By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Bron Breakker and Apollo Crews: As someone who hasn’t enjoyed the Crews character having premonitions that other wrestlers and viewers somehow have the ability to see, I cringed when they showed Crews sitting in the diner. But then Breakker sat down at the table with him and this turned out to be a tense and believable verbal exchange between the NXT Champion and his next challenger. I continue to enjoy the way Breakker is showing off his own personality rather than simply emulating his uncle’s promo style.
WWE Hall of Famers choose the participants in the Iron Survivor Challenge matches: Good segments with the all-star panel putting over various wrestlers. It’s hard to say how much NXT the legends other than Shawn Michaels are actually watching these days. That’s actually a compliment in that the legends came off like they were offering informed opinions in the wisely pre-taped segments.
Roxanne Perez vs. Indi Hartwell: A nice opening match and one of Hartwell’s better outings. It’s no coincidence that Hartwell had a good match with the talented Perez. The slow moving Canadian Destroyer looked less impactful than usual, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the match as a whole. The amazing thing is that Mandy Rose made Destroyer spot in this match look like it was done in warp speed when compared to the slow motion rollup she took during the main event.
Axiom vs. Javier Bernal: A good match. The Axiom character is growing on me now that they’ve pulled back on the original concept of him being a mathematical wizard. Bernal gets a lot of mic time for a guy who has been working as a glorified enhancement wrestler. He has the gift of gab even if I haven’t been high on him putting his own twist on some classic promo segments.
“Toxic Attraction” Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne vs. Kayden Carter, Katana Chance, and Nikkita Lyons: There were some clunky moments, but I liked the basic story of Zoey Stark taking out the knee of Lyons earlier in the show being the difference in the match.
Grayson Waller vs. Duke Hudson: Let the record show that Grayson Waller did only slightly less for my fantasy football team as Darren Waller has this season. Now that I have that out of my system, this was one of the few matches that got the live crowd going. The Chase U cheering section helps, but Waller always draws good heat.
Dijak vs. Dante Chen: A good showcase win for Dijak in his return to the NXT ring. Chen got a bit more offense than expected, but Dijak still went over in dominant fashion. Dijak’s post match promo was solid and I’m looking forward to seeing him make viewers forget the creative mess that was his main roster run.
Kiana James vs. Fallon Henley: The match was built around James targeting the left arm of Henley. Unfortunately, James’s arm work looked really light, and Henley screaming in agony several times actually made it worse. The live crowd’s non-reaction to James going over with a weird purse finish was telling. NXT has invested a lot of time into James’s evil businesswoman character and it’s just not clicking. Henley has been impressive and James is a good prospect, but their feud is underwhelming.
Julius Creed vs. JD McDonagh: Wait, did McDonagh really get disqualified for hitting someone who wasn’t even in the match with a chair? Or was McDonagh disqualified because Sanga shoved Creed out of the way to save him from the chair shot? Either way, the finish made no sense and it’s too bad because I enjoyed the match until then.
Von Wagner vs. Malik Blade: The live crowd sat on its hands for this match. Shockingly, the story of a man destroying another grown man’s sweater vest doesn’t seem to be resonating. The story of Blade’s obsession with sweater vests due to his late father isn’t endearing as much as it makes me want to see his character enroll in grief therapy.