By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Carmelo Hayes vs. Tyler Bate: This match looked great on paper and delivered in the main event slot. The Trick Williams interference spot was really disappointing, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the overall match. But did Bate really need to be protected? While it’s possible there’s a storyline reason for it, it really came off as the latest example of NXT needlessly protecting a wrestler from taking a clean loss. Hayes should look as strong as possible heading into his NXT Championship match at Stand & Deliver and the threat of Williams in his corner wasn’t already well established.
Wes Lee vs. Nathan Frazer for the NXT North American Championship: The cold open with various wrestlers fighting to take up Lee on his open challenge was a nice touch. It was a pleasant surprise when the returning Frazer ended up getting to the ring first. The wrestlers delivered with a strong match and this made for a great start to a show that featured top notch bookend matches.
Meiko Satomura vs. Zoey Stark: There was no mystery regarding the match outcome with Satomura challenging for the NXT Women’s Championship next week and yet it was still a well worked, quality match. Roxanne Perez didn’t bring much to the broadcast table as a guest color commentator, but I am looking forward to her match with Satomura.
Axiom vs. Hank Walker: It was a good week for Walker. While Axiom deserves credit for making his opponent look good in defeat, it was encouraging to see Walker flip the switch and show off a believable angry side of his personality during their backstage segment. They told a nice story here with Walker feeling disrespected, losing the match, and still being vindicated by having Axiom show him respect afterward.
Gigi Dolin promo: A good rebuttal promo from Dolin in response to Jacy Jayne. While Dolin isn’t the most polished talker in NXT, she brought the live crowd in with the background story about her abusive mother.
“Indus Sher” Veer Mahaan and Sanga vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen: Perhaps it’s time that Briggs takes Jensen on a special trip to Nevada for a Bunny Ranch visit. The story of horny virgin country boy Jensen being distracted by whatever is happening in his relationship with Kiana James told a story, but it wasn’t a very good one. Indus Sher won the match and yet they didn’t gain anything from it because so much of the focus was on Jensen’s woes. Jinder Mahal’s post match promo on next week’s six-man tag match was about as generic and forgettable as it gets. Mahal has had moments on the mic, but he’s also had too many promos like this one where it feels like he’s just going through the motions.
Tiffany Stratton vs. Katana Chance: A solid match with the right person going over, but this was another distraction finish that felt unnecessary. If you protect everyone, then no one actually gets over. Stratton’s post match promo was encouraging in that she made it clear that she’s going after the NXT Women’s Championship, which strikes me as all the more reason to have her beat a tag team wrestler clean in this match.
Sol Ruca vs. Elektra Lopez: The match looked worse on paper than it actually was, but it still wasn’t good. I couldn’t care less about the story of whether Valentine Feroz would follow Lopez’s heelish path, but at least they paid it off by having her sabotage Lopez and knock her out after the match.
Great show. Next week looks like a Banger
The Waller / HBK stuff has me very engaged. I read a rumor on line this could be used to bring Gargano back and I love that idea (I’m not sure the other theory of dragon Lee coming to HBKs aid would register with a casual viewer)