By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT In Your House Hits
Cameron Grimes vs. Carmelo Hayes for the NXT North American Championship: To the surprise of no one, this was the best match of the night. If WWE and NXT did things differently, I’d say they could have stretched this out with a time limit draw to build to a rematch, but time limits are not a thing in modern day WWE. It felt a little premature to put the title back on Hayes. Even so, he’s tremendous talent and I look forward to him feuding with Solo Sikoa. It will be interesting to see what comes next for Grimes given that his title reign felt like the peak for his character in NXT.
“Legado Del Fantasma” Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Cruz Del Toro vs. Tony D’Angelo, Stacks, and Two Dimes: A heel vs. heel, mob family turf war match should not be nearly as fun as this was. The storyline is ridiculous, but the wrestlers came through in a big way once the bell rang. Here’s hoping that the stipulation that requires LFD to join D’Angelo’s crime family somehow shifts this into a traditional babyface vs. heel dynamic. I must confess that while the feuding crime families concept is eye-rolling material, I am curious to see what will happen now that LFD must join D’Angelo’s family per the match stipulation.
“Pretty Deadly” Kit Wilson and Elton Prince vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed for the NXT Tag Titles: The Creeds are getting a lot of buzz and for good reason. But don’t overlook the work of Pretty Deadly. Kit Wilson and Elton Prince stand out in modern pro wrestling because they are not a team that needs to get their shit in. They use throwback heel tag team tactics to garner heat and effectively make their babyface opponents shine. In fact, I’m surprised that the NXT creative forces didn’t opt to stretch things out by having Pretty Deadly retain through nefarious means just to keep the Creed Brothers in chase mode. Rather, they pulled the trigger on the Creeds wining the tag titles and officially take their place as the faces of the NXT tag team division. The Creeds are really fun to watch at this early stage in their development and they are only going to get better.
Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne vs. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles: They had the tough task of following the hot opening match. I settled on giving this a soft Hit due to the improvement shown by all four wrestlers. There was some hammy selling and the prancing by all three members of Toxic Attraction feels really forced and just too over the top at times. Those knocks aside, it felt like the wrestlers worked to the best of their abilities, which is all you can ask for.
NXT In Your House Misses
Bron Breakker vs. Joe Gacy for the NXT Championship: More than anything, I’m happy that this feud appears to be finished. As much as I was a big advocate for NXT doing more with the talented Gacy, the creative forces turned him into a cartoon villain and oddly gave him his own version of The Red Guard. Gacy went from being a compelling character with potential to a complete turnoff in a matter of weeks, and Breakker’s momentum stalled. So while this match was well worked and they made good use of the stipulation that Breakker would lose the championship had he been disqualified, the Miss is the result of the damage that was done to both men to the extent that I had very little interest in this match. It should be easy to heat up Breakker again if he’s given a good opponent and better creative, but I worry about what comes next for the talented Gacy. Here’s hooping they will do away with the campiness, ditch the dead end PC schtick, and come up with something that makes his character feel real.
Mandy Rose vs. Wendy Choo for the NXT Women’s Championship: The pre-match video package that recapped the feud being followed by Choo’s dream sequence video was a double dose reminder of why her character is such a turnoff. As much as Choo does her damndest to make it work, the character is just not for me. It’s like asking Robert De Niro to voice the character of Jar Jar Binks. On second thought, that’s a bad example, because I would actually pay top dollar to hear De Niro read lines such as: “Gungans no dyin’ without a fight. Wesa warriors. Wesa got a grand army. That’s why you no likin’ us, mesa thinks.” But I digress. The in-ring work was fine and the right person went over, but I hope this Choo character goes away soon and she is given a chance to do something that isn’t so absurd.