By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a non-title match: The expected pro wrestling clinic from two great workers. I’m not big on the NXT Cruiserweight Champion losing to a fellow cruiserweight in a non-title match even if O’Reilly does compete in the heavyweight division. But it’s only a problem if this turns out to be a one and done. It’s a non-issue if the plan is for Kushida to avenge his loss or even if O’Reilly or someone else takes the title from him in the near future. The post match attack by the new Diamond Mine faction was a good show closing angle. I am looking forward to the talented Malcom Bivens finally get to do something meaningful in NXT, as one can only assume that he’ll be carrying the vast majority of the mic work for his new trio.
Adam Cole vs. Carmelo Hayes: This match was a reminder of just how much pro wrestling has changed over the years. There was a time when Hayes would have received a huge boost by working such a strong match with an established star. These days, the majority of the wrestlers are capable of having strong in-ring performances and do so on a regular basis. It’s not that Hayes didn’t gain anything from this match because he did. But what would have been a truly memorable match now just blends in with the other strong matches. Don’t get me wrong, Hayes is heading in the right direction. He’s just in the same spot as so many other good, young wrestlers in that he’ll need to show good mic skills and pray for good character development to truly get over. Here’s hoping that he does.
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory vs. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan: A quality tag match with a mild upset win for Gargano and Theory. The post match attack by Karrion Kross on Gargano came out of nowhere. Sure, they worked the five-way at Takeover together, but it felt like Kross could have simply moved on after retaining his championship. There are no real signs of Gargano turning babyface at the moment. While they certainly could go in that direction, I’m left wondering if this means Kross will continue to be booked as a tweener who takes on all comers.
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark vs. Aliyah and Jessi Kamea: The match served as a way to set up next week’s Triple Threat tag match to determine the next challengers to the NXT Women’s Tag Titles. Meanwhile, I’m intrigued by Monet spending time with Aliyah and Kamea. I wonder if the plan is for them to become her sidekicks in a Beautiful People type of trio.
Ashanti The Adonis and Top Dolla vs. “Ever Rise” Chase Parker and Matt Martel: A good showcase win for the Hit Row duo. I want to like Parker and Martel, but as someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time watching 205 Live or WWE’s online show (there’s only so much time in a day), I feel like I’m late to the party when I see them on NXT. That said, they are entertaining and I’d much rather see them as the undercard comedy duo as opposed to the tired Breezango act, which is still begging for a heel turn.
Franky Monet vs. Elektra Lopez: Another showcase win for Monet. Lopez, who worked as Karissa Rivera independently, had a couple of rough moments, but she’s only been wrestling for a few years and also showed potential.
Phone charge graphic: The person(s) behind this graphic may want to consider replacing the battery given how long it’s taking to charge, but I am curious to see where this is going. At its current pace, they should be fully charged just in time for the Great American Bash themed edition on July 6.
None: This wasn’t a red hot show, but it was a good two hours of television and an encouraging episode. NXT featured the usual good in-ring action and they are slowly freshening things up with acts like Hit Row, Franky Monet, Diamond Mine, and perhaps whatever the phone charge graphic is all about. Samoa Joe serving as William Regal’s enforcer is also a welcome addition. Paul Levesque spoke about ebbs and flows when I asked him about the state of the NXT brand during his most recent media call with Shawn Michaels. That call was fresh off a Takeover show that was well worked, yet just didn’t feel as hot as the other great Takeover events. We’re only a couple of television shows removed from that Takeover special and things already seem to be taking a turn for the better.