By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT TV Hits
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Timothy Thatcher vs. Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Bronson Reed vs. in a Gauntlet Eliminator: I was tempted to put this match in the Miss section. I really enjoy the work of all five men, but there was zero logic offered for why these five men were placed in a No. 1 contender match. Ultimately, the match was entertaining and I really like the move to put O’Reilly in the NXT Title match. I’m not sure how it will play to the masses, but O’Reilly is a tremendous wrestler and this should lead to an outstanding match with Finn Balor.
Battle Royal for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship: There were a number of developmental trainees in the match who didn’t really belong there from a storyline logic standpoint. Still, they provided Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez a number of eliminations before they took each other out. While I would have welcomed a quick turnaround rematch between Io Shirai and Shotzi Blackheart, it was not surprising to see Candice LeRae win the match once it got down to the final four. There was no reason to think Kaci Cantanzaro was going to get a title shot, Dakota Kai just had one, and Blackheart lost to Shirai in a non-title match last week. On a side note, NXT officials didn’t use spectator wrestlers, but they felt comfortable putting all these women in the ring together?
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jake Atlas: It was good to see the Atlas character attempt to avenge the beating that Ciampa gave him. Atlas showed off a mean streak of his own while trying to take an eye for an eye approach. Ciampa was ultimately booked to be more than Atlas could handle, but this sure beat Atlas just taking the previous beating and moving on as if nothing happened.
NXT North American Champion Damian Priest vs. Austin Theory in a non-title match: A quality match with the new North American Champion going over while Theory continues his losing ways. Priest’s Takeover challenger Johnny Gargano delivering a pre-match pep talk to Theory and then attacking Priest afterward was logical.
Ridge Holland vs. Antonio Del Luca: A strong squash win for Holland.
NXT TV Misses
NXT Takeover push: This feels like the most rushed push for a Takeover event to date. It felt like they drew names out of a hat to fill out the Gauntlet Eliminator, Johnny Gargano’s North American Title match came out of nowhere, and they had to go with a battle royal to set up a challenger for the NXT Women’s Championship. The matches they’ve put together have potential to be very good in quality and it will likely turn out to be an entertaining show, but it’s strange to see the normally logically booked NXT promotion scramble to come up with a lineup for a Takeover event.
Roderick Strong and Danny Burch vs. Raul Mendoza and Fabian Aichner: There have been rumblings of a COVID outbreak in WWE. And while the company hasn’t confirmed anything, the fact that there were missing tag partners and no spectator wrestlers behind the plexiglass this week sure seemed telling. The actual match was well worked, but the concept of this leading to a tag team No. 1 contenders match was awkward, albeit understandable if NXT was shorthanded.