By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
The OC vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle Mauro Ranallo opening with the “breaking news” footage of The OC trio working over the Undisputed Era outside the building was a good way to start the show. Seeing AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson in an NXT ring for the first time was pretty cool. Tommaso Ciampa’s promo was strong and the way the six-man tag match came together was well done. The actual match was fun and it was a rare time in this era of pro wrestling overkill that I was pleased that a show had an overrun. The lack of a match finish was disappoint, but the interesting appearances by Finn Balor and Adam Cole made up for it.
Pete Dunne vs. Damien Priest: While I’m not a fan of parity booking, that’s not something we typically get in NXT. And in this case, it was Dunne returning the favor of a low blow to get his win back. The Killian Dain post match attack was foreshadowed last week, and Dain and Priest fighting over getting to Dunne was an interesting development. Initially, I assumed we’d get a rubber match between Dunne and Priest, but this appeared to set up what should be a good a Triple Threat.
NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai in a non-title match: Kai’s brief promo went a long way in bringing newer viewers up to speed on the history between the two. Kai was intimidated by Baszler in the past, but she took offense to Baszler calling her a wasted WarGames pick and was no longer fearful. It was a simple and easy to follow story and it played out nicely in the ring with Kai showing more confidence. Baszler has the big Survivor Series match coming up and thus needed to go over, but Kai gained something in defeat. The post match angle with Mia Yim destroying all the heels with a kendo stick was well done and made her the logical choice to join Rhea Ripley’s WarGames team. That said, Kai’s disappointment when Ripley made that decision was an interesting development. Will she be the final member of Baszler’s team?
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott: A good back and forth match that had me going back and forth in term of guessing which wrestler was going to go over. As much as I enjoyed the match, this was another example of a match that felt a little random and the viewing experience would have been better if the wrestlers had been able to set it up with even some brief mic work.
Angel Garza vs. Tony Nese for an NXT Cruiserweight Title shot: The match was entertaining and I got a kick out of Nese going for a powerbomb from the ropes only to end up powerbombing Garza’s tearaway pants. Garza was over big with the squealing women in attendance, but I’m still not sure if he’s a babyface or a heel. Garza slapping Lio Rush afterward seems to suggest that he’s a heel, but we just saw him get emotional in that family history video package last week.
Taynara vs. Santana Garrett: More of an in the middle than a Hit or a Miss. I was genuinely curious to see who would win the match given that Taynara typically loses, and Garrett is just getting started as far as being a full-timer in NXT. It would have been nice to hear from both women to help viewers connect with their characters.
None: A very good show from start to finish. The feud between NXT wrestlers and the Raw and Smackdown brands was handled so much better than it was on Monday. Ciampa mentioned that he had no problem with The OC attacking Undisputed Era, and Adam Cole hit both Ciampa and AJ Styles with moves at the end of the show. This was a big improvement over the NXT crew being cast as heel invaders who were all working together while following General Triple H’s marching orders on Raw.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...