Pop 4 Roc
Mandy Rose’s story as champion was that everyone underestimated her. Everyone bet against her and never took her seriously. Even when the facts lined up against those beliefs, people still doubted.
Ironic that she lost her coveted championship to a woman she underestimated at every turn. But how did we get here? Why are we doing this match now instead of New Year’s Evil? Because when NXT started this week, Roxanne came to the ring with a microphone in hand. All she wanted was a little celebration but Grayson Waller interrupted to talk about...Grayson Waller. Waller said Roxanne peaked at 21 because there’s no way she’s beating Mandy Rose. This brought Bron “Bronathan” Breakker to the ring, who not only defended Roxanne but of course went after Grayson.
While all that madness happened, Mandy attacked Roxanne, who clearly wasn’t 100 percent after Deadline. And then, possibly out of anger, Roxanne yelled into the microphone that she wants Mandy now, not at New Year’s Evil. Mandy, cocky as always, happily obliged.
Of note, backing up my point, Mandy came to the ring dolo. No Gigi Dolin, no Jacy Jayne, just her. Now, to be fair, the rest of Toxic Attraction had their hands full most of the night but still. Mandy made a choice because she didn’t see Roxanne on her level.
Yeah, well, then the match started. Roxanne came out strong, nailing the champ an array of moves, flipping over the downed champ and following it up with a curtsey. I don’t know if it meant anything in the larger picture but it was a nice touch and reminded me a scene from Hook. Mandy didn’t take kindly to that disrespect because we know how she feels about being disrespected, so shot the e responded with aggression. Dropkicks, hip tosses, and a flip of her own. When the match spilled onto the floor, Roxanne went for Pop Rocks but Mandy blocked it and sent her challenger into steel steps.
Mandy’s an aggressive champion. It gets overlooked because of her heel tactics and the way she carries herself, but she’s vicious with her challengers. That aggression meant double in this match as Roxanne survived 25 minutes of hell just a few days ago. Roxanne fought back with a mean dropkick once they got back into the ring, then put Mandy in position for a top rope Frankensteiner. But Mandy’s not going down to that. Definitely not after a reign this long. Mandy then got aggressive with a very dope tilt-a-whirl slam that put Roxanne right on that hurt shoulder. It looked academic at this point because there’s no way that shoulder would hold. Right?
Mandy further applied pressure when she slapped a LeBell lock on Roxanne, putting all of her weight on that injured shoulder and wrenching like her life depended on it. Roxanne somehow reversed it into a pin that Mandy escaped, and got nailed with Kiss From a Rose. But she kicked out! I can’t say Roxanne did anything differently this match than she did in their first encounter; she just found more will based on her experience.
Mandy lost focus after Roxanne kicked out of her finisher. She wasted valuable time complaining to the ref, which, of course, gave Roxanne a second wind. Once she finally got back to Roxanne, the two engaged in some back and forth but Roxanne caught the champ slipping this time and nailed her with a Pop Rox.
Your winner and NEW...well, you know the rest.
This was a dope match. They didn’t get a lot of time, especially for a championship match, but they truly made every second count and told a succinct story. That’s a sign of growth on Mandy’s part and further promise for Roxanne.
I’m sure this isn’t over yet as Mandy gets a rematch more than likely at New Year’s Evil, but the fun is getting to the destination.
Shoutout to Booker T truly selling the proud papa moment before, during, and after this match.
When I think of Wes Lee vs. Stacks, one word comes to mind. That word above these two sentences. Stacks attacked Wes Lee before their match even begun. It capped off this week's chaotic opening 10 minutes, and felt natural. Stacks is a goon on a mission, therefore every time he lays into Wes, it’s about pleasing Tony D’Angelo.
Outside of an early bulldog from Wes, Lorenzo controlled this thing and was pretty damn impressive. He showed a mean streak without being overly cartoonish, and used offense perfectly in line with his character. He used submissions and backbreakers, keeping Wes grounded while listening to Tony D’s coaching. But Wes pulled out the win because Stacks never made the champ say uncle. He kept found his explosiveness and caught Stacks off guard.
But then came Dijak, in all his corniness. Something about the guy just doesn’t work for me and I can’t figure out why. He feels like the worst part of an ‘80s movie. Tony D attacked Wes from behind and left the champion for Dijak to do with him what he will. Then the camera cut to something else and we’re left to wonder what this ‘80s villain did to Wes Lee.
Well, That Was Fast
Ivy Nile, Tatum Paxley, and Toxic Attraction enter a wrestling ring. No, this isn’t a setup for a joke but just follow me. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance sit at the commentary table. Guess what happened? The match barely got started before the tag champs tangled with Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne. Nile & Paxley, rightly upset about the DQ loss, joined the brawl as well. And later in the show, that brawl continued just because these six women really do not like each other. So, yeah, a six-woman triple threat next week.
Big Body Bandits
I love Javier Bernal and McKenzie Mitchell. Absolutely love them. She openly loathes him and his unearned confidence makes him oblivious. McKenzie hoped Ikemen Jiro defeated Javier and she got her wish. I wrote before that you need people like Big Body in your territory because he’s not only entertaining as a heel but is great for babyfaces since the crowd just loves seeing him get beat up. By anyone. Especially when it’s someone like Jiro. A solid match.
Following said match, Scrypts attacked Jiro and took his jacket. Reggie...I mean Scrypts probably feels jealous about Jiro’s fashion choices. I guess?
We got a video from Wendy Choo explaining how she felt watching Cora Jade lose at Deadline, and why Jade throwing a drink in her face a couple weeks ago affected her. She regaled us with a tale about a childhood sleepover where she forgot her change of clothes and a mean girl threw a drink on her. We normally get things like this to get the face over more or detail something we didn’t know about their character. This is fine for the latter but unnecessary for the former. Wendy Choo is beloved and Cora Jade would lose to the Wicked Witch of the West in a popularity contest.
It’s a Celebration
New Day celebrated their tag team victory, as they should, and Xavier Woods told a brief story about wrestling the very first NXT match 10 years ago. His first opponent? Big E. He hated the fact he never got NXT gold but now that’s a dream no longer deferred. Pretty Deadly came out for their rematch and after giving them props for the match and their talent, Kofi told Elton Prince & Kit Wilson the match is theirs if they recite the pledge of allegiance. Bad form, boys! Bad form!
Briggs & Jensen hit the ring, American flag in hand, and recited the pledge with New Day. So yeah, they get their tag title match. Why? Because according to Woods, things are just easier when you do what the New Day says.
New Day rock—like the chant says—so this entertained me quite a bit. And because NXT crams a lot in two hours, it never overstayed its welcome.
Violence in the Women’s Division
So first we saw video from TikTok of Nikkita Lyons watching the women’s Iron Survivor Challenge match. Less of that because it just looked so rehearsed. However, McKenzie asked Zoey Stark how she felt about said video, especially since Nikkita celebrated the fact Zoey came up short. Zoey did some verbal dancing but ultimately challenged Lyons. We also got Elektra Lopez surrounded by several women, including Lash Legend and Sol Ruca, talking trash about Indi Hartwell.
Lopez said that Indi gets big matches but never wins them and if she was in that Iron Survivor Challenge match, it’s a different story for everyone involved. Indi’s ears obviously burned because she came out of nowhere with a kick not seen in NXT since Lash Legend many moons ago. A brawl erupted because it’s wrestling. So you know where this is going.
Winter is Coming
Nope, Not confusing shows. Isla Dawn isn’t finished with Alba Fyre and challenged her to a match on the “longest night of the year” aka the Winter solstice. Well, technically it will be the night before the longest night of the year, but that’s a lot less catchy. She also explained how she poisoned the ref, so , yeah, NXT police, do your job. She’s dry snitching on herself.
Live from Valhalla
Lyra Valkyria made her debut against Amari Miller and you know what? I liked it! A lot actually. Amari is better and keeps getting better. She showed a needed mean streak and improved on her transitions and just making the thing look like a real fight. Valkyria looked good as well, with vicious kicks, an incredible roundhouse, and a very pretty frog splash for the W. I’m always rooting for Amari and knew she got fed to the new debut machine, but both women made the best of their time.
If you like meaty men slapping meat, Von Wagner vs. Odyssey Jones...might be for you. They really didn’t get enough time to get going and we got some outside shenanigans from Malik Blade, who still wants blood for his dad’s sweater, and Von withstanding some very hard-hitting shoulder blocks from Jones. But Jones got the win thanks to Blade’s assist.
All wrestling is a soap opera, yes, but the story with Kiana James, Fallon Henley, and Briggs & Jensen is the most soap operatic in the territory right now. We got Fallon’s parents dealing with money issues, we got Kiana James up to something with Brooks Jensen, and of course Kiana wants to buy Fallon’s parents’ bar. So why is Kiana gifting Jensen with dress shirts that actually fit? And giving encouraging words for his tag team championship match? It’s a lot of plot and not entirely my brand of soap opera but I am curious about the endgame.
Speaking of Intrigue...
I’m not really high on Damon Kemp. He’s just fine in the ring but has the personality of a plastic spoon. The Chase U story keeps adding more layers, so Duke Hudson wrestling Kemp had me half interested for that reason alone. It was another quick match but the intrigue came from Drew Gulak’s appearance. Gulak and Duke shook hands earlier in the show. About what? Nobody knows.
But Andre Chase and Thea Hail saw this meeting and had words for Hudson. Andre questioning Duke about the “transfer portal” made my stomach hurt with laughter. Duke said it was nothing and he’s Chase U for life. Even wants to teach one day.
But yeah, Drew showed up during this match and Andre “chased” him away. Ironically, Drew showing up turned the tide in Duke’s favor. He caught his second win, did hulked up, and got the comeback victory against Kemp.
The title match, and title change, bumped this show up for me. It was a normal NXT show which is to say it was solid. But that match and Roxanne’s win elevated it beyond that. Still not something I consider a can’t miss show, but that was a can’t miss match due to the significance and quality.
Oh, and we got Melo and Trick in a backstage segment sowing the seeds for a match, and possible feud, with Axiom. Why? Because he didn’t like the fact people gave Axiom a better grade in the Iron Survivor Challenge match. That man really cares about grades.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.