By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT North American and WWE UK titles: When you have two top tier wrestlers in a high profile match together in the ring, you almost are setting yourself from unreachable expectations and ultimately disappointment. I feared that this match wouldn’t be as good as other Ricochet or Dunne matches, but these two don’t disappoint. This was an amazing match that told a great story of one person, Ricochet, trying to stick to his usual game plan of overwhelming his opponent with offense while Dunne’s game plan was to handicap Ricochet by focusing his offense on the fingers. This match had the most predictable finish ever due to it being a television match, but once the match happened the finish was a non-issue. It was a screwy finish, but NXT doesn’t have a history of screwy finishes so the screwy finish is a tool that NXT can use on rare occasions. The crap finish only builds more anticipation for the Dunne vs. Ricochet rematch down the road if they want to come back to it, which would definitely be Takeover worthy.
Mauro Ranallo: A minor Hit for a hilarious line. Nigel McGuinness goes into full-on Pro-UK mode in defending Pete Dunne and calls Mauro a Yankee, with the purpose of trying to heel on the American. Mauro then nonchalantly responds “I’m Canadian”.
Dakota Kai and Deonna Purrazzo vs. Lacey Evans and Aliyah: A surprising finish since any match Aliyah is involved in usually spells a loss for Aliyah. It definitely looked like Aliyah was the designated fall person. Aliyah didn’t gain anything as she continues to wander aimlessly as a character. Everyone else gained. Kai losses a lot and builds sympathy after every loss. Purrazzo was protected by not taking the pin. Lacey Evans continues to show evolution in the ring by putting on good performances. The best part of the match is WWE really putting a lot of effort into developing the “Women’s Right” finisher. It’s just a generic punch, but they are turning that generic punch into the most devastating finisher on the NXT roster. They better not have anyone kick out of that move because it would be great to have at least one protected finish in 2018.
NXT TV Misses
Jaxson Ryker vs. Humberto Carrillo: The Forgotten Sons have not gotten off to a hot start. Creative is doing the standard debut stuff with them, but they don’t come off as anything unique. In a way, they are just a bland version of Sanity. If this were my call, I would swap out Wesley Blake, because why is he in this faction, and replace him with Lacey Evans (which they’ve been doing on the house show circuit) to turn this into a Marine faction. On the main roster, you could even add Randy Orton to this if you want, though it it would need to be done in a way that doesn’t offend the Marines due to Orton going AWOL (see the controversy over the company casting him one of The Marine sequels). Right now, they are just wrestlers that creative “forgot” about. It’s just too inside baseball and meta. Ryker had a pretty flat debut as well and I’m disappointed they gave away his debut in a meaningless squash match. Ryker is the former Impact Wrestling wrestler Gunner. I came out of this match more impressed by Humberto Carrillo, who the commentators noted is the nephew of the late Hector Garza. That would make Carrillo either the cousin or brother of Garza Jr.