NXT HITS & MISSES 5/24: Breakker vs. Hudson, Wagner vs. Jiro, Rose vs. Hartwell, Stratton vs. Henley, Perez vs. Legend, Fyre vs. Lopez, Lee vs. Sanga, Blade & Enofe vs. Stacks & Two Dimes,

By: Nate Lindberg - PWTorch Contributor (@NateLindberg)


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EDRIS ENOFE & MALIK BLADE vs. CHANNING “STACKS” LORENZO & TROY “TWO DIMES” DONOVAN

The Don of NXT’s two lackeys, Lorenzo & Donovan, made their in-ring debut’s tonight against the already established team, Enofe & Blade. This was a relatively explosive and fast-paced opening match up. Enofe & Blade looked as good as they ever have in the ring, very smooth and crisp with their offense. I’m also impressed, so far anyway, with Stacks & Two Dimes. I was expecting to see a team that wasn’t quite ready for prime time, but “The Family” is surprisingly capable between the ropes.

Legado del Fantasma showed up on the stage just before “The Family” got their win. It devolved into a six-man brawl with officials trying to separate them. As speculated last week, this is not the end of the feud between these rival factions.

Verdict: HIT

SANGA vs. WES LEE

Wes Lee was manhandled last week at the hands of Von Wagner during his match against Nathan Frazer, sporting taped ribs to sell the attack. After that attack last week, he ran into Sanga back stage and challenged the big man to a match this week.

For the first time ever, Sanga looked like the menacing force that they seemingly want him to come across as. When he was with Greyson Waller, he was the most ineffective body guard in wrestling history. Tonight served as a reboot for him, even if he does seem to still be wearing gear that was left over from Braun Strowman’s run. Sanga felt like he was a major obstacle for Wes Lee, even picking up a win after chokeslamming the former Tag Team Champion with one of the best chokeslam’s I’ve seen since Sean Waltman sold Kane’s.

After the match, Xyon Quinn entered the ring and faced Wes Lee. Quinn was supposed to have a match with Lee the last two weeks, but Quinn kept ducking Lee. Quinn went to attack a fallen Lee, but Sanga came back and stopped Quinn in his tracks, defending the man he just pinned. This looks to be a potential partnership with the former MSK member and Sanga.

Verdict: HIT

ELEKTRA LOPEZ vs. ALBA FYRE

For some reason, Cora Jade was sitting in the front row for this matchup and was pointed out by the announce team to kick off the match.

Lopez still has a long way to go between the ropes. This may have been her best match to date, but that is largely thanks to the veteran Kay Lee Ray, now known as Alba Fyre, carrying her every step of the way. Fyre picked up the win, easily, within a few minutes and then retreated back stage.

Verdict: Lukewarm HIT

ROXANNE PEREZ vs. LASH LEGEND – BREAKOUT TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS.

Perez was up against a major obstacle tonight going up against the much larger Legend in the semifinals of the Breakout Tournament. Legend has impressed me during the last couple of matches. She’s come quite a long way from her first match a handful of months ago. Legend is still far from a finished product between the ropes, but the improvements are easily noticable.

Roxanne Perez is noticeably a step ahead of Legend in the right, both in and out of kayfabe, as she picked up an easy win and moves into the finals of the breakout tournament.

Verdict: HIT

MANDY ROSE vs. INDI HARTWELL

Hartwell has had a crazy year. Her family, The Way, is no longer in NXT. She lost her best friend as well as her husband, leaving her alone in the NXT environment for the first time in her NXT career. She challenged Rose to a non-title match to try and prove to herself that she can compete as a singles competitor.

For the most part, Rose and Hartwell had about 50/50 offense during the match with Rose perhaps squeaking out just a bit more than Hartwell. I feel like they could possibly be trying to position Hartwell as a potential contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, especially with how much offense she did get in against the champ.

The match itself was a bit clunky, it didn’t seem like these two had the greatest chemistry with one another. Not as bad as Cody vs. Miz from last night’s RAW, but close. Mandy picked up the win after some interference from Toxic Attraction and Chance & Karter fighting ringside.

Verdict: Lukewarm HIT

TIFFANY STRATTON vs. FALLON HENLEY – BREAKOUT TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS

Earlier in the night it was announced that Nikkita Lyons sustained an injury while training, and had to forfeit her spot in the tournament. Stratton weaseled her way into the spot, leading to this matchup.

I don’t think I’ve been happier to hear that an injury kept someone out of a tournament. Now, no, I don’t want to see anyone get injured. But, I am not a fan of Lyons whatsoever. I don’t like the gimmick and her in-ring work is awful. Tiffany Stratton, on the other hand, should have been in this spot to begin with. She has the sex appeal that NXT is looking for, an established character that actually works, and she’s not half bad between the ropes either.

Fallon Henley is improving week after week as well. To me, she looked on par with Stratton in the ring. Her offense was on point, and her selling made Stratton look like a million bucks.

Stratton picked up the win, meaning it will be her vs. Roxanne Perez in the finals.

Verdict: HIT

VON WAGNER vs. IKEMAN JIRO

Ikeman Jiro didn’t even wait for his musical que to enter the arena, he ran straight to the ring and attacked Wagner to start this matchup. Jiro and Wagner have been feuding for months, even dating back to before Kushida was out of the promotion.

Jiro only got a little bit of offense in on the big man, this match was exactly what you probably already expected it to be. A virtual squash match, showcasing the power of Wagner and the heart of Jiro.

Verdict: Lukewarm HIT

BRON BREAKKER vs. DUKE HUDSON

Before the match, Joe Gacy was seen talking to his two druids and congratulated them for the mind games they had played on Breakker earlier in the night. Like a polaroid of Breakker’s family thats over 20 years old, or a video of Breakker running a touchdown at an important game that his dad, Rick Steiner, couldn’t attend. No sooner did the match start, Gacy and his druids appeared on a platform above the crowd to keep the mind games flowing.

Hudson stepped up to Breakker last week, challenging him to a non-title match, leading into tonight.

The match was a little better than I expected. Duke Hudson doesn’t come across, to me, as a top guy. However, I feel like he was able to hang with the NXT champion in the main event scene, no problem. I think that also speaks to Breakker’s in-ring ability, as it takes two to tango. Breakker, even at his young age and how early he is into his career, comes across as one of the most polished male competitors, perhaps only surpassed by Solo Sikoa (in my opinion).

Breakker lost his temper after Gacy and his Druids interfered, and he picked up a chair to take out Gacy and his Goons. He then turned around and clocked Hudson with the chair, causing the DQ. If Breakker gets DQ’d at IYH, he loses the title per Gacy’s stipulation added last week.

Verdict: HIT

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