By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT Hits
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger: I liked this first night of Nakamura on NXT TV. I’m OK with him not being shot into the main event picture immediately, as we all know it is a question of when, not if, Nakamura will challenge for the NXT title. In the meantime, I’m ready for a few weeks of showcase matches against some of the mid-card heels. Dillinger showed again on this show that he could mean so much more.
Austin Aries vs. Angelo Dawkins: A serviceable TV debut for Aries. This was probably closer to what we can expect from his NXT run than the match with Baron Corbin at Takeover: Dallas, which was very much a traditional big vs. small match. I worry for Dawkins. While he hasn’t been on TV much, he has been kicking around the Performance Center for what feels like a few years at this point, and yet nothing has clicked yet.
Bayley vs. Liv Morgan: I was teetering on the edge of a Miss when it seemed like Bayley was going to “John Cena” her loss to Asuka and ignore it, but her humble and determined post match promo saved things. Morgan did look green, but she had some nice flashy spots in the match.
Alexa Bliss vs. Tessa Blanchard: I still get a kick out of seeing Bliss excel as a heel, so this gets a slight Hit. I had to check that Tessa Blanchard, the daughter of Tully Blanchard, wasn’t already under contract with NXT, because she’s about as textbook an example of a “no-brainer” signing that you’re likely to find.
WWE NXT Misses
The VaudeVillains vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa: The crowd were noticeably quiet for this one, and I can hardly blame them. The match wasn’t bad at all, but there wasn’t anything to get excited about until the surprise finish. I was initially shocked then the VV lost, but then I remembered that departing NXT acts do tend to go out with a loss. I’m very interested to see where all of these wins for Gargano and Ciampa are leading.
Baron Corbin vs. Tucker Knight: I guess we couldn’t see Corbin off without one more dull squash match.