What a great show. Every match had a spectacular finish.
We started with Undisputed Era defending against the Authors of Pain. Story was that Akem hurt his leg early in the match, and the Era took advantage. It was finally an opportunity for the AoP to sell a little, and they actually did a pretty great job. Ultimately, the AoP were able to outpower the Era, but when they went for the Super Colider, Akem's leg buckled, and the Era were able to score a quick rollup to retain.
Next was a hastily added match between Ohno and Velveteen Dream. Dream is way over you guys. Match was sloppy in places, but highlights were Dream showing off impressive power by hoisting up the absolutely gigantic Ohno. In fact, the finish was Dream getting him up for the rolling DVD, then hitting the Purple Rain-maker for the win.
The women's title match was next. Baszler's faux-MMA stuff looked pretty good. She gave Moon's arm the stomp, so Moon was one-handed for the fight. She hit the Eclipse, but that basically crippled her and kept her from covering. Baszler went on the advantage, locking in a cross armbreaker. I was really concerned that meant that they were going to give the title to Baszler in her first major outing (I hate it when they do that with anyone - it means there's nowhere else for them to go). Moon kept flipping over trying to reach the ropes, but Baszler kept bringing her back to the center. Finally, Moon flipped over into a cover, and Baszler wasn't ready. That scored a surprise three for Ember Moon to retain. After the match, Baszler looked like she was going to cry, then choked out Moon on the ramp.
Cole vs. Black had their Extreme Rules match. It actually was very "ECW." A lot of weapons, some hardway blood, and Cole absolutely died out there. He took a bump across the tops of two chairs, and Black double-stomped him through the announce desk. For his part, Cole superkicked Black off the top turnbuckle through two tables. Of course, the Era also got involved in the match, but SAnitY ran them off. Wolfe's back, and Damo did a big dive onto everybody. Eventually, Black managed to hit Black Mass (right in the armpit, which probably actually hurt really badly).
The main event blew everything else away. This was probably the best NXT match in years, outside of the UK guys doing their thing. Crowd was white-hot for Gargano the whole way through. It was a tremendous back-and-forth match. Of course Zelina got involved, but after she pulled one too many stunts, Candice LeRae jumped the barricade and beat the shit out her. Gargano and Almas went all-out, kicking out of multiple finishers. I was on the edge of my seat a couple times, especially for a Gargano Escape where Almas' foot just made it to the ropes. Ultimately, Almas hit a running double knee on the outside apron to the steel post, then a hanging hammerlock DDT, sadly ending the match. I wanted Gargano to win so badly, but I didn't really want Almas to lose the belt so quickly either, so I was upset, but not too upset.
Afterwards, of course, as we all expected, Ciampa made his return, laying Gargano out on the ramp with a crutch shot to the back. I wanted them to fight for the title, but even without it, this is my most anticipated feud of the year. I want Gargano to beat Ciampa so badly that they become friends again. It's going to be awesome!
Again, this was a super show. Probably not as good as War Games, but not for lack of effort. Catch the main event if nothing else.
Tag match started out slow but man did it get fun. AoP are kinda great and I want to see them being monsters on the main roster.
Dream is way, way over. He would get the ovation of all ovations if he was a surprise Rumble entrant like Tye was last year. Sky is the limit.
The womens title was fun, and the right story was told (I was worried for a while it wouldn't be).
Extreme Rules was a fun little brawl.
That main event. Wow. Below the Banks-Bayley matches and maybe the last UK title match, it's my favorite NXT match. Gargago is ultra babyface and Almas and Vega could be the main event heels in two weeks on SDL if the let them. Vega is such a presence.
Also, Samoa Joe was awesome on the preshow. More talking Joe please.
I was there. Don't think i felt this involved in a match live since Shawn vs Taker 1. I didn't want Cien to lose the title but I didn't want Gargano to lose either. So for once I agreed with a "fight forever" chant. Tbh i didn't think the title match would be able to follow that Black/Cole match (but they did with ease) which was also a great match. Dream/Ohno was sloppy in the power spots. Not sure if it was to tell the "he can't lift the big guy"story but for instance the ddt thst Dream did (think it was that) was horrible. Not sure whose fault it was. Tag and women's matches were solid.
Preshow (aka what you get on wednesday) had a great Strong vs Bate match)
Aside from exemplary wrestling and storytelling, I think something that made this show one of their best was the commentary. Nigel McGuinness was reportedly out sick, so it was just Mauro & Percy. While I thought Mauro was pretty bad last Takeover, I thoroughly enjoyed his work this time around. And while I generally like Nigel, his absence meant that he and Watson weren't constantly bickering, which made the show far more enjoyable, in comparison to the Rumble, of which the commentary was definitely the worst part of the show. I love Corey Graves, but I'd rather do without him than listen to him argue with Booker T & Byron Saxton constantly.
It's a matter of opinion, but look at the Doink character. The heel run by Borne is still looked back upon by smarts as one of the more enjoyable gimmicks they came up with. The face run with Apollo, everyone hated.