Powell’s NXT Hit List: 25-man battle royal for a shot at the NXT Championship at NXT Heatwave, Kelani Jordan vs. Michin for the North American Championship

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

NXT Hits

25-man battle royal for a shot at the NXT Championship at NXT Heatwave: The mystery of which TNA wrestlers would enter the battle royal was the biggest hook of this episode. As such, it was surprising to see the battle royal open the show. It made a little more sense when the main event stemmed from the way the battle royal played out, but this felt like the peak of the show and one has to wonder if this move cost them viewers throughout the remainder of the show. Joe Hendry being eliminated so quickly was surprising, as was the online footage of the backstage meltdown he had given that he’s been the happy-go-lucky babyface in TNA. I’m surprised they didn’t have Hendry and Frankie Kazarian swap roles in the battle royal, but we’ll see where it goes. This was pretty standard as far as battle royals go, but Evans going over and earning a title shot was a welcome move. Well, at least in the moment.

Kelani Jordan vs. Michin for the North American Championship: A good outing for the new champion. The veteran Michin obviously deserves a lot of credit, but Jordan continues to impress. The protection finish with Jaida Parker interfering felt unnecessary. Why not give the young champion a clean win and find another way to set up Michin vs. Parker? As impressive as Jordan is at this stage of her development, I do have some concern that the creative team repeated the mistake they made when they rushed the NXT Women’s Championship onto Roxanne Perez. In most cases, it’s better to take viewers on a journey with young wrestlers as opposed to rushing to the payoff of their first title win.

Ethan Page vs. Je’Von Evans: By the end of the night, it looked like Evans’ battle royal win was meant to justify his spot in a Triple Threat or even a four-way match for the NXT Title. Page beating Evans in a quality main event seemed to set up Page being in the title match, and Evans was protected via his rib injury. I’m not sure if they can come up with a good reason to add the Shawn Spears character if that’s they are going with a four-way.

Andre Chase and Duke Hudson vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: A solid match. NXT has too many interference or distraction finishes for my taste, but at least this one served a purpose. Ridge Holland helping Hudson get a leverage pin was a mild surprise. But what was the point of both men lying when Chase asked them about it later in the show? Are we supposed to believe that Chase doesn’t watch the show or that no one would tell him how the finish transpired?

NXT Misses

Roxanne Perez and Lola Vice vs. Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson vs. Jacy Jayne and Jasmyn Nyx in a Triple Threat tag team match: A three-way tag team match involving three heel teams? The wrestlers did a good job and it’s encouraging to see the improvement of Legend, but I’m not sure what viewers were supposed to feel with no babyfaces involved.

Oba Femi and Wes Lee verbal exchange: A soft Miss. Brooks Jensen causing a commotion in the bleachers and being tackled by security distracted the crowd and broke up Femi and Lee’s rhythm. Putting that aside, this was a wordy promo that overstayed its welcome. Femi is a dominant powerhouse and Lee is the hardworking former babyface champion. Lee’s only title shot came in a Triple Threat and he didn’t factor into the finish. Shouldn’t the dominant champion welcome the challenge of the former champion? Given that Lee has only had the one title shot, it felt premature for Femi to be so adamant about this being Lee’s final shot at the title.

Fallon Henley vs. Carlee Bright: The match was fine. The Miss is more about the direction of Henley. Her heel turn didn’t lead to a meaningful feud and winning this match over NXT Chipper Cheerleader No. 2 changes nothing. Henley was a great babyface who took whatever creative gave her and made it work. Her heel turn was welcome because it came with the assumption that there was actually a creative plan for her. There clearly was no plan and now it’s hard not to wonder what the point of the turn was.

Overall Show: A soft Miss. There was some buzz about this show due to the ongoing working relationship between NXT and TNA. The fun was over from that standpoint once the battle royal concluded, and there were no teases for additional appearances for next week’s show. I went into this episode more excited about the NXT product than I was by the end of the episode.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. Well said, Powell-a-mino.
    The poison rana and subsequent kickout felt really out of place in the Michin-Jordan match.It felt like Aew. No bueno.

  2. I find NXT VERYYYY hit or miss in the past year or so

    Jason, do you see an upgrade in the fall when they move to the CW? And get treated as more of a “third brand” or do you think NXT will continue to be an on air proving ground with mixed results?

    • I’m sure they’ll load things up to start on CW, then most likely settle into normalcy. It all depends how much of a priority they choose to make the show.

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