3/29 NXT ON USA REPORT: Wells’s Report on Grimes vs. A-Kid vs. Strong, MSK & LA Knight vs. Imperium, Briggs & Jensen vs. Legado del Fantasma, more

by Kelly Wells, PWTorch Contributor

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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

NXT ON USA
MARCH 29, 2022, 8PM EST
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentary: Vic Joseph & Wade Barrett


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[HOUR ONE]

(1) MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) & LA Knight vs. IMPERIUM (Gunther & Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)

Getting stuck in traffic behind an accident made me miss most of the segment before the split-screen break, which occurred, as usual, at eight past the break with the heels starting to take over. [c]

Aichner and Lee worked in a neutral corner, and Lee got a boot up to create separation. LA Knight made the hot tag and destroyed Aichner, as well as Barthel, who tagged in also. Knight hit an elbow drop and covered, and Aichner broke it up. Carter tagged in and got booed, which he’ll likely have to get used to after the allegations from Kimber Lee. Knight and Gunther fought to the back, seemingly written out of the match. Bonzo gonzo in the ring for a moment, and in the end, Aichner turned Carter inside out with a lariat and covered for the three.

Julius & Brutus Creed showed up on the top of the ramp to jaw with the champs ahead of the triple threat match this Saturday.

WINNERS: Imperium in about 12 minutes.

(Wells’s Analysis: What I saw was spirited action, with the Carter business perhaps casting a pall over things, especially in the case that MSK is revealed as the Creed attackers after all.)

-Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray cut a promo ahead of their fatal 4-way match for the championship this Saturday. They were on the same page, but of course it devolved into some awkward jawing at the end. KLR said “Good luck” in Japanese, after which Shirai said “May the best woman win” in English. [c]

-Dakota Kai searched for Wendy Choo backstage, and happened upon her pillow, which had been torn, as well as her plush sleeping buddies. She was concerned.

-Earlier today, Tatum Paxley tried to help Ivy Nile with something, looking for a spot in Diamond Mine. Nile said in Diamond Mine, they kick ass, and don’t kiss ass. She sent Paxley off.

(2) IVY NILE vs. TIFFANY STRATTON

The announcers recapped Stratton’s feud with Sarray. “Ivy” chant. Nile took down Stratton early, but Stratton flipped her way up and out of an arm wringer, then splashed Nile for two. Hard lariat by Nile after she blocked a Stratton hip toss. Rope run and a hip attack by Stratton. The two exchanged awkward rollups and kickouts. Headlock takeover by Stratton, who transitioned to a Million Dollar Dream. Nile fought it off and Stratton slammed her down head-first. Nile shrugged it off and threw kicks, then a back elbow in the corner. Running thrust kick by Nile. Nile worked a submission briefly and both women were temporarily distracted by something to their right (a producer? A planned interference?). Action spilled outside and then back in; Sarray showed up on the apron to distract Stratton, and Nile snapped on a submission.

WINNER: Ivy Nile at 3:29. [c]

(Wells’s Analysis: Not sure if Sarray was a touch later than expected or what. Decent building blocks here, but it wasn’t a particularly smooth match, so both will benefit from having more matches with established workers)

-Tommaso Ciampa conducted a sit-down promo. He said this has been a long journey with high highs and low lows. He said no matter how public or private things are, the fans were his constant. He said together, we created black and gold magic. He said he hears that Stand & Deliver might be the end of an era. He said Saturday, he’ll make magic one final time. He folded up his chair and set it up against the wall. It said “9/9/15-4/2/22.”

-Vic & Wade threw to a video package promoting NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler. It transitioned to Ziggler giving a promo from a car, dressing down Bron Breakker, who he says won the NXT Championship too early. He said he flies to NXT after Raw every week to make it relevant. He said if he had the support system NXT kids have now, he never would have been a caddy or Spirit Squad Nicky. He said he’s bitter and he wouldn’t have it any other way. A good promo to add sizzle to what still feels like a surreal championship match.

-Cora Jade vignette. She’s dreamed of this for years and she’s finally at the door. She ran down some of the greats to hold the championship, and then said Mandy Rose isn’t doing the same. She said her climb got a lot harder because now she’s dealing with Kay Lee Ray & Io Shirai. She said the odds are against her, but math was never really her thing. She says the odds being against her will make it all the sweeter when she becomes champion. A decent promo; at least in the backstage setting, Jade is making baby steps on the mic.

(2) JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN (w/Fallon Henley) vs. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA (Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde) (w/Elektra Lopez)

Jensen worked some power stuff on Wilde early. Gorilla press slam. Briggs tagged in for a tandem slam. Wilde hit a jawbreaker and tagged Mendoza. Rope run and some reversals. Mendoza threw a kick. More reversals and Briggs caught Mendoza in a brief bear hug and made the tag. Jensen and Briggs teamed up for a move from the outside, and Lopez slinked around, trying to mess with Jensen. Jensen got laid out on the outside, and Wilde tagged in and held on between the second and top buckle and laid out his body flat, then splashed Jensen on the floor in an impressive show of core strength. A couple of quick tags by the heels kept them on top.

Briggs slammed Wilde and made the tag. Briggs controlled and hit a backbreaker on Wilde and covered for two, broken p by Mendoza. Lopez distracted Briggs and Wilde went up to the top, but got distracted as Fallon Henley attacked Lopez on the outside. Wilde ended up hitting a 450, but Briggs got an arm up into a choke. Chokeslam, tag, High-Low finisher.

WINNERS: Briggs & Jensen at 5:36.

(Wells’s Analysis: Of note, the NXT crowd is starting to warm up a little to Briggs & Jensen. Competent tag work, and I think Briggs and Jensen are ready for matches a bit longer than this when warranted.)

-Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta had another war of words about which was in the better relationship. [c]

-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Cameron Grimes ahead of the last chance triple threat. Grimes reiterated that he has to do this for his father.

[HOUR TWO]

-Toxic Attraction entered the ring to the usual mixed reaction, leaning heel outside of a few loud men. Mandy Rose said Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray twisted her words and snuck their way into the match this Saturday. Some heel heat was piped in but it looked like very few people were reacting period. She said before she creates history Saturday, she has Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo tonight. She said Wendy Choo “apologized” for not getting the job done. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne dumped a bag full of Wendy Choo’s belongings, revealing their part in the Choo attack earlier. Jayne said she and Dolin run the tag division, and they’ll retain and watch Mandy Rose beat three damn bimbos at the same damn time. Rose said she’s not just Toxic Attraction, she’s the main attraction.

Dakota Kai charged the ring and attacked. She got a brief upper hand but numbers took over. Raquel Gonzalez also charged into the ring and cleared it with Kai. Kai made an attempt to back up into Gonzalez, who was supposed to do the same. Gonzalez fully turned her head and looked while she walked backward into Kai, then acted surprised when they backed into each other. Good lord. Afterward, the two had a brief awkward moment, but Kai jumped into a hug and the audience applauded the reunion. Kai and Gonzalez held up one of the Women’s tag belts and Toxic Attraction lost their minds.

-Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams got to talk to McKenzie Mitchell for about five seconds before Grayson Waller showed up with Sanga. Waller intimated that Williams and Hayes had small genitals. Ehhhh. [c]

(4) BODHI HAYWARD (w/Andre Chase) vs. VON WAGNER (w/Robert Stone)

Vic introduced the Japanese Announce Table (Jacket Time). Action spilled outside immediately and Hayward backed Wagner into the steps. Back inside where Hayward charged into a Wagner boot. Jacket Time got distracted by an attractive PC plant (Sofia Cromwell) on the outside. Wagner continued to control until Hayward got into it with a body block and float-overfor two. Wagner hit a fallaway slam and put the boots to Hayward. Wagner yanked Hayward’s braid until the ref broke it up. The crowd is pretty into Hayward, by the way. Block by Hayward, who fired up and tried a powerslam. Wagner wriggled free and hit his finisher.

WINNER: Von Wagner at 3:41.

After the match, Wagner walked over to Jacket Time and laid them out. He took Ikemen Jiro into the ring, hit his finisher on him as well, then ripped his jacket in half to big heat. On his way out, he and Robert Stone made eye contact with Sofia Cromwell again. Stone’s face was thoughtful.

(Wells’s Analysis: I still don’t love Jacket Time being used as punching bags to prop up monsters with questionable upside, but on the other hand, there aren’t a ton of other likable punching bags on hand)

-Tony D’Angelo got a brief vignette where he cut down Tommaso Ciampa ahead of their match Saturday. [c]

-The announcers ran through Triple H’s retirement from wrestling.

-Nikkita Lyons sparred in the back. She wasn’t wrestling or cutting a promo, so it wasn’t actively bad.

(5) DRACO ANTHONY vs. JOE GACY (w/Harland)

Anthony struck early and often. He threw Gacy to a corner and distracted himself with Harland, then turned around and freaked out as Gacy was doing an upside-down taunt in the corner, not even trying to hide the Bray Wyatt-ness of the act. Outside, a PC trainee (Quincy Elliott) made interested eyes at Harland from behind. Gacy hit a belly-to-belly for two. Anthony got back into it with a brief flurry but Gacy hit his finisher.

WINNER: Joe Gacy at 3:56. [c]

(Wells’s Analysis: The announcers put over the story of Gacy and Harland trying to recruit Anthony, but it wasn’t part of the match or mentioned again, as the match ended and it just went to commercial. So I guess that’s it for that particular story?)

-Bron Breakker vignette. He delivered most of his lines with his inside voice, which was a genuine delight. He said NXT was his life, while to Dolph it’s just a diversion. He promised Dolph Ziggler wouldn’t leave Texas with the NXT Championship. He said the culture of the place means too much to him to let Dolph walk around with the championship. He said he’d take back the brand for everyone who chants “NXT.” He can’t sell a match like Dolph Ziggler can yet, but this was another nice segment for Breakker.

-The announcers ran down the Stand & Deliver card.

(6) NIKKITA LYONS vs. SLOANE JACOBS

Nikkita sang along to her theme music, which is done by her, which was less charming than it probably seems on paper. Slam by Lyons. Thrust kick by Lyons for two. Fireman’s carry, escape, and Jacobs threw some kicks. Lyons blocked a punch and threw one of her own. Belly-to-belly suplex and a Samoan Drop by Lyons. Combo kicks by Lyons and she hit her finisher, dropping the splits on Jacobs, which is athletically impressive but doesn’t look like it creates a ton of impact.

WINNER: Nikkita Lyons at 1:45.

Lash Legend showed up on the tron and said after Stand & Deliver, they have unfinished business to take care of. She heeled on Lyons with a growing amount of fire.

(Wells’s Analysis: Lyons still has a long way to go. The finisher is a cool idea, but it just doesn’t look like it hurts, so maybe there’s a way to tweak it?)

-Malcolm Bivens cut a promo ahead of Roderick Strong’s main event match. Most of Diamond Mine walked off, but the Creeds stayed behind as Brutus got a text (with a comically loud notification chime). He told Julius that someone from a 781 area code texted him “Good luck on Saturday…we’ll be watching.” He fired up, saying it was the guys who attacked them. Julius tried to calm him down. I’ll let people Google 781 area code for themselves if they want, just in case it ends up acting as a spoiler. [c]

(7) CAMERON GRIMES vs. A-KID vs. RODERICK STRONG – Last chance triple threat match to qualify for the North American Championship ladder match

The match started at just seven to the hour, which is pretty late even by the standards set by the slightly shorter main events in the 2.0 era. Early reversals, then some character work and taunts. A-Kid threw some dropkicks and Strong took over with some stomps and a chop for Kid. Grimes monkey flipped Kid, who ran into Strong and hit a rana on him, earning some appreciative “ooooohhhs.” Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams joined the announcers. The match went to split-screen. [c]

Back to action, Kid hit a frog splash on both guys. Santos Escobar and Solo Sikoa were watching from afar, and Grayson Waller and Sanga showed up to do the same. Hayes said he’d like to see A-Kid win, but he was worried he’d be in trouble for beating up a minor. Grimes took over in the ring. He hit a high cross-body on Strong, then a side slam on Kid for two, broken up by Strong.

[OVERRUN]

Grimes caught a flying A-Kid, but Kid hit a big DDT. All three sold on the mat. Strong got his shine next, throwing knees and backbreakers. He caught a flying Kid and slammed him on Grimes, who cleared out. Kid kipped up into a rising knee by Strong, who then hit an impact shot on him but was struck by Grimes, who flew in with Cave In to win.

WINNER: Cameron Grimes at 10:56.

Hayes and Williams went up to the apron and cut down Grimes, and Escobar interrupted and said he was taking the championship back to the familia. Waller said family didn’t matter and he would make his win go viral. Solo Sikoa told him to shut his ass up because this was going to be a fight. Grimes said he was taking the North American Championship to…the…moon. Everyone brawled as the show ended.

(Wells’s Analysis: Some really cool, innovative moments in what was essentially a spotfest, and unfortunately four minutes of it were minimized in split-screen. The field for the ladder match is strong and should allow for the younger guys to get some big moments even if Cameron Grimes is likely walking out the champion.)


FINAL THOUGHTS: A pretty decent go-home show ahead of the brutal start time that guarantees I’ll miss the show live as I’m never available Saturday. The card has had a very strong build but has still left some room for development from younger faces to get their reps in on TV as well. I’ll talk it out with Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg on PWT Talks NXT; check it out live or stream tomorrow. Cheers.

 

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