This week's show featured the much-discussed debuts of NXT's Karrion Kross and Bronson Reed.
NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed defeated Drew Gulak in a non-title match (4:13)
Reed came out holding his North American title in his main roster debut.
Reed has been in and around the developmental system since 2019, having worked the indies in Europe and Japan in his twenties. Now at 32, he is making a name for himself with this his first main roster appearance, having become the first Australian to win his title back in May.
Gulak continues to hold on to his roster position despite culls to the roster happening everywhere he looks around him. But, as usual, he was excellent here. He was particularly good here in a heel role, as well as making Reed look like a monster.
Reed appeared to be having the time of his life. He has a ton of charisma and enjoyed throwing Gulak around with lots of little smiles and asides to taunt his opponent.
He finished Gulak off by using a fireman’s carry slam to put him in position for his finisher. And boy, is it a finisher. Reed used a top splash that came down with such force that the entire ring shook to get his first main roster win.
This was exactly what it should have been: not quite a squash, but it showed off what Reed could do and made him look a force to reckoned with.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross defeated Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match (6:43)
After Reed’s appearance, this was a nice additional treat for Main Event viewers and gave the show a really fresh feel. Kross came out with his title around his waist, looking and moving with the confidence of an absolute superstar sans Scarlett and his usual smoke-filled entrance.
At 35, Kross’ main roster debut comes after such a meteoric rise since he joined WWE in 2020. Having worked GFW, Lucha Underground and Impact amongst others before joining NXT, he has brought everything he has learned over the last 10+ years with him.
Benjamin was the perfect ring partner for him. Not only is he a veteran who knows exactly how to put Kross over, he’s also an ideal physical match. Although it is far from ideal that Benjamin should find himself back on Main Event after everything he's done over the last two years, he is at least working with someone on the way up.
After a tense opening where both men had their moments, Kross dominated after the commercial break. He took his time, using both power moves and then an array of holds.
In fairness, they ended with a few sloppy spots, but got to where they were going as Kross locked in the Kross Jacket, causing Benjamin to pass out. It seemed a little hurried with Benjamin losing consciousness so quickly, but it served to put over Kross as a huge threat to someone of Benjamin’s size and stature.
This was an infinitely more interesting show this week due to the two new faces from the NXT roster. The opener was probably a better match because Kross and Benjamin didn’t jell quite as well as Gulak did with Reed. But, both matches delivered exactly what they needed to.
All told, this was a pleasure to watch. More of this, please.