SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AXIOM vs. NATHAN FRAZER
Match two of Axiom and Frazer’s best of three series was the first match on the card tonight, and what a match it was. Just as high octane as their first match, this one incorporated many more submission attempts than the first. They were able to keep the match exciting while showing off their technical wrestling chops, which is not always easy to do — especially when it comes to the NXT crowd. They can be a tough crowd to win over.
Wade Barrett said it best on commentary. He said usually you get a technician or a high flyer or a powerhouse. With these two guys, you get a blend of all three. While I may disagree slightly on the powerhouse aspect, these two are an amazing blend of technical and high flying wrestling.
Frazer picked up the predictable win, bringing the series to 1-1. I’m very much looking forward to their 3rd match next week, as they put on two absolute bangers two weeks in a row.
TOXIC ATTRACTION (w/Mandy Rose) vs. IVY NILE & TATUM PAXLEY
Before the match, a video package where Damon Kemp revealed that he was the one behind the destruction of Diamond Mine played. Ivy Nile watched it, and was incredibly angry at what Kemp had done. She went into this match a little distracted, though she claimed she wasn’t.
With the story of the match set, the bell rang and a relatively mediocre tag team match took place. Tatum Paxley, while vastly improved from her debut, appeared to be the weak link in the matchup. Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne did a decent job getting a good match out of her.
Ivy Nile spent the majority of the match on the apron, trying to tag in. But Toxic Attraction split the ring down the middle and kept Paxley isolated from Nile until the end of the match. Nile got the hot tag, but it was too little too late. Toxic Attraction picked up the win.
THE DYAD (Jagger Reed & Rip Fowler) vs. EDRIS ENOFE & MALIK BLADE
Schism hit the ring and started flapping their gums about how they’re the ones to lead us to salvation or something like that. Cult stuff. You know how it be.
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade had heard enough, and ran to the ring to attack Schism. A Referee materialized out of nowhere, and rang the bell.
Enofe & Blade have really impressed me as of late. They work so well together as a team, and play off each other so well. Enofe as the cool guy, Blade as the total geek. It just works. The former Grizzled Young Veterans were one of my favorite tag teams in NXT, but it’s been really hard for me to get behind them as Rip Fowler and Jagger Reed. This gimmick is such a vast departure from GYV. At least it doesn’t really affect their in-ring style, I guess.
While I’m not sure GYV were the best choice for Joe Gacy’s faction, I still am enjoying the faction as a whole. Gacy needs to turn this faction a bit darker, like he did when feuding with Bron Breakker, if we’re going to take Schism for a super villainous group.
The Dyad picked up the win, as they should have. They’re higher up on the card and I think they have the higher drawing potential.
WENDY CHOO vs. CORA JADE
To (sorta) quote from Will Farrell during his short appearance on The Office: “I’m telling you, those two could be the stars of a show called ‘Wrestlers I Don’t Care About.’ ”
Cora Jade, while much better as a heel, just hasn’t completely won me over yet. She’s been coming off like a petulant 13 year old girl bully rather than someone who could be a credible threat in the women’s division. Wendy Choo? As I’ve stated before both in this column and on PWT Talks NXT, I love the woman behind the gimmick – she’s a fantastic performer. But this sleepy, mischievous character is just too unbelievable as a competitor for me.
To their credit, they did put on a halfway decent match with Cora on the majority of the offense, and she picked up the win with a good looking DDT. I was surprised that Roxanne Perez didn’t interfere, or attack after the fact, as Jade did to her last week. Instead, Lash Legend attacked her rival, Wendy Choo after the match to further their feud.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
TRICK WILLIAMS & CARMELO HAYES vs ANDRE CHASE & BODHI HAYWOOD
Trick and Melo made their way to the ring to declare that Melo’s North American Title was stolen last week by Sikoa and that Melo is still the A Champion. Chase U came out and tried to give them a teachable moment, which devolved into a fight. And then into a tag match.
Chase and Bodhi got in a ton more offense than I ever expected against Melo and Williams, and even squeaked out a win over the former A Champion and his lackey. I have a feeling this isnt going to be the last time we see Melo and Williams go against Chase U based off of this finish.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
VON WAGNER vs. SANGA
What happens when the two largest male wrestlers in NXT square off against one another? A clunker.
Two “monsters” battling it out always sounds good on paper. But more often than not do they turn into a slow, plodding, clunky match. Strike, strike, kick, strike, strike, kick, sidewalk slam, kick, kick, strike, clothesline. Very little move variety out of these two.
Von Wagner picked up a win, rather quickly, after a massive modified Death Valley Driver. With how they’ve been pushing Von Wagner this past year, this isn’t surprising. Sanga is more of a comedy act at this point than anything.
GREYSON WALLER vs. ORO MENSAH – NORTH AMERICAN QUALIFIER
To kick off the show, HBK met with both Carmelo Hayes and North American Champion, Solo Sikoa. HBK said that Sikoa won the title in a match that was not officially sanctioned on a brand that he does not belong to anymore, and stripped him of the title. Melo assumed he was going to get the title back, but HBK said he could earn it back at Halloween Havoc in a ladder match. And that there will be a series of qualifier matches to see who will be in that ladder match.
Greyson Waller kicked off the first qualifier match against Oro Mensah, a wrestler new to the NXT roster from NXT UK. The crowd was very muted for this match, not really caring too much about the debut of Mensah. Scattered chants for Waller could be heard, but largely the crowd was sitting on their hands for the entirety of this contest.
Which is a shame, this was actually a pretty good matchup. Mensah is a great talent, and very crisp in the ring. Against someone as good as Waller, I think this was a great debut for Mensah. He showed a lot of heart against Waller, who was in control for a slight majority of the match.
Apollo Crews showed up in the middle of the match to stare at Waller intimidatingly, while bleeding from his right eye… I’m not entirely sure why he was bleeding from the eye… but… this company sure likes bleeding eyeballs (Alistair Black and Rey Mysterio anyone?)
The distraction was just enough to let Oro Mensah pick up his first win in NXT.
TYLER BATE vs. JD MCDONAGH – NXT TITLE NUMBER ONE CONTENDER MATCH
Both McDonagh and Bate can lay claim to why they should face Bron Breakker next for the NXT Title, and it was settled in tonight’s main event. The two former NXT UK stars brought it in an a fantastic match showcasing the strengths of both men.
Easily my match of the night, this was a high flying, technical contest that brought shades of British Strong Style to NXT. After spending time together in NXT UK, these two men know each other very well and it clearly showed. Their chemistry was off the charts as far as I’m concerned.
“Fight Forever” chants broke out towards the end of the match, the crowd was into this match perhaps more than any other on the card tonight. McDonagh squeaked out a win with a Devil Inside suplex, meaning he’ll go on to face Bron Breakker for the NXT title. Makes the most sense, I think, as Tyler Bate is a bonafide face and trying to do a face vs. face match for the title, again, may not work.
Just as McDonagh was celebrating, Ilja Dragonuv returned from injury and confronted Bron Breakker and McDonagh in the ring. My guess? We’ll see a triple threat between these three instead.