1.Strong vs Riddle ***3/4
2.NXT Tag Titles, Ladder: UE vs Forgotten Sons vs Street Profits vs Lorcan, Burch ***3/4
3.NXT NA Title: Velveteen Dream(c) vs Tyler Breeze **3/4
4.NXT Women's Title: Shayna Baszler(c) vs Io Shirai ***1/4
5.NXT Title: Gargano(c) vs Cole ****1/4
This is meant to be a celebration of five years of excellence, with NXT representing a direct contrast to the main brands. It largely succeeded, despite featuring a few issues.
The opener was great, with a nice level of intensity throughout. NXT manages to make both winners and losers come off looking strong in a way that very few other companies are able to do. Because of this, Strong looked like a true threat and Riddle still looked like a future champ.
The ladder match was a mixed bag, though still a great contest overall. Kyle and Fish worked harder than anyone else, took the biggest bumps, and were the biggest names in the match. I sincerely think they earned the victory, but I'm intrigued to see where they're going with the Street Profits. The former EVOLVE champs are a decent team, though they've never done much for me. I want to be proven wrong. They were ok here, but I want more than ok from the NXT Tag division. The run-in shit also hurt the quality a lot and was just a poor choice.
Up third was our first fully disappointing contest of the night. I expected so much more, but a general sloppiness and a poor pace kept this from being anything special. Perhaps Breeze was sincerely hurt, but something was off. Don't write Tyler off yet, though. He was a workhorse in his first NXT run and he'll be one again.
In the four spot, Shayna and Io met once again. I was pulling for Shirai, but honestly knew Shayna was retaining. She likely won't be dropping the belt again until it's time to call her "up". They put in for a pretty good match and the attack after was spirited, but honestly it just never became a must-see fight and the little circus act spot wasn't needed. Perhaps just catch this one in highlight form?
No surprise what the MOTN was...
Gargano and Cole put in for one of the best matches of the year (and in WWE history) in their recent 2/3 falls clash. Gargano, the heart and soul of NXT, is one of the best workers in the world and Cole has enough charisma and talent to hang with just about anyone so that wasn't much of a surprise. They didn't hit the same levels as their recent epic, but this was still one hell of a match and I am excited to see what they do with Cole as champ. Truly, fantastic stuff and another must-see NXT Championship contest.
Now, have Kyle and Fish win the tag belts asap and Strong take the North American strap so that Undisputed Era can have a little dominant streak over the brand for a few months.
This was a great show, but NXT has created such a high bar that it's still hard not being slightly disappointed. That's a good problem to have, and I still give this show a strong recommendation. Just watch the third and forth matches in highlight form and the full versions of the rest.
Overall Quality: 80/100%