NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa def. Grayson Waller (Non-Title)
Waller cut his best promo in NXT to date beforehand. He's been positioned as a babyface for the better part of the past few months and he's just so much better as a heel with this gimmick of his. He called out all of the NXT 1.0 guys and that segued nicely into this match with Ciampa, which was very enjoyable. Waller took the champ to the limit and Ciampa brought the best out of him. This reminded me of NXT pre-relaunch and what I think we should be getting more of in this new NXT.
Duke Hudson Agreed to Face Cameron Grimes in a Hair vs. Hair Match at NXT WarGames
Honestly, I'm liking the new look for Grimes. He always looked like he needed a shower, and while I realize that was the point, he's a popular babyface now and could've used an updated appearance. It may be short-lived if he loses this Hair vs. Hair match at WarGames, but time will tell. The "poker showdown" last week wasn't my cup of tea, but I actually really liked this segment and the mic work from both guys. Hudson needs to ditch the dumb power crap, but I'm happy he's finally found direction. As for Grimes, him showing more of a serious side has been long overdue.
Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter def. Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta
The partying gimmick isn't for me personally, but there's no denying that Catanzaro and Carter have been killing it in the tag team ranks this year and have been showing more and more signs of improvement with each outing. This was another solid showing from them and the duo of Hartwell and Pirotta had an out with Hartwell being too concerned with Dexter Lumis' well-being. I hope this doesn't lead to Pirotta turning on Hartwell because it's way too soon for that.
Santos Escobar def. Malik Blade
This served as a nice showcase for Escobar, but I can't shake the feeling that Escobar has no future in NXT 2.0. Truth be told, he should have been called up in the most recent WWE Draft, but reportedly, Vince McMahon has no plans to push him because he sees him as being "too old," which makes zero sense to me. It also feels like they're slowly making Elektra Lopez the focal point of Legado del Fantasma. She has potential, but the group should be centered around Escobar. Post-match, Kyle O'Reilly and Von Wagner vs. Legado del Fantasma in an NXT Tag Team Championship number one contender's match was set up for next week's show.
Cora Jade def. NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose (Non-Title)
This match didn't last long at all, which was disappointing. Maybe they can go back to it eventually, especially since Jade pinned the champ and has now earned herself a title shot. What we got from them was solid, but it was too short to be anything out of the ordinary. Rose should be protected more, but at least Kay Lee Ray's distraction was what cost her the win.
Diamond Mine Confronted Joe Gacy
This felt like it came out of nowhere with zero buildup whatsoever. Gacy hasn't been feuding with anyone in particular recently, but now he has a WarGames opponent in Roderick Strong. Diamond One was embroiled in a rivalry with Jacket Time and Odyssey Jones (who pinned Strong a week ago), so this is pretty random. I'm not even sure who the heel is supposed to be. My guess is that Strong will lose to Gacy and that makes me sad because he deserves better. The NXT Cruiserweight Championship is basically a prop at this point.
Ivy Nile def. Yulisa Leon
I believe Leon is one of those women that's been in action a few times recently on 205 Live. I know nothing about her, so it's hard to remember, but it's clear one of those Performance Center recruits will be utilized as an enhancement talent on NXT TV for the time being. It's been a while since we last saw Nile in the ring, but she's impressive and she looked good again here. More matches like this will help her out a lot in the long run.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen def. Grizzled Young Veterans
Grizzled Young Veterans have been doing this weird gimmick for a few weeks now where they'll attempt to con people in a series of skits. It's not awful, but I fail to see what was wrong with what they were doing before. They really should have been the ones to take the NXT Tag Team Championship from MSK instead of Imperium in my opinion. Instead, they're jobbing out to Briggs and Jensen, who haven't stood out to me at all yet. The match was decent, but I wasn't a fan of the outcome.
NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes def. Johnny Gargano and Pete Dunne in a Triple Threat Match
I was wondering last week why they'd give this away on TV and not just save it for WarGames, but we found out the reason why afterward. The match itself, as expected, was very entertaining. Gargano is back in his element as a babyface, Dunne always delivers, and Hayes is consistently hanging his own against the top talent of the brand. He's easily been the biggest breakout star so far of the NXT 2.0 crop of talent (even though he debuted months before NXT 2.0 started). It was then made official that the men's WarGames match will see NXT 1.0 (Gargano, Dunne, Ciampa and LA Knight) take on NXT 2.0 (Hayes, Bron Breakker, Waller and Tony D'Angelo).
NXT has been a chore to sit through more often than not since the relaunch with the show throwing a lot at you throughout the two hours, but I thought this episode did a better job than usual of tying things together while also featuring a fair amount of quality wrestling. The WarGames card looks like it's set and it could end up exceeding expectations. Next week's go-home show will see KLR and Dakota Kai square off in a Ladder match for the advantage in WarGames.