By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Nathan Frazer vs. Axiom in the deciding match of their best of three series and ladder match qualifier: They saved the best for last in their best of three series. Both wrestlers are just getting started in NXT, so there was some actual mystery regarding the outcome of this deciding match. This was the best match that either wrestler has had in NXT, and Axiom gained something in defeat. Here’s hoping that the creative forces will give up on the clunky mathematical part of his gimmick.
Alba Fyre vs. Jacy Jayne: A good match with Fyre getting a win over a Toxic Attraction member while on the road to her title match with Mandy Rose. The surprise post match attack by Sonya Deville was really well done, as the production team did a good job of not showing the hoodie wearing Deville sitting in the crowd until she attacked Fyre. I like that they took a moment to explain why Deville is helping Mandy Rose given that the last time we saw them together was when Rose beat Deville in a Loser Leaves WWE match. I did come away from the show surprised that Deville was the only main roster wrestler advertised for next week’s show. NXT took the mystery approach by leaving viewers to wonder who will team with Cameron Grimes and which wrestlers will be selected as opponents for Cora Jade, Roxanne Perez, and Stacks. It’s an interesting approach given that next week’s show will run head-to-head with AEW Dynamite. I don’t know if it’s enough to make the masses choose NXT over AEW, but I could see it leading to some channel changing between the two shows.
Bron Breakker vs. Javier Bernal in a non-title match: A solid television win for the NXT Champion. It was good to see Breakker in the ring rather than just taking part in a promo segment. The post match angle with Ilja Dragonov hitting Breakker with a move that was intended for JD McDonagh was fine in terms of creating some tension between the two babyface wrestlers in the upcoming Triple Threat for the NXT Championship.
Indi Hartwell vs. Valentina Feroz: They kept it simple and put together a decent television match. Sanga walking off with Veer Mahaan rather than staying in the corner of Feroz was an interesting development. Sanga is a likable a babyface, but this left me wondering if he and Mahaan will end up being a heel team.
Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark: NXT followed up last week’s informative video package on tag team champions Kayden Carter and Katana Chance with a good piece that spotlighted their next challengers. I like the way that NXT creative is taking their time and building up both teams before holding their tag title match.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Grayson Waller: A good main event that was ruined by a cornball finish. We get a lot of bad distraction finishes in pro wrestling, but this has to be the first time in the history of the business that a wrestler was distracted by a haunted wheel that spun on its own. The post match angle with Bron Breakker showing up and spearing Dragunov was simple and effective.
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler for a shot at the NXT Tag Titles: Briggs and Jensen entered the match as the only over team of the three and also had the best outing. Reid and Fowler deserve credit for going all in with their new gimmick. The problem is that it’s a lousy gimmick that they desperately need to escape. It was good to see that Blade ditched the silly sweater that he had been wearing during his matches. Enofe and Blade have upside. I’m just not invested enough in their characters to be excited about them earning a tag title shot. That said, hopefully the title match is entertaining enough that they start to win me over.
Kiana James vs. Thea Hail: Hail roughing up the hammy Mr. Stone was fine and got a rise out of the crowd. But I feel bad for James being saddled with this awful gimmick. As silly as it is to think that a highly successful business woman also wrestles in NXT, it’s impossible to buy into the act when her desk and office scream fly by night pyramid scheme. The Diamond Mine hospital scene was only slightly better. While I get that doesn’t have the biggest budget to work, they should find better locations or simply avoid doing skits on sets that make the show look bush league.