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NXT 2.0 “HEATEAVE” REPORT
AUGUST 16, 2022
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT THE CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
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 themed video package about heat wave, narrated by Paul Heyman. He narrated as only he could, adding a sense of gravitas to the previewed matches for the night, particularly the championship matches. It’s a nice callback to ECW’s own “Heat Wave.”
-Giovanni Vinci made his entrance, complete with the Veni Vidi Vinci snapshots, this time with “Campione Futuro” as the final snapshot. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams entered next, a flaming trash can in front of them. As is custom, he removed a shirt with his opponent’s face on it, and then dropped it into the literal flaming garbage.
(1) CARMELO HAYES (c) (w/Trick Williams) vs. GIOVANNI VINCI – NXT North American Championship match
There were no formal introductions as the match began with Vinci quickly overpowering Hayes, then transitioning to a side headlock. Hayes took out Vinci’s leg on a leap in an awkward looking yet effective spot, but ate a running shoulder tackle shortly thereafter. Hayes took over, countering Vinci and landing his springboard lariat (he almost slipped, but caught himself nicely) for a two-count. He mushed Vinci in the face, angering the Italian, who responded with a huge slap to the chest and a springboard of his own, this one a crossbody. He arrogantly kicked Hayes’ head on the mat, then landed a huge chop to the chest, and another, then another; they showed reaction shots from the crowd, leaping in pain. Even Williams was grimacing! Vinci landed an Italian uppercut, but ate a double chop to the throat. Then both men landed the most wicked simultaneous lariat I’ve ever seen as both men literally spun in the air before landing. [c]
Just a reminder, I use the USA network player online and instead of the split-screen break, I get full-screen commercials. Vinci took over as they came back from break with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. They showed Williams interfering during the break, but not being thrown out. Hayes went for another springboard, but Vinci caught him, put him on his shoulders, hit a rolling senton, then a quick moonsault off of the second rope for a two-count; impressive sequence. Hayes went for a superkick, but Vinci dodged. Hayes tripped Vinci on the ropes, leaving him open for the Fade Away springboard leg drop for a two-count.
Hayes hit an O’Conner Roll for a two-count, then a superkick. He went to the second rope and went for a blockbuster that Vinci was supposed to catch into a suplex, but Hayes didn’t get enough air. Vinci admirably adjusted and turned it into a quick suplex for a two-count. Vinci went for his powerbomb, but Hayes countered with a lifting cutter for a two-count. The cutter started in a vertical suplex position, by the way. Hayes, looking frustrated, climbed to the second rope. He leaped over a dodging Vinci, who sent him outside in front of Williams. Vinci then ran and climbed the ropes to hit a crossbody to both men. He rolled Hayes back in, hit his double springboard moonsault, but only scored a two-count as Williams moved Hayes’ foot to the rope.
Vinci exited and approached Williams, but Hayes pushed him into the steel steps. He went for Nothing but Net, but Vinci moved. Vinci caught a kick and hit a THUNDEROUS lariat. Williams came in to take the powerbomb bump by catching Williams, then ate one himself. He went for one on Hayes, but Hayes pulled a Rey Mysterio and hit a rana pin for the victory.
WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 12:00 (rana pin) to retain the NXT North American Championship
-Vic Joseph shifted to an earlier video of Toxic Attraction arriving in a Range Rover (in this climate chaos?!). The three exited and approached Bron Breakker. Mandy Rose said he had an uphill battle, and he replied she did as well. She said they’ll see who walks out with their title.
-Another video from over the weekend played of Julius Creed saying he was going to address the crowd tonight. They showed Diamond Mine approaching, Roderick Strong petulantly taking the lead position from Julius. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: These two had a match that had more mistimed spots than I would have thought. They don’t have much experience with each other, and it also seemed like a match where they maybe tried to do a little too much. Still, it was fun, Vinci showed his power, and he has a legitimate excuse for his loss which I guess keeps him strong. A rematch between these two would be something I wouldn’t mind.)
-They returned with a Von Wagner and Mr. Stone video where they said Solo Sikoa had a “so-called” win over Wagner, but Sikoa is out for six weeks and Wagner is standing there. Wagner said change is in the air, more opportunities, more doors open. He said the game has changed, but the rules remain the same: anyone small and weak will not survive in his jungle.
-Diamond Mine made their entrance sans Ivy Nile.
DIAMOND MINE IN-RING PROMO
All but Damon Kemp took mics. Julius said less than a year ago, he and his brother got the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from one of the greatest champions in NXT history, Roderick Strong. He said they dedicated every fiber of their being to win the Dusty Classic, stitched up and doing cannonballs, all for Diamond Mine. He said it’s been brought to his attention that someone has been trying to destroy Diamond Mine, and he wanted to call that person out right now…RODERICK STRONG! He reacted incredulously and asked why they were pointing the finger at him, the creator of Diamond Mine. He said he wanted to give them the guidance that he never had. The crowd chanted “They don’t need you!” and Strong yelled “Yes they do!” He said he would run them out against The Usos every day of the week.
Julius said that’s great, and that The Usos can get it, but The Creed Brothers are NOW. He said he wants to end this before Strong stabs him in the back. Brutus asked if he was serious, then said he had his brother’s back. Strong said to be careful with his next words. Julius said everything he does is calculated, then showed when Strong hit Julius with a knee during their match with The D’Angelo family. Julius accused Strong of being signaled by D’Angelo. Strong pleaded his defense, then said since May, Julius has had something against him. Suddenly, Gallus from NXT UK – Joe and Mark Coffey and Wolfgang – attacked Diamond Mine except Strong. They cornered him, then Joe drilled him. Joseph named all three immediately. Gallus stood tall in the ring as their music played under green lights. I think Julius is spending a bit too much time on YouTube.
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Roxanne Perez. Perez said this is the most nervous she’s ever been walking into a match as she never thought she’d be standing across the ring from her best friend. She said Cora Jade wanted this and she made her bed. She was interrupted by Jade’s music. Mitchell wished her luck.
-Jade made her entrance in her now customary all black, black kendo stick in tow. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It’s obvious Apollo Crews was the one laying the conspiracies into Julius as I hinted at last week on PWT Talks NXT. Now the question that needs to be answered is WHY did Crews target Diamond Mine?)
-They returned showing Zoey Stark warming up as Nikkita Lyons showed up to encourage her. They then showed J.D. McDonagh in an ice bath, looking as relaxed as if he was sleeping.
-Jade was sitting on a top turnbuckle as they returned. Perez’s music hit and she made a beeline to the ring.
(2) CORA JADE vs. ROXANNE PEREZ – Grudge match
They immediately rang the bell as Perez wasn’t letting up, going right after Jade. She hit a lope that mostly missed, but Jade did well to catch her. See, I do compliment Jade! Jade hit a few big forearms to take control over the smaller Perez, then hit a running uppercut to the back of Perez, laid up against the second rope, for a two-count. Jade went for a suplex, twice, but Perez fought out and hit a few uppercuts, then a backbody drop. Perez hit a running shotgun dropkick to the side of Jade, but then ate a forearm. Perez was able to send Jade outside, but was drilled with a punch on this lope attempt. Jade then hit a suplex, finally, on the outside. [c]
-They returned with Jade in control, landing moves and strikes at will to a weakened Perez. Jade had her foe in a sub, wrenching back on the arms. Perez fought to her feet, but Jade forced her back down. Perez flipped out and hit a double upkick, then an inside cradle for a two-count. She and Jade then traded pinning combos, leading to the bridge-backslide spot that ended with simultaneous forearms and pump kicks to floor both women.
Perez hit her next gear and hit a comeback sequence on jade. Perez hit a side Russian leg sweep for a two-count, then a Paige Turner for a two-count. She went for Pop Rocks, but Jade countered and hit a pump knee, then a modified swinging facebuster for a two-count. Jade then reached for her kendo stick as the ref admonished her. Perez ducked, then kicked Jade and grabbed the weapon. Jade retreated into a corner and begged off. Perez thought about it, then threw down the weapon. Jade immediately attacked and hit a DDT onto the kendo stick for the victory. It wasn’t a DQ because Perez is the one who placed it there even if Jade was the one who introduced it to the match.
WINNER: Cora Jade at 11:38 (DDT onto kendo stick)
-Mitchell was in the back with Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen, and Fallon Henley. As they began speaking about Pretty Deadly. Gallus approached and Mark and Wolfgang said those titles don’t belong on them, touting their long reign. Joe said Gallus boys will end up on top. They made a challenge for next week, which was accepted. Sounds like an NXT UK Tag Team Championship match next week, but who OKs these matches???
-They showed a video recap of Santos Escobar and Tony D’Angelo’s four-month saga, beginning with Escobar congratulating D’Angelo on becoming the Don of NXT after defeating Tomasso Ciampa, but then their fateful meeting which led to the boot on Escobar’s SUV and the fish on the windshield, then Legado del Fantasma’s kidnapping (and seeming murder) of A.J. Galante. They then showed the LDF losing to join The D’Angelo Family (skillfully avoiding showing Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan) the resulting months of friction, ending with last week’s final meeting. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: A fine match. I don’t think there was anything overtly negative about it even if the finish was contrived. I wonder what’s next for both. Does Jade aim for the Women’s Championship? Does Perez become solely focused on Jade? On a different note, it could be that Crews wasn’t targeting Diamond Mine necessarily. What if that scene where he saw them laid out in green light was a predictive vision of Gallus’ debut? That would mean we need to know how Crews has predictive powers!)
-They returned with Rose warming up with Toxic Attraction cheering her on. They showed Breakker warming up as Crews (speak of the devil!) approached to wish him luck and possibly make a challenge at the Men’s Championship?
-Alicia Taylor stood center-ring and introduced the street fight stipulations. Escobar entered from the streets in a mask like his former days, then was flanked by Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro, then joined by Elektra Lopez. he put the hood of his robe over his head as the four made their way into the building. Escobar removed the mask in the ring as the fans chanted “Le-ga-do.” That was a star entrance that I can see Escobar having on a debut as a mystery opponent at a PLE or something. D’Angelo then entered, with Stacks.
(3) TONY D’ANGELO (w/Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo) vs. SANTOS ESCOBAR (w/Legado del Fantasma) – All or Nothing street fight where if Escobar wins, LDF is free, but if he loses, he’s gone from NXT
Escobar drilled D’Angelo’s left arm with a chair before the bell. The ref called for the bell just after checking on him. Escobar set up the chair and slammed D’Angelo into it, then hitting a rana into the chair for a two-count. Escobar maintained control with strikes, targeting the left leg of the bigger D’Angelo. D’Angelo fought back, but ate a pump knee as Escobar dodged the corner whip into a chair in the corner. Escobar climbed said corner with the chair still there and hit a frogsplash crossbody. Stacks then took out Wilde and del Toro at ringside randomly, then Escobar drilled a dropkick on D’Angelo. Something seemed off in timing with Stacks there. Escobar then went for a tope, but D’Angelo drilled him with a trash can lid. [c]
D’Angelo was still in control as they returned. working Escobar on the outside. He slammed the left hand into the steps, then trapped them in the steps, hitting a running kick to the steps. He then laid a bunch of chairs on the outside and hit a suplex to Escobar, rolling him back in for a two-count. D’Angelo hit a front falcon arrow for a two-count, then called for Stacks to send him a trash can. He then slammed Escobar on the head with the can for a two-count. D’Angelo then went to a methodical pace, but slapped Escobar, which fired up Escobar.
Escobar then hit a comeback sequence to regain the momentum. D’Angelo went outside only to be slapped by Lopez. Escobar then hit a tope through the middle ropes near the corner, hitting D’Angelo like a dart. However, D’Angelo shoved Escobar into the post and then into the ring. He called for the crowbar, but del Toro approached Stacks with the crowbar and hit him. D’Angelo took out del Toro and ate a pin for a two-count. Wilde went to give Escobar the brass knuckles, but D’Angelo shoved Escobar into him. On the outside, Escobar went for the crowbar from Lopez, but dodged as D’Angelo rushed, taking out Lopez. He then hit a low blow on Escobar and grabbed the crowbar, only to eat a leaping superkick. Both men were laid out. The two men, on their knees, yelled in each other’s face. They saw the crowbar to one side and the knuckles on the other. D’Angelo reached the crowbar first, knocking out Escobar and winning the match. Escobar is headed to Monday or Friday nights. On replay, it looked like they were maybe supposed to hit at the same time, but the power of the crowbar won out as D’Angelo fell on top of Escobar.
WINNER: Tony D’Angelo at 12:48 (crowbar shot) to force Santos Escobar out of NXT
-In the back, Indi Hartwell was with Kayden Carter and Katana Chance, saying she cried when the two won. Carter said that means a lot “dude.” Hartwell was suddenly handed a letter with an “In-Dex Forever” note. Blair Davenport (the former Bea Priestly) took the letter and tore it up, saying she was a future Women’s Champion.
-They showed the participants for the Women’s Championship match making their way. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I thought they might put over Escobar and by being free, he would take LDF and leave NXT. Instead, we get the predicted outcome of Escobar moving to Monday or Friday nights solo. That entrance may have been a test run for a debut and if it was, it will mark him immediately as someone to watch to the Raw/SD-only viewers. Now I wonder what happens to the rest of LDF. I don’t think this means they’re back under D’Angelo, but they’re three acts that need a leader. Maybe this can be Wilde’s chance to stand out.)
-They returned with a Tiffany Stratton-Wendy Choo video. Stratton said she’s so over Choo it’s not even funny. Choo said she’s tired of Stratton (she even looked tired). Choo said next week it’s a lights out match. Stratton said she can do anything she wants to Choo in a lights out match. Will it reach Kenny Omega-Jon Moxley levels? Probably not.
-Stark made her entrance for her Women’s Championship match against Rose. Rose received a Bobby Lashley-like video of triumphs before her music hit. Formal ring introductions were given from the timekeeper’s area.
(4) MANDY ROSE (c) (w/Toxic Attraction) vs. ZOEY STARK – Women’s Championship match
The bell rung at the bottom of the hour. Stark immediately looked for Dope Finisher, but Rose countered out. Rose is visibly slower than Stark, who drilled a flying spinning elbow and then a baseball slide. Rose then shoved Stark back-first into the apron, then tossed her onto the announce table. Gigi Dolin crotch-chopped from the outside. Rose then lifted and slammed Stark’s surgically-repaired left knee into the table. [c]
Rose was working the left leg as they returned. Jacy Jayne got involved, but the referee (I think Tom Castor) saw and ejected them. When they argued, Lyons ran down and hit some sloppy kicks that showed lots of light to fight them to the back. Rose turned into a rollup for a two-count, but then hit a chop block to regain control. She went back to attacking the leg with kicks and knees, then dropped the leg onto her shoulder to hyperextend the knee. Rose then locked in a single leg crab on the left leg.
Stark kicked out of it, sending Rose outside. Stark hit a knee with the bad leg, then a big back elbow and a comeback sequence, still grabbing her knee. Stark hobbled to Rose in the corner, hitting an enziguri, using the rope for leverage and lifting the leg from the mat (smart). Rose attacked the knee again, then hit her back suplex with more rotation to plant Stark face-first for a two-count. The two women then traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Stark hit Dope Finisher, but with her bad knee! She couldn’t make an immediate pin, and Rose used the rope to head outside. Rose then took out Stark’s leg, tying it up in the rope. Rose reentered the ring and kicked away at the trapped leg, then punched at the knee. She then started undoing the leg brace, but didn’t have enough time to undo it entirely before the DQ.
Rose went for her running pump knee finisher, but Stark countered into a rollup, then a jackknife cover for two-counts. She popped up right into the pump knee, but kicked out at two! Rose was in shock as Wade Barrett said no one has kicked out of the knee from Rose. Rose removed Stark’s knee brace and attacked it to her own knee for some more oomph on her pump knee, which she hit with a loud thwack to retain. Joseph mentioned Rose’s reign will now exceed 300 days.
WINNER: Mandy Rose at 11:24 (pump knee) to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
-Joseph hyped the Men’s Championship match. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: While Rose seemed slow at first, she quickly caught up and then the story of the match allowed her to work the match mostly at the pace she desires. It was a fine match, nothing special, but nothing bad. Stark looked great, her selling was fantastic, and she got the kick out of Rose’s finisher. It took extra material to finish her, so Stark was positioned as Rose’s toughest test to date and possibly, the one who may end her reign. With Perez’s loss tonight, I think her dethroning Rose is more questionable now; I just hope it isn’t Lyons. Maybe Jade and Stark have a feud next?)
-They returned with a Quincy Elliot vignette. He was wearing a Bratz shirt (nice). He said he was bringing all of this to NXT. He looked his left and right and made sultry faces, saying he’s seen people from different walks of life. He said he’s never struggled with being different because he works it and he is it. He called himself “The Super Diva.”
-Mitchell was in the back with Grayson Waller. He said she’s been interviewing everyone but him; she said pretty much (ha!). Waller said he just can’t win with her, then called out Crews as selfish. He said Crews will stab anyone in the back and may come for Mitchell’s job next, “he has a better smile.” She said “wow.” He said those were Crews’ words, then said he would have his own show next week with his first guest, Crews. He then interrupted her again and said, “By the way, that perfume must be cheap, lass!” She just rolled her eyes and looked annoyed as all hell. She is so good at her job!
-McDonagh made his entrance to a chorus of boos. He was wearing white with what looked to be black accents. He had at least one old lady in the crowd with a sign for him. Breakker then entered to a round of applause. He held a sledgehammer (symbolic much?), then smashed it into a wooden crate that had J.D. spray painted on top. Breakker was in a blue singlet with purple and gold kneepads. McDonagh’s trunks were black and red in contrast to his robe. Taylor gave formal ring introductions from the timekeeper’s area.
(5) BRON BREAKKER (c) vs. J.D. MCDONAGH – Men’s Championship match
McDonagh went for the right shoulder, but Breakker shoved him off and dared him to go after the arm. McDonagh went after it again as ref D.A. Brewer admonished him. Breakker slapped him, but McDonagh smiled (remember, they’ve hinted he’s a sadomasochist). Breakker grabbed hold of the left arm and held on through multiple roll through attempts, frustrating his opponent. Breakker turned it into a gator roll and then into a seamless delayed vertical and a kip up. Breakker sent McDonagh outside with a punch, then followed. Back in the ring, McDonagh went for an elbow, but Breakker dodged and then worked the left arm himself. He lifted McDonagh in the air by the left arm, then hit an arm-trapped overhead belly-to-belly, culminating the sequence with a standing moonsault for a two-count. Breakker shoved McDonagh shoulder-first into a corner, then tripped on a duck, but still recovered to hit a lariat. That’s the second time I can remember Breakker tripping and falling in a match on simple runs across the ring. He sent McDonagh outside and started barking. [c]
McDonagh was in control as they returned, working the targeted right shoulder of Breakker. However, Breakker fought back with ruthless aggression, then lifted McDonagh to the top. McDonagh slipped out as Breakker climbed, crotching him on the top. McDonagh then hit a neckbreaker across the top steel rod of the turnbuckle. Back in the ring, McDonagh rained down elbows to the shoulders of a seated Breakker, a good 15. McDonagh then cinched in a modified sub on the left arm, but Breakker forced him out and grabbed the bottom rope. McDonagh then cinched in a neck crank.
Breakker fought out and hit some punches, then a few leaping shoulder tackles and a catching slam of McDonagh. Breakker set for the spear, but McDonagh sidestepped and forced Breakker into the post right shoulder-first. McDonagh then locked in a crossface, but trapped the left arm. Breakker was able to reach the bottom rope as McDonagh slapped the mat in furstration a few times. McDonagh climbed to the top, but Breakker met him. Breakker climbed wend went for the Frankensteiner, hit, but only a two-count. Breakker climbed to the top, but McDonagh met him and hit an avalanche Spanish fly. He roared then hit a snap brainbuster for a two-count. McDonagh climbed again for a moonsault, rolled through, then ate a spear. He rolled outside to avoid the pin. Breakker rolled him back in and set for another spear. Breakker hit and this time, he dropped the straps and set for a third. McDonagh rose to his feet, smiling, blood in his mouth, and asked for another. Breakker obliged, then hit his military press slam to retain.
WINNER: Bron Breakker at 13:19 (military press slam) to retain the Men’s Championship
-Tyler Bate’s music hit as the NXT UK Champion made his way to the ring looking like an extra in A Knight’s Tale. He entered the ring (wiping his shoes first, of course), then pointed at both titles in a seeming challenge to Breakker for a Champion vs. Champion match. Both men posed as Joseph asked, “Could worlds be colliding here in NXT?” Looks like Worlds Collide is returning.
(Hazelwood’s Take: A good match, as expected. They really worked the sadomasochist angle through to the finish. If any readers have seen the Japanese movie Koroshiya Ichi or Ichi the Killer, he kind of looked like the main Yakuza who was a masochist with the smiling blood scene. Even with Triple H taking over for Vince McMahon, it seems like continuity is the name of game in NXT as all three champions retained. Breakker hitting a few extra spears was a good way to both give him an outlet for everything McDonagh did to him and for McDonagh’s masochism. However, with Bate coming in, what does it say about NXT’s depth that UK talent have to be brought over for now two consecutive feuds for Breakker?)
FINAL THOUGHTS: For a themed episode, or as Kelly Wells like to call them, PLE-lites, that was a packed show that lived up to its billing. It also did a good job of debuting some “new” talents as well as setting up matches for next week’s show to give you a reason to tune in beyond tonight. The big question now is after Breakker-Bate, who is next for the two other singles champions in NXT? What happens to Legado del Fantasma now that Escobar is banished from NXT? What is to come of the Diamond Mine-Gallus-Crews triangle, and what the hell happened to Ivy Nile?!
Remember to listen in PWT Talks NXT with Nate Lindberg and myself!