Kushida def. Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream in a Triple Threat Match
It was a crime that Kushida didn't get to do his signature entrance on Back to the Future Day, but the fact he won was enough to make up for it. It's refreshing to see NXT stay consistent with Kushida's recent push instead of having him lose every match. This was a big victory for him as he pinned Ciampa, albeit after Dream hit Ciampa with his cast. Does that mean we're getting a Ciampa vs. Dream feud? If so, will Ciampa be the babyface, despite coming back as a heel? Nonetheless, this was a hectic opener where all three guys did a great job of keeping the pace consistent throughout.
Ember Moon def. Jessi Kamea
I feel like Kamea has a nice look or character every time I see her on NXT TV. She's been there for three years now, so I think we've reached the point where they have to either start doing something with her or risk her becoming the next Aliyah. Moon, on the other hand, has been on fire since her return and she came across super well once again here. The addition of a submission to her arsenal is a cool way to show that she truly isn't the same Moon we previously saw in NXT. Dakota Kai attacking Moon afterward means their bad blood isn't over just yet and that eventual singles match should be terrific.
Bronson Reed def. Austin Theory; Reed def. Theory
I don't believe we've see Reed in close to a month on NXT TV, which is strange when you consider how hard he was being pushed over the summer. On the bright side, he was able to get back on the right track here with a win over Theory in what was a well-wrestled match. Interestingly enough, Theory felt more like the focus here than Reed here, despite losing twice. Later on, he claimed he "quit," so I'm intrigued as to what's next for him and what this could be leading to.
Legado del Fantasma (NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) def. Isiah "Swerve" Scott, Ashante "Thee" Adonis and Jake Atlas
The Cruiserweight matches we get on NXT are usually fun, but much like at TakeOver 31, it felt like they were let loose here and it made for a very exciting affair. Scott and Escobar have worked wonderfully together this year and everyone else had their time to shine as well. I'm all for booking Legado del Fantasma to look strong, but I'm not sure how Scott is supposed to continue chasing Escobar if he loses more often than not.
Ever-Rise def. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain by Disqualification
As I've said before, this angle with Maverick and Dain is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts about NXT each week. Is it a guilty pleasure if a majority of viewers enjoy it? I appreciate that NXT is taking their time with it instead of rushing them into an undefeated streak or something. Hell, they lost to Ever-Rise, who I don't think have ever won on this show before. The match wasn't anything important, but I laughed when Dain celebrated Maverick getting their team intentionally disqualified. Putting these two together was a smart move in rebuilding the depleted NXT tag team division.
Kacy Catanzaro def. Xia Li
Li is clearly headed for a heel turn, assuming she hasn't turned already. Boa seemed to tease being her manager a week or two ago, but he was nowhere to be seen here. The match was fine for what it was and it was cool to see the women showcase their skills for a change, but it was too short to be anything of note. I understand the point of Raquel Gonzalez laying out everyone afterward was to establish her as a dominant force ahead of her match with Rhea Ripley next week, but did she really have to attack Li, too? It made her come across like an afterthought.
Timothy Thatcher def. Anthony Greene
Thatcher was doing one of his normal training seminars, this time live in the ring as opposed to during a pre-taped segment, and was showing off some moves on Greene. Greene eventually fought back, which led to their brief bout that Thatcher won. Greene getting offense in on Thatcher was a pleasant surprise and it's cool to see him on NXT TV so soon after being signed to a deal. Who knows if he'll become a regular on the show going forward, but this was a good debut for him. As for Thatcher, I really want to see him pick up a string of victories because he's lost a handful of important matches lately.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch def. Breezango to Win the NXT Tag Team Championship
Undisputed Era's Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish were originally supposed to challenge for the tag titles on this show before being mysteriously attacked backstage. Kyle O'Reilly didn't want the title shot for himself, so he granted it to Lorcan and Burch instead, who were ultimately revealed as the culprits along with the returning Pat McAfee. This was an excellent angle all around and an entertaining main event to boot. Not only does it officially turn everyone in Undisputed Era babyface, it also helps inject new life into a dead tag team division. Congrats to Lorcan and Burch on finally winning their first set of tag titles as well, they've long deserved it. As for McAfee, he impressed me so much with his showing at TakeOver 31 that I am definitely down for more of him in NXT.
The main event and what stemmed from it was the best part of the show, but truthfully speaking, the entire episode was enjoyable. There are weeks where NXT just sort of exists and there isn't anything overly great or bad about it, but there was a lot to like about this edition and it's clear that NXT is setting stuff up for the coming weeks, including Halloween Havoc next Wednesday where four matches are advertised. The hype for those matches on this show was effective, specifically with the two title matchups. This episode earns an easy thumbs-up from me as almost nothing felt like a waste of time (okay, aside from maybe Catanzaro vs. Li, but that's because I wasn't a fan of what happened post-match).