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NXT recap & reactions (Oct. 19, 2021): The calm before the havoc

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Did Bron Breakker adequately protect Tommaso Ciampa? Which women’s tag team spun the wheel? And what does NXT look like after Carmelo Hayes shot and didn’t miss? Come on inside for these answers and more.

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We are one week away from Halloween Havoc and NXT 2.0 is ready to get us into the mood for spooky season. Claire’s got you covered with the play-by-play, as she does each and every week, and I’ve got you covered here for the smart ass analysis.

Let’s talk NXT 2,0!


I Gotcha Back But You Best to Watch Your Front

The more I think about it, this situation between Bron Breakker and Tommaso Ciampa where the former is watching the latter’s back for one night was better suited for a singles match. Ciampa taking on a member of the Grizzled Young Veterans one-on-one, with Breakker at ringside to even the odds and possibly, maybe, make it a 3 on 1. Maybe I’m burnt out on WWE using the same basic structure, even if Bron being there to keep Ciampa in one piece rather than “co-exist” with the champ.

That said, Ciampa and Steiner Breakker mined a lot of tension out of just how much Breakker was willing to let the champ suffer before tagging in or coming to his aide. And you know what? He didn’t come to his aide that much. In fact, one might argue—and I’m the one to do so—he didn’t come to his aide at all. The champ did most of the work in this tag match against a very good tag team. And in at least two instances when he went for the tag, his “partner” was like me in high school after a bad breakup: absent.

Bron getting his Casper on meant no rest for the weary champion, clearly part of the story they’re telling. Ciampa sold it when he finally got frustrated and that’s when the brown stuff hit the fan. After a type-aggressive tag from Ciampa, Bron clearly wanted to swing on the man. And then he did! Some may say it was inadvertent and Ciampa was just in the way.

Sure, Jan.

Breakker missed Ciampa and took the heads off their opponents instead. After whipping out the Steiner Recliner to no avail, Bron finished it with a military press power slam straight to hell. Bron let Tommaso know that’s his future and there’s nothing he can do about it but hold Goldie close for one more week.

There’s no way Ciampa is 100% going into Halloween Havoc’s main event. Meanwhile Breakker is fresh and has all the juice on his side.

If you ask me—and you did—Goldie is getting a new place to call home very soon.


Shooting Those Shots

The newly crowned...nope, before we even get there, let’s talk about Trick Williams again. It’s telling he was the first one we heard from when the new North American champ entered the ring this week. Trick might be Carmelo Hayes’ Flava Flav for now, but it’s only a matter of time before he realizes he’s the headliner. Melo is cool and the crowd likes him, but he’s a star to Trick’s super nova.

But I digress. Melo started the night with visions of a “Melobration” in his head. Johnny Gargano had other plans. Gargano said with his wife pregnant at home, his daughter married, and all of his obligations behind him, he’s ready to rediscover his way. And that means going after the belt that Melo now calls NXT’s “A” belt.

After trading insults—and sending a stray Indi Hartwell’s way—Melo, Trick, and Johnny devolved into a brawl when Dexter Lumis appeared in that way that only horror movie monsters can.

They stole the North American championship from Melo and invited he and Trick to a haunted house at Halloween Havoc to find it.

Trick knows it’s a setup because he watches movies. But they’re going and I’m very curious to see how this pans out next week.


Extracurriculars

Class is Cancelled

Andre Chase talked big game going into his match with Odyssey Jones. The man even brought his own “student section” to sit in the crowd and bask in his glory watch him take Jones to school.

Jones apparently didn’t get the lesson plan. The big man dominated this match. The man from Chase U barely looked competitive.

The Imperial Squad

Imperium want the tag titles back. The Creed Bros. want their first shot at the titles. Clearly, something has to give. Imperium, to their surprise, found themselves faced with a challenge they never expected in the form of the Diamond Mine’s tag team. Julius and Brutus can match Imperium muscle for muscle and move for move. For a while, they were.

But then Kushida and Ikemen Jiro came down for a touch of revenge from last week. Oh yeah, that’s not over. The distraction allowed Imperium to get the quick rollup victory. MSK interrupted their celebration and said they’d see Imperium at Halloween Havoc with their titles on the line.

Logical. Gives everyone something to do. Sets up bigger and better.

Jaded

Santos Escobar issued a challenge to Carmelo Hayes before this match started. If my math is right, that’s two challengers gunning for the North American champ and he’s only had the belt for a week.

As for the match itself? Cora Jade stole one from Elektra Lopez. Lopez got pinned with a small package buuuuut the ref missed the fact she had a shoulder up. If the NFL teaches us anything, it’s that Sundays are awful when you cheer for a New York City team. The other thing its taught us is that refereeing isn’t the best. Lopez was stunned and later in the night, she and Legado del Fantasma took their frustrations out on Jade and her boyfriend Trey Baxter. To be continued at Halloween Havoc, no doubt.

Wheel of Fortune?

First off, let’s all send a prayer and some love Jacy Jayne’s way. She took a nasty fall early in the match and the triple threat became a one-on-one between Iso Sharai and Persia Pirotta. Io and Persia made the best of a bad situation and put on an entertaining match. Props to everyone involved for getting through it.

Io, without Pat Sajak telling her to, spun the wheel. The tag titles are on the line in a Scareway to Hell Ladder Match at Halloween Havoc! Wonder how Led Zeppelin feels about that naming convention.

The Champ is Here!

Guess who’s coming to Halloween Havoc? If you said “Chucky” you’re correct. But if you said “Solo Sikoa” then you’re 100% more right. The Uso’s baby bro makes his debut at the spooky season’s biggest party. Sikoa calls himself the champ of the streets. We’ll see if his lordship over pavement translates to the squared circle. WWE is still undefeated when it comes to video promos making wrestlers look cool when they already have dope material to work with.

Bada Bing

I’m coming around on Tony D’Angelo. I like the attitude in the ring, I like his moveset, and he’s really smooth. Plus, the cat can talk. Even if a lot of that talk is stereotypical Italian gangster talk.

After wiping the floor with Ru Feng, D’Angelo was questioned about Lash Legend’s producer and his whereabouts. At that point, D’Angelo did his best Johnny Tightlips impression, proclaiming he don’t know nothing about nothing.

Close But no Donut

Legado del Fantasma jumped Briggs x Jensen before the match even started. TO BE FAIR, BxJ started it earlier, so I don’t fully blame Santos’ crew for getting an early...jump...on their competition.

The story was simple: Brooks and Josh weren’t ready to compete against Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. They fought as hard as they could for as long as possible, but they brought dull knives to a gunfight.

Host with the Most

LA Knight rocked a Ready to Die tank top in his promo explaining why he should host Halloween Havoc. For that alone, he should host the event. But since I’m told the match wasn’t canceled and it aired on my television, clearly someone at WWE disagrees with my very sound and bulletproof logic.

In the end, it didn’t matter because Knight put Grayson Waller out to pasture with BFT in about the time it took me to write that first paragraph. And he barely broke a sweat. LA, the man without a country, is hosting Halloween Havoc.

Weirdness

Joe Gacy dropped a lot of buzzwords and made another connection with Harland. Weird, wild stuff.


This was an okay go home show. No mind-blowing bangers to speak of but nothing awful either. The Duke Hudson thing still doesn’t work for me, and now Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner are out bonding with each other and nature. Which also didn’t do a thing for me. But several video packages established personalities and stories going into NXT’s big event. The table is set for what should be an entertaining Halloween Havoc.

Oh, and Chucky will be there so, yeah, that’s a thing!

Grade: B

That’s my grade, and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.