By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Halloween Havoc Hits
Becky Lynch vs. Lyra Valkyria for the NXT Women’s Championship: That’s how you do it. They easily could have gone with a distraction finish that involved Jade Cargill, but they got it right by having Valkyria pin Lynch clean. Lynch was beyond generous in giving Valkyria such a big boost. Even so, it’s still all about the follow-up. As much as the goal was clearly to have Lynch make Valkyria, there’s still no guarantee that the fans will take to Valkyria as the lead babyface champion. No matter what happens next, Lynch did her part to create a new star. The added touches of the Irish pub shots and brief predictions from the fans combined with having Cargill watching from a throne helped make this match feel important.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Andre Chase and Duke Hudson for the NXT Tag Titles: The Chase U success story continues. In fact, both of these NXT 2.0 holdover acts have been far better than I ever expected them to be. Chase and Hudson going over was a feel good moment despite both teams being slotted as babyfaces.
Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James in a Devil’s Playground match: Wow, the devil’s playground was weak. I can’t get the image of the South Park devil character pouting while complaining to his lover Chris that NXT made him look lame. Anyway, the wrestlers made the most of it and put together a quality opening match.
Lexis King vs. Dante Chen: A soft Hit, as the match went about a minute longer than it needed to and was more competitive than it should have been. This was King’s night and he should have been featured in a dominant showcase match. Ultimately, though, I’m intrigued by King’s act in NXT and I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here.
Fallon Henley: Henley killed it with her Halloween impersonation of Tiffany Stratton. I continue to hope that Henley and Kiana James will get a chance to be more than role players in the crowded NXT women’s division.
NXT Halloween Havoc Misses
Gigi Dolin vs. Blair Davenport in a Light’s Out match: Apparently, a lights out match in NXT means they turn the lights down for another tame hardcore match. The wrestlers worked hard and the table hungry fans were invested. But what was up with Davenport throwing a chair at Dolin’s head? We don’t see unprotected chair shots to the head in WWE, so I suspect that Dolin was supposed to put her hands up.
Kelani Jordan vs. Ariana Grace in an NXT Breakout Tournament semifinal match: A soft Miss for a forgettable developmental match. On the bright side, they were able to get through a seven-minute match together. They should start working with more experienced talent once the tournament concludes, which should lead to them being involved in better matches.
Lola Vice vs. Karmen Petrovic in an NXT Breakout Tournament semifinal match: A soft hit for the brief match filled with a lot of kicks. Vice has shown a lot of personality to go along with the big kicks. And while the tournament matches have all been understandably basic, I do find myself looking forward to the finals between Vice and Jordan.
Booker T: Booker filling in the space in between the crowd chanting “Whoop That Trick” during Trick Williams’ entrances is fun. But why is he running it into the ground by forcing those lines into his actual color commentary?