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Vengeance Day 2022 recap & reactions: He is I and I am him, A champ with the tilted brim

Camelo Hayes doesn't miss, Bron Breakker has a new challenger, and Toxic Attraction reign supreme.

You know who likes Vengeance Day the most? The Batman. He has a whole spiel about being vengeance, the night, blah blah blah. NXT 2.0 has a different sort of vengeance in mind, coming to you live from the Performance Center as per usual, with several championships on the line and a couple of scores to settle.

How exactly did it go down? Claire’s got you covered. What it all means to the larger NXT 2.o world? I’m your man.

Let’s talk Vengeance Day!


Melo Don’t Miss

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Carmelo Hayes is the truth. And, to no one’s shock, Cameron Grimes isn’t far off from facts either. I loved the escalation of this match. It started with both men getting a feel for each other and playing mind games. I’m talking collar and elbow tie-ups, Irish whip counters, rest holds and reversals of said rest holds. Hayes and Grimes do not like each other. They’re diametrically opposed forces with very different backgrounds and opposite views of life. It’s why after one exchange, Grimes shook his ass in front of the A Champ just to mess with him. Grimes understood how important it was to get inside Melo’s head, especially with Melo’s personal Big Daddy Cool on the outside, and for a while, that strategy worked.

At one point, Melo was actually talking to himself, realizing he needed to hit another gear to truly put this dude away. Or just allow his equalizer to mess with Grimes.

The benefit of someone like Trick is obvious but I’ll say it anyway. Melo is never alone and no matter the mind games his opponent plays, he always has Trick to even the odds. Every time Grimes gained momentum, Trick was there. Even when he bought Melo time simply by being in the way when Grimes went to the top rope for a crossbody, it worked to the champ’s advantage. I always talk about the numbers game in NXT and nobody makes it look as simple as these two.

The best example? Hayes rolls to the outside when he knows a Cave In is coming his way. Cameron follows him, sizes him up, and looks ready to do more than pounce. But, once again, Trick shows his value and why you need brothers like him in your corner in everything you do. With no regard for his own life, Williams pushing the champion out of the way and takes the Cave In himself. THAT was the moment everything went sideways for the challenger and when Melo truly took control. Melo even told his belt he will never let it go.

Dope. Shit.

A few exchanges and one more Trick interference later, Melo finished the match with his version of the Harlem Hangover, we heard the ding ding, and another classic is under the belts of both men.

Watch this match not now but right now.


Heartbreakin’

I’m not sure how I feel about this week’s main event. Bron Breakker is a stud and Santos Escobar is one of the best. But the match never felt right. I don’t think the two have much chemistry and the match didn’t find its rhythm.

Escobar planned to show he’s the better and smarter wrestler in hopes both attributes might neutralize Bron’s power. That didn’t go well initially. Bron went to work on the LDF leader with lariats, delayed suplexes, and, of course, dog barks. It wasn’t until Escobar used the steel steps did things take a turn in his favor. Escobar channeled Eddie Guerrero, doing everything possible to win the match. That included using LDF as a distraction and taking advantage of an interfering Dolph Ziggler. Dolph made his way to Florida with a keen eye on the main event. Like any good veteran, Dolph picked his spot to land a superkick on the champion. Tommaso Ciampa didn’t like that at all, rushing to the ring to throw fisticuffs with Ziggler, leading to a match between the two next week.

But that kick wasn’t enough to derail the champ. Escobar, at his wits end, went for a Frog Splash and wiped out completely. From there, you know how this ended. I mean, come on, you watch wrestling. Bron got his comeback and finished it with his Military Press.

Like I said, everything worked on paper. That execution though? It just didn’t click for me. Ciampa and Ziggler, in theory, sounds like a good match. But I’m not interested in seeing any parts of that.

Anyway, with Escobar out of the way, GUNTHER looks positioned to face Bron Breakker as soon as he’s done with Solo Sikoa. No clue if Bron is ready for that, but we’re going to find out very shortly.


Extracurriculars

Your Instructor is Casey Jones

Pete Dunne and Tony D’Angelo wasted no time getting violent in their weaponized cage match. Dunne grabbed a chair—not to have a seat—and went to work on Tony D. Dunne’s target was, of course, Tony D’s fingers. Whether with the chair, the crowbar, or just using his own hands, Dunne was focused on one body part and never relented.

But Tony D is no slouch in the toughness department. In one particularly sick moment, the wise guy tied the Bruiserweight’s hands behind his back with zip ties and tried to pull his teeth out with a hammer. Yes, you read that sentence correct. Tony D is a sick, sick man.

The 15 minute alley fight came to a close when both men went for the signature weapons that inspired this match. Tony D thought a crowbar followed by his signature move would get it done. Forget about it. Dunne went for a cricket bat—don’t you just love a Ninja Turtles reference— followed by a Bitter End. No dice. A good moment showing Tony D is just as tough as his talk and can brawl with the best of them.

But fittingly, it was the crowbar that signed, sealed, and delivered this match for the winner. Dunne, supposedly slumped over in the corner, grabbed a crowbar. Tony D, much more obviously, had the same thought.

Both men charged but Dunne struck first with an attack Tony, much like his Sopranos namesake, never saw it coming. One more Bitter End and that was all she wrote.

Fun opener this week with a match befitting the feud and both men’s personalities.

Dusty Finish

Ah, MSK and the Creed Bros. What a clash of styles we have here. The Brothers Creed are mat wrestlers, more at home in a gymnasium than a WWE arena...or performance center. MSK wants to take to the skies every single second. So it’s no surprise the Diamond Mine crew tried to outwrestle MSK. Also not a shock MSK wasn’t having that. This was like watching a football team play any sport against a track team.

Every heavy punch from Julius or Brutus was followed by a kick or backflip from Nash Carter or Wes Lee. The match was typified in two moves: MSK hit their famous Shooting Star press double team to a Creed Bro on the outside of the ring and Julius Creed bulldozed Wes Lee into the commentary table. That’s the flavor they went for and it worked.

In the end, it was power over finesse as the Brothers Creed stopped MSK from achieving their dream of repeating as Dusty Cup winners. Diamond Mine’s tag team is clearly aiming for Imperium and this match gets them one step closer.

That Was Surprising

So, I expected more from Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta in this match. Not that they didn’t show up, because duh. But they looked like the much weaker team when they usually compete at a level higher than Riddle in Denver.

Once again, they let Toxic Attraction outsmart them, too, which makes it even weirder. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne dominated and it really wasn’t close. Interesting call, especially before the women’s Dusty Cup.

The Women get Dusty

Couple segments set up next week’s Dusty Cup for the ladies. Wendy Choo and Dakota Kai will probably team up if the former has her way. Raquel González put Cora Jade through workout hell, while Indi and Persia are still incredibly distracted by men. Indi has her husband while Persia finally—for some reason—gets her shot with Duke Hudson. Kay Lee Ray and Io Sharai broke a lot of stuff envisioning they were smashing Toxic Attraction.

Oh, and Kayden Carter is putting Brooks Jensen in the friend zone as she and Kacy Catanzaro prepare for battle. Although son is probably gettin gin the friend zone regardless of the circumstances.

Knight Knight

Grayson Waller is an idiot, apparently. After breaching the terms of his restraining order by putting his hands on LA Knight, Knight was cleared to give Waller that work. To be continued...


Vengeance Day was fine. No more, no less. There was one outstanding match that outclassed the rest. Everyone else was competent. The Toxic Attraction stuff at the beginning of the show was...a thing that happened. I have so many thoughts but that requires an entire editorial on my part.

But I digress.

This was the last show on the SyFy channel this month and it definitely didn’t end with a bang. But not a whimper either. It was merely “cool.”

Grade: B-

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