By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Damon Kemp vs. Eddy Thorpe in an NXT Underground match: No Omos working the door? Anyway, I enjoyed this match more than any of the Raw Underground matches. Kemp and Thorpe’s work on the mat was a good simulation of the MMA style. The spot where Kemp suplexed Thorpe from the apron to the floor was wild. The post match angle with Gable Steveson suplexing developmental trainees was also a lot of fun.
Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed in a Loser Leaves NXT match: The Schism faction just won’t die. As much of a groaner as the faction is, I appreciate the way that the creative team played off of the widespread assumption that Fowler and Reid are leaving once their contracts expire by having them in a loser leaves NXT match. The outcome was truly surprising for those who avoided the spoilers coming out of this taped show. The Creeds are future main roster stars, but it feels like they would benefit from more time in NXT. It will be interesting to see what comes next for them.
Bron Breakker and Ilja Dragunov: Breakker delivered a quality promo and didn’t shy away from losing to Seth Rollins. Rather, the promo laid things out nicely with Breakker noting that he’s only worked 78 matches while also claiming that Rollins has had more than 78 premium live event matches. The pull apart brawl with Dragunov that followed was nicely done. Breakker really needs a strong win after taking some losses recently. I assume he’ll get one over Dragunov to start what could be a strong multi-match program.
Mustafa Ali vs. Tyler Bate: A strong match. The finish with Ali begging for mercy before crotching Bate on the top rope was consistent with his NXT persona. I just hope that Wes Lee vs. Ali for the NXT North American Championship will be a straight forward match without Bate serving as a special referee. That said, I won’t complain if Bate somehow earns his way into the match and they make it a Triple Threat.
Blair Davenport vs. Roxanne Perez: A quality opening match with Davenport logically going over to help establish her in NXT while also extending her feud with Perez. That said, there’s still a real need for character development with Davenport. She was revealed as the mystery attacker, but I don’t feel like I know about what makes her character tick.
Lyra Valkyria vs. Jacy Jayne: Valkyria’s big kick finisher and her gimmick leave something to be desired. These two worked well together. So it was a double positive that Jayne destroyed Valkyria’s pre-match gear to extend the feud. Valkyria is very talented and hopefully the destruction of her feathered ring gear is a sign that the creative team recognizes that changes need to be made.
Baron Corbin video package: “It’s no more gimmicks, no nonsense, no bullshit.” Finally. I wish they would air a variation of his video on Raw and Smackdown.
Kelani Jordan vs. Tatum Paxley: This was the most basic match on the show, which is logical considering where both wrestlers are at in their development. Jordan’s finisher looked good and she seemed comfortable in her post match verbal exchange with Cora Jade. It’s easy to see why NXT officials are high on Jordan.
Tony D’Angelo, Stacks, and Joe Coffey: The performances of the three men involved continue to be solid. But I just can’t stand the way these jailhouse videos and the entire storyline require viewers to turn their brains off.