By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler vs. Andre Chase and Duke Hudson for a spot in the four-way for the NXT Tag Titles: A strong main event that got a rise out of the crowd. The only negative was the lackluster presentation. On a night when NXT had limited commercials and threw out several unadvertised matches, the Schism promo was the only hype they bothered to give the show’s main event. Strange. Fortunately, the match delivered. I am a little disappointed that the strong team of Reid and Fowler won’t be in the four-way on Saturday, but the live crowd was clearly happy to see Chase and Hudson go over.
Roxanne Perez, Jacy Jayne, and Gigi Dolin: Another strong segment. Dolin and especially Jayne are making the most out of the extra mic time they’ve been getting since Mandy Rose was released. The segment showed that while they seem to be on the same page, Dolin slipping and saying she rather than “we” will win the championship is a sign that they could self destruct. It was also nice to see Perez show some fire by attacking both of her challengers after the repeatedly talked over her during the interview segment.
Tyler Bate vs. Axiom: The best match of the night. There were a couple of matches on this show that really should have had a better build rather than just coming together during the show or being thrown out there without advertising. This respectful battle of babyfaces didn’t need more than the simple build it was given, and I’m already looking forward to seeing future matches between them. The post match angle with Damon Kemp attacking Axiom was solid, and I continue to enjoy the personality that Kemp has shown since turning heel.
“Indus Sher” Veer Mahaan and Sanga vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed: The match was worth the wait after being delayed due to an injury and the death of Mahaan’s father. Julius powering up Mahaan for a powerbomb after nearly losing him was beyond impressive. The finish was really well done. Ivy Nile took that bump like a champ and it gave the Creeds a good out for losing.
Dijak vs. Von Wagner: Part of me wanted to put this match in the Miss section. I enjoyed the match too much to do that, but it was frustrating to see this match given away out of nowhere with the bare minimum build in the rough verbal segment that preceded it. NXT doesn’t have many big men, so it’s baffling that they wouldn’t save this match until they could give it a proper build. I was honestly starting to wonder what the future held for Wagner after all of his television losses, but Mr. Stone calling him out and begging him to “help me help you” left me assuming that the creative team has something in mind for Wagner.
Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre: I like the idea of putting the two rivals together, so I hope that this isn’t a case of Fyre just playing along with Dawn’s initiation process. The creative forces have pushed Fyre aggressively and yet she just didn’t seem to fully connect with the fans. Perhaps a heel run is what she needs in the moment and it can also set her up to succeed whenever the time comes for her to have a future babyface run.
Zoey Stark vs. Indi Hartwell: A solid match involving two of the NXT wrestlers who worked the women’s Royal Rumble match. Starks continues to impress in the ring. There’s just nothing distinctive about her persona yet. Hopefully she can find that missing element because it’s really the only hole in her game.
Nikkita Lyons attacker mystery: It’s a little convenient that it was apparently ladies night in the NXT parking lot when Lyons was attacked. That said, I’m a sucker for a good mystery. Lyons’ rival Zoey Stark was nearby, but that feels too easy. I’m really hopeful that Wendy Choo, who was shown looking out of a car window, will be revealed as the mystery attacker. McKenzie Mitchell wondering aloud whether Choo saw something rather than questioning whether she could have been the culprit left me optimistic that the talented Choo may finally get a character makeover.
Apollo Crews’s visions: Just give it up already. It would be one thing Crews had visions that he explained to viewers. But the fact that we and his opponents see footage of his visions is just absurd. Crews has proven to be a likable personality since he returned to NXT and he just doesn’t need these superhero movie special powers. On the bright side, I’m looking forward to the best of three falls match between Crews and Carmelo Hayes as much as anything on the NXT Vengeance Day show.
Stevie Turner vs. Dani Palmer: Turner’s heel vlogger videos didn’t do much for me and apparently I wasn’t alone if the live crowd’s silence was any indication. She did a nice job when she interacted with McKenzie Mitchell last week’s so perhaps the act will grow on me. For that matter, she could generate some online buzz if she’s allowed to get creative with the gimmick.
I have high hopes for Stevie Turner. The issue I had was until she got a little smart mouthed with Mackenzie last week I thought she was a face. I wonder if there was a change in direction because the gamer vignettes made her appear to be friendly. She has a good look tho and is more than solid in the ring. I hope she doesn’t get lost in the very talented NXT women’s scene