By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox for the NXT Women’s Championship: A really good main event that was given plenty of time before the champion went over clean. It will be interesting to see how this match performs in the ratings, as there was no reason to view Nox as a threat to win the championship. The post match angle with Dakota Kai blasting Shirai with a kick was fun and seemingly sets up Shirai’s next title match. Shirai is proving to be versatile in terms of working with heels and babyfaces.
Keith Lee’s first appearance as NXT and NXT North American Champion: A classy opening statement, particularly when Lee spoke of his late trainer Tim Brooks. I’m sure that part was confusing to some casual viewers, but that’s on WWE for not acknowledging the recent death of Brooks. It was a great touch to have Lee issue the challenge to his his longtime “frenemy” Dominik Dijakovic, as it established Lee as a fighting champion who was anxious to face his fiercest rival.
Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic for the NXT and NXT North American Championships: Another good chapter in the long saga. The fact that Lee just won the NXT Championship last week made the outcome of this match far more predictable than their past encounters, and yet Dijakovic was still the perfect first challenger for the new double champion. The post match angle with Scarlett walking to ringside followed by Karrion Kross taking out Dijakovic backstage was well done.
Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes: A smooth match with a clean and decisive finish. Priest is off to a good start as a babyface, and Grimes continued to impress in the ring despite taking the loss.
Legado Del Fantasma: A cool video in just the right setting. Santos Escobar feels natural in the leadership position and is doing an outstanding job as the face of the faction.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Denzel Dejournette: A simple showcase win for Thatcher. The booking approach with Thatcher has been unique in that he was rushed into teaming with Matt Riddle due to Pete Dunne being unable to appear. Thatcher turned on Riddle and sent him packing from NXT by beating him in the cage fight. Despite that high profile win, the creative forces pulled back to establish his character, which should pay long term dividends.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Indi Hartwell: A clunky match. On the bright side, Blackheart continues to be a fun, spunky babyface. Robert Stone and Aliyah interfering to give Hartwell the win was logical given that Blackheart drove her toy tank of Stone’s leg last week. Blackheart is a better choice to be feuding with Stone and company than Rhea Ripley, who felt way above that level. By the way, when does the Ripley rebuild begin?