By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Great American Bash Hits
Adam Cole vs. Keith Lee for the NXT Championship and NXT North American Championship: A terrific match to close the Great American Bash shows and to kick off the Keith Lee era. Cole was an excellent champion for the NXT brand, but it felt like the time was right for a change. It will be very interesting to see where they go next with Cole and Undisputed Era. As good as they have been as a faction, this seems like a good time to shake things up. NXT did a nice job of creating a big match feel throughout the show by including predictions from Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, Mick Foley, and Shawn Michaels. The post match shot with Karrion Kross and Scarlett looking down on Lee’s big celebration was excellent. Lee vs. Kross looks fantastic on paper.
Johnny Gargano vs. Isaiah Scott: I could have done without Scott overselling the shock of Gargano kicking out after taking a fairly routine move, but that’s about the only complaint I had about this match. It was laid out in a way that made Scott look competitive with Gargano, who then looked ruthless when he shoved a hobbled Scott into the ring post and then hit him with a Poison Rana on the floor before hitting his finisher for the pin back inside the ring.
Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim in a Street Fight: A spirited hardcore style match that peaked with the big finish of LeRae hitting her finisher from a table that was positioned on the top rope and onto a pile of chairs in the ring. Yim has proven that she can absorb losses, and LeRae needed the win to keep her heat after making an early exit in last week’s four-way.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Santana Garrett: A solid showcase win for Martinez, who is finally getting a long overdue run in NXT. I could have done without her long stares into the camera in favor of a more all business approach, but she is a terrific addition to the division both in terms of what she brings as an act and also because she can essentially serve as a player/coach type for some of the less experienced talent.
Bronson Reed vs. Tony Nese: I can’t say that the addition of the big man facing the perennial loser to the lineup did much for me when it was announced. And while it probably triggered some channel changing, it turned out to be a quality match. Why is Nese booked to be a glorified enhancement wrestler? He performed really well when he was given a brief reign with the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, but he quickly slipped back into the good hand role after dropping the title. Nese is a talented guy and it would be nice to see him shake up his look and perhaps get a mouthpiece to help breathe some new life into his act.
NXT Great American Bash Misses
Santos Escobar, Raul Mendoza, and Joaquin Wilde vs. Drake Maverick, Tyler Breeze, and Fandango: I can’t remember the last time I even let out a small chuckle at a Breezango entrance. And while I normally just roll my eyes and move on, their oddball luchador entrance set the wrong tone for this match because it didn’t mesh in any way with the intensity that Drake Maverick has displayed during this feud. It was enough of a turnoff that I didn’t feel invested in the match until Maverick and Escobar finally ended up in the ring together at the very end.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Mike McMahon of PWTorch.com discussing his background and podcast work, plus a long chat regarding Impact Wrestling coming out of Slammiversary, including a breakdown of the notable additions to the roster, and more...