Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Finn Baller and Kyle O’Reilly: A powerful verbal exchange for their NXT Championship rematch. O’Reilly showed good strength while talking about what winning the championship meant to him, and Baller responded to his rebuttal threatening to afflict O’Reilly with breaking his jaw. It was excellent. The interruption by Karrion Kross and Scarlett reminds us of the important role Kross plays in the NXT Championship photo, and the fight with Damian Priest effectively set the stage for next week’s match.
Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez: This was a great video package. Ripley tells the story of a complete friendship with RNR tattoos that match early photos at the WWE Performance Center, adding a new layer to their feud. Feeling like a showdown between the brand’s two great powers, this video package raised the ante by making it feel personal. But why has NXT ever waited to tell this part of the story?
Johnny Gargano vs. Leonraf on the NXT North American Championship: The curse has been lifted! I got a big kick from a pre-match bit caught in a curse. Gargano’s current character, afraid of curses, was so much fun that some of me wanted it to continue. But there was no reason to return to rough as a champion. The reign of Raff’s surprise title was fun and he’s a good vulnerable, but short and sweet was the best and pleasing story.
Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong: The match looked good on paper and I wasn’t disappointed. Dan needed to win by losing to Kyle O’Reilly and got it. After a while, a brief exchange between Dan and Valor seems to suggest that there will be a match between them in the near future.
Bronson Reed vs. Isaiah Scott: Given that Scott was in the midst of a feud with Jake Atlas, I was just astonished to see Scott lose the match cleanly. It felt like creativity could book a lead and beat someone else in his return match. That said, NXT bookings are usually strong enough that I think there’s a reason Scott played this role. Either way, it was an interesting match and it was nice to see the big guy back in the ring.
Legado Del Fantasma and Lucha House Party: Indeed, setting up next week’s NXT Cruiserweight Championship was in a hurry. However, Escobar, which faces metallic in the NXT ring, can be a match jewel.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. “Young Veterans of Grizzle” James Drake and Zack Gibson: A soft hit for a solid victory for Drake and Gibson. I started kicking from the unpleasant disgust of the Ever-Rise duo. Best of all, I’m glad to hear that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is back in two weeks. NXT has a lot of heel tag teams and they need to spotlight a really strong baby face team. “Rascalz” Seems to be the best way to introduce Desmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz.
Mercedes Martinez vs Valentina Ferros: A good spotlight victory for Martinez.
None: It felt like a big takeover event home show. In fact, the New Year’s Evil Card looks like a powerful takeover card. Wednesday night should be a lot of fun.
– WWE Sports
Powell’s NXT Hit List: NXT North American Championship Johnny Gargano vs Leonraf, Finvaler and Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dan vs Roderick Strong, Bronson Reed vs Isa Ascot, Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs Grizzled Young Veteran
https://prowrestling.net/site/2020/12/31/powells-nxt-hit-list-johnny-gargano-vs-leon-ruff-for-the-nxt-north-american-championship-finn-balor-and-kyle-oreilly-pete-dunne-vs-roderick-strong-bronson-reed-vs-isaiah-scott-tyler-breeze/ Powell’s NXT Hit List: NXT North American Championship Johnny Gargano vs Leonraf, Finvaler and Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dan vs Roderick Strong, Bronson Reed vs Isa Ascot, Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs Grizzled Young Veteran