The first NXT episode of the year, aptly named New Year's Evil, surely lived up to the hype by delivering a terrific show with not a single disappointing development. All the matches on the card were entertaining, with the kind of outcomes that will take the brand in a genuinely intriguing direction.
While Finn Balor and Kyle O'Reilly expectedly tore the house down with yet another brutal encounter, Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez over delivered to have a match that has already gotten into the conversation of being an early MOTY contender.
On the other hand, Karrion Kross continued his undefeated streak and, Santos Escobar continued his dominance over the Cruiserweight Divison. More teams announced themselves as entrants in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament, while a major announcement regarding the Women's Dusty Rhodes Tournament was made by the NXT GM William Regal.
So without any delays, let's dive in and check out all the developments from the show that have gotten the WWE NXT Universe buzzing.
#5 NXT Champion Finn Balor defeats Kyle O'Reilly, possibly moving ahead with a clash against Karrion Kross
Finn Balor vs. Kyle O'Reilly II was a great bout from start to finish with an insane display of reversals and chain wrestling. The two Superstars unleashed the very best version of themselves in the relatively short 20 minutes they were allotted here. Though they didn't touch the heights of their clash from NXT TakeOver: 31, this was yet another example of O'Reilly's incredible talents and why he should consistently be in the main event of the brand.
The two had the momentous task of bettering the clash between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez, which many already proclaimed to be an early match-of-the-year contender, and they did certainly reach close to that level.
The ending saw Balor lock O'Reilly in a submission maneuver that is hard to describe but seemed painful enough for the challenger to submit. Post match, the challenger was distraught over the loss, with his Undisputed Era stablemates consoling him, all while Balor stared into the camera with an intense look.
Balor coming on top was the expected outcome and will probably embark on a feud with Karrion Kross for the title, while O'Reilly's direction on NXT going forwards is still up in the air. Maybe a split from the stable and a heel run could save him from getting lost in the shuffle.