By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT No Mercy Hits
Carmelo Hayes vs. Ilja Dragunov for the NXT Championship: Another outstanding match from two of the best that NXT has to offer. We were deep enough into Hayes’s title reign that I was open to the possibility of him losing and yet it still felt surprising when Dragunov actually got the three count. This was dramatic and physical, and there was never a dull moment. There’s obviously plenty they can do with Hayes and Trick Williams now that Williams holds the NXT North American Championship, but I really hope that Hayes is main roster bound.
Becky Lynch vs. Tiffany Stratton in an Extreme Rules match for the NXT Women’s Championship: I can’t be the only person who watched the NXT Championship match and wondered how these two could possibly follow it. While I prefer the style of the men’s title match, I can’t argue with anyone who enjoyed this match more. Lynch and Stratton had a hell of an extreme rules match and closed the show in memorable fashion. What a one-two punch to close. Fantastic. Lynch is among the best in the world, and Stratton has really stepped up and shined during both of their matches. Stratton displayed a toughness in this gritty match that she hasn’t had a chance to show before.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing Lorenzo vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed vs. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Bronco Nima and Lucien Price for the NXT Tag Team Titles: I was grumbling to myself during the entrances about NXT going with a four-way tag team match rather than a traditional tag team match. But then these four teams went out and had a good match. It’s especially impressive that newcomers Nima and Price were able to pull off their part in a match that had so many moving parts. As much as the traditionalist in me still wants to see more standard tag team matches, I did enjoy this match despite some of the expected hiccups that come with having four teams.
Bron Breakker vs. Baron Corbin: They got the show off to a hot start with a good brawl that exceeded my expectations. The interference finish with Mr. Stone was disappointing, but at least it was logical given the current storyline that his guy Von Wagner is still recovering from a Breakker attack. Here’s hoping this was Breakker’s swan song in NXT. He’s been spinning his wheels for months creatively and it feels like he’s more than ready for the main roster.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Trick Williams for the NXT North American Championship: NXT creative opted to strike while the iron is hot with Williams. Unfortunately, they also overbooked this match. The wrestlers did a nice job, but I really could have done without the needless ref bumps. While I get that it was meant to fool viewers into thinking that Williams would get a visual pinfall before losing, I think the crowd would have popped even louder had Williams simply won clean without all of the unnecessary referee drama. I’m surprised they didn’t tell a story with Williams chasing Dom as opposed to winning it in a match where he was a late replacement for Mustafa Ali. That said, Williams is as over as anyone in NXT and it was fun to see him win a title in his most high profile match to date.
Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan: A soft Hit for solid pre-show outing with Davenport getting a solid match out of the impressive prospect. Jordan rose to the occasion while working her first PLE match. Working with the veteran Davenport was surely helpful. The post match attack by Gigi Dolin on Davenport extends their feud. It will be interesting to see what’s next for Jordan now that Dana Brooke was released before they could have their feud. Despite my praise for the match, do we really need one-hour Kickoff Shows?
NXT No Mercy Misses
Noam Dar vs. Butch for the NXT Heritage Cup: The body of the match was really good and Hit worthy, but they lost me with that lousy Gallus interference finish. I wish that many pro wrestling companies would stop going overboard to protect babyfaces when they lose. There are certainly times when it’s appropriate, but it’s just so overdone that it loses its effect and leave the viewers more frustrated with the promotion than angry with the heels.