NXT HITS & MISSES 12/14: Waller Speaks, Harland Debuts, Strong vs. Breakker, Kai vs. Jade, Grimes vs. Hudson, Miller vs. Nile, D’Angelo vs. Chase, Boa vs. Enofe, more

By Nate Lindberg, PWTorch Contributor (@natelindberg)

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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DUKE HUDSON vs. CAMERON GRIMES – NO DQ

After Hudson lost his head of hair at War Games by Grimes needing to hold the trunks to get the win, this match was made. Grimes couldn’t break the rules if there weren’t any rules. Hudson took a page out of Kurt Angle’s book, using the amateur headgear to hold a wig in place, which kept slipping around his noggin throughout the course of the match.

These two men have been making chicken salad out of… well, you know what. The story being told isn’t the greatest angle in the world, but their match quality and dedication to their craft are the only reasons that I haven’t written this feud off at this point.

Hudson brought a poker table into the ring, used during the obligatory table spot. Hudson countered the Cave-In and put Grimes through the table. He covered, but the ref saw that the table was preventing Grimes’ shoulders from touching the mat. She made him move Grimes and cover, resulting in Grimes kicking out. Hudson then grabbed some clippers from under the ring and went to try to shave Hudson’s head. He hit a poisonrana and a Cave-In for the win before stealing the wig off of Hudson’s head.

Grimes has been making Hudson look like a complete fool. While I selfishly love the wins for Grimes, one wonders what these losses are going to do for Hudson. I want to see some brutal retaliation out of Hudson, else he may not come across as much of a heel as they may like him to be.

Verdict: HIT

WALLER TALKS

“Asshole!” chants broke out as Greyson Waller explained why he attacked Gargano last week. Waller said he did what he said he was going to do. He got all the views from all walks of Social Media after his attack. He made a name for himself by attacking the beloved star.

Greyson Waller surprised the hell out of me with this promo tonight. He ran down the fans, the announcers and NXT in such a way that felt authentic, angry, and motivated by greed & success. Two thumbs up on this heel turn.

Verdict: HIT

IVY NILE vs. AMARI MILLER

Amari Miller had a bit more of a spotlight put on her tonight than usual, with a ring entrance and the announce team talking her up. She even got a little bit of offense in against Diamond Mine’s Ivy Nile. Up until now, Miller has been more of a jobber without any sort of major attention on her.

Ivy Nile, being the only female member of Diamond Mine, stood tall for her faction and took Miller out with a choke submission in a matter of minutes. We haven’t seen much out of Nile outside of the handful of matches she’s had thus far. She shows a lot of promise in the ring, I just want to hear her on the mic.

Verdict: HIT

HARLAND (w/Joe Gacy) vs. GURU RAAJ

Most people would consider Nile vs. Miller a squash match where Nile was able to beat Miller in short time. This was a squash match in the literal sense. Harland squashed a human with a massive sidewalk slam and won in just over a minute. Joe Gacy had Harland continue his assault on Raaj after the match, and then stopped him when officials couldn’t. Essentially showing off his new attack dog.

I’m still intrigued by this duo, despite the Wyatt Family vibes. With their focus on wanting to change 205 live, I’m really curious to see how their story unfolds.

Verdict: HIT

CORA JADE vs. DAKOTA KAI

NXT Women’s Champion, Mandy Rose, joined the commentary team for this singles match. Cora Jade injured herself at War Games and was cleared to compete tonight, which was repeatedly brought up during the match. Kai focused on that shoulder, building sympathy for Jade.

Jade has surprised me as a standout in the NXT 2.0 class. She had a great performance at War Games, picking up with win for her team. I think the only thing holding her back is her age. As she gets older and her experience in the business grows, she’ll gain the polish she lacks on the mic.

Dakota Kai continues to get crazier as the weeks go by. She was biting her nails, cackling, and overexaggerating most of her facial reactions in the match. Even her choice in hair color, the faded pink hair with her dark roots showing. Almost as if she doesn’t care enough to re-dye her hair because she’s so focused on her goals.

Cora Jade picked up an upset win over Kai, but Kai beat her down after the match. Gonzalez made the save and scared off Kai when the tag team champions, Toxic Attraction, joined their sister Mandy ringside. Mandy attacked from behind and left Jade laying in the ring.

Bron Breakker feels like he was hot-shot to the NXT Title, but he at least feels closer to a finished product. Jade isn’t quite there yet, but here she is getting involved with the champions.

Verdict: HIT

TONY D’ANGELO vs. ANDRE CHASE

D’Angelo with a quick win over the professor of Chase University, but after the match is where the meat and potatoes of the segment was. D’Angelo cut a promo saying that he’s done everything he’s set out to do in NXT so far. Pete Dunne came out next taking issue with the man who ripped his mouth guard out a few weeks ago. D’Angelo had the mouth guard in a case ringside, taunting Dunne with it. He said that next week they can work it out and then tried to sneak attack Dunne. Dunne scouted it and split the fingers of D’Angelo before taking his mouth guard back.

This should be a great match between two of the best that the black and gold and 2.0 era’s have to offer.

Verdict: HIT

BOA vs. EDRIS ENOFE

Boa attacked Enofe and Sola Sikoa after their match a few weeks ago, setting up this match tonight. I was expecting a bit more out of these two. Enofe showed some great in-ring ability against Sikoa, and Boa has shown in the past how great his in-ring work can be.

While this wasn’t a stinker by any stretch, it was very short and I don’t feel like it really showcased what either man could do.

Verdict: MISS

JACKET TIME vs. GRIZZLED YOUNG VETS

Two tag teams that I feel have been held down as of late. Well, GYV and Kushida specifically. Ikeman Jiro, while I love him, is probably at the spot on the card where he belongs. Kushida should be in the NA or NXT Title scenes. GYV were cold blooded killers in NXT UK and their initial NXT runs. Since they’ve returned after the COVID era, they’ve been treated as comedy acts.

That said, this match was actually a lot more explosive and entertaining than I expected. It may not have made anyone feel more important, but I certainly enjoyed the match.

The Creed Bros showed up midway through the match and stood on the stage, intimidating GYV at just the right moment to allow the upset win for Jacket Time.

Verdict: HIT

BRON BREAKKER vs. RODERICK STRONG

I believe they are going to turn 205 live into a “Main Event” or “Superstars” level show for NXT 2.0, which is how 205 Live has been presented as of late. Or at least so I’m told, I haven’t given 205 live the time of day in years. If that’s the case and the Cruiserweight title was rebranded as a third tier title for the rebranded 205 Live, why not have your biggest 2.o superstar hold that inaugural title? It would give it prestige right off the bat. If that’s the way they do go, I’d love to see a rematch for the title.

Bron Breakker may have one of the stupidest names of anyone in the main event scene, but he continues to impress me in the ring week after week. His mic work… well… he’s certainly a Steiner, that’s for sure. My co-hosts on PWT Talks NXT want to see him improve on the mic. I don’t think he needs to. He has that natural charisma that both his father and uncle have, and that bleeds over into his loud, bombastic promos.

Roddy is always going to go out there and give you a great match, as he did with the newcomer tonight. The match was laid out and paced well, I didn’t know who may come out on top though I was leaning towards Breakker winning where it was non-title.

Ciampa attacked afterwards, seemingly confirming that their feud will continue going forward.

Verdict: HIT

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