By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT TV Hits
Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title tournament match: NXT is telling an interesting story with Maverick being announced as one of the released talents and yet allowing him to work in the tournament. I can see why some find it to be a turnoff, but I like realism in pro wrestling and, assuming this isn’t a work, this is a good play off a real life situation that he’s obviously signed off on. Atlas’s big win was completely overshadowed by the Maverick saga, but it was a well worked match and his finisher was strong. If they really are letting Maverick go, he’s showing them what a foolish decision that is. Maverick has tremendous versatility and is a valuable commodity on any roster.
El Hijo Del Fantasma vs. Jack Gallagher in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title tournament match: A good, physical match. This was a quality debut match for Fantasma, who also fought off NXT’s lucha Dark Order kidnappers. I like Dot Net staffer John Moore’s theory that Fantasma will actually be revealed as the leader of the the kidnapping creepers. By the way, we all know that WWE can be a cruel company, but you’d think someone might actually express some concern over the whereabouts of the kidnapped wrestlers.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae video: I’m not big on the surge of cinematic pro wrestling matches, but I enjoyed the cinematic approach to this video. I’m having a tough time believing Gargano as a heel. This was a step in the right direction and it may simply require time following his long, successful run as a babyface. As much as I thought LeRae would be even tougher to buy in the heel role, the new look helped and she came through with a good heel logic promo. I just hope they did their promos in one take before that tasty looking dinner got cold.
Kushida vs. Tony Nese in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title tournament match: A well worked match with the block favorite going over in impressive fashion. Kushida is overdue for a meaningful push and he would also be a logical opponent for NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin when it comes time for unification match.
Damian Priest video: A top notch video with Priest arguing that Keith Lee handpicks opponents that he knows he can defeat. The video was slick and Priest delivered his words in a believable manner that set the stage for next week’s main event.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart: A bounce back win for Kai and Gonzalez a week after Nox beat Gonzalez in a singles match. I continue to enjoy the Kai and Gonzalez pairing. They clicked quickly and have chemistry that goes beyond the brief time they’ve actually been together.
NXT TV Misses
Velveteen Dream and Dexter Lumis vs. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong: Keith Lee being taken out of the main event by a Damian Priest cheap shot was fine. And while I’m intrigued by the antics of Lumis, the idea of the referee allowing him to enter the match late was an eye roller. Worse yet, the Cole vs. Dream feud isn’t clicking with this viewer.
Opening segment: A disappointing start to the show. The advertised Finn Balor vs. Velveteen Dream match looked really fun on paper. The replacement tag match featured four talented wrestlers, yet it felt underwhelming and inconsequential in comparison. The basic Undisputed Era attack on Dream with Keith Lee making the save for set up the tag match felt routine and uninspired.