By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT TV Hits
Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh: The best match of the night and it wasn’t even close. I was surprised to see McDonagh go over given that he was drafted to the main roster. They softened the blow by having Lee mix it up with Noam Dar at ringside before McDonagh took advantage of the momentary distraction. Lee’s stated goal is to be the next Rey Mysterio. There’s only one Rey, but Lee has the potential to be a standout main roster star if he can establish a persona that fans connect with.
Wes Lee vs. Drew Gulak for the NXT North American Title: This wasn’t the most memorable of Lee’s title defenses, but it was a quality match that got the show off to a good start. They made good use of Tyler Bate appearing in Lee’s corner by having him counter Charlie Dempsey. It also set up the post match scene with Bate eying up Lee’s championship belt to foreshadow a match between the two. It’s good to see Bate back in something meaningful following his odd stint as a Chase U ally.
Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles: A compelling match thanks to both teams being drafted to the main roster. I like the idea of keeping the titles on Fyre and Dawn. Carter and Chance are a classic underdog duo, so it would be counterproductive to have them debut on Raw as champions. Carter and Chance pull off some really athletic spots, but this match was a reminder that they struggle with the basics at times, such as when Carter threw a lazy kick and Chance delivered a soft shoulder block. That said, I look forward to seeing how both teams fare on the main roster and learning what’s next for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Indi Hartwell: Hartwell isn’t the smoothest talker and that may be an issue on the main roster, but it actually felt like part of her charm during this segment. The fans really took to Hartwell winning the NXT Women’s Championship and she had to have won over some doubters by returning to the ring and finishing her match last week after suffering a nasty looking ankle injury. Her closing line was great and it was a really nice touch to have Dexter Lumis appear while Vic Joseph aptly stated that it was a fairytale ending to the greatest love story that NXT ever told. Sure, it was a bizarre saga and it wasn’t always for this viewer, but it was nice to see the story end (at least in NXT) with a feel good moment. In fact, I wish the show had ended there. The big brawl between the female wrestlers that closed the show felt contrived, cliche, and just plain unnecessary.
Trick Williams: He did a fine job during the segment with Bron Breakker, and I loved the way that Apollo Crews endorsed Williams when they spoke later in the show.
Dani Palmer vs. Tatum Paxley: A decent debut for Palmer. The match was passable and Palmer has quickly shown good charisma in her backstage segments.
Axiom vs. Scrypts: Wait, Scrypts was Reggie all along? Who knew?!? Well, everyone, which was just one of the problems with this lousy character. The match exceeded my low expectations thanks in part to Reggie’s leaping into some really well timed kicks from Axiom. But more than anything, this landed in the Hit section because they finally pulled the plug on the Scrypts character.
NXT TV Misses
Gigi Dolin vs. Jacy Jayne: Did Jayne suffering a cut cause the match to end prematurely? It’s hard to take a grudge match seriously when it lasted a whopping 200 seconds. I’m high on Jayne, but this feud between the Toxic Attraction duo can’t seem to gain any traction. The live crowd was as quiet during this match as they were all night.
Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey: The match was well worked, but the feud between two factions that have struggled to click with viewers isn’t doing much for me. It was surprising to see Coffey lose this early in his U.S. NXT run even though he was protected by Ava’s involvement.