Man, it’s great to see NXT back on the road again. I’ve been very clear about my feelings when it comes to the crowds at the Capitol Wrestling Center. Now that they’re back in front of bigger crowds, featuring fans that aren’t the same people sitting in the same seats all the time, I’m hoping to experience some of that old NXT magic again. We shall see.
Wes Lee vs Dijak – NXT North American Title Match
Pros: – The Crowd. Right off the bat, they’re loud and excited to see some NXT action. So far, so good.
– Clash of styles. Not to be confused with AJ Styles’ Styles Clash. When done right, the “speed vs power” matchups in wrestling are a ton of fun.
– High energy. This was a great choice for a show opener. Lee’s offense is as exciting as it gets, and Dijak is wrestling with a chip on his shoulder.
– Believable near falls. Several of them for both men. Lots of drama.
– The right man won. I really like Dijak, but Wes Lee is cooking right now, and he deserves to continue his title reign.
Cons: – Referee Adrian Butler. He’s not doing anything wrong. He just looks like actor Rahul Kohli, so it’s distracting me. I keep waiting for something supernatural to happen after seeing Kohli in things like iZombie, The Haunting Of Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass.
Match Rating: 4.25 Stars. We get the show started with a banger. I can’t complain about a lot here. As I said, the right man won, but Dijak got to look like an absolute monster in a loss. He continues to need that as he tries to wash the stink of Retribution off of him. Unfortunately, the middle finger on Dijak’s left hand is now bent at a 45-degree angle, so that might derail him for a bit. Quite the gruesome looking injury.
Katana Chance & Kayden Carter vs Kiana James & Fallon Henley – NXT Women’s Tag Team Title Match
Pros: – The in-ring chemistry of the champions. Chance and Carter started off slowly as a team, but they have gotten so much better as the months go on. They’re a real deal tag team now, with great double-team offense and the ability to seemingly know what each other is thinking without saying a word. They’ve become a lot of fun to watch.
Cons: – Unenviable spot on the card. There’s a lot of pressure on competitors to perform to begin with, but having to follow that opener? Multiply that pressure by a lot.
– The crowd. Considerably less noisy than they were in the first match. Maybe it’s because they’re exhausted from that one, or maybe it’s because James and Henley are nowhere near ready enough for a spot like this and the fans don’t really have a connection with them yet. Either way, there’s lots of silence here, especially when James and Henley are on offense.
– The wrong team won. As I said, I don’t feel Henley and James are quite ready for this type of spot yet, let alone actually being the champions. Yikes. Perhaps this means Chance and Carter are main roster bound.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. It was fun, and seemed to be building a bit, before a sudden ending. As I said, maybe this means Chance and Carter are headed to Raw or Smackdown sooner than we expected. I’m going to give the new champions a chance. I said I don’t feel they’re ready for this, but not because they’re awful or anything. They just needed more seasoning, so to speak. We’ll see what their reign looks like.
Apollo Crews vs Carmelo Hayes – Two-Out-Of-Three Falls Match
Pros: – Athleticism. The level of athletic ability on display in a match between these two men is about as high as you’re going to see with any one-on-one match in wrestling anywhere today. They’re very evenly matched in that category.
– Pacing. We’re still in the first fall, but both men are working their asses off. There has been a ton going on, but they’re acting like it’s the first fall to a finish. I dig it.
– Pacing, part deux. The second fall might be featuring more fast-paced and hard-hitting action as the first fall, even after everything they went through.
– The right man won. As much as I love Apollo, Bron vs Melo is the big money match in NXT, and doing it in Los Angeles, where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were recently teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers, just makes sense. Expect that to be mentioned at least one million times between now and WrestleMania weekend.
Cons: – This not being on Raw or Smackdown. Both men deserve the chance to be showing off like this on the main roster.
– Apollo moving down. Going from feuding with Bron Breakker to Carmelo Hayes is one thing, but going from feuding with Carmelo Hayes to Dabba Kato is another thing entirely. Yuck.
Match Rating: 4.25 Stars. The second banger of the night. I’m really surprised Melo won two straight falls to pick up the sweep, as I wanted the match to go longer, but this was so much fun. Both men looked like a million bucks.
The New Day vs Pretty Deadly vs Gallus vs Chase U – Fatal Four-Way Match for the NXT Tag Team Titles
Pros: – Plenty of action. As is almost always the case when WWE does matches like this, the action is non-stop, with people tagging in quickly, and nobody really having to spend too much time in danger.
– Pretty Deadly’s old school heel work. As teams are fighting on the outside, the announce table is set up for someone to go through it. After multiple teases, Pretty Deadly get the upper hand and they… politely put the table back to normal and clean it up to big-time heel heat. That was great. A minute or two later, Gallus would slam Duke Hudson through the table, anyway, but it was fun while it lasted.
– Pacing. This has been as rapid-fire a tag match as we’ve seen in a long time. There just aren’t any rest periods.
– The right team won. Gallus has looked really good since jumping to NXT, but it wasn’t leading to many wins. They’ve busted their asses, and it’s good to see them get the titles here. Not only that, but Coffey pinned Woods to win. That’s only going to help Gallus get over even more.
Cons: – Rahul Kohli is back. Looks like I’ll be distracted again here.
– Andre Chase not being the hometown hero he thought he was. The whole story for Chase U here is that Andre Chase is from North Carolina, and that Vengeance Day is in North Carolina, so he has “his” city behind him. During the pre-match introductions, Chase U was booed, and booed hard. It’s really difficult to get cheered when you’re facing New Day in a match, and he learned that tonight.
– Thea Hail’s vocal cords. Poor girl must be miserable after some of these shows. She spends entire matches at ringside basically screaming and screaming and yelling and screaming some more.
Match Rating: 4 Stars. Absolute balls-to-the-wall mayhem from bell-to-bell. That would’ve been really difficult to keep track of from a play-by-play point, so I’m glad I didn’t have to do that here. Lots of fun, and all four teams should be proud of themselves.
Roxanne Perez vs Gigi Dolin vs Jacy Jayne – Triple Threat Match for the NXT Women’s Title
Pros: – The champion is trying. Not just to have a good match, but to get the crowd to care. The second part isn’t quite working yet, but she’s still trying.
– The right woman won. Roxanne Perez is ready to carry the NXT brand on the women’s side of things. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne are probably main roster bound sooner than later. Having the champion retain makes sense.
Cons: – Jacy Jayne’s “acting” ability. In a locker room full of bad actors, Jacy Jayne might be the worst of them all. If there was ever a wrestler who should just stick to wrestling and don’t cut any promos or do any talking, it would be her. Even her facial expressions are ridiculously over-the-top like a child pretending to be a wrestler in the mirror.
– The crowd. Again, maybe the crowd is exhausted after a couple really good matches in a row, or maybe it’s due to the people involved here, but they’ve gotten quiet again. Dolin and Jayne have done good work in NXT, but crowds have a lot less reason to care about them without Mandy Rose by their side.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. Some slow spots, but it really picked up nicely once Toxic Attraction decided not to work with each other anymore. Good stuff, but a level below anything else we’ve seen so far tonight. That says more about everything else, though. Who steps up as Roxanne’s next challenger? Isla Dawn? Tiffany Stratton? Someone else?
Bron Breakker vs Grayson Waller – Steel Cage Match for the NXT Title
Pros: – The crowd is back. Kind of. They’re giving Waller heat when he’s on offense, and they’re cheering Breakker when he’s on offense. The problem is that their reactions are loud at first, only to fizzle out quickly.
– Grayson Waller. He’s such a good “arrogant prick” type of heel. The man is great, and he knows it. His moves, his facial expressions, and everything in between just get a reaction out of you.
– Bron’s finisher. Yet again, Bron hits a Spear that looks like it’s going to break someone in half. The man is an animal.
– The right man won. Waller will probably have his time to shine, but Bron vs Melo has been brewing for a long time now.
Cons: – Rahul Kohli again. Looks like he’s the ref in charge of closing and locking the cage door. Oh, joy. More distractions for me.
Match Rating: 3.5 Stars. Really fun stuff, but nothing that is going to change the wrestling world. As I said, Grayson Waller will have his chance down the road at some point, but Bron and Melo are the two biggest stars in the NXT sky right now, and it’s time they clash on NXT’s biggest stage at Stand & Deliver.
Six matches on the show, and I don’t have any of them rated below the 3-star mark. That sounds like a pretty good show to me. Two new sets of tag champs were crowned, and we also got the final brick put into place for the WrestleMania weekend NXT Title match. Bron vs Melo is going to be a blast.