1) A Good Tag Division - We got things going with Dash Wilder, Johnny Gargano and Akam in a triple threat match to tease what's to come on Saturday night between these three teams. Dash and Gargano smartly teamed up in the- oh, never mind, Dash couldn't help but try and trick Gargano seconds later. It didn't take long for the guys on the outside to get involved when Dawson yanked Dash from the ring and the two looked to already bail on the match. This left one half of DIY to get crushed into dust, despite Ciampa's efforts on the outside to get the crowd behind Johnny. After it looked like Gargano was going to get put down for good, Dawson returned to distract Akam and Dawson jumped in the ring for the cheap pin. Clever ending to get The Top Guys over tonight, although I'm very confident AoP will retain at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. As some leave NXT, and they look to refill the division, AoP can easily hold the titles for the foreseeable future until the next worthy team can...takeover.
2) The Man In Black – Have loved the vignettes for him, I'm hoping WWE tries to give Aleister a little more when it comes to an entrance and theatrics. If he's someone who delves into the occult or black magic, there should be some supernatural elements within his character.
3) Thickfreakness – So, we got the official debut of Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight) and as I mentioned previously, I'm down with these guys solely for their unique physics. It's good to see WWE attempting to mix things up when it comes to wrestler's looks. At one point the talent enhancement actually broke up a pin, and it was probably not the smartest thing they could have done as Heavy Machinery really liked to throw each other into their opponents (one bodyslammed the other onto their opponent). It's smart, play to their strengths as they continue to develop. As a first impression (without nitpicking or seeing them cut a promo yet), they look like a fun addition to the division.
4) Glorious Style – NXT went with a video package to go over the history between NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, and Shinsuke Nakamura, focusing on Roode talking about his "vision" of NXT. It's about him and what he wants, where Nakamura is out there for the fans, it's about going out there and winning it for them. Still think Roode is going to win this match, losing the title would really put a halt to the momentum he's picked up lately.
5) New Match Alert! - Last week, it was Sanity taking on Dillinger, No Way Jose, and Strong, which ended in a no contest due to both sides getting out of hand. We then got the debut of Ruby Riot, who went right after Nikki Cross. Not surprisingly, these two groups will meet in an 8-person tag match to possibly settle things for good. I fully expect Ruby and Nikki to continue feuding despite what happens on Saturday. I could see the good guys winning outright, or maybe someone like Roderick Strong turning on his team, allowing Sanity to get the win.
6) Goodbye. - The live crowd kicked off the main event with a "Drift away" chant towards Elias Samson. This match came seemingly out of nowhere last week when Samson felt like Kassius Ohno didn't deserve to be in NXT. Saw some fans complaining about Ohno's choice of wardrobe, indeed, he's got a gut, but Ohno has already dropped some of that weight since coming back to NXT. Does it really matter though? He's a better wrestler than a majority of people we see and most of them are in tip-top condition, I will admit, the basketball jersey/wrestling trunks combo is a bit strange.
Samson attempted to get the cheap win with the feet on the ropes, but luckily the ref was observant enough to notice and stop the count at two. Ohno landed a nasty rolling elbow to pick up the win and send Samson packing. Can't say this match did a whole lot for me, I enjoyed Ohno's match against Bobby Roode a lot more. Samson made a big scene as he was taken out, but all he wanted his guitar! Ohno promptly destroyed the guitar, pretty predictable, crowd reaction was not as joyous as one would have thought.
Kassius Ohno – Usual hard-hitting action got him the win and he got to keep his job, it's always a good day when you're not losing a paycheck. Now that he's found his stride in the company, I'm looking forward to him getting involved in a proper feud going forward. He doesn't currently have a match scheduled on Saturday, so we may have to wait until the next set of tapings to find out who he takes on next.
Elias Samson – Samson was funny post-match, trying to stay put in the ring, refusing to leave once he realized this was the end of the road for him in NXT. Refs couldn't get him out, so security had to take over (Tom Phillips with a great line saying Samson was "Dug in, like a tick."). Reports have talked about him getting moved to the main roster for awhile now, but was his NXT run good enough to move him up? It kind of reminds me of Apollo Crews - who didn't exactly kill it in NXT – getting moved up without much of a plan and he hasn't had much success there, either. Maybe "The Drifter" gimmick is good enough as a low/mid-level heel, can't say I'm all that interested at this point.
This Week's MVP
Asuka – "Ember Moon, I know who you are. And, ah, I know you're not ready." With that simple statement, Asuka laughed and bounced from a very brief contract signing. She doesn't have time for these mere mortals; she's got pools to sit by and selfies to take! Despite Ember stating her case, Asuka – along with her complete disinterest – made her look like she wasn't even worthy of the challenge.
This is weeks old, but I still miss Corey Graves. Tom Phillips does a solid enough job, the vibe is just not the same with Percy and Nigel though, actually, it's kind of a strange mix. It's never going to be good as it was though, Graves is a true talent, just have to move on. This week's show didn't have that high quality match like last week, less promos, and more packages hyping this Saturday. Asuka's short segment was fun, if you like debuts, check out Heavy Machinery, Samson is gone, and an 8-person match was added to TakeOver. That's really it from this show, if you've been skipping NXT lately, go back to last week and watch that episode.
Grade (out of 10): 5.5 (Last Week: 8)