NXT champion Bobby Roode is in the midst of a historic championship reign. By the time we reach TakeOver: Brooklyn III on August 19, he'll have been champion for over 200 days, something only three other superstars (Finn Balor, Neville, Bo Dallas) have done. The undefeated champ has become the face of NXT, creating one of the most magnetic personas not just within the brand, but within all of the WWE.
However, he's not the only undefeated superstar on the roster.
This week's main event featured two other undefeated combatants looking to become the face of NXT in Drew McIntyre and Killian Dain. The winner would advance to TakeOver as Roode's next challenger.
Dain controlled the early portion of the match at a slow, methodical pace featuring a plethora of power moves and clubbing blows, but McIntyre rallied. The comeback began with McIntyre powerbombing Dain out of the corner, but in what became a theme in the match, Dain refused to stay down. Never was that more apparent than when McIntyre executed his Future Shock DDT that only kept Dain down for a one count.
In the end, it took two of McIntyre's Claymore running single-leg dropkicks to keep Dain down and become the new top contender to the NXT Championship.
It's hard to believe that the highly regarded McIntyre, who made his return back in April, has yet to perform at a TakeOver event. That changes in one month's time and his first TakeOver match will be a big one. He was curiously left off of the TakeOver: Chicago card in May (though he did perform in a pre-taped match before the event) despite establishing a strong connection with the NXT audience as a premier babyface.
While it's a bit early for predictions, McIntyre appears to be the biggest threat to Roode's title since he became champion last November. At 40-years old, one would think that a main roster call-up for Roode has to take place at some point in the near future. We'll find out next month whether McIntyre will kick-start that process.
Ember Moon and Ruby Riot pick up where Asuka and Nikki Cross left off
A few weeks after exceptional performances by NXT Women's Champion Asuka and SAnitY's Nikki Cross as part of a Last Woman Standing main event, Ember Moon and Ruby Riot illustrated the depth of the division and produced another outstanding effort.
With Cross getting her opportunity to snag the title a few weeks back, the winner of this week's match between Moon and Riot would seem to be in the best position for another crack as Asuka's title heading towards TakeOver.
The two got things started to duel "Let's go Ruby," "Let's go Ember," chants and lived up to the adoration they were receiving.
Moon and Riot traded advantages evenly throughout the majority of the match that included Riot hitting a beautiful Akira Tozawa-esque senton splash from the top rope.
It wasn't enough. After Moon nailed Riot with a vicious forearm, she delivered her remarkable Eclipse finisher for the win. As Moon made her way back up the ramp, she mouthed the words, "I'm ready for Asuka."
After a shoulder injury prevented Moon's inclusion in the women's championship match at TakeOver: Chicago, I think most fans are ready for another installment of Asuka versus Moon, as well.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch get ultra physical
If there's one guarantee going into a match featuring Oney Lorcan, it's that it will be a stiff encounter. The same logic applies to Danny Burch. Get them in the ring together and the physicality gets taken to another level.
Their match on Wednesday featured ferocious European uppercuts, chops and clotheslines. Lorcan ultimately rolled Burch into a single leg crab submission, the same version used by the man who trained him, Lance Storm, which forced Burch to tap out. After the pinfall, both men received a standing ovation, they shook hands and Burch asked Lorcan for one more match. Lorcan agreed and Full Sail loved it.
Andrade "Cien" Almas makes his presence felt
After a bout that saw Cezar Bononi (who picked up an unexpected victory over Almas a couple months ago) take a pinfall loss to No Way Jose, Almas sneaked into the ring. He was flanked by the same woman seen with him over the past few weeks, known as Thea Trinidad in TNA, and proceeded to stomp away at the fallen Bononi.
Almas then called Jose back into the ring, but when he obliged, Almas made his exit setting up an probable program between the two.
Trinidad, who is former WWE superstar Austin Aries' real life fiancée, adds some depth to Almas' character. Choosing to refrain from revealing their relationship for the time being is also a shrewd move, as it adds intrigue to the situation.
What's on tap?
A conflict that has been brewing for weeks will come to a head next week as Kassius Ohno will take on Hideo Itami .
This week's bests
Match of the night: McIntyre vs. Dain
Move of the night: A perfectly executed top-rope hurricanrana by Riot
Moment of the night: McIntyre earning a main event spot at TakeOver: Brooklyn III