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NXT recap & reactions (Oct. 5, 2021): Die another day

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MSK defends their title against three teams, Toxic Attraction has words and actions, and anarchy still reigns supreme on NXT 2.0

Ladies and gents, welcome to another week of NXT 2.0—please say the 2.0. Be sure to check out Claire’s play-by-play blog this and every week. Then come back here for some in-depth analysis and half-witticisms.

Let’s talk NXT!


MSK FTW

Before we get into the main event proper, let’s talk about Trick Williams for a bit. Trick changes the energy when he steps in the ring and talks on the mic. He and Carmelo Hayes caught an early exit this week, but Trick made an impact that I cannot overlook.

Back to the match itself, MSK are going to kill themselves defending their tag championships. That’s it. That’s the story. They’re willing to take on any and everyone to prove to the world they’re deserving champions, creating an interesting dynamic to their matches. This week, they fought Grizzled Young Veterans, Briggs x Jensen, and the aforementioned Trick Williams x Carmelo Hayes. They’re not doing it for clout tho; it’s for respect.

But how long can this go on? At what point do the tag champs burn out?

This week’s main event showcased a variety of styles and flavors for anyone who likes tag team wrestling. MSK ran their normal fast break offense, Briggs x Jensen just wanted to pound everyone into submission, Trick x Carmelo provided a mixture of both, while the Grizzled Young Vets wanted to slow everything down.

In the end, it was a tired and beaten down MSK facing off against the two boys who met during a bar fight. Briggs and Jensen were in the catbird position to take the NXT tag titles, but like every team before them, they underestimated the hearts of MSK. If there’s one common thread through this week’s show, it’s how one false move is the start of your ending,

MSK gets the W with a victory roll. Appropriate because they barely got this one.

Remember when I asked how long can this go on? Almost on cue, Imperium came to the ring looking for revenge and for the titles they feel rightfully belong to them. They jumped the champs but pulled back once Briggs and Jensen somewhat hesitantly lended a couple helping hands.

MSK has the young team’s respect but they now have at least two teams aiming for them. One—Imperium—is telegraphing their punches. The other—Briggs and Jensen—have their backs for now. But this is wrestling and we all know the lust for gold knows no friends.

We might be looking at the end of MSK’s reign.


Dunne and Over

Pete Dunne is losing his muscle in a couple weeks, so everyone wants to test him. He wants to prove he’s “the man” with or without Holland by his side. His main aim going into his match with Cameron Grimes was to prove he doesn’t need Holland at all. Grimes wrestled a a little differently than usual, trying to match Dunne’s style. And the two showed great chemistry and put on a good match.

Then Kyle O’Reilly showed up, attacked Ridge Holland—who interfered of course—and was quickly dispatched. But Grimes was distracted just long enough to taste the bitter end.

Post match, O’Reilly continued his war with Holland x Dunne, as two heads are better than one every Tuesday. Dunne is willing to do whatever it takes to prove his dominance. NXT continued the story of Kyle forming an alliance with Von Wagner. Kyle needs a partner and Von is willing to be that partner.


Extracurriculars

Breakker, Breakker

Bron Breakker is getting his title shot in three weeks at Halloween Havoc. It’s happening, people. Bron doesn’t care how long he's been here, but he’s ready to be champ.

Short and to the point.

Meet the Diamond Mine

I enjoyed this. A segmented hosted by Michael Blevins introducing every member of the Diamond Mine with choice quotes from each member. Blevins can talk his way into a closed theme park, so the more of this the better. An old-school tactic that always works

A Rose Grew From Concrete

The purpose of this match was simple: establish Mandy Rose as a credible contender. Ember Moon is NXT 2.0’s in-house legend. It would be better if she served as the last boss before someone got to the title match, but NXT’s current construction makes that hard to do.

Ember controlled this match from start to...well, not until finish. Mandy can’t do what Ember can do in the ring, duh, but they at want her to be the woman. With that in mind, she nailed Ember with a knee to the face that Ember sold like a champ. Mandy didn’t look great but she looked like someone who can surprise on any given Tuesday.

Speaking of Which...

And just like that, Raquel González, clearly tired of the bulls*t, calls out Toxic Attraction. Mandy and her crew arrive to the ring, with Mandy even taking on the “what” chants and showing a lot of personality and passion. After a lot of back and forth, Toxic Attraction looks ready to pounce on the champ.

But wait!

Io Shirai and Zoey Stark come to the champ’s rescue because they have a common enemy. Toxic Attraction figures they’ll fight another day, and the champs stand tall.

Odyssey Chase

Didn’t really get a feel for this match. LA Knight got the W over Odyssey Jones thanks to Andre Chase. Odyssey needs a feud as does Andre—when he isn’t beefing with Steve—which might be good. LA Knight tho? Still don’t know why he’s there or what he can do in NXT at this point.

Honeymoon is Over

Indi Hartwell’s story for the past several months involved Dexter Lumis. Even earlier in the show, Indi and Persia Pirotta were talking about Dexter’s size in more of that patented NXT 2.0 edgy humor. But this week, she finally got back in the ring. Mei Ying put up a fight early but lost all momentum when Persia stepped in to eat a kick that was meant for her best friend.

Indi gets the win and later in the show, she and Persia step to the Io and Zoey to let them know they want their titles back.

All the way from Chicago

Tony D’Angelo debuted and the crowd was all the way into him. Malik Blade—dope name—never had a chance. Sure, he got a couple hope spots but c’mon. We know how this works. D’Angelo got the win with a fisherman neckbreaker that doesn’t have a clever name yet.

I’m not sold on D’Angelo yet as a character because it feels too retrograde.

One Winner, Not Two

Joe Gacy cut a promo before his match with Ikemen Jiro. He wants the ring to be a safe space, declaring there will be two winners even if the record book says it’s just one. Okay, cool. He then beat Jiro in another short-ish match, only to hug Jiro when it was all said and done. I was thinking they were going somewhere insidious with this character and the hug was the prelude to a beatdown but...it wasn’t.

We did get some tension between Joe and a scary looking cat in the stands. Hopefully this deepens his character. He’s got a match with Ciampa next week, and I’d be shocked if the guy in the stands doesn’t make his presence known.

Generation of Jade

Cora Jade thought she was fighting Virginia Ferry. We all thought that. Only Franky Monet beat Virginia down before the bell rang and took her place. Monet clearly wanted to blow off steam after losing last week and figured Cora was the perfect target.

Cora had other plans as she walked away with an upset W. Much like Mandy’s win over Ember earlier, a win over Franky means something in NXT 2.0. And still no clue where this leaves Franky.


This was a packed show. Seriously, they did a lot in two hours. Most of it landed for me but some of the segments didn’t (like you, Duke Hudson, poker player/wrestler) but they kept the show moving at a good clip. Next week, and the next couple weeks, should prove interesting for NXT 2.0 and its future. This week, they put a lot of those wheels in motion.

Grade: B