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NXT recap & reactions (March 29, 2022): This ladder goes to the moon

Cameron Grimes makes his poppa proud in a solid Stand and Deliver go home show from the rainbow brand.

It’s time for the go home show! We’re days from Stand and Deliver and NXT 2.0 is, well, delivering it’s final show before their next “premium live event.”

Claire has you covered with her blog on details, details and details. I’m doing color commentary as per usual, getting you prepped for the upcoming premium festivities on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Grimes Enters the Ladder Match

Cameron Grimes was a man possessed. Determined to fulfill a promised to his deceased father, Grimes knew the importance of showing up and showing out this week. Grimes knows his inability to win big and hold a championship not owned by Ted Dibiase is the last thing left on his laundry list of things to accomplish. Gone was the cocky and arrogant Grimes. In its place was a desperate man, unsure of himself with an easily relatable story.

A-Kid and Roderick Strong showed up also, but they didn’t have the story. But that didn’t stop them from putting on a hell of a match with Grimes. This triple threat contest was fast paced. One of the most fast paced matches on WWE television this year. It started with each man trying to get the upper hand. They tried suplexing each other, they tried getting early pins to wrap it up way before the overrun, and they countered damn near everything.

My favorite moment was Grimes launching A-Kid into the air only for A-Kid to dropkick Strong on his way down. It was a thing of beauty and a sign of the chemistry between these three cats. Roderick Strong, while at times an outlier in NXT these days, proves his worth in every main event attached to his name. The man even powerbombed A-Kid onto Grimes. This was a physical affair just as much as it was about speed and precision.

But like I said, the story was Grimes. The match was built around close calls and the fact he can lose his big shot without his shoulders touching the mat. He desperately broke up every pin attempt and made sure he was always in on the action. Triple threat matches are, at their core, about a lack of control over the results.

Grimes’ goal was to do everything in his power to make sure he controlled the outcome and left nothing to chance. That idea played into the end of the match, as it was the perfect poetic moment to finish a great main event.

Grimes was briefly out of the frame thanks to one of many collisions. Strong did his best to finish A-Kid with the End of Heartache. While Kid blocked the first attempt, he wasn’t so lucky on the second. Strong, in a moment to catch his breath before going for the pin, looked up and saw Grimes headed straight for him with two feet in the air aiming at his chest.

One Cave In later, and Cameron Grimes is going to Stand and Deliver to compete for the North American championship.

After this fantastic match, each contestant got their turn to talk their trash on the microphone. Truthfully, the moment didn’t need this. We know they’re going to brawl to end the show. We know someone will throw the first punch. Giving each person a moment to talk makes it feel scripted. Skip the words and get to the fight. Grimes threw the first punch at Carmelo Hayes, and all of the contestants duked it out as the show faded to black.

This ladder match at Stand and Deliver might be the match of the weekend on a weekend packed with a handful of contestants to take that honor.

Logic tells me they’re setting up a Grimes win but Melo’s reign doesn’t feel finished. I don’t see a need for him to tango for the NXT championship yet, and his continued dominance gives everyone else someone a nice foil to chase. Plus, not for nothing, the belt just looks good on him.


The Imperium Bullies Win

I LOVED this six-man tag match. Imperium on one side of the ring, LA Knight and MSK on the other. This was a great opening for the show, especially with Knight and MSK attacking Imperium during their entrance. Wrestling is at its best when it feels like its inhabited by real people. NXT 2.0 might not be everyone’s cup of tea for various reasons, but it’s a flavor I often come back to because the wrestlers feel like real people. In a fight of this magnitude with this much bad blood, of course someone should get jumped.

Knight started the match, giving the good guys the early advantage. Imperium took control, displaying their dominance and why they’re the bullies of the brood, only for MSK to regain control. Both teams were presented as even matches going into their match at Stand and Deliver, so this was the right call.

GUNTHER changed the tide of the match twice. And both times at the expense of MSK. Once with a huge boot to the face when it looked like MSK was taking control, and then tripping Nash Carter as he climbed the ropes for a big finish. Knight saw enough at that point, grabbing GUNTHER and engaging in battle with him out of the match and into the locker room area. Carter, caught up in the commotion, catches a lariat from Aichner, and that was all she wrote. Imperium saw their celebration cut short as the Creed Brothers showed up for a good old fashioned standoff.

I’m with it and can’t wait for this triple threat tag.

The Mean Girls Battle

Malcolm Bivens’ facial expressions during this match are gold. No surprise since Bivens is worth all that shiny stuff in Scrooge McDuck’s vault. His Diamond Mine member Ivy Nile wrestled Tiffany Stratton. Both women keep improving as wrestlers, while Stratton is doing good character work. Ivy still needs work in that specific department, but I assume “badass” is all the character trait she needs at the moment.

Stratton was distracted by Sarray, who appeared and disappeared out of a cloud of smoke. That was all she wrote because who among us can win anything after our enemy appears and disappears out of smoke?! Ivy gets the W.

Reunited and it Feels Okay

The popular girls of NXT 2.0, Toxic Attraction, cut a pretty blah promo this week. Mandy Rose did most of the talking and while I like this incarnation of Mandy, this wasn’t her finest hour. The big moments came when Mandy, Jacy and Gigi revealed they took out Wendy Choo, much to Dakota Kai’s chagrin. Kai rushed down to the ring, diving head first into a three-on-one beatdown.

But wait!

Raquel Gonzalez pulled up (sans bike) and rescued her former friend and partner. As fate would have it, the two reunited and set their sights squarely on Toxic Attraction’s tag championships. Gigi and Jacy needed opponents. Looks like they got them. I like where we went with the segment but how we got there was like watching paint dry while hearing needles on a chalkboard.

The Uncool Kids at the Uncool Kids Table

Briggs & Jensen defeated Legado del Fantasma in an okay match. The coolest moment was, undoubtedly, when Briggs caught Joaquin Wilde as Wilde attempted to hit a 450 Splash. Briggs caught the man with one hand and turned it into the Total Elimination! That was very, very dope.

Nikkita and Lash Still Don’t Like Each Other

Nikkita Lyons squashed her opponent. This was just a showcase for Nikkita, who shows her skills exceed beyond the thirst. Lash Legend showed up to talk her trash, but it was one way. Nikkita didn’t say anything in response, merely gestured to the crowd. It was a weird look to let her get dissed like that and not say anything. Also made the segment a tad awkward.

The Weird Kids Who Wear Jackets Got Beat Up

Von Wagner tore Ikemen Jiro’s jacket. Sure, he beat Bodhi Hayward from Chase U, but the story here is his beef with Jacket Time. Jiro and KUSHIDA sat ringside during this match and Wagner got in their faces when it was over. After issuing a beatdown of his own to both men—weird choice—he tore Jiro’s jacket. Blasphemy.

I’m still not feeling Wagner but I get what they’re doing with him and why. He’s a big guy and has a natural heel energy. I’m sure it’s working for some but, to quote a fav movie of mine, it’s not my tempo.

Weird and Confused

Weird describes this stalking angle with Draco Anthony and Joe Gacy. Confused describes me after this match. It wasn’t a bad match by any means, but I’m at a loss with the story. Gacy wants to recruit Draco but Xyon Quinn is also a part of the story too as Draco’s friend. Where was he during the match? Then, with Gacy winning and no follow-up post match, where are we going?

This was a solid go home show. We got several good matches, some video packages hyping matches, more intrigue on who attacked the Brothers Creed, final words from Tommaso Ciampa, and the last piece of ladder match puzzle. Stand and Deliver might not be a bad way to jumpstart a Saturday afternoon.

Grade: B

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

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