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NXT 2.0 TV REPORT
JULY 19, 2022
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT THE CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett
Ring Announcer: Alicia Taylor
Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell
Tonight after the show, join the PWT Talks NXT self-proclaimed “gang of idiots” (including me) to break down the show with calls and emails.
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-The show began with a video recap of Roxanne Perez’s rise in NXT – alongside Cora Jade – and them winning the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship. They showed Perez being attacked last week with Jade next to her and pointing the finger at Toxic Attraction, Perez making the match to Jade’s shock, then turning on her partner with whom she still holds a championship. They expertly didn’t show the skateboard breaking early.
-Cameron Grimes made his entrance for this show-opening match against the (re)debuting J.D. McDonagh. McDonagh made his entrance after.
(1) CAMERON GRIMES vs. J.D. MCDONAGH – Singles match
McDonagh went to pick the leg, but Grimes kept him off with good balance. Grimes got caught with an inside leg kick, but then hit a chest kick to McDonagh. Grimes went for a Cave In, but McDonagh held onto the ropes, so Grimes hit another chest kick. Grimes put his foe in a corner and hit a big kick. Grimes hit a few forearms and hit a strong whip into a corner, flooring McDonagh for a two-count. McDonagh fought back with some leg kicks to the hamstring, but Grimes hit a few forearms and a big backbody drop. Grimes kicked McDonagh in the face to break an ankle pick, then booted McDonagh off of the apron. He tossed his opponent back inside, but McDonagh rolled to the apron. He used both of his legs to do a double leg pick of Grimes, then a corkscrew spalsh over the rope. McDonagh locked in a single crab and held on into an ankle lock. Grimes managed to kick off McDonagh, then climbed to the top. He hit a big crossbody. They then showed Joe Gacy looking along from the upper concourse. [c]
Grimes was fighting out of a rear chinlock as they returned, Gacy still looking on. Grimes hit a big running kick, but McDonagh was able to drag Grimes to the corner and slam his left knee into the ring post. McDonagh reveled in his tactic as a fan at ringside rose to his feet to tell McDonagh that was BS. McDonagh reentered and hit a chop block, then kept attacking the knee. H locked in another single leg crab. A graphic warned us that Jade will “explain her actions” later tonight. Grimes fought out of the submission and hit a series of running forearms, then his swinging uranage sideslam. He immediately grabbed his left knee.
McDonagh crawled to the apron, but Grimes grabbed him. McDonagh kicked the knee to create space, but ate a forearm. He went for the pick again, but Grimes hit an enziguri. A slap combo later, Grimes hit a big superkick after sending McDonagh off of the ropes. McDonagh grabbed the leg, then hit a big headbutt. He rushed for another single leg, but Grimes hit a lifting knee instead. Both men were floored. McDonagh once again crawled to the apron and outside. Grimes followed, but McDonagh reentered the ring. Grimes then got his left leg caught between the bottom two ropes as McDonagh kicked the ropes into Grimes’ leg. After kicking them several times, he hit his finisher for the victory.
WINNER: J.D. McDonagh at 13:26 (Devlin’s Slide)
-Vic Joseph hyped the women’s battle royal, then kicked to a Nikkita Lyons promo. She said 19 other women stand in her way (she has a lion-themed lower third, by the way). The rest of the promo wasn’t great, too forced, and she ended it with a kick.
-Joseph hyped Jade explaining her actions after the break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: A great match as expected. It seems like Kelly Wells is right in that this is probably, finally, Grimes’ last feud in NXT. He’ll most likely put over McDonagh more definitively come SummerSlam time, then move to either Monday or Friday nights. McDonagh is a fine wrestler, undoubtedly, but he also has issues outside of the ring that make him more difficult to accept by some fans. However, as we’ve seen with WWE and wrestlers like Riddle, if they see something in you, they’ll push right on through the issues…kind of like Vince McMahon the past few weeks.)
-They returned with a Tiffany Stratton promo. She said she found it “offensive” she has to be in the battle royal since she’s the most deserving and if you can’t see that, she said it must be a pitiful existence being blind everything around you. Oof. That last little bit could have probably been left out.
-Jade made her entrance to boos. As one does when they turn heel, Jade was wearing all black. She still held her Tag Team Championship over her shoulder. She said people need to shut the hell up if they want to hear what she has to say. She said she should have stabbed her friend in the back sooner. She said she’s been the face of the show the past year, then said the fans appointed her the next superstar. She said she got Perez in the door and from day one, the attention of the fans goes from her to Perez. Jade said after how many failed attempts, she finally found the right partner and became champion with her best friend. She said they were on cloud nine, right? No, because not even 30 minutes later, Perez cashed in her contract for a match against Rose. Jade (who now has a broken skateboard as part of her Tron graphics) said she wanted to make their championship important, but when Perez declared for her match, she knew Perez wasn’t a real friend and that Perez is a selfish bitch for using her to get to NXT. “It’s the truth.”
She said Perez was so into her delusional world last week, she didn’t see that it was her who attacked Perez in the parking lot. Jade said the plan was going so well to beat Rose until Perez came through to “ruin my moment.” She said it felt so damn good to hit her in the back with that title. Jade added that Perez looked like a little puppy dog. Jade said Perez isn’t cleared to compete tonight due to “a broken heart,” and there’s no one else left to stand in her way to go after the Women’s Championship. She walked outside the ring and said the Tag Team Championship represents a lie and it doesn’t mean anything to her. She said this means the end of the naive Jade and the start of the real era of Jade. She dropped the title into the trashcan as Wade Barrett exclaimed that’s the most disrespectful thing he’s seen in 25 year. Quick, when did Medusa drop the title on Nitro?!
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Xyon Quinn, who said it was a “me” business. He almost looked orgasmic talking about his interference last week, then said next week it’s him against Apollo Crews. He said it will be the biggest victory of his career and while he doesn’t care for Crews, the man is impressive. He said Crews couldn’t cut it in the big leagues, but that’s OK because not everyone has the x-factor like him.
-Diamond Mine’s music hit as Roderick Strong made his way for a match. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: If Jade’s delivery was better, that would have been a great promo. Instead, it was good. It at least gave us her reasoning that, from my perspective, I can at least see it making complete sense to her. I’m still not quite sold on Jade as a heel, but I’m more interested in her now than I ever was with her as a heel. Perez HAS to come back with an edge after this. She can’t be the same bubbly, overly optimistic woman she was before the attack or that will have been for naught. Make the change, give her an edge, and then make her champion.)
-Indi Hartwell gave a promo as they returned about it being a rough ride as a solo act. However, she said recent actions have proven her right as you can’t trust anyone in the division.
(2) RODERICK STRONG vs. DAMON KEMP – Singles match
They immediately locked up and began trading holds and positions. Kemp was showing more athleticism with flips and cartwheels out of holds, then took Strong down with a side headlock. Strong countered into one of his own. They came off of the ropes, and Kemp hit a shoulder tackle. He then caught Strong, slammed him, hit a jumping elbow, and covered for a two-count. He hit a deadlift gutwrench suplex, causing Strong to roll outside. Strong snapped the middle rope into the gut, “maybe the tallywhacker” as Barret said. Strong took over with midsection attacks for a bit, then corner chops.
Strong cinched a modified arm lock, but Kemp fought out with gut elbows. Strong floored him with a knee, then a leaping stomp to the chest. Kemp was able to kick away a rushing Strong, then hit a series of lariats, including a flipping one. Kemp nailed an overhead belly-to-belly, then a slingshot spear for a two-count. I forgot to mention Joseph mentioned that Strong asked Diamond Mine to stay in the back. They hit a double clothesline. Suddenly, Tony D’Angelo appeared on the Tron, calling out Strong. The Family was beating the living hell out of Brutus and Julius Creed, then left. Strong used the distraction to hit a leaping knee for the victory. Kemp was going to check on them when Strong hit the move, then Strong called for Kemp to hurry with him to go check on them. Kemp stumbled out of the ring.
WINNER: Roderick Strong at 5:55 (leaping knee)
-Pretty Deadly gave a promo in the locker room dressed as cowboys. They said it was time to cowboy up as they looked to regain what was once their NXT UK Tag Team Championship. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen were hyped in the back as Fallon Henley encouraged them. Jensen said they’re full of piss and vinegar and that Pretty Deadly is in for a country ass whooping. [c]
-They showed the Creeds in the back recovering as Strong berated them for not beating the four others. Kemp came in and asked if they were OK only for Strong to then berate Kemp for being late. Kemp said the knee messed him up and Strong said, “I know, I hit you with it!” He then said they’re going to finish it with D’Angelo.
-Pretty Deadly made their entrance in cow couture. Briggs and Jensen made their entrance after. Formal ring introductions were given from ringside. A USA chant started. Sigh.
(3) JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN (c) (w/Fallon Henle) vs. PRETTY DEADLY (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) – NXT US Tag Team Championship match
Jensen and Prince began with Jensen using some power wrestling to gain the early advantage. Wilson prevented a suplex, then tagged in and attacked Jensen’s back. They hit some double team strikes and taunted Jensen. Prince tagged back in, but Jensen fought back and made the tag. They hit double simultaneous shoulder tackles and then hit their sliding right hands. Prince was able to lock in a sleeper, but Briggs sat Prince on a turnbuckle. He caught Prince and slammed him, but Wilson made a sneaky tag. Briggs fought off both, but he threw Prince outside and he crashed into Henley. [c]
Jensen was taking it to Wilson as they returned. Henley was still at ringside, but holding her left elbow. Pretty Deadly regained control with some good heel tag work as Prince tagged back in as the legal competitor. Wilson tagged back in as they went for a double suplex, but instead hit a gourdbuster across the top rope. Jensen bounced off into a two-count. Prince tagged back in as they methodically took it to Jensen with ground strikes and holds. After an extended time of being locked in a hold and fighting, Prince kept Jensen at bay and tagged in Wilson. Jensen came back with strikes, but they forced him into their corner and Prince tagged back in to hit a running European uppercut.
They showed a graphic for the battle royal that only has 19 women; is Perez making a return as the 20th to thwart Jade? Meanwhile, Jensen was finally able to fight them off and tag in the big man Briggs, who took it to both men with running strikes and to Prince, a side slam and leaping splash. However, he and Wilson hit crossbodies into each other. When they hit their feet, Briggs hit a backslide for a two-count, then there was another double clothesline spot.
Prince handed one title to Wilson, then slid one to Briggs. The ref took it from Briggs and Jensen floored Prince on the outside. Henley grabbed the other one as Wilson went to use it, causing a tug of war. Henley prevailed, and Wilson turned into a high-low for the loss. Barrett decried the illegal man in the ring (Jensen).
WINNER: Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen at 11:39 (high-low) to retain the NXT UK Tag Team Championship
-A vignette aired of Gacy with The Dyad. He said they’ve sat under his tree for the last ten weeks, tearing down their egos and rebuilding themselves as pillars of inclusion and acceptance. He said they will be who they were always meant to be. As one was about to reveal themselves, Gacy stopped them and warned them that there’s no going back. They accepted. First was James Drake, then Zack Gibson. It was Grizzled Young Veterans. Drake is now Jagger Reed(?) and Gibson is now Rip Fowler, complete with a glass eye and no facial hair. Gacy said their past will stay where it belongs: behind them. Drake said they needed guidance and have found redemption. Drake has a different colored eye as well. Gacy said many more will join as there’s “plenty of shade under the schism’s tree.” He said to Reed and Fowler, “Welcome home.”
-They showed Bron Breakker arriving in the parking lot looking for McDonagh. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Well I’ll be damned, it was GYV! I thought one was too short to be Drake, but I forgot they can do a lot with positioning in the back. Hell, GYV may not even have been the two who wrestled a month or so ago for all we know and they just settled on them recently. This is interesting. GYV was great as is, particularly Gibson on the mic, so this can either go really well or really bad. I’m hoping for the former, but Gacy has just been a hole of apathy for myself in most of his feuds this year.)
-They returned with Mitchell in the back with Wes Lee. He said he seems to keep hitting roadblocks, like being blinded by Trick Williams in their match. He then shifted to Grayson Waller, who’s blaming Lee for not being the North American Championship. Lee said next week, Waller can only blame himself for what happens. He said Waller first, Williams second, then high-fived Mitchell.
-Breakker’s music hit as the NXT Men’s Champion made his way to the ring.
BRON BREAKKER IN-RING PROMO
Breakker stood mid-ring and said he went toe-to-toe with one of the best in Grimes, who tried to make things personal, but he stood up to Breakker, so he respects that. He shifted to McDonagh, who attacked him from behind and through a table. He said he gets it, next man up thing, but the “Irish Ace,” the “NXT UK kingpin” as Breakker said, told McDonagh he has his attention and that McDonagh will pay.
McDonagh appeared on the Tron with a striking dummy behind him. Breakker yelled at him to come to the ring. McDonagh called him aggressive and predictable. He said he was studing Breakker while he was in UK, but those other guys were competing against Breakker. McDonagh said he’s going to dissect him. He said that shoulder has eight major muscles. He moved to show the shoulder on the dummy with marked spots. He said he’s going to disable Breakker because he knows how to tear tendon from the bone and then marked that on the shoulder. He mocked Breakker saying, “I’ll fight through the pain!” McDonagh said there’s only so much trauma the brain can take before it shuts off. Breakker interrupted and yelled at McDonagh to borrow some balls from the mannequin. McDonagh said Breakker’s future changed forever and he just doesn’t know it yet. He said the necessary evil tagline and told Breakker to mind that shoulder. Breakker said fine, he’ll just take it back and beat McDonagh’s ass over the head with it (that seems physically impossible!). He left the ring with his back to the entrance and posed; no attack!
-Joseph and Barrett stood ringside and hyped Von Wagner against Solo Sikoa, shifting to a video from Friday where Sikoa made his way to Smackdown. A conveniently placed camera and guy was there to ask about, Wagner, who suddenly attacked. Wagner said he just put the “Street Champ” on his ass.
-An Axiom vignette played in a very comic book style way with panels and text boxes. His debut is next. [c]
-Mitchell was in the back with Diamond Mine when they returned. Julius took over and said they’ll take it to The Family on sight. Brutus said they jumped us and if they jump one of us, they jump all of them. Strong loved the attitude and said they’re the strongest family in NXT. Julius took over again and just went into D’Angelo. Good stuff there from Julius.
-Axiom made his entrance to some dramatic music. They had a time blur to his motions during his entrance like he was some kind of superhero I mean, he’s dressed like the Gold Ranger.
(4) AXIOM vs. DANTE CHEN
IT’S DANTE CHEN! Axiom took control early with an arm lock, but Chen smoothly transitioned out and into one of his own. Axiom regained control, then hit a nice quick arm drag and a stiff one-legged dropkick to the mouf, not the mouth, the mouf. Chen sent Axiom outside on a hammerlock counter, but Axiom smoothly reentered into a rollup for a two-count. Chen took over with a power tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two-count. Chen hit a stiff forearm to the lower back, then another, the third of the match. He went for a fourth, but Axiom ducked and hit a tornado DDT counter. Axiom also hit a Pele kick, a kip up, then snapped Chen’s neck on the top rope. He climbed and hit a crossbody. He then set in the corner for what I assume to be the finisher, which was a leaping pump superkick that I very much like. Impressive debut.
WINNER: Axiom at 3:00 (leaping pump superkick)
-Lash Legend gave a promo from the back and called herself the top woman in the match, calling it as easy as “two snaps and a clap.” She then called out Alba Fyre.
-Joseph hyped Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams in another barbershop segment. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Axiom is the former A-Kid, who we at PWT Talks NXT highly suspected was in The Dyad. Obviously, we were wrong, but now the question remains: why put a good looking guy like A-Kid (dumb name as it was) under a mask? This is like the reverse of Andrade when he came to NXT after competing as La Sombra. I think it was a great redebut for him, showing his smoothness and athleticism to go along with good technical skill. I really like that finisher. GIVE US MORE DANTE CHEN! It’s funny because A-Kid and Chen were the two people we suspected the most to be The Dyad early.)
-They returned with an earlier today video of a woman asking Giovanni Vinci for a picture. He took one of himself, but said absolutely not for one together. A bus pulled up as Chase U returned from the UK. Bodhi Heyward and Thea Hail talked to Vinci, who blew them off and warned Hail not to get fingerprints on his car. He wondered who would move the bus as it blocked his car.
CARMELO HAYES AND TRICK WILLIAMS FROM THE BARBERSHOP
In the barbershop, the North American Champion and his buddy discussed their “Melobration” last week with the four women, who all had names after cars. Williams said everyone wants Hayes’ title. They brought up Sikoa and Wagner, and Melo said they’re in “the Meloverse.” Williams brought up Vinci and Crews. Suddenly, Hayes phone went off and said that Lee is talking about Williams right now on TV, making it as if it was recorded during the show. Hayes told Williams to watch Lee’s match against Waller, and Williams said he will, but Lee can’t because his eyes are all messed up.
-Joseph and Barrett hyped next week’s matches including Waller vs. Lee and Crews vs. Quinn.
-Mitchell was with Toxic Attraction. Mandy Rose guessed that Tatum Paxley would win and face her. Mitchell followed up and Rose decried there being more than one question. Rose said they’re going to leave and Mitchell is going to watch them leave “like you weird microphone holders do.” Ivy Nile came over and told Rose she’s going to win and render them unconscious. Kiana James said Nile has no chance of winning (she looked very stiff). Fyre interrupted with her bat and said she’s going to burn Rose’s “toxic empire” to the ground. Her music hit as she was the first to enter, or at least gain a televised entrance (yet to see if anyone is in the ring). [c]
-They returned with a limping Grimes in the back leaving the arena. He yelled not now at the interviewer (unseen). He yelled some more about saying “not now” after all of his big losses and asked what about “not now” so they not understand. Gacy approached and said he understands how Grimes is feeling. Grimes stormed off, still selling the damage from his match.
-Elektra Lopez made her entrance to The D’Angelo Family’s music as they hit ringside. The ring was filled. Mitchell was in the back with The Family. D’Angelo said Lopez looks ready to win. Mitchell brought up the challenge. D’Angelo called them “the big bad dojo bros” and said they need a dojo because they can’t fight in the streets. He accepted the offer for the match next week. He dismissed Mitchell. Jade’s music hit as she made her entrance, though not in all black gear. Toxic Attraction was watching from the Toxic Lounge. Zoey Stark is back! She’s the last entrant.
(5) CORA JADE vs. ALBA FYRE vs. NIKKITA LYONS vs. KATANA CHANCE vs. KAYDEN CARTER vs. IVY NILE vs. WENDY CHOO vs. AMARI MILLER vs. FALLON HENLEY vs. KIANA JAMES vs. YULISA LEON vs. VALENTINA FEROZ vs. ELEKTRA LOPEZ vs. TIFFANY STRATTON vs. TATUM PAXLEY vs. LASH LEGEND vs. SLOANE JACOBS vs. ARIANNA GRACE vs. INDI HARTWELL vs. ZOEY STARK – #1 contender’s 20-woman battle royal
The bell rung as everyone except Choo surrounded Jade. Jade left only for Nile to literally chase her off. Choo is just kicking it in the ropes as women beat each other right next to her. Legend ended that with a forearm to Choo. Lyons has on a red, white, and blue getup. Paxley put Miler on the apron, and then Nile kicked Miller off for the first elimination. Grace was then booted off by Hartwell.
Lots of corner work as expected in this type of match with everyone trying to throw the others over the top rope. Fyre went for a second rope rana, but Legend caught her. They both were eliminated as Fyre held on to the rana. They kept fighting to the back. Stratton put Choo on the apron, then tripped her, but Choo landed on her body pillow, preventing elimination. Cool. Barrett did the heel announcer thing and changed his pick throughout the match. Suddenly, Stark eliminated Leon with a backbody drop. Feroz then went after Stark immediately, putting her on the apron with a triangle armbar. Stark tossed her to her partner, then hit a superkick to Leon to drop and eliminate Feroz.
James had Henley on the apron, and finally dispatched her with a kick to the hands holding the rope. On another apron, Stratton eliminated Choo by hitting Choo with Choo’s sippy cup. Since I don’t get the split-screen break with the online USA player, I won’t be able to note eliminations. [c]
They returned and showed Sloane Jacobs and Elektra Lopez being eliminated. Lyons was taking on Paxley in the center of the ring as Carter and Chance worked together to eliminate Nile. Lyons tossed over Chance, who held onto Carter, but Nile pulled her leg to eliminate her. Lyons then knocked off Carter. Paxley bodyslammed Lyons, then inexplicably eliminated herself with a crossbody to Carter and Chance to help Nile. Suddenly, Hartwell took over by taking it to the other women, but Stratton dodged a big boot and forced Hartwell over.
Lyons then took over by beating on everyone and hitting her best German suplex ever to Stark. She hit a good, realistic looking kick to Stratton, but not a good cyclone kick to James. Nile tossed over James, then Stratton took advantage and tossed Lyons. Stark tossed Stratton, but she held on and tried to skin the cat. She couldn’t, so she just reentered. Stark hit a lariat, but only one foot hit. Stark looked frustrated, but Stratton hit a shoulder to the gut. Both women were on the apron, then back inside. Stratton hit a bad shotgun dropkick, then went for her back handspring splash, but Stark caught her with big inside-out German suplex. She then forearmed Stratton off. Jade tried to sneak in and eliminate Stark, but Stark was ready and eliminated Jade.
WINNER: Zoey Stark at 13:15 to become #1 contender for NXT Women’s Championship
(Hazelwood’s Take: They worked a lot of the typical battle royal spots, but with enough twists that it kept me engaged. The final four or five was a bit unexpected with the addition of James, but she has been highlighted a lot recently. Paxley eliminating herself at a chance for the top championship just to appease Nile is infuriating and dumb. However, it also, does continue their storyline and it almost seems like they’re trying to quietly phase Nile out of Diamond Mine. Feuds were extended in the battle royal as well, like Legend vs. Fyre, and at least did get many of these women on TV for a little bit of time. Stark’s return is great as she is fantastic; can she bring back Io, too?)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Not a bad episode at all. 2.o has seemed to found a good balance and outline for their match-promo-match-vignette-etc. layout. There has definitely been a lot of improvement over the almost year that the shift to 2.0 has happened, and it’s great to see. If the shift wasn’t so sudden, I think these results would be viewed more favorably. I’m interested to see what happens with The Dyad as a team. They’re keeping Gacy in feuds with top wrestlers, too, so that’s another thing to watch. It seems his performance against Breakker didn’t sour management on him as much as me. Axiom is great, Lee continues to grow, Quinn finally seems like he’s not trying so hard and it feels natural, Hayes and Williams continue to be awesome, and Pretty Deadly has been a great addition. Also, Julius Creed commanded the screen in that backstage challenge better than anyone tonight.