SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
CARMELO HAYES (w/Trick Williams) vs. AXIOM
What an explosive start to NXT! Both Carmelo Hayes and Axiom are two of the better in-ring performers that NXT has to offer. As you may expect in a match with these two, it was filled with high-flying action mixed with some great technical wrestling.
One wonders why Melo is still in NXT. He’s arguably the most polished act in developmental. He’ll absolutely flourish on the main roster under Triple H. Don’t sleep on Axiom either. While I don’t think the Axiom gimmick has any legs long term, the former A-Kid is an incredible talent who should also have a great career in WWE. Hopefully under a different gimmick once he hits the main roster.
Per usual, Trick Williams inserted himself into the match when the ref wasn’t looking allowing Melo to pick up the win. Which plays right into both his and Melo’s characters. Great opening match, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
NIKKITA LYONS vs. ZOEY STARK
Before Nikkita could even make her way to the ring, Stark attacked her from behind to try and get an upper hand. I have to give them a lot of credit for making this match feel a little more “real” and personal than a normal match. They have a lot of history together, and the match should have felt like a big deal. Kudos.
That said, it was clearly Stark who set that pace. Lyons, while improving, still has a long way to go with her in-ring skills before she’ll be at the point I think they wanted her to be at by now.
Stark picked up the second dirty win of the night, using the ropes for leverage on a roll up, leading me to believe that this feud may just make it to the Vengeance Day card.
KATANA CHANCE & KAYDEN CARTER vs. TOXIC ATTRACTION vs. IVY NILE & TATUM PAXLEY – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships
Without their leader, Mandy Rose, one of the big questions coming out of last week’s shock firing of the former NXT Women’s Champion is — Will Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolan flourish on their own? Or will they flounder and become just another tag team? Throughout the entirety of Toxic Attractions monopoly of the titles, Mandy Rose was the one directing traffic for the team. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to stand on their own.
Tatum Paxley and Ivy Nile have certainly caught my eye as of late. They’ve been getting more screen time both in-ring and backstage, allowing the viewer to become more attached to the characters. They’ve also been able to deliver in both their promos (they’ve been passible) and in-ring.
Katana Chance and Kayden Carter are one of the only female teams in NXT who’ve been together as long as they have. The crowd has grown to love the duo, and their title reign has been a great nod to what they’ve accomplished over the last couple of years.
The match itself was on the better side of fine for a triple threat tag team match with some great high spots mixed throughout. A brilliant finish with Ivy Nile locking Carter in a standing submission and Carter used the ropes to springboard herself over Nile and rolled her up to retain.
INDI HARTWELL vs. ELEKTRA LOPEZ
Elektra Lopez recently returned to NXT after a brief hiatus when Legado del Fantasma was called to the main roster without her. Which was the right move, she needed more work before she’s ready for prime time. Her in-ring work has improved, but she still has a long way to go. Developmental is the right place for her.
Indi Wrestling has been on a journey the last few months and has found a bit of a new edge to her. I’d love to see them lean into this a bit more and give her a decent heel run.
Speaking of heels, Lopez picked up the win after hitting Indi with some brass knucks behind the ref’s back. It plays into her crooked character, will do anything for a win.
ALBA FYRE vs. SOL RUCA
Earlier in the night, Isla Dawn attacked Alba Fyre backstage with a red powder to the face. While it took her down and brought her to medical, they still cleared her to wrestle tonight. However, it put the question into play — is she 100% going into this match?
Well, we never even got to find out. Isla Dawn attacked Alba Fyre before the match started and wedged her hand in the steel steps. She then used Fyre’s own baseball bat to then “break” the arm of Fyre.
While I’d like to see more of Sol Ruca wrestle, this was a great way to fan the flames for the Dawn/Fyre feud.
THE NEW DAY vs. JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN (w/Fallon Henley) – NXT Tag Team Championships
This may be the third week in a row seeing New Day in NXT, but it still feels surreal. They bring an energy to the product that no other NXT performer can even touch.
Going into the match, this felt like it was New Day’s match to win. Their skit earlier in the night with Pretty Deadly says to me that their feud is going to run through Vengeance Day, leading me to believe Briggs & Jensen had little chance to walk out victorious.
Briggs & Jensen brought out everything they had, including a massive moonsault from Briggs. But they were no match for the veterans who retained their titles, as expected. This may have been Briggs & Jensen’s best match to date.