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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Nov. 15, 2017): A valuable commodity

For a more detailed recap, check our live results post here.

Street Profits def. Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss via pinfall following a punch. Following a video package for Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan makes quick work of Raul Mendoza, pinning him following Freak Accident. Kassius Ohno hits the ring to stop a post-match beatdown, and Sullivan laughs in Ohno’s face and leaves.

- There was a lot of punching in the opener, which is probably a good indication of where these two teams are in their development. I don’t want to sound too down on it, because I thought it was a fun four minute-ish match that I actually would have liked to see a little more of. The punch that ended it sort of came out of nowhere. A more decisive conclusion with Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford hitting their finisher wouldn’t have worked, though, as this post-show video clearly indicates this feud will continue.

And that’s cool. They’re on the verge of developing some real heat (especially if Tino keeps calling people “boy”), and three-fourths of the men in the match have been in Developmental for a while, so it’s put up or shut up time.

Still, here’s hoping we see the return of TM-61, more of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, and teams with lots of experience in the tag scene after Saturday. Every match doesn’t need to be Revival/#DIY, but I miss getting the occassional classic pairs match from NXT.

- The hype piece for Black and Dream’s rivalry was almost as good as the rivalry itself has been.

- Keep hearing good things about Mendoza from house shows, but on screen he remains a jobber Mauro Ranallo can tout as having been in the Cruiserweight Classic. This was the Lars squash we’ve come to expect, which is both entertaining and exactly what was called for in this spot. The aftermath was even better. There’s actually more than I thought going on with this late addition to the TakeOver card, and this quick interaction reminded/established that Sullivan is nuts AND scary, and while Kassius fancies himself a locker room leader, he might not have realized what he was getting into when he decided to prove himself by stepping to Lars.

General Manager Wiliam Regal chats with Johnny Gargano in his office, and Gargano accepts a chance to face UK champion Pete Dunne in Houston for a match which will air next week. A video is shown for Saturday’s main event, recapping Undisputed ERA, SAnitY and Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong’s stories heading into WarGames with clips of the promos NXT released just after the match was made.

- Not that I ever really doubted it, but the confirmation Dunne vs. Gargano will make it to our screens is very good news.

- So... WWE is good at video packages. Actually liked this better than the angle that closed last week’s episode, and knowing they had this in the pipe probably convinced them to make the NXT title feud the last segment on the ‘go home’ show. I’m still irked they didn’t do much of anything with the Strong/AoP dynamic. Tell us why it will work, or tease how it won’t - something! Other than that, though, this piece did a great job conveying the history and novelty of the match, telling the story of how and why we got here, and giving each squad a few lines to convince us they’re gonna survive and thrive in the cage come Saturday. AKA everything it needed to do.

Ember Moon def. Mercedes Martinez via pinfall following Eclipse, then participates in a staredown as Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce and Kairi Sane come out to the ring area. We’re informed that Ruby Riot vs. Sonya Deville will take place in Houston and air next Wednesday.

Sign me up for more Moon/Martinez, even if it means listening to Nigel McGuinness call Mercedes a “newcomer”. I’m not sure pushing Ember to the limit right before her next title match is the right call, but I’m not sure it’s isn’t, either... it certainly fits in with her overall arc and Martinez’s comments about her which set-up this match. And the size difference between these two, and the obvious talent gap between the multi-time indie women’s champ and, say, Taynara Conti, more than explains why Ember struggled where Nikki Cross didn’t.

This one fits in with the “NXT Strong Style” bouts we seeing a lot of coming out of Brooklyn, too. These ladies hit hard, with Mercedes delayed vertical suplex (out of Three Amigos!) and vicious chop, and Moon’s suicide dive being particular highlights. The finish seemed a little abrupt, but we had to leave time for the final confrontation between the title contenders for TakeOver. If you can call that a confrontation. I actually don’t mind that things have been civil leading into this weekend’s Fatal 4Way. The stakes are clear and the draw is that these are four wrestlers we all like to watch perform. Bring it on.

Drew McIntyre congratulates Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega on getting a title shot, then says they’re in trouble at TakeOver. He taunts Almas about their face-to-face, which brings out Zelina... but Andrade follows a moment later. The men brawl, and Vega tries for a top rope crossbody, but Drew catches her. It’s enough of a distraction for Cien to chop block him and hit his finisher. The challenger leaves with his manager after admiring the title.

While I could still do without all the “man up” talk from the champ (and, no, I’m not outraged, or triggered - it’s just that Drew could simply call Cien a coward or pawn and avoid saying those are things a “real man” wouldn’t be, and that would be a small step toward pro wrestling and the rest of the world leaving those implications in the past), this was a really strong closing angle. McIntyre’s here to fight, not play games - and that just might be his undoing against the team of Almas and Vega.

“I am the bloody mountain” is a killer line, though.

The heels are a captivating presence even without saying a word, and El Ídolo’s march to the ring - after he gets Zelina’s blessing - was an electric moment. How much offense they let Vega direct at Almas’ opponents remains pretty amazing, and hasn’t shown any signs of syphoning heat off any of the performers around her. It will be pretty great when someone’s female ally fires back at her, though.

Reverse momentum theory would say the final shot doesn’t bode well for Andrade’s chances in Texas, but if he can swagger around the Toyota Center with half the charisma he displayed here, it shouldn’t hurt his future prospects.

Especially if they give us another moment like Zelina laughing after Almas took out the champ’s leg.

The Nov. 15 edition of NXT didn’t change anything for Saturday’s live Network special, but it reminded us why we want to see each of the five matches on the card. And though the main roster sometimes makes it difficult to remember, that’s the point of a ‘go home’ show.

Grade: B+

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