By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Great American Bash Night One Hits
NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai vs. Sasha Banks in a non-title match: A hot main event despite the fact that the NXT Championship wasn’t on the line. I’m not really sure why they didn’t make this a title match given that Shirai was going over, and from a storyline standpoint it would have played into Sasha and Bayley’s quest to hold all of the women’s titles. Nevertheless, this was a heck of a match and the outside interference by Asuka was done in a way where it felt like a fun surprise rather than a cheap way out. Here’s hoping we get Shirai and Asuka challenging Sasha and Bayley for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles next week.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Oney Lorcan: A terrific match. The outcome was never truly in question, but it was a pleasant surprise that Lorcan was given plenty of offense and the match lasted over eleven minutes and never felt like it worked against establishing Thatcher. As much as I’d like to see more from these two, I also wouldn’t complain if Lorcan and Danny Burch joined forces with Thatcher.
Tegan Nox vs. Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai vs. Mia Yim in an elimination match to become number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship: It’s a miracle! A major pro wrestling company actually had a four-way match with the usual no disqualification rule and yet also stated that no outside interference would be allowed. This was a huge upgrade over the absurdly overused booking crutch of having outside interference in Triple Threats, four-ways, etc. The actual match was strong. Yim looked good before she was eliminated, and the final part with Nox and Kai was entertaining. Here’s hoping that Nox gets some mic time heading into her title match. We just don’t hear from her enough on NXT television.
Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah and Robert Stone in a handicap match: This still feels way beneath the level that Ripley was at before her WrestleMania loss to Charlotte Flair, but it was a well executed and fun handicap match. Stone and Aliyah were entertaining punching bags for Ripley and played their parts well.
Legado Del Fantasma segment: Santos Escobar delivered a quality promo. Drake Maverick continued to show heart by blowing off the three-on-one odds in his latest attempt to get his hands on Escobar. Best of all, Tyler Breeze and Fandango ran out and made the save without doing one of their hammy entrances.
NXT Great American Bash Night One Misses
Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong in a strap match: The match overstayed its welcome and never felt all that violent despite the stipulation. I get a kick out of the Lumis character, but more so as a heel and it’s definitely in smaller doses.
Cameron Grimes: Another over the top promo. I assume this is what the creative forces are looking for, but Grimes continues to strike me as a guy who should be a real player rather than an overly braggadocious pest heel.