By Darren Gutteridge
Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young in a Steel Cage Match: I have often said that one of the rarely mentioned upsides of NXT is that wrestlers can have true endings. Main roster talent tend to see their WWE careers end with a release, with an injury, or with retirement. NXT provides the platform to tell a complete story that doesn’t have an ending that feels like a fizzling out process. This match was a good example of this. Dillinger didn’t have a gold plated NXT run, but he did manage to get himself over, and finally got a major win on his last night on the brand before he jumps to Smackdown. The match was really good in the latter stages too, overcoming some odd choices early on (like Dillinger trying to escape the cage early despite his whole deal being wanting a fair fight with Young) to deliver a great main event.
Bobby Roode: I actually liked Roode’s mandate for his vision of NXT. The whole “you’re either with me or against me” finally frames his title run in an effective way, and gives his babyface challengers easy promo fodder by sticking up for NXT. I actually felt like things went downhill after Hideo Itami came out. It is a pet peeve of mine when babyfaces slap people, but that aside it also didn’t come across as a hot return.
Andrade Almas vs. Danny Burch: This had a little more substance than most squash matches, and benefitted for it. I’m excited for the matches that can result from an Almas vs. Drew McIntyre feud, but there is only one winner in that feud, at a time when Almas really could do with a marquee win.
Liv Morgan and Aliyah vs. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce: This was an ugly match. It felt almost like a practice match live from the Performance Centre at times, as both Liv and Aliyah looked way off their game. The whole situation is made more laughable by the (excellent) Asuka video package that preceded it, wherein Liv tried to sell us on her chances of being the next NXT Women’s Champion. After this performance, a more likely scenario would be Asuka picking Liv up to use as a weapon to hit others.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for reading or listening to my contributions to Dot Net over the past five-plus years, as well as Jason for giving me the chance in the first place. This will be my last article for the site (maybe not forever but at least for the foreseeable future), as I will be taking a break from being a wrestling fan altogether. I’ll go into my reasons why in a few weeks, but I still have two more Progress Wrestling audio shows to go before I truly wrap up! So if you are a Dot Net Member, you get the goodness of Gutteridge for a few weeks more. You truly do lead blessed lives.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net's Will Pruett discussing AEW Full Gear including the polarizing Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega match, what's drawing Will to AEW Dynamite over NXT TV, the appeal of NWA Powerrr, and much more...