By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
The NXT Championship Summit: The arrival of Dolph Ziggler felt like it took away whatever mystery there was regarding the outcome of next week’s Bron Breakker vs. Santos Escobar match for the NXT Championship. That said, I view it as a fair tradeoff in that Ziggler showing up in NXT should generate more interest in NXT, including next week’s Vengeance Day themed show. Oddly, though, I came away looking forward to an eventual Ziggler vs. Tommaso Ciampa match more than next week’s NXT Championship match.
Julius Creed and Brutus Creed vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match: The heel vs. heel dynamic gave the live crowd an excuse to cheer for the Creeds, and the fans went absolutely crazy for them. Gibson and Drake deserve a lot of credit for carrying the young duo to a strong match. Gibson and Drake still haven’t clicked as characters in NXT 2.0, but they are an excellent tag team. Meanwhile, the sky is the limit for the Creed Brothers if they continue to develop at their current pace.
“MSK” Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. Malik Blade and Edris Enofe in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match: The babyface vs. babyface semifinal match saw the defending tournament champions go over while making the underdog duo look good in defeat. It’s been a unique tournament in that it didn’t take the formula approach of booking mostly babyface vs. heel matches. And now we have a babyface vs. heel finals, and yet I won’t be surprised if the heel team ends up getting more cheers than the babyface team. Either way, the finals look good on paper.
Sarray vs. Dakota Kai: It was interesting to hear the broadcast team talk openly about how Sarray didn’t live up to the hype when she arrived in NXT. Obviously, they are trying to give her a boost with the new gimmick and a clean win in this match. Meanwhile, Kai feels like she’s spinning her wheels at the moment.
Pete Dunne vs. Draco Anthony: A solid match that included a couple of side stories with Dunne’s ongoing issues with Tony D’Angelo, and Anthony seemingly being recruited by Joe Gacy. I can’t say that the addition of weapons to next week’s Dunne vs. D’Angelo cage match does anything for me, but I concede that I’m likely in the minority on that one.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Mandy Rose vs. Kay Lee Ray for the NXT Women’s Title: This wasn’t a (Not-A-)Takeover event, but I still expected better than a weak interference finish for a fairly well hyped title match. The finish was obviously meant to make viewers want to see Ray get another shot. While I can’t speak for everyone, the finish actually left me less interested in the NXT Women’s Championship feud.
Tiffany Stratton vs. Wendy Choo: You had to turn your brain off when Choo went on a shopping spree using the credit card she stole in from Stratton in front of everyone last week. I mean, why wouldn’t Stratton just cancel the card and/or have Choo arrested? While Choo’s pajamas gimmick was cute for a few weeks, it’s already lost its charm for this viewer. Still, Choo deserves credit for doing her best with this character and her previous oddball character Mei Ying.
LA Knight vs. Sanga: I really like Sanga in the role of Grayson Waller’s muscle. But it’s tough to take him seriously in that role when he lost his first match. Sure, they tried to protect him with the exposed turnbuckle spot before he was pinned, but it was just too soon for him to lose by pinfall.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen: They haven’t made me care about their matches let alone who they are dating.