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NXT ON USA
SEPTEMBER 14, 2021, 8PM EST
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
Join the “PWT Talks NXT” Dailycast with me, Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg to break down the episode:
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-A graphic, punctuated with color splatter, promoted tonight’s four-way main event.
-Tommaso Ciampa said tonight would be Ciampa & Goldie 2.0. Pete Dunne told NXT to line up anyone and he’d put them down. Kyle O’Reilly said he was one win away from a championship sixteen years in the making. LA Knight said it was LA Knight’s game.
Bron Breakker was in the shot when Knight turned away. He was full of energy and excited for tonight. Knight told him to go out there and didn’t seem to get that Knight was sort of mocking him.
(1) BRON BREAKKER vs. LA KNIGHT
Bron is Rex Steiner, son of Rick. The lights came up and the show was significantly brighter than we’re used to. The ropes are white. The barricades are see-through and the walls were punctuated with color. It’s an inviting change and evokes studio wrestling, though it’s a live show.
Breakker took Knight down with a couple of waistlocks early and Vic said he had a “dogfaced gremlin mentality,” not shying away from Breakker’s obvious similarity in look and gear to father Rick Steiner. Knight took over on offense with a couple of blocks and slams. Breakker caught Knight with a belly-to-belly but Knight took over quickly again with a knee lift. Breaker deadlifted Knight, held him in place for a moment and powerslammed Knight. He covered for the 1, 2…3?!
WINNER: Bron Breakker in about 4:00.
(Wells’s Analysis: This match didn’t have any reason to open the show unless Breakker was winning. Now we have a built-in first challenger if LA Knight wins tonight, which is significantly possible. I wouldn’t even write off Breakker being champion by the end of tonight’s show if they really want to hit this reset hard.)
-After commercial, the announcers put over Breakker’s huge victory. Backstage, several wrestlers yet to hit TV congratulated Breakker on his win.
(2) BROOKS JENSEN & JOSH BRIGGS vs. IMPERIUM (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)
The former got a brief inset promo. Jensen is a work in progress, definitely. Aichner and Jensen opened and Aichner flattened Jensen with a hard lariat. Rope run and a scoop slam by Jensen. Tag to Briggs and the faces double-teamed Aichner with a tandem block to boos, so the fans trying to get themselves over didn’t get a refresh, unfortunately. Barthel tagged in and threw chops and strikes. He ran the ropes and put down Briggs with a PK. Tag to Aichner and they did the tandem dropkick spot with Briggs in the tree of woe. Briggs reversed and hit a high side suplex. Jensen tagged in and slammed Aichner, then did it again. The announcers mentioned that Jensen is just 22. Jensen tried to make a tag and Barthel yanked him from the apron. Jensen went up and Barthel distracted him. Aichner hopped up and put Jensen down with a powerslam from the top.
WINNERS: Imperium at 3:55.
(Wells’s Analysis: A good enhancement match and the faces have some good power potential. The crowd was intentionally disrespectful with the tiresome overreactions to every single spot and transition. I miss empty arenas all of a sudden)
-Hit Row did a promo from the recording studio, and announced that Breonna Brandi’s name is going to be B-Fab.
(3) B-FAB (w/Hit Row) vs. KATRINA CORTEZ
Cortez, wearing a lucha mask (formerly called Catalina), did a couple of rolls away from B-Fab, who caught and slammed her. B-Fab worked a brief cravat and tossed Cortez. Cortez booted B-Fab a couple of times but B-Fab leveled her with a kick of her own. Rude Awakening finished for B-Fab.
WINNER: B-Fab at 1:18.
B-Fab took the mic and started putting herself over and making threats to Legado del Fantasma. Legado’s music played, bringing all of them to the ramp, dressed to the nines. Elektra Lopez said if B-Fab didn’t learn last time, they can do it again, and she wouldn’t need a pipe this time. B-Fab said she was ready right now. Lopez was all about it but Santos Escobar held her back.
-Backstage, Cameron Grimes, Odyssey Jones and Johnny Gargano were all ready for a celebration later tonight. Gargano said it was missing something, and Austin Theory walked through the door to a good pop. He said “What’s a wedding without a Priest?” Damian Priest walked in to a very large reaction. He said he’s not actually a Priest so he can’t actually officiate.
-In-ring interviewer Samantha Irvin introduced Breakout Tournament winner Carmelo Hayes, who was holding his open contract for a championship match. He said he was riding high but now he’s got a target on his back. He said NXT was a bit of a numbers game, so he called on his friend Trick Williams, who was on hand. (Real name Matrick Belton, a former South Carolina football player). Carmelo said Trick would go everywhere with him now. Williams said Hayes was the pride of NXT, but he’s got a bone to pick with him. He wondered who this new “humble” Melo was. He wanted Melo to show his real side. Hayes said he was right: it’s too hard to be this good and be humble. He acknowledged that he’s the chosen one. When he shoots, he don’t miss.
Duke Hudson met up with the two on the ramp as he entered. He said Hayes just got lucky last time. Hayes shrugged him off. Williams said this is what he’s talking about, and he entered the ring and beat down Hudson. He called in Hayes, who joined in. The crowd wasn’t entirely sure what this was about.
(Wells’s Analysis: Decent enough stuff from both guys, but is Hayes leaning heel? I don’t think that was the intent, even though the purpose of the conversation was literally for them to announce they’re going to be arrogant. Having ostensible babyfaces be self-important and insecure pricks does make it seem like Vince McMahon’s stamp is on this episode)
-Backstage, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne talked up an unseen Mandy Rose and said she’d never looked better (Rose was in frame, but had a hoodie on and wasn’t facing the camera). They said “Let’s do this!”
-“Canon in D” played as some stagehands set up for the wedding.
(4) KACY CATANZARO & KAYDEN CARTER vs. GIGI DOLIN & JACY JAYNE
Dolin & Jayne’s entrance is more confident and polished, by far, than it has been to date. Rose wasn’t present (yet). Dolin and Carter opened the match, and Carter dominated early. Dropkick by Carter and a tag to Catanzaro, who hit a rolling legdrop and worked an abdominal stretch. We went to an inset video where Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland were attacking Kyle O’Reilly in a locker room.
Catanzaro went to the top rope, and Mandy Rose charged in and caused a DQ. Sarray made the save and cleared out the heels. The (allegedly) big reveal for Rose is that she’s a brunette now. Okay. The six jawed at each other heading into commercial.
WINNERS: Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter by DQ at 1:51.
(Wells’s Analysis: I still don’t know what Rose has to offer in this context past a very small amount of name value. On the upside, Jayne is looking better and Dolin continues to be very engaging)
(5) SARRAY & KACY CATANZARO & KAYDEN CARTER vs. MANDY ROSE & GIGI DOLIN & JACY JAYNE
The match was made, and started, during the break. Sarray and Dolin were legal. Sarray took control and hit a corner dropkick, then tagged both others in quick succession for a tandem dropkick spot. Catanzaro got distracted and Dolin stomped her, then tagged Rose, who was in very briefly before a tag to Jayne and back to Dolin, who put in a couple of cheap shots for some heel heat. Hey, maybe it isn’t a dying art after all. Rose tagged in and worked a bodyscissors on Catanzaro, who rolled up Rose for a near-fall. That’s the first unsuccessful cover of the night, over an hour in. Jayne tagged in and threw a chop, then hit a suplex on Catanzaro and ran the ropes for a senton that got a one count. Rose tagged in but Catanzaro slipped away to tag Carter. Waistlock, blocked, and a dropkick by Carter. Carter used the corner heels as springboards and splashed Rose. Superkick by Carter got two, broken up by Jayne. Bonzo gonzo for a minute and Sarray stood tall and faced off with Rose. Carter blindsided Rose and covered for two. “This is awesome” chant. It’s about average. Rose hit a running knee and covered Carter for the win.
WINNERS: Mandy Rose & Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne in about 6:30 (beginning of match off TV)
(Wells’s Analysis: Easily the longest match so far. Rose is also wearing all black, though mismatched blacks. Oh well. The match was lively if not memorable, and left the door open for a lot more from this multi-layered feud)
-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed William Regal, who said Kyle O’Reilly was no longer cleared by medical to be in this four-way match. He would be replaced by Von Wagner, who saved O’Reilly from the attack. Wagner is somewhat-longtime project Cal Bloom under a new name.
(6) DRAKE MAVERICK vs. RIDGE HOLLAND
Early domination from Holland. Chops followed by stomps. Maverick tried to fight his way into it and Holland choked him out. Northern Grit finished.
WINNER: Ridge Holland at 1:49.
-McKenzie Mitchell talked to Tommaso Ciampa about the change to tonight’s match.
-A paisan walked down the street to Italian bistro music and went full stereotype saying his family had interests in waste management and the like. He said the money, though, is in NXT. Tony D’Angelo: Coming Soon.
(7) TWO ENHANCEMENTS vs. THE CREED BROTHERS
Brutus started with one of the enhancements and dominated him, then casually dumped him to the outside, then tripped the other enhancement on the apron. Back inside and Brutus threw the legal man into the other. Julius came in to join the fun and clear out the illegal man. Gut wrench onto the ropes by Brutus. Tag to Julius, who hit a suplex, then forced a tag from one enhancement to the other to dish out more punishment. The enhancement got in a few punches and a dropkick. Julius fired up and hit a a few suplexes and a basement clothesline to finish.
WINNERS: The Creed Brothers at 2:49.
(Wells’s Analysis: These two are just awesome)
-After the match, the rest of Diamond Mine entered the ring and Malcolm Bivens introduced the newest member of Diamond Mine, Ivy Niles. Niles is jacked. Bivens put her over and said she exemplifies what this team is all about.
Kushida’s music played, bringing him to the ramp. He said they talk and talk and talk, but he’s ready. Bivens asked if next week was the right time for a fight. Kushida looked at an imaginary watch on his wrist to show agreement.
-Dexter Lumis got ready for his wedding. Vic said it was main event time, so apparently the four-way is going on before the wedding. Vic has to say “NXT 2.0” every time tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t have to keep saying it after this week, or it’ll die quietly down the road.
(8) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. VON WAGNER vs. LA KNIGHT vs. PETE DUNNE – Fatal Four-way for the vacant NXT Championship
Ciampa paired off with Dunne and the others paired off. The babfy faces took control and faced off briefly, but Knight broke that up leading to a flurry of spots by each guy. Wagner and Knight paired off and the very large Wagner took control of him, but Dunne stormed back inside and did the stomp spot. Ciampa and Dunne paired off as the others cleared out. Dunne set up the stomp but Ciampa scurried out and took down Dunne and threw some clubbing blows. Knight interfered and Ciampa dumped him. Rope run and Dunne clotheslined Ciampa. Dunne worked the digits and Wagner stormed in and clotheslined him. The audience is going full boo-bird on every move Wagner performs, gatekeeping as always. [c]
Knight had Ciampa in a headlock as the others were outside the ring. Dunne got back into it and Ciampa traded chops on both guys, then ran the ropes and hit corner lariats on both guys for a while. Double clothesline by Ciampa. Wagner entered and the four exchanged big moves. Knight hit Blunt Force Trauma (no longer just called BFT) but Wagner broke it up. Ciampa hit Willow’s Bell but Dunne broke it up. Ciampa hit a plancha on all three guys and got in close with Goldie, sitting on a podium. Back inside went Ciampa and Dunne. Dunne snapped the digits and hit Bitter End. Knight, bleeding significantly from the face, tried to steal the pin but Wagner hit a big side suplex for a long two. Dunne and Ciampa ran from the corners and hit forearms on Wagner to remove him from the equation for now. Forearm exchange. German suplex by Dunne. Dunne went up, but Knight hit a superplex. Big mess as each guy hit big moves and finally, Ciampa hit the Fairytale Ending on Knight after Knight hit a superplex on Dunne and it was good for the pin.
WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa at 10:38.
(Wells’s Analysis: It was clear it was going to be brief as the guys started busting out finishers at the five or six minute mark. Ciampa makes sense to anchor the brand while a bevy of projects work their way up the chain. While I wonder if he was going to win before Samoa Joe’s relinquishing of the championship, I agree with this call for now if they want to keep working toward a big moment for Kyle O’Reilly)
-Ciampa’s celebration was cut off completely as we went to a recap of the InDex saga before the wedding.
-Many of the NXT wrestlers, babyfaces mostly, were in attendance for the wedding. Johnny Gargano walked Indi Hartwell to the ring, where Lumis waited already. The two were announced as Dexter Gaylord Lumis and Indi Ophelia Hartwell. Johnny Gargano chewed the scenery by trying to put himself over and Candice shut him up. Austin Theory was supposed to have the ring, but it had been hidden in Ikemen Jiro’s coat. The crowd went nuts for that. The officiant asked if anyone found fault with the wedding, and everyone raised their hands. Lumis opened his coat to reveal an axe, and everyone put their hands down.
Indi read her own vows. She said many people think of him as a creep, but she sees a cuddly teddy bear. She framed his stalking as flattering. She said when they say he’s a freak, she says damn RIGHT he’s a freak. She said she’ll never forget the night he snuck into her room late at night – Johnny and Candice started going crazy and Lumis held the mic so she wouldn’t say anything more.
The officiant asked for Lumis’s vows, and he raised a thumb. The officiant thought Hartwell deserved more after pouring her heart out, and Dexter put him down with a Silencer. Indi wanted to know what happens now. William Regal was summoned, but instead Beth Phoenix entered the ring to cheers. She said she was afraid this would happen, so last night she got ordained as a minister. She said we should cut to the chase. Andre Chase stood up and asked if someone said Andre Chase. He tried to make a tedious speech but Odyssey Jones took him down to cheers.
Beth got to the heart of the wedding and Indi said I Do. She asked the same question of Lumis, and Beth was going to let it go, but Lumis calmed her and actually leaned into the mic and said I Do to a tremendous pop. The two kissed. Lumis held her up to cheers.
Backstage, Tommaso Ciampa was watching on a monitor and smiled. Bron Breakker walked up to Ciampa and congratulated him. Ciampa congratulated him on his first win on “NXT 2.0.” He extended a hand, but Breakker was staring at the NXT Championship. He finally went in for a tense handshake as the show went off the air.
(Wells’s Analysis: I had a feeling this wedding would actually happen, but I didn’t know how the segment would work in that case. Lumis speaking two words actually justified the entire affair, as it seemed like a big deal. Bron Breakker bookended the show nicely with his first big win and establishing himself as a threat to the NXT Championship. If only his kayfabe name was, oh, LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, I thought the changes would be fairly minimal in the short-term, but the show leaned hard into the new direction. This show usually had about 50-55 in-ring minutes, but this week landed right around 30. A very large amount of new talents were thrown out at once, which is a very gutsy strategy, as it’s tough enough to get one person over, let alone a very large number at once. Of course, if this is to be a developmental brand in the original fashion, it may not matter as much if wrestlers get over in the short term (except, of course, to USA Network who didn’t pay for a show where unknown talents are learning on the job).
I frankly rather enjoyed this and I think this show can successfully toe the line between being a place for talent to learn TV and a home for just enough marquee matches that they don’t alienate the fanbase. It’s going to be wildly interesting to see all the takes on this, though, because in an age of most big matches being given away for free on TV, fans may lack the patience for such a project. Tom Stoup, Nate Lindberg and I will break it down way too much on PWT Talks NXT tonight (a little later than in past weeks as Nate’s feed is behind) so listen in or stream tomorrow. Cheers.