SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
OCTOBER 26, 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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-Chucky from Child’s Play promised violence tonight and ran through the top three matches. He referred to Bron Breakker as a “breakout puppy-faced gremlin.”
(2) IO SHIRAI & ZOEY STARK (c) vs. INDI HARTWELL & PERSIA PIROTTA vs. GIGI DOLIN & JACY JAYNE – Triple Threat “Scareway to Hell” Ladder Match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship
The two challenging teams didn’t get intros, but Chucky got another spot talking about the match. Okay. Dolin & Jayne got dumped pretty early and the babyface teams faced off. Pirotta got dumped and the champs hit a tandem DDT on Stark. Io grabbed a ladder and Dolin charged into the ring and hit a pretty awkward rana on Stark. Soon after it was the two challenging teams in the ring doing some basic (and relatively slow and awkward) offense. Pirotta took out Toxic Attraction with a ladder. The champs went up the ladder slowly, and Jayne charged in and pushed over the ladder.
Dolin and Stark paired off and threw thrustkicks to put the other down at the same time. Outside, Pirotta and Hartwell attempted a tandem suplex to Shirai on a draped ladder, but she hit a DDT on both instead. Shirai went up the ladder and Hartwell flew in from a springboard and and landed perfectly on the ladder, facing Shirai. She dumped Shirai, but Stark flew in from the opposite side. The two fought at the top while Pirotta set up a taller ladder. Pirotta got dumped and Dolin nearly reached the top. All the women started up the ladder and Stark was left at the top for a silly amount of time until Pirotta pushed over the ladder. Stark fell to the outside and splashed everyone there.
Pirotta was left inside. Stark went back into the ring but Pirotta trapped her between a ladder and the corner, and stomped. Dolin and Shirai got involved again and Pirotta repeatedly asserted physical dominance to keep control. She powerbombed Dolin through a draped ladder in an extremely painful-looking spot for a “holy sh*t” chant. Pirotta climbed to the top but Jayne, who’s been pretty absent, went up and crawled over Pirotta. She got close to getting the belts but Pirotta attempted a powerbomb. Jayne turned it into a headscissors and took down Pirotta. Jayne went up the ladder but Shirai pulled her from the ladder and powerbombed her onto another one, then hit a moonsault on Jayne on the ladder to make it that much more painful.
The next bit saw Stark dominate Pirotta. Stark went for a 450 splash and she landed extremely poorly on a straight leg. She yelped in pain and tried to move a ladder, but she was clearly hobbled. Hartwell slammed her onto a ladder. Shirai booked up the standing ladder and Hartwell pushed it over. Shirai fell outside and onto the draped ladder. Hartwell was all alone, but Toxic Attraction made it to the ring and Jayne took out Hartwell while Dolin grabbed the belt to win the titles.
WINNERS: Toxic Attraction at 12:24.
(Wells’s Analysis: Some good spots and some that seem awfully ill-advised given the youth of some of those involved. Oddly, though, the one spot that likely caused injury was Zoey Stark simply not getting all the way over in her splash. I hope she’s okay, but the limp she had coming out of the move looked pretty foreboding.)
-Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were out in a field in the dead of night trying to retrieve Hayes’s stolen championship. They walked through a house of horrors, thinking they would find Johnny Gargano. Elsewhere, Gargano and Dexter Lumis were watching Hayes and Williams on a monitor. Gargano told Lumis he “Home Aloned” the place. He said he had help from the zombie referee. Hayes and Williams entered a building. To be continued…
-Grayson Waller, dressed as a vampire, was acting as host and said you may have been expecting something else, but LA Knight was missing. Joe Gacy’s music cut him off and Gacy talked down the aisle using all his usual buzzwords.
(2) MALIK BLADE vs. JOE GACY
Blade hit an immediate dropkick as Gacy was saying things didn’t have to be solved with violence. Gacy took control shortly after and hit a delayed suplex, then a corner splash. Gacy bealed Blade to the floor and Blade fought to his feet, where Harland, Gacy’s convict toady, tried to choke Blade. Gacy calmed him and hit a hard lariat to finish. He walked Harland toward the ramp and calmed him further, telling him he could trust him.
WINNER: Joe Gacy at 2:10.
(Wells’s Analysis: Gacy’s throwing himself hard into the character, even as I find the character eye-rolling. His relationship with Harland is really making him pop, though)
-Grayson Waller went to a backstage Halloween party and mingled a little. Cameron Grimes, dressed in a NASA outfit, struck out trying to hit on some pretty young women.
-Malcolm Bivens announced an open challenge after the break. He said someone could get destroyed by any part of Diamond Mine. The choice is theirs.
(3) ODYSSEY JONES vs. RODERICK STRONG
Bivens said “Brother, all due disrespect, but your big ass is not 205 pounds.” Strong insisted on the match anyway. Strong chopped early, but Jones caught him on a charge and press slammed him. Corner splash by Jones. Blocks in the corner by Jones, and a beale. Jones lifted Strong, who spider monkeyed his way around into a sleeper. He released and got in some boots, then covered for one. Strong worked a headlock into an armbar. Strong worked Jones’s left leg on the mat but Jones kicked him away and out of the ring. Strong missed a knee lift and Jones slammed him a couple of times. The Creed Brothers hit the apron and the two were cleared by Strong, but Strong hit a flash knee and covered for the win.
WINNER: Roderick Strong at 3:55.
(Wells’s Analysis: Inoffensive filler, and I’m surprised Strong was put over here, even with the out of Diamond Mine all being present)
-McKenzie Mitchell talked to Imperium, who cut a promo in their native languages with subtitles.
-The Halloween Party continued. Lash Legend and Tony D’Angelo were seemingly burying the hatchet. Elsewhere, Robert Stone, dressed as Elvis, ticked off Xyon Quinn and Quinn chokeslammed him through a refreshment table.
(4) RAQUEL GONZALEZ (c) vs. MANDY ROSE – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal for the Women’s Championship
The wheel landed on Chucky’s Choice. Chucky chose “Trick or Street Fight.” It’s…a street fight, so Chucky has poor taste in matches. Gonzalez drove a motorcycle to the ring. Gonzalez dominated early with corner splash. Rose went outside and grabbed a kendo stick. Gonzalez walked into a series of kendo stick shots, then finally caught it and tossed it away, then threw Rose into the Plexiglass. The two exchanged shots and Gonzalez missed a boot on a post, and Rose went back to the kendo stick. The match went to split-screen.
Upon return, Gonzalez was now using the kendo stick. This match is going nowhere fast. Gonzalez got put in a chair and Rose used the kendo stick a few times, then trapped Gonzalez in the chair using the kendo stick as a belt. Instead of removing the stick, Gonzalez acted like she was stuck and Rose booted her. Rose covered, but the ref pointed out it isn’t falls count anywhere. Gonzalez popped back into frame wearing a Jason mask and she used a fire extinguisher on Rose. The match went back inside and Gonzalez hung up Rose in a corner, where a chair sat. In one corner, a table was set up as well, so until it breaks, there won’t be any drama in covers.
The match spilled outside again and Gonzalez disassembled the stairs and set up the large part on the apron. Rose hit a quick shot and bolted inside the ring. Gonzalez followed and Rose tossed her into the steps. Rose covered for two. Double-underhook by Rose, but Gonzalez backdropped her. Rose fought to her feet only to have Gonzalez charge her and break her through the table in the corner. Gonzalez covered for a long two.
Gonzalez backed up against the ropes and from behind, the figure from the cemetery spots in the past couple of weeks used a shovel on Gonzalez’s back. Rose covered for the win and the championship. All three members of Toxic Attraction showed off their championship belts on the ramp after the match.
In the ring, the hooded figure took off the hood. It was Dakota Kai.
WINNER: Mandy Rose at 11:53.
(Wells’s Analysis: Not exactly a red-letter day in the history of this championship; I struggle to come up with a championship match in the title history that was…on this level. The spot with the kendo stick trapping Raquel made her look like an idiot. On the upside, Dakota Kai is back. Although she should be champion, at least she’s got something to do now)
-Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams entered the haunted house. There was a sad-looking woman from a photo that looked like it was from the 1800s and Melo said “Damn! She fine.” The two were snuck up on by a couple of people trying to scare him. A ghostly host sent them to a parlor, where more ghostly figures messed with them. They thought someone was chasing them, and Andre Chase, sitting in the corner, said “DID SOMEBODY SAY ANDRE CHASE?” They asked what he was doing there and he said he got lost on a field trip. Back in the control center, Gargano and Lumis said it was time to move. Chase and Hayes got dragged away by nightmare figures, leaving Williams alone to get freaked out. Hayes found his way to Williams, who freaked out and punched him. The two got to a room where Melo’s North American Championship was sitting on a skeleton. They ran into Gargano and Lumis, who got in a few more shots. Hayes and Williams bolted, and all the nightmare figures joined Gargano and Lumis. Gargano said “Dexter, your house is kinda weird. Next year, Halloween at my place?” Lumis gave a thumbs up, and all the nightmare characters gave thumbs up as well.
-Grayson Waller went to the ring and tried to hype things up again. LA Knight arrived fashionably late. Waller said he had to save the show and it wasn’t his fault Knight had car problems. Knight wondered how Waller knew he had car problems. They jawed, and Solo Sikoa’s music played, bringing him to the ring. Sikoa threw a few shots on Waller, then hit a belly-to-belly to toss Waller right out of the ring. The crowd chanted “Uso,” and Sikoa seemed to approve of that.
-Bron Breakker worked out ahead of his match near some lockers. A Chucky doll sat in one locker and Breakker said “Hey…I know you.”
(5) MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) vs. IMPERIUM (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match for the NXT Tag Team Championship
The NXT “fan of the night,” a boy named Alex, spun the wheel. It landed on “Lumberjack O’Lantern” match. Luckily, a bevy of wrestlers were immediately ready and walked in from the Halloween party. Lumberjacks in costume included Duke Hudson as Hugh Hefner, Kushida and Ikemen Jiro as The Creed Brothers to mock them, and Jeet Rama as a banana.
Aichner dominated Carter early with a toss. The two reversed a lot of spots until Aichner slammed Carter and covered for one. Barthel tagged in and worked an armbar, and Carter finally broke with a jawbreaker. Lee tagged in, and he and Barthel exchanged some shots and Barthel got the better of the exchange. Lee dumped Barthel, and a large number of lumberjacks went and took shots at him. Aichner tried to make the save, but MSK each hit tope suicidas on them as the match went to split-screen.
Back from break, the heels were in control. Barthel went up to the second rope and flew, but Carter got in an uppercut. Lee tagged in and used his speed to strike often. Backflip into a sort of enzuigiri by Lee. Lee missed a kick and Aichner tagged in and dominated both of MSK with his power. Aichner did his spot where he deadlifts both guys on his back, but he had to try a third time before he lifted them. The crowd cheered appreciatively. The lumberjacks all ended up outside one corner, where Lee soared over the corner into them. Carter hit a cutter on Barthel into a bunch of guys as well. The lumberjacks all brawled to the back. Notably, the weirdos that have apparently been booing MSK for months because Carter said Izzy shouldn’t be taking bumps on indie shows at age 13 aren’t booing them one bit tonight.
All four guys fought in the ring for quite a while. Apparently this lumberjack match is also a tornado tag? MSK got a near-fall on Barthel and Aichner made a save and the two worked Lee in their own corner. Brainbuster by Aichner. Imperium Bomb, and that’s three title changes on the night, and the heels have won all five matches.
WINNERS: Imperium at 13:10.
(Wells’s Analysis: Imperium begin a title reign that will hopefully seem more memorable than their first. So odd that MSK lost the titles on the night that their boo-birds finally seemed to give it up. This was the right kind of mess, and a lot of fun throughout)
-Chucky hyped the main event; as in the first segment, he openly favored Ciampa. A video package ran down the change to NXT 2.0 and Tommaso Ciampa’s championship win. We got quite a few soundbytes by both guys. Breakker yelled at the same volume a lot. I sure hope he can get somewhere on the mic, because he’s got it in the ring.
(6) TOMMASO CIAMPA (c) vs. BRON BREAKKER – NXT Championship match
Chucky got in one last line on Breakker – “I sure hope being a loser doesn’t run in the family.” Wow – out of nowhere. Ciampa was dressed as Kratos from God of War, complete with the paint. Alicia Taylor handled formal intros.
Shoves to start. Breakker took Ciampa to a rope and Ciampa shoved him off. Rope run and a big block by Breakker. Ciampa took a moment outside and entered and they jockeyed for position. Breakker controlled but missed a flying tackle. Ciampa hit a running knee and worked a bodyscissors. A corner graphic hyped Cameron Grimes entering Duke Hudson’s poker room next week. Breakker planted Ciampa and the match went to split-screen at ten to the hour; there’s been no overrun of late.
Ciampa took control after the break. He hit a second-buckle axhandle and covered for two. Breakker worked a brief bear hug and Ciampa got some shots in. Breakker hit a block and followed with a few belly-to-bellies. Breakker went up to the second rope and slipped and fell hard, face first. God, is there Crisco on the ropes and buckles in NXT lately? Action went outside and Breakker followed Ciampa in just to get with Willow’s Bell, which got two. The two exchanged big shots and Ciampa hit a knee lift for just one. Breakker hit a Frankensteiner, then a double-underhook suplex for a long two.
Breakker went for his finisher but Ciampa slipped out and pushed off Breakker. The two exchanged punches and reached their feet. Ciampa got the better of it until Breakker kicked Ciampa out and into the announce table. Ciampa ended up reversing and hitting a DDT on exposed concrete on the outside. Back inside, Ciampa hit Fairytale Ending, and Breakker – bleeding from the head – kicked out at two and the crowd gasped. Breakker hit his knees and Ciampa hit a running knee, then another. There’s one more. Another Fairytale Ending finished.
WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa at 13:49.
(Wells’s Analysis: Breakker’s win in this match was being the first guy to kick out of the Fairytale Ending, among other feats of spirit. The match wasn’t a typical NXT Championship affair of the past, but we’re unlikely to see a lot of those anymore. Still, it worked on the tried and true level of putting a tough veteran against a relentless young machine. Breakker’s next move will be critical; if he steps away from the title scene, he’ll need something important to keep him from sliding well down the card)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I wondered if this would be a mess or a nice surprise. There were some messy bits, with Breakker slipping off the rope, the silly trap spot in the women’s championship and quite a few clunky spots in the opening ladder match, but that’s what we can expect on the regular now as these talents try to find their way. The only problem with talents finding their way in big spots is that they’re going to be repeatedly exposed to situations and spots they aren’t ready for, and there’s likely more danger in that than their would be if they were easing in behind the scenes. It can be fun to watch wrestlers develop in front of our eyes, but I sure get nervous a lot more often watching than I used to. Check out PWT Talks NXT tonight or stream tomorrow.