By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Grayson Waller vs. Solo Sikoa: A good opening match between two of the brand’s top prospects. Sikoa feels can’t miss given his skill level and lineage. I continue to hope that Waller will emerge as more than a pest heel, but he plays that part well and there’s always a need for that type of heel in WWE. I was surprised to see Waller go over so perhaps that’s a step in the right direction. Conversely, I’m still waiting for the NXT creative forces to truly feature Sikoa as a major player on the brand. He was protected via the exposed turnbuckle finish and I’m not going to complain if these two have a rematch.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Tony D’Angelo for the NXT North American Championship: A solid match with the versatile Hayes doing the heavy lifting. D’Angelo continues to impress for a wrestler with so few matches under his belt. The finish with Santos Escobar choosing not to help D’Angelo continues to build friction between the merged wrestling crime families.
Cameron Grimes vs. Edris Enofe: Grimes gave Enofe a nice run of offense before putting him away with his Cave In finisher. Grimes has the ability to make his opponents shine and it will mean a lot more now that he appears to be moving into a serious heel role. Is the Grimes character recruiting Enofe and Malik Blade to join him in a new faction?
Roderick Strong and Damon Kemp vs. Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde: A good five-minute match. The crowbar finish was clever in terms creating more friction between Tony D’Angelo’s crew and Legado Del Fantasma. Strong carried things for his team, but Kemp continues to progress nicely. NXT never pushed Del Toro and Wilde as a top level tag team when they were heels. Hopefully they will get a chance to be more than henchmen now that LDF is becoming a babyface act.
Von Wagner vs. Brooks Jensen: The match was laid out nicely with Wagner ruthlessly targeting the left arm and hand of the masturbating country boy (hey, it’s their character creation, not mine). I’m still baffled by the recent call of having Wagner lose to Jensen’s tag team partner Josh Briggs. Wagner needs consistent wins and he could really use a more destructive looking finisher. With some improvement and the right long term build, Wagner challenging Bron Breakker could be a showdown title match for NXT someday.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon: A solid showcase match for Carter and Chance. Feroz and Leon were given some offense and had a good outing. Feroz and Leon haven’t been given as much creative attention as most of the women in in NXT. I feel like I don’t know much about them from watching NXT, but perhaps that’s simply because this isn’t their time to shine.
NXT 2.0 Misses
Apollo Crews: It’s cool that Crews is back in NXT, but I have no idea why viewers can see his violent fantasies in this odd vignettes.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance fight with Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade: Carter and Chance came off as heelish for taking exception to Perez expressing her desire to use the title shot she won via the NXT Breakout Tournament. After all, Perez earned the right to challenge for the title of her choosing, so what’s the issue? It’s something that can be tweaked with handshakes and hugs after the teams meet next week if creative wants them all to remain babyfaces. The bigger problem I see is that Jade is becoming less likable by the week due to her character’s overconfidence and self satisfaction. I am open to the possibility that it’s by design with the plan being for Jade to turn on Perez at some point, but I don’t think that’s what they are going for.
Wes Lee and Trick Williams: Lee’s emotional promo got over with the live crowd. Still, it’s hard not to wonder how many viewers are clueless when it comes to why his MSK tag team partner Nash Carter disappeared from television. I’m not surprised that WWE didn’t want to explain what happened with Carter, but in situations where characters are pulled from television, it would be nice if they just came up with a storyline reason to explain sudden departures. They own the rights to the character and could come up with any story they choose.
Alba Fyre vs. Lash Legend: Another rough in-ring performance for Legend. She has the mic skills and charisma to be a star in WWE, but she’s simply being featured in the ring before she’s ready. If nothing else, she’s sure to benefit from working with the veteran Fyre.