Dolph Ziggler Interrupted NXT Champion Bron Breakker
Breakker's promo are always a highlight for me. He's just a blast to listen to and his intensity is awesome. Ziggler being in NXT (2.0) is still a strange sight, but as I've said before, it's a wise career move for him to help him rejuvenate his extremely stagnant character. This was a nice verbal exchange that basically spoiled the finish of the main event. I already expected Ziggler to win, but this simply made it official. They probably should have saved this for next week, but I get them wanting to feature Breakker following his win over Santos Escobar at Vengeance Day.
Grayson Waller def. LA Knight
It's crazy to think these two have been feuding since Halloween Havoc in October. They've managed to keep it interesting, at least in my opinion, and the double turn has helped a lot because both guys are killing it in their current roles. This was a good match with a smart finish, designed to put more heat on Waller and protect Knight in defeat. I'm fine with them building to another match, but all signs point to Knight putting Waller over on his way out of NXT (assuming he actually gets called up after WrestleMania 38).
Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray def. Lash Legend and Amari Miller in a Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinal Match
Shirai had to link up with KLR because her actual partner Zoey Stark is still out injured. Quite honestly, I'd have no issue with Shirai and KLR becoming a permanent partnership instead because Stark does nothing for me despite being skilled in the ring. I expect Shirai and KLR to make it to the finals before losing to Raquel Gonzalez and Cora Jade. This match was fine for what it was, but thankfully, it didn't last longer than it did. Having Legend do a majority of the in-ring work for her team was a questionable call considering she's still very much a work in progress.
Duke Hudson def. Dante Chen
So much for this becoming a full-fledged feud. Honestly, I'm not complaining. It looked like we'd get a match or two from them, but that's clearly not happening after Hudson straight up squashed Chen here. Again, I'm okay with it because I believe Hudson has more upside. Chen has shown signs of potential from the little that I've seen of him, but this was all about Hudson as it should have been. He's the one in the middle of a storyline with Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta right now, as silly as it might be.
Pete Dunne Confronted NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams; Cameron Grimes def. Williams
Hayes is one of the best talkers in all of NXT, so I'm all for him getting mic time in some form or fashion on every episode of the show. He's just that good, and Williams has improved on the mic as well. Hayes vs. Dunne was teased backstage last week, so Dunne interrupting Hayes made sense. They'll meet for the NXT North American Championship next week, making me wonder if we're getting a Triple Threat at Stand & Deliver. Hayes vs. Williams was decent and was designed to give Grimes a rebound win following his loss last week.
Nikkita Lyons def. Kayla Inlay
The vignettes hyping up Lyon's NXT TV debut didn't do her any favors as they were poorly produced and her backstory (regardless of whether it's true or not) didn't make me care about her whatsoever. That's in addition to her 205 Live matches not being very good. With all of that said, I thought had a passable performance in this match. Inlay scored more offense than she should have, but Lyons didn't embarrass herself and some of her strikes looked cool. She certainly has charisma, so hopefully she can put the pieces together and isn't held back by a bad gimmick.
Imperium Interrupted Diamond Mine Before Solo Sikoa Attacked Gunther
The Creed Brothers were celebrating their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic win with Malcolm Bivens when they were interrupted by Imperium. Creed Brothers earned an opportunity at the NXT Tag Team Championship by winning the Dusty Cup, so expect that match to happen at Stand & Deliver (though I'm not sure who fans are supposed to cheer for). Sikoa attacking Gunther was cool and set up their match for next week. I'm not sure why they'd give that away so quickly unless the idea is to do Breakker vs. Gunther over WrestleMania weekend instead.
Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter def. Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley in a Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinal Match
Paxley was a random choice for Nile's partner in the Dusty Classic and I assume that was done just to get another team in the tournament. Paxley stood out on NXT Level Up last week, so hopefully we get to see more from her soon. This was an acceptable match but hardly anything out of the ordinary. Catanzaro and Carter really came into their own in last year's Dusty Classic and they needed to advance to at least the semifinals. The partying gimmick isn't my cup of tea necessarily, but there's no denying their in-ring chemistry is terrific.
Dolph Ziggler def. Tommaso Ciampa in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
This felt like a main event straight out of the old NXT and that's obviously meant to be a compliment. This was easily the best thing on the entire show. It started slow, but once they picked up the pace, it turned into an excellent affair. Ciampa never ceases to deliver in these high-profile situations and Ziggler is clearly still capable of having great matches when motivated. Robert Roode helping Ziggler cheat to win was well done. I'd love to see Roode get another run in NXT as well because he was outstanding there the first time around and it's not like the main roster has any plans for him.
After an above-average Vengeance Day show, this edition of NXT was back to the basics. That isn't to say it was necessarily bad, but it wasn't terribly exciting, either. Rather, it was par for the course for NXT 2.0 and what I've come to expect with several up-and-comers being showcased and stuff being set up for next week. Only the main event is worth seeking out, but the episode on the whole was serviceable. At least we finally got confirmation that Stand & Deliver is happening. I'm not too high on it reportedly happening the morning of WrestleMania 38: Night 1, though.