By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis vs. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams: A fun main event tag match. The most intriguing part of this actually occurred prior to the match when Gargano made his entrance and had a moment with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa. They seem to be foreshadowing a renewal of their rivalry. Under normal circumstances, I would argue that they have told their story and not enough time has passed to revisit their feud. But it would clearly be the best thing on NXT 2.0, and with Gargano’s contract expiring soon, it may be now or never for the addition of another chapter in NXT.
Mandy Rose and Io Shirai: Rose is showing more poise on the mic these days. There’s not much substance to her “I’m hot, you’re not” style promos, but her confidence is carrying her. The brawl with Shirai set up Rose’s next title feud and next week’s six-woman tag team match.
Dakota Kai vs. Cora Jade: The new Kai character is intriguing. She’s acting unhinged, yet also showed restraint when she could have destroyed Jade after the match. Kai has been the MVP’s of NXT’s women’s division at times and I’m looking forward to watching her new persona evolve.
Bron Breakker vs. Andre Chase: A solid bounce back win for Breakker. It was followed by a nice mission statement promo that established that he’s not finished chasing Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship.
Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner vs. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza: The right team went over. O’Reilly and Wagner have zero chemistry together and at this point on can only hope that O’Reilly’s deal is up soon so that he has the option of moving on. Wilde and Mendoza are a good team that has been cast as lackeys for Santos Escobar. I hope the goal of the match was to position them as a quality tag team, but I suspect we’ll be seeing O’Reilly and Wagner go over in a rematch.
Solo Sikoa vs. Jeet Rama: A good squash match win for WWE’s newest Uso brother.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Overall Show: There are more Hits than Misses when it comes to what happens inside the ring. My issue with NXT 2.0 is mostly with what’s happening outside the ring. The poker games, talkshows, and other silly skits have created a campy sports entertainment vibe that is really bringing the show down.
Boa vs. Grayson Waller: The best thing I can say about it is that it didn’t overstay its welcome. Waller has charisma, but I still don’t understand his boxer look. If nothing else, he should benefit from working with LA Knight.
Xyon Quinn vs. Robert Stone: Stone is always good for a chuckle, but I really could have done without Quinn busting into the “Sexy Boy” song and dance number. Yes, it showed off another side of his personality, but it’s a side that should have stayed hidden forever.
Robert Stone draws. My wife, an outsider looking in, thought the Stone/Quinn segment was hilarious. Catering to the iwc doesnt always work, in fact, it’s probably why the business is in the position that it’s in, so it’s nice to see nxt trying new things. The whole show was good.
It works in small doses, I agree. NXT is certainly trying different things to see what sticks.
I like what they are doing with the women’s division, which has always been a strength. Not only do I love Kai’s new attitude, I also hope this leads to more of an edge for Cora’s character. I like the plucky underdog angle (heck, Kai herself once played that role) but there is nothing wrong with being the young newcomer skater girl who shows an edge after getting a beat down.
Toxic Attraction doesn’t need much polishing. I love everything about them. As Jason pointed out, the “I know I am hot” stuff can get tiresome BUT this group seems to be playing off sexiness with an edge, especially the Dolan character. More importantly perhaps was Rose’s ring work against Raquel.
On the men’s side, there are more misses but they are also taking more chances I think. There is little doubt that NXT 2.0 is character driven and some of these characters will be repackaged. That is one drawback: The characters are being developed and thrown straight to TV. When you do that, you are going to fail on some of them right in front of the national audience.
I’ve written the same about NXT throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. The question I have is when something clearly doesn’t stick, will they correct course or just keep putting it out there? WWE isn’t always great about admitting defeat in those situations.
Waller, at some point, either said he was a boxer or a fan of boxing. I think it was during his ‘I’m a daredevil/risk-taker’ vignette.
That’s nice, but it’s limiting. For instance, if Big E was a cook before entering pro wrestling, I wouldn’t want him to wear a chef’s hat. Okay, now I kinda wanna see Big E wear a chef’s hat to the ring, so maybe that’s not a good example.
I think Big E mentioned he likes pancakes once 5 years ago, and WWE got years of ‘hilarity’ from that…