SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
OCTOBER 12, 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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-Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and the rest of Hit Row arrived earlier today. Legado del Fantasma attacked them and kidnapped all of Hit Row other than Swerve. “Good luck tonight, caballero,” Escobar said.
-Opening titles and music.
-Joe Gacy talked about safe spaces and said Tommaso Ciampa was the face of toxic masculinity. He said he was “one of you…all of my snowflakes.” This act is as subtle as a car crash.
(1) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. JOE GACY
Lockup went to the corner. Big boot and a few rights by Ciampa. Back elbow by Ciampa. Gacy ran the ropes and hit a shoulderblock, then covered for one. Headlock by Gacy, escaped and reversed into a snap mare into an armbar by Ciampa. Quick reversals led to a Gacy backbreaker for another brief cover. Gacy stomped Ciampa in the corner but Gacy spotted Harland in the audience and got distracted. Ciampa laid out Gacy, who bailed. Ciampa followed and Gacy was going to put Ciampa’s head into the announce table, but he thought better of it and Ciampa did it to him instead. Back inside and Ciampa put elbows to Gacy, then worked a chinlock and stomped Gacy. Gacy laid out Ciampa across the plane of the ropes and hit a senton on the apron heading into split-screen commercial.
Ciampa ran the length of the ring for repeated lariats, then hit a flying lariat on a charging Gacy. “Yay/boo” dueling shots. Big boot by Gacy for two. Gacy missed a second-buckle moonsault and Ciampa went for Fairytale Ending, blocked and reversed into a cover for two. Fairytale Ending finished.
WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa in about 10:50.
After the match, Harland jumped the railing and attacked Ciampa. He almost went after Gacy, but Gacy reached out and placed a hand on him to calm him down, and he left.
(Wells’s Analysis: Gacy’s okay in his delivery, but this character is so broad and overwrought, it’s hard to take the act seriously at all. The match was okay.)
-Toxic Attraction entered while Gacy was still on the ramp, and he smiled as they passed him. Gigi Dolin spoke first, saying they felt very unsatisfied last week because they didn’t get their hands on Io Shirai and Zoey Stark last week. Jacy Jayne said the champs’ time was up at Halloween Havoc. Mandy announced she was challenging Raquel Gonzalez for the Women’s Championship as well. Mandy said no matter her hair color, she was still “the baddest bitch in the game.” When did that happen? Decent promo work from all three here.
-A graveyard vignette aired with a distorted voice saying “I will bury the past so I can rise again.” It was a Halloween Havoc teaser.
(2) XYON QUINN vs. MALIK BLADE
Quinn dominated early with power moves. A big right laid out Blade. Quinn drove Blade into a corner, then whipped him to the opposite one and covered for two. Quinn worked a chinlock. Blade broke free and hit a missile dropkick for two. Rollup by Blade for two. Quinn caught Blade with a chokeslam. Running forearm finished for Quinn.
WINNER: Xyon Quinn at 2:45.
-McKenzie Mitchell spoke to Tommaso Ciampa, but Grizzled Young Veterans stormed in and started mocking his long trip back to the championship. Bron Breakker said he’d stand by Ciampa from now to Halloween Havoc, because he wanted to beat Ciampa at his best. Ciampa grimaced at him.
-McKenzie spoke to Swerve, who hysterically acted like the rest of his crew would be fine. He said if Escobar wanted to rattle him, it worked, but he was taking his title to SmackDown.
(3) VALENTINA FEROZ vs. IVY NILE (w/Diamond Mine)
Quick waistlock and repeated standing switches. Feroz hit a really nice armdrag and a shotgun dropkick, but Nile caught her in a delayed suplex. Nile whipped Feroz to a corner, and Feroz either slipped or intentionally fell to the ground rather than eat corner. Feroz kicked up at Nile for a brief breather, but Nile slammed Feroz, then put up Feroz in a torture rack and did a couple of squats with Feroz on her back. Feroz tapped from the pain.
WINNER: Ivy Nile at 2:41.
(Wells’s Analysis: It was weird that Feroz looked like she was essentially folded backwards in half, but still took a while to tap out. A decent early showing of offense from Nile)
Malcolm Bivens hit the ring with the rest of Diamond Mine. Bivens said it was a message to the women’s division, and the pit bull has been unleashed. He said the Creed Brothers didn’t come to play either. He ended by introducing Roderick Strong, who grabbed the mic, but Ikemen Jiro’s music played to mercifully cut off Strong’s mic time. Jiro hit the ring and Julius Creed he was ready. He asked what Jiro wanted to do about it, and Jiro threw a big right and skinned out. Vic said they’d go after the break.
(4) IKEMEN JIRO vs. JULIUS CREED
We joined the match in progress with Jiro in control until Creed charged in with a tackle. Double-underhook suplex by Creed, followed by a charge into the corner. Scoop slam by Creed. Gut-wrench suplex followed. Another double-underhook suplex by Creed. Creed slammed Jiro, then missed an elbow drop. Jiro struck quickly with his jacket shots. Dropkick by Jiro, followed by a splash from the top for two. Creed bailed and Jiro hit a springboard moonsault. Back inside and Jiro got caught. DVD and a hard basement lariat finished for Creed.
WINNER: Julius Creed at 3:28+.
After the match, Kushida made the save and Diamond Mine scattered. Kushida held back from attacking Ivy Nile, and Brutus clubbed him from behind and the group stood over Kushida after a brief beatdown.
(Wells’s Analysis: I’ve pegged Brutus as the more interesting of the Creed Brothers in the ring, but this was pretty good stuff from Julius as well. Julius still isn’t overly confident on the mic, but he’s getting somewhere.)
-Raquel Gonzalez ran down the list of opponents she’s taken out and made threats to Mandy Rose.
-Lashing Out with Lash Legend. She asked if everyone saw the WWE Draft. She said next year they’d be called WWE Squid Games. The audience laughed like they’d never heard a joke before. She put over Hit Row and sang their name with a beautiful singing voice. She also called back to Tony D’Angelo wanting to be on her show, and she had three words for him: Forget about it.
(Wells’s Analysis: This is an okay enough idea, though Lash is still growing in confidence and has a long way to go)
(5) KYLE O’REILLY & VON WAGNER vs. PETE DUNNE & RIDGE HOLLAND
Wagner and Dunne to open. Dunne jumped into a guillotine and worked the digits, but Dunne slammed him off and splashed for two. Dunne worked Wagner’s arm and Wagner was thrown back into his corner, where O’Reilly tagged in. Holland tagged in as well and controlled, dropping a knee on the back of Kyle’s head. Kyle worked the arm briefly but Holland hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Dunne tagged in and worked a surfboard. A corner graphic promoted GYV vs. Breakker & Ciampa next week.
Another heel tag, and Holland dropped a knee, then hit a European uppercut and another to lay Kyle out. He covered for two. Holland worked a chinlock. Dunne tagged in, tripped Kyle and continued to work the knee. Dunne hung himself up with Wagner and Kyle hit a dragon screw, then tripped Dunne. The two exchanged forearms, then collapsed into their own corners for tags. Wagner controlled and the two exchanged blocks, and Wagner took Holland down. Wagner dumped Holland and followed, then charged Holland into the steps as the show went to commercial.
Holland controlled Kyle with a chinlock. Kyle tried a guillotine but Dunne made the blind tag and the two double-teamed. Dunne covered and Wagner made the save. Wagner got tossed to the floor and Kyle couldn’t make the tag as a result. Dunne stomped Kyle’s fingers but Kyle worked an anklelock. Dunne was able to tag and Holland dumped Kyle. Dunne tried to set up the ring steps for Holland, but Wagner charged around the corner with a block. Back inside and Kyle made the tag and hit a jumping knee. Backdrop by Wagner. Big boot. Dunne got dumped and Kyle hit him with a running knee. Inside, Wagner hit his slam finisher to win.
WINNERS: Von Wagner & Kyle O’Reilly at 12:39.
(Wells’s Analysis: It’s so bizarre that WWE treats their brands like territories and has promoted guys still do jobs. Kind of a low-rent spotfest here that had some okay spots but no real flow.)
-Adrian Chase’s Chase University. Chase lost his mind and went into a swearing outburst when a student called him out for cheating in a previous week.
-Tony D’Angelo said everyone was talking about his debut, and he whined about Lash Legend’s producer not wanting him to be on Legend’s show. He said the producer’s name…Mark?…was a nice guy. He walked off and someone behind him (the producer, obviously) was locked in a car trunk.
(6) GRAYSON WALLER vs. DUKE HUDSON
Lockup. Hudson took Waller to a corner but he snuck out of trouble. Brief headlock by Hudson, and Waller punched himself free. Waller hopped up and down a turnbuckle and hit an armdrag into an armbar, but Hudson suplexed him. Hudson took Waller to a corner for some back elbows, then charged him into another. Waistlock by Hudson, and Waller hit a jawbreaker to break and threw some forearms. Waller hung up Hudson on a rope, then hit a stunner for two. Hudson caught Waller with a rollup and hooked the tights for the dirty victory.
WINNER: Duke Hudson at 2:37.
(Wells’s Analysis: Hudson’s heel act still strikes me as having a high upside. Very good stuff from Waller here, who’s very smooth in the ring already and confident in his offense.)
-Imperium cut a promo – Marcel Barthel in German and Fabian Aichner in Italian – that cut down MSK.
(7) SARRAY & AMARI MILLER vs. PERSIA PIROTTA & INDI HARTWELL
Hartwell and Sarray to open. Hartwell briefly controlled until Sarray threw some back elbows and dragged her to her corner and tagged Miller. Miller worked an armbar and jumped on Hartwell’s back, but Hartwell threw her off and tagged Pirotta, who threw a few pretty soft clotheslines. Pirotta and Hartwell teamed up and Hartwell finished with a flying boot.
WINNERS: Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta at 2:23.
Pirotta took the mic and pitched the idea of the Women’s Tag Titles. Hartwell thought it over and Io Shirai’s music played, bringing Io and Zoey Stark to the ring. Io doesn’t like anyone. Toxic Attraction’s music played, bringing Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin to the fray as well for a pier six brawl. Will they announce the triple threat now, or later? The champs got the better of the brief brawl and held up their belts at the others.
-Grayson Waller was impressing a young woman off in a break room. After she left, Cameron Grimes wanted to know from Waller how he managed it. Grimes was upset about his loss to Pete Dunne last week, but Waller said it wasn’t about wins and losses, it’s about likes and swipes. He said he’d show Grimes what he knows.
-Solo Sikoa is coming soon. He fought on the streets growing up.
(8) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT (c) vs. SANTOS ESCOBAR – North American Championship match
Escobar sent off the rest of Legado del Fantasma. Swerve jumped Escobar on the ramp and tossed him to the ropes. Swerve got intense and tossed Escobar inside. The bell sounded and Escobar bailed. Standing moonsault to the outside by Swerve, who broke the count and then took Escobar to a corner and tore the cover off the cabling behind the turnbuckle, though he didn’t use it for an attack here. Backbreaker by Swerve got a two count. Knee drop by Swerve for two again. Swerve tried to negotiate a slam but Escobar escaped and dumped Swerve to the announce table side, then hit a tope to send Swerve flying over as the match went to split-screen commercial.
Escobar hit a spinebuster, then kicked Swerve in the small of the back. Escobar drove a knee to Swerve’s back as he pulled back his arms. Swerve booted his way out and the two exchanged forearms and chops. Escobar ran the ropes but Swerve countered into a hard lariat. Flying elbow by Swerve. Swerve rolled into a flatliner attempt but Escobar caught him instead. Double knees in the chest by Escobar in the corner. Top rope rana by Escobar, who went up and hit a top rope splash for a long two.
Action went out to the apron, where after some jockeying, Swerve hit a DVD. He rolled him inside and went for a 450 splash, but Escobar put up his knees and got a long two count. Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde hit the ring for a distraction, but they were jumped by Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. Swerve countered and hit the JML Driver for the genuinely surprising win.
WINNER: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott at 11:14.
After the match, Hayes held up Swerve’s hand, then hit him with a cheap clothesline and Trick handed over Hayes’s open contract. Hayes signed it and called for his title shot.
(9) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT (c) vs. CARMELO HAYES – North American Championship match
Hayes hit a slingshot cutter for a long two count. Pump kick by Hayes, who went up and hit an axe kick from the top.
WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 1:09.
Hayes showed off his new gold with Trick Williams hyping him up as the show ended with no overrun.
(Wells’s Analysis: Swerve will be missed, as he’s one of the most polished and dependable guys on a show that’s got a lot of raw talent that has a long way to go. I don’t know why Hayes cashing in worked as a surprise on me, but it did, as I wasn’t thinking about his contract anymore at all. Escobar and Scott easily had the match of the night and Hayes won gold with the best angle of the night; though this version of NXT can be a trudge at times, it sure ended strong)
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s taking some time, of course, but little by little, some of these fresh faces are starting to look more like they belong on a show alongside the established veterans (many of whom have been on TV under two years themselves). Creative is still wildly hit and miss, with Joe Gacy’s act and Tony D’Angelo’s one-dimensional stereotype being standout issues (though the performance of D’Angelo himself is admittedly making it work as well as it can). Halloween Havoc is in just a couple of weeks, and it’s got the chance to be a surprise hit or an enormous misfire with a lot of green acts in big spots. Check out PWT Talks NXT tonight or stream tomorrow. Cheers.