NXT HITS & MISSES 3/24: Regal’s Consequences for Cole & O’Reilly, Shirai & Stark vs. Kai & Gonzalez, Lorcan vs. Kross, Moon & Blackheart vs. Martinez & Aliyah, Reed vs.Knight, Walter vs. Maverick more.


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DAKOTA KAI & RAQUEL GONZALEZ vs. IO SHIRAI & ZOEY STARK

Stark is being positioned to be in that main event picture right away, and if that wasn’t clear before this match it’s clear now. Gonzalez has looked like a monster as of late and the rookie Stark was able to take her off of her feet on multiple occasions. Not to mention, she looks like she belongs in the ring with the veteran, Dakota Kai. On this trajectory, I’m sure she will have big things in her future. She has lost every match that was against a non-jobber up to now, but even so she shows promise.

Kai & Gonzalez continue to shine as a heel tag team. They have amazing chemistry together, clear to see in both their verbal and physical performances. Gonzalez is one of the breakout stars of 2020 as far as I’m concerned, continuing to show her worth in 2021.

Verdict: HIT

LA KNIGHT vs. BRONSON REED

Knight comes across as the cockiest in the locker room, and his screen time is so refreshing compared to the rest of the roster. His charisma bleeds through the screen and comes across as a star. Whether he breaches the upper echelon of the roster is yet to be seen. But he has been the top guy in a promotion in the past and if his mic work stays this unique, he could really carve a great spot for himself within the company.

They were able to put this lengthy match together in such a way where both men came off looking good. They each got enough offense in on one another where they both looked strong enough. Reed is a reclamation project, so I didn’t want to see a loss here. But LA Knight losing was an interesting choice this soon after his debut. I think this is going to build to a Takeover match between the two with Knight getting a major win.

Verdict: HIT

KARRION KROSS vs. ONEY LORCAN

Earlier in the night, it was announced that Danny Burch had suffered a broken shoulder, kayfabe at the hands of Kross, and would be out of action for the foreseeable future. Therefore, he and Oney Lorcan needed to vacate the NXT Tag Team Titles. Oney Lorcan entered this match as a singles competitor for the first time in months against one of the top rising stars on the brand.

The last time Lorcan was a singles competitor, he was nothing more than a glorifed jobber. Tonight, he actually looked relatively credible against Kross! I was shocked, frankly. Kross should be plowing through everyone he comes in contact with on his road to Takeover, not bumping for a relatively weak former NXT Tag Champion. Now, selfishly, I’m not complaining. Lorcan is one of my favorite NXT underdogs. Seeing him get so much offense on someone the caliber of Kross was awesome for me. But for peoples perception of Kross, this should have been much more one-sided.

Verdict: HIT

WALTER vs. DRAKE MAVERICK

Imperium have been feuding with a few teams on the roster, one of them being Killian Dain & Drake Maverick. Last week, Imperium appeared to take out Killian Dain and Maverick was looking for some retribution this week. Walter took exception to this, and this match was born.

Maverick couldn’t have lasted 20 seconds before passing out to a single leg crab, losing the match.

Tommaso Ciampa’s music hit, and he sauntered to the ring wearing a Timothy Thatcher t-shirt. Thatcher has been out of action for two weeks now, seemingly at the hands of Imperium. Ciampa challenged Walter to an NXT UK Championship match at Takeover. Imperium beat him down and Walter ripped the necklace off of his neck a la Hogan and Andre before saying that he’ll see Ciampa at Takeover.

This should be one hell of a match, perhaps a match of the night contender. Tonight’s match was a dud, but the segment itself was more than enough to warrant a hit.

Verdict: HIT

NXT WOMENS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – SHOTZI BLACKHEART & EMBER MOON vs. MERCEDES MARTINEZ & ALIYAH (w/Robert Stone)

Aliyah’s usual partner, Jessi Kamea is out injured. So, earlier in the night Aliyah and Robert Stone paid Mercedes to be the muscle in the match tonight. It was nice to see Martinez back on TV, it’s seemed like months since we’ve seen her last. I’d rather see her in a singles feud, but if there’s nothing else for her to do then why not have her play a mercenary-esque character like this? You need a partner? Pay Mercedes. You need an enforcer? For a price, you can have Mercedes.

Didn’t matter, the champions retained their titles.

This match seemed like filler, I must say. Short, quick and just a way to get Mercedes and the new Tag Titles on TV. So, while I’m glad to see Martinez once again, the segment itself was a bit of a dud.

Verdict: MISS

JORDAN DEVLIN VS. KUSHIDA

Who is the real NXT Cruiserweight champion? The question we hope to have answered at Takeover where the two champions, Devlin and Santos Escobar face off. To remind the audience of who Devlin is, why not have him face someone like Kushida? The two have very similar styles and Kushida can certainly ensure Devlin looks good to any new fans.

Legado Del Fantasma’s involvement here was inevitable, and it ultimately backfired on them costing Kushida the match rather than Devlin.

Then, Shawn Michael’s music hit and he danced to the ring and pulled a ladder out from under the ring. He pushed it into the ring with Devlin and Escobar, signaling that their match at Takeover will be a ladder match. Considering he and Razor Ramon had the first televised ladder match in WWE, it was a fitting person to deliver that news. It also means that this should be an amazing match at Takeover.

Verdict: HIT

KYLE O’REILLY & ADAM COLE CONTRACT SIGNING

Adam Cole & KOR will be competing in an unsanctioned match at Takeover, as KOR is ‘not medically cleared’ to compete. I had a feeling it was going to be a street fight or something along these lines. The build to this has been a bit lack luster, so I’m hoping the match itself saves the angle. We’ve been waiting for Undisputed Era to implode for years and the angle deserves to be executed flawlessly.

Verdict: HIT

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