NXT HITS & MISSES (4/16): Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes in a Cage Match, Paxley vs. Hail, Holland vs. Wilde, Noam Dar vs. Dijak, more

By Jason Goodspeed, PWTorch contributor


Noam Dar vs. Dijak: Hit

Great little man / big man fight. It almost seemed like Dijak was working as the face during the match-up. It’s still baffling to me that this guy hasn’t been called up yet (and no, I will not accept his Retribution call up as valid, since it was so bad). Maybe with the upcoming Draft, he’ll make the switch to Smackdown or Raw. The guy has great matches with pretty much everyone (I still fondly remember his series with Keith Lee as standouts!). I still say Noam Dar and Meta Four are a fun, obnoxious group. Noam looked great in picking up a big victory. I don’t think Dijak’s stock drops with the loss, based on the interference from Mensah.

Tatum Paxley vignette: Hit

My. Goodness. I LOVED this video! My crush on Paxley notwithstanding, the presentation and her delivery were incredible. I really like how much Paxley has invested in this slightly twisted character and I’m excited to see how far she can take it.

Lola Vice vs. Sol Ruca: Hit

Nice match from the two developmental talents. Ruca has great agility and Vice has improved a lot since her arrival. What is really the big news out of the whole match was the after match announce from Natalya that her upcoming match will dust off the NXT Underground format, while Ruca looks to work with Blair Davenport. I feel this is where the newcomers learn the most: working with the more established stars and both Vice and Ruca should come out of their respective matches better off.

Arianna Grace’s Gigi Dolan Conversion: Hit

I’ve read that a lot of people aren’t fans of Grace’s “beauty pageant” character, but I’ve been on board with it and I really like the different dynamic set in the situation: we’ve seen countless times where someone has to be someone’s valet, etc. and I can’t recall ever having the stipulation be a ‘beauty makeover’, especially with Dolan being so punk/rock/grunge. These have been fun for me to watch and I’m looking forward to the payoff.

Ridge Holland vs. Joaquin Wilde: Middle of the Road

This wasn’t a bad match, per se, but I didn’t feel it was great enough for a Hit or bad enough for a Miss. I still don’t know where they’re going with Ridge Holland, but I wouldn’t mind him associated with Shawn Spears. Spears seems to be about bringing the anger out of people and Ridge seems to fit that bill. Joaquin Wilde continues to be impressive and I’m hoping that any brand that he ends up on doesn’t make him job out to others all the time (I’m looking at you, Cameron Grimes!)

Je’von Evans vs. Ilya Dragunov: Hit

Man, this Evans kid is good. He reminds me so much of a young Kofi Kingston. Fighting Scrypts is one thing, going head to head with Dragunov is a totally different beast. He looked great in defeat and the crowd is already behind this young man.

Thea Hail vs. Tatum Paxley: Hit

I’m so happy I got two does of Paxley on this episode. It was a quick match that was pretty good while it lasted, but it was another match up that served mostly to continue the feuds between Hail/Jayne and Valkyria/Paxley. I’m glad Hail is back to her spitfire character and not the bad girl wannabe. She just radiates underdog babyface. And damn, I mentioned it before regarding Paxley’s vignette, but she pulls off the creepy, twisted character so well, inside and outside the ring.

Authors of Pain vs. Malik Blade & Edris Enofe: Hit

Basically a squash match, but another big men/little men match like the show opener. Blade and Enofe are spinning their wheels as Gatekeepers in NXT. I guess the train of thought is that really since Brinley came along, they’re on a losing streak. I can’t really see a heel turn, but maybe a character refining upcoming?

Ivar vs. Josh Briggs: Hit

Big ol’ hoss fight. I like the selling Briggs did on things like the splash he attempted. Too many times guys who are taped up always seem to forget that and only react to when their opponent’s target the affected areas. Ivar is so much fun to watch. No matter how many times I see him, it still amazes me how agile the guy is in the ring, especially off the top rope. The outcome of the match was never really in question, based on Ivar’s interactions with Oba Femi last week. Ivar and Femi should be a fun big man battle.

Carmelo Hayes vs. Trick Williams in a steel cage: Hit

Nice way to (maybe) write the final chapter in the Trick Williams / Carmelo Hayes storybook. If not, I can definitely see Melo interfere next week in Trick’s match against Ilya, Melo losing two straight to Williams doesn’t seem like something he’ll just accept and move on from. With that being said, I personally think this feud cannot continue too much longer. They told a great story throughout, but it’s time for new chapters for them both. I’m assuming Melo will be on his way up to SD or Raw, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Trick moved up, too, based on his overwhelming personality. I have to say, when the pair started out, I never in my wildest imagination thought Trick would turn into the star he is. A side note: as someone who lived through the generation of WWF/E cage matches where you had to escape the cage, I love this style where you have to win by pinfall or submission. If you young people out there never had to see the garish blue cage, you’re not missing out on anything.

Next week’s Spring Breakin’ Night 1 looks like another loaded show, I’ll be back after that for another Hits & Misses – have a great week!

RECOMMENDED NEXT: NXT TV RESULTS (4/16): Hazelwood’s live report on Williams-Hayes steel cage, AoP vs. Enofe & Blade, Vice vs. Ruca, Hail vs. Paxley, Dijak vs. Dar, more

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s NXT Hit List: Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes in a steel cage match, NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Je’Von Evans in a non-title match, Sol Ruca vs. Lola Vice, Noam Dar vs. Dijak

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