By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT TV Hits
NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai vs. Shotzi Blackheart in a non-title match: A hot opener with rising star Blackheart taking a big step forward by pushing the typically dominant women’s champion to the limit. Shirai is among the best in the business, and Blackheart screams future face of the division. Shirai went over clean and is likely moving on to other opponents, but I assume they will circle back to this match again at somewhere down the road. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if they circled back to it at Takeover by having Blackheart win the battle royal, but I’m not betting on it This was my favorite match of the night on a Wednesday filled with strong matches on both shows.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel for the NXT Tag Team Titles: There was no reason to think that Breeze and Fandango would drop the tag titles so quickly after winning them, but some of the near falls were so strong that they made me wonder. This was the best Breezango match that I’ve seen. Now if only they would scrap the bad comedy stripper gimmick.
Damian Priest vs. Timothy Thatcher for the North American Championship: A solid match with Priest defending his North American Title while Thatcher takes another loss. It continues to be surprising to see Thatcher lose so frequently coming off the win he scored over Matt Riddle. It was no surprise in this case given that it’s one of Priest’s early title defenses, but hopefully Thatcher will start to rack up some wins soon.
Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish vs. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain: Maverick’s attempts to convince Dain to become his tag team partner are paying off. Dain’s repeated rejections of Maverick have me looking forward to when they finally get on the same page.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Desmond Troy: Ciampa was rushed into the four-way for the vacant NXT Championship due to Karrion Kross’s injury, but now he’s back to squashing opponents en route to whatever the new vision for him coming out of his hiatus. It was encouraging to see that Jake Atlas wasn’t just the fall guy when Ciampa squashed him. I hoped there was a reason that he was placed in that role at the time, and that appears that’s the case based on the post match angle. That said, it looks like Ciampa also has issues with Kyle O’Reilly, which means that Atlas’s run with Ciampa could end after their match next week.
Kushida vs. Austin Theory: A good showcase win for Kushida. It feels like I’ve used that same description for several of Kushida’s matches. Are these wins ever going to lead to something bigger? Could he end up winning the Gauntlet Eliminator to earn the shot at Finn Balor’s NXT Championship at Takeover?
NXT TV Misses
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro vs. Xia Li and Jessie Kamea: A decent match, but it felt like filler that basically set up Li walking out rather than accept the post match fist bumps. Carter and Catanzaro appear to be a regular tag team on a brand without its own women’s tag titles. Will Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler stop by to defend the WWE Women’s Tag Titles soon or are Carter and Catanzaro just spinning their wheels?