Nathan Frazer def. Axiom in Match 2 in the Best-of-3 Series
As is usually the case in any Best of 3 Series, Frazer winning here to even the score was not a surprise. That said, I have no complaints because these two clearly have strong chemistry and I'm definitely down for a third installment. This was on the same level as their original encounter in that it was a fun spot-fest the crowd was into. It would help if their third match had stakes, such as a spot in the newly-announced NXT North American Championship Ladder match at Halloween Havoc.
Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jane) def. Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley
It seems like Dolin and Jane aren't officially members of the SmackDown roster quite yet, and if they are, then they're pulling double duty in NXT as well for now (presumably until Mandy Rose loses the NXT Women's Championship and then they can all go up together). As for Nile, it was nice to see her finally acknowledge all the drama going on with Diamond Mine. This was a decent outing while it lasted. Nile losing was certainly surprising considering how protected she's been over the last year.
The Dyad def. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade
The former Grizzled Young Veterans are still very talented in the ring, but this new gimmick of theirs with Joe Gacy sucks. Sure, I suppose it gets them on television, but I don't see this crap having a very long shelf life. On the bright side, this was a nice little spring with Enofe and Blade looking credible in defeat. Can we please get Enofe and Blade more character development that doesn't involve them simping for Toxic Attraction and acting horny constantly?
Cora Jade def. Wendy Choo
I know Choo is coming off a Lights Out victory over Tiffany Stratton a month or so ago, but I really don't have a desire to see her push (if you can even call it that) continue. She'd be better off repackaged because, like Schism, the act is awful. Jade, on the other hand, is someone who I absolutely see being the future of NXT's (and WWE's) women's division. She's finding her footing as a heel and this was a solid showing for her. Oh, and a Choo vs. Lash Legend feud sounds abysmal.
Andre Chase and Bodhi Hayward def. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams
At the start of this review, I mentioned that an NXT North American Championship Ladder match will be held at Halloween Havoc. The belt will be vacant because just as the show got underway, we were shown a segment backstage where Shawn Michaels informed Solo Sikoa that his title win last week was null and void because it wasn't a sanctioned match, which is completely stupid when you consider he defended the damn thing on SmackDown three days later. In that case, why take the title off Hayes in the first place? What a waste. Hayes came out to complain but couldn't get into specifics because I guess they didn't want to spoil the situation with the championship for the crowd (this show was taped last week). The subsequent tag team match was well wrestled, but I can't say I'm thrilled about Hayes getting pinned by Andre Chase of all people after basically going undefeated for nearly a year.
Von Wagner def. Sanga
Von Wagner lost his last notable feud with Sikoa a month ago, so I should've known that he would win here to get back on track. The thing is, he's just not worth the push he's getting. To his credit, he's definitely improved over the last year, but even with Mr. Stone as his manager, he's still beyond bland. I actually see Sanga having a brighter future and hope he gets more opportunities to shine.
Oro Mensah def. Grayson Waller to Qualify for the NXT North American Championship Ladder Match at Halloween Havoc
Mensah is the former Oliver Carter from NXT UK. I could have sworn he was among those released, but thankfully not. Let the record show that this means the name changes aren't stopping even with Vince McMahon gone, which is weird seeing as how Tyler Bate and Gallus get to keep their names. Nonetheless, this wasn't the most amazing debut for Mensah. Waller dominated a majority of the match before Apollo Crews distracted him from ringside and cost him the win. It furthered that feud, but Crews bleeding from the eye was pretty dumb.
JD McDonagh def. Tyler Bate in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
The match these two had at that NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II was one of my favorite matches of 2020, so I was stoked that they ran it back here. As expected, they had an excellent match. It was arguably one of the best NXT main events in recent memory. They received an ample amount of time, the crowd was hot for the nearfalls, and both guys gave it an outstanding effort. McDonagh winning was interesting since I'd rather see Bron Breakker vs. Bate II, but it looks like we're headed toward a Triple Threat also involving former NXT UK champ Ilja Dragunov and that has banger potential.
There was a ton of optimism coming out of last week's anniversary episode, largely because of how it ended between the NXT North American Championship changing hands and the debut of the new logo. Unfortunately, NXT fumbled big time this week with an abysmal episode. It opened strong and closed strong, but almost everything in the middle was mediocre and there were quite a few questionable booking decisions. It didn't help that it wasn't live, so hopefully they can bounce back with a better show next week when the latest makeover to the brand is seemingly complete.