By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Isaiah Scott vs. Santos Escobar with the Carmelo Hayes cashing in and winning the NXT North American Championship: Another strong match from Scott and Escobar with the unexpected finish of Scott winning despite having been drafted to Smackdown. Enter Hayes with the contract for a title shot that he earned by winning the NXT Breakout Tournament. Hayes cashing in legitimately surprised me. It probably shouldn’t have because it was a logical move that made for a strong ending to the show. Scott was written out without losing in a fair fight situation, and hopefully Escobar losing to Scott is a sign that he and Legado Del Fantasma will be joining Hit Row on the main roster soon.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa vs. Joe Gacy in a non-title match: The Gacy character feels very much like a work in progress, but his ring work showed that he and the act are worth investing in. Gacy is one of the early standouts in NXT 2.0. His promo work and facial expressions have really stood out, and now he’s shown that he can hold up his end of a match with the always reliable Ciampa. All of that said, I’m happy that Gacy lost and wasn’t added to the NXT Championship match at Halloween Havoc. The creative forces have done a good job of building up Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker for a singles showdown match.
Julius Creed vs. Ikemen Jiro: The Creeds continue to show a ton of potential and it was nice to see Julius in more than just a basic squash match. This match didn’t last long, but Creed showed that he can do more than just destroy hapless jobbers.
Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta vs. Sarray and Amari Miller: There were two kidnapping angles on this show and neither one of them involved Dexter Lumis. Go figure. Anyway, I wish NXT would tell us more about the Hartwell and Pirotta friendship that seems to have popped up out of nowhere. But I like that the brand is investing in the women’s tag team division.
Ivy Nile vs. Valentina Feroz: A decent showcase win for Nile. She has a unique look and she adds a dimension to the Diamond Mine faction.
Xyon Quinn vs. Malik Blade: Another good spotlight win for Quinn.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner vs. Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland: Wagner had another solid in-ring outing for being at the early stage of his development, but he still doesn’t feel ready for prime time in any other area of his game. He and O’Reilly have zero chemistry together and their pairing feels really forced. It will be interesting to see what the plan is for those two and Dunne given that Holland is main roster bound.
Grayson Waller vs. Duke Hudson: Hudson seems like a natural heel and he has upside, but the poker player gimmick is lousy and the main cause of this falling in the Miss section. And can they pick a direction with Waller? His gimmick seems to change by the week. Waller is charismatic and likable when they don’t present him as a comedy goofball. Does he really need a one-dimensional gimmick?