By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Cora Jade vs. Natalya: A strong main event. The crowd would have popped huge had Jade picked up the win, but I like the approach they took with Natalya going over clean. Jade’s win came in the form of a respectful handshake and a hug from Natalya, which is a significant endorsement. This is a rivalry that could be extended now or revisited somewhere down the road. Either way, I like that Jade’s character is still looking for a signature victory. At just 21 years-old, there’s no reason to rush her out of this mode, and it will mean a lot more if they save that signature win for a key moment.
Andre Chase and Sarray vs. Grayson Waller and Tiffany Stratton: As much as I’m not a fan of Sarray’s pendant magically transforming her when she walks through the curtain, it was pretty damn funny when it caused Chase and Bodhi Hayward to undergo their own transformations when they came out with her. The actual match was fun and well worked. Waller continues to impress as a strong pest heel. It’s not a bad role, but I also hope that he can be more than that.
Fallon Henley vs. Sloane Jacobs in a Breakout Tournament first-round match: A solid match to open the tournament. Henley does more for Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen than they do for her, but at least she’s helped make the country boys gimmick a little better. As silly as it is, Jensen playing a horny virgin has helped give him and Briggs distinct personalities.
Alba Fyre vs. Amari Miller: A nice showcase win for Fyre in her first match since dropping the Kay Lee Ray name. The new name will take some getting used to, and I’m actually disappointed that her baseball bat survived the change.
Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne vs. Roxanne Perez and Wendy Choo for the NXT Tag Titles: A Hit for match quality. The Choo character is still awful even though the person playing the part is very talented. Perez has a bright future and seems like a strong candidate to win the Breakout Tournament.
Nikkita Lyons vs. Ariana Grace in a Breakout Tournament first-round match: This wasn’t as smooth as the other tournament match, but it was still a decent showing for Lyons in a win over the daughter of Santino Marella. It was interesting that Grace labeled Lyons as the favorite to win the tournament. My guess is that it probably means Lyons will put over someone else in the finals.
Women’s Showcase: Every match on this show had female participants. The women were spotlighted and while some have clearly been rushed onto television, the future looks bright for the WWE women’s division. On a side note, the Ivy Nile training videos were really well done in terms of establishing her as an amazing athlete.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Kidnapping and turf wars: At this point, I’m left to assume the notes sent from Stamford to the NXT creative team must include thousands of pages with just two words written over and over again – More Abductions. Seriously, is there a monthly kidnapping quota that the NXT creative team has to reach?
Joe Gacy: Things were looking up for Gacy when he entered a program with NXT Champion Bron Breakker. It’s been all downhill since then. He needed to pivot away from the dead end PC crusader schtick and into something more villainous. Rather, the creative forces oddly opted to add a bunch of druids and took his character in a campier direction. This week, he was down to a pair of druids, who seem to be the NXT equivalent of The Red Guard from Star Wars. I was a big advocate for doing more with Gacy, but the creative decisions have left him in a bad place and I’ve lost all interest in his title feud with Breakker.