SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
SOLO SIKOA vs. GREYSON WALLER
Both Solo Sikoa and Greyson Waller are two of the most polished acts in NXT, so I applaud NXT for booking this match first. You know you’re going to get a great performance out of them, starting the show out on the right foot.
Sikoa took the majority of the offense in the beginning of the match until Waller began attacking the unprotected feet of Sikoa, as Sikoa wrestles barefoot. The two had a pretty awesome back and forth match from there with Waller getting the win after Sikoa’s face found an exposed turnbuckle.
I think this was a good way to book a loss for Sikoa. Keep him strong by not having him lose cleanly. This both gets heat on Waller and protects Sikoa as they progress towards superstardom.
KATANA CHANCE & KAYDEN CARTER vs. YULISA LEON & VALENTINA FEROZ
Credit to both teams for stepping up their attire game recently. Both teams have flashier and more elaborate entrance and ring attire which helps them stand out from the rest. The Women’s Tag division in NXT isn’t setting the world on fire by any stretch, so it’s good to see these four women trying to endear themselves to the audience as best as they can.
Carter & Chance are one of my favorite female teams in the company. They may not be the greatest between the ropes, but they have the charisma and athleticism to stand out. Feroz & Leon are also progressing relatively well, Leon perhaps a bit moreso. You can tell they’re hungry to make it in this business.
A decent match with a couple false finishes to make you think Feroz & Leon had a chance. Ultimately, this was a match to continue to build up Carter & Chance, hopefully to another tag team title shot.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
DAMON KEMP & RODERICK STRONG vs. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA
Two of my favorite storylines converge in this match up. First we have the imploding Diamond Mine, wondering whether Roddy can keep his hold over his own stable. And then we have Legado del Fantasma as part of their new family, the D’Angelo Family. The Family accompanied Legado to the ring in this matchup.
Both stories played into the match, with Roddy and Damon Kemp not exactly on the same page and the Family occasionally barking orders at Legado.
Damon Kemp stood out to me in this match. I expect a certain level of competitiveness out of Legado and Roddy. But with Kemp as the newbie in the ring, his crisp offense impressed and stood out.
Diamond Mine ultimately picked up the win here after a miscommunication between The Family and Legado. I’m really intrigued to see where this storyline winds up with Legado and The Family. It seems like its just a matter of time before Santos Escobar tries to reclaim his power.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
CAMERON GRIMES vs. EDRIS ENOFE
Merely a bump in the road for Cameron Grimes on his inevitable journey to the NXT Title. Edris Enofe is still far too low on the card to be a believable threat to someone on the level of Grimes. Plus, he’s a tag team competitor. Generally a tag team competitor in a match against a singles competitor the tag specialist comes out on the losing side.
That said, Enofe certainly gave Grimes more of a run for his money than I expected. He has the talent to be a superstar in the future. He has the charisma, the look and the in-ring ability to be a star. As long as the booking works out in his favor.
VON WAGNER vs. BROOKS JENSEN
Von Wagner has been feuding with Jensen and his tag partner, Josh Briggs, for weeks now. Jensen had a broken wrist, so this was the first time Jensen was able to actually get physical with the man whose eyebrows look like they’re trying to escape his face.
Wagner more or less dominated Jensen throughout the match, as he should have. NXT is trying to position Von Wagner as a massive unstoppable heel. Any offense or any loss that Wagner takes puts that in jeopardy.
I’m surprised that Briggs didn’t insert himself at some point during the match. He was barred from ringside, which usually means that they’ll find a way to the ring one way or another.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
ALBA FYRE vs. LASH LEGEND
Perhaps Legend’s best match to date, granted it always helps to be opposite one of the best that NXT has to offer, Alba Fyre.
Legend attacked Fyre two weeks ago and has continued to talk trash about Fyre ever since. Legend used her size to her advantage during the match, making it look like Fyre was in peril quite a few times throughout this short matchup.
The problem is that to me, anyway, Legend just isn’t believable. Sure, she has the size and she’s very athletic. But she’s still so noticeably green in the ring, especially when you contrast her with someone like Fyre. To a casual fan, Legend probably does look like a monster in the ring. But to those of us who aren’t casuals, it’s painfully obvious that she’s not ready for the spotlight just yet.
Legend used Fyre’s bat on Fyre during the match, causing a DQ. My guess is that we’ll see this match at least one more time to blow off the feud.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
TONY D’ANGELO vs. CARMELO HAYES – NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Don of NXT took looked to dethrone the “A Champion”, Carmelo Hayes in tonight’s main event. While I personally like the D’Angelo gimmick as well as his storyline with his Family and Legado, I can see why he may not be everyone’s cup of tea. His ring work is mediocre and his gimmick is admittedly a little stereotypical for an Italian, which probably makes him hard for some to get invested in.
While he has been booked strong, and I am high on him, I still don’t see D’Angelo as champion material. He comes across as a cocky mob boss who just hasn’t had his comeuppance just yet. Like his power trip will wind up coming to bite him in the butt. Santos Escobar, on the other hand, is somebody that you can see as a champion. Not just because of his lengthy Cruiserweight title run, but because he’s been able to make his character seem important week in and week out. He’s connected with the audience, which is something that D’Angelo just has yet to do. That’s one of the reasons I think that we’ll wind up seeing Escobar in charge of The Family and Legado before long.
All of that aside, Hayes just won the North American title back. For them to shift the title on to someone else this early into Hayes’ run just isn’t the greatest of ideas to keep the integrity of the title. Or to keep Hayes strong. Needless to say, I went into this match firmly believing that D’Angelo had no chance to win the match. Even with the numbers advantage of all five members of The Family/Legado standing ringside. Matter of fact, it was the group of people at ringside that was D’Angelo’s downfall in this match.
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