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NXT recap & reactions (Nov. 8, 2022): Zoey Stark flips her wig

Zoey Stark and Nikkita Lyons come up short, so Zoey terminates their partnership on a very busy edition of NXT.

End of the Road

Zoey Stark & Nikkita Lyons got their rematch against Kayden Carter & Katana Chance. Zoey blamed herself for her team coming up short the first time where one mental mistake played big part in their collective L. This match was about more than Zoey & Lyons getting tag team glory; it was about Zoey’s redemption. Those tag titles evaded her last year, the Women’s NXT championship slipped her grasp a few months ago. Zoey needs this more than Nikkita if only for proof she’s not a screw-up.

With all that said, Geno and I wondered whether or not a title change was in the air. Or, based on Zoey’s recent outbursts, a heel turn.

We got the latter but not before getting a very dope match in the process.

And it wasn’t just about the moves although of course that helps. It was the specifically the tandem moves. Stark & Lyons started strong and seemed on the exact same page. Their whole beef with Carter & Chance is the champs claiming they’re not a real team. So, of course, they went the extra mile in proving them wrong. But their easygoing chemistry of a few months was no match for Carter & Chance. When Carter went for a move that didn’t quite work, Chance emphatically had her back. When Kayden went for a suicide dive, Katana went for another suicide dive. One of them inhales and the other exhales.

That rhythm showed itself towards the end when Zoey almost ran into Nikkita. They spent way too long talking to each other with Zoey apologizing and gave the champs a breather. Nikkita spotted Katana & Kayden coming for Zoey and moved her out of the way then acted as a human shield. That nice moment of friendship and partnership contrasted with the very end of the match in an ugly way for the challengers.

With Nikkita laid out, Katana & Kayden hit their patented tag team finisher and retained their titles. Zoey & Nikkita, even obviously upset, presented the championships to the champs. Nikkita bowed and gave up the belt while Zoey hesitated and then nailed her partner with the championship. She threw the championship belt to the ground and posed over her former partner.

Good match with a very poetic and fitting ending. I never saw these two as tag champs. I think there’s a more interesting story with them feuding than working together.


Extracurriculars

Over the Moon

Cameron Grimes had this match in the bag. He almost put the nail in Joe Gacy’s coffin but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The most interesting wrinkle to this solid match between the two is Grimes handling three members of Schism. Past matches saw him flummoxed when dealing with Gacy and the Dyad, but he took them out with a beautiful sunset flip to the outside of the ring. But he didn’t account for Ava Raine. One might say he overlooked the Schism’s newest member.

When Grimes climbed the top rope, Raine pushed him off and that was that. Gacy finished him off and the Schism celebrated over Grimes’ limp body.

The right person won here because Schism needs to look strong. No clue what happens with Grimes now but this was necessary.

Student Becoming the Teacher?

Duke Hudson is clearly up to no good. Right? Duke tells Andre Chase he wants to do thing the right way. Says he’s firmly in his corner this week against Charlie Dempsey. Says it’s all about the U on his shirt and doing things the way the U would. No, not that “U” because if that’s the case...never mind. Anyway, the minute Dempsey put Chase in a submission and Chase instructed Duke not to help and definitely not to cheat, Duke threw in the towel for his leader.

Let’s just get to the match already.

It’s Electric

Elektra Lopez and Sol Luca put together a match that defines developmental. Both women are still rough in the ring but Elektra has the personality and mannerisms down pact. Sol is clearly still learning and they didn’t get a lot of time so I don’t see neither getting better from this interaction.

However, Indi Hartwell attacked Lopez post match. Indi wanted revenge for last week and she sent a message to Ms. Lopez. Elektra should definitely get better feuding with Indi.

Fetch

At least Von Wagner knows people dislike him. Specifically those of us here. The dude has some menace to him and looks good standing next to Bron Breakker. The Grayson Waller Effect segment is always entertaining if only for Grayson instigating. And with Bron mentioning not only JD McDonagh but also Apollo Crews as people coming for his neck. Is Bron looking past Von? Maybe so, maybe no. But they planted the seed of a champion either looking too far ahead or feeling some pressure.

This is actually the first glimpse of Von’s personality and it’s not awful. I still think he’s better as the strong silent type but he doesn’t have the manager for that type of gimmick. I didn’t hate the segment but I didn’t love it either. Maybe they make fetch happen after all.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Axiom and JD McDonagh put on a very dope match. The tables turned for Axiom when JD went to work on Axiom’s knee in the third act. JD went into surgeon mode and bent that man’s knee in ways knees don’t bend. At least not the way God intended. The ref stopped the match because, well, Axiom couldn’t walk. Good way turning all of JD’s weird stuff into something legitimately dangerous. I dug it and I don’t dig much with JD.

Five Minutes of Funk

Brutus Creed decimated Damon Kemp. They had five minutes and it looked like Damon was competition for about five seconds. That was that. Probably a match more fun in the arena than on television if only because Julius vs. Damon was a more emotional match.


This show was a lot. There were multiple backstage segments, including one at Fallon Henley’s family’s bar. Oh and a lovely barbershop segment featuring Shawn Michaels Jr. Carmelo Hayes. But we also got a thing with Scrypts that’s still doing nothing for me and seems spooky for the sake of spooky, along with teases for presumably NXT Countdown. Oh and Alba Fyre snatched Jacy Jayne out her whip and left her on the side of the road while on the phone with Mandy Rose. Yup, that happened.

It’s a show that did a lot and yet somehow not quite enough. The show started strong and ended strong but all the stuff in the middle? Mixed at best.

Grade: C+

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

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