By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes vs. Pete Dunne in a non-title match: A strong main event match with the new champion dropping a non-title match to set up a future title match. That said, I could have done without the lame distraction finish. Anyway, as good as Dunne is inside the ring, he’s still missing something from a character standpoint. They never really found the right approach in the previous incarnation of NXT, so hopefully they have something good in mind for him in 2.0.
Solo Sikoa vs. LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller: A well worked Triple Threat. Sikoa is clearly being spotlighted, but it seems like they also have high hope for Waller. Knight seems to be slotted into the role of the veteran who is there to make the newcomer shine.
Mandy Rose, Jacy Jayne, and Gigi Dolan vs. Io Shirai, Kacy Catanzaro, and Kayden Carter: NXT creative is obviously all in on the Toxic Attraction trio. I assumed that they would end up losing this match to set up a pair of title matches. And while it looks like we’ll get Rose vs. Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship, the fact that Dolan pinned Carter seems to suggest that Carter and Catanzaro are not first in line for a shot at the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Sarray: A well worked match between two veterans, which isn’t such a common thing in NXT these days. You have to wonder what the future holds for Sarray in NXT. She was signed before the change to 2.0 and her character was never fleshed out. At this point, she’s just a generic character who can go in the ring, but she has yet to win a match on the NXT 2.0 television show.
The Creed Brothers vs. Kushida and Ikemen Jiro: The right team went over. Jiro wrestling while wearing jackets doesn’t do a thing for me, and Kushida feels wasted in the silly “Jacket Time” tag team. On the bright side, the Creed brothers continue to show potential and are the best thing about the Diamond Mine faction. The post match angle with Odyssey Jones clearing the Diamond Mine wrestlers from the ring was fine and set up next week’s six-man tag match, but I still don’t understand why they are setting up a feud involving the NXT Cruiserweight Champion and a wrestler whose left leg couldn’t make weight.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Joe Gacy vs. Boa: I have no idea which wrestler the creative forces wanted the fans to root for. Both wrestlers have been heels, though perhaps something has changed since Boa debuted his new Great Boa face paint look last week. Either way, the light show prior to Boa snapping and blowing off the referee was absurd.
Elektra Lopez vs. Erika Yan: Lopez’s finisher looked clunky in the setup stage and then and dangerous in its execution. The post match angle with Lopez calling out Xyon Quinn and offering him a spot in Legado Del Fantasma felt awkward given that she’s only had a cup of coffee with the faction. Quinn has a good look and has upside. But last week’s HBK song and dance number and now Lopez fawning over him has me worried that the attempts to get him over with female viewers could result in a lot of male viewers turning on him.
Andre Chase University: Sure, it’s comical to watch Chase blow up on his students, but these campy skits feel like a throwback to a bad era. I’ll save myself a little time and note that the Grizzled Young Veterans skits, the MSK skits, and anything involving poker falls into the same campy category.
Kyle O’Reilly says he and Von Wagner are going after the NXT Tag Titles: O’Reilly’s contract is reportedly up soon. Run, Kyle, run! I don’t play favorites between the companies, but it’s hard to imagine O’Reilly being booked as more than a veteran good hand in 2.0. It’s a good role for some wrestlers, but I feel that O’Reilly has more to offer.