By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dakota Kai vs. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah in a gauntlet match: A well booked gauntlet match with Blackheart plowing through four opponents only to have Kai and Raquel Gonzalez steal the win. Blackheart will benefit over the long haul from tough luck losses like this, as they will only make fans more anxious to see her get a breakthrough win. Meanwhile, Kai and Gonzalez are good together, and it was logical to make Kai the final entrant in next week’s ladder match.
Velveteen Dream vs. Bobby Fish: A nice match that ate up nearly 20 minutes of television time while moving Dream a step closer to his NXT Title match with Adam Cole.
Kushida vs. Joaquin Wilde: Sam Roberts did a nice job on color commentary during this match. Sure, some of my enjoyment came from the way he shit on Wilde for using the terrible deejay horn noise, but I also liked the way that he called out Kushida by saying that he’s still waiting for him to live up to the hype. Well, I like it if the line is foreshadowing a surge for Kushida and doesn’t turn out to be a burial. Anyway, the actual match was well worked and the right guy went over. I don’t know why the NXT version of the Dark Order kidnapped Wilde, but I hope they beat the deejay horn noise out of him. Seriously, I want to like Wilde and really respect his story, but that BroMans throwback noise coming from a babyface character gives off major douche vibes.
Malcolm Bivens, Rinku, and Sauraf: A solid introductory promo from Bivens while his monsters did their part by simply looking menacing.
Dexter Lumis vs. Jake Atlas: Well, at least the internet didn’t break due to Atlas fans expressing their outrage. Like it or not, this was a spotlight match for Lumis, who brought the serial killer gimmick he used in TNA with him to NXT. He plays the part well, but this is a character that will need to be written extremely well to have staying power. By the way, the origin of the Dexter name is obvious. Is Lumis a play on Billy Loomis from the original Scream film, the Samuel Loomis from the Halloween films that actually inspired Billy’s last name, the Sam Loomis character from Psycho that inspired Samuel’s name, or something else entirely?
Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Damian Priest for the NXT North American Championship: A soft Miss for a match that missed the live crowd being present more than any other match on the show. Or maybe it’s just knowing how hot the Takeover crowd would have been for this match. The wrestlers worked hard and it’s not that it wasn’t entertaining, it’s just that I couldn’t shake the “what might have been” feeling. Sadly, I suspect that I’ll have that same feeling while watching a lot of the WrestleMania matches this weekend. Perhaps that’s the reason they went with a finish that basically put us right back where we started. Nothing was truly decided with the way Lee went over, so this is a match they can come back to again at some point.
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...