By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Kushida vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream in a Triple Threat: A Hit for match quality. And yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching three wrestlers that the creative team is struggling to come up with fresh ideas for.
Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory: Another pair of strong wins for Reed. But much like the men in the Triple Threat match, I’m waiting for a real storyline direction to emerge for the Reed character. Meanwhile, the broadcast team was openly acknowledging Theory’s losing streak before he announced that he quit, which leaves me hopeful that there’s a creative plan for him to bounce back.
Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza vs. Isaiah Scott, Jake Atlas, and Ashante Adonis: A strong six-man tag match. Poor Swerve Scott received the Brandi Rhodes treatment when he performed a dive from the top rope toward the Legado Del Fantasma trio at ringside and not a single one of them broke his fall. Fortunately, he seemed to be fine despite landing awkwardly. I like the babyface trio, but they need more character development. NXT has made some progress with Swerve lately, while Atlas and Adonis need more mic time. It was a good move to give the heel trio the win rather than take the formula approach of having Scott get another pinfall victory over Escobar. More importantly, Wilde and Mondoza were responsible for the win, which makes them look like they are more than just henchmen for Escobar.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae: The latest Gargano home skit was a gem with Johnny flipping out about the Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal gimmick. It was a good way to sell the gimmick for next week while also letting Gargano show off the neurotic side of his persona that can’t handle not being in control.
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain vs. “Ever Rise” Matt Martel and Chase Parker: Another fun week with the oddball tag team. And we’re another week closer to Dain breaking down and joining Maverick in dancing to the whistling portion of their amazing entrance theme.
Ember Moon vs. Jessi Kamea: A simple showcase for Moon in her first singles match since her return. I was hoping that someone in the office would put the kibosh on her wearing a tail to the ring, but no such luck. The post match attack by Dakota Kai was simple and sets up what should be a good singles match.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan for the NXT Tag Titles: I felt sincerely happy for Burch and Lorcan when they became the tag team champions. They have been consistently strong role players in NXT and it was cool to see them elevated. I was also happy to see Pat McAfee back following his terrific performance in his debut match against Adam Cole. So why is this in the Miss section? While I am happy for Burch and Lorcan, I can’t help but feel disappointed that their first title reign wasn’t intended to be a feel good moment. It seemed like there was a great story just waiting to be told with the tough luck team of Burch and Lorcan finally winning the big one the right way. Essentially, this is a selfish Miss because I really looked forward to seeing that happen one day. That being said, I do look forward to seeing how they fare as heels now that they are aligned with McAfee. I just hope that this isn’t a rushed alliance done simply because it’s almost time for the annual WarGames match.
Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro: I was mildly intrigued by Li saying she had to win and this was the most important match of her life. Obviously, it plays into whatever was on that piece of paper that Boa handed her last week. And it’s fine that she lost the match, which gave Catanzaro a rare win. But the post match angle with Raquel Gonzalez destroying Li, Catanzaro, and Kayden Carter made all three feel bush league. It’s clear that the goal was to give Gonzalez a boost going into her match with Rhea Ripley, but I wish they could have found a way that didn’t hurt the other three women who already feel like they are facing an uphill battle.