Powell’s NXT Hit List: Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes in a steel cage match, NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Je’Von Evans in a non-title match, Sol Ruca vs. Lola Vice, Noam Dar vs. Dijak


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

NXT Hits

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Je’Von Evans in a non-title match: Evans is off to a great start in NXT. The crowd reacted for him taking the open challenge and he shined in defeat. Vic Joseph has done a nice job of framing Evans as a 19 year-old rookie, so there’s no shame in him losing a competitive match to the NXT Champion.

Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes in a steel cage match: A good match capped off with a decisive win for Williams. I could have done without Hayes’s personal security getting involved because it beats the point of having a cage match to begin with. Fortunately, they didn’t factor into the finish, which logically saw Williams go over heading into his NXT Championship match with Ilja Dragunov. In fact, I was left wondering why they didn’t come up with a way to make this a No. 1 contender match.

Noam Dar vs. Dijak: A strong opening match until the weak distraction finish. Granted, the numbers game is Meta Four’s thing, but Dar could be more than a pest heel if they would just give him some clean wins over the right opponents. Dijak is clicking with the live crowd despite his clunky comic book persona. Hopefully he can make some tweaks so that it feels like he’s a real person rather than a guy playing a character.

Tatum Paxley video/promo: An unexpectedly great reframing of the character. The Paxley act did nothing for me when it seemed like she was just a Lyra Valkyria stalker, but the reveal that she’s actually obsessed with the NXT Women’s Championship and therefore those who hold the title was cool twist. The promo helped explain why she abruptly turned on Valkyria last week, and it was also a good move to establish that she now wants the title for herself.

Ivar vs. Josh Briggs: A good showing for Briggs before Ivar beat him clean in the end. The Raw creative team isn’t being helpful when it comes to building up Ivar for his match with Oba Femi, so he really needed this win.

Andre Chase and Thea Hail: A degenerate gambler turned embezzler with a heart of gold. Chase may have a future in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ front office. No, I didn’t just include these two in the Hit section so I could get that bad line out of my system. The premise of Chase U is ridiculous. Chase’s gambling storyline is asinine. And yet despite all the oddball material they are given, Chase and Hail are so likable that they continue to make it work.

“AOP” Akam and Rezar vs. Malik Blade and Edris Enofe: A soft Hit for AOP getting the dominant win they needed. The suicide dive turned battering ram spot was crazy. Destroyed by AOP while being paired with Brinley Reece… Who did Blade and Enofe piss off?

Ridge Holland vs. Joaquin Wilde: A soft Hit for a solid win for Holland as they continue to tell the story of him embracing his dark side. The story has dragged on, but it feels like they are finally moving closer to the end of this strange saga.

NXT Misses

Tony D’Angelo and No Quarter Catch Crew: Shots fired at Drew Gulak. Damn. Those jabs were the most interesting part of this ice cold verbal exchange. D’Angelo has his act down and did his part, but Charlie Dempsey struggled to hold up his end.

Lola Vice vs. Sol Ruca: A distraction finish in the opening match followed by a match that concluded with blatant interference by Blair Davenport right in front of the referee, who oddly just counted the pin that followed as if nothing out of the ordinary had taken place. We were only two matches in at this point in the show and I was already begging for a clean finish.

Tatum Paxley vs. Thea Hail: Hey, another distraction finish. Make it stop. Why take all of the attention away from Paxley’s win on the same night they did such a good job of reframing her character?

Arianna Grace and Gigi Dolin: So the main roster is pro wrestling and NXT is sports entertainment? Strange. Grace is very talented. I just wish they would drop the beauty pageant aspect and try to make her feel like a real person.


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