Two weeks ago, Zayn was left to fend for himself in a match against tag champions The Ascension by partner Kidd. This week, he looked to get back on track as he met former WWE tag team champion Gabriel one-on-one.
Speaking of Kidd, he accompanied former partner Gabriel to the ring for the main event.
The competitors grappled early with each gaining a brief moment of control. Zayn countered an armdrag attempt into a hammerlock in a cool spot.
The grapples continue several minutes in, perhaps a bit too long, before Gabriel exploded with a clothesline that took Zayn down. He pounded away as we headed to break.
The Superstars exchanged forearms to the face as we returned from break. Gabriel ended the trading with a big, jumping heel kick for two.
Zayn delivered a side suplex to try to regain control, but Gabriel planted him with another stiff clothesline. The Canadian competitor finally built some momentum and mounted a comeback with a series of clotheslines and a big drop kick as the NXT Universe cheered him on.
Zayn delivered a nasty Exploder suplex into the corner, dropping his opponent on his head, neck and shoulder in the process. Gabriel recovered, dodging the Helluva Kick and delivering a springboard thrust kick.
A big springboard moonsault from Gabriel netted a two count.
Zayn planted Gabriel and locked in the Koji Clutch for the submission win in a very competitive match.
After the match, Kidd attacked Zayn as the commentators blamed Kidd's mounting frustration. Gabriel joined in before NXT champion Adrian Neville hit the ring and chased the heels off.
Zayn, via submission, with the Koji Clutch
Highlights and Quotes
"It makes it very hard to compete against someone on your level." -Regal, on the number of matches featuring Superstars of similar styles
"Shame or no shame, you want to win." -Saxton
"We always talk about his high-flying ability, but look what he is capable of when it comes to his ground game." -Regal on Gabriel
It was a great, competitive match between Zayn and Gabriel to cap off the night's broadcast.
Gabriel turned in one of the best performances of his WWE career as he appeared motivated to have a great match with the consistently outstanding Zayn. Like Kidd, he is a Superstar who could benefit exponentially from working full-time on NXT.
The post-match heel turn from Gabriel and the save from Neville should set up a very competitive tag team bout in the near future. All four men are incredibly talented workers who work well together and can carry the brand if asked to.
The pairing between Kidd and Gabriel, in particular, is one with great potential. They had once made for an entertaining babyface team on the main roster. How they perform as the top villains in NXT remains to be seen.