By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Tommaso Ciampa and Bron Breakker vs. Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland: A good main event with Ciampa carrying the load for his team while Breakker was able to focus on his strengths of executing the suplexes and other power moves. Kyle O’Reilly’s interference was good revenge for the heels taking him out of last week’s title match and also gave the heels an out for losing this week. The ongoing bit with Breakker staring at Ciampa’s NXT Championship belt is an effective way to build to an eventual title match between the two.
Tommaso Ciampa opening segment: Ciampa showed why he was the right choice to win last week’s four-way to crown the new NXT Champion. He delivered a strong promo that put over the brand and he helps bridge the gap between old and new in NXT 2.0. His character’s love/obsession with the NXT Championship helps maintain the prestige of the championship despite all of the changes going on around it.
Toxic Attraction: The Mandy Rose led faction is off to a nice start. Their mic work was nothing special, but Rose has successfully reinvented herself and it’s refreshing to see a women’s faction.
Kushida vs. Roderick Strong for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship: It wasn’t the mat classic that one might expect from these two. But I like Strong going over, as it gives Diamond Mine more juice. The original version of Diamond Mine felt DOA. The addition of the Creed Brothers and Ivy Nile has breathed some lift into the group, and the title win makes Strong feel like a worthy leader.
Elektra Lopez vs. Anna Scheer: A dominant squash win for Lopez. Scheer also did a nice job of conveying that she was intimidated by Lopez. The post match pull apart between Lopez and B-Fab was a simple and effective way to set up their No DQ match for next week.
Cameron Grimes vs. Joe Gacy: The introduction of the new Gacy character held my interest. Grimes going over was the right call and it set up Gacy’s awkward post match hug.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Amari Miller: A basic spotlight match for Ray as she establishes herself with fans who don’t keep a close eye on NXT UK. The timing of her arrival in NXT is rough, though, as the creative forces are trying to get over so many other wrestlers right now, whereas she would have had this type of spotlight to herself had she arrived sooner.
Odyssey Jones vs. Cary Millman and Darren Chiappetta in a handicap match: Jones continues to show good charisma. He still needs a lot of reps based on some of his struggles in the Breakout Tournament matches, but he clearly has potential.
Dante Chen vs. Trey Baxter: Yet another spotlight match with Chen getting his first win while the loss for Baxter is apparently sending him in a new direction. More on that later.
Overall show: It’s watchable. There’s little chance that all of these new characters are going to click. But part of the fun of NXT 2.0 is watching the creative forces throw stuff at the wall and hoping that something sticks. It will be interesting to see how the young talent perform when they are asked to do more than squash opponents. It also remains to be seen whether this version of NXT will actually click with television viewers. There’s so much pro wrestling content available and only time will tell whether fans will follow what truly feels like the WWE minor league show.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Andre Chase University: As much as I enjoyed the F-Bombing of Steve, the Chase character feels like a cross between Timothy Thatcher’s heel NXT character and the Brian Myers character in Impact Wrestling. Thatcher and Myers don’t come off as hokey as Chase, who would be better off without the shirt that makes him look like a campy GLOW character.
Trey Baxter: Baxter getting caught up on Cora Jade calling him a superhero at the end of their backstage segment was concerning. We’ll see where it goes, but Nikki ASH is one more pro wrestling superhero than I can stomach.