Powell’s NXT Battleground Hit List: Trick Williams vs. Ethan Page for the NXT Championship, Roxanne Perez vs. TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace for the NXT Women’s Championship

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

NXT Battleground Hits

Trick Williams vs. Ethan Page for the NXT Championship: A good main event with the expected outcome. I was hoping that NXT creative would throw us a curveball in one of the two matches that closed the show. The ratings shot up when Page and Jordynne Grace arrived on NXT television, but they both lost and now it feels like things are going back to normal. It’s a good thing they are teasing Cody Rhodes appearing on Tuesday’s television show because the outcome of the last two matches could bring a halt to the momentum of the brand. Hopefully they have something big in mind for Tuesday given the extra attention the show should receive from Cody’s appearance.

Roxanne Perez vs. TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace for the NXT Women’s Championship: A good match that lived up to the hype despite the needless late appearances by Tatum Paxley and Ash By Elegance. I get it, they used them as an out for Grace losing and it will probably set up something for TNA Against All Odds. But while Paxley is talented, her act is not over, and I they didn’t even bother to explain why Ash was in the building. Given the late interference, I assume it was an easy decision to not put this match in the main event position.

Kelani Jordan vs. Sol Ruca vs. Lash Legend vs. Fallon Henley vs. Jaida Parker vs. Michin in a ladder match to become the first NXT Women’s North American Champion: Perhaps I should have figured out that the woman who had the Las Vegas inspired gear made for this match would end up going over. The match was better than it had any right to be given the experience level of most of the wrestlers involved. Sure, there were some clunky moments, but there was more good than bad. I was hoping that Henley would get the win since she didn’t get called up to the main roster during the draft. Jordan didn’t strike me as a favorite and I was surprised she got the nod. She clearly has future main roster player potential, but I thought the better play would have been to save her first title win for a time when the fans were clamoring for it.

Oba Femi vs. Wes Lee vs. Joe Coffey in a Triple Threat for the NXT North American Championship: An enjoyable three-way match. It felt fairly obvious that Coffey was in the match to take the pin, but the interference by the other Gallus members kept things interesting. Lee and Coffey took some big bumps for Femi and made the big man look great. I hope and assume we’ll end up getting a Femi vs. Lee singles match soon.

Nathan Frazer and Axiom vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the NXT Tag Team Titles: A good credibility building victory for the champions. They worked a crowd pleasing fast paced style and it meant a lot more for Frazer and Axiom to beat Gallows and Anderson than it would have meant for Gallows and Anderson to win the tag team titles.

Lola Vice vs. Shayna Baszler in an NXT Underground match: A Hit for the performances of the wrestlers. It’s a shame that Baszler has never been given the big main roster push she deserved. This was a shit show from a production standpoint. The last Underground match at the Performance Center was hurt by the darkness at ringside, so the production crew should have known better. It was borderline unwatchable when the wrestlers went to certain areas at ringside and the lighting for the actual ring area was also rough. Whatever underground fight club vibe they are going for isn’t worth making these matches feel like a chore for viewers to watch.

NXT Battleground Misses

UFC Apex: The timing could not have been worse for NXT to run the small room at the UFC training facility. Interest in the product was up and it would have been the perfect time for NXT to have taken the show on the road at a traditional venue, ideally in front of a livelier crowd. The production crew actually did a masterful job of making the Apex look as good as it possibly could (aside from the Underground match), but it still felt minor league, even by WWE developmental standards. Why didn’t they use seat fillers for the corner section? By the way, this was a good show, not a great show despite the heavy Hit count. The distraction finishes in the last two matches brought the show down a notch. Here’s hoping that there’s more to come with the NXT and TNA working relationship. It’s giving TNA a nice boost, and NXT would benefit from featuring more interpromotional matches.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Not a WWE fan, but I checked this out after reading this column. One of the better wrestling shows I’ve seen lately, and almost (almost) reminds me of the old black and gold NXT-level shows.

    Ethan Page, IMHO, is perfect for NXT, and could also be a good mid-carder on RAW or Smackdown, but I do think him losing since he just got there didn’t do anything to make Trick Willams look like he just beat a big name.

    The “underground” matches are as corny as I remember. Didn’t know Bazler wasn’t on one of the two “main” shows, but I get why she isn’t.

    Overall nothing on the show was boring, the men and women tried their best in each match, so congrats to all involved.

  2. I’m a bigger fan of contrived finishes than you are, Jason, as long as there is a follow up. It’s only when there isn’t that I have a problem with them. But I did give this a great show in the voting because I don’t pay as much attention to production unless it is interfering (eg the Lights Out match at the Royal Rumble in 2023). I was okay with the Underground match as a result. The only time I found a real problem was the one brief moment they went up the entrance aisle and the lights were slow to follow them. But that’s me.

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