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NXT recap & reactions (June 7, 2022): Apollo’s chariot returns

Carmelo Hayes has a lot on his plate while Bron Breakker and Mandy Rose get unexpected challengers.

Let’s just get into it this week. Holla at Claire’s blog cause she’s the greatest.

Let’s talk NXT!

Microphone Soloist

Solo Sikoa stepped to Carmelo Hayes when NXT hit the airwaves this week. The man wants his shot because, ya know, he has next. Melo said whatever deal Solo made with Cameron Grimes is null and void since he’s not Grimes. Grayson Waller, who no one likes, poked his nose into everyone else’s business. He wants a piece of Melo, too. Solo chose violence and went after everyone.

We thought it was Waller & Melo vs. Solo in a two-on-one match in the main event. Spoiler for those who didn’t watch the show...or read the headline...or see the main image, but Solo brought help:


Yes, Apollo Crews not only made his presence known to Bron Breakker this week, he got busy in the main event as well. And the crowd went wild.

Melo ducked Solo during the impromptu tag match. He ducked him a lot. He wanted all the smoke with Apollo but not even a whiff with Sikoa. That story played throughout the match, either because Melo is scared or feels like denying Solo even a little of what he wants. Which means we got a lot of Apollo and you know what? It was a great look.

Much like Dolph Ziggler looked rejuvenated on the paint splatter brand, so does Apollo. He showed his strength with an incredible delayed vertical suplex on Waller. Showed his quickness with his standing backflips, and showed an ease he flashed in spurts on the main roster. Maybe losing the accent freed his body. Shrug.

While and Waller developed chemistry during the match, there were moments of “hmm.” Waller bumped into Melo a couple times, including an inadvertent tag that put a reluctant Melo in the ring against Sikoa. Grayson is the same cat who dissed Melo when the show started, so there’s no actual partnership here. Keep your friends close and enemies closer is always a smart move, and to these eyes, that’s the game Grayson is playing right now.

When Solo briefly got his hands on Melo, the A champ used Trick Williams to his advantage, as per usual. Partly to save their interaction for a one-on-one match, and the other part is the story of Melo just not wanting anything Solo offers at the moment. In fact, the only times Melo wanted a piece of Solo is when Waller did enough work to put Uce on the mat. Melo might be the man, but he’s definitely a front-runner. He wants the glory that comes with beating Solo without doing the work.

The turning point of the match occurred when Apollo got the hottest of hot tags from Sikoa. Apollo went on a blitz, the match broke down, and Melo finally faced down Solo. The two battled to the outside while Apollo countered Waller’s finishing move into a powerbomb.

And that was all she wrote for Mr. Grayson Waller’s night.

Great match to close out the show with multiple avenues for NXT. Solo and Melo? Sure. Solo and Apollo? Also a possibility. Even before the match, Tony D’Angelo told Melo in no uncertain terms he wants the gold around his waist. That’s a lot of weight for anyone’s shoulders to carry, so we’ll see if Melo’s squat game is up to the challenge.

Broke Out

Tiffany Stratton has it all. Almost everything in life is bestowed upon her while everyone close to her basically worships her greatness. For Tiffany, all of this was a given. But then there’s Roxanne Perez. The young NXt wrestler worked hard for everything. She took long bus rides to train with Booker T. Nothing comes easy for her and she takes nothing for granted.

This is the perfect story for any wrestling story, but definitely a tournament where the winner gets a shot at the title of their choice. That contract means a lot more to Roxanne than Tiffany simply because those opportunities don’t come very often for Ms. Perez. Win or lose, Tiffany will get a shot because life always works in her favor. Even when she’s not trying.

With that perspective, no wonder Roxanne is your NXT Women’s Breakout winner. Tiffany Stratton worked the hell out of this match, taking lead as the heel who grounds her opponent and targets a body part. Tiffany did everything in her power to destroy Roxanne’s shoulder and ground her offense. Stratton only used her explosive offense, like the somersaults and back handspring into the ropes, to show off and denigrate her opponent.

But Tiffany didn’t count on Roxanne’s heart. Even with one arm, and although some of her offense suffered due to that fact, Roxanne stuck around. That high impact offense I mentioned? Tiffany went to the well one too many times when there was no need. She went for a moonsault and ate the mat. Roxanne capitalized on her opponent’s mistake with a Pop Rox, and got a new contract along with the W.

NXT followed this very dope match with a visit from Toxic Attraction. You know how this went: Mandy talked trash, Cora Jade was by her friend’s side, Roxanne got tired of the talk and swung on Mandy. Fight ensues.

What you might not know is Indi Hartwell entered the fray to even Cora and Roxanne’s odds. So we potentially have a three-on-three here with Toxic Attraction on one side, and Indi, Roxanne & Cora on the other. And all of the beef here is logical.

I’m with it.


Nobody Likes That

We got our first look at Legado del Fantasma as part of Tony D’Angelo’s Family. Tony “instructed” Santos Escobar to wrestle Nathan Frazer. No LdF music, no LdF flare. This was all about The Family and where Santos fits into their picture. So much so that Tony actually coached Santos and told him not to do certain moves because “nobody likes that.”

Santos hardly kept his focus on Frazer, however, because duh. When he did pay attention, kept Frazer on his heels. But the big moment came in the third act. With Frazer on the ropes, a member of the family tossed Escobar a crowbar. Escobar, dazed and confused, refused the help. That gave Frazer enough time to recoup and finish the match with a Phoenix Splash.

Like I said, good match, but the drama was everything else happening. This is a tough spot for Santos and his crew. One that will inevitably lead to a big blowup. I’m interested if only slightly.

The Sun God Returns

Bron Breakker, fresh off defending his championship at In Your House, asked who’s next. Enter Apollo Crews. Who, apparently, no longer speaks with a “Nigerian” accent! So, kudos for that all around. Apollo congratulated Bron but acknowledged his own unfinished business in NXT.

Apollo basically said “I’ll holla at you” as it relates to Bron and that championship. Apollo was at his best in NXT. If this is his home for the foreseeable future, then let’s hope good things are in store, along with a legitimate challenge for Breakker.


Alba Fyre made quick work of Tatum Paxley. The first thing worth highlighting is Alba’s crazy athletic ability. She covered a crazy amount of distance with her Senton finisher. Seriously, watch the ending of the match just for that.

The second is Lash Legend’s kick! After the match, Ms. Legend Liu Kang-kicked Alba into another year. With Nikkita on the shelf, Lash picked her next target.

Von Wagner is the New Fetch

They keep trying to make Von Wagner happen. This week, he faced off against Josh Briggs. Briggs won with the help of Jensen’s cast.

Look, it’s just hard for me to enjoy anything involving Von. And when no stakes are involved, that makes it extra hard.

Pretty Handicap

Pretty Deadly disrespected Chase U earlier in the show. Then, to make it worse, they accosted Bodhi Hayward before their tag match with Andre Chase and Bodhi! The fiends! The show must go on, as they say, and the tag match morphed into a handicap match. Chase fought valiantly, but there’s no way former tag champs loose to one man.

Bodhi crawled to ringside because Chase needed his help, and Thea Hail followed. Hail got on the apron and asked for a tag that never came. However, she smack fire out of Elton Prince.

The Chase U stuff continues its reign of greatness, and Andre Chase is one of the most sympathetic characters in the territory.

This was a very solid show. We got a nice little reset after In Your House, a big return, and possibly a roadmap for the summer. And props for using Todd Pettengill for the In Your House voiceover. That always warms my heart even if it’s just a tease.

Grade: B+

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

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