By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair: This felt like a big match on paper and it turned out to be a quality main event. There were a couple of clunky moments that can be chalked up to the lack of ring time together. Ultimately, though, it was an entertaining match and it’s hard to imagine that this will be the last time we see them work together given the path that Belair seems to be on The post match angle was clearly rushed and I wasn’t a fan of Rhea Ripley coming out and doing her entrance stomp rather than simply rushing the ring to make the save. I realize that she and Belair had a title match at NXT Takeover: Portland and haven’t been best friends, but they also put their differences aside once before to work over Flair. It just didn’t seem like a babyface move and was one of the rare missteps involving the red hot Ripley character.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Austin Theory: Theory is going to be an NXT star. I was worried about him last week when Ciampa took him out with ease, but it led to one hell of a match that saw Theory go toe-to-toe with one of NXT’s main event mainstays. This was definitely a case of a wrestler gaining something in defeat. The post match angle with Johnny Gargano attacking Ciampa was solid. I’m anxious to hear Gargano’s heel promo, and I’m very curious to hear what Ciampa has to say about Gargano’s actions. It’s not like Ciampa can really feel wronged given everything that he did to Gargano in the past, so it will be fascinating to see how this is handled.
Finn Balor and Imperium: Balor was delivering a strong promo and I was looking forward to him calling his next shot until Imperium members Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel essentially called it for him. All signs point to Balor vs. Walter at NXT Takeover: Tampa and/or NXT UK Takeover: Dublin. The attack by Aichner and Barthel likely sets up Balor with some singles matches against each of the Imperium members to lead into his showdown match with the kingpin.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Cameron Grimes: A very enjoyable match and the biggest win of Grimes’ run in NXT even if it was caused by outside interference from Damian Priest. The key for Grimes is where they go next. Does Dijakovic get his win back? Hopefully Grimes simply moves on and scores other meaningful wins. Dijakovic indicated last week that he’s not finished with Keith Lee, and then Priest mentioned Lee in a later interview, so it looks like we will be seeing a Triple Threat in the near future.
Xia Li vs. Mia Yim: Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez creating the distraction that allowed Li to beat Yim was an effective way to bring Yim back into the mix with Kai. I assume this is ultimately leading to Yim teaming with Tegan Nox to face Kai and Gonzalez. I saw those teams work a house show match on Sunday and it was good enough that I’m anxious to see it again.
Killian Dain vs. Bronson Reed: A soft Hit for a solid battle of the big men match. I’m still down on Reed’s cutesy “Thicc” gear, though I had to laugh when Mauro Ranallo dropped the line about getting down with the thickness.
The Forgotten Sons vs. Grizzled Young Veterans: The USA chants may have been the most noise that fans have made during a Forgotten Sons tag team match, so this worked for the Full Sail crowd more than it worked for me. I just have a hard time buying into a patriotic battle against evil Englishmen. Plus, how many foreign heel teams will NXT bring in from NXT UK to face the Sons once this feud runs its course? If nothing else, I give the creative forces credit for trying something new with the flat Sons act.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...