By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
JD McDonagh vs. Axiom: The best match of the night with a finish that showed off the ruthlessness of McDonagh while also allowing the Axiom character to show heart by trying to continue working through his storyline injury. The mathematical part of the Axiom character never clicked, so hopefully the creative team will come up with a fresh approach for the masked wrestler’s gimmick.
Joe Gacy vs. Cameron Grimes: A good opening match with a finish that saw Ava Raine shove Grimes off the top rope to help Gacy steal the win. The same finish would have been a groaner if Jagger Reid or Rip Fowler had pushed Gacy, but it was fun to see Raine get involved for the first time. Gacy’s new ring gear was a welcome change and Raine has made The Schism feel relevant again.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles: A good main event with the champions picking up a quality win. They previously set the table for the post match angle that saw Stark attack Lyons. Even so, I’m still a little surprised that they opted to turn Stark heel, but I’m curious to see how she does in this new role. It was odd to see babyfaces Carter and Chance walk away rather than attempt to save Lyons from the Stark attack, especially considering that she teased hitting them with the title belt too. Even so, it will also be interesting to see what’s next for Carter and Chance. Will Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin go after the tag titles again or will NXT creative form another makeshift tag team?
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams at the barbershop: The LeBron James style barbershop scene is a cool gimmick for Hayes and Williams. It’s a creative way for Hayes to deliver promos in a unique setting. I like the conversational approach, which included one of the barbers speaking positively about Wes Lee. Rather than take the cliche approach of Hayes and Williams attacking the barber, it led to Hayes offering some praise for Lee before explaining why he’s better. This felt much more realistic than the Toxic Attraction FaceTime angle and the campy Fallon Henley family bar skit.
Andre Chase vs. Charlie Dempsey: The finish was clever in that it was tough to tell whether Duke Hudson was trying to do the right thing or was out to screw over Chase by throwing in the towel. Dempsey and Chase work well together, but I hope this is a short program because Dempsey feels like he belongs in a more serious program.
Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Hank Walker: A soft Hit. This was fine for what it was. Security guard Walker is a likable common man who reminds me of Seth Rogen, and the more polished Lorenzo cheating to beat the underdog works for his character.
Grayson Waller Effect with Bron Breakker and Von Wagner: Woof. Wagner is a better talker than he was early in his NXT run, but it’s still a weakness in his game. It was disappointing to learn that the Breakker vs. Wagner title match is taking place next week. I was hoping for a longer build so that Wagner could have been built up in showcase matches, and this segment didn’t failed to get me more excited about the title match.
Elektra Lopez vs. Sol Ruca: Ruca still isn’t ready for prime time, but she did show some improvement during this match compared to her previous television outings. Lopez looked smoother than she has in the past. Lopez is further along than Ruca, but both women showed improvement. So while the match landed in the Miss section, it was better than it looked on paper. At this point, I’m not sure what to make of angry Indi Hartwell, so we’ll see where it goes.
Brutus Creed vs. Damon Kemp in a five-minute challenge: Kemp had a highly competitive ambulance match with Julius Creed, only to turn around and be dominated in this five-minute challenge. Sure, he Kemp got the win by DQ, but he was destroyed by Brutus. Will Kemp find a tag team partner to battle the Creed Brothers or was this the blowoff? Of course, Kemp’s brother Gable Steveson is in the developmental system, but it seems like the idea is to fast track him to the main roster once he’s deemed ready.