By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Josh Briggs vs. Carmelo Hayes in an Iron Survivor Challenge qualifier: A big upset. It’s great to see Briggs get a spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge. It was a overshadowed by Lexis King’s involvement, which seems to eliminate the theory that Hayes and King have been working together and conspiring against Trick Williams. Does this lead to a Hayes vs. King match at Deadline or will Hayes still end up in the Iron Survivor Challenge due to a last chance qualifier?
Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin video package: A good piece of production with Corbin laying out the differences in his lifestyle compared to that of the NXT Champion. I wish that had been given more time, but it effectively added a small layer to the Dragunov character.
Noam Dar vs. Chad Gable for the NXT Heritage Cup: The show opened with an enjoyable draw. I would love to see them run this back without any of the sidekicks at ringside. Whether it’s at the expense of Gable or another opponent, it would be nice to see Dar pick up a meaningful clean to make him feel like a quality champion as opposed to a comedy champion who always needs help from Meta-Four.
Lyra Valkyria vs. Xia Li for the NXT Women’s Championship: A decent match preceded by an attack angle that was intended to create some mystery regarding the outcome of the match. It didn’t really work, but I get the idea of trying. While Li had a stronger match with Becky Lynch on Raw, the important thing is that she followed it up with another solid outing that showed her improvement.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade: A simple spotlight win for Garza and Carrillo. There’s a lot of speculation that they could join Santos Escobar on the main roster. If so, here’s hoping they leave the silly scratch stickers behind in NXT.
Chase U investigation: A scandal that the wrestlers and the Chase U student section are privy to. Meanwhile, the viewers haven’t been told any specifics about the nature of the scandal. This is a strange storyline that I’m guessing would not be happening had it not been for Jim Harbaugh’s issues at Michigan.
Blair Davenport vs. Thea Hail in an Iron Survivor Challenge qualifier: The scandal storyline caused Hail being distracted due to the lack of cheers coming from the Chase U student section, which ultimately cost her the match. It furthered the weak story and protected Hail, yet did nothing for the person who actually went over.
Eddy Thorpe vs. Charlie Dempsey: The match was fine from a quality standpoint. But Drew Gulak’s crew lose so many matches that they feel inconsequential despite being so talented. Meanwhile, Thorpe still hasn’t connected with the fans and it’s time to consider shaking up his gimmick.