By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Vengeance Day Hits
Apollo Crews vs. Carmelo Hayes in a best of three falls match: The match looked great on paper and delivered. The clean sweep for Hayes was surprising, though it made a lot of sense when it became obvious at the end of the night that he will challenge for the NXT Championship at the Stand & Deliver event during WrestleMania weekend. It was good to see the return of Daba-Kato rather than him playing Commander Azeez persona. I’m curious see what type of match Crews can get out of the big man.
Wes Lee vs. Dijak for the NXT North American Championship: A really good size mismatch. It was refreshing to see Dijak involved in a meaningful match for the first time since his last stint in NXT. The huracanrana spot from the ropes was brutal was rough. The dislocated finger can be popped back into place, but one can only hope that Dijak didn’t suffer any neck damage. While overly ambitious at times, this was also a strong, suspenseful match that had the crowd buying into the several near falls.
“New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Pretty Deadly” Kit Wilson and Elton Prince vs. “Gallus” Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. “Chase U” Andre Chase and Duke Hudson in a four-way for the NXT Tag Team Titles: There were a lot of moving parts and everyone involved handled it nicely. The thing that stood out most to this viewer was Woods taking the pinfall loss in a match where New Day didn’t have to factor into the finish to lose the tag team titles. It’s a classy move and one that gives Gallus a meaningful boost as the new tag team champions.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Fallon Henley and Kiana James for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles: A nice match with a clever finish. Henley has been a true babyface and didn’t trust James going into the match. The way the finish was executed made it seem like Henley was unaware that James held down the legs of Carter while Henley was pinning her. The follow-up on Tuesday should be interesting. Meanwhile, Carter and Chance have clearly put the work in and continue to work well as a tag team.
Roxanne Perez vs. Jacy Jayne vs. Gigi Dolin for the NXT Women’s Championship: Jayne and Dolin challenging Perez was a good hook, but it was pretty obvious that they wouldn’t stay aligned for long. It was a little surprising that they were somewhat back on the same page by the end of the match, but Perez going over clean was the expected outcome. There’s not an obvious next challenger for Perez. They have a couple of months to set someone up for Stand & Deliver, but I wonder if the plan is to have a main roster wrestler challenge her on the WrestleMania weekend show. I’m curious to see what’s next for Jayne and Dolin, who have stepped up and impressed since the unexpected departure of Mandy Rose.
NXT Vengeance Day Misses
Bron Breakker vs. Grayson Waller in a steel cage match for the NXT Championship: Going just on match quality, this was a Hit. Both wrestlers worked hard, but the match really suffered from predictability. While I’m a big fan of Waller’s work, I just never bought into the idea of him winning the title. He has done a great job as a cocky pest heel, but the creative team just didn’t put the work in to establish him as a strong in-ring threat to win the NXT Championship. In some ways, this felt like a house show main event rather than PLE headliner. It was good to see the switch to a cage match that could only be won by pinfall or submission. The post match scene with Carmelo Hayes coming out for a staredown with Breakker sets up what should be an excellent main event for Stand & Deliver. Hayes is more than ready for a main roster call-up, but it also feels like the right time to move the title off of Breakker. In other words, there should be more mystery regarding the outcome of their match than there has been for any of Breakker’s title defenses.
Personally I can see Cora Jade challenging Perez.I know they’ve already fought,but Jade or maybe Starks are the only two that I can think of unless she defends in a multi woman match.
I think the outcome of the main event was even more predictable when climbing over the cage wasn’t possible.They should’ve kept that a possibility actually.
I agree for this particular match, but I’m hoping that this will be HBK’s approach to cage matches going forward. I’ve never been a fan of the escape the cage approach. It defeats the purpose of the cage match, which was a huge draw at one point. It ended feuds. It wasn’t protected. It doesn’t mean much in WWE these days because of all the interference and other silliness. I don’t know if they can put the genie back in the bottle, but I’m all for them giving it a shot. A little color would go a long way too, but I’m not expecting that in WWE for obvious reasons.
We knew the New Day were not walking out with the belts, and all the other title matches had outcomes that were completely predictable. Guys and girls worked hard, but when you know the outcome of every match before the PPV even starts it kinda makes it bland.