WWE NXT's Carmelo Hayes Retains North American Title at Heatwave

WWE NXT Heatwave kicked off with a battle for Title gold, with NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes taking on Giovanni Vinci. Hayes has been hard to beat with the North American Title around his waist, but Vinci has been on a roll ever since he strolled into NXT. Both were on great runs, but someone had to lose tonight, and despite overcoming the numbers game (with Trick Williams at ringside) several times, Hayes would bounce back with a huge powerbomb and get the 3-count, ultimately retaining his North American Championship. That said, it was a strong showing for Vinci, and perhaps there is a rematch to be had down the road.

Both stars approached with caution at the start of the match, and the crowd definitely seemed to be in Vinci's corner. Hayes showcased how well he had scouted the challenger by evading several moves, though Vinci's power sent him to the mat and into a cover, but Hayes kicked out. Vinci then countered one of Hayes' trademark moves but Hayes bounced off the ropes and into a cover, though Vinci kicked out.

Vinci connected with a monster chop and then he bounced off the ropes and slammed Hayes down. Another huge chop followed in the corner, followed by two chops to the chest. Hayes then came back with strikes and then they collided and both stars were knocked to the mat.

Hayes took control for a bit though Vinci kept pithing back, but every comeback was halted by Hayes. Vinci got his feet under him again though, catching Hayes off the ropes and then slamming him down and then hitting a splash off the top rope but he kicked out. Vinci tried to lift him up again but Hayes countered and hit a superkick, and then he went up top but he was caught by Hayes and slammed down into a cover, but Hayes kicked out.

Vinci then went for another move but Hayes escaped and hit a Cutter into a cover, though Vinci kicked out. Then Vinci evaded another move and leaped off the top rope and cleared Hayes and Trick Williams. Vinci got Hayes back in the ring and bounced off two ropes to bring down Hayes, but in the ensuing cover, Williams put Hayes' foot on the ropes to break it up.

Hayes then was on his feet but missed his attack and got monster clotheslined by Vinci. Vinci then lifted Hayes for a Powerbomb but Williams tried to intervene. Vinci slammed Hayes into him and then delivered another Powerbomb on Hayes. Hayes then returned the favor and connected with one on Vinci, pinning him and retaining his Championship.

What have you thought of WWE NXT Heatwave so far? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!