Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger
Predicted Winner: Andrade Almas
Actual Winner: Andrade Almas
This match was a great way to start off the special, and great way to introduce a new character. Aside from the Godfather-esque entrance attire, Andrade looked like a star. From the in-ring taunting to the flashy moveset (especially the missed moonsault into a standing moonsault), he was performing like someone you cannot wait to see again. Dillinger was also given some time to shine as well (and also had some odd entrance attire). Dillinger’s superkick to Almas handstanding on the top rope popped the crowd quite loud. Both men looked great, even though the outcome was quite obvious. Hopefully “Cien” will get a better finishing move than double knees to the face, considering he is capable of almost anything in the ring.
Going Forward: Almas to continue squashing new talent, and Dillinger to hopefully move into a real feud with someone instead of being enhancement.
American Alpha vs. The Revival (NXT Tag Team Championship)
Predicted Winners: American Alpha
Actual Winner: The Revival
If there was a surprise of the night, it would have been this match for many reasons. Not only did the underdogs win, but the match itself was easily one of the best tag team matches in NXT history. On top of all that, a new tag team emerged with Paul Ellering (WWE Hall of Famer and former manager of LOD) attacking American Alpha after the match. With regards to the in-ring work, it was great. From the timed spots, to the multiple tag team moves, it was all exciting to watch. The exciting clash of styles was in full effect here, and that was only amplified with the fact that they were given 16 minutes to do their thing. This is the direction that tag team wrestling needs to go.
Going Forward: American Alpha vs. “The Authors of Pain” (unless they change their name), and The Revival vs. Ciampa & Gargano.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries
Predicted Winner: Nakamura
Actual Winner: Nakamura
Two great matches in a row with a ton of allotted time are always welcome at Full Sail. Nakamura putting on a bad match is quite tough, especially when he is working with a veteran like Aries. The crowd was very into this match, singing Nakamura’s song throughout. Some of the moves looked stiff and looked like they really hurt (many of Nakamura’s strikes, and the DVD onto Nakamura’s neck on the ring edge), which gave the match even more of a stylistically different feel. The only thing that hurt this match was the fact that everyone knew Nakamura would come out the victor. Other than that, fantastic match. Nakamura wins with the Kinshasaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!
Going Forward: Austin Aries heel turn, and a rematch between the two.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax (NXT Women’s Championship)
Predicted Winner: Asuka
Actual Winner: Asuka
Was this Bayley vs. Sasha? No. But for as green as Nia is, this was a solid women’s match. Asuka was able to provide some innovative offense against Jax, while still selling to her power moves. She was able to still portray herself as a strong champion, while making Jax look strong in defeat. Good for both women. The placement of this match was odd, as her and Nakamura wrestle stylistically the same. It would be similar to if Kurt Angle and Chad Gable wrestled 2 matches back-to-back (which is not always a bad thing, but does have the potential to look somewhat repetitive). In the future, it would be smart to separate these matches.
Going Forward: Asuka vs. Bayley II, and Nia Jax to face some new talent. It should be noted that Athena from Shimmer (now Ember Moon) wrestled the dark match on this event, so a feud with her and Jax could be a decent beginning feud.
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor – Steel Cage Match (NXT Championship)
Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
Actual Winner: Samoa Joe
Strong match, good use of the cage, and great in-ring work. Much like Nakamura, it is hard for these men to put on a bad match. There were a few solid highlights, such as the swing blade from the top, the coup de grace, and the muscle buster from the 2nd rope. These men have been working together since the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic last year, and this is hopefully “The End” of the feud. It did seem like the type of match where they book looked ready to move on to new challengers, so hopefully there will be no additional rematches between the two in NXT. Both men are main roster ready, and with the brand split happening in a month, this could happen sooner than later.
Going Forward: Joe vs. Bobby Roode (then possibly Nakamura after), and Finn to head to the main roster after Money in the Bank.