NXT HITS & MISSES 7/3:  Yim vs. Aliyah, Kushida vs. Jeff Parker, Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Breeze, Bianca Belair vs. Zuniga, Breakout Tournament continues

By James Myers, PWTorch Specialist

Trevor Lee (photo credit Bruce Mitchell © PWTorch)


Aliyah vs. Mia Yim – HIT: Well, they are sticking to their guns of establishing Yim and giving her some credibility. This match was set up after Vanessa Borne and Aliyah said some less-than-nice things about Mia Yim’s upbringing. Yim showed her anger and dominance at first, and Aliyah looked completely overmatched in the early going. Although I’m not sure if Yim is the future of NXT for the women, they have done a great job of keeping her relevant and giving her some much-needed momentum. She did tell the announcers on the way back up the entrance that she had her sight’s on Shayna Bayzler and the NXT Women’s Title.

Adam Cole Championship Tour Segment – HIT: Again a Hit with this as Cole is playing up the heel role big-time. Cole is going to Gargano’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and putting down everything in the town. Cole even went to the gym where Gargano goes to visit local talent from Cleveland. He told them to find themselves a new hero. Cole is great at putting himself over as the better-than-you type. Good heel stuff here.

Kushida vs. Jeff Parker – HIT: This is the last Kushida vs. random jobber match that I will give a Hit to. I understand getting him familiar with the NXT audience, but give him some credible competition or move him up to challenge Velveteen Dream. The match was good for what it was in getting Kushida established even further.

Killian Dain hype video – MISS: They tried to present Killian Dain as a monster here. While he is an agile big man, they may have already done damage to his character. From getting moved to Smackdown and disappearing as part of Sanity, to getting moved back down to NXT, he has lost some credibility. A program with Velveteen Dream seems to be in the plans, but I could think of a whole slew of wrestlers that would make for a more exciting and fresh match-up for Dream.

Isiah Scott vs. Cameron Grimes – HIT: A great introduction to these guys. No way I could give anything but a Hit here. I was really impressed with Grimes in-ring presence and what it seems his style is. Scott looked great here too and so this was great all around. My bigger concern is what they do after this tournament and into their WWE careers past NXT. The crowd was behind Scott a little more because they were probably more familiar with him. This match had great pacing and great bell-to-bell action. Clearly, if given a platform and some company backing, I feel these guys can achieve great success.

Bianca Belair vs. Zuniga – HIT: A Hit here as Belair completely dominated Zuniga and had the crowd behind her the whole time. She is a hell of a talent, but she has already seen some Women’s Title shots in recent months. She looked really good but it felt like the match was just there. Maybe book Mia Yim vs. Bianca Belair for number one contendership spot?

Matt Riddle training video – HIT: A Hit here as I enjoy these videos especially in the case of a training video. Riddle’s style is that of MMA influence, and is inherently a very credible and believable style. He has star written all over him, and he would shine even in the handcuffs of the main roster in my opinion. He will be holding some gold much sooner rather than later.

Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Breeze – HIT: A strong main event. Roderick is so underrated by fans , but probably not by his peers. Strong dominated most of the early going with his signature back-breakers. Breeze got in some good offense of his own. I’m glad Breeze is given a main event match on NXT, as he is skilled and can excite the crowd. This match was all someone like me could ask for as a proponent for bell-to-bell pro wrestling. Undisputed Era interjected at the end and caused a small distraction to Breeze just enough to allow Strong to get the win.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, I can’t complain because we got a strong main event. However, I am getting a little frustrated with the lack of high quality in-ring matches I’ve otherwise been accustomed to seeing. The main event was good along with the breakout tournament match. There has been a lack of big names recently on NXT programming and, despite that, they still have served up watchable programs. They have re-introduced Damian Priest (Punishment Martinez). They also keep establishing Kushida to the Western audience while also introducing the breakout tournament, which is made up of the young prospects in NXT and the Performance Center. Good show, but I’m begging the show to pick up a little bit. There were a couple matches that could have been replaced with matches with more substance and meaning behind them.

RECOMMENDED: 7/3 NXT TV REPORT: Grimes vs. Swerve in Breakout Tourney, Yim vs. Aliyah, Kushida wrestles, Belair vs. Zuniga, Cole bugs Gargano family

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