By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Undisputed Era vs. Ricochet and Pete Dunne: This was not the Takeover-worthy encounter you would expect between these two teams. One small reason for that was not using Kyle O’Reilly’s innovative style in this match and instead going with the more methodical Adam Cole. Where Cole and Strong excel is at storytelling and that’s what this match focused on. It was a well worked match and when Dunne got involved the pace picked up. Cole going over clean was a good move to build his credibility while also protecting Ricochet and Dunne since they lost due to lack of chemistry and an accident.
Keith Lee vs. Luke Menzies: A simple squash match for Lee to continue to acclimate NXT viewers to his moveset. He got to pull off one of his impressive big man huracanranas. Unlike Marcel Barthel, who got to have a competitive match with Lee, this match included a developmental project who got minimal offense in. Lee hitting the Spirit Bomb on a big dude was a good visual. Bonus points always to Lee for having a DBZ inspired moveset.
Lars Sullivan: I think this was the first time we saw Lars since he had his jaw shattered by Aleister Black. Lars did what Lars does best and that was beat up a smaller dude. He’s beaten up Raul Mendoza in the past, but Lars beating up dudes never gets old. Lars was more dominant here than their last match where Mendoza got to get more shots in. The logic of Lars was sound in him not being the type who would hide an attack in mystery since he is known for beating up people in the clear of day. Mauro Ranallo was smart to point out that this doesn’t remove Lars as a suspect since Black was the one that took Sullivan out in the first place.
Nikki Cross: NXT needs more Nikki Cross acting like a crazy kitten. She’s now also the most interesting person on NXT television since she knows a secret that nobody else knows.
William Regal: After being gone for a few months for medical issues, Regal was all over the show tonight. He wasn’t overbearing and he owned every segment he was in in a positive way. A side hit goes to Regal’s pedestal on his desk which held his vintage “Power of the Punch” Brass Knuckles.
Johnny Gargano: Really strong work by Johnny Gargano that came off as genuine in the character he’s trying to play. Eddie Edwards in Impact is trying to play this exact same character and he comes off as a cartoon. Gargano is coming off as a flawed protagonist living in his own redemption story. When Gargano entered Full Sail he had a good portion of the crowd chanting against him but through the emotion he produced he managed to turn most of those fans over (and the rest were probably just being heel-loving contrarians).
NXT TV Misses
Dakota Kai vs. Aliyah: The match wasn’t terrible and Aliyah continues to show progress in the ring. It ultimately served no purpose on the show and might as well have been one of their Florida circuit matches. I also wonder where they are going with Aliyah, who seemingly comes out with a different gimmick every single week. She had a good look when she was in the all black and leather garb and it looked like she was developing a character. Now she comes out in different floral designs looking like a variable hodge podge of Carmella and Peyton Royce.