Powell’s NXT Hit List: Jinder Mahal confronts Bron Breakker, Wes Lee vs. Von Wagner for NXT North American Championship, Tyler Bate vs. Grayson Waller, Roxanne Perez and Meiko Satomura vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance, Charlie Dempsey vs. Hank Walker, Axiom vs. Damon Kemp, Tiffany Stratton vs. Thea Hail

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

NXT Hits

Jacy Jayne: A good follow-up promo to Jayne attacking her tag team partner Gigi Dolin last week. Jayne is on the rise as a singles heel and the fans will likely be sympathetic to Dolin due to the violent nature of last week’s attack. Even so, Dolin’s next promo is even more important, as she needs to connect with the fans and give them a reason to like her beyond pity. After all, Dolin didn’t turn babyface. She was still a heel when her partner attacked her.

Tyler Bate vs. Grayson Waller: An enjoyable opener with the expected outcome of Waller taking the loss coming off of his NXT Championship match at NXT Vengeance Day. It’s a shame that NXT doesn’t make more of an effort to establish Waller as a strong in-ring threat, but this was a logical loss for him to take. I wasn’t alone at rolling my eyes when NXT ran an angle during the post Vengeance Day media call by having Waller interrupt to yell at Shawn Michaels, but they did another version of that after the match. I’d love to see one more HBK match to erase the bad taste of that hot mess of a tag match from Saudi Arabia that’s currently his final match, but I have no idea if that’s where this is going.

Bron Breakker and Jinder Mahal: The fans are suddenly being nudged to turn on Breakker. He came out to a positive reaction and yet the production crew went out of their way to show a couple of anti-Breakker fan signs in the Chase U section. And then Mahal’s promo brought up a “small pocket” of fans who have turned on Breakker, while also telling him that you either die a hero or you become the villain. Do the creative forces feel that it’s inevitable that the WrestleMania weekend crowd will choose Carmelo Hayes over Breakker when they meet at Stand & Deliver? Mahal’s promo was clumsy at times, but it was nice to hear him break away from his usual foreign menace schtick. It’s tough to view Mahal as a serious threat to win the title next week when they’ve all but officially announced Breakker vs. Hayes for WrestleMania weekend, but I still wish they would have taken the time to rebuild Mahal with even a series of dominant squash match wins in NXT. Mahal has had just one match since he returned to NXT, which took place over a month ago on the New Year’s Evil show.

Wes Lee vs. Von Wagner for NXT North American Championship: It strikes me as odd that Lee is becoming the giant slayer with his back to back wins over Dijak and Wagner when both of those wrestlers could have been built up as strong threats to Bron Breakker. Nevertheless, Lee has benefitted from both wins. I guess the wait continues for the Wagner reboot because this and even Mr. Stone yelling at him backstage felt like more of the same.

Axiom vs. Damon Kemp: A really nice match while it lasted. They were only given a few minutes and it left me wishing the match had been given at least double that time. Kemp has shown improvement in the ring and as a character, so it’s disappointing to see him stuck in a glorified enhancement wrestler role.

Charlie Dempsey vs. Hank Walker: A brief match with the expected outcome of Dempsey going over, but not before they worked in a submission hold spot that showed Walker has improved his ground game. The post match angle with Gulak and Dempsey walking off together had a bit of an “it’s about time” feel to it. Will they eventually add Damon Kemp to their faction?

NXT Misses

Brooks Jensen saga: Not only is his character a virgin, but it was also revealed that he’s never kissed a woman before. Whatever. I guess we all start somewhere. But the annoying part of this whole silliness was Jensen acting bothered by Josh Briggs sharing his secret with Fallon Henley even though he had just shared the news with the entire television viewing audience. Are we really going back into the mode where we have to pretend that wrestlers are unaware of the camera filming their backstage segments? Meanwhile, the scene at Kiana James’ house was rough. I’m high on the upside of Fallon Henley, but her acting in this scene was a homemade fan film level of awful.

Roxanne Perez and Meiko Satomura vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance: A well worked match that also felt flat. I have no idea why they took the steam out of the match by having Carter and Chance apologize to Perez and show respect to Satomura beforehand. Why not keep the tension through the match and then have the former NXT Tag Team Champions walk it back next week if they are going to remain babyfaces? Satomura challenging Perez to a title match for the Roadblock themed show will excite the diehards, but they are kidding themselves if they think Satomura is over with the more casual audience. Satomura is great, but they’ve never done an effective job of showcasing her on the NXT television show. Perhaps the title match with Perez can change that.

Tiffany Stratton vs. Thea Hail: I get a kick out of Chase U, but I’m not a fan of Stratton playing second fiddle while the focus of the match was on Hail being distracted by The Schism showing up in the crowd. Stratton stands out as a future main roster star and yet the creative forces have yet to find anything truly compelling for her to do in NXT.


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