3/1 NXT 2.0 REPORT: Hazelwood’s live alt-perspective on loaded show with big tag team opener, two women’s Dusty Classic matches, Hayes vs. Dunne title match, Gunther vs. Sikoa, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NXT ON USA TV REPORT
MARCH 1, 2022
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett

Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin

Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell

Tonight after the show, join the PWT Talks NXT self-proclaimed “gang of idiots” to break down the show with emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 15 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (515) 605-9345

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW POST-RECORDING


[HOUR ONE]

-The show began with Bron Breakker’s music hitting as he and Tomasso Ciampa entered in Steiner Brothers-inspired singlets, a nice touch and a good way to remind fans (again) of Breakker’s lineage. The heels from Raw entered next, first with Robert Roode’s music and him rotating like his old NXT entrance, then Dolph Ziggler’s music hit. The faces took it to the heels before they could even make it out of the entrance area. It culminated with Ciampa hitting a twisting tornillo to both heels on the outside and the faces doing the patting on the back from the apron.

(1) BRON BREAKKER (c) & TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. THE DIRTY DAWGS (Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode) – Tag team match

The ref didn’t even check on Ziggler and rang the bell. Ciampa threw Ziggler into a now-legal Breakker for a spinebuster and a two-count. Ziggler still had his zip-up vest on as Roode DISTRACTED Breakker (eating a boot for it), then hit a Zig Zag on Breakker for only a two-count; way to put over a finisher. Roode tagged in and hit some mounted punches, then a nice neckbreaker for a two-count.

Ziggler tagged back in as the crowd chanted “Go back to Raw!” Ziggler worked Breakker at a slower pace while taunting Ciampa, then a modified rear naked choke to Breakker. The crowd chanted a Bianca Belair “You don’t go here!” next. Breakker tried fighting back, but Ziggler hit his own neckbreaker before tagging in Roode, who hit a textbook vertical suplex. He then hit a second rope forearm across the chest for a two-count.

Ziggler tagged back in, then Roode, as Roode whipped Ziggler into the corner for a splash, but Breakker dodged and clotheslined Roode, who is legal. Ciampa finally got the tag and hit a series of running clotheslines to Roode, then in the corner to both men followed by a flying clothesline to take out both men. He dropped the straps and went for the Fairytale Ending on Roode, but Roode shoved him into their corner. He hit a big spinebuster for a two-count, then they cut to break. [c]

Ziggler had Ciampa in a modified rear chinlock (as expected with all these mid-match breaks), but Ciampa tried fighting back as Vic Joseph said the heels isolated Ciampa during the break. Ziggler went for his leaping DDT, but Ciampa turned it into a catapult that sent Ziggler over the ropes. Roode checked on his partner, but instead of rolling his partner in, he snuck around and took out Breaker, then sent him into the crowd (I’m guessing those are PC trainees he hit).

Ziggler recovered, dragged Ciampa to their corner, and tagged in Roode. They hit a double team where they turned a double hip toss into a neckbreaker-powerbomb combo for a two-count. Roode took his time following up, then started taunting Ciampa, who just started laughing. Rood grabbed the beard (no!), then ate a pump knee. Roode checked on his teeth when he recovered, a nice touch, as both men crawled to their corners. Ziggler tagged in, stopped Ciampa, but Ciampa was able to then make the tag as Breakker took it to Ziggler.

He hit overhead belly-to-belly suplexes to both men, then a HUGE lariat to Ziggler. Breakker set in the corner for a spear, but Ziggler hit a knee. Ziggler missed a superkick, then turned into a running spear. Ciampa tagged in, then climbed to the top as Breakker lifted Ziggler into the electric chair. They hit the Steiner Dog, but Roode just broke up the pin! Oh, I thought it was over there! Roode sent Breakker into the post, but Ciampa took him out. Ziggler rolled him up, but Ciampa kicked out and hit Fairytale Ending for the victory. What an opener!

WINNER: Bron Breakker & Tomasso Ciampa at 13:07 (Fairytale Ending)

-The announcers hyped the North American Championship match. The camera then picked up L.A. Knight making his way from the back. He gave a promo and basically said call everyone (including your side piece) to watch his match with Grayson Waller. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: This easily could have been a main event, but I like that it wasn’t for two reasons. One, it gave the show a hot start. Two, I think, even with the overrun, the ending would have come too predictably. I really thought it was over after that bulldog from the top, so that was a great bit of misdirection. It also helped that usually, the false finish in WWE leads to the other team winning, but they went with the right team here in the faces. I really don’t want to speculate too much on where it’s going from here because I just want to enjoy how great this feud has actually been with my admitted misgivings about it when it started.)

-They returned with a vignette of Gunther calling out Solo Sikoa, saying “good for him” to get a match with Gunther. Gunther then spoke in Austrian I believe, but the subtitles were too quick for me to catch while typing. Gunther said Sikoa’s undefeated streak will end at the hands of Gunther.

L.A. KNIGHT IN-RING PROMO

-Knight was in the ring with a mic. He played to the crowd before saying, “Yeah!” like an annoying asshole, then, “Let me talk to ya!” He said he and Waller have been doing this for a long time, just before Halloween Havoc. He brought up their match to see who would be the host, and showed a picture of him with his hands raised. He then brought up WarGames, then said I’m sorry as “three fans” chanted for Waller. He then brought up Waller stealing his car and beating Waller only for Waller to get a restraining order and bodyguard (Sanga). He then brought it to last week where Waller used the trunks to win, then Waller’s music hit.

Waller mocked Knight with, “Yeah” from the balcony area. He said Knight’s right, the winner was Grayson Waller. He said Knight was the roadblock on his path to greatness and it’s over. Knight said he can’t hear what he’s saying (and this was bleeped) because everyone’s calling him an asshole. Waller said goodbye, but Knight said hold up and showed the picture of him standing over Waller last week. He said two times he’s walked out standing tall with Waller laying after matches (even though he lost the last one). Knight said Waller is all about the likes and DMs, then said everyone on Twitter is calling him out for the punk he is for getting whooped (are they, though?). Knight said prove you have a shred of manhood (oh great, toxic masculinity is always a good angle).

Waller said next week he’s getting all the likes, all the swipes, and going viral as he will be last man standing. Knight said he was hoping he would say that and third time’s the charm. He rambled a bit before ending with that’s a fact of life. Looks like last man standing is official.

-They showed Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta in the locker room as Pirotta was on her phone. Hartwell was warming up and told Pirotta to focus. Pirotta checked her phone again for Duke Hudson before heading off for their match.

-A highlight package aired on the start of the women’s Dusty Classic from last week and the two teams that advanced. They hyped the two matches for tonight which, with all of the matches for tonight, will probably get less than four minutes like last week’s matches.

-Wendy Choo’s music hit as she made her entrance, body pillow and all. Dakota Kai’s music hit next as Wade Barrett said this is truly a peculiar duo. [c]

-They returned with the other team just entering the ring.

(2) WENDY CHOO & DAKOTA KAI vs. INDI HARTWELL & PERSIA PIROTTA – First round match in the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

The Toxic Lounge was occupied again as Pirotta and Choo began the match. Choo tried a drop toehold, but Pirotta stayed standing with her strength. Pirotta grabbed the ponytails, but Choo just spun around, then other way before landing a palm strike. Pirotta shoved her into their corner, then tagged in Hartwell. Hartwell whipped Pirotta into Choo, then Hartwell hit a sidewalk slam for a two-count. Choo did fight out, then had to make a tag to Kai, who didn’t want to tag.

They hit a double team, sending Hartwell into their corner, then both hit running boots as Kai scored a two-count. Choo tagged back in as they hit a double frontside belly-to-back suplex. Choo went for a cartwheel clothesline, but missed and ate a clothesline herself. Pirotta tagged in, but Choo slipped out of a hold only to run into a boot to the chest for a two-count. Pirotta tagged in Hartwell, who hit a clothesline for another two-count that Joseph called before Choo even kicked out.

Hartwell went for a modified keylock in the middle of the ring. Choo broke it with an arm drag, then an inside cradle for a two-count. She slid by and made the tag. Kai hit a scorpion kick, used misdirection to hit Pirotta off of the apron, then took it to Hartwell. Kai hit her running pump kick in the corner, but Hartwell kicked out just before three. Pirotta then tagged in and lifted Kai, lawn darting her into the top turnbuckle and a big modified spinning sitting facebuster, but Choo broke up the pin with a naptime elbow. Kai then took out Pirotta with a pump kick. Choo hit basically a Vader Bomb from the top without holding onto the ropes, then Kai hit a double stomp from the top to win. Pirotta cried out in pain after the stomp.

WINNER: Wendy Choo & Dakota Kai at 5:21 (double stomp) to advance in the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

-Joseph hyped a “closer look” at Imperium vs The Creed Brothers. He got cutoff by commercial as he was adding more. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: So that got over five minutes! While the announcers put it over as a big upset because of how new the team is, let’s not act like Choo and Kai don’t have TONS more experience than the other two. Kai’s also been in many tag teams. Yeah, I know, too much logic, but while it did seem like before the brackets, it was set for Hartwell and Pirotta, since the brackets were announced and even before then, there’s been simmering tension between the two all brought about by Hudson. After last week’s events, it seems even more likely we see a match between the two partners with Hudson in one of their corners. As to the victors, if it’s them against Kay Lee Ray and Io Shira, my goodness, that should be a great match…as long as there aren’t too many sleep shenanigans from Choo.)

-They returned with Joseph and Barrett standing ringside hyping the MSG show and the “Road to WrestleMania.” Barrett then threw to the package on Imperium vs. The Creed Brothers titled “Perception vs. Reality.” Perception had Imperium’s logo behind it, with Reality having The Diamond Mine’s logo. The title is in reference to Malcolm Bivens’ comments I think last week. Seek out the video on YouTube. Brutus Creed has something special.

-Amari Miller made her entrance as they showed a video where Lash Legend berated Miller for “ruining her NXT debut.”

(3) AMARI MILLER vs. LASH LEGEND – Singles match

Legend berated Miller into the corner, but Miller feigned being scared and attacked Legend. Miller took out the leg, but then ran into a pump kick from Legend. Legend then lifted Miller into her arms and rocked her head between the top and middle rope for the full five-count. She then hit a pendulum backbreaker and then wrenched Miller over her knee. Legend went for a running elbow, but Miller moved as Legend crashed to the mat.

Legend grabbed Miller’s ankle, but Miller fought out with kicks and forearms. She hit a superkick to the gut, then a shotgun dropkick to Legend. She then hit a kick to the face, then a turnbuckle-assisted moonsault for a two-count. Legend recovered and threw Miller into the corner, then lifted her to her shoulders. She hit a sloppy lifting slam to Miller for the victory. She made Miller land before Legend even got close to the mat. After the match, Legend went to the camera and said she was the next big star, not Nikkita Lyons.

WINNER: Lash Legend at 2:56 (modified sitdown slam)

-In the back, McKenzie Mitchell asked Sikoa about Gunther’s comments. He said Gunther can bring all he got, but he’s going to keep coming. He said respect is a two-way street and Gunther is in for a fight.

-Gunther made his entrance sans Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel as the Ring General scowled. [c]

-They returned with Brooks Jensen and Joshua Briggs looking at their phones as Elektra Lopez walked past. They made some sexual comments, and she said excuse me. It hit Briggs, then he said Jensen was looking at the newest F-350 and were stereotypical Southern truck dudes. She said they wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman. Jensen said joke’s on her, he’s never been with a real woman. Briggs was in shock. Briggs has gotten better; Jensen hasn’t.

[HOUR TWO]

(4) GUNTHER vs. SOLO SIKOA – Singles match

Gunther immediately took it to Sikoa with strikes and an uppercut, then a back elbow. He put Sikoa into the corner and hit a series of forearms to the chest before another uppercut. Sikoa fought out of the corner, but one chop dropped him. Gunther then twisted Sikoa’s neck with his feet, then a big bodyslam. Gunther, who looks in tremendous shape, methodically attacked Sikoa, but Sikoa caught a strike and hit a few back elbows only to be hit with one big boot.

Gunther hit another neck twist with the feet, this time the opposite direction, then a headlock takedown into a side headlock submission on the mat. Sikoa fought to his feet, but Gunther held onto the hold. Sikoa threw Gunther off, lifted him to his shoulders, but Gunther slid off and hit a short-arm clothesline for a two-count. Gunther stalked around Sikoa before attempting and locking in a Boston crab. Sikoa fought out, then on his feet hit a flurry of strikes. He finally floored Gunther with a running spinning heel kick.

Sikoa’s superkick was caught, but he fought out of a powerbomb with a big Samoan drop. Gunther rolled outside, Sikoa followed to the apron, then hit a big splash from the apron to Gunther on the floor (poor knees!). He rolled Gunther back in climbed back inside. He hit a superkick to the head, but Gunther kicked out. After taking around 20 seconds to recover, Sikoa climbed to the top, but Gunther dodged the splash.

Gunther went for the standing rear naked choke, but Sikoa sat down with a jawbreaker. Gunther responded with a chop to the back of the neck. He cinched in the rear naked choke on the feet and just before Sikoa could be declared out, Gunther hit not one, but two powerbombs and his leverage matchbox cover for the victory. Good, hard-hitting match.

WINNER: Gunther at 7:37 (two powerbombs)

-Mitchell asked Ziggler about he rebounds and Ziggler said he wants the title shot next week as the #1 contender. Ciampa interrupted and said he may want that, but he doesn’t deserve the title shot. He said Ziggler’s #1 contender status went out the window once he was pinned. Breakker then entered, and Ziggler said he could beat Breakker, he knows it, then said Ciampa probably thinks he could beat Breakker, too. Ciampa said he already has. Breakker looked at both of them and said screw both of them. Ziggler laughed and left them.

-Joe Gacy and Harland were outside in the dark as Gacy talked. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: A solid match in a night of solid matches sans a true enhancement match with two inexperienced talents in Legend and Miller. This wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but a well-told and hard-hitting match. Sikoa got just enough offense to make it believable that he might win, but Gunther’s pedigree and skills made him the rightful winner. I like the touch of Gunther adding another powerbomb just to make sure Sikoa was done for good as Sikoa just kept fighting back, at one point in control of the match. There goes Sikoa’s undefeated streak, but it’s fine as this can lead to a future rematch once Sikoa gains more experience and establishes himself more as a singles star. Also, he looks just like a more muscular version of The Usos.)

-They returned with Hartwell and Pirotta upset about their loss, “They don’t even have matching gear!” Hartwell took responsibility, but then Hudson walked in. She walked into his arms as he just gleefully stared at Hartwell. The two walked off as she grabbed her phone and asked for Dexter Lumis to text her back and she missed him.

(5) HARLAND (w/Joe Gacy) vs. DRACO ANTHONY – Singles match

They announced a triple threat for the NXT Championship next week as the match began. Anthony tried using his quickness, but Harland was too strong. Gacy distracted Anthony, but that allowed Anthony to drape the left arm over the rope and work it. After a bit, Harland took over, even landing a splash across the back. He hit some big, stiff, maybe unsafe shots in the corner. Anthony fought out of the corner with some strikes, then forearms to the face.

Anthony then hit a running shoulder tackle for a one-count. However, Harland just grabbed Anthony and forced him into the mat, then lifted and slammed Anthony face-first into the mat several times. He lifted Anthony and basically hit a belly-to-back bomb for the victory, making an X with his arms across Anthony’s neck on the pin.

After the match, Harland lifted Anthony to his feet, then gave him a hug at Gacy’s behest. Anthony looked freaked out as Harland released. Gacy smiled at Harland.

WINNER: Harland at 2:26 (belly-to-back bomb)

-Mitchell was in the back with Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. She asked about the title match. Williams said every time Hayes steps in the ring, it’s the main event. Hayes said Pete Dunne is one of the best in NXT history…until he walked into the building. He said Dunne has been a champion, but he’s never been the A champion. He said the question isn’t going to be who’s next for Melo, but who’s left for Melo. Nicely done.

-Raquel Gonzalez made her entrance next for the last first round match in the women’s Dusty Classic. Cora Jade’s music hit as she then skated to her partner. They had a matching color scheme here with some blue and orange, though Gonzalez kept her black tights. [c]

-They returned with Ivy Nile just taking it to a workout dummy last week as her partner from last week Tatum Paxley appeared. She said she knew why Nile took it to her. Nile said that was just a taste and she’ll learn the hard way.

(6) RAQUEL GONZALEZ & CORA JADE vs. YULISA LEON & VALENTINA FEROZ – First round match in the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Jade and Leon began the match. Leon easily slammed Jade down and taunted her. Gonzalez tagged in, but Leon didn’t back down. Leon used some chain wrestling to get a side headlock, then Feroz tagged in and hit a dropkick to the left arm. Gonzalez quickly lifted Feroz, but Feroz flipped out. She got caught on rana attempt, then botched a sunset bomb (it was on Gonzalez). Gonzalez recovered by lifting and slamming Feroz and tagging in Jade.

Jade hit a running knee in the corner, then a running lifting knee to Feroz against the ropes. Feroz sloppily rolled Jade outside, then tagged in Leon. Leon assisted Feroz with a big splash that took out Gonzalez. Leon then ran through with her own splash to take out the big woman in the match. Back in the ring, Leon hit a quick powerslam for a two-count on Jade. Feroz tagged in and another sloppy spot led to a two-count as they showed Jacy Jayne shaking her head.

Leon tagged in, climbed to the top, and hit a missile dropkick for a two-count. Feroz tagged in. Jade fought back a bit and tagged in Gonzalez. Gonzalez used a bunch of power moves and strikes to regain control She went for the Chingona Bomb on Feroz, and hit a one-armed version. She then hit a front-facing one to Jade, who tagged in, onto Feroz for the victory.

WINNER: Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade at 4:47 (Chingona Bomb)

-They showed Sarray in the back showing her necklace to other women as Tiffany Stratton walked by. She called it tacky, then told Sarry she could have one of hers. Sarray said no thank you. Stratton grabbed and forced Sarry into the grating twice before she was pulled off. Sarry vs. Stratton is the next feud; who goes over?

-Chase University music started as Bodhi Heyward and Andre Chase made their entrance like a football team tearing through the paper. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Feroz was much too ambitious in that match, but you can also see her potential and why they would want her to try those spots. It could also do with the fact that Gonzalez and Jade were the opponents, but in any case, at this stage, they should keep it simple and just keep gaining experience rather than looking to wow with every third move. Gonzalez is just not doing much for me, and her posing is really annoying. Jade is fine, but I’m more interested in seeing what’s next for Leon than any of the other three women in the match.)

-They returned with a Tony D’Angelo vignette talking about opportunity in the air for WrestleMania weekend. He said when you zig, he zags. He said he has his eyes on a big fish, a white wale. He said he carries a big stick and Stand & Deliver will be where he becomes a made man. He said his opponent will be sleeping with the fishes.

(7) ANDRE CHASE (w/Bodhi Heyward) vs. VON WAGNER (w/Robert Stone) – Singles match

I legitimately forgot Wagner’s name for a second. Chase ducked a Wagner rush, then hit a flurry of strikes. Wagner caught him off a rope run, but Chase slipped out and just kept taking it to Wagner until Wagner finally used his strength to force Chase into the corner and hit a bunch of shoulder thrusts. He lifted and slammed Chase as Stone encouraged him. Wagner hit a bunch of strikes, then a running boot.

He looked at the crowd with zero charisma, then whipped Chase into a corner and followed with a quick clothesline. He then hit a big biel out of the corner to Chase. Wagner did some more corner work, then grabbed a front facelock, possibly a gator roll coming. Nope, he just lifted Chase and hit a sidebreaker to Chase. Chase then dodged a corner attack, caught a kick, and worked the left knee. He hit a bunch of kicks and a chop block, then a big clothesline.

Chase did his stomps to the chant of Chase U with good crowd participation. Heyward and Stone were arguing as Chase came to Heyward’s defense. Chase ducked as Wagner hit Heyward. Wagner was forced into the ring post. Chase checked on Heyaward, who said go to the match as he writhed in pain. Wagner immediately hit a new finisher it looks like, basically a Death Valley Driver neckbreaker. I think Roode used it as one of his finishers in TNA, the Roode Bomb?

WINNER: Von Wagner at 4:10 (Roode Bomb)

-They hyped Lyons’ debut last week and the “social media reaction.” She was in the back and said she heard what Legend said. She said Legend is scared of her and she should be. She said to bring back Lashing Out so they could talk it out and “keep that same energy.” Yikes.

-Hayes and Williams made their entrance for the main event title match against Dunne. Hayes’ shirt was of Dunne’s face with a big X across the face. [c]

-They returned with an NXT Roadblock preview for next week, hyping the triple threat NXT Championship match, the men’s NXT Tag Team Championship match, and Knight vs. Waller in last man standing.

-Dunne made his entrance with about seven minutes left until the top of the hour. Samantha Irvin gave formal ring introductions from inside the ring (yes!); the champ entered first (no!).

 (8) CARMELO HAYES (c) (w/Trick Williams) vs. PETE DUNNE – North American Championship match

My favorite NXT ref D.A. Brewer drew this main event title match. The two locked up, with Dunne gaining the early advantage and grabbing the arm. Hayes flipped out, then Dunne hit a few leapfrogs and drop downs before Hayes hit a big lariat. Hayes then flipped off of Dunne’s back, but Dunne hit a lariat and followed with a PK to the back. He grabbed the left arm and set for a quick kick. He kicked Hayes, who responded with one of his own from the mat.

Dunne whipped Hayes and hit a clothesline, but then turned right into one from Hayes. Both men then hit stereo clotheslines to each other a good 15 times before breaking down to punches that dropped both men to their knees. Dunne countered a clothesline and hit a modified X plex where he basically thrust his hip out for a backbreaker on Hayes on the way down. [c]

[OVERRUN]

Dunne had an arm lock on Hayes as they returned, the announcers saying Hayes was frustrated. Both men traded forearms as Dunne held onto Hayes’ left wrist. Hayes finally broke the hold with a punch. Dunne looked for the rebound snap German, but Hayes leaped out and into a single leg crab. He then set Dunne in the ropes, seated, and hit an enziguri to the back. Dunne then dodged a leaping attack and kicked Hayes. He got DISTRACTED by Williams, which allowed Hayes to basically hit the One Final Beat DDT on the apron, leaping over the top rope to grab Dunne and snap his head on the apron, which scored a two-count in the ring.

Hayes then stomped away at Dunne, hitting a big back elbow after whipping him off of the ropes. He did the M.V.P. “Ballin'” taunt, then a neck wrench. A big forearm woke up Dunne, who responded with his own and a quick enziguri. He went for the hand stomps, but Hayes moved, Dunne hit a big forearm as Hayes went for a springboard for a two-count as Barrett called it a Bull Hammer like his old finisher.

Hayes hit a big kick as a counter, but Dunne countered a vertical suplex. Hayes then leaped into lungblower after flipping out of a suplex of his own and Dunne just kicked out; he spiked himself on that lungblower bump. Hayes went for a kick, but Dunne turned it into an ankle lock, lifting Hayes to kick the arm. Hayes responded with a leaping axe kick to the back of the neck. Dunne then countered Hayes with Bitter End, but couldn’t make the pin with the damage; Hayes then rolled away with one roll to prevent the pin.

Dunne went for the mounted triangle armbar, but Hayes rolled it over into a pin and then under the ropes, used that launch Dunne into the rope. Hayes hit a spinning crossface, but Dunne snapped the figners to break the hold. He went for Bitter End, but Hayes hit basically a vertical suplex cutter. Hayes went to the top, but Dunne met him. Hayes tried to interfere, but Dunne grabbed the fingers and snapped them. Hayes then pushed off Dunne and hit his top rope scissors kick/leg drop to retain the title.

WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 12:32 (leaping scissors kick) to retain the North American Champion

-After the match, Williams took a mic and said Hayes is still the champ. Hayes said he’s a gold mine and they should build Fort Knox around him. He said Stand & Deliver, the title will be on the line in the match it was founded: a ladder match.

(Hazelwood’s Take: A fine, fine match. Dunne matches, to me, do become too predictable as we’re just waiting for some fingers to be snapped and arms to get stomped. It’s basically what they did to Shayna Baszler on the “main roster” always working to stomp on the left arm and elbow. I do wonder when Williams’ distractions will start to make Hayes feel diminished to the majority of the audience or if they understand that the package, the A Champion, works with both of them together. One one hand, I wonder why the purported heel champion would announce not only his next title defense, but a multi-person gimmick match that stacks the WWE odds against him. However, on the other hand, I think it also does show just how much confidence he has in himself as the A Champion that ties back to his question from earlier in the night, “Who’s left for Melo?” Now, what the hell do you do with Dunne? At this point, is he just enhancement for those moving up the card? I don’t think Hayes should have lost, but I also questioned the booking of this feud when it happened. I though it should have been D’Angelo because he could afford to lose a big match, but Dunne has lost too many; the announcers even said Dunne hasn’t held a singles title in NXT – they don’t count NXT UK. Whatever the case, my criticisms of Dunne aside, he just seems to be in a role not fit for his talent and connection with the crowd.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: That was a packed episode of matches. Sometimes, Raw doesn’t even have eight matches and I know that as someone who covered Raw for over a year. What NXT has done well is provide a reason for each match and feud happening. This isn’t to say the random match between two people doesn’t have a place, but it happens so much on Raw and Smackdown that it’s nice to see NXT take the complete opposite approach. Even the Miller-Legend match was set by last week’s loss and the little video they played during Miller’s entrance. It wasn’t much, but it showed why the match was happening beyond “they lost last week.” Legend and Lyons are still both so green that I highly question putting them in a feud together so soon.

On another note, next week’s show is anchored by three high-stakes matches and more Dusty Classic matches. I don’t know if the show needed a special name like AEW does with a bit of their Dynamite shows, but I guess it adds a bit of import to title matches and Dusty Classic semi-finals. IF they take the title off Breakker, it’ll be interesting to see who takes it off of him. Ciampa represents a reversion to “Black and Gold,” whereas Ziggler may signal the cementation of crossover between the three main WWE shows with the NXT Champion possibly being a floating champion depending on the stories and angles. All I know is that I am definitely looking forward to the triple threat not so much for the match, but for the outcome (even though the match should be good!).

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