NXT Tag Team Champions Pretty Deadly def. The Creed Brothers in a Steel Cage Match
The whole point of the stipulation was to prevent interference, but Damon Kemp interfered anyway and cost The Creed Brothers the win. It made sense with the story they're telling, but it was slightly silly. Otherwise, this was an excellent piece of business. There were plenty of great spots and I loved Brutus having to fight on his own (even kicking out of Pretty Deadly's finisher) after being handcuffed to the top of the cage by Kemp. Both of these teams have bright futures if WWE can stay the course with them.
Fallon Henley def. Lash Legend
Legend is one of those people that was rushed into the spotlight early on in NXT 2.0's run and has yet to find her footing. Her talk show sucked and her in-ring ability is abysmal as well. To her credit, this was perfectly passable, though it probably benefited from only being two minutes long. Henley winning was a pleasant surprise, though. In a backstage segment afterward, she teased setting her sights on Mandy Rose's NXT Women's Championship.
Alba Fyre Attacked Toxic Attraction
Everything Toxic Attraction said about their success over the last year and dominating NXT's women's division was completely true. They've been a strong act and one of the better parts of the program, but it feels like we're nearing the end of their run in NXT with Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jane wrestling twice on SmackDown in the last month. Does that mean Fyre will be the one to take the title from Rose? Personally, I'd love to see it, but I don't think it'll happen. I'm shocked they're revisiting the rivalry since Rose already beat Fyre twice earlier this year (once at Vengeance Day and again in a Fatal 4-Way at Stand & Deliver). This was a solid segment to set up Rose vs. Fyre, but it feels like they're simply killing time before they get to Rose losing the belt to Nikkita Lyons (ugh).
Quincy Elliott def. Sean Gallagher
Elliott has been a regular on NXT Level Up for months, but this was the first time that he was in total gimmick mode. It's basically a mix of Goldust, Viscera and (as much as I hate to say it in light of recent stuff that's come out about him) Velveteen Dream. Honestly, it's not bad. The crowd sure loved it, but that's mostly because he has been wrestling in front of those fans all year long. This was a good debut for him. We'll see how the act evolves (if at all) and if he can hang in a longer match.
Cameron Grimes and Joe Gacy def. Tony D'Angelo and Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo
Grimes was advertised to have a "mystery partner," who ended up being Joe Gacy because Grimes apparently couldn't find a partner and Gacy filled in halfway through. It was a well-wrestled match, but I truly can't bring myself to care about this stuff involving Grimes and Gacy. They're dragging out the story when in reality Grimes should beat Gacy and move on to the main roster. This loss doesn't do D'Angelo (remember when he beat Santos Escobar last month?) any favors, either.
Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark def. Kiana James and Arianna Grace
Truthfully speaking, I'm not a big fan of any of these four, but each of them have their strengths. I still don't see what the hype is all about for Lyons, but she's over with this audience. Stark bores me as a character but can go in the ring. Grace and James are both works in progress but have potential. This tag team affair was serviceable enough and that's all I can really ask for. I'd rather see Stark and Lyons enter the tag team ranks than challenge for/win the NXT Women's Championship.
Hank Walker def. Javier Bernal
Bernal only made his NXT TV debut a few weeks ago (I believe against Grimes) and subsequently made an enemy out of Walker, a security guard, backstage. I realize virtually nobody watches Level Up, but I wish there was more consistently between that show and NXT. I say that because, Walker has wrestled a handful of matches on that show in recent months and it was never once said he was a security guard. If he didn't have a wrestler contract before in storyline, how can you explain all the matches he had on Level Up? That's just me nitpicking, though. The crowd was super into this and popped big when Walker won. We'll see how long this little experiment lasts or if this was the peak.
Solo Sikoa def. Carmelo Hayes to Win the NXT North American Championship
Hayes' opponent was set to be determined by a fan vote, which was won by Wes Lee. However, Hayes and Trick Williams attacking Lee backstage earlier in the evening prevented Lee from getting the shot. That's a shame because he would have been a great choice to dethrone Hayes, but then again, Sikoa going after Hayes has been the longer story and therefore a more satisfying payoff. Yes, Sikoa's on SmackDown now, so this raises questions as to what will happen with the title going forward. Either way, everyone in The Bloodline are once again champions... unless we're counting Sami Zayn (and we should). This was a fun main event while it lasted and I'm very intrigued to see where they go next with everyone involved.
This was the one-year anniversary edition of NXT 2.0, as it was one year ago this week that the brand underwent a massive makeover and a shift in tone from what it was previously. It took time for the show to get going and find its footing, but it's much more bearable now than it was even a few months ago. Most of the established talent have moved on, but the current crop of competitors has potential and several of them have bright futures ahead of them on the main roster. This episode ended with a shot of a new NXT logo being shown with the 2.0 part of it no longer present, which gives me hope that will be its branding from here on out. Surprisingly, this was a fairly standard show up until the main event and wasn't as newsworthy as I thought it might be, but I'm more excited for where NXT goes from here and whether they'll continue striking the right balance between above-average action and character development.