By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Bayley hosts “Ding Dong, Hello” with guests Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne: Hmm, I wonder where Shawn Michaels and the creative team got the inspiration for Jayne superkicking Dolin on a talkshow set. Did they have to spend the day assuring poor Dolin that they don’t actually see her as the Marty Jannetty of the tag team? I enjoy a good callback and more than enough time has passed since that iconic moment on the Barbershop set. While both women have stepped up and made the most of the extra mic time they’ve received since Mandy Rose was released, Jayne has been especially good in her heel role, so I think they got it right in terms of the roles that both wrestlers will play. Here’s hoping they both thrive.
Wes Lee video package: An excellent piece of production that showed a different side of Lee’s persona. Lee’s character is a little too happy go lucky at times, whereas this video effectively displayed his passion for what he does. It was a really nice touch to include his wife in the video. She came off really well and there’s something about knowing that he’s married that helped make him come off like a man rather than the carefree kid that his character often seems to be.
Carmelo Hayes vs. JD McDonagh: The strong ring work that one would expect from two of NXT’s in-ring workhorses. The surprise return of Ilja Dragunov was really fun. I liked the way it looked like he was going to hit Hayes, who ducked out of the way, and then Dragunov hit his intended target McDonagh. While Dragunov and McDonagh are clearly going to feud, I would really enjoy a Triple Threat between these three.
“Pretty Deadly” Elton Prince and Kit Wilson vs. Andre Chase and Duke Hudson: The distraught duo of Prince and Wilson showing up disheveled after failing to regain the tag titles was a cute bit. Was this win enough to Pretty Deadly their mojo back? Who are we supposed to root for in their feud with Gallus?
Zoey Stark vs. Sol Ruca: A good television match with Stark going over clean with her good finisher, followed by Ruca fighting off a post match attack and connecting with her awesome finisher. These two have the potential to be real players in the main roster women’s division.
Dabba-Kato vs. Dante Chen: A solid showcase win for the former Commander Azeez. It was a pretty basic week one for Dabba-Kato in terms of getting a dominant win and then offering no explanation in his post match interview for his Vengeance Day attack on Apollo Crews.
Tiffany Stratton and Thea Hail: Hail always plays her overly enthusiastic character well and this was no exception. The reason this fell in the Hit section is that Stratton came off like a self-absorbed woman rather than someone playing a bratty, squeaky-voiced daddy’s girl character.
Lyra Valkyria vs. Valentina Feroz: Valkyria is impressive in the ring, but I’m still not sure that to make of her character. The ongoing story of Elektra Lopez trying to convince Feroz to cheat does nothing for me, and I’m even less interested now that Wendy Choo is encouraging Feroz to do the right thing.
Isla Dawn vs. Tatum Paxley: A forgettable match that was meant to serve as a showcase win for Dawn. I’ve been impressed by Dawn’s character work and they may have something there if they can avoid getting too weird with her witch gimmick. Meanwhile, there’s something about Paxley that just isn’t connecting. She has a good look and yet I couldn’t tell you anything about her character other than that she hangs out with Ivy Nile and feels out of place in Diamond Mine.
Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Odyssey Jones: The match was fine and it’s encouraging that the creative forces seem to want to do more with Stacks. The Miss is due to my waning interest in the tired and limiting mafia characters that Stacks and Tony D’Angelo are playing.