By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
“MSK” Nash Carter and Wes Lee vs. Jake Atlas and Isaiah Scott in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first-round match: NXT has been in dire need of a fresh babyface tag team. The need was filled with the addition of Carter and Lee (f/k/a Zachary Wentz and Dezmond Xavier). Atlas and Scott was a surprise paring and great opponents for MSK in their debut match, but I must admit that I wish Atlas and Scott had faced a different team so that they could have lasted longer in the tournament. Even so, this was the best match of the night and a hot debut for MSK, who should win or at least go very deep in the tournament. The only knock against this match is on the production side, as they didn’t get a good camera angle of the awesome push-off moonsault.
Adam Cole and Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first-round match: A solid match. This didn’t feel like a television main event, but obviously the angle with Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch attacking was the main reason this was in the main event slot.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Ever-Rise in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first-round match: A solid match between the heel teams. Normally, I would grumble while asking who the creative forces wanted viewers to side with, but it’s perfectly acceptable to have a heel vs. heel match in a tournament. Gibson drew mega heat in the UK with his promos. Why don’t we hear more from him in NXT?
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae: A good match with a bit of a clunky finish. The attempted interference by Indi Hartwell provided a reason for Blackheart to be temporarily distracted while on the ropes, but it didn’t really explain why she just sat there while LeRae set her up for the neckbreaker finisher. Even so, it was an enjoyable match and a good continuation of their feud.
NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a non-title match: Oddly enough, this match also suffered from a slightly off finish. It wasn’t enough to ruin this match either, but it was a rare off moment involving a Gargano match finish. Gargano is the perfect opponent for Lumis. Granted, Gargano, might be the perfect opponent for just about everyone, but his chickenshit, douchey heel persona meshed well with the Lumis act.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher: An intense verbal exchange hosted by Wade Barrett. Both men were believable. Thatcher did a good job of putting over the danger of the NXT Fight Pit match, though making a fuss over him being undefeated in the Fight Pit was a bit much since this is only the second time they’ve used the structure. That said, hopefully this becomes the go to match for big Thatcher feuds.
Xia Li squash: The production team is doing a fantastic job with the mystery leader. Li is doing her part by looking more confident and dominant since undergoing to barbaric training.
None: A strong show from start to finish. It was another fun Wednesday night with good episodes of NXT, AEW, and MLW television. Now if only someone could do something about Raw.