By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Apollo Crews and Axiom vs. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams: A good tag team opener. I was surprised by the outcome, as Hayes struck me as the least likely person to take a pinfall loss. But I like the idea of Crews getting his win back after losing a singles match to Hayes on the first NXT show of the new year.
Bron Breakker and Grayson Waller promos: Breakker continues to come off best when he delivers his promos outside the ring. It’s not that his in-ring promos are bad by any means, but he’s more relatable in his sit-down interviews. Waller is great in his role as the obnoxious heel and I’m looking forward to see the cage match.
Roxanne Perez and Lyra Valkyria vs. Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin: A solid main event. If nothing else, it was nice to see Dolin take the Pop Rocks finisher properly unlike some of Perez’s other recent opponents. Valkyria hasn’t clicked as a character and only time will tell whether her feud with Cora Jade will give her a boost. My only issue with the match is that the focus was on establishing more friction between Jayne and Dolin rather than making it seem like Perez’s title reign is at risk in the Triple Threat match at NXT Vengeance Day.
Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen: A good slug fest match that included some quality storytelling with Jensen suffering a back injury after being backdropped on the exposed floor. NXT went a little overboard with all the protection finishes, but this one also made the Gallus duo look ruthless and led to Fallon Henley feeling sympathetic enough for Jensen that she agreed to team with the horny cowboy’s girlfriend Kiana James.
Alba Fyre vs. Sol Ruca: They obviously wanted to show off Ruca’s impressive Sol Snatcher finisher in this match and the distraction by Isla Dawn gave Fyre an out for losing. There was some clunkiness, which is to be expected at this early stage of Ruca’s career. Ruca has a good look and size, tremendous athleticism, and a standout finisher. She needs reps and everything from her gear to her pre-match routine needs to improve, but she has as much raw potential as anyone on the roster.
Tony D’Angelo promotes Stacks: It’s comical that WWE is airing classic footage of various wrestlers impersonating Robert De Niro when they have D’Angelo doing it weekly on NXT television. I’ve always rolled my eyes at the idea of a crime family that cares about winning NXT titles and that hasn’t changed. But Stacks being promoted will presumably lead to either an eventual feud between the two or Stacks becoming D’Angelo’s equal as opposed to being his underling. Either way, the Stacks character should benefit from becoming his own many as opposed to feeling like a henchmen.
Tyler Bate vs. Javier Bernal: The botched finish was frightening and here’s hoping that Bernal avoided injury. Selfishly, I need my “Feliz Javidad” fix.
Thea Hail vs. Valentina Feroz: It felt a little underwhelming for Hail’s first win to come at the expense of Feroz. They really could have had some fun with this by having her score an upset pin over a more established wrestler. The side story with Feroz and Elektra Lopez