By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Carmelo Hayes and Wes Lee contract signing: An intense segment that never got physical, nor did it need to. Hayes plays the confident champion role extremely well, and Lee does a great job of expressing frustration over feeling he’s been doubted and underestimated.
Wes Lee vs. Dijak for a shot at the NXT Championship: I really could have done without Eddie Thorpe’s involvement, but protective finishes felt like the theme of the night (more on that later). Lee going over sets up a really good match on paper with the former NXT North American Champion challenging Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Championship on next week’s Heatwave themed episode.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. “The Dyad” Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid for the NXT Tag Team Titles: A quality tag team match with the expected finish involving the masked Creeds interfering. Fowler and Reid are a very good team and NXT will miss the consistency they provide if they ended up leaving once their deals expire. At the same time, The Schism is ice cold and it’s hard to be excited about The Creeds revealing their identities just to work with the dead end faction.
Trick Williams vs. Drew Gulak: The decision makers have done their best to help Williams by having work with Baron Corbin, Damian Priest, Finn Balor, The Schism, and now Gulak in his most recent television matches. Williams is clearly a work in progress, but working with the veterans can only help with his development and cover up for some of his flaws. I just hope they don’t pull the trigger on a breakup with Carmelo Hayes too soon. It’s understandable if Hayes is going to be called up to the main roster, but it seems like Williams needs more time to develop. This match was fine and it was logical for Williams to go over given that he’s facing Ilja Dragunov next week.
Thea Hail vs. Jacey Jayne: This is a case where it made sense to have someone at ringside play into the finish. The story with Andre Chase struggling to regain Hail’s trust after throwing in the towel during her NXT Women’s Championship match is solid. Jayne picked up a needed win even if she wasn’t the focus of the match.
Dana Brooke vs. Blair Davenport: The story of Brooke breaking bad doesn’t do much for me, but it’s better than seeing the fans reject her as a babyface. There’s much more upside in Davenport, who went over strong in the end.
Match finishes: Distraction finishes, commotion at ringside, and outside interference. I didn’t take it out on any of the matches in particular, but it definitely was an issue with the overall show. Hell, it’s an issue with most of the major pro wrestling shows. No one gets over if you try to protect everyone. Here’s hoping that NXT creative got the overprotective finishes out of their system and intend to deliver mostly clean and decisive finishes on next week’s Heatwave edition.
Tyler Bate vs. Joe Coffey: I was hoping that this would be a breakout match for Coffey in NXT. Rather, it was used to set up the return of Dabba-Kato. Coffey is easily the most charismatic member of Gallus and was featured prominently in NXT UK. It’s disappointing that he continues to spin his wheels, especially given how much the Gallus faction needs a boost.