Mercedes Martinez def. Xia Li in a First Round Match
I had no idea Martinez was a Connecticut native until she made her entrance, so it looks like I'll be pulling for her in this tournament as a Connecticut resident myself. At any rate, this was fine while it lasted and pretty much what it should have been with Martinez picking up the victory and doing so in relatively quick fashion. Xia Li is one of the top Chinese prospects at the Performance Center, so expect to see more of her down the road after she improves.
Rachel Evers def. Marti Belle in a First Round Match
Evers has been a solid hand in the ring whenever she's surfaced on NXT (she is a second-generation wrestler after all), but this was a deplorable performance from both her and Belle. I was never a fan of Belle's work in TNA to begin with, and she was terrible here too, but Evers should take part of the blame as well. Most of the spots were sloppy, there was no sense of urgency and there was no flow to anything they did. I'm hoping Evers has a better showing in the second round for her sake.
Rhea Ripley def. Miranda Salinas in a First round Match
What was interesting about this bout is that similar to Abbey Laith vs. Jazzy Gabert from the first episode, they had that David vs. Goliath dynamic going for them, but in reverse: Ripley was the babyface and the smaller Salinas was the heel. It actually resulted in a very good match and a fun showcase for Ripley, who comes across like a star. She's a gorgeous girl who showed plenty of promise in the ring, so she should go far.
Mia Yim def. Sarah Logan in a First Round Match
It's super cool to see Yim in WWE at long last (thought she wrestled one NXT match a few years back) after all she's been through on the independent scene, and Logan is on the rise as well. At first, fans didn't have an incentive to cheer for one over the other since they're both babyfaces, but the hard-hitting style they worked and the intensity they brought to this bout helped engage the audience and made this a great match. It wasn't acknowledged by Jim Ross or Lita (though they did call it Eat Defeat), but I assume Yim using Gail Kim's finisher was meant as an ode to her.
I would say this was slightly weaker than the first episode, if only because this show was saddled with that awful match between Evers and Belle. Everything else, however, was entertaining and the main event was once again the best bout of the night. Ross and Lita aren't exactly gelling as partners behind the booth up to this point in the show, but as long as the in-ring action delivers, I'm content.