By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Undisputed Era vs. Heavy Machinery: A solid tag team match in what I’m going to guess is Heavy Machinery’s last match in NXT before their call-up to the main roster. At one point, NXT limited the amount of time Otis Dozovic would get in the ring, but after Tucker Knight had to miss a bit of time Otis has grown immensely in the ring and does a great job in his selling sequences. Dozovic even had a nice main event match against Tommaso Ciampa not too long ago. Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly have anchored the 2018 television main event scene and continue to put on strong matches. This match was no exception and made even better with the heels winning clean and building their credibility.
Tommaso Ciampa: Another good promo from Ciampa in his “lair” (the back of a semi truck). We’ve seen this act done before by people like Miz where the heel would try to get his two biggest threats to beat up each other before the title match. Ciampa is doing it in such a natural way by pandering to Gargano’s ego. If they go too far with the DIY reunion thing, they’ll risk turning Ciampa and Gargano babyface, but Ciampa’s hamfisted lines about not wanting any of Gargano did a good job at keeping that problem at bay.
Io Shirai vs. Lacey Evans vs. Bianca Belair vs. Mia Yim: A fun opening match that would have fit well in a television main event spot if NXT wanted it to be. Yim faded in the background a bit, but that’s bound to happen to somebody due to all the talent involved in the match. The other three got a strong spotlight. Shirai hit that beautiful (but scary) crossbody suicide dive. Evans had most of the offense and looked strong in what might be her last match in NXT as well. Bianca Belair is a logical winner of this match given how she has the best kayfabe in-ring record. The only thing that’s odd is this sets up for a heel vs. heel championship match at Takeover: Phoenix. It’s not a bad thing and let’s see how NXT handles this at the next tapings.
Technical Difficulties: Not a huge deal, but what happened at the middle of the show? At first I thought it was my Network feed glitching on the PS4 so I went to my Android to double check and found out that it was an issue on WWE’s end. It was that glitch and scrambling to double check that caused me to miss the Jaxson Ryker squash. Well, it was a squash and that’s all that has to be said. The lack of mid-show commentary came off as a production botch which is what I’ll classify this Miss as.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Nick Perkins discussing the McMahon family’s vow to make changes to WWE television shows.