2/15 NXT 2.0 REPORT: Hazelwood’s live alt-perspective on “Vengeance Day” with three title matches, the men’s Dusty Classic final, more




FEBRUARY 15, 2022

Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett

Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin

Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell

Tonight after the show, I join Nate Lindberg to break down the show with live callers and emails.

•CALL: (515) 605-9345

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-The show began with Mandy Rose walking poolside somewhere texting her Toxic Attraction mates. They showed the texts alongside footage of each, saying Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta don’t stand a chance. The Dusty Classic finals was next, but then some Tony D’Angelo texts to all three women. They traded texts on Carmelo Hayes vs. Cameron Grimes, then Bron Breakker vs. Santos Escobar. I guess this was a…unique way to introduce Vengeance Day.

-Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett made some bad Cupid puns as the weaponized steel cage was shown. Pete Dunne was already in the ring. Tony D’Angelo entered next as Joseph said victory is by pinfall or submission only. D’Angelo entered in a Maybach (a Rick Ross fan, I see). He paid the driver and made his way to the ring.

(1) PETE DUNNE vs. TONY D’ANGELO – Weaponized steel cage match

Dunne hit an immediate enziguri, then sent D’Angelo into the cage twice. Dunne grabbed a chair and struck D’Angelo in the back, then again, breaking the steel chair. Dunne then grabbed a garbage can, but D’Angelo hit a double leg takedown, then a Falcon Arrow onto the garbage can. D’Angelo took a kendo stick and struck Dunne across the back; he threw the stick away as fans chanted for another. As D’Angelo checked the toolbox, Dunne clamped it shut on his hand, then stomped on the toolbox. Dunne grabbed a wrench, trapped a finger in the loop on the handle, then stomped on the elbow.

Dunne went for the cricket bat, but D’Angelo grabbed the fire extinguisher and sprayed Dunne on the top rope. D’Angleo climbed and sought to toss Dunne over, but Dunne held on, so D’Angelo turned it into a superplex with Dunne coming all the way from draped over the top of the cage for a two-count. D’Angelo grabbed some zip tie cuffs and trapped Dunne’s hands behind his back, cuffing him. He taunted Dunne and punched away. D’Angelo grabbed a hammer and used the end to rip into the cheek of Dunne’s mouth. Dunne hit a headbutt, then a gut knee, and even a flying triangle! Still, D’Angelo lifted him and powerbombed him, then hit a DDT for a two-count.

D’Angelo set for a powerbomb into a table that was nicely set up in the corner somehow. Dunne turned it into a standing guillotine, using the space between his cuffed hands. D’Angelo reached into the toolbox and cut the zip tie with pliers. Both went for the toolbox, so D’Angelo sent Dunne head-first into a trash can lid into the cage. D’Angelo went for the crowbar, but Dunne kicked him and then powerbombed him through the table, but D’Angelo kicked out just before three.

D’Angelo grabbed the crowbar, but Dunned stepped on it, then stomped on his hands, then broke the cricket bat over D’Angelo’s back. He hit Bitter End, but D’Angelo kicked out! Dunne grabbed the crowbar, but D’Angelo hit a low blow and then his finisher (Forget About It?), a fisherman’s buster, but Dunne kicked out! D’Angelo went for the crowbar as Dunne went to the corner and grabbed one of his own. He hit D’Angelo in the gut, then the back of the neck. He hit Bitter End on a piece of table, hurting his own head, but gaining the victory.

WINNER: Pete Dunne at 9:51 (Bitter End)

(Hazelwood’s Take: I’m a bit confused here as D’Angelo seemed like he was set for a good push coming out of WarGames. I also question having him kick out of Bitter End, in a match with weapons no less, only for him to lose the match. I don’t think Dunne kicking out of his finisher makes up for it as Dunne’s finisher is much more established. On the other hand, if Dunne lost here, where would he have gone? They booked themselves into a corner with this feud, but since they did book the feud, D’Angelo probably should have gone over.)

-They showed a call from Raquel Gonzalez being picked up in the middle of the night by Cora Jade (it was 5 am, actually). Gonzalez said only losers are still asleep at 5. Gonzalez was outside of Jade’s apartment, then took her to the PC for training as they discussed the Dusty Cup. Training montage followed with the odd couple. They went for some jokes, but they didn’t really hit. They went to a park to run and work on endurance and teamwork. Gonzalez said they’re doing the same thing again tomorrow to Jade’s chagrin.

-Joseph and Barrett were at the entrance with live mics as they hyped the women’s Dusty Cup beginning next week. They kicked to McKenzie Mitchell, who was in the crowd with the trophy. She threw to a video of Diamond Mine with Malcolm Bivens and The Creed Brothers saying they put in the work, lift the weights, and hit the bags. Bivens said the only thing MSK’s hitting is still illegal in 13 states. Julius said the only green they want is money. Brutus yelled, and then Bivens said Diamond Mine Forever.

MSK was next, saying they walked in as the new kids last year and won the Dusty Classic. They said the tides are turned, being the veterans taking on the rising tide quicker than Bivens swiping right on Valentine’s Day. They said they’re risking it all tonight and walking out two-time, back-to-back winners.

-They showed Hayes and Trick Williams arriving earlier in the day as Williams hollered at a woman. They showed Cameron Grimes earlier today as well as they hyped the North American Championship match.

-Toxic Attraction made their entrance for the Tag Team Championship match. The challengers entered next.

(2) TOXIC ATTRACTION (Gigi Dolan & Jacy Jayne w/Mandy Rose) (c) vs. INDI HARTWELL & PERSIA PIROTTA – Women’s Tag Team Championship match

The champs attacked before the bell, hitting superkicks to send them outside. Both then hit flipping sentons off of the apron to their foes. The bell rang with Jayne and Pirotta legal. Pirotta caught Jayne and hit a fallaway slam. Hartwell tagged in as Pirotta hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a Hartwell clothesline for a two-count. Hartwell put Jayne on the apron and hit some offense for a two-count. Jayne shoved Hartwell into their corner and tagged in Dolan. Hartwell was seated on top, got distracted by Rose, then was kicked outside by Dolan. Rose tried to interfere, but the ref saw her and ejected her as they finally cut to break (limited breaks tonight). [c]

SyFy’s online player didn’t play the split screen – just like USA’s – so when they returned, Jayne was taking it to Hartwell. Hartwell fought back, but both women took each other out. Both women made the tag as Pirotta came in and took it to Dolan. She lifted Dolan and lawn darted her into the top turnbuckle, then hit a big release German. Jayne jumped on her back, but Pirotta rammed her into the corner, then lifted both on her shoulders for a double Samoan drop that netted a two-count.

Pirotta tagged in Hartwell as they hit a double team spinebuster, but Jayne broke up the pin. Pirotta just went at Jayne and both went outside where Jayne sidestepped Pirotta and the latter hit the steps. Hartwell for her springboard finisher, but Jayne tripped her. Dolan hit a knee for a two-count, then tagged in Jayne. They hit a high-low with kicks to pin Hartwell and retain the titles in a meh match. Rose came back out to celebrate with them.

WINNER: Toxic Attraction at 7:55 (high-low) to retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship

-They cut to the back where Amari Miller and Wendy Choo were walking as Choo asked Miller about Miller’s partner. Miller said she already committed to someone else, but Choo said they’re good (it’s Tiffany Stratton, huh?). Choo said she had to find a partner for the Dusty Cup, then saw Dakota Kai sitting off on the side. She called her loser, then said they should team. Kai looked offended, then talked off to no one to the side. Kai was talking to herself or her imaginary friend as Choo walked off.

-Grayson Waller and Sanga arrived with “police officers” in crisp uniforms. Waller told Sanga to stay there ass they cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen in a bar. Briggs asked about the date with Kayden Carter. Briggs said he appreciates the time. He said he picked her up in his pickup truck, had dinner, talked about the Dusty Cup, she paid because she’s an “independent woman,” then dropped her off. He said she said he’s like a little brother. Briggs said he knows he’s from Alabama, but that ain’t a good thing. He called over the bartender, who was Nikkita Lyons I think as she said it was her family’s bar. She said Jensen has a friend for life. He screamed out, then Briggs said he’s in the zone, the friend zone.

(Hazelwood’s Take: This did NOT belong on television, which can be said about most Briggs and Jensen segments.)

-L.A. Knight made his entrance.


Knight took a mic and entered the ring, but before he could say yeah, Waller’s music hit (thank god). Waller pointed Knight out to the cops, holding a manila envelope. They entered the ring, then Waller threw to a video that he prepared to show the cops why Knight should be arrested (shouldn’t he have done that already). He said the attack has caused him emotional trauma, so he got the restraining order, but Knight still put his hands on him. He said he’s full of anxiety and can’t sleep at night. He said Knight broke the order, so he should be arrested. Knight grabbed the envelope then stopped them before he said he wasn’t going to stop them from doing his job.

Knight said he read the thing front to back and knew that this “jackass” would bring his own evidence, so Knight showed his own with Sanga distracting him and Waller hitting a neckbreaker. The officers looked at Waller as he tried to talk out of it with Knight saying that according to page two of the order, it reads, “L.A. Knight cannot touch Grayson Waller, but Grayson Waller cannot touch L.A. Knight.” He said the order isn’t worth the paper it’s on “you dumb son of a bitch.” Waller said it’s one way in Australia; the cops left. Waller was angry, then realized Knight was going to attack him. He psyched himself up, but still succumbed to Knight. Knight stomped away at Waller in the corner, all the while keeping a look out for Sanga. He kicked Sanga, then threw Waller. Sanga caught him. Knight said next week, it’s them one-on-one.

-They showed Hartwell and Pirotta in the locker room saying they were close. Hartwell said it was her fault, but Pirotta said they can win the Dusty Cup. Dexter Lumis showed up, then he and Hartwell walked off. Duke Hudson walked in and walked off with Pirotta.

-Grimes was prepping to head to the ring, as was Hayes, as that match is next. [c]

-They returned by thanking French Montana for “If I Go Down” as a sponsored song.

-Tomasso Ciampa in a pre-recorded video said he’s been in NXT for six years, building his brand, his home. He said people still act like this is a minor league farm system. He sees it in their tone, their body language that they think they’re better than him. He called out Dolph Ziggler, saying Ziggler’s mistaken Ciampa’s loyalty for fear. He then shifted to Breakker vs. Escobar and how all four men want the title. He said he’ll be watching; after all, this is his home.

-A video of Hayes played where he said he is NXT’s breakout superstar, when he shoots, he doesn’t miss. Williams said that’s why he is the unified North American Champion. He said he was the A Champion, then made his entrance. Champions should enter last, regardless of the match. Grimes entered to the biggest pop of the night. Samantha Irvin gave formal ring introductions from inside the ring.


(3) CARMELO HAYES (c) (w/Trick Williams) vs. CAMERON GRIMES – North American Championship match

Ref D.A. Brewer drew the assignment. Grimes taunted Hayes because the crowd chanted ‘To the moon.” Hayes mimed he shot off Grimes’ hat and said he doesn’t miss. They finally locked up and into the ropes, breaking clean. Grimes picked a leg and forced Hayes into a corner, then broke clean. Grimes worked the left arm, but Hayes countered and worked the left himself. Grimes used some reversals for a quick pin, then mocked Hayes.

Grimes took a leg again and hit a go-behind, but Hayes forced him into a corner. Grimes ducked a punch and hit a quick arm drag, holding onto the arm. Grimes hit a big arm wringer for a one-count, then right back to the left arm. Hayes hit an arm drag counter and held onto the arm himself. Grimes fought to his feet and hit a shoulder tackle to floor Hayes, then cartwheeled through a monkey flip attempt and told Hayes to kiss his ass. Hayes countered, but got hit with a big backbody drop by Grimes. Williams distracted Grimes, allowing Hayes to gain the advantage.

Hayes came off an Irish whip, flipped off of Grimes, then hit a big lariat. Grimes sidestepped, sending Hayes outside, but Hayes caught his PK and drove him into the apron face-first. Hayes then hung Grimes on the second rope, seated, hitting an enziguri and then a springboard leg drop as they cut to break. [c]

Hayes had Grimes in a modified Americana as they returned, a seated version, before Grimes fought to his feet and arm dragged Hayes off of him. Grimes kicked off Hayes, then hit Collision Course off of a rope run. Grimes then kipped up and yelled out with fighting spirit. Both men traded blows in the center of the ring, Hayes gaining the advantage with a feint and then throat chop. However, Grimes hit a standing rana and then some running attacks.

Hayes countered with a kick to the face, then after some maneuvering, Grimes hit a spinning uranage variation for a two-count; it started out almost like a Death Valley Driver. Hayes blocked a superman punch, then hit a big lungblower (Codebreaker), followed by a springboard crossbody where Hayes nearly flew over Grimes for a two-count. Hayes focused on Grimes, then signaled for the finish, but Grimes hit a spinning back elbow. Grimes then hit a superkick for a near-fall as Hayes kicked out just before three. Hayes sold that superkick well.

Grimes then started some kicks to the chest, some Yes Kicks for better reference without the Yes, but Williams distracted Grimes. Grimes was expecting the attack, so he dodged as Hayes hit Williams. Grimes then hit a poisonrana, a PK to Williams, and a top rope crossbody for a two-count. Grimes called for the Cave In, but Hayes rolled outside. Grimes went to the apron and hit the Cave In on Williams as Hayes dodged. Hayes then rammed Grimes face-first into the plexiglass barricade. He grabbed the title and said he’ll never leave it.

Back in the ring, he hit a tilt-a-whirl face buster for a two-count, but immediately transitioned to a crossface. Grimes crawled to the ropes, but Williams pulled back. Grimes rolled up Hayes for a two-count. Hayes hit the apron and snapped Grimes back against the top rope, then climbed and hit his finisher, the leaping scissors kick/leg drop for the victory.

WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 15:57 (top rope scissors kick) to retain the North American Championship

(Hazelwood’s Take: I mean, that match was as good as you’d expect. My only qualm about this match when it was booked is I didn’t think it was time for Hayes to lose the title nor did I think Grimes could use another big match loss like he did tonight. I wonder if this means Grimes is headed to Raw of Smackdown soon, possibly after WrestleMania, because I just don’t know what else you do with him in NXT unless you play the long, long game to a NXT Championship run.)

-Joseph shifted to the finals of the men’s Dusty Classic as they showed the bracket. A pre-match video played about the Dusty Classic and the two teams in the finals, MSK and The Creed Brothers. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai in the back in a pre-recorded video as Ray bashed more glassware with a bat. She offered to Shirai, but Shirai declined. Ray said she knows something is getting on Shirai’s nerves, and brought up no title, Toxic Attraction, etc. Shirai took the bat and swung away. Zoey Stark came up with a glass of coffee, saying it was a mess. Shirai grabbed the mug and threw it, saying she liked Ray. Stark said Ray is off to a better start than she had.

-They played a video of Dusty Rhodes discussing the origin of the tournament that bears his name before MSK made their entrance through the crowd, a live DJ playing them in with a remix version of their theme with Rhodes’ theme. Diamond Mine entered next after Bivens gave them a quick pep talk on the entrance stage. The Brothers hugged Roderick Strong and Ivy Nile before being led forward by Bivens as the former two retreated to the back.

(4) THE CREED BROTHERS (Brutus Creed & Julius Creed w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals

Brutus and Carter began the match. Creed went for a leg and Carter tried rolling out, but Creed held on. He hit a fireman’s carry, grabbed the arm, and tagged in Julius. Julius hit a fireman’s, then threw Carter to his brother, who fireman’s carried him into the ropes. Carter flipped out and made a tag to Lee, who worked the body of Julius. They double teamed Julius with kicks to the body and legs. Lee taunted Brutus, then hit a top con hilo clean over the rope and landed on his feet. He rolled Julius back in, but had his back handspring countered. Julius caught him in a gutwrench, then deposited him gut-first on the top rope. He knocked off Carter, then pounced Lee on the apron, sending him onto and off of the announce desk as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with a shot of the trophy and Brutus in control of Lee, raining down forearms to the chest. Brutus stalked and tried to pounce Lee in the corner, but Lee moved and Creed’s face hit the bottom turnbuckle. Lee fought off Brutus and both men made tags. Carter took it to Julius, picking the leg in mid-air and hitting a snap German, which sounds like what Julius would do to Carter. Carter hit a series of kicks, then a superkick to Brutus, before hitting the assisted standing shooting star to Julius on the outside.

He rolled Julius back in and climbed to the top. Lee tagged as Carter hit the Swanton, then Lee hit Too Fly (720 splash) for a two-count. Carter tagged in, but Julius caught him on the assisted corner avalanche. Lee was able to catch Julius and set him for a superkick and double stomp from Carter. The pin was broken up by Brutus, rushing in and forcing the breakup. Lee kicked Brutus, but Brutus hit a pump kick to send Lee flying. Carter caught him from behind with a pump knee to send him outside. Carter went for a tope, but Julius caught him and hit a rolling spinebuster or something. He rolled Carter back in and hit the huge lariat to the seated Carter for the victory. Bivens looked like a proud papa about to cry at his children’s accomplishment.

WINNER: The Creed Brothers at 9:37 (lariat) to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

(Hazelwood’s Take: Great, great match with the expected winner since the tournament was announced. They made the right call, and Bivens’ reactions just helped sell it even more. Well done to both teams for the match, particularly Lee and Carter in their bumping for The Creed Brothers. Brutus, I do think, is a bit too intense; I joke he’s going to have an aneurism during a show.)

-They played another Lyons vignette, and yeah, it was just as bad as the previous ones. This time she was doing a choreographed dance with two backdancers. They showed her hitting some pads, studying, in the studio, then saying she’s a whole lot of woman with a whole lot of talent. She debuts next week.

-Imperium were in the ring. Gunther had a mic and interrupted Irvin again, mad about her pronunciation of his name. Fabian Aichner congratulated The Creed Brothers, and said all it is is an opportunity. Marcel Barthel said to understand Imperium, you must be able to persevere through anguish and misery. Gunther said Barthel and Aichner have brought honor to this great sport. He said for himself, it’s time for championship gold in NXT. Gunther said tonight, he’ll be watching Breakker vs. Escobar with the highest of interest. As he was saying their tagline, Solo Sikoa interrupted.

Sikoa said we get it, we all get it: the mat is sacred, right? He said he doesn’t give a damn about that mat because on the island, you have to climb the ladder, find the biggest and baddest dude, and slap the taste out of his mouth, and that’s exactly what I’m about to do. He said he doesn’t care how you say his name; he’s going to wipe the mat with the Ring General and make him his bitch. Gunther held back Aichner and Barthel, just glaring at Sikoa. By the way, Imperium were dressed like preppy…Germans.

-Mitchell was in the back with Ziggler, discussing last night’s show where Ciampa appeared during his match. He said Ciampa probably flew himself in on his own dime, then made a joke about being business class and being big in Florida. He said Ciampa is the pulse of NXT and next week, he stops that pulse. He said next week, he kicks down the door to Ciampa’s house, drinks some milk, and breaks in the bathroom and maybe some other rooms. He said he’s watching closely.

-Legado del Fantasma made their entrance as Joseph said this will be commercial-free. They cut to their last break of the evening. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Sikoa’s going to lose, but hey, I want to see this match. I do think that Imperium is really…reinforcing some of the criticisms of their act in their appearance.)

-They returned with Hayes and Williams in the back, saying Grimes is good, but what’s good to somebody who’s great? Dunne then walked through a door and congratulated Hayes, setting his eyes on the title next.

-Joseph hyped the women’s Dusty Classic, beginning next week. They also hyped Knight vs. Waller and Ciampa vs. Ziggler (I’m guessing main event).

-LDF were in the ring. Breakker then had a special intro for the show where he lit a line of gas to enflame the Vengeance Day logo outside the arena. His music then hit as he made his entrance with lots of pumped-in smoke. He was wearing a tiger-striped singlet. Irvin once again made formal ring introductions from inside the ring with six minutes before the top of the hour, with the show scheduled for an overrun of eight minutes as it is most weeks.

(5) BRON BREAKKER (c) vs. SANTOS ESCOBAR (w/Legado del Fantasma) – NXT Championship match

A ref I don’t recognize drew the assignment here. They glared at each other and talked smack before locking up. Joseph said Eddie Guerrero won the WWE Championship on this day. Breakker just played with Escobar a bit with his strength, throwing him off during tie ups. Escobar hit a go-behind instead, but Breakker turned it into a side headlock. Breakker held on as Escobar tried throwing him off, then hit a big shoulder tackle after being shoved off.

He applied another side headlock, but Escobar answered with a dropkick to the mouth of Breakker. Escobar just smiled, but Breakker popped up quickly. Breakker hit a rolling gator roll into a delayed vertical suplex, dropping Escobar after about 15 seconds. The crowd barked for Breakker as Escobar rolled outside to regroup with LDF. Breakker chased him back into the ring, dodging several strikes from Escobar on rope runs, then hitting a big lariat to floor Escobar.

He worked some shoulders to the gut of Escobar in the corner, then lifted Escobar into a side buster. He got distracted by Joaquin Wilde, allowing Escobar to take the advantage with a strike a a middle rope tope. Escobar threw Breakker shoulder-first into the steps, then rolled him back inside the ring for a two-count as the top of the hour hit.


Escobar hit a delayed neckbreaker for a two-count as he slowed the pace down, which one would think would benefit Breakker. Escobar jammed his knee into the back of the neck and wrenched on the head of Breakker, then took him and hit a neckbreaker into the second rope. Escobar fixed his hair on the outside and said, “Viva Mexico, Vic!” He hit a senton for a two-count, almost locking in a Kimura to prevent a kick out.

Breakker fought back in the corner with a bunch of strikes, but ran right into a boot. Escobar then put Breakker into the corner and set him for a corner attack, a running double knee to the back of the neck for a two-count as he told the ref to count “cabron!” Escobar dragged Breakker outside onto the steps legs-first, then turned Breakker face-first into the post. Escobar then rammed the back of the head into the post before rolling Breakker back inside. He hit a series of falling elbows to Breakker’s back, then sat on the neck and wrenched back on the arm. Escobar turned it into a neck wrench, using his knee for leverage.

Breakker fought to his feet, but Escobar hit elbows to the back of the head to floor Breakker. Escobar taunted Breakker, kept calling him “cabron,” but took too much time. Breakker caught a punch and landed his own, then another, then one more. Shoulder tackles followed, then a tilt-a-whirl slam. Breakker got distracted by Raul Mendoza this time, then Wilde, tossing the latter into the ring and then back outside. Elektra Lopez tried getting in the ring, allowing Ziggler to hit a superkick, but Breakker kicked out! Ziggler was apoplectic at ringside. Ciampa then appeared and fought Ziggler at ringside, fighting to the back.

Escobar looked on, then turned back to Breakker. He set as Breakker looked wobbly. Escobar hit a running tornado DDT. He then went to the top rope for a frogsplash, but Breakker, dodged; Escobar rolled through. Breakker then hit an ugly spear, followed by his press slam to retain the NXT Championship.

WINNER: Bron Breakker at 12:06 (press slam) to retain the NXT Championship

(Hazelwood’s Take: A decent match that was slower paced than I envisioned. The shenanigans at the end only work insofar as they continue feuds and stories that were set last week and will be focal points in weeks to come. I do wonder about having Breakker take so much offense in his last few matches especially when he’s booked as some unstoppable force. Still, I guess this is one way to get him that in-ring experience. Now, do you think it’ll be Ziggler, Ciampa, or Gunther that Breakker faces next?)

FINAL THOUGHTS: They booked it is a special event, and they did pack it with the title matches and the finals of the men’s Dusty Classic. Some of the in-between segments were questionably as to not only belonging on a special episode, but on television at all (I’m looking at the Briggs-Jensen segment). Aside from the matches for next week, there are still the stories of Choo finding a partner, Kai talking to herself (I’m not optimistic), Shirai and Ray’s evolving partnership, and possibly Sikoa vs. Gunther. Next week should be a good episode, and I do think tonight’s was a good show overall. What is kind of strange is that it seems only one of the matches from tonight actually ended a feud with Hayes vs. Grimes.

I join Nate Lindberg to discuss tonight’s show. Don’t forget to call or email!

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