By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Bron Breakker vs. Ilja Dragunov for a shot at the NXT Championship at the Great American Bash: A hot match with all the big near falls that one would expect from a PLE match. Dragunov’s act is built of resilience and heart and he shines in these back and forth battles. It’s surprising to see how many high profile losses Breakker has taken lately. It was perfectly logical to use him to launch Dragunov into the NXT Championship match at the Bash, but it feels like he needs to be promoted to the main roster or start picking up some meaningful wins if he’s going to stay in NXT.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams vs. Damian Priest and Finn Balor: It felt like NXT picked up where Raw left off with Priest and Balor remaining on the same page and winning this main event. They doubled down by having Balor beat the NXT Champion again while also creating friction between Hayes and his next challenger Ilja Dragunov. I continue to suspect that Hayes will eventually beat Balor on an NXT show, but I like that they are making it seem like Balor has his number now because it will mean more when/if Hayes pins him.
Baron Corbin video: An intriguing video package that showed Corbin’s past gimmicks and left him asking who he is now. I don’t think the guy really needs a gimmick and yet I’m also curious to see where this goes. It concluded with Corbin finding masked person who was surrounded by torches. Here’s hoping that the masked man reveals himself to be Mark L Walberg, and he will inform Corbin that his wife is bringing him to Temptation Island for a USA Network crossover extravaganza. Hey, it beats the hell out of the other thing that crossed my mind when I saw a hooded figure surrounded by tiki torches.
Andre Chase and Duke Hudson vs. Charlie Dempsey and Drew Gulak: The Chase U act continues to get great reactions from the Performance Center crowds (and not just in the Chase U section). This silly gimmick caught on nicely and so much of that is due to the players involved going all in with their over the top characters.
NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton vs. Ivy Nile: A decent match with Nile have a solid offensive run before the champion picked up a credibility boost from a clean win. Stratton executed the big moves nicely, but she struggled with some of the most basic spots such as bumping early on Nile’s shoulder blocks. The competitive matches are entertaining, but it feels like they should be giving Stratton some dominant wins in order to establish her as a strong champion.
Cora Jade vs. Kelani Jordan: Jordan continues to impress at this early stage in her development. While she obviously needs more reps, she’s a strong prospect with major upside. Jade going over made sense. I hope the plan is for Dana Brooke to turn on Jordan and reinvent herself, as the crowd has spoken regarding her current persona.
Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Joe Coffey for Tony D’Angelo’s freedom: Seriously, the outcome of a pro wrestling match determined whether D’Angelo would be freed from jail. I get that NXT goes outside the traditional pro wrestling box at times, but this storyline is utterly ridiculous. It also set up a tag team title match that I couldn’t care less about.