By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Samoa Joe Addressed NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
Could I criticize NXT for opening with talking segments for two weeks straight? I guess, but when they feature strong mic work from Joe and are kept short and sweet, they are extremely effective. This was another strong promo from Joe and I loved his promise to William Regal that he would continue to destroy the rest of the roster until he received his rematch for the NXT Championship. The build to TakeOver: Toronto should be fun.
Austin Aries def. Oney Lorcan
I'm confused as to whether Lorcan is supposed to be a heel or a babyface because we've seen him work both roles in the past. I'm also confused why more isn't being done with him. Unsurprisingly, he and Aries contested a highly entertaining match and they worked well together. Lorcan was able to showcase his skills and looked credible in defeat, so I hope he finds some direction soon. Meanwhile, I'm glad they finally started addressing Aries' feud with Itami and having the two nearly come in contact before Aries fled the ring. Classic.
Billie Kay def. Aliyah
First and foremost, how damn disrespectful was it that a few fans actually chanted "This is filler!" during this match? I've gone to bat for Full Sail University before, but that was just stupendously stupid and I'm officially done defending them. At any rate, this was a fine match and a good showing for Kay, but I'm waiting for her to have a breakout match in NXT. She has that right presence about her, but her in-ring work is still a work in progress.
Cedric Alexander def. Andrade "Cien" Almas
Thank the lord Almas finally ditched those dumb suspenders and fedora. His look was one of the major reasons why his character was dying a death, so I'm glad he switched it up. Anyway, Alexander is an absolute star and he looked excellent here. This also might have been Almas' first fantastic match since arriving in NXT and I'm happy it was slotted in the main event. I don't think Alexander will be an NXT regular going forward (given he debuted on Raw this past week), so it was interesting he won, but I'd love if it led to an Almas heel turn in the near future.
Despite there not being a ton of storyline progression on this show, it was still a fairly enjoyable edition of NXT. I don't know whether it's because I'm in a great mood or not, but the whole hour flew by. The women's match furthered Kay's momentum, Aries and Itami encountered each other, Alexander and Almas killed it in the main event, and Joe cut a gem of a promo. Plus, Asuka vs. Liv Morgan is on tap for next week's episode. Guess who's pumped? This guy!