By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
NXT Champion Bron Breakker vs. Duke Hudson in a non-title match: A creative finish that I feel like I should have seen coming a mile away. I’m high on Hudson, so my concern going into the match was that he would be fed to Breakker. Rather, the creative forces handled this perfectly by having Breakker take a disqualification loss. While it was not the most satisfying finish, it was the right finish in this case because it played into the stipulation that Breakker will lose the NXT Championship if he is disqualified during his NXT In Your House title defense against Joe Gacy. I lost interest in Breakker vs. Gacy once Gacy became a cartoon villain, but this was still the right finish given the circumstances.
Wes Lee vs. Sanga: A quality match with good storytelling. Lee’s character showed heart by not only facing a much larger opponent and even had his ribs wrapped to garner even more sympathy. Meanwhile, Sanga went over clean and strong. I really liked the laid back personality that Sanga displayed last week, and he’s shown in-ring improvement. The post match angle with Sanga saving Lee from a potential attack by Xyon Quinn furthern cemented Sanga as a babyface.
Alba Fyre vs. Elektra Lopez: A solid reintroduction of the former Kay Lee Ray. The post match angle established friction between Lopez and Cora Jade, but it felt contrived that Jade just randomly decided to stand in the front row and eat popcorn while watching the match. Jade has upside and I get that her character is supposed to be spunky, but she and the creative forces need to make sure that she doesn’t come off as cocky to the point that she’s unlikable if they want her to remain a babyface.
Tiffany Stratton vs. Fallon Henley in an NXT Breakout Tournament semifinal match: Stratton had one of her better outings and continues to show signs of improvement. She has tremendous athleticism and possesses future main roster star potential. Henley is doing a good job with the character she’s been given, but hopefully she’ll be able to move on from the country boys soon.
Roxanne Perez vs. Lash Legend in an NXT Breakout Tournament semifinal match: Perez worked hard to get a solid match out of the green Legend. I wonder if the original plan was for yet another Legend vs. Nikkita Lyons match in the finals had it not been for Lyons bowing out of the tournament due to injury.
NXT 2.0 Misses
NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose vs. Indi Hartwell in a non-title match: A decent match with a flat distraction finish. The real Miss came after the match when Wendy Choo attacked Rose with a bag of balls to set up their title match for the NXT In Your House show. It seems like NXT creative is struggling to reset Hartwell following the release of her storyline husband Dexter Lumis. A non-title win in this match could have set up a rematch. Instead, Hartwell was pushed aside for Choo, who continues to be way more over in the writer’s room than she is with the actual fans.
Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo and Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade: It felt like Stacks and Two Dimes should have been showcased in a squash win rather than having a competitive match in their NXT television debut. There’s a lot working against Lorenzo and Donovan. Their matching outfits scream undercard henchmen, and they look like two guys who were picked to play parts rather than having characters crafted specifically for them. The turf war between Tony D’Angelo and Legado Del Fantasma continues to be farcical and they haven’t done enough to establish which side they want fans to root for.
Von Wagner vs. Ikemen Jiro: Given the heated nature of the match, this would have been a great time for Jiro to ditch the silly jacket and show off a more serious side of his persona. Sure, he worked a more serious style, but it’s impossible to take him seriously while he wrestles in a jacket. Meanwhile, I continue to be higher than most on the upside of Wagner. While clearly needs more reps, he has the look and size that will lead to him get every chance to be successful in the WWE system.