By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Johnny Gargano vs. Dominik Dijakovic: A hot opening match with good back and forth action. The finish was clever with Gargano pulling off the turnbuckle pad and driving Dijakovic into it before hitting his DDT finisher. The finish protected Dijakovic while giving Gargano a good heel win. Candice LeRae is shockingly unlikable (in a strong heel way) and she should continue to play a big part in Gargano’s heel run.
Karrion Kross vs. Leon Ruff: You can tell that NXT officials have high hopes for Kross and Scarlett just by watching their elaborate entrance. And they absolutely should be high on this duo. Kross had a strong in-ring debut by absolutely destroying Ruff in under a minute.
Charlotte Flair vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship: A very enjoyable match until the cheap finish. Rhea Ripley’s surprise return was enough to wash the bad taste of the finish away for this viewer. That said, Shirai being upset with Ripley for saving her from Flair’s attack was strange. It will be interesting to find out what her heel logic will be.
Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title Tournament match: A brief, yet entertaining match. Gallagher’s tattoos are jarring, but I appreciate the way that he’s reinvented himself. Unfortunately, he’s at risk of being swept in the tournament. It’s so strange to see Tozawa losing every week on Raw, yet starting 2-0 in the tournament. I dig Tozawa’s work so hopefully he escapes the Raw enhancement role and goes on to play a meaningful role in the cruiserweight division.
Cameron Grimes vs. Denzel Dejournette: A decent spotlight win for Grimes. His post match promo felt more believable than some of his past promos. It also set the stage for Finn Balor to attack him in an angle that set up their match for next week.
Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship: The first of the two advertised title matches ending with a cheap finish was tolerable, but closing the show with the other title match ending with a lousy ref bump finish was too much. I enjoyed Dexter Lumis coming from underneath the ring to cut off Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong from helping Cole. My guess is that Lumis is obsessed with Dream and will end up feuding with him rather than continue down this babyface path.
Finn Balor promo: Balor cut a strange promo filled with a bunch of insider lingo. I can get into another mystery attacker angle, but this felt like he was using insider lingo just to use insider lingo. Perhaps it will make more sense as the storyline progresses.
Kushida vs. Jake Atlas in an Interim NXT Cruiserweight Title Tournament match: A soft Miss. It was entertaining while it lasted, but it was disappointing that they only got three minutes. I understand the need for shorter matches during the empty venue era, but these two surely could have filled more time in an entertaining fashion.
Chelsea Green vs. Xia Li: It wasn’t terrible, but it’s hard not to give an 85-second match that ended with a botched finish something other than a Miss.