By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Prime Target feature on Bron Breakker and Carmelo Hayes: The sports-like presentation was the perfect final push for the NXT Championship match. Both wrestlers came off really well and the video package created a big fight feel for the biggest NXT Championship match of the post Black & Gold era.
Grayson Waller and Johnny Gargano: Waller delivered a top notch promo that effectively explained why he went after Gargano and still holds a grudge. The pull apart brawl that closed the show was intense and gave a nice push to what feels like the second biggest match on the Stand & Deliver card behind the NXT Championship match.
Battle royal for the last spot in the NXT North American Title match at Stand & Deliver: A solid battle royal with some eliminations that play into current feuds and perhaps establish others. The final two with Axiom and Nathan Frazer was suspenseful enough that it had a good number of fans on their feet. I wasn’t sure which way they would go with the finish, as I thought there was a chance that Axiom would come up short and grow frustrated over his inability to secure a title shot. I’m not crazy about oddball five-way matches, but I have no doubt that the five wrestlers involved will make it work and could even steal the show at Stand & Deliver.
Sol Ruca vs. Ivy Nile vs. Indi Hartwell in a Last Chance qualifier for the NXT Women’s Title match at Stand & Deliver: This match exceeded my expectations. Ruca continued to show top notch athleticism, but they made the right call in adding the more experienced Hartwell to the ladder match for the NXT Women’s Championship. The post match angle with all of the ladder match entrants appearing in different parts of the Performance Center was really contrived. It’s not the first time they’ve taken this approach and I get what they were going for. On a side note, it’s great that Roxanne Perez is back and able to defend her title.
Tyler Bate vs. Von Wagner: An entertaining match that made the Chase U team appear to be on the same page heading into their eight-person tag match. Mr. Stone added to the match by getting roughed up by Thea Hail and then taking a flip dive from Bate. I continue to hope that they’ll eventually pay off the idea that Wagner needs to listen to Stone so that he can take his game to the next level, but it’s been dragged out so long that I’m left wondering if that’s ever going to happen.
Drew Gulak vs. Hank Walker: Good progression with Walker’s character improving to the point that he nearly won the match and ended up losing due to a cheap shot from Charlie Dempsey at ringside. I hope the Gulak and Dempsey alliance will be expanded and featured more prominently coming out of Stand & Deliver.
Eddy Thorpe vs. Myles Borne: A decent debut for the former Karl Fredericks. I cringed when it seemed like they were going to make his DJ background a big part of his act, but fortunately they kept it to a minimum. While this was a showcase for Thorpe, I also look forward to watching the development of Borne.
Elektra Lopez vs. Valentina Feroz: The match was fine, but this feud just hasn’t clicked and it isn’t doing much for either character.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo: The match was fine and I I like the idea of giving Briggs and Jensen a chance to earn a spot in the NXT Tag Team Title match only to make it a credibility building win for D’Angelo and Stacks. The Miss is more about the post match angle that resulted in Kiana James kissing Jensen rather than tell him about her mystery man Sebastian. I’m all for long term storytelling, but this has been dragged out too long. It also requires viewers to believe that Jensen doesn’t actually watch the show. On a side note, Booker T repeatedly yelling “Doomsday Device!” while miscalling a double team move was really bad. We all make mistakes, but Vic Joseph or the person who produced the broadcast team really should have made sure Booker corrected himself.
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