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NXT 2.0 “ROADBLOCK” TV REPORT
MARCH 8, 2022
WINTER PARK, 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 calls and emails.
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-The show began with a quote from Seneca, then played “The Road to Stand & Deliver” as they hyped the NXT Championship match.
-They cut to the Capitol Wrestling Center with Cora Jade’s music running as she and Raquel Gonzalez were posing by the Dusty Classic trophy.
(1) DAKOTA KAI & WENDY CHOO vs. RAQUEL GONZALEZ & CORA JADE – Semifinals of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Choo and Jade began as the crowd chanted for Wendy. She employed more sleep-based offense. They showed Toxic Attraction in their lounge complete with topless (and oiled) men serving as waiters/bodyguards. Choo acted like she fell asleep, so Jade whispered for everyone to shh, then slowly tagged in Gonzalez. The latter went for an elbow and Choo moved, but then Gonzalez employed an airplane spin! She then spun the opposite way (counter-clockwise), before hitting a spinning side slam for a two-count.
Jade tagged in as Gonzalez whipped her into Choo for an uppercut and a two-count. Choo forced Jade into their corner where Kai tagged in. They pulled off some double teams, including combo boot washes, for a two-count. Rose was then shown without Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne in the lounge as Kai scored another two-count, then axe kicked the back of Jade for another two-count. Choo tagged in, then the two did their own version of corner attacks and quick tags.
Kai worked the left arm with a standing keylock. Choo tagged in and they hit a double leg trip, then a kick and the Sleeping Elbow from Choo for a two-count. Jade fought off a suplex, but Choo forced her into a corner and hit a headlock takedown, holding on when they hit the mat. Gonzalez tried her best to get the fans going, but they didn’t really respond. Jade blocked some more suplex attempts, so Choo hit an inside cradle. They then rolled around the ring in the inside cradle until Choo had the pin for a two-count.
Choo then hit a baseball slide to Jade, who was on the outside, but then Jade forced Choo into the apron. Gonzalez then came around to check on Kai, who was creeping close, but then Dolan used I think a shillelagh to hit Gonzalez. Jayne then slammed Gonzalez’s leg into the post, all behind the ref’s back, as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Kai in control of Jade with Gonzalez struggling to her feet in her corner. They showed the trainers checking on her during break where she yelled she was finishing this in another bit of too forced acting. Jade fought back, breaking out of Kai’s hold, but there was no Gonzalez to tag. Choo tagged in, but Jade hit some running attacks, then an enziguri that showed a lot of light. She hit a running corner knee that showed absolutely zero light, then a meteora to Choo sitting in the corner for a two-count. Vic Joseph said it would be an upset, but yeah, no it wouldn’t, Joseph.
Choo hit a full nelson slam and tagged in Kai. They hit a double-team belly-to-back front suplex for only a two-count. Gonzalez finally made it to the apron, limping, and tagged in, hobbling over to hit clotheslines and a powerslam on Kai for a two-count. Kai hit a scorpion kick, then Kairopractor to Gonzalez. She didn’t go for the pin as Gonzalez rolled to the corner. Kai went for her running kick, but stopped as she grabbed her head like her other personality came through. She went for the kick again, but Gonzalez caught her and went for the Chingona Bomb, but her knee buckled. It looked like Kai hit a DDT or something. She then hit the running boot. Choo tagged in, then Kai, as Choo hit her leaping backward splash, then Kai with a double stomp from the top to advance.
WINNER: Dakota Kai & Wendy Choo at 14:04 (splash and double stomp combo) to advance to the finals of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
-Tomasso Ciampa was in the back where he said he would become a three-time NXT Champion tonight, a legacy he’s very proud of he says. He says this one feels different because of Dolph Ziggler and Bron Breakker, and he said this match means more than the title. He said the title for so long meant his life, but tonight, if he wins, he isn’t just champion, but he’ll walk into the biggest weekend of them all as champion. He said the other two could fight over being 2A and 2B, but there’s never been a bigger gap between 1 and 2, and he’s number 1. He yelled the whole last sentence.
-Joseph and Wade Barrett were standing ringside as they reacted to Ciampa and hyped Stand & Deliver.
-They showed Tiffany Stratton in the back taking a selfie and then making her way to the ring. They showed Sarray peeking from behind as she walked by. Joseph said the cameras are picking up something and they showed The Creed Brothers in the parking lot, beat up and grimacing, with either a big pole or a tire iron on the ground. It appeared to be raining outside. Malcolm Bivens and Ivy Nile were irate as Roderick Strong ran around the parking lot looking for the culprits; Imperium, anyone, or maybe even, gasp, MSK? [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: So that was a fun match that would have had better execution if Gonzalez’s acting had jus been a tad better. It just seemed too forced when she said she would stay, as well as her selling the knee. Choo is over in Winter Park, but I’m not sure how much more she is than that. The sleep-based everything is just difficult to overcome, made even worse when she does good things like the full nelson suplex tonight. Her team with Kai has been fun even if there really has been no character building as a team. It’s probably leading to their breakup due to Kai’s voices in her head. Honestly, both Choo and Kai deserve to have better characters and higher spots on the card, but to quote The Wire, “Deserve ain’t got nothing to do with it.”)
–They returned with a camera outside of medical looking in at Diamond Mine as Jade and Gonzalez entered.
-Stratton made her entrance as they hit ringside.
(2) TIFFANY STRATTON vs. FALLON HENLEY – Singles match
They locked up as Henley hit an arm wringer, but Stratton flipped out. Henley hit an arm drag, but Stratton caught the next one. Henley pushed her away as she hit a one-legged dropkick. However, Stratton threw her into the middle ropes and then a running hip attack. She sat on Henley’s neck against the bottom rope, which I’m sure will be memed. Stratton grabbed a front facelock, wrenched on it, then Henley fought out and hit a big chop. She hit a backbreaker and then a clothesline, followed by a running corner attack.
Stratton threw her off, then caught her on a crossbody. She popped her onto her shoulders for a Samoan drop. Suddenly, smoke started forming at the entrance. It distracted everyone, allowing Sarray to hit an enziguri from the outside to the back of Stratton. Henley then hit a solid shining wizard that looked better than all of Tegan Nox’s for the upset victory. Brooks Jensen and Joshua Briggs celebrated with her, so she was the one in their vignettes.
WINNER: Fallon Henley at 2:46 (shining wizard)
-A Chase U video played. He said their goal is to perform like they practice. He pointed to his entrance. He said in practice, it was smooth, but it was a total clusterf**k. He called them out, then said they turn negatives into positives. He called out Bodhi Heyward for taking one for the team. A student asked about Heyward’s eye looking bad. He cussed him out and flipped him off, then threw a basketball at him point-blank range. Give me this Chase in the damn ring!
-They hyped Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams in the barbershop as they cut to break. [c]
-They returned in the barbershop. Hayes and Williams talked about Strong, Cameron Grimes, and Pete Dunne losing, the last taking “a worse shot than [Russell] Westbrook.” HA! Hayes said the golden rule: because he has the gold, he makes the rules. He said he’s been climbing rung by rung by rung by rung, so he reintroduced his challenge for a ladder match for his title. They asked about his opponent. One said ten and he said there aren’t even ten people at the level below him. Williams said four and they all have to qualify, but he doesn’t understand why it’s a ladder match. Hayes said they’re doing it because he can. He said there are two goals a the event: stand as champion and deliver the greatest show.
-Lashing Out began next as Legend was in a nice red chair with a live crowd of presumably PC trainees. She said tonight’s guest want “to talk about it,” then introduced Nikkita Lyons. Legend said Lyons’ dad was a rock star and her mom a groupie, then asked if she was following her dad or was everyone’s groupie. Lyons said she was taught not to be judgmental. Legend said Lyons thinks she hot stuff because she trends every time when she appears, saying she knows why she’s trending. She asked about butt implants, then they argued.
(Hazelwood’s Take: That went about as good as you would hope, and even then, it was bad.)
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Imperium and asked them about the attack. Marcel Barthel said they would never taint the honor of the great sport by resorting to underhanded tactics. Fabian Aichner said The Creed Brothers could talk about their heritage and pedigree after all, but it didn’t protect them. MSK then approached and said if The Creed’s can’t go, they’ll take the spot and give The Creed Brothers the opportunity Imperium was too scared to give.
-L.A. Knight’s music hit, but thank goodness he’s not cutting a promo tonight; we just have to sit through one of his matches! [c]
-They showed Briggs and Jensen celebrating with Henley in the back, then approached Legado del Fantasma and accused them of attacking The Creed Brothers. They said LDF turned the parking lot into the most dangerous place on Earth. LDF said when they attack people, everyone knows about it. Jensen said some stuff, then Elektra Lopez said don’t accuse him because he can’t get laid. Jensen said he’s working on it. Henley asked if they did it, and Briggs said no because “we’re the good guys.”
(3) L.A. KNIGHT vs. GRAYSON WALLER – Last Man Standing match
Knight attacked right as Waller was entering and the bell rang right after because of the match stip, so at least good on Knight for not letting Waller make his entrance after the ordeal of the past several weeks. Knight took out a trash can, but Waller kicked him, then rammed Knight’s head into the post holding up one of the ringside barriers. However, Knight whipped him into the steel steps, then posed for the fans.
Knight then worked Waller in the ring, stomping in the corner, trying to get his Yeah stomps going, then a running knee to punctuate the sequence. Waller countered Knight and hit a stun gun on the top rope, then went to work on Knight’s midsection. He took his time with his offense, hitting some cravate knees. He then set Knight for his rolling stunner where he leaps in from the outside through the ropes. Knight hit his feet at six as ref D.A. Brewer counted.
Knight tried to hit his finisher, I think BFT, on Waller, but Waller countered and hit a running back elbow. Waller climbed to the top, but Knight ran up to the top and hit a superplex, showing athleticism I didn’t know he possessed as he leaped to the top rope clean, but not as clean as Shelton Benjamin. Knight then hit BFT as the ref began his count. Waller was right next to the apron, so he crawled outside and used the ropes to stay up. Knight then clotheslined Waller on the apron, but as he went to follow, Waller hit him with the trash can as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Knight and Waller battling it out on the elevated platform. Both tried to send the other over the edge. Waller was on the edge and got punched, then just fell to the ground. The camera didn’t cut it and some folks screamed, but I’m not sure if they saw either. Oh, wait, Sanga carried Waller to the ring! Knight hit Sanga with a chair, but Sanga no-sold and then chokeslammed Knight on the apron. Waller then pulled out some handcuffs.
Mitchell then updated the viewers as The Creed Brothers weren’t medically cleared and MSK took their spots. Knight actually fought off the two and handcuffed Sanga around a ring post. Waller looked scared, but he attacked only to eat a bunch of offense. Knight hit a big Oklahoma slam to Waller, then called for the BFT again as the crowd chanted for a table. Knight actually went for a stunner, but Waller got his thumbs in the eyes. He went for his rolling neckbreaker again, but Knight caught him and slammed him through a table set at ringside that must have been set during the break.
Waller just made it to his feet using the barricade, then immediately fell to his butt. Knight went and lifted him, then punched him in the face a few times in front of the fans. Waller stumbled to the ground as Knight tried dragging him. Knight grabbed the chair as Waller pleaded and apologized. Knight threw the chair down, then kicked Waller in the face. He put the trash can on Waller, then hit Waller with the chair on the trash can. He then waylaid the trash can with the chair another seven times or so, then swung and hit Sanga, defenseless against the post, about four times across the back. Brew said he’s going to start the count now as Knight removed the stuff on the announce desk.
He lifted Waller to stop the count, but Waller grabbed something from his trunks. Waller hit him with I think a flapjack. He set Knight on the table, then he climbed to the top rope and hit his flying dribbling-through-both-legs elbow through the table. The crowd chanted “holy shit” as Brewer started his count. They both rolled but Waller used Sanga to get to his feet for the victory. He slumped to the ground immediately after the bell rung. Honestly, for what it was, that was a pretty good match.
WINNER: Grayson Waller at 16:05
-They showed Breakker in the locker room as he said he walks in as the champion yet the underdog since the other two have all the notoriety and accomplishments. He said he’s just a guy who busts his ass because he loves this business. He said he thinks about the pain and drive it takes to win the title and that’s what drives him.
-Kay Lee Ray made her entrance first for the second semi-final match in the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Io Shirai then made her entrance. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Usually, Last Man/Woman Standing matches involve a lot of standing around. However, this minimized those moments, which was good. I think this was one of the better LMS matches I’ve seen in recent years. I especially liked the creative use of Sanga at the end there by Waller. Waller continues to impress each time out, and now he may be set to be in the ladder match for Hayes’ North American Championship.)
-They returned with Tony D’Angelo in an Italian restaurant, his cousin Mikey’s, eating his usual. He said Mikey used to be a silent partner, and Mikey is going places, just like him. He said it’s about time that NXT runs on his watch. He said Stand & Deliver is where he reaches the top. It was basically a plug for the event with some Tony D mixed in, really.
(4) IO SHIRAI & KAY LEE RAY vs. KAYDEN CARTER & KACY CATANZARO – Semifinals of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
They showed Edris Enofe and Malik Blade as Rose’s new butlers, showing the other in pain on the ground. Ray and Carter began the match. Carter taunted after hitting one move, then ate a huge chop from Ray. She dodged another and slapped Ray in the chest. Ray hit an O’Conner Roll, but Carter rolled through and hit a kick for a two-count. Catanzaro tagged in and they hit some double team offense. She pointed at Shirai, saying she wanted a piece of her (no she doesn’t). She rolled Ray over to tag in Shirai.
Catanzaro hit a handspring head scissor, but Shirai landed on her feet. Catanzaro hit a rana pin, but Shirai kicked out and hit a la magistral, then Catanzaro with a victory roll. All four women entered the ring as the faces cleared the more experienced wrestlers. They both landed offense on the outside as they cut to break, showing Blade sitting on the couch, trying to get closer to Rose. [c]
They returned with Shirai in control of Carter, but Carter rolled away from an elbow and corner attack. Shirai then got hit with a tornado DDT, allowing Carter to make the tag. Catanzaro took out Ray, then turned to Shirai. She hit a flurry of (sloppy) strikes, hit a sunset facebuster for a two-count. Carter made the tag, then hit a back kick to Shirai. She then went with a wheelbarrow to her partner for a moonsault, but Shirai got the knees up. Shirai then set up and hit the Tiger Feint Kick to Carter. Shirai climbed and hit her big missile dropkick for a two-count.
Ray tagged in, but Carter tried taking out both of them. Catanzaro hit a boot to Shirai, but Ray hit her with a gourdbuster. Carter then hit a springboard lungblower it looked like for a two-count. All four women were laid out in the ring as the ref checked on them with the fans chanting. Carter and Ray, the legal women, got to their feet. Carter hit a running superkick, then tagged in Catanzaro for their finisher. However, Ray and Shirai forced Carter out of the ring and went for a double superplex. Carter came back and tossed out Shirai, then put Ray in the electric char. Catanzaro then hit a poisonrana off of the electric chair, but the pin was broken up by Shirai pushing Carter into the pin! That was a believable near fall.
Shirai then tossed Carter into the steel steps. Catanzaro then turned into a big superkick from Ray, who hit the KLR Bomb and tagged in Shirai for Over the Moonsault. Game, set, match. They face Choo and Kai in the finals.
WINNER: Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray at 11:16 (KLR Bomb and Over the Moonsault) to advance to the finals of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
-Suddenly, in the Toxic Lounge, Jade just attacked Rose. Blade and Enofe held them away from each other.
-In the back, Indi Hartwell was replaying their match from last week. Persia Pirotta walked in with Duke Hudson and Hartwell asked if Pirotta even cares that they lost. Hartwell said Hudson’s a creep and up to his old tricks. Pirotta said she carried the team, which irked Hartwell since she’s the former tag team partner. They argued over who’s better. Hudson tried getting in the middle of it, but Hartwell shut him down and challenged Pirotta to a match, basically. Pirotta pushed Hudson up against the lockers and they started making out.
-They showed MSK getting ready in the back for the main event tag team match, which is next. The show has a half hour left plus the eight-minute overrun, so with commercials, entrances, post-match, and actual matches, they have 38 minutes for two title matches. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: After a questionable first week, this week’s matches in the Dusty Classic have been good. That was a fun match, though I do think at this point, there should be more to Catanzaro than just doing flippy stuff with no setup. If there was even just a little setup rather than just jumping into moves, it would come across so much better. Her spots tonight also looked too choreographed, though I will say that poisonrana spot was fantastic and I thought they were actually going to put the underdogs over there. The finals present an interesting match as both are thrown together teams made pretty much just for the Classic. This is cool, but also a detriment to the women’s tag team depth in NXT.)
-They returned with Mitchell and Stratton in the back. Stratton cut her off and said she was trying to help Sarray with her wardrobe next week. She said next week, she’s going to break Sarray’s face.
-MSK was in the ring as they cut back to ringside. Imperium made their entrance next.
(5) IMPERIUM (c) (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs. MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Barthel and Carter began this title match that didn’t have formal ring introductions. The announcers said it was unfair for Imperium to have to wrestle an unscheduled opponent. Barthel and Carter traded offense, Carter using his speed to get the better. It seemed like there was some miscommunication, but Barthel recovered and hit a big uppercut. He then hit a few PKs to the back of Carter and locked in a modified clutch. Carter hit a jawbreaker to tag in Lee (the crowd booed because of course they did) as a flurry of double team offense led to a two-count.
Aichner tagged in and used his strength to bodyslam Lee into the ropes. Lee held his knee after the slam; Aichner went right to work on the knee. He wrenched on it and slammed his knee into it before pinning for a two-count. Lee slipped out of a bodyslam and hit a strike combo, then tagged in Carter. Carter hit a front chancery for Lee to hit a dropkick for a two-count. Aicher and arter then traded strikes, but Aichner caught a leg and hit a big clothesline.
Barthel tagged in and hit a seated modified cobra clutch. Carter rose to his feet and hit a pump knee, but Barthel held onto the hand. Carter was able to evade and tag in Lee, who took out Aichner on the apron before turning to Barthel. Lee hit a running forearm and enziguri in the corner, then a moonsault to a standing Barthel. Barthel rolled outside. Carter tagged in and hit a rolling senton from the apron. In the ring, Aichner hit a big pop-up tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Suddenly, The Creed Brothers hit ringside, still selling their injuries, and laid out all four men.
WINNER: No contest at 5:35
-They showed Draco Anthony lifting with Harland staring at him in the back. Anthony noticed and rose, but Joe Gacy said they came in peace. Gacy wanted Anthony to allow others into his life. Xyon Quinn then approached and said Anthony’s his own man and to live his own life. Gacy said he wants “Mr. Anthony” to live his own life and not a lie. Anthony thanked Quinn.
-Ziggler was pacing in the back as he said “old DZ” is about to screw it all up and to hit his music, “the good one.” His music hit as he made his entrance with the Raw lower third, always a nice touch. They cut to break with about 17 minutes before the top of the hour. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: And that match was an example of why the Full Sail crowd can be so damn annoying, self-serving, and contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. The DQ finish is fine IF we find out it was one of these two teams that attacked them. Presumably, since they weren’t unconscious, they saw who attacked them, so if they attacked two innocent teams, well, that’s messed up. I just hope they don’t assume we think it was Imperium as the triple threat match is scheduled and built.)
-They returned with a vignette for A-Kid, NXT UK star from Spain. He said he started ten years ago and no one knew who he was, but he signed with NT UK. They showed his highlights and him winning the first NXT UK Heritage Cup. He said he’s coming soon and he can’t wait to show his talents. He debuts next week.
-Jacket Time were in the back and Ikemen Jiro said he was excited in his over-the-top way. Kushida said he’s better than good. Jiro said he’s so excited, so it seems like it’s A-Kid vs. Kushida?
-Ziggler was in the ring as Joseph and Barrett were ringside hyping next week and Stand & Deliver. Ciampa’s new music hit, and yeah, even after another week, it just doesn’t hit like “NO ONE WILL SURVIVE!” Breakker then made his entrance. Samantha Irvin gave this match formal ring introductions form ringside and not in-ring, which did not happen for the previous match and in hindsight, with the run-in, it makes sense why.
(6) BRON BREAKKER (c) vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – Triple threat NXT Championship match
The bell rung with about about six-and-a-half minutes until the top of the hour. Ziggler feinted a kick, then rolled outside as Ciampa smiled. Ciampa acted like teaming, then popped Breakker in the mouth and rolled him up. Ziggler came back to break it up, but Breakker whipped him hard into the corner. Ciampa turned to Breakker and dodged a huge flying shoulder tackle. He then hit chops to Ziggler and Breakker.
Ziggler leaped into a spinebuster from Breakker, who then turned to Ciampa and floored him. Breakker then hit a double vertical suplex to both men where Ziggler rotated too quickly and landed well before the other two. Breakker then worked on Ciampa in the corner as Ziggler rolled outside. Brakker set for the Frankensteiner, but Ciampa slid out and threw Breakker outside. Ziggler came back and he and Ciampa countered finishers before Ziggler hit a jackknife cover for two.
Ziggler and Ciampa continued battling, Ciampa getting the better with a lariat and then a catapult that sent Ziggler into the corner as is customary. Ciampa then hit a tornillo over the top to Breakker, sat on the apron, and patted his back. He rolled both men into the ring for some reason, then hit running clotheslines to both men in different corners. He then went for a flying shoulder tackle, but Ziggler hit him with a dropkick mid-air. Breakker then laid him out with a lariat as all three men hit the mat. They cut to break. [c]
Ziggler was hitting the ten punches and then some in the corner to Ciampa as they returned. Ciampa then lifted him and dropped him with an atomic drop. Breakker caught Ziggler with an overhead belly-to-belly. He then just lifted and tossed Ciampa into the air, dropping his straps after for the Steiner Recliner. He locked it in, but Ziggler came in and locked in a sleeper on Breakker, who eventually broke his hold on Ciampa. Breakker then just fell backward onto Ciampa with Ziggler on his back. You could see Ciampa scooting into position.
The three men slowly rose to their knees, Ziggler and Breakker first trading punches before Ciampa joined them on their feet. It was just a triangle of punches until Ciampa gained control with punches to Ziggler and chops to Breakker that was stopped with a Breakker right hand. Ziggler then sent Breakker to the apron, dodged Ciampa who hit a pump knee to Breakker, then his a series of moves including the Fame-Asser and Zig Zag back-to-back for a two-count!
Ziggler set for Sweet Chin Music, tuning up the band in the corner, but Breakker cut him off. Ciampa hit a pump knee to Breakker, and Ziggler hit a big DDT to Breakker. I think Breakker missed a move as Ciampa hit Ziggler with something for a two-count. Ciampa went for Fairytale Ending, but this time Breakker hit the spear. Ziggler went for the Zig Zag, but Breakker shoved him off and hit a HUGE spear that flipped Ziggler over. He hit his Military Press Slam, but Robert Roode pulled the ref out. Breakker took out Roode, but got hit with Willow’s Bell and then Fairytale Ending. Ziggler shoved Ciampa away, but Breakker kicked out!
Ciampa sent out Ziggler, then went for the pump knee to Breakker. However, Roode pulled Breaker out so Ciampa missed. He turned into a superkick from Ziggler and your NEW NXT Champion.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler at 12:25 (superkick) to become the NEW NXT Champion
-Breakker was in disbelief after the match. Roode was celebrating like he won the title when the ref hit the three-count. Ziggler was upet immediately after the match because the title wasn’t in sight, but he eventually got it. The Dirty Dawgs are now both former and current NXT Champion.
(Hazelwood’s Take: I don’t mind watching triple threat matches, but I HATE covering them! There’s just so much to cover and on shows like 2.0 and Dynamite, the action is usually too damn fast to keep up! Look, the match was fun with lots of believable near falls. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting Roode to get involved as he has in past weeks, but what they’ve done with his interference lately has been perfectly timed in that it happens right when you’re least expecting. Well done there. It seems like they wanted to have the name value of someone like Ziggler to carry the title to Mania weekend with the appearances by Breakker and Ciampa on Raw to help draw viewers for after Mania season. I think I prefer Ziggler as champion more than Rose as champion because I think Rose has far less to offer as champion than Ziggler and I think there are more deserving women of being in her spot – I know, I know, my quote from earlier – and Ziggler’s act is also one that seems to work best in confined environments, so at this juncture, I’m optimistic for Ziggler’s first run as NXT Champion.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I do think NXT has hit a nice stride in the past four to six weeks, maybe just since Vengeance Day. Everything seems to have a purpose, building toward something, and even the random Stratton-Henley match was to continue Stratton vs. Sarray. I also can’t believe I’m saying this, but Jensen’s terrible acting was actually kind of endearing tonight; “I’m working on it!” is the line of the night. Next, with all of the focus on the Dusty Classic, it did leave Rose with no discerning challenger. Now, it seems like Jade is going after her because of what happened to Gonzalez. I’m not excited about the match, but when your best women are in the Dusty Classic, who’s left?
There’s still bad segments, of course. Legend and Lyons didn’t put forth a great segment, and I shudder to think of their eventual match. Hyping a Tag Team Championship match, one that was earned after winning the Dusty Classic no less, only to not have it for an attack and no contest angle is not ideal. I do think some of these backstage promos to hype the main event are a bit art school, but at least they’re trying.
Next week should be fun as the first qualifying matches for the ladder match begin, A-Kid debuts presumably against Kushida, and I think we’ll see the finals of the women’s Dusty Classic. I also would place money on Ziggler and Roode starting the show next week.