By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Emma def. Shazza
What made this more than a standard squash match was how the commentators acknowledged the history between Emma and Shazza from their days on the independent scene. I would have never known that had they not mentioned it and it was the story they told throughout the match. I've been loving the extra aggression Emma has been showing in her matches since going heel and that was certainly the case here as well. Shazza had a nice showing in her own right, but I'd have to see more of her work to get a grasp on whether she should be signed or not. As Emma prepares to face-off against Asuka soon, this was a nice little warm-up bout for her.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable def. Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa
Full Sail University can be over-the-top at times, but they were spot-on with their chant: This was wrestling! This match was just a ton of fun from start to finish, and although I wasn't sure whether Jordan and Gable were supposed to be heels or not, it doesn't even matter. They're such a tremendous team and the audience will have no choice but to cheer them, so they might as well go with the flow. Gargano and Ciampa were the perfect opponents for the duo as they contested a very well-wrestled match together and were given plenty of time. Awesome stuff.
Nia Jax def. Kay Lee Ray
I'm still not sold on Jax as a wrestler yet, but she definitely impressed me more in this match than she did in her debut. While Ray deserves credit for selling well for Jax's offense, Jax changed up her arsenal a bit and it fit well with the dominant persona she apparently has. That said, is she a babyface or a heel? She has a heel moveset, yet she smiles like a babyface before and after her matches, so it would be helpful if they established that at some point soon.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Mechanics Went to a No Contest
They targeted the leg of Cassady both last week and this week, so I assume they knew about his legitimate leg injury when this was taped. It was a wise way of writing him out of the storylines for the time being while simultaneously putting heat on the heels. The Mechanics have been growing on me as of late and I hope this attack leads them to the NXT Tag Team Championship picture in the near future.
Samoa Joe def. Tyler Breeze
In addition to be a great pure wrestling match, what I enjoyed most about this matchup was how it meant something. No, nothing was on the line but there didn't need to be; it was simple animosity between the two of them after Breeze eliminated Joe from the Battle Royal two weeks ago. They put forth a strong effort and there never seemed to be a dull moment. The near-falls down the stretch were suspenseful and I appreciated how Breeze was made to look credible in defeat. Now that the babyface has won clean, it leaves me wondering whether the feud is already over or if it's just the beginning. I guess we'll see in the coming weeks.
NXT has always been a blast to watch on Wednesday nights, but the product has been on fire since TakeOver: Respect earlier this month. Every episode has had something meaningful and exciting to offer with this edition being no exception. They opened the show with a fun women's match, Nia Jax showed some improvement, the tag team match was fantastic, a feud was furthered in the tag division, and the main event was highly entertaining, so I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest you check out this show at your convenience. The next live special in England is coming up fast!