Quality-wise, WWE Worlds Collide was a little better and featured a lineup that was obviously more star-studded than an average NXT Wednesday night show but in terms of drama and sheer suck-a-viewer-into-what’s-happening, it didn’t reach the heights or precedents set by normal NXT Takeover events. Ultimately, it came off feeling like a manufactured show that managed to be both enjoyable in the moment yet a bit forgettable in terms of importance in the NXT timeline.
WALTER was the star of the night, outshining NXT Champion Adam Cole in terms of fan reaction and adoration. Unfortunately, his counterparts in Imperium: Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner and Alexander Wolfe just did not seem like main event caliber performers. That hurts in a four-on-four final main event match situation. Barthel and Aichner put in the necessary effort when they were handed the ball, and it’s likely Wolfe would’ve done the same too if he hadn’t been knocked out by a Bobby Fish kick early in the match. Still, it was apparent that anytime they were in the ring, there was a noticeable drop off in terms of fan response and interest compared to the few stints Imperium’s head honcho received once he climbed in and did his damage.
WALTER being driven through a table by Roderick Strong felt like the emotional high spot of the match and probably even the show overall.
That may be because it was a show that didn’t feature many big moments.
Rhea Ripley had an unmemorable first title defense against Toni Storm. It was clear that no one in the crowd expected Storm to win or viewed her as much of a credible threat. Ripley did a decent job of selling her neck after being thrown blindly back first into the turnbuckle but the match largely fell flat.
DIY vs. Moustache Mountain was a fun back-and-forth that maybe was a little too fun and lacked the kind of urgency and intensity that Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa had in their epic Takeover tag team title bouts against The Revival and Authors of Pain.
The four-way Cruiserweight Title Match was an expected spotfest that ended in surprising fashion with Jordan Devlin pinning Isaiah Scott as champion Angel Garza failed to break up the pin in time. Garza has proven himself to be one of the best characters and performers on NXT since it debuted on USA. To take the title off of him in his first real big defense on a spotlight show is puzzling to say the least.
Finn Balor in a curtain-jerking position basically dwarfed and humiliated Ilja Dragunov in terms of crowd responses for entrances. After a huge pop for Balor, Dragunov got the cricket treatment to follow. Once the match started, the young Russian tried to get the fans on his side with a few “come on” arm waves and pleas during the match but it was to no avail. Houston was a pro-Prince crowd. Balor did his best to elevate his energized foe but few seemed to care.
Overall, this was a show that was basically a really good version of what an NXT weekly show could be if it was in front of a bigger crowd and there were no filler matches or squashes and instead just utilization of the biggest names available. This wasn’t a Takeover but it was entertaining for what it was: A light on storylines and builds two-and-half-hour show that featured some of the best talent that the NXT and NXT UK brands have to offer. The main takeaway from tonight is that WALTER once again proved he is beloved in his role as a dominant hard-hitting monster figure.