Powell’s NXT Hit List: Dragon Lee vs. Tyler Bate for the NXT North American Title, Lyra Valkyria and Nikkita Lyons vs. Blair Davenport and Cora Jade, NXT Breakout tournament matches


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

NXT Hits

Trick Williams, Carmelo Hayes, and Ilja Dragunov: NXT creative continues to get a lot of milage out of the mystery of which wrestler attacked Williams. All signs point to being Hayes being the culprit, as Hayes vs. Williams feels like the biggest match that the creative forces have up their sleeve.

Dragon Lee vs. Tyler Bate for the NXT North American Championship: The best match of the night. It looked good on paper and it was very good in execution. This was a good way to kick off Lee’s title reign. Bate is a tremendous wrestler, but his quirky persona really limits him.

Cora Jade and Blair Davenport vs. Lyra Valkyria and Nikkita Lyons: I wasn’t a fan of the segment that set the table for this match, but more on that later. The actual match was solid and the finish that saw Jade steal a pin from her own partner was nicely done. It showed that Davenport’s knee strike was enough to put away the NXT Women’s Champion, while also making Jade feel like an opportunistic player in the division for pinning her. The post match angle with Tatum Paxley acting like a deranged stalker of Valkyria was compelling.

Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, and Lash Legend vs. Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen, and Fallon Henley: A solid opening match with Briggs picking up a win over Dar to set up a Heritage Cup match. I continue to enjoy Henley and the country boys act, and it looks like Briggs is finally getting a decent push. Henley’s feud with Tiffany Stratton was also spotlighted nicely with their simple brawl to the back.

Oba Femi vs. Miles Borne in an Breakout Tournament match: This was a little more competitive than it needed to be for a Femi spotlight match and I’m surprised they didn’t put him in with someone smaller to help show off his size. But Femi went over strong in the end and it was a solid spotlight match.

Riley Osborne vs. Keanu Carver in an Breakout Tournament match: I guess Carver’s storyline mother was a big fan of The Matrix? The in-ring work was fine for a developmental match. The story of Thea Hail being smitten with Osbourne is campy, yet so is pretty much everything Chase U does and most of it works.

NXT Deadline recap video: I was in the middle on NXT Deadline, but it’s always smart to make a premium live event or a pay-per-view feel significant. Wrestling companies spend weeks selling viewers on the importance of the events and often just move on. This simple video package made Deadline feel like a big event while also helping bring viewers who didn’t see the show feel like they missed something while also bringing them up to speed.

Dijak vs. Eddy Thorpe: A soft Hit for the spot where the top rope came off and Dijak used it as a weapon. But Thorpe is not over. I hope this feud will change that, but he saddled with a weak character that just hasn’t clicked with the fans.

NXT Misses

Cora Jade, Lyra Valkyria, Blair Davenport promo segment: The live crowd’s apathy said it all. Jade’s promo was written in a way that assumed the live crowd was going to be invested in what she was saying. It was painful when she spoke about how the fans didn’t like her before and love her now while most of the fans showed disinterest. It was also rough when NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria came out to a flat reaction. The entire segment felt like a bad high school theater performance with the wrestlers delivering hammy monologues rather than being allowed to speak from the heart. NXT officials love to tout the depth of their women’s division. While there’s no denying that they have a lot of great prospects, there’s so much creative work that needs to be done because the number of NXT female wrestlers who are actually over can be counted one one hand. On the bright side, the match that this segment set up successfully established Davenport, Jade, and Tatum Paxley as meaningful challengers for Valkyria.

Ava: She went from being in Joe Gacy’s awful cult to suddenly playing an advisor to Shawn Michaels last week to now having the power to make matches. Ava clearly needed a fresh start coming out of the kooky cult. But is it too much to ask for some storyline explanation of why she was given this power? I don’t mind a slow developing story, but that’s not what this is. The wrestlers she interacts with aren’t even questioning why her character has stroke. And her first major act as an authority figure was baffling, as she rewarded Lexis King for attacking Breakout Tournament entrant Trey Bearhill by having King replace Bearhill in the tournament.

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