Powell’s NXT Hit List: Ilja Dragunov vs. Ridge Holland in a non-title match, Dragon Lee vs. Charlie Dempsey vs. Joe Coffey for the NXT North American Title, NXT Breakout Tournament matches


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

NXT Hits

Fallon Henley vs. Tiffany Stratton: Henley getting the upset pin took this from feeling like a program meant to keep Stratton busy to making this feel like a strong rivalry. The match was brief and yet fun while it lasted. Stratton got her heat back with the post match attack. I like the idea of the stipulation for the rematch being that the loser has to serve as the winner’s servant. Or at least I hope that’s what they are doing. Stratton said that’s the stipulation if Henley loses, but I don’t think they ever established whether the stipulation goes both ways.

Dragon Lee vs. Charlie Dempsey vs. Joe Coffey for the NXT North American: A solid match that established Lee as a fighting champion by agreeing to take on both men. The angle with Joe Gacy hiding under the ring didn’t get much of a reaction from the crowd. I appreciate that they are trying to do something new with him, but only time will tell whether he can overcome the stank of leading the lame cult faction that overstayed its welcome.

Lexis King vs. Dion Lennox in an NXT Breakout Tournament match: There was no mystery regarding the outcome, but both wrestlers came through with a solid television match. While I don’t know much about Lennox, he has a good look and showed poise for a newcomer. Meanwhile, King continues to play his conniving character well.

Tavion Heights vs. Luca Crucifino in an NXT Breakout Tournament match: A nice developmental match. Heights was showcased and he displayed good fire along with executing some impressive looking suplexes. They didn’t lean into Crucifino’s campy lawyer gimmick. I hope they’ve ditched that limiting gimmick, but it’s possible they just toned it down because this segment was all about Heights.

Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. Hank Walker and Tank Ledger: A soft Hit for a match that made good use of both teams. The Gallus duo played the veteran heels, while Walker and Ledger are the likable rookies. That said, Gallus still hasn’t clicked in the North American NXT anywhere near as much as they did in NXT UK.

NXT Misses

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Ridge Holland in a non-title match: I can’t believe they did a neck injury angle playing off of the life altering injury that Big E suffered when he was suplexed by Holland. I don’t care whether Big E approved of the angle. I don’t care if Holland was comfortable doing it. As a television viewer, this was a real turnoff. Not that I would have enjoyed this had it played out some other week, but I’m baffled by the decision to close out the final show before Christmas by playing up the idea that Dragunov may have suffered a serious neck injury. Gross.

Kiana James and Izzi Dame vs. Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail: Dame’s inexperience showed, as the match was clunky at times when she was in the ring. Fortunately, Hail seemed fine after Dame dumped her on her head during a basic spot early in the match. Dame is sure to improve with more reps, but the creative forces haven’t done her any favors by shoehorning her into James’ act without establishing who she is.

Nikkita Lyons vs. Tatum Paxley: I was tempted to give this a Hit because it was a good television match, but I don’t think the match should have taken place. Both wrestlers need wins. Paxley returned playing a character that is stalking the NXT Women’s Champion. The story should be compelling, by the creative forces have taken some of the edge off it by having Paxley lose both of her televised matches since she started playing this new role. If she’s losing throwaway matches on television, then why would anyone see her as a threat to the NXT Women’s Championship?


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