By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, and Scarlet angle: Lee taking a fireball from flash paper inside the NXT Title match contract folder was a cool and unexpected visual. It fits nicely with the vibe of the Kross and Bordeaux characters, as long as the idea isn’t to portray this as the duo having some type of supernatural powers. This is NXT, not Raw or Smackdown, so I doubt that’s the case. Kross’s match with Danny Burch that preceded the angle was solid. Just about the time it felt like Burch was getting too much offense, Kross no-sold his crossface and then destroyed him the rest of the way.
Damian Priest vs. Bronson Reed: A big win for Reed, who continues to make the most of the push he’s received heading into the Takeover ladder match. He’s quickly become among the wrestlers I look forward to watching on NXT. I was pleasantly surprised to see a clean finish, as I thought the creative forces might go with a copout finish to protect both wrestlers. Is the outcome of this match a sign that Priest will be winning the ladder match for the North American Championship? The logic could be that Priest could afford to lose this match because he’s getting the title, and it would set up Reed as one of his first challengers.
Velveteen Dream vs. Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes in a ladder match qualifier: It was tough to watch the main event of both Wednesday night shows. There was the issue with Chris Jericho wrestling on AEW Dynamite just days after his band performed in Sturgis. And then there’s the return of Velveteen Dream to NXT despite multiple online allegations, which neither he nor WWE have publicly addressed. Putting that aside and just looking at the match, it was entertaining and it was cool to see the talented Grimes get a big win. His over the top promo was corny, but perhaps his schtick would play better if he had a title belt to justify his bravado. Turning Dream heel is logical on multiple levels. One can only hope that WWE did a real investigation and aren’t just looking the other way.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze in a non-title match: A solid match with a finish that protected Breeze, who fought off Escobar’s henchmen before taking his finisher. The post match bit with Isaiah Scott saving Breezango from a beatdown set up next week’s match and is likely leading to an eventual title match with Escobar.
Mercedes Martinez and Aliyah vs. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro: Both teams had some nice double team sequences. Catanzaro is starting to look more confident while executing her offense. Ultimately, it was another showcase for Martinez, which is the logical approach heading into her match with Rhea Ripley. No nonsense Martinez being annoyed by her pest partner Aliyah was fun and well played.
Mia Yim vs. Indi Hartwell: A soft Hit. The match told the story of Yim being distracted due to the fireball thrown at her boyfriend Lee earlier in the show. She ultimately got the win, but the storytelling was solid in that it provided a reason for Hartwell to get in as much offense as she did.
None: A good edition of NXT. There have been better NXT episodes, but everything on this show felt like it served a storyline purpose and was well executed. I also liked the Io Shirai and Dakota Kai video packages. Kai continues to impress as a heel, and Shirai’s promo was really strong in that it covered a lot of ground, even going back to when babyface Kai was afraid of Shayna Baszler.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...