By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
The KO Show with Bron Breakker, Ilja Dragunov, and JD McDonagh: Owens did a great job of adding just enough humor that it didn’t take away from what needed to be a serious final push for the NXT Championship match at Halloween Havoc. They set up the match nicely by playing up more friction between Breakker and Dragunov while also McDonagh was content to hang in the background and let them destroy one another. The final scene with Austin Theory coming out and teasing a Money in the Bank cash-in made for an interesting show-closing moment. That said, I have no interest in seeing the MITB contract used for anything other than a world championship.
Alba Fyre vs. Sonya Deville: The match was brief, but it was good to see one of the NXT regulars get a clean win at a time when it seemed fair to question whether the main roster crew was going to dominate the NXT regulars. It was a good night for Fyre. NXT has pushed her aggressively and it seemed like this was the most that she’s connected with the crowd. Deville is an underrated heel. She’s a gifted talker and she’s always just one promo away from getting her heat back no matter how many matches she loses. Here’s hoping they find the right role for her on the main roster. The post match angle with Mandy Rose returning to give a final push to her title match with Fyre was nicely done. I also liked the way that Fyre was able to fight off Deville, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne to look stronger than ever heading into Halloween Havoc.
Rhea Ripley vs. Roxanne Perez: Despite a clunky moment or two, I really enjoyed the David vs. Goliath style match. Ripley plays the powerful heel role really well, and Perez is a great undersized babyface. It was good to see Ripley back in the ring following a long injury layoff. You never would have known that this was one of her first matches back from a long break. She looked right at home and it left me anxious to see her back in the ring on Raw. It was also a nice surprise to see the full Judgment Day faction show up to be in Ripley’s corner despite only Ripley being advertised.
Cameron Grimes, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson vs. “The Schism” Joe Gacy, Rip Fowler, and Jagger Reid: A good six-man tag match. I’m still not sold on The Schism act, but Fowler and Reid are an excellent tag team who have gone all in with these crazy new looks. Gallows and Anderson were fun in the backstage segment and they were stronger in the ring in this match than they were during the Raw return match with Alpha Academy.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams vs. Wes Lee and Oro Mensah: Hayes got some mojo back by picking up the win for his team heading into the ladder match for the vacant NXT North American Championship. This was something of a preview for the ladder match with three of the players involved. Hayes winning would have made him the least likely person to win the ladder match under the old creative guard in WWE. And maybe that’s still the case, but I don’t feel like have a large enough sample size to make that prediction with great confidence.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo: Tony D’Angelo calling in Nakamura to serve as Lorenzo’s opponent for the night felt random and yet it was a crowd pleasing moment. Nakamura going over was the right move, and I was surprised when D’Angelo told Stacks that he was proud of him for putting up such a good fight. In general, the live crowd was hot for everything on this show and created a great atmosphere.
Cora Jade vs. Raquel Rodriguez: A brief match that showcased Rodriguez as a powerhouse babyface while also portraying Jade as an opportunistic heel. The post match angle with Roxanne Perez running out and getting the better of Jade was a solid final push for their match at Halloween Havoc.
Xyon Quinn vs. Quincy Elliot to become the co-host of Halloween Havoc: Elliot plays a fun flamboyant character, but he’s clearly not ready for prime time from an in-ring standpoint. In fact, Elliot may have performed the worst Irish whip in the history of the business. Quinn has also struggled in the ring, so I have no idea why they were booked to work together. Of course, NXT is developmental and both wrestlers are sure to improve, but I’m just not sure why the decision makers put some green wrestlers on television before they are ready.
Chucky: Okay, fine, I confess that I laughed at Chucky cussing out the Chase U crew and their over the top reactions. But I really could have done without Grayson Waller having to show so much fear of the horror movie (and now television show) icon.