5/17 NXT 2.0 REPORT: Wells’s live report on Santos Escobar vs. Tony D’Angelo, Grimes & Sikoa vs. Hayes & Williams, Creed Brothers vs. Viking Raiders, more

by Kelly Wells, PWTorch Contributor



MAY 17, 2022

NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett

Tonight after the show, join me and Nate Lindberg to break down the show with calls and emails.

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•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-Recap of last week’s show, finishing with Cora Jade and Natalya’s embrace.


The heels entered first and Hayes said Sikoa needs to shut up because he doesn’t have next, he’s got last. The CWC fans, in a rare and disappointing turn of events, picked up the “What?” chant. Sikoa and Grimes, in that order, got separate entrances.

The heels attempted to rush the faces, only to run into superkicks at the bell. Sikoa and Williams were legal to open. Sikoa stomped Williams and kicked him in the chest when he tried to get up. Body slam followed by another kick to the chest. Sikoa took Williams to the face corner for a tag. They took turns with some corner kicks and Grimes hit a PK and covered for two. Grimes worked a brief chinlock, then sent Williams for a rope run. Blind tag by Hayes, who used both the rope and Williams for a springboard cross-body for two. Tags to Sikoa and Williams. Sikoa dominated Williams in a corner and hit a running hip attack. Sikoa cleared an interfering Hayes, but Hayes got a kick in and Williams took over, then posed as the match went to split-screen. [c]

Hayes worked a chinlock on Sikoa with some torque. He grounded Sikoa, then battered him to the heel corner. Sikoa dumped Hayes, who landed on his feet, tripped Sikoa, then flew in for a springboard splash. Williams tagged in and missed a corner splash. Grimes made the hot tag and dominated both heels, hitting his dual rana, then a PK on the outside. High cross-body for Hayes. Grimes made his “To the moon” taunt in his corner, and Sikoa tagged himself in, to the mild annoyance of Grimes. The heels briefly got the better of Sikoa, but Sikoa beat them back. Sikoa set up a frog splash on Hayes. Trick tried to interfere and Grimes took him out with the Cave In. Sikoa finished Hayes with the Frog Splash. Handshake in the ring. Sikoa briefly held the North American Championship belt before handing it over to Grimes, who held it high.

WINNERS: Grimes & Sikoa at 9:57.

(Wells’s Analysis: Decent building block to the next two challengers – Grimes will defend against Hayes first, but Sikoa gets the next match no matter who comes out the winner. Clearly, they’re not hiding that Grimes will win and face Sikoa, barring a big swerve. Fun, spirited match with good character work and setup for the future bouts)

-McKenzie Mitchell talked to tag team champions Pretty Deadly, who briefly pretended to be afraid of the Creed Brothers before laughing and mocking the Creeds. They said they were two tasty snacks and one meal deal. They also got in a little mockery of the Viking Raiders on their way out of the frame. [c]

-Thea Hail interview. She said the NXT tryout was the hardest thing she’s ever done. She said she was pretty sure she was the youngest one there. She said she was looking forward to her NXT career, but there’s one thing she has to do first: graduate high school. She said watch out, NXT: Here I come! She hit the last words with so much forced energy I couldn’t stifle a laugh, but she does have some good energy and I can see what they see in her potential.

(2) TATUM PAXLEY vs. LASH LEGEND – Women’s Breakout Tournament quarterfinal match

Lash flew in with a strike for an early two. Paxley showed off her power and tried to lift Legend on her shoulders, but didn’t succeed this time. Dueling chant was about 60% Paxley. Paxley tried a rollup but Legend cut it off with some kicks to Paxley’s thigh. Legend jawed with some front-row fans in between some more strikes. Legend worked Paxley’s leg around her own head, and Paxley wriggled free and got a brief hope spot before Legend took over. Paxley got back into it with a suplex, then hit a standing Phoenix Splash? Sorta? for two. Impressive movement, but the impact really isn’t there. Legend hit a pump kick out of relative nowhere to finish.

WINNER: Lash Legend at 3:50.

(Wells’s Analysis: This tournament’s booking is so baffling, with the tournament being used to help stars that have already broken out break out further. Roxanne Perez likely has a shot in the semis against Legend, but they could just be going for a third Legend-Lyons match and squandering the tournament to get there)

-Tony D’Angelo, Stacks and Dimes cut a brief promo on Santos Escobar. Basic heel work to add something to tonight’s likely main event.

-Special Olympics segment. [c]

-Clash at the Castle was briefly hyped by the announcers. I’m far from the first to say this, but I absolutely love the poster for the event.

-NXT Live Event hype. It was all localized in the southeast, but at least they’re on the road again.

-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Duke Hudson, who once again had the task of referencing his recent changes and struggles without the luxury of actually naming Persia Pirotta. Bron Breakker disrespectfully walked through the frame and Hudson asked what he was doing. Breakker just said “hit my music,” then kept walking. He then exited to the ramp, suggesting that Mitchell has for some reason chosen the Gorilla Position, literally the worst possible place for privacy, for her interviews.

-Bron Breakker entered the ring and cut a promo on Joe Gacy. He said Gacy should’ve finished the job out in the field, because now he wasn’t just coming to beating him, he was coming to “put you unconscious.” That sounds like a Steinerism. Joe Gacy showed up on the perch with his two druids, now in crimson robes. Breakker begged him to come down, and Gacy called out Breakker’s temper. He said he could see the fire in Breakker’s eyes and said their journey together wasn’t over. He said Breakker turned down the opportunity of a lifetime when he wouldn’t join Gacy, but he wasn’t a petty man. He said he’d give the fans what they want – a one-on-one. He called out all the things he’d done to Breakker and said he should be angry and he should lose control, but he’d better be careful – if he gets disqualified at In Your House, he’ll lose his championship. He asked Breakker how bad he wants it. Bron said “You’re on.”

(Wells’s Analysis: Again, a match for In Your House was announced casually by a wrestler. Decent segment and a genuinely interesting development for their match that adds a lot of doubt on who will come out with the belt)

-Indi Hartwell got a backstage hype segment. She’s on her own for the first time. No tag partner, no life partner. She said she was calling her shot at Mandy Rose. She said Rose kicked her when she was down, but it’ll be different when she tries to kick her when they’re standing face to face. Good fire from Hartwell. [c]

-McKenzie talked to Wes Lee, who said Xyon Quinn was ducking him. He said when Quinn is ready, he’ll be easy to find. Nathan Frazer walked into frame and said he had issues with Quinn too. Lee said now wasn’t the time, because he has pent up aggression and wouldn’t want to take it out on Frazer. Frazer said in that case, he looks forward to the challenge.

(3) THE CREED BROTHERS (Julius & Brutus) (w/Roderick Strong & Damon Kemp) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)

Julius hopped over Ivar and kicked him back to open. Tag to Brutus, and the Creeds teamed up to block Ivar from the ring. Ivar regrouped with Erik and made the tag. Dueling chant was 80% Creeds at first but evened out quite a bit as this was clearly part of the Loudest Fan contest. Erik hit a hard forearm on a running Julius and the Raiders hit a tandem block. Quick pair of tags by the Raiders. Erik covered after a hard Ivar lariat on Julius and got two. Julius got over for the tag and Brutus got in some forearms and then did some brutal ground and pound. Deadlift German for Erik. Ivar tried to interfere and Brutus deadlifted him to the top buckle. Wow. Julius hit a dropkick to send Ivar to the floor. The Raiders tried to regroup on the floor, but Brutus hit a Brutus Bomb (cherry bomb) to both of them heading into commercial. Brutus in actuality only nicked the Raiders and seemingly took a harder fall to the floor than intended. [c]


Julius had Erik down in a double wristlock. Erik looked for the tag, but Julius whipped him to the Creed corner and made the tag. Gut wrench by Brutus for two. Brutus put some knees to Erik in the corner, and the Creeds made two quick tags, intending a brief double-team, but Erik fought both of them off. Erik made the hot tag to Ivar, which didn’t totally work as the crowd is largely pro-Creed (which shouldn’t be a surprise after the program’s response so far). Corner press by Ivar got two. Both guys tagged and the Creeds teamed up for a slam and Brutus got two. The Raiders took over again and Ivar hit a powerslam from the second rope. Brutus broke it up at the last moment. Julius made the blind tag and hit some suplexes on Erik. Ivar flew in for a frog splash, which missed. Julius rolled him up for the near-fall, broken up by Erik. “NXT” chant. All four sold on the mat.

All four fought to their feet and, after a moment, threw forearms. Roderick Strong and Damon Kemp tried to charge in for an assist and Julius chucked him from the ring and said they don’t need him. Naturally, the Raiders used the distraction to hit their finisher.

WINNERS: The Viking Raiders at 12:46.

(Wells’s Analysis: If you aren’t new to wrestling and have seen the storyline to this point, there was literally no doubt how this was going to go, but it was an extremely fun power tag match while it lasted. I’m thinking Creeds vs. Strong/Kemp could happen as soon as In Your House)

-Legado del Fantasma cut a promo like Tony D earlier. Escobar said the fellas can help, and they know exactly what they need to do.

-Tiffany Stratton and Grayson Waller met by some lockers. Stratton asked Waller to take care of the Chase U situation, because it’s getting really annoying. Waller said he’d do it, so be watching. Stratton gave him a subtle look up and down as he exited frame. Their dynamic is perfect. [c]

-Moments ago, cameras caught up with Bron Breakker in the parking lot and an unseen interviewer asked him about Joe Gacy. He got in a few brief words and Duke Hudson walked up and said “It doesn’t feel good to be interrupted, does it?” Breakker said they should take it to the ring. Hudson said it sounds great, but even better if it’s next week.

(4) ANDRE CHASE (w/Bodhi Hayward) vs. GRAYSON WALLER

Sarray stood in the usual cheering section as Chase U’s flagbearer. Waller attacked quickly at the bell and got in some elbows in the corner. Rope run ended with a Chase slam. Chase threw some rights and Waller put the boots to him in the corner. A corner graphic promoted Wes Lee vs. Nathan Frazer for later tonight; they could’ve dragged that out a week or two, but I guess that’s not the plan. Waller hit a thrust kick on a running Chase and took a look at the Chase U contingent.

A couple of standing switches and reversals led to some Chase ax-handles and an inverted atomic drop. Russian leg sweep by Chase. Chase did his “Chase U” call-and-response stomps. Waller charged Chase, who dumped Waller to the outside where he landed on Bodhi Hayward. Chase checked on him, but Hayward told him to ignore him and focus on the match. Chase reentered and walked into Waller’s stunner.

WINNER: Grayson Waller at 4:13.

(Wells’s Analysis: This is about as much time as I expect a Chase match to go before his inevitable loss)

-Toxic Attraction had a little meeting in their posh lounge. They mocked Wendy Choo and her quest for titles. Gigi Dolin said their needed to be more respect on the name of Toxic Attraction. Mandy Rose added that it all starts with Indi Hartwell. [c]

-Roderick Strong tried to smooth it over with the Creeds. They weren’t having it. Strong said they should be thanking him for getting a championship match. The Creeds left and Strong sent Damon Kemp after them. Pretty Deadly showed up to mock Strong, who challenged them to a match next week vs. he and Kemp. Pretty Deadly vaguely accepted.

(5) ROXANNE PEREZ vs. KIANA JAMES – Women’s Breakout Tournament quarterfinal match

James got an inset promo that laid on her “genius” gimmick pretty thick; her mic work didn’t suggest it’s overly rooted in reality, but maybe she’s just underconfident. Perez evaded a few early shots, then hip-tossed James all over the ring and hit a pair of dropkicks for a one count. James took over in a corner after Perez missed a shot and she hit a backbreaker. One count. Bow and arrow by James on the limber Perez, who popped out and got a quick cover for one. James took over in the corner again, and used a forearm to put Perez on the mat. She tried a Boston crab but Perez spun out of it. James got it on the second try. Perez couldn’t reach the rope, so she reversed instead for a pair of near-falls. James caught Perez with a neckbreaker after spinning her around her body and got two. Roxy spun around James again and hit a rana. Perez hit a couple of ax-handles, then a Russian leg sweep for two. James hit a sidewalk slam for two. James charged Perez in the corner, and Perez floated over her and hit Pop Rocks (Pop Rox?) to finish.

WINNER: Roxanne Perez at 5:15

(Wells’s Analysis: Very nice little match here – by far James’s best of what little I’ve seen. Another foregone conclusion in the first round, though it would have been pretty disappointing if Roxy went out this early. Impressive step forward for James, and Perez is finding greater speed, and the quality of the work is getting even better as a result)

-Edris Enofe and Malik Blade played dress-up in the back, pretending to be Santos Escobar and Tony D’Angelo. Stacks and Two Dimes, who may have lost the rest of their names if the chyron is to be believed, walked in and challenged them to a match next week.

-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Roxanne Perez, and Cora Jade flew in and apologized for the interruption, as if McKenzie ever gets through anything without being interrupted. Perez and Jade celebrated the win and Perez told Mitchell they’d known each other for some time, and Jade brought her here. Elektra Lopez swooped in and made some threats, sounding ever so slightly more comfortable on the mic.


Quick reversals to start. Headlock by Frazer, reversed to one by Lee. Loudest Fan contest is back to remove natural reactions again. Quick armdrags by both. Missed kicks by both. Reset. Frazer stood in the corner as Lee stared in. Lee dumped Frazer to the outside and hit a plancha. Lee rolled Frazer back in but sold a rib issue, and Frazer charged and hit a tope suicida. Frazer tried a springboard but Lee hit a dropkick, then hit a German with a bridge for two. Lee missed a charge and hit a back elbow. He went up and Frazer hit an enzuigiri and followed Lee up. He tried a superplex, but Lee changed momentum to land on Frazer in what was a controlled spot that looked like a scary potential botch for a second. Frazer missed a shot from the top and both guys ran the ropes and landed in a heap after stereo cross-bodies. “This is awesome” chant was stopped dead when Von Wagner charged the ring and booted Frazer, then beat down Lee and threw him outside to the announce table. “Holy shit” chant. Mr. Stone pumped up Wagner to boos. On the replay, Vic spotted Sofia Cromwell as well.

NO CONTEST at 4:21.

(Wells’s Analysis: Apparently I was correct in thinking it was a little early to toss this match out there for someone to lose. Acceptable non-match as it continues to build Wagner as a self-centered and dismissive brute. Good action while it lasted; I’m not sure if there will be a reason to revisit it in storyline, but I’ll look forward to it if it happens)

-Back in the kitchen area, Wes Lee ran into Sanga. A misunderstanding and the hot head of Lee turned it into a future match.


Both guys entered without their factions. D got in a kick early to some boos from the largely pro-Legado crowd. Escobar grounded D with a waistlock, and D’Angelo reached a rope to break. Escobar showed off some footwork and the Loudest Fan contest struck again. Rope run and a back elbow by D, who mounted Escobar for some forearms to boos. Corner graphic promoted Alba Fyre vs. Elektra Lopez next week. Very strange as those are usually reserved for matches that were somehow promoted on the current week. D’Angelo bailed after an Escobar dropkick, and Escobar tried a tope but D saw it coming and threw a forearm, draping Escobar over the rope as the match went to split-screen. [c]

D’Angelo dominated to boos. He booted and kneed Escobar around as he tried to get to his feet. Punches in the ropes to boos. Escobar came back with a dropkick and a back kick. D bailed and this time, Escobar hit the tope. He rolled D into the ring and floated in for a springboard senton. Escobar leaned on D’Angelo in a corner with a boot, then wrenched his arm and took him to the mat again. A crawler promoted NXT Live tickets. Escobar took down D’Angelo for two. D’Angelo finally got back into it with some rights, then hit a belly-to-belly, then another out of the opposite corner. “You still suck” chant. D’Angelo tried to set up his finisher and Escobar went to the outside. The two fought across a rope and then ended up top together, where Escobar hit a super rana. Audio, which has been spotty, cut out for a good while during a “Holy shit” chant. Is there a new censor at USA who doesn’t know the deal?

On the ramp, Escobar’s goons showed up, followed by D’Angelo’s. The four brawled, and in the chaos, the ref missed a brass knuckle shot by Escobar, who covered for the win. Vic said Escobar was inspired by his idol who also used to “lie, cheat and steal.”

WINNER: Santos Escobar at 12:49.

(Wells’s Analysis: I hate to say it, but once again, D’Angelo gives an opponent one of their most boring matches ever. D’Angelo’s pacing would work for me if there was a lot of character work or psychology, but there isn’t – it’s just plodding. Furthermore, Escobar continues to tread water in NXT when I think he could be a pretty immediate boon to the main roster if he and Legado showed up there immediately.)

-Joe Gacy talked to the camera with his druids flanking him. He spoke directly to Bron Breakker and said he’d take over the brand and the world. The camera, a drone, panned out and then up to reveal them atop a high-rise building. It was less of a cool visual and more of a baffling choice when it would be so much more fitting to have them in a dark basement or something. Oh well.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It was a no-frills show, but quietly, I thought it was a pretty strong episode of NXT overall at a time when any good news is welcome. Many of the matches were best case scenario, stories moved forward in interesting ways or at least necessary ways, and the talk segments seemed to suggest a lot of work being done in that arena. I don’t know how realistic it is for NXT to regain some lost fans or at least stop the bleeding as it was pretty rough for quite a while, but this was a step in the right direction. Check out PWT Talks NXT tonight or stream upon upload. Cheers.

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