By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Samoa Joe and his future challengers: Joe delivered a good promo coming off his third NXT Championship win at Takeover 36. I like that Pete Dunne, LA Knight, and Kyle O’Reilly all stepped up as potential challengers. O’Reilly’s promo and cornball jokes were really rough, but I’m totally down for seeing him challenge Joe when the time is right. I also liked the final tease of Tommaso Ciampa checking out his precious Goldie again after fighting with Dunne and Ridge Holland.
Ridge Holland vs. Timothy Thatcher: A good television match. This may have been Holland’s best in-ring outing to date, and it’s probably not a coincidence that it happened while he was working with the talented Thatcher. The post match attack on Thatcher appears to have been done to write him out for a bit given that NXT announced that he will be sidelined indefinitely. It also created the need for next week’s Holland vs. Tommaso Ciampa match. I enjoy the Thatcher and Ciampa tag team, but NXT would benefit from featuring both men as high level singles wrestlers. On a side note, it was good to see Danny Burch back following his injury layoff, as it should lead to him and Oney Lorcan challenging MSK for the NXT Tag Titles.
Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza vs. Isaiah Scott, Ashante Adonis, and Top Dolla: A solid six-man main event that extended the feud in an unexpected way. I like the addition of Elektra Lopez to the Legado Del Fantasma act. She’s obviously there to counter B-Fab, but it also gives Lopez a nice boost. I continue to hope that something will be done to make Wilde and Mendoza feel like more than henchmen sidekicks to Escobar.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Odyssey Jones in the finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament: This year’s breakout tournament felt underwhelming, but it did build to an intriguing final match. Hayes’s opponents got bigger throughout the tournament, peaking with the massive Jones in the finals. The sit-down features with both men were good for establishing their characters going into the match. Jones needs reps, but his size and charisma should carry him a long way in WWE. Hayes has been impressive and I’m looking forward to seeing him challenge for one o the singles titles now that he earned the right to do so by winning the tournament.
Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase: A cute farewell to the Million Dollar Man and Grimes storyline. I like that Grimes gave DiBiase the Million Dollar Championship back. It served a nice purpose during the Grimes vs. LA Knight feud, but it’s not a title belt that needed to be used long term.
Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne: It was confusing in the moment when the babyface duo picked up the win. I like the team of Catanzaro and Carter (but I probably won’t for long if the broadcast team keeps referring to them the TikTok Team), but Dolan and Jane have been featured in video packages and appeared to be on the verge of a push. It all made sense later when Mandy Rose approached Dolan and Jane and told them to follow her and they would never have to feel like they did again.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Valentina Feroz: A good spotlight win for the former NXT UK Women’s Champion. I’m looking forward to seeing her work with Raquel Gonzalez, but it was great to see Franky Monet also stake her claim to a future title shot. The women’s division is heating up nicely.
Boa vs. Xion Quinn: I could have done without Quinn being scripted to hop the guardrail to avoid Mei Ling on the stage following his big win. I get that it plays into what they’ve done with Ling, but it was still a groaner to see Quinn go from scoring a nice upset victory to acting fearful of Ling.
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