Submitted by Erik Wilkinson
Rich Swann defeated "The Drifter" Elias Samson with a rollup
Before the match, Samson sang a heelish song about "Wachulula," to ring announcer Dasha Fuentes, only to be interrupted by Swann's music. Average opener, with Samson milking the crowd for cheap heat by insulting the young children in the crowd and Swann playing a strong babyface with his comebacks.
Nia Jax defeated Carmella with her legdrop finisher
Carmella got a great reaction from the kids in attendance, but needed the 20 or so hardcore NXT fans in the crowd to help with her catchphrases. The attendance was under 200 for a venue set up with 230 seats, so chants were difficult to sustain all night. Carmella's in-ring presence has gotten stronger with time, but Nia Jax appears to have peaked after the Takeover match with Bayley in London.
Tye Dillinger defeated Riddick Moss with his single-knee facebreaker finisher
Dillinger is a talented live performer, engaging an audience that was not as familiar with him as the bigger stars on the card. The "10" chant works as a hook in telling a story, and Moss was a good foil as they built to the finish. If there was an award for "Biggest Overachiever" tonight, Dillinger would earn my vote.
- Aliyah came out for a promo. Unlike the other mid-card promos that recent Tough Enough contestants and new signees have been making, this ran under 30 seconds in length. She sounded like she was suffering from a head cold. After she mentioned the Bayley/Asuka NXT women's title match at TakeOver: Dallas, Aliyah said that she would be lined up for a title shot.
- NXT Women's Champion Bayley defeated Emma with the Bayley-to-Belly
As my favorite performer in NXT, I continue to marvel at the phenomenon that Bayley has become at live events. Her merchandise sells strongly, the number of fans who bring signs for her (especially young kids) are plentiful, and the connection she makes with an audience is special. Well-worked match by both women, building to a dramatic closing sequence.
- Sami Zayn defeated Manny Andrade with the Helluva Kick
Excellent mat work and counter wrestling from these two, as none of the performers were taking any unnecessary risks. Both teased dives to the outside, but stuck to the basics. Andrade is adapting well to the WWE style, after seeing him a number of times since his arrival. After the match, Zayn put his opponent front and center with a handshake, retreating backstage for Andrade to get a warm reception from the crowd.
- American Alpha (Jordan/Gable) defeated The Revival (Dash/Dawson) by DQ in an NXT Tag Team Championship match
These two teams have crafted a solid story for their match at Takeover: Dallas, and I presume we saw the basic beats of that match, minus a few highspots to protect the participants. Well-worked match, leading to the champions being disqualified for pulling the referee out of the ring after Gable/Jordan hit their finisher.
- NXT Champion Finn Balor defeated Samoa Joe & Baron Corbin in a triple threat match with a double foot stomp onto both men, pinning Corbin
Big reactions for Joe & Balor as they entered, followed by a by-the-numbers Triple Threat match. Baron Corbin is getting more comfortable in the main event slot, playing off of the crowd without losing his place in the match. Creative finish, as Balor gave the foot stomp to Corbin while Joe had him in the Kokina Clutch.
Following the main event, Finn Balor paid tribute to Sami Zayn, disclosing that this was his last appearance in front of an NXT crowd in Florida. Zayn returned to the ring to a rousing ovation and gave a very sincere speech about how much NXT has meant to him, his feelings about performing at Wrestlemania, and how lucky the crowd was to see so many future stars on one night. A classy sendoff to a world-class wrestler.