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WWE NXT 3/17: Rating and Ranking Every Match

WWE NXT is moving toward their next major show taking place the week of Wrestlemania. NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver will be a two-night event on April 7 and 8, airing on the USA Network and NBC Peacock respectably. With the big event just weeks away, the wheels were in motion on Wednesday night.

Every match on WWE NXT will include highlights, what the storyline progression is, and a final analysis. Each match will be given a star rating and be ranked from worst to best.

Matches Ranked from Worst to Best

6) LA Knight d. Austen Grey
Highlights: Austen Grey has been doing well on 205 Live but was fodder for the debut of LA Knight (Eli Drake for IMPACT Wrestling and NWA fans). Bronson Reed appears on the entrance ramp and puts on Knight’s jacket before doing the Tommy Boy “fat guy in a little coat” flex. Grey gets a quick roll-up before Knight finishes him off with an inverted cutter.

Storyline Progression: Short and sweet to lead into the inevitable LA Knight vs Bronson Reed match on WWE NXT.

Final Analysis: Good debut for LA Knight who’s been a solid hand in IMPACT Wrestling and the NWA in recent years. Not much to see here but that was expected. Take a Pass. SQUASH.

WWE NXT: Cruiserweight Explosion

5) Legado del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde) d. Breezango (Fandango
Tyler Breeze)
Highlights: Breezango start off strong as they rotate tags and connects on multiple double team moves. Raul Mendoza breaks free after hitting a Shining Wizard on Tyler Breeze before tagging Joaquin Wilde. After the commercial break, Breezango were able to make a comeback as Breeze locked in a half-crab on Wilde. Mendoza makes a blind tag before Legado del Fantasma connects on a kick-Russian Leg Sweep combo for the win.

Storyline Progression: With the NXT Tag Team Divison heating up, both teams were put in a position to stand out. After the match, NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin appears to face off with Intrium Cruiserweight Champion and LDF leader Santos Escobar. Devlin drops Escobar and heads to the back.

Final Analysis: Another solid match but it was more about what happened after the Legado del Fantasma victory. Jordan Devlin vs Santos Escobar is going to be a lot of fun. Skim It. **1/2

The Way’s Test

4) Dexter Lumis d. Austin Theory
Highlights: The match was surprisingly even, with Austin Theory even getting on the offensive side of the action for some time. Theory hit a fallaway slam for a two-count before briefly getting caught in a choke. Theory connects with a brainbuster on his knee but it only gets a two-count. Lumis tricks Theory into a hug before attempting The Silence. Theory is able to break free until Dexter counters a TKO attempt into the Silence and for the win.

Storyline Progression: Dexter Lumis has been a thorn in the side of Johnny Gargano and The Way in recent weeks. Gargano’s right-hand man, Austin Theory, has done his best to make friends with Lumis, but the feeling isn’t mutual.

Final Analysis: Solid back and forth matches to keep Dexter Lumis on the winning track. Austin Theory continues to look like a star and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a shot. Skim It. **3/4

WWE NXT: Return of WALTER

3) Tommaso Ciampa d. Marchel Barthel
Highlights: Tomasso Ciampa attacks Imperium before the match to even the odds. Marchel Barthel is able to get in control early on but is eventually on the receiving end of stiff chops from Ciampa. Double underhook suplex by Barthel before Ciampa turns the tide with a knee strike and a close line over the top rope. Imperium distracts Ciampa to gain a brief advantage. Ciampa bounces back and hits a German suplex on Barthel before finishing him off with Willow’s Bell.

Storyline Progression: Imperium has been attempting to recruit Timothy Thatcher back into the group while dismissing Tommaso Ciampa. Earlier in the night, Ciampa hinted that Thatcher was attacked by Imperium and wanted to get revenge. After the match, NXT UK Champion WALTER appears on WWE NXT for the first time in over a year to confront and layout Ciampa.

Final Analysis: It was a quick match but fun for what it was. If we are getting WALTER vs Ciampa at WWE NXT TakeOver, then sign me up. That has MOTY potential. The match wasn’t a showcase but it’s Worth a Watch for what happened with WALTER.**1/2

WWE NXT: Main Event

2) NXT Tag Team Championship: Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan [c] d. Finn Balor and Karrion Kross
Highlights: Kross is able to dominate early on for his team with a tight bearhug on Oney Lorcan before getting the better of Danny Burch. Finn Balor gets the tag as he wears down Burch during the commercial break. Back from the break and Balor is on the receiving end of a beat down from the champions. Kross gets the hot tag but the challengers would not be able to maintain their advantage. Balor accidentally knocks Scarlett to the floor causing Kross to slam him into the plexiglass. Balor is thrown back in the ring where Lorcan gets the three count.

Storyline Progression: Earlier in the night, Scarlett was able to convince Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan to defend their tag titles. As expected, Finn Balor and Karrion Kross did not blend well. During the match, Danny Burch hurt his shoulder and was looked at by the medical staff. He would not return.

Final Analysis: Good match but it felt like all the matches on WWE NXT tonight. There was more focus on advancing the stories than the in-ring quality. After last week’s match-heavy focus, this is understandable as we head towards TakeOver. Worth a Watch. ***

A Challenge Made

1) Dakota Kai w/Raquel d. Zoey Stark
Highlights: Kai appeared to take Zoey Stark for granted by the newcomer who held her own. The action moved to the outside, as Stark hit a slingshot plancha before the commercial break. Back from the break and Kai regained control with a beatdown in the middle of the ring. Stark hit a hardway suplex and a knee strike that got a close two count. Kai was able to regain control and eventually get the win after a fireman’s carry kick.

Storyline Progression: Dakota Kai and Raquel were visibly annoyed after losing the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles last week on the same night they were named champions. After the match, Kai gets in the face of Stark as Io Shirai’s music hits. Shirai bypasses Kai and hands a contract to Raquel.

Final Analysis: Really good match as both women shined. The action was never dull and it flowed well. Hopefully, we see them in the ring together more often. Worth a Watch. ***1/2

Robby Steven

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