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New Year’s Evil 2024 recap & reactions: New year, same Trick Melo Gang

A couple surprises, a championship match never happens, and the women get violent at this year’s New Year’s Evil.

New Year’s Evil

If you watched the video above these words and missed this week’s episode, you might have a few questions. Where’s Ilja Dragunov? Why is Kevin Owens in Florida? Why don’t they ever show New Year’s Evil during this event?

I can answer a few of those. For starters, they canceled the championship match. Which is...weird. The story is WWE medical officials didn’t clear Ilja but was that always the plan? I really hope not because going through all that consternation about Ilja’s health, along with an impromptu contract signing, is meaningless. Even that big dramatic move where Ilja took off his neck brace and moved his neck showing that he’s more ready to go than previously thought, now means nothing.

So there’s that thing which immediately threw me for a loop. And then they threw in more Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams drama that really knocked me on my butt. And no, not from delight.

It’s the same issue: It’s taking way too long to get to the inevitable. Alfred Hitchcock noted a key for suspense is timing. If the payoff is too quick, there’s no shock. If it takes too long, the audience might turn apathetic. There’s only but so long one can fill a balloon before letting out the air. And this particular balloon has more helium than the Hindenburg.

Melo, who recently encouraged his best friend not to delay his title shot is now booking matches that put that title shot in jeopardy? It’s a tad contradictory but okay. So when Melo showed up against Trick’s wishes, his plan seemed obvious. But he didn’t count on KO showing up and exacting some revenge on Grayson Waller.

Melo begrudgingly clapping at the end with Trick’s new t-shirt in hand says it all, but we’re still running in place. And worse, much like a few weeks ago, we’re repeating beats.

What more can I say?

Also, as customary this time of year, I encourage every single person reading this to watch New Year’s Evil. Particularly if you like 1980s slasher flicks. And despite it coming from Cannon films, it makes a lot more sense than anything happening with this NXT championship scene.


B-Sides

The Wild Ride

Joaquin Wilde. That’s all I need to say. Well, that’s all I should say, but I need context.

You see the video though. That was incredible and wasn’t the only death-defying thing he pulled off during the match.

The tag match, featuring Carlito, got LWO over, got a nice pop for Carlito, and centered around the good guys looking great. Not much depth here in terms of story but just a fun match filled with big spots. It was the wrestling equivalent of street ball, which is always fun.

Played Like a Piano

Ouch. That’s the first thing that popped into my head after Blair Davenport rammed her knee into the commentary table. She not only missed Lyra Valkyria, but broke the table! That became the turning point in a contest that felt even to that point.

I’m not sure I like the story here. At least not entirely. I thought Lyra and Blair did a solid job in and out the ring, but I’m not fully onboard with the idea that Lyra, the woman who defeated Becky Lynch for her championship, fell into a victory here because her opponent made a mistake. Yes, it was a huge mistake and it speaks to Blair’s recklessness, but hearing commentary mention “luck” and Lyra in the same sentence feels off.

Before I truly ruminated on all that, Lola Vice’s music played and she looked ready for her championship fight. But then Tatum Paxley showed up and set up, I assume, a future tag match with her and Lyra vs. Lola & Elektra Lopez. Lyra still wants no parts of Tatum so that might get interesting.

Can they coexist??!!! Probably not.

Town & Country

On the other hand, I have no issue with a face winning a match because the heel does heel things. And it also underlined the key issue between Fallon Henley & Tiffany Stratton: Tiffany cuts corners and doesn’t work hard while Fallon scratches and claws for everything.

That’s why Tiffany grabbed a chair and played dirty. And that’s why Fallon got the W and made Tiffy her bar hand. Fallon started the match on fire and kept it up the whole time. I love watching these two together because they look like they genuinely hate each other. Loved this match. Short, sweet, violent, passionate, and a happy ending.

Never Fight an African

Styles P’s song says it all. Oba Femi controlled this match from the opening bell. I love the man’s offense, his look, and his demeanor. A good showing for Riley Osborne, who now finds himself in the Dusty Classic (so he’s fine) but this was never his night or his tournament. Get familiar with Oba and do it fast. He’s a big man who knows exactly how to move and play his position.


The main event shenanigans aside, I really enjoyed New Year’s Evil. I didn’t speak on the Roxanne Perez vs. Arianna Grace match but only because I’m unsure where they’re going with Roxanne right now. She won the match but the ref reversed the decision when Roxanne went off at the end. But, like all the matches, I liked it. All the wrestlers brought their A-game to 2024, even if the writing didn’t always sufficiently support them.

Everything here (minus the obvious) seemingly came with a purpose and forward momentum. That’s all I ever ask for from my weekly wrestling.

What say you, Cagesiders? Are you as high on Oba as I am? Does this Melo and Trick stuff remind you too of The Neverending Story but not in a good way? Who do you have in the Dusty Classic? Sound off!

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