding it sooner, but the feud is too heated for that now.
I thoroughly enjoyed this edition of NXT, perhaps because it was most newsworthy night the brand has had in months. From Nakamura's hot return to two more matches in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to SAnitY's debut, this show provided a handful of memorable moments that resulted in an above-average episode. Meanwhile, even though the women's match didn't light the world on fire, it served a purpose. The product has been relatively stagnant since the Brooklyn special, but it is starting to catch fire again with what is being set up for TakeOver: Toronto in a little over one month.