Powell’s NXT New Year’s Evil Hit List: Bron Breakker vs. Grayson Waller for the NXT Championship, 20-woman battle royal for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship, Jinder Mahal vs. Julius Creed, Dijak vs. Tony D’Angelo, Charlie Dempsey vs. Hank Walker, gauntlet match for an NXT Tag Team Title shot


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

NXT Hits

Bron Breakker vs. Grayson Waller for the NXT Championship: An enjoyable match with a television finish that created the need for the rematch at the premium live event. The cage match stipulation that was announced for the rematch felt a little random, though I am curious to see if it leads to Waller coming up with a new finisher that doesn’t start with him standing at ringside.

Pretty Deadly vs. “The Rockers,” Edris Enofe and Malik Blade, and Mark Coffey and Wolfgang in a gauntlet match for a shot at the NXT Tag Team Titles: The opening match was comical fun, the second match was entertaining, and the third match featured the surprise return of Gallus. NXT also announced the return of Tyler Bate and the upcoming debut of Stevie Turner. Are they giving these former NXT UK wrestlers more exposure heading into the NXT Europe launch? Is NXT Europe still going to happen now that Vince McMahon is back in power?

Jinder Mahal vs. Julius Creed: This was a solid replacement match for the advertised Indus Sher vs. Creed Brothers match. Say what you will about Mahal’s main roster act, it felt logical for him to beet Julius in their first outing. That said, I hope the plan is for Julius to eventually beat Mahal. As much as people crap on Mahal, there is a good story to tell with Julius eventually defeating a former world champion.

Charlie Dempsey vs. Hank Walker: I’ll be damned, Drew Gulak didn’t turn on Walker. Dempsey looked like an in-ring force, while Walker showed heart for hanging in there as long as he did. I look forward to watching the rise of Dempsey, and there’s a certain charm that Walker has that makes his unpolished newcomer act work.

NXT Misses

20-woman battle royal for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship: The match had its moments and the creative forces clearly put more thought into this than just having everyone punch and kick until they were down to the final four. The finish with the simultaneous eliminations of Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin felt way too contrived. I like the idea of Roxanne Perez defending the NXT Women’s Championship against both women at Vengeance Day, but there were smoother paths that could have been taken to set up that match.

Dijak vs. Tony D’Angelo: The match was enjoyable until the closing seconds. D’Angelo not allowing Stacks to take Dijak’s Cyclone Boot for him because “he’s family” made for a poor finish that drew a flat reaction from the live crowd. Viewers have no reason to care about Stacks or his relationship with D’Angelo. And while this finish may be a step toward addressing that issue, it came off poorly in the moment. Is it just me or is there a little JW Storm in the new Dijak act? Okay, yeah, it probably is just me.

Tiffany Stratton: Make no mistake about it, Stratton stands out as a future star and it was good to see her back on NXT television. Her time away felt like a chance for NXT to make some tweaks to her act. Instead, she used a phony sounding voice and came off like a person playing a bad character.


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