By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dog Teasers: A fun set of clips that seem to be leading up to the April 13 debut of Taya Valkyrie, who will apparently use Franky as her character’s first name. You have to be a soulless monster (a/k/a a cat person) to not get a kick out of the dog running around the backstage area.
Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship: I mistakenly assumed that this would be a squash given that Escobar is headed into the unification match at Takeover. Rather, it turned out to be a fun, competitive match with Breeze having to fight off all three members of Legada Del Fantasma.
Roderick Strong vs. Cameron Grimes: An entertaining opening match. Strong losing focus due to Grimes pulling out an Undisputed Era armband provided an out for him losing and also set the table for him moping while claiming to be finished later in the show.
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Zoey Stark: There was never a doubt regarding the outcome given that Gonzalez is challenging for the NXT Women’s Championship in next week’s main event. Even so, the match was laid out to give Stark plenty of offense so that she looked good in defeat. Stark should eventually become a player in the women’s division, so it will be interesting to see how the creative forces flip the switch when the time is right.
Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell vs. Gigi Dolan and Zayda Ramier: A spotlight match for the heel duo heading into their tag title match at Takeover. I wonder if we’ll end up seeing more spotlight matches once NXT moves to Tuesdays and no longer has to worry about direct competition from AEW.
Battle royal to qualify for a gauntlet eliminator: As much as I despise the ridiculousness of a wrestler not being eliminated from a battle royal if his entire body is on the floor with the exception of his feet, the Austin Theory spot was actually very funny. This was one of the few bright spots from the match. The rules for how the match played into the gauntlet were simple, but they had to get so wordy with the explanation that it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost some casual viewers along the way.
Mei Ying and Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter: Li ended up working a handicap match while Ying sat on her throne. And that part was fine, but they lost me when Carter passed out after Ying blew smoke or gas in her face. It can still be explained away as being something other than hocus pocus, but it left me worried about the direction of the Ying character.