Powell’s NXT Hit List: Ilja Dragunov, Carmelo Hayes, and Tony D’Angelo segment, Noam Dar vs. Charlie Dempsey for the NXT Heritage Cup, Shawn Spears’ surprise appearance


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

NXT Hits

Ilja Dragunov, Carmelo Hayes, and Tony D’Angelo: The addition of D’Angelo to the title picture was unexpected fun. D’Angelo played his part well and it was a nice touch when he snapped his fingers and then Hayes’s security guards dropped off the apron and headed backstage. The segment set up next week’s Hayes vs. D’Angelo match for the title shot at Stand & Deliver. My best guess is that D’Angelo wins, leaving Hayes to face Trick Williams during the WrestleMania weekend event. Either way, I like that they’ve added another face to the title picture.

Noam Dar vs. Charlie Dempsey for the NXT Heritage Cup: Finally, the Heritage Cup has a chance to be something more than Dar’s comedic obsession. I like Dar’s work, but he was an odd choice to feature as the Cup holder while they were trying to introduce the rounds format. Hopefully this is a sign that Dempsey will finally be featured in meaningful matches going forward.

Shawn Spears attacks Ridge Holland: Spears was a hero for putting an end to Holland’s latest melodramatic promo. Holland’s recent sit-down interview was really good, but his act just hasn’t clicked since then. Meanwhile, Spears’ dark promo was a groaner. Even so, I enjoyed his surprise debut as Spears and I’m happy they didn’t revert to the one-note “10” gimmick.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade: A solid match to showcase Gallows and Anderson. The post match angle with teams bickering over who would get their hands on Gallows and Anderson was an eye roller and it felt appropriate when Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin stood on the perch and laughed at everyone.

Roxanne Perez vs. Jakara Jackson: A decent match aside from the one rough spot when Perez’s legs landing on the Jackson’s face and chest during the springboard moonsault. Ouch.

Von Wagner vs. Lexis King: More of an in the middle. A distraction rollup win for babyface Wagner? That was an odd choice. King attacking Wagner and Stone means we’ll be seeing this match again.

Jaida Parker vs. Gigi Dolin: Another in the middle for Parker picking up another win, albeit thanks to a distraction from the campy Adriana Grace character.

NXT Misses

Overall Show: The decline of the NXT product was on display throughout this show. There are a handful of hot acts along with others who are somewhat over to produce quality premium live events, but the weekly television show is not in a good place. There are some really cold acts combined with far too many new female faces who were introduced around the same time. I get that this a developmental brand, but most of the introductions of the newer acts have been rushed. Most of the newcomers in the women’s division have not been properly introduced and it’s now a struggle as a viewer to keep track of who is who. Hopefully next week’s Roadblock themed edition will breathe some life into the product.

Kiana James vs. Kelani Jordan: There were a couple of hiccups during the match, but it actually landed in the Miss section due to the apparent lack of interest from the live crowd. Jordan has displayed a likable personality in small doses, while James is one of the better heels on the women’s roster. The creative forces should be looking in the mirror when they wonder why these acts are not as over as they should be.

Dijak vs. Luca Crucifino: They lost me when they replayed the footage of Dijak keeping Joe Gacy in a holding cell, which left the broadcast team in a terrible spot. What the hell do you say about that nonsense? The match was well worked, but a pro wrestler lawyer who wrestles in dress pants and business casual shoes? Is this 1994? Awful. Somehow, things actually got worse when Gacy showed up in a straight jacket. This is the type of nonsense that you hope the non-fans in your life don’t catch you watching.

Lyra Valkyria and Tatum Paxley: These characters are not over and this segment died a painful death. Sure, the crowd came to life for the announcement that the duo will challenge Asuka and Kairi Sane for the tag team titles next week, but it sure seemed like that was more about The Kabuki Warriors coming to town rather than the fans being excited about Valkyria and Paxley getting a title shot. And why are they getting this title shot? They’ve teamed together twice on television and lost their last match to Gigi Dolin and Shotzi.


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.