Powell’s NXT Hit List: Wes Lee vs. Joe Coffey vs. Josh Briggs for a shot at the NXT North American Title, Thea Hail vs. Fallon Henley, and Brinley Reece vs. Jaida Parker in NXT Women’s North American Title qualifiers

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

NXT Hits

Lexis King vs. Dante Chen: Chen was really over with the WWE Performance Center crowd, presumably through his work on NXT Level Up. The live crowd’s reaction to Chen’s entrance made him feel like a big deal when he was introduced as King’s surprise opponent. Only time will tell whether Chen connects with the television viewers as much as he’s gotten over with the small crowd in Orlando, but this got him off to a nice start.

Fallon Henley vs. Thea Hail in a qualifier for the ladder match to become the first NXT Women’s North American Champion: They opened the show with a quality match. Henley advancing to the ladder match was the right move coming off her recent heel turn, but I’m surprised that they didn’t find a spot for Hail in the ladder match. Henley needs more mic time to establish her new heel persona.

Trick Williams, Je’Von Evans, and Gallus segment: Williams fired off some nice one-liners at three of the Meta Four members prior to the Gallus attack. Gallus really struggled to get over before they took time away from television. While the jury is still out as to whether things will go better this time around, it’s good to see them get another opportunity. Evans being in the orbit of the NXT Champion can only help the rising star newcomer.

Shayna Baszler and Lola Vice vs. Natalya and Karmen Petrovic: A soft Hit. The attempt to use Baszler and Natalya to give rub to Vice and Petrovic continues. While I get the idea of putting the main roster wrestlers in a prominent position, this felt out of place in the main event slot. The veterans did a nice job with the developmental duo. The babyface team going over was necessary to set up the post match angle with Baszler and Vice.

Ava: Yes, we all know why she was given the general manager role, but that doesn’t mean her improvement should not be acknowledged. Ava has gone from looking nervous and camera shy to delivering her lines with more confidence and poise. It still annoys me that the creative forces never took the time to explain her quick transition from Joe Gacy cultist to Shawn Michaels’ assistant and then to the general manager position. Nevertheless, Ava has stepped up her game and is much easier to accept in her role.

NXT Misses

Wes Lee vs. Joe Coffey vs. Josh Briggs in a Triple Threat for a shot at the NXT North American Championship: Good action until the convoluted finish with Mark Coffey and Wolfgang interfering, which led to a Lee and Joe Coffey simultaneously pinning Briggs. The finish was a groaner and set up yet another Triple Threat for Battleground.

Axiom and Nathan Frazer vs. Channing Lorenzo and Luca Crusifino for the NXT Tag Team Titles: An enjoyable match until the weak distraction finish. It would have been a nice boost for Axiom and Frazer to simply go over clean. Rather, Lorenzo and Crusifino were protected by the No Quarter Catch Crew interference, and then Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson laid out the new champions. This worked in terms of setting up future matches for all of these teams, but the new champions didn’t gain anything from the way they won the match.

Brinley Reece vs. Jaida Parker in a qualifier for the ladder match to become the first NXT Women’s North American Champion: The match felt more competitive than it needed to be and failed to pull in the live crowd. The alliance between the obnoxiously happy Reece with Edris Enofe and Malik Blade does nothing for this viewer. On the bright side, the impressive Parker went over clean.


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