A lot happened on NXT 2.0 this week so after you read Claire do her best at scribing all of that, come back here to find out what it all means.
You back? Good.
Let’s talk NXT!
The NXT Women’s Tag Fatal 4-Way was always about Toxic Attraction and Kayden Carter & Katana Chance. As it relates to the tag team division in the multicolored brand, this is the premiere feud. Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne put up roadblocks every time Carter & Chance walked down the road to gold. Every. Single. Time. To say nothing of the their trials and tribulations for gold before Toxic Attraction took over the Florida territory.
Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley and the very exciting Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon represented well. Leon even lifted her partner over her head and used her as an offensive weapon against their opponents. Sadly, that was the highlight for them as they were the first to go. But, also, obviously they were going first. Right? Who is eliminated, along with when and how, is all part of the story. Leon & Fereoz are the least pronounced of the four teams while Ivy & Tatum are second in that race.
Ivy & Tatum showed their calling card as a team is raw power. Tatum isn’t as showy with it as Ivy, but she’s just as brolic. They work well together too. Like the Brothers Creed, Ivy & Tatum can be huge foils for a high-flying team in the division.
That power exhibition didn’t last long because Jacy eliminated the Diamond Mine tandem. Which brings us back to where we started this little writing exercise: Toxic Attraction and Carter & Chance. Or, as my co-host says, KC2.
The mini story inside of the larger story was Toxic Attraction’s third reign looking inevitable. They got the upper hand against their arch rivals and did what they do best: Tandem offense coming faster and more furious than Dom on a liquor store run for Coronas. But every time the Toxic duo thought they had the W in hand through their divide and conquer tactics, Carter or Chance found a way to save their partner. They were prepared this time, finally understanding everything coming their way. And that’s why they finally used Toxic Attraction’s games against them. They divided. They surprised. Gigi separated them, as per usual, but they played offense rather than defense. Katana attacked Gigi, allowing Kayden enough time to recover, roll back into the ring, and take it to a now dolo Jayne. Carter & Chance executed some tandem offense of their own, and that was that.
Your winners, and—finally—new tag team champions...Kayden Carter & Katana Chance.
This was a dood first match but an even better capper to the long story about these two women living up to their potential.
Escobar Season Has Returned. Repent Your Sins
Not burying the lede here: Santos Escobar is back after a stay in “hospital.” Diamond Mine put their NXT tag titles on the line against Tony D’Angelo and Stacks. His name is Stacks because he gets stacks of paper. But what he will not have is stacks of championships, at least not tonight. If Santos’ return is the big story of this match, then Julius Creed’s continued ascent is the second.
Julius is my favorite hot tag in wrestling. Earlier in the match, he was on the wrong end of various suplexes, headlocks, and general embarrassment from Tony D. Brutus tagged in and did his usual controlled chaos for a minute, but Tony and Stacks rubbed him out as well. Once Julius came back in though? Everything changed. Tony felt the momentum slipping too, which is why he reached for his trusty crowbar. Unfortunately for him, Santos was on the other end and didn’t let go.
Julius took advantage of the distraction and it was lights out for Tony D.
Santos is back, Elektra Lopez grinned ear-to-ear, and we’re finally getting a blow off to this entire LdF vs. The Family feud next week.
A Happy Birthday for the A Champion
Carmelo Hayes issued an open challenge for his title. Not how I like to spend my birthdays, but hey, different strokes being what they are, it’s all good. He thought that challenger was Giovanni Vinci. But Vinci’s entrance takes so freaking long, Nathan Frazer stole his spot. Which was hilarious and a clever meta joke.
Frazer and Melo wrestled a good match that, honestly, I wanted more. But Vinci was ringside doing commentary, meaning this match wasn’t about Melo at all. We’re getting a Vinci vs. Frazer feud for a couple reasons: One, Frazer embarrassed Vinci and took his spot. B, Frazer’s dive onto Melo on the outside of the ring created a chain reaction that knocked over Vinci’s drink, which spilled all over the “Italian” model. Vinci figured turnabout being fair play and all, why not interfere in the match with the ref not looking? He pushed Frazer off the top rope, Melo shot and scored, and that was that.
Like I said, good, not great.
Meh. That’s my feeling about Mandy Rose vs. Sarray. The match was just very flat, with the most exciting moment coming when the match was over. Mandy relayed a message to Zoey Stark after pinning Sarray in the middle of the ring, fair and square. She took a chair, did some pretty laughable chair shots on Sarray’s knee, and eventually got what she deserved when Stark came to the rescue. Zoey and Mandy should be fun and filled with emotion, which is the exact opposite of what we got this week.
Lash Legend is improving. A lot. She didn’t win her match against Alba Fyre—of course not—but it proved a nice showcase for her progress since first coming to NXT. She’s learning how to use her body as a wrestler and take advantage of her natural athletic ability. And Alba, of course, is always on fire. Love the crowd chanting “Kay Lee Ray.”
“I know You Are But What am I? A Garbage Man!”
My disinterest in Von Wagner is well-documented. My adoration for Solo Sikoa is also a thing known on these hallowed pages. So I was torn watching their Falls Count Anywhere match. Even though I only cared about 50 percent of its equation, it kept me glued to the television. Wagner wants to prove he’s tougher than Solo. Solo wants to move on so he can finally “have next.” In fact, we even got a little interaction with Melo during this match, even if it was more contrived than a Friday the 13th movie. Before the match, Melo and Trick ran into some beautiful women with a dead car battery. They offered their help because they’re gentlemen. So, shockingly, when Solo and Wagner headed outside during their match, Solo pushed Melo into the backseat of said car. Like I said, contrived.
But the match was fun even if parts of it didn’t make sense. In a match where you still need to pin your opponent, Wagner walked away after dumping Solo into a big trash dump. How, Sway? Solo rising from the trash heap like Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 wasn’t even a cool visual.
But I digress. For the most part, it was a fun, violent affair that saw Solo pick up the W by crashing onto the big man through a commentary table. It’s hard to do a match like this wrong unless the wrestlers don’t use their environment. These two dead and now they should both move on.
The less I need to talk about Wagner, the better.
Man, You Come Right Out of a Comic Book
Axiom was minding his own business when Duke Hudson, noted former poker player, interrupted to pick on him. Duke called the masked man a nerd, made fun of his height, his weight, etc. etc. you know the drill. Duke then beat the stuffing out of Axiom from the backstage area to the ring. Axiom, beaten but not beat, got on the mic and challenged the Aussie to a match.
And he won! It’s a good way to get him over and prove there’s something to this comic book hero gimmick that hopefully doesn’t get too corny. Because it can easily go that route very quickly. This was an okay segment, but not the first time NXT did the “big guy picks on little guy” gimmick before. And not the best example of it either.
Look, I’m sorry, it’s just really hard caring about anything related to Joe Gacy. He talked ish to Briggs & Jensen earlier and Jensen—who I believe says he’s ready for his “first time”—wasn’t having it. Jensen and Gacy fought, Pretty Deadly interfered and Gacy picked up the W. Gacy, for what it’s worth, says the match was just a message to Cameron Grimes. Grimes, who watched backstage like a human being, looked perturbed by Gacy’s post-match ramblings.
Die Bart Die
JD McDonagh thinks he’s Sideshow Bob. That’s my main takeaway from my least favorite segment of the night. The contract signing between JD and Bron Breakker for their match at Heatwave was stilted, awkward, and did neither man any favors.
But whew, it took a turn when JD signed the contract in his own blood. Bruv, come on. He was going for sadistic but it came off as cartoonish. Hence the Sideshow Bob reference. AND THEN HE TRIED SHAKING BRON’S HAND WITH THE SAME HAND. In this economy?! Disgusting.
I was excited for this match but the more these two are together in the ring, the less I want it to happen. There’s just nothing exciting here and, once again, it’s another feud that makes the champ feel like he’s not the true star of the show.
Use a pen, JD McDonagh.
This was a good show. Shock, right? NXT 2.0 is normally solid. Rarely is it truly exciting but it’s always consistent. We got a lot of set up for next week as well, which makes me wonder what else is in store for Heatwave. The contract signing segment landed like a brick and let us never speak of it again.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.