By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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Karrion Kross attacks Tommaso Ciampa: A brief yet strong show closing angle. The only negative is that if you DVR’d the show on DirecTV (and perhaps elsewhere) then the show cut off when Ciampa first appeared on camera. Thank goodness for YouTube. I love that Kross is being booked in a top program right out of the gate.
Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher vs. Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong for the NXT Tag Titles: Dunne selecting Thatcher to serve as his temporary replacement was logical given that they both have dry personalities as well as some in-ring similarities. Thatcher going over in his debut match was also logical and there are plenty of directions for Thatcher to go in once Dunne returns. As good as all these guys are, the match overstayed its welcome a bit in the empty venue setting, but it was still enjoyable.
Keith Lee profile: An excellent video that put over the sacrifices that Lee made in order to get to NXT. We’ve seen a lot of features like this from NXT over the years, but Lee’s stood out because he spoke matter of factly about his story and kept the focus on himself rather than acting overly grateful to be in WWE.
Velveteen Dream and Finn Balor: I dug the way Dream was cutting a good promo on Adam Cole when Balor unexpectedly appeared in the shot behind him. Balor taking issue with Dream calling Adam Cole the best NXT Champion in history fit his character, just as it did when he said he’d never spoken with Dream until this segment. The interaction was simple and yet it did a terrific job of setting up next week’s main event.
Isaiah Scott vs. Akira Tozawa in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title tournament match: A strong showing from both men to open the tournament. Tozawa going was an upset, especially considering that he just lost on Monday’s Raw.
Finn Balor vs. Fabian Aichner: There wasn’t much mystery regarding the outcome as Balor is plowing through the Imperium underlings en route to an eventual match against Walter. Even so, the match was very entertaining and Aichner continues to be impressive.
Tegan Nox vs. Raquel Gonzalez: An enjoyable match with Nox getting some help from Shotzi Blackheart to overcome Dakota Kai’s interference. The finish was done in a way that protected Gonzalez, but I hope they are judicious when it comes to how many matches she loses while serving as Kai’s muscle. Either way, this set up next week’s tag team match.
Xia Li vs. Aliyah: A solid match that didn’t overstay its welcome. Aliyah showed good personality, and both women did a good job of making their issues seem personal following their recent storyline history.
Dexter Lumis vs. Tehuti Miles: A soft Miss. I really want to like the Lumis character because he does such a good job of creating a creepy vibe with his look and that blank stare. But his in-ring move set doesn’t stand out as being unique enough to mesh with his persona. I like the Anaconda Vice as a finisher for Lumis, but I didn’t care for the way he simply released the hold the moment the referee called for the bell to end the match. Lumis needs to feel violent, sadistic, and out of control to the point that he’s not content with simply winning a match. On the bright side, I really liked the way Lumis showed up and did the stare during the tag title match. I remain intrigued by Lumis, yet I wonder if he’s better off in a secondary role that allows him to say little or even nothing while someone such as Karrion Kross does the talking for both of them.