Powell’s NXT Hit List: Gigi Dolin vs. Tiffany Stratton, and Lyra Valkyria vs. Kiana James in NXT Women’s Title tournament matches, Gallus vs. The Dyad for the NXT Tag Titles, Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams, Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak, Duke Hudson vs. Javier Bernal, Tyler Bate vs. Charlie Dempsey, Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Tank Ledger and Hank Walker, Eddy Thorpe vs. Damon Kemp

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

NXT Hits

Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams: The crowd was hotter for this match than anything else on the show. Breakker is off to a strong start as a heel and beating Carmelo Hayes’s sidekick was a logical win. I like the way they doubled down on Breakker getting the better of Hayes again after the match. As much as the focus is rightfully on building to the Hayes vs. Breakker rematch, Williams had a good showing in a rare television match. Williams has come a long way and it will be interesting to see how he is utilized going forward.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak: This is an example of a good DQ finish. It would have been a mistake to simply have Dragunov go over clean and move on when these two can have a good feud together. Hopefully this is leading to a rematch at the Battleground event.

Tyler Bate vs. Charlie Dempsey: Rinse and repeat. In this case, it was not a DQ finish, but rather Dempsey getting the win due to outside interference from Joe Gacy. The similarity to the previous match is that it was another case of putting heat on the heel and creating the need for a rematch. They could also move Bate into a feud with Gacy. Either way, here’s hoping that this is the start of a real push for Dempsey.

Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Hank Walker and Tank Ledger: I don’t really get why Jensen’s heel turn was so brief, but he and Briggs have won me over after a rough start in NXT 2.0. In fact, it feels like they are as over as any team in the division it’s time for them to chase the tag team titles.

Tiffany Stratton vs. Gigi Dolin in an NXT Women’s Title tournament match: A decent match to open the tournament. The right wrestler went over. Dolin has upside, but she hasn’t fully connected with the crowd since she turned babyface. Meanwhile, I wonder if the NXT creative forces will put the title on Stratton now that it seems like they don’t have to worry about her being called up to the main roster in the near future.

Duke Hudson vs. Javier Bernal: A smooth match with the expected outcome of Hudson going over while he’s running Chase U. It was the right outcome for this match, but I continue to hope that Bernal will be more than a weekly punchline. He has the gift of gab and could be an effective heel if he gets a bit of credibility by winning some television matches.

Eddy Thorpe vs. Damon Kemp: A solid television match. Thorpe’s character feels a little dry at the moment, but he showed good fire while playing to the crowd. Kemp continues to spin his wheels. I thought they had something with Kemp when he feuded with the Creed brothers, but he hasn’t received much creative support since then.

NXT Misses

“Gallus” Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. “The Dyad” Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid for the NXT Tag Team Titles: A Hit from a match quality standpoint. These teams worked well together and the Miss is all about their presentation. The big issue is that I still have no clue if the creative forces want fans to like or dislike Gallus from week to week. The match outcome was predictable given that Fowler and Reid have publicized the company rejecting their release requests. In fact, I’m somewhat surprised that they are still being featured in prominent matches on NXT television. Perhaps the vindictive booking that we’ve seen on the main roster at times isn’t in play in NXT. Or maybe it’s a make good for the bad gimmicks that Fowler and Reid were saddled with once they joined The Schism.

Lyra Valkyria vs. Kiana James in an NXT Women’s Title tournament match: The better of the two tournament matches, but the flat reaction to Valkyria’s win was telling. While the Valkyria vignette that aired prior to the match was helpful, there’s just something about her persona that isn’t registering with fans. And even if it eventually gets over with the regulars, it feels like something that will need to be explained routinely for the benefit of new viewers. Valkyria is very good in the ring and has a bright future, but the gimmick needs some work.

Nathan Frazer’s Hard Hitting Home Home Truths: I don’t get it. If nothing else, Frazer is showing charisma and mic skills during these segments. He is a talented guy so even if the segments don’t do much for me, here’s hoping it leads to him getting a stronger push.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. There is a lot of promise with some of the NXT talent right now

    Trick Williams looks like he could really be something special. He is in fantastic shape and is currently a strong B+ on the mic. With some training in the ring they might have something good here

    Kira is currently very good in the ring. Personality wise she seems a little lacking, but let’s be honest Becky lynch was a little dry before she got her nose busted and found her voice

    Stratton has superstar written all over her. She just needs more time and to dump that dumb voice (or if that really her, invest in some vocal lessons)

    guys like Frazer, axiom, dragonov, wes Lee, eddy thorpe etc all have some GREAT upside also but where they would fit in on the main roster depends on if WWE can ever find the magic formula for cruiserweights

    It’s not always picture perfect but NXT today is a lot of fun. It’s maybe not the “buy up all the indie guys” era (which was great obviously) but weekly this is the show that has the most to offer

    • I’m hopeful that Trick can flip the switch on the mic. His current style is perfect as Hayes’s sidekick. I just hope that he can switch to a different approach when the time comes for him to be his own man. I agree that NXT is fun more often than not. I enjoy their women’s division more than the way both main roster divisions are booked.

  2. Not too much imagination with the naming of “Lyra Valkyria” was there? I guess the random name generator took the night off.

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