Powell’s NXT Hit List: Adam Cole’s explanation, Santos Escobar vs. Karrion Kross in a non-title No DQ match, MSK video package, Io Shirai vs. Zoey Stark in a non-title match, Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a non-title match, Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

NXT Hits

Adam Cole final segment: An excellent performance by Cole that left me wondering if the show was going to go off the air with the mystery of whether he was being sincere. Instead, he attacked Roderick Strong and definitively revealed that he’s in full heel mode. Cole was fantastic during this segment and they left me anxious to see the next chapter of his feud with Kyle O’Reilly and now Strong.

NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a non-title match: I’m sure some fans will act like its the crime of the century that Gargano lost clean to Lumis’s submission hold, but it was a non-title match and Gargano is actually a terrific opponent for him. Gargano is a great opponent for everyone in the ring, but his personality is strong enough to carry the verbal portions of feuds with Kushida, who doesn’t cut strong promos in English, and Lumis, who never speaks. The backstage segment with Gargano telling Austin Theory that he’s going to therapy was great. I hope The Way works out their differences, because they are too much fun to break up now.

MSK video package: I learned more about Nash Carter and Wes Lee in this segment than I did throughout their entire time in Impact Wrestling. NXT creative is hitting all the right notes. Carter and Lee still have the fun loving youthful exuberance that Impact went too far with in their treehouse segments. NXT has also added a layer by telling the story of Carter’s late father and the team’s long road to NXT.

Drake Maverick and Killian Dain vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” James Drake and Zack Gibson: A good heat building match for GYV following their backstage attack on MSK. Alexander Wolfe calling out Dain for being soft was an interesting development. I get a big kick out of Maverick and Dain as a team, so I hope this wasn’t the beginning of the end for them.

Cameron Grimes: His failed attempts to emulate The Million Dollar Man’s basketball dribbling challenge was a fun throwback for longtime fans, and easy to follow for newer fans. The payoff with Grimes punching the last guy to accept the challenge was hilarious.

Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro: What a difference the gimmick change has made for Li. The improved look and the ruthless in-ring work inspired by Mei Ying has been a game changer.

NXT Misses

NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar vs. Karrion Kross in a non-title No DQ match: This felt like a case of NXT trying too hard to make Cross a world beater. He fought off three men repeatedly and to the point of absurdity. The big brawl outside the building felt choreographed. I still don’t understand why Escobar and Kross are feuding, nor why Kross has shown zero interest in regaining the championship that he had to forfeit due to injury.

NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai vs. Zoey Stark in a non-title match: It got better as it went on, but there was some early clunkiness that caused the match to fall into the Miss category. Stark took the loss but it was clearly booked to be a credibility building loss to the champion. Now that her in-ring skills have been established, it’s time to work on Stark’s character, as we’ve been told very little about her.


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