By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Rhyno and Baron Corbin def. The Ascension in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1 Match
This match had bore-fest written all over it given who was involved, but it ultimately exceeded my expectations. It was hilarious hearing the reaction The Ascension received from the Full Sail University faithful because they were universally hated the last time they were on the show yet they were the biggest babyfaces of the night, but obviously that's a byproduct of them being gone from NXT for so long. It wasn't an instant classic by any means, but everyone held their own and put forth a good effort with the right team going over seeing as how The Ascension are no longer NXT regulars.
Alexa Bliss def. Blue Pants
I get a major kick out of the Blue Pants character every time she's on TV and I'd be shocked if WWE didn't already have her signed to a contract. She's also a very good wrestler to boot and she and Bliss had a pretty passable match here. While it wasn't anything special, it was a logical followup to what happened at NXT TakeOver between The Vaudevillians and Blake and Murphy and of the two of them, Bliss needed the win more.
Apollo Crews def. Martin Stone
As I said in my review of TakeOver, Crews comes across like an absolute star. He has tons of charisma and his in-ring ability is incredible as seen in this quick squash against Stone. He has all the tools to make it big not only in NXT but in WWE, so I surely hope WWE can keep him on the right path and not screw up his push. Bonus points to Stone for selling well for his offense. I look forward to seeing more of Crews in the weeks ahead, hopefully against more credible opponents.
Eva Marie def. Billie Kay
Eva Marie is undoubtedly a work in progress in the ring, so it's hard to complain about her performance in this match. She's still the farthest thing from average, but at least she's getting better, and it doesn't hurt that Kay has experience on the independent scene and she was the perfect opponent for her. As long as Eva continues to improve, then I don't take issue with her being pushed down the line.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable def. Neville and Solomon Crowe in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1 Match
Neville and Crowe were such an odd pairing, didn't you think? Crowe was so over-the-top during the pre-match backstage segment that I figured it meant he was turning heel on Neville either during or after the match, but no such luck. I can't imagine Neville will be sticking around for a program between him and Crowe because this was supposedly a one-off, so why waste Neville's return to NXT for that? On the bright side, Jordan and Gable are a team with unlimited potential and I hope it won't be long before we see them with the NXT Tag Team Championship around their waists.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this was taped prior to TakeOver, so I was impressed by how much of it had to do with the special. Granted, it wasn't too newsworthy of a show, but the two tag team matches were fun, the women's matches left a lot to be desired while Crews' squash match was short and sweet. There are a handful of interesting matches on tap in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, so that will be something to get excited over in the coming month.