Tegan Nox def. Dakota Kai, Mia Yim and Candice LeRae in an NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
The elimination stipulation, which was added just in the last few days, added to this match and allowed it to last longer. That isn't always a must, but it did eat up a good chunk of television time. All four ladies worked well against each other and the order of eliminations of logical. Yim and LeRae got to further their feud and Nox and Kai never cease to have terrific chemistry together. I assumed Kai would win after she called out Io Shirai last week, so Nox becoming the new number one contender to the title instead was a pleasant surprise. Shirai vs. Nox is fresh and should be a banger.
Timothy Thatcher def. Oney Lorcan
There are a ton of similarities between these two as far as their in-ring styles go, so I was really excited for this encounter coming into the show and they did not disappoint. They beat the holy hell out of each other, worked a frantic pace and were given an ample amount of time. Thatcher has plenty of momentum right now following that Fight Pit win over Matt Riddle back in May and now this, so here's hoping NXT has something important for him planned soon.
Rhea Ripley def. Aliyah and Robert Stone in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
If Ripley lost, she would have had to join The Robert Stone Brand. Thank the lord that didn't happen. I'd say the outcome was predictable, but the fact this feud is even a thing in the first place is depressing considering where Ripley was on the card earlier this year, so I didn't count out the possibility of Ripley joining the loser squad. Stone played his role well, but by this point, he's been cast off as a comedy figure the same way he was in TNA. I understand the odds were stacked against Ripley, but it should not have taken her as long as it did to beat Aliyah and Stone. At least the finish looked cool.
Dexter Lumis def. Roderick Strong in a Strap Match
This was NXT's first-ever Strap match. It's never been my favorite stipulation, but it was fitting for one to be held on this show considering The Great American Bash has hosted two Texas Bullrope matches (which is essentially the same thing) in the past. I also give them a lot of credit for keeping the flow moving and maintaining my interest throughout. Lumis once again proved he can hang with Strong as well as beat him, which was a pleasant surprise. Strong is tremendous, but Undisputed Era is likely on their way out of NXT and they need to start building up new names, including Lumis (who I feel would be better as a heel but that's besides the point).
Drake Maverick and Breezango Attacked El Legado del Fantasma
I can't stress enough how much of a star Santos Escobar comes across every time he makes his entrance and is backed by Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. Maverick would have been a complete idiot to confront El Legado del Fantasma on his own again, so I'm glad Breezango stepped up to help him. That successfully set up the six-man tag team match for next week's Night 2 of The Great American Bash.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks (Non-Title)
I loved that this was positioned as the main event, which is where it belonged. They lived up to the hype by delivering a strong match and I appreciated that there were no commercial breaks so the flow was never interrupted. Bayley's interference at ringside was kept to a minimum and Asuka's involvement didn't bother me because it protected Banks in defeat ahead of her Raw Women's Championship opportunity at Extreme Rules. Hey, it's better than the non-finish I figured we'd get. If this is leading to a tag team matchup next week pitting Banks and Bayley against Shirai and Asuka, then take my money now.
While this wasn't TakeOver-worthy, it was worthy of the Great American Bash name and the awesome-looking set was a big reason why. Most of the matches were added on social media a few days in advance, but they all held my attention and even the Handicap match was marginally better than I thought it would be. The main event alone is worth checking out, but the full two hours were excellent. Night 2 has the potential to be even better based on what's on tap and I'm really looking forward to it, to say the least. Similar to AEW, NXT can benefit from having shows such as this one in between their TakeOver specials and hopefully bring in more viewers than usual.