By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Ricochet vs. Adam Cole: A fun main event match with a good story told. The story was built around Cole noticing that he injured Ricochet’s leg on a high spot and Cole focusing his attack on it to handicap him for a majority of the match. Ricochet’s story included his great selling of the knee leading to him putting on a story of trying to perform his moves despite the handicap.
Aliyah vs. Taynara Conti: A rare win for Aliyah. It looks like we might also be getting a heel alliance between Vanessa Borne and Aliyah based on Borne’s interference during the match and post-match celebration. They might end up doing nothing with this because Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir ran in and destroyed everyone in the ring and treated them like afterthoughts. Another fear I have is that Aliyah and Borne are teaming up to be designated undercard heel losers similar to Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. As for Conti, she’s still not ready for a big push yet, but what I liked from her in this match is that she’s finally showing some of her Judo in her moveset. Mauro used to always hype her Judo ability, but it was in this match were she finally started to implement it.
Street Profits vs. Humberto Carrillo and Stacy Ervin Jr: This match did a great job developing everyone involved especially the Street Profits. The Street Profits have been putting on some good matches recently since they won the Evolve Tag Team Championships (which NXT only made slight allusions to). The Profits worked a completely different, and somewhat heelish, style in this match. The commentators were pointing out the added aggression for the Profits and Montez Ford did a good job looking more serious than he usually does. The Profits were pretty much babyfaces afterwards, but ultimately it was cool to see them progress as characters. Carrillo continues to show off his standout aerial ability. Stacy Ervin got to show off a cool tuck moonsault.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Shane Thorne: The Hit of the match goes to Thorne, who put on a good performance in his first night on NXT Television as a singles competitor. He’s obviously going to be stuck in no-mans-land with his tag team partner leaving WWE for the time being. Hopefully they find a spot for Thorne, maybe in the North American Championship picture. Of the two Mighty guys, Thorne had the strong personality to match is solid in-ring ability. Dijak was okay and didn’t lose much in the prolonged match. Dijakovic sells more than I would have expected from NXT’s new powerhouse, but maybe they want to establish that Dijakovic’s matches tend to be competitive wars?
NXT TV Misses
None: The show could be better. The reason it’s not perfect is since WWE has gone on their mad signing spree, NXT has suffered a bit because the added names on the roster has forced them to sacrifice their vignettes, promos, and documentary pieces. They still get the promos in for the main eventers, but we’re not seeing the cool documentaries and cinematic pieces that we were seeing about a year ago. These Jeremy Borash produced vignettes exist, but you have to go to their supplementary material on their Performance Center YouTube page which isn’t the most clear to the casual NXT fan. That hurdle aside, this episode didn’t have any glaring issues. I just think they need to find a way to fit more non-wrestling on this show to round out their program a bit.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom with Jason Powell and guest Mick Karch discussing the AWA Appreciation event on February 23, Paul Heyman’s role in helping Mick land a longtime hosting position, his friendship with Nick Bockwinkel, Billy Robinson slapping a fan on live television, and much more.