Since NXT became a readily available weekly wrestling program on the WWE Network, it has taken the world by storm. Some of the most talented superstars have been part of the brand and their shows are often med with widespread acclaim. By now, we all know about the classic matches that helped make NXT famous.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor. Asuka vs. Ember Moon. What we're here to discuss today are the underrated gems. The matches in NXT history that were great, but often get overlooked or forgotten about and are worth checking out again on the WWE Network.
10 Samoa Joe vs. Tommaso Ciampa - NXT 12/2/15
Long before Tommaso Ciampa was the most dastardly villain reigning atop the brand, he was a fresh face in the company. At this point, he didn't even have a contract. Mostly a tag team wrestler, he was given the opportunity to face Samoa Joe, who was on the road to an NXT Title match.
Many viewers probably expected this to be a short, dominant win for Joe. Instead, they were treated to six of the most intense minutes you'll ever see. Both men hit each other with vicious strikes in a brutal contest that came from out of nowhere. Joe won to gain more momentum, but this outing let everyone know that Ciampa was a force to be reckoned with.
9 Drew McIntyre vs. Oney Lorcan - NXT 4/12/17
This was very similar to the previous match listed. Oney Lorcan was still new and unproven to most of the Full Sail audience, while Drew Mcintyre was the big new signing. The outcome here seemed like a foregone conclusion. Lorcan would have none of that and provided us with an impressive performance.
Despite being at a huge size disadvantage, Lorcan didn't back down at all. He went right at McIntyre and hit him just as hard as he was getting hit. It was a situation where both men made a statement. McIntyre showed everyone that he was ready to be the "Chosen One" that he was dubbed back in 2009, while Lorcan proved exactly the kind of tough guy he would be for his entire NXT run.
8 Asuka vs. Emma - TakeOver: London 12/16/15
NXT has been home to some of the greatest and most influential women's matches in WWE history. It was difficult for one to make this list because so many of them are held in such high esteem. However, this one always seems to slip from the memories of fans.
Maybe it's because Asuka was still just a few months into her run. Maybe it's because Emma is no longer under contract with WWE. Either way, this should be watched again. They opened TakeOver: London with a fantastic match. To this point, Asuka was winning short squash matches. Here, they had 15 minutes to allow her to showcase her skills and it gave Emma the shine she truly deserved.
7 American Alpha vs. #DIY - NXT 10/28/15
Okay, so technically these teams didn't even have their official names by this time but it's easier to recognize them this way. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa debuted during the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. They made it to the Semi-Finals for this encounter with the red hot duo of Chad Gable and Jason Jordan.
Neither pairing had teamed much to this point, yet they both showed off natural chemistry. Everything they did came off incredibly smoothly and a lot of it wowed the live crowd. Gable and Jordan pulled out the win, but both teams came out looking like a million bucks.
6 Finn Balor vs. Neville - NXT 3/2/16
Pretty much everyone remembers the clash these two had at TakeOver: Rival in 2015. But their less-heralded 2016 match is nearly just as good and nobody ever talks about it. Neville had since moved on to the main roster and Finn Balor was reigning as NXT Champion when this occurred.
Admittedly, this got off to a bit of a slow start as they jockeyed for position and attempted to gain a mental edge over their opponent. One they picked up the pace, this became an exhilarating contest. Even with Neville not being a regular roster member, you believed he would score an upset. The action down the stretch was outstanding and helped make this a hidden gem.
5 Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe - NXT 3/9/16
Back in 2016, both Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn were vying for a shot at the NXT Title. After two matches that ended indecisively, they were put in a Two Out of Three Falls contest to determine the next challenger for Finn Balor's NXT Championship.
Fans knew they were going to get a great match. What they didn't expect was a battle that lasted the entire duration of an episode. For over 40 minutes, these two warriors went at it. Zayn was the perfect underdog foil against Joe's bully tactics. It made for some top-notch storytelling to go along with the great in-ring work.
4 Cesaro vs. William Regal - NXT 12/25/13
Merry Christmas to NXT viewers. Though this episode originally aired before the launch of the WWE Network, it is now available there for viewing. On this Christmas edition, the legendary William Regal returned to competition to take on the "Swiss Superman" Cesaro.
Regal turned back the clock and had one of the best matches of his storied career. These two waged a war with an intense back and forth. Regal hung tough despite being outmatched in terms of size, strength, and age. It doesn't get discussed much, but it ranks among the best matches in either man's career.
3 Moustache Mountain And Ricochet vs. The Undisputed Era - NXT 6/27/18
This came from out of nowhere. Moustache Mountain were scheduled for a random match when the Undisputed Era interrupted and surrounded the ring. To even the odds, Ricochet hit the ring to join Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, sparking a six-man tag against Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong.
Though Ricochet wasn't a regular teammate of Bate and Seven's, he blended in perfectly with them by adapting to their style. They played so well off each other. Ricochet did some jaw-dropping stuff and there are sequences in this tag that will leave you speechless. It got lost in the shuffle last year but deserved better.
2 Andrade Almas vs. Roderick Strong - TakeOver: San Antonio 1/28/17
Usually, matches that happen on TakeOver specials are remembered quite well. For some reason, this is a forgotten bout. Maybe it's because it came a few months before Andrade Almas hit his stride and while Roderick Strong was still relatively new to the brand.
Without much fanfare or build, these guys still went out and stole the show. Almas and Strong gave fans about twelve minutes of a great match that got better as it went along and ended at its peak. Though it took a while for either guy to gain real traction in NXT, this let everyone know just how talented they are.
1 Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn - NXT 11/13/14
One of the most memorable matches in NXT history saw Sami Zayn battle Adrian Neville for the NXT Title at TakeOver: R-Evolution. But about a month before that, they met in a classic that gets forgotten about because of how stellar the rematch was. People should not overlook this one.
Consummate good guy Sami Zayn was growing tired of never winning the NXT Title. Neville was willing to do whatever it took to win and he chastised Zayn for not being willing to do the same. That came into play in this match as Neville fakes an injury and pulled Sami into a pinning combination to retain the title. The entire thing goes about 12 minutes and it is filled with dramatic twists and turns.