New school vs. old school was the theme of the night. The young cats, feeling themselves after Halloween Havoc, aren’t afraid of NXT’s legends. How else can you explain Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams interrupting Tommaso Ciampa sans fear? While Ciampa wanted to take a victory lap and tell all his doubters to eat crow, Hayes and Williams had a message of their own to deliver. After telling the NXT champ that the Hayes is THE champion of the rainbow brand and a new day is dawning, Ciampa walks out of the ring for a brief interaction with his old pal, Johnny Gargano, who just so happened to be on his way to the ring for tonight’s main event. And that’s the segue I needed.
Hayes x Williams wanted revenge on Dexter Lumis x Gargano for last week’s haunted house chicanery. And they dominated for the most part. Lumis and Gargano got a few spots in, and it was adorable when they both put on slasher gloves to do psycho things, but the young boys were always one step ahead of them. The ending of the match kept that narrative alive when Hayes clocked Lumis with his shoe when the referee was distracted.
Trick x Melo get the win, allowing Melo to back up his claim of being the “leader of the new school.”
Ciampa, even while dripping in sarcasm, was right about one thing: Halloween Havoc was a changing of the guard in NXT. Trick x Melo, interrupted Ciampa and hit a legitimate psychopath in the head with a shoe, two things unthinkable many moons ago.
The times, they are a changing.
The Champ is Here
Mandy Rose, NXT’s new Women’s champ, batted lead off this week. Her promo was both “told ya so” and prediction, as she reveled in her victory, Toxic Attraction’s dominance, and promised it wouldn’t stop. While further establishing Mandy, ahem, 2.0, it set up her beef with Io Sharai. Their back and forth, if you can all it that, established a theme of the night: the new school isn’t afraid of the old school. Mandy sucker punched Io to further her point, leading to a full on Toxic Attraction attack. Gigi Dolin, Jacy Jayne x Mandy were chased off when Kayden Carter x Kacy Catanzaro made it a fair fight. I’m curious to see how this plays out and like the players involved.
Lashing w/ D’Angelo
Finally got an answer as to why Tony D’Angelo wanted to be on Lash Legend’s talk show. Apparently, he just wanted to call some names. Dexter Lumis, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, and even the champ himself, Tommaso Ciampa. Not sure he needed to go to the talk show to do that since anyone on NXT can pick up a mic whenever they want and pop sh*t. So, what exactly was the point? They still need to figure out the right way to use Lash’s venue.
Dakota Kai reasserted herself this week. She didn’t just need the win; she needed to make a statement. In wrestling, that often means doing something vicious and cruel to one’s opponent, so that’s what Kai thought about doing to a beaten and defenseless Cora Jade after winning their match. Something stopped her from going all in with her attack and I’m not sure why. But this feels like a beginning and not an end.
Nobody Puts Xyon in a Corner
Robert Stone wanted problems with Xyon over an embarrassment last week. Stone challenged Quinn to a dance contest and Quinn even get down to “Sexy Boy,” which I didn’t see coming even if I had bifocals. Of course, Stone got too big for his small shorts and threw and interrupted the big man’s dancing with a punch. Big mistake. You know what happened from there. This led to a brief interaction between Quinn and Legado del Fantasma that may bear fruit. Consider me sports entertained.
LDF 4 Life
Kyle O’Reilly x Von Wagner got into it with the boys from Legado del Fantasma on Twitter recently. So you know that means a match had to happen. It was a solid affair designed to make Von Wagner look beastly and get LDF—shoutout to the LWO—some much needed momentum. By hook or by crook, the last thing was achieved when the LDF got the pin with a handful of rope.
LA Knight is a Jerk
Boa x Grayson Waller got it on with LA Knight ringside to offer “impartial” commentary. This was all building to Knight interrupting and sure enough, that’s what he did. Not excited about Knight and Waller. Actually, not excited about anything Knight does in NXT 2.0 right now because he doesn’t fit and should be on Monday or Friday.
F U, Chase
Bron Breakker broke the grading curve this week. Andre Chase, incensed people called him “scared” after he ran out of the haunted house last week. Ya know, like scared people. He called out the locker room and Bron answered. After making quick work of Chase U’s dean, Bron paid his respects to Tommaso Ciampa. But promises to get that belt sooner rather than later.
Solo Sikoa—don’t call him Uso—made his actual debut this week. Sikoa turned Jeet Rama into mince meat. The boy moves just like his brothers and even uses the same finishing move. It served its purpose.
No, that’s not my opinion on poker so much as its my opinion on this segment. Duke Hudson’s poker match with Cameron Grimes was a thing for several moments this week. And it was all building to Grimes hustling Hudson, getting a perfect moment to use his catchphrase, and an angry smoldering look from Hudson. I am not sports entertained.
Imperium Loves the Ladies
NXT is doing an interesting dance where they present Toxic Attraction as a force but make sure we remember men are attracted to them. This week, it was Imperium’s turn to gawk, as Gigi and Jacy interrupted their backstage interview. Imperium wasn’t outraged, but commented that while the mat must remain pure, America does have its advantages. Someone signal the high hat and drum. It’s not that I dislike it as much as I think its unnecessary.
Shocker, but NXT put on a good show. Not an amazing show, not a show packed with “wow” moments, but just solid wrestling and solid storytelling. We even almost found out what MSK means but alas, that will have to wait for another day. Not everything worked and the brand is still finding its footing. But things are getting less slippery by the week.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.