By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai: Another good chapter in the ongoing feud between the former allies. Kai is doing an excellent job of playing her new unhinged character. The DQ finish was logical in that there was no reason for Gonzalez or Kai to take a clean loss, and the Toxic Attraction attack and the post match angle effectively set up the women’s War Games match for next month. It was a nice touch to have Zoey Stark come out after ACL surgery and simply pass her crutch to Io Shirai.
Tommaso Ciampa and Bron Breakker: Wait, so the company that is down on hiring independent wrestlers is now doing a storyline where Grayson Waller is turning heel while boasting that he bypassed the indies and was hired by the company following a reality television run? Crazy. Anyway, Ciampa and Breakker did a quick, yet effective job of setting the table for what I assume will be a rematch for the NXT Championship at the NXT War Games event.
Odyssey Jones, Kushida, and Ikemen Jiro vs. Roderick Strong, Julius Creed, and Brutus Creed: A solid match. I still don’t understand the feud between super heavyweight Jones and NXT Cruiserweight Champion Strong. It’s not that there’s any harm in having them feud, but it’s odd that they don’t seem to be building up any cruiserweight challengers in the meantime. Am I alone in wishing that The Goon would make his triumphant return to pull Jiro’s jacket over his head and work him over with punches in hockey fight style?
Xyon Quinn vs. Andrew Chase: As much as I don’t care for a guy wrestling in a college sweater, Chase continues to play his part well. Quinn is clearly one of the people that the NXT creative forces have high hopes for. He’s done fine when they present him in a straight forward manner, but I’m still cringing over that recent HBK song and dance number. That said, a feud with Santos Escobar should be a great learning experience for Quinn.
Persia Pirotta vs. Gabby Stephens and Jenny Levy in a handicap match: Pirotta was established as a powerhouse by dominating this match without tag team partner Indi Hartwell. I assume that she will be recruited by Robert Stone to set up a feud with Hartwell, which could be fun. By the way, did Stone wake up yesterday and decide that he wanted to cosplay as Jimmy Jacobs?
NXT 2.0 Misses
Tony D’Angelo vs. Dexter Lumis: A soft Miss for the odd pairing and slotting D’Angelo as a heel. The live crowd wants to cheer D’Angelo. And while we’ve seen that the WWE Performance Center crowd isn’t always a good barometer, I suspect that they are when it comes to D’Angelo’s popularity. That said, both characters seem to be clicking. D’Angelo always gets a reaction, and Lumis has his act down and it’s proven to have staying power.
Cameron Grimes vs. Duke Hudson in a poker challenge: I wanted to hate this more than I did. While I hope to never see another in-ring poker challenge, I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t at least hold my interest. But I don’t get what they are going for with Hudson. They saddled him with this oddball poker player gimmick, but apparently he’s terrible at poker because Grimes keeps beating him.
Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen: This felt ice cold. O’Reilly and Wagner have no chemistry as characters, and Briggs and Jensen’s country boy tag team act just doesn’t feel genuine. If nothing else, my inner 12-year-old did break into Beavis and Butt-Head laughter mode when Jensen showed up wearing a homemade “BJ” t-shirt.