The hype train was at full speed heading into this show considering the success of last years show and the success of the last time NXT was on the road when they stopped in Dallas last April. Combine that with the anticipation of the main event, and you had a show that was nigh on unmissable. But how did it stack up? Here, for the last time for the foreseeable future, is my NXT recap.
1. No Way Jose vs Austin Aries.
Jose's entrance was super over, but once the bell rang Aries was the hero to this crowd. There were dueling chants as the two went back and forth, and Aries got the best match from Jose that we've seen so far. It didn't stop him from taking his first loss on NXT TV at the hands of Aries, but he can bounce back from a loss due to the nature of his gimmick. Aries got the win after Jose tapped out. Aries attacked Jose after the bell before Hideo Itami made the save, and in the biggest reaction of the weekend, hit Aries with the GTS and followed this up by telling the crowd "that is MY move!". A great tease for a potentially great match in future.
2. Ember Moon vs Billie Kay.
After a few weeks of hype videos, we got the debut of Ember Moon. She mostly impressed but with Billie Kay in the ring, the size difference made some of their more ambitious spots a bit more difficult. The crowd tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and did pop for Ember's finish where she dives off the second rope and catches Kay with a stunner.
3. Bobby Roode vs Andrade Almas.
These two men put together a decent match with Almas looking the best that he has since his debut, and Roode worked his trademark style and made Almas look like a million bucks. Almas hit some incredible looking dives to Roode, but in the end, it was Roode to pick up the win with a pump handle slam that he has christened the "Glorious Bomb". Speaking of glorious, Roode's entrance was worth the price of admission alone. There's no way this guy can stay a heel with this theme music.
4. The Revival (c) vs Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa. NXT Tag Title Match.
We're getting into the business end of the card in the first of three title matches, and probably the best of the night. If you compiled the five best WWE tag matches of the year, The Revival would feature in all five. They're so good in the ring, and work an awesome, old school, pretty safe style, but it garners all the right amounts of crowd heat. They had an absolute thriller with the equally great pairing of Gargano and Ciampa who have been the MVPs of the WWE Network over the last month between their work on NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic. I can't even begin to describe all the spots in this match, but it's so, so worth your time to check out. The Revival picked up the win after Scott Dawson forces an injured Gargano to tap out with an inverted figure four leg lock.
5. Bayley vs Asuka (c). NXT Women's Championship.
An even better match than their Dallas encounter, a determined Bayley gave as good as she got against Asuka where the two women traded fierce strikes as well as some hard-hitting submission holds. Bayley showed some great fire here but ultimately fell to the Empress of Tomorrow who, after being unable to put Bayley away with the Asuka lock, finished the contest with a wicked knockout shot which kept Bayley down for the three count, and Asuka retains. A fitting send off for one of the NXT cornerstones.
6. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe (c). NXT Championship.
Finally, we have the first meeting of arguably two of the hardest hitting wrestlers of the modern era. Nakamura was played to the ring by a violinist which made the whole thing even more special. As with Asuka and Bayley, these two men hit each other with everything they had and then some. There were some genuine "oh my god" moments, particularly Nakamura dropping Joe right on his neck with a German suplex, and Nakamura running into a sick knee to the face from Joe. Nakamura kicked out of a Muscle Buster and nailed Joe with knee, to keep him down for a two count. Shinsuke then hit the Kinshasa to pick up the win and become the new NXT champion, only four months after making his debut.