By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams: While it seems like it would be difficult to actually have a bad match with Dragunov, Williams continued to show in-ring improvement. Sure, Williams had some hiccups, but he’s headed in the right direction. Dragunov went over clean as he should have, but Williams looked credible in defeat.
Jacy Jayne vs. Indi Hartwell: The match was fine, though it was surprising that Jayne wasn’t booked to get a decisive win in her first match since her violent attack on Gigi Dolin. The important thing is that the Dolin was over with the live crowd in her first appearance since they attack. That said, Dolin’s return felt a week or two premature given the violent nature of Jayne’s attack. Dolin really needs to hit a home run with her first promo since the breakup.
Alba Fyre vs. Ivy Nile: A solid match with some decent storytelling in terms of the mystery of where Tatum Paxley stands. Paxley has been in the background for so long and hasn’t had much character development, so it’s good to see the creative forces are giving her some attention. Isla Dawn play her part really well and grabs my attention whenever she’s on the screen. Here’s hoping that her character stays rooted in reality and doesn’t become a hocus pocus turnoff.
Meiko Satomura and Roxanne Perez training video: It was a unique approach to have the challenger and champion training together just two weeks before their title match. I wasn’t sure if it would conclude with Satomura attacking Perez or if they would maintain the respectful approach that they did, but that minor mystery kept me engaged.
Overall show: This was a strange edition of NXT. The live crowd seemed pretty flat throughout the show and it was hard to blame them. It feels like the creative forces are cramming too many wrestlers into the mix rather than focusing on a core group.
Bron Breakker vs. Jinder Mahal for the NXT Championship: The presentation was really underwhelming. Say what you will about Mahal and his title reign, but he is a former world champion. It felt like they could have done more to give Mahal some momentum heading into this match so that it would have felt like a bigger deal when Breakker beat him. For that matter, the match received the standard amount of hype as most television main events. Sure, we got a generic Breakker video package, but it didn’t sell viewers on the actual match. It should feel special whenever the NXT Championship is defended on television and it wouldn’t have required much extra effort to accomplish that. The actual match was solid aside from the fact that the outcome never felt like it was in question.
NXT Tag Team Champions Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade in a non-title match: The match was fine, but Coffey and Wolfgang feel flat. It may take some time for their take on all comers approach to get over. Hopefully their feud with Pretty Deadly can breathe some life into their act.
Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid vs. Andre Chase and Duke Hudson: Those who didn’t turn the channel when The Schism walked out were treated to a good tag team match. But enough is enough. The Schism act is lousy. I really hoped that the addition of Ava Raine would breathe some life into the act and it did for a few weeks, but their promos have reverted to coming off like repetitive drivel. None of this feels like it’s going anywhere now that the shock value of Raine joining the group has worn off. Fowler and Reid are a terrific tag team that no feel like henchmen. Fowler drew excellent heat with his mic work during his NXT UK days as Zack Gibson, and now he’s nearly muted. While the match was Hit worthy in quality, the Schism act is such a turnoff that this segment had to land in the Miss section.
Tony D’Angelo vs. Von Wagner: We get it. Wagner sucks and needs to listen to Mr. Stone. It’s been well established. Can we cut to the part where Wagner stops sucking already? Meanwhile, D’Angelo plays the mafia gimmick well and it gave him an early identity. At this point, it feels like a cartoonish burden and I’m ready for him and Channing Lorenzo to go separate ways.
Also, can we please have a very low limit placed on the number of wrestlers using the Spear as a finisher/almost finisher please?
It did feel like a odd episode. Lots of green throughout the show.
I also agree weird episode
BUT the Waller / HBK angle has me completely engaged. Where could this be headed?