Andre Chase, Axiom, and yes, Von Wagner, put on an incredible triple threat match this week. With a spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge on the line, this was the biggest match for everyone involved.
It started like you figured, with the big man dominating through sheer power. Neither Chase nor Axiom are on Von’s level in an arm wrestling contest much less a feat of strength, so yeah, he did the smart thing. But the problem heels always run into when they double team the good guys is it gives the good guys turn their focus toward him rather than on each other. Andre and Axiom did just that for most of the match’s first act, attacking Wagner together with double shoulder blocks and suplexes, or going at him solo one after the other.
The second act, obviously involved more equal opportunity beatdowns, including Chase powerbombing the big man from the top rope. Regardless of how it played out, the match made one thing clear: Von Wagner’s strength is a problem so either neutralize him or perish. The action kinda slowed for a quick couple seconds when Axiom and Chase first tangoed, almost like they didn’t know each other’s rhythm. But eventually figured it out although the match shined when all three men found roles. The shining moment of the match for me came after Chase dodged an Axiom attack, which led to Axiom suicide diving into Von. Axiom then darted back into the ring, thought he caught Chase off guard, and ate a beautiful Tiger Driver. Props to both men for that one because it looked great.
Eventually, rather quickly, Wagner canceled out Chase, and fell victim to the Golden Ratio. And with that, Axiom gets the last spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge, along with some momentum.
What immediately catches my attention about the Women’s triple threat match for the last spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge is while all three women have a larger goal in mind—winning the title, duh—there’s smaller goals as well. Indi has beef with Roxanne Perez and a giant chip on her shoulder. Wendy Choo can’t stand Cora Jade and still owes her for a couple weeks ago. Fallon Henley and Kiana James have a turf war going and dislike each other with the passion of 1000 suns.
With all that in mind, either women makes a compelling entrant but sadly, only one survives. It’s like Highlander. Well, no, it’s not like Highlander but everything sounds cool when compared to Highlander.
Indi started aggressive, as is her style these days. But Wendy interrupted with her own brand of aggression, going after both of her opponents, bouncing from one to the next like a pinball. She and Fallon exchanged blows like two runny noses. What made it funny is Indi kept trying to get back into the match but Wendy kept knocking her out. That’s actually illustrative of NXT’s Women’s division as a whole. The other women, including Mandy Rose, see Indi Hartwell as an afterthought. Worse, they see her as yesterday’s news.
But Indi said “nah” to all that and kept plugging. She countered Wendy’s splash with a spinebuster, she broke up pin attempts when her opponents figured she was out, and that played out in the ending too.
Wendy Choo puts Fallon in the drop zone and hits her with a big splash. She goes for a cover but guess who pushed her out of the ring? Indi. Guess who smashed Fallon with an elbow for good measure? Indi. And guess who earned her spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge match? Indi.
While this match wasn’t quite on the level of the Men’s match, it worked for me because of the running storyline with Indi plus the action. I can do without Indi’s promo she cut in Toxic Attraction’s locker room after the fact, but before that? She was gold.
Here Comes a New (Day) Challenger...
Pretty Deadly, with nothing to do and no one to fight, read a Christmas story for us this week. They laid on the innuendo rather thick, especially with lines like “bulging sacks,” while being their typical smarmy selves.
Okay I’m burying the lede here: The New Day showed up. They noticed Pretty Deadly beat everyone so why not challenge them for the tag titles at NXT Countdown? A “fight” commenced, and I use quotes because Pretty Deadly barely put up a fight, and Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston posed with the tag championships.
This is now my most anticipated match of the show. Does WWE really allow one of its biggest and best tag teams to take an L? Or will the New Day take their talents to Florida?
Whew, the ballad of Xyon Quinn is a sad one. Quinn wrestled the returning Tony D’Angelo this week and took an L quicker than you can say “fugetaboutit.” The Don had other business on his mind, like Wes Lee. The Don wants revenge for what he feels was Wes purposely putting him on the shelf. Wes said whatever to that noise because Dijak is his business right now.
Dijak showed up on the big screen, essentially called Tony D a thug not worth his time, and told Wes Lee to lay low or else. Which is weird because he attacked Wes. “Neither one of you can stop me from decimating NXT.” Yeah, that sounds good and all, homie, but do you not want a championship since you attacked a champion? I know Tony D does but Dijak seems apathetic. I’m confused.
Not Ready for Primetime Players
Ivy Nyle worries her boys are in over their heads. The Creed Brothers want to fight Sanga & Veer, but she knows they’re not physically ready. NXT medical won’t clear Julius Creed due to rib injuries, and the Bros. Creed disagree. In fact, they’re at odds with Ivy as a result. Why do I mention this? Because Veer & Sanga destroyed a man with an incredible wrestling name, Bryson Montana, took the microphone, and told the Creeds they have no problem waiting but they don’t keep them waiting too long.
Naturally, the Diamond Mine hit the ring because someone mentioned their name and security held them back.
OH! How can I forget Big Body Javy fronting like he wanted static with Veer & Sanga only to “twist his ankle” on his way to the ring. Hilarious.
I’m digging the anticipation for this one, along with Ivy playing protector.
Timeout. I’m foul if I don’t include Bryson’s tweet following his beatdown:
Give that man a push.
Everyone loves Hank Walker. The security guard turned wrestler who fights in jeans and a shirt he threw on because it’s laundry day took the Performance Center by storm. Well, almost everyone loves him. Charlie Dempsey believes Hank’s presence disrespects wrestling. Hank disagrees. Even though he didn’t start this dream at age 4, he cares just as much as someone who did. Dempsey said “nah” to all that noise and the two locked up in the ring.
The match went as it should, with Walker getting in some offense but Dempsey basically dissecting the big man. Walker won by submission with Drew Gulak watching. Is Drew coming to NXT or is he just scouting?
Meh match but the Drew Gulak wrinkle interests me.
Are You Ready?
Isla Dawn wants Alba Fyre but she took time from playing with her Ouija board to wrestle Thea Hail. Not all of Chase U agreed with Thea taking the match, mostly Duke Hudson. He voiced his opinion that Thea isn’t ready for Isla. And guess what? He was right. Thea got in a little bit of offense but this was all Isla all the time. Duke looked on with the biggest “I told you so” look in the history of our sport.
But remember when I said Isla wanted Alba? Alba showed up after the match and granted her wish. The two fought, refs broke them up, and Isla spat her poison mist in the unsuspecting ref’s face. Poor guy.
Lyra Valkaria. Just thought you should know.
Power vs. Speed
Edris Enofe, Malik Blade, Briggs, and Jensen got into a little altercation last weekend. As seen on Sol Ruca’s TikTok, Briggs & Jensen tried consoling their friends but Enofe & Blade weren’t in the mood. So, yeah, a fight broke out.
This match felt off for me, maybe because a lot happened that distracted from the in-ring action. We got Kiana James’ assistant slipping something into Jensen’s jacket, we got Von Wagner coming out and attacking Odyssey Jones (who accompanied Enofe & Blade), and both teams playing the “I’m distracted” card at separate moments. Briggs & Jensen got the W because apparently they were just a bit more distracted than their opponents. I’m not sure either team benefitted from this, although Malik Blade looks a lot better without his dad’s sweater. No diss to his dad or those fashion choices, just saying.
BUT, and this is a big but, Kiana invited Jensen to Deadline. Which means she’s no doubt using him to throw Fallon off her game. Jensen isn’t bright enough to see that so of course he’s going.
Grayson Waller’s Effect
The five competitors in the Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge met on the Grayson Waller Effect. And honestly? The talking bored me. Melo said what Melo says, JD talked about lactic acid and the physical issues facing his opponents, Joe Gacy did the creepy cult leader thing, Axiom was earnest and everyone clowned him for it, and Grayson was typical Grayson. the one standout moment for me was JD telling Melo he’s “been protected” in NXT since day 1, walking around this place “like a kid at a petting zoo” but he’s “in the lion’s den” at Countdown. That was pretty damn dope got a big reaction from my couch and the crowd. Eventually, we got what we all wanted, a fight, and the show ended.
If it’s me, I’m ending the show with the Women’s triple threat but hey, I’m not Shawn Michaels.
Thunder in Paradise
Bron Breakker showed up at Apollo Crews’ diner last week. This week? Apollo showed up on Bron’s boat. They fished, Bron gave Apollo props for the standing moonsault, and Apollo gave Bron props for stealing that standing moonsault. They kept it friendly but the tension felt more palpable this week on that boat than in the cozy diner. It’s worth watching before their match.
This week ran at a much better pace than last week. We got one really dope match, a hell of a surprise with New Day showing up, a bunch of solid matches and even some weird thrown in for good measure. Everything built to Countdown, which, on paper, looks like a very fun Saturday night.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.