By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Carmelo Hayes vs. Axiom: The show got off to a strong start with this quality match. The match lived up to my lofty expectations despite the finish with Trick Williams getting involved, though I love to see these two unleashed with a premium live event match at some point. It looks like that won’t be happening soon, but Hayes feuding with Apollo Crews looks really good on paper.
Roxanne Perez and Booker T: The sit-down interview combined with the accompanying footage of Perez throughout her career was excellent. I’m not high on Booker’s work as a color commentator, but I do enjoy his role as the proud trainer of the new NXT Women’s Champion. The proud and calm Booker we saw in this segment felt sincere and was truly enjoyable to watch.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen for the NXT Tag Team Titles: A fun match despite there being no real mystery regarding the outcome. The challengers were given enough offense to look credible and continue to grow on me despite my early dislike of their country boys act. The New Day duo are giving a nice boost to the NXT television show, and it’s fun to see them work with some fresh tag teams.
Bron Breakker and Grayson Waller: A throwback angle with Waller wearing a protective vest while taking Breakker’s spear. I guess Waller (or NXT creative) have been watching WCW Nitro, because this was the same defensive move that Bret Hart used to counter Goldberg’s spear back in the day. It’s been over twenty years since that angle took place, so it’s fun for those who remember it, and it still works for those who never saw it.
Katana Chance and Kayden Carter vs. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne vs. Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley in a Triple Threat for the NXT Women’s Tag Titles: An enjoyable three-way tag team match. I was surprised to see Nile take the loss, but it was a clever finish with Carter pushing off the ropes while in Nile’s submission finisher to catch her in a pin. Plus, keeping Dolin and Jayne out of the finish kept the main tag team feud alive. I still don’t get the idea of the Nile and Paxley pairing. Paxley is a fine prospect, but she just doesn’t mesh with Nile or the rest of Diamond Mine.
Zoey Stark vs. Nikkita Lyons: Stark stealing the pin was a good first match finish to extend the program. Lyons is improving, and the rock solid Stark is a good opponent for her to learn from throughout what I assume will be a series of matches.
Indi Hartwell vs. Elektra Lopez: The live crowd’s silence during this match said it all. I don’t think anyone knows what to make of Hartwell, who seems to be working as a babyface despite showing heelish tendencies prior to Deadline. Both of these characters need promo time to reestablish their personas.