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NXT TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 20, 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 last week’s anniversary show with Shawn Michaels’ show-closing words narrating before they showed Solo Sikoa’s return and eventual capture of the North American Championship, which he’s already defended on Smackdown. It then showed the logo changing from splatter to the new logo. However, the logo still had the splatter behind it, so that was weird.
-They showed an earlier today video of Carmelo Hayes and Solo Sikoa both in Michaels’ office. After Sikoa taunted Hayes, Michaels said since Sikoa wasn’t even an option, the match can’t stand. He said it sucks, but Sikoa then said he gets it, rules are rules. He handed over the title. Michaels gave Sikoa his good luck “wherever your WWE career takes you.” Sikoa told Hayes he had next, and Hayes said, “Yeah, you had next.” Michaels said Hayes tried to game the system and anytime you think you’re bigger than the business, it’ll slap you in the face. He said at Halloween Havoc, Hayes and four other men – who have to qualify – will compete in a ladder match for the now-vacant North American Championship.
-Axiom made his entrance. The NXT hashtag on Twitter still has the splatter logo, by the way. Nathan Frazer then made his entrance. Props to Alicia Taylor for saying his last name with the z and not an s sound.
(1) AXIOM vs. NATHAN FRAZER – Second match in their best-of-three series (Axiom leads 1-0)
Referee D.A. Brewer called for the bell as Frazer and Axiom began with a bit of mat wrestling. Two weeks ago, they went from fast to methodical, and I said they might shift it for match two before going full bore for match three. The two then quickened the pace a bit as they traded different pinning combinations. The squared off, then Axiom picked an ankle. Frazer spun out as Axiom cartwheeled to stay on his feet. Frazer hit the first impact move with a running shoulder tackle, then another, a pin following each, then a side headlock takedown. Axiom reversed position and took the back of Frazer, then shifted to a rear chinlock. He hit a side headlock takedown of his own.
Frazer countered with a head scissors, but Axiom countered into a brief sub that Frazer rolled out of, then Axiom landed a quick one-legged dropkick and a Norther Lights bridge for a two-count. Frazer was able to send Axiom outside, but Axiom hit a forearm as Frazer went for the tope. Axiom climbed to the top, but ate a dropkick to the gut on a crossbody attempt. Axiom then rolled outside before Frazer could attempt a pin. [c]
Frazer had a rear waist lock on Axiom, working the midsection after the dropkick before the break, as they returned. Axiom tried for an octopus stretch, but Frazer reversed to an abdominal stretch only to eat a hip toss. Axiom went with some rapid-fire palm strikes, then hung Frazer’s neck on the top. He hit a springboard lariat for a two-count. Frazer was on his knees and ate a chest kick, then another, but he caught the third. Still, Axiom dodged the trip and ate an enziguri. Frazer responded with his own and tried for a sunset flip, but Axiom sat down for a two-count. Axiom then hit a Pele kick and went for what Barrett called the Golden Ration, the leaping superkick, only he ate a huge superkick instead, but he kicked out.
Frazer climbed to the top rope, but Axiom caught him with an enziguri. Axiom hit a second-rope hip toss, basically, for a two-count. Vic Joseph mentioned their familiarity with each other. Frazer went for a top rope moonsault, but fell right into a choke from Axiom. Frazer rose to his feet, but Axiom countered with a LeBell Lock attempt only for Frazer to reach the ropes, so Axiom stomped on him. Axiom climbed, but Frazer met him and hit him with a superplex, rolled through, then hit a final cut. He immediately climbed and hit a snap phoenix splash for the victory. Please let their third match be a night Kelly is doing the report…
WINNER: Nathan Frazer at 13:13 (phoenix splash) to tie series at 1-1
-An Alba Fyre video played where she said she saw into Mandy Rose’s soul, the fear inside of her. She said Rose knows that in her heart, she knows Fyre is the one who will take the title from her.
-Rose was in the Toxic Lounge as the other two approached and asked if she was OK. Rose said she’s not impressed and is going to do to Fyre what she does to Fallon Henley next week. They made their entrance for Toxic Attraction’s tag team match. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: As expected, again, with these two, a fine match that still left a lot on the table for the inevitable third match. Sure, the outcome being telegraphed took away from some of the drama of the match, but to be honest, it seemed like most of the dramatic pinning moments went to Frazer, like that nasty superkick counter. It seemed that unlike two weeks ago, the methodical stuff was during the break and more of the fast-paced stuff was televised. I shudder to think of the pace they’ll keep in match three. It will be too much to recap!)
-They returned with a Connor’s Cure ad and then Joseph mentioning it’s pediatric cancer awareness month.
-Joseph and Barrett were ringside (I don’t see Toxic Attraction in the ring). He shifted to a video on Damon Kemp. Kemp threw down his Diamond Mine singlet and spray painted a red X on them. He said the looks on the faces of the The Creed Brothers last week was priceless, the same dumb face as they tried to figure out who was the mole. He said he gave the money to Tony D’Angelo so they could win the Tag Team Championship, but Santos Escobar interfered. They showed video of Kemp making the deal with D’Angelo, but he said Strong found the security video, so he destroyed Strong’s phone and then him. He said he’s a world class athlete, but isn’t going to fight them two-on-one, but he will one-on-one, as long as one of them is in the locker room.
-They showed Ivy Nile mad in the locker room as Tatum Paxley told her to calm down so they could handle their own business and stay focused. Nile said she was and they entered.
(2) TOXIC ATTRACTION (Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne) vs. DIAMOND MINE (Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley) – Tag team match
Interestingly, they were introduced as “Tatum Paxley and Diamond Mine’s Ivy Nile.” Paxley basically had to hold back Nile, then began the match with Gigi Dolin. Paxley showed off some athleticism and then hit a dropkick. She flipped out of a kick capture, but was clotheslined. Jacy Jayne tagged in and hit a senton for a two-count. Paxley gained control, but then ate a big back elbow from Jayne, who tagged in her partner. Dolin hit a big kick and covered for a two-count. Dolin grabbed an awkward looking sub on the arm, then locked in a better attempt. Paxley tried a quick pin, but Dolin kicked out. They then drove each other into the mat and then made tags. Nile came in and went after Jayne, took out Dolin, then went right back to Jayne with a combo and running kick in the corner. She went for a cover, but Dolin broke it up and then took care of Paxley. Jayne hit a rolling forearm and tagged in Dolin. Dolin was countered, then Nile took out Jayne. However, she was forced outside, then back inside as Dolin tagged Jayne. They hit their sloppy high-low kick combo for the victory.
WINNER: Toxic Attraction at 3:58 (high low kick combo)
-They showed Schism making their way from outside. [c]
-They returned with footage of Tyler Bate arriving, as well as J.D. McDonagh, the main event for the #1 contender spot.
SCHISM IN-RING PROMO
Schism was in the ring. Jagger Reed said the time has come for them to pick a side and no longer will they turn the other cheek. Rip Fowler said to those enlightened few to walk alongside them that they’re brave. Reed said the road to peace is bumpy. Joe Gacy said they brought it on themselves. He said change is scary, but now they’re going to see the world through their eyes. He named Cameron Grimes and said even after trying peace and compassion, the world only responds to a firm hand. He said Grimes made a life-altering decision and the wrath of the Schism is imminent.
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade ran down after their music hit and cleared the ring of the group, then hit crossbodies on the outside to the tag team.
(3) THE DYAD (Rip Fowler & Jagger Reed w/Joe Gacy) vs. EDRIS ENOFE & MALIK BLADE
Fowler and Blade began the match with Blade using his quickness to land a dropkick. Blade, still in his burgundy vest like Rich Fann, was able to tag in Enofe and they hit a quick combo of moves for a two-count. Fowler forced Enofe into their corner and tagged in Reed, who held Enofe back for an attack. Enofe evaded and tagged in his partner, who hit a top rope crossbody to both men. They went outside, and Blade took them both out again, still in his burgundy vest! [c]
Reed and Blade (still in his vest!) were trading shots. Fowler made a sneaky tag, grabbed the vest (see!?), and then hit a backbreaker-leaping elbow combo on the outside after Reed distracted Blade. Schism then had a group hug in front of the announcers. Fowler rolled Blade back inside, then tagged in Reed. They did some traditional GYV stuff by cutting off the ring and methodically taking it to Blade. Enofe, arm on the tag rope as far out as possible, encouraged his partner. Blade finally tagged in his partner, who took it to both men with strikes and corner splashes. Fowler tried to intervene, but Enofe dodged. Enofe used his speed to hit a reverse slingblade to Fowler, but then ate a jawbreaker.
Blade made a sneaky tag, then they hit spinebuster-Rough Rider combo for a two-count. Enofe tagged back in and lifted Fowler, but Reed took out Blade. Enofe hit a quick rollup for two, but then ate a throat chop. Reed tagged in and hit basically an assisted destroyer as he leaped off the back of his partner. They then hit their finisher, which was Ticket to Mayhem I believe as GUY, for the clean victory.
WINNER: The Dyad at 9:16 (Ticket to Mayhem)
-They shifted to a Quincy Elliott recap of his debut last week, hitting that nice Banzai drop, which they’re calling the Diva Drop.
-Wendy Choo’s music hit for her match with Cora Jade. Choo’s gear is less pajamy even though they have pajama designs. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Enofe is going to be something special. Blade still seems a step behind, as if he’s thinking through everything. I think The Dyad pulling out some of their stuff when they were GYV is smart and will help the fans react better to them, even if it’s begrudging and takes time. I still don’t care for the group, especially Gacy, but at least Fowler and Reed are back on TV and wrestling nearly every week and if not, at least on TV.)
-They returned with a video on Meiko Satomura and Roxanne Perez. Perez said she wanted to find out where she stood against Satomura. She said she was nervous, as evidenced by the slip during her entrance. She showed the still-healing bruises on her back, two weeks out, and said even though she lost, she gained the respect of Satomura. Satomura, speaking in Japanese, said Perez has a fighting spirit and was tough. She said Perez will be a champion one day and she’s looking forward to that. Perez said she found a toughness and grit she thought she never had, thanked Satomura, and then said she’s going to use that on Jade. A good video here.
-Jade made her entrance to boos, carrying her black kendo stick.
(4) WENDY CHOO vs. CORA JADE – Singles match
Choo just evil eyed Jade, then they locked up with Jade shoving Choo in the corner and patting her on the head condescendingly. Choo then took over as the crowd chanted evenly between the two. Choo countered a hold, taunted Jade, then hit a side headlock. She hit a shoulder tackle, then a sneaky pin for a two-count. A running kick in the corner sent Jade outside, who caught a baseball slide and turned Choo around into the bottom rope neck-first. Jade shoved Choo into the rope with her knee. Jade then shoved Choo against the middle rope and hit a running uppercut into her back for a two-count.
Jade then hit a rope-assisted double stomp to the back of Choo for a two-count, the latter crying out in pain. Jade locked in a straightjacket sub, then wrenched Choo left and right into the mat. Choo worked to her feet and broke out by tossing Jade, then hitting a strike combo. Choo hit an overhead belly-to-belly and then a cartwheel forearm in the corner. Jade looked like she might have loosened a middle turnbuckle, but she ate a German. Jade then dodged and forced Choo face-first into the middle turnbuckle, then hit a DDT for the victory. The only issue is she didn’t get enough of the pad and it was still on the middle turnbuckle.
Lash Legend appeared behind Choo after Jade left the ring, in big ass heels, and hit a pump kick to Choo.
WINNER: Cora Jade at 4:13 (DDT)
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Bron Breakker, asking about the #1 contender’s match. He thanked the fans for voting him superstar of the year. He went through each challenger and said it could go either way, but chose Bate after their “banger” at Worlds Collide.
-They showed Trick Williams giving Hayes a pep talk in the back as he shoved a ladder. They made their way to the ring. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Jade has been doing better, but this wasn’t a standout match for either woman in my opinion. It’s the one match that didn’t have a commercial break, yet maybe it should had one to tell a longer story and give both women more time. It seemed like they just felt rushed, as evidenced by how quickly Jade left the ring for Legend’s spot, then how quickly they shifted to Mitchell.)
-A vignette aired again for the former Oliver Carter, now named Oro Mensah. He was in the back with Kelly Kincaid (the former Quinn McKay) as she asked him about his debut match with Grayson Waller, a North American Championship ladder match qualifier. He said he came to fight the best and Waller is one of the best; just ask him. He said his name Oro means gold, and mentioned being Ghanaian.
-Hayes and Williams made their entrance.
CARMELO HAYES & TRICK WILLIAMS IN-RING PROMO
Williams said he needs everyone to shut they mouth when The A Champion is speaking. Hayes said vote or no vote, he is the biggest superstar in NXT, period. He said people been praying on his downfall, and what happened last week proves it. He said he wants the person who played the music, the ref, and the timekeeper fired for their actions last week. He said he doesn’t are what bloodline Sikoa comes from, Sikoa came to his house and stole something from him. He said he is still The A Champion.
Andre Chase, with Thea Hail and Bodhi Heyward, interrupted. Chase said he saw what happened last week and before he could say it, Hayes interrupted him .He said it’s not the time because it’s serious business. Chase said Hayes might not want to here this, but then Williams interrupted him. Chase attempted again, with a big pause, and said his catchphrase. They forced Hayes and Williams out of the ring.
(5) CARMELO HAYES & TRICK WILLIAMS vs. CHASE U (Andre Chase & Bodhi Heyward w/Thea Hail) – Tag team match
Williams began with Chase, but Chase turned the tables. Williams hit a cheap shot and tagged in Hayes, using a distraction to hit a dropkick. Hayes and Williams cut off the ring and took it to Heyward, who tagged in to spell Chase. Heyward, countered a strike and hit a three-point stance shoulder tackle to Williams before tagging in Chase. Chase hit a side Russian leg sweep, then his C-H-A-S-E-U stomps. Heyward tagged in, looking for a torture rack. Hayes was able to make the tag and then free his partner, following up by dropping Heyward. Hayes hit his springboard lariat, taunted Chase, and stomped Heyward for a two-count.
Williams tagged back in as they isolated Heyward once again. Heyward fought out to his corner and tagged in Chase, who hit Williams with an inverted atomic drop and bodyslam. Williams then popped him up and landed a big right hand. Hayes tagged in and gave both men huge pump kicks. Hayes went for his springboard lariat again, but Chase caught him in a arm-capture pin and scored the upset victory.
WINNER: Chase U at 4:16 (arm-trap rollup)
-They showed Sanga and Von Wagner making their way for their match. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: These are the types of finishes that keeps the audience guessing and is actually a perfect moment to give Chase U a rare upset victory. They can tell the story of Hayes losing confidence since losing last week heading into the ladder match only to see him recapture that confidence during the match to regain what he still views as his championship. Heyward looked a bit rough on offense, but Williams seems to be progressing well.)
-They returned with Gallus in the back in their own little bar setting. They had a Scottish flag up and it was actually the area for Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen, with Fallon Henley. Gallus taunted them, then Briggs said it’s going to take a little more than some chaos to scare them. Cool. Security kept them apart as Joe Coffey kept drinking from a pint. Nice.
-Sanga was already in the ring as they came back. Wagner entered with Mr. Stone next.
(6) SANGA vs. VON WAGNER (w/Mr. Stone) – Singles match
Wagner tried to look ferociously into the camera, but it really just looked more like he was vacant behind the eyes. He tried to overpower Sanga, but that was a bad idea. Sanga hit a big lariat, but Wagner countered a lift and forced Sanga into the corner, landing a bunch of power strikes. Barrett mentioned how Wagner was in the main event competing for the NXT Championship six months ago or however long ago it was, but he’s hit a skid (yeah, it’s called being Von Wagner). Sanga just kept overpowering Wagner, hitting a corner splash and a Kane-like sidewalk slam. He then booted Wagner off of the apron.
Sanga followed outside and hit a running clothesline to Wagner. Stone tried to leap at Sanga, getting caught, but this allowed Wagner to shove Sanga into the post twice and the steps once. He rolled Sanga back inside the ring. He hit a big running boot and, though he struggled, lifted the man to his shoulders to hit his Roode Bomb-like finisher. I don’t think they’ve ever named Wagner’s finisher even though he introduced some time ago.
WINNER: Von Wagner at 2:52 (Roode Bomb)
-A Wes Lee video played as he said Hayes and Williams did a number on him last week, but he’s cleared to compete. He said there’s a rumor that he doesn’t need to qualify; it’s true, but he doesn’t want a bye because he wants to earn it, having felt like he let the fans down.
-Mitchell was in the back and was interrupted by Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo, who called Lee stupid and said you should always take the free ride. He announced Lee would be facing D’Angelo next week, laughed, and walked off. He’s right about the free ride, though.
-Waller made his entrance for the first qualifying match against Oro Mensah. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: The worst thing about Wagner getting a push is that means we’ll see more of him, unfortunately. I think there’s more with Sanga, but he’s definitely more green than Wagner, who’s been in the business much longer. I don’t like it when babyfaces are stupid and while his intentions are noble, Lee’s decision is stupid. You know it’s bad when the HEEL makes the accurate point about your decision as a babyface. On the other hand, this could be a way for Lee to become champion by thwarting Hayes and Williams, the two perpetual thorns in his side since he returned as a singles wrestler.)
-They returned with a Grimes video, who angrily yelled at Gacy and said next week, Gacy won’t find peace or compassion as he will chop down the Schism tree and use it as fuel to go to the moon. That was the most…unhinged, I guess, I’ve seen Grimes in NXT.
-Mensah made his entrance to no reaction.
(7) GRAYSON WALLER vs. ORO MENSAH – North American Championship ladder match qualifier
Waller taunted Mensah and hit a cheap shot, then hit a clothesline and arrogantly stomped on Mensah’s head. Waller used the dreads to force Mensah to the mat twice, thrice, then tried an arm drag only for Mensah to keep a hold of the arm and roll into one of his own. Mensah sent Waller into the corner and hit a step-up dropsault to Waller, then taunted him with the dribbling taunt. Waller slapped him, then ate a bunch of strikes in return. Waller dodged a pump kick, lifted Mensah into an electric chair, then popped him up into a belly-to-back. He hit a leaping elbow drop for a two-count.
Waller slowed down the pace on Mensah, then mounting the back and raining down forearms to the neck. He grabbed the dreads again as more of a taunt, took off his elbow pad, then rained down some elbows to the head. Mensah responded with his own elbows to counter a hold, then dodged a lariat to hit his own flying forearms. He came off the second rope with an Asai moonsault, but Waller blocked an exploder. Mensah shifted with a rolling capoeira kick, but Waller stunned him across the top rope. He went for his rolling stunner, but Apollo Crews showed up to stop him, staring at him with blood running down his right eye. Mensah took advantage, then hit a running spinning heel kick in the corner to win.
WINNER: Oro Mensah at 5:24 (running spinning heel kick in the corner) to qualify for the North American Championship ladder match
-They showed The Creed Brothers taking it to a punching bag and grappling dummy as they argued over who would take out Kemp in a battle of self-pity and who was to blame more for their loss.
-Breakker made his entrance, with a Connor’s Cure kid in a knight’s outfit, Brandon “The Conqueror” Chase. [c]
-A Sol Ruca vignette aired again, and even though she was supposedly debuting last week, she still hasn’t. She spoke a lot of empty words using beach and water wordplay. Her debut is next week…so they say.
-Joseph and Barrett ran through two matches for next week, Grimes vs. Gacy and Briggs & Jensen vs. Gallus in a pub brawl or something.
-Bate made his entrance to a good pop. Breakker joined commentary. McDonagh’s music hit as he made his entrance next.
(8) TYLER BATE vs. J.D. MCDONAGH – #1 contender’s match for Men’s NXT Championship
Breakker was offended Barrett voted for Rose, but then laughed when Barrett said he had to vote for “milady.” McDonagh took control first, but then Bate used his quickness and evasiveness to run circles around McDonagh with some British style mat wrestling to the crowd’s delight. They hyped Kayden Carter vs. Nikkita Lyons next week with a graphic, as well as Brutus vs. Kemp. I guess if the tradeoff of doing Axiom-Frazer is no Lyons matches, I’ll take it. Bate took control with a second rope dropkick, then went for an airplane spin. McDonagh countered into a sunset flip cover for a two-count, then the two just traded leverage as they continued to employ various pinning combinations, ending with Bate bridging up and hitting a backslide, then into a victory roll, then both men hitting a lariat to floor each other with about three minutes left until the top of the hour. [c]
McDonagh had Bate in a Bsoton crab as they returned, but Bate reached the ropes to break the hold. More matches were hyped next week with graphics, including D’Angelo vs. Lee and Rose vs. Henley. McDonagh hit a series of quick kicks to the face while holding Bate’s arm and went for Devlin’s Slide, but Bate blocked and whipped McDonagh so hard into the corner he flipped over and out like Michaels.
Bate then hit a tope over the top rope, sending McDonagh splaying onto the announce table. Joseph noted that McDonagh was smiling at the pain; he’s a masochist, remember, Joseph? Bate caught McDonagh on a charge, then hit an exploder and a running shooting star press for a two-count. Bate hit his own flurry of short kicks to McDonagh, then caught McDonagh on a springboard attempt and hit the airplane spin, slamming McDonagh to the mat for a two-count. McDonagh was able to send Bate outside, then hit a PK. He then hit an absolutely beautiful Asai moonsault. He rolled Bate back in and hit a clean 450 splash from the top for a two-count. He quickly shifted to a snap brainbuster for a two-count where Bate kicked out just before three.
They traded punches and slaps in the ring. Bate went for Bop and Bang, but McDonagh blocked. Bate shifted, landed, went for Tyler Driver ’97, missed, Devlin’s Slide, countered, rebound lariat countered into a Spanish Fly, Bate with a stiff left from the mat! What a sequence! Bate went to the top, but McDonagh cut him off. He climbed, but Bate fought back and set for an avalanche Tyler Driver ’97. McDonagh prevented it and hit a big headbutt. They both sold a bit, but then McDonagh hit an avalanche Spanish Fly. He then hit Devlin’s Slide for the clean victory.
WINNER: J.D. McDonagh at 12:54 (Devlin’s Slide) to become #1 contender for the Men’s NXT Championship
-Breakker entered the ring after, but then Ilja Dragunov’s music played! McDonagh was screaming furiously as the now-healed former Men’s NXT Champion entered the ring in all black. McDonagh stepped to him as Dragunov went to Breakker. Breakker lifted the title between them as the show ended.
(Hazelwood’s Take: That was what you’d expect of a main event between these two and a revamped NXT. The outcome was probably predictable in that WWE doesn’t like doing too many face-face matches, especially for titles, and there is the first match to draw on as well. The surprise return of Dragunov will definitely help add to the intensity of the show. However, does this mean we’re getting a triple threat match? I don’t see them telling McDonagh he has to become #1 contender again after just becoming it, so it seems the only logical solution is a triple threat, which I would rather not see. I would love to see a Breakker-Dragunov singles feud, however, so let’s get to that point!)
FINAL THOUGHTS: While the show overall wasn’t NXT 2016 or anything and more in line with the past few months, there were some visages of the past, namely the main event and the announcement of the North American Championship ladder match. Dragunov’s inclusion stateside will help add some new blood to the show, but the question, as always, with these UK talents is how many people here know of their work there? Regardless, Dragunov will probably win over fans much more quickly than McDonagh and more in line with Bate and Satomura. Next week’s show does have a lot of good matches, and one thing NXT continues to do well is tell the stories week in and week out to maintain coherency and believability in the stories being told. This doesn’t mean they’re always good, but there’s structure, which is better than when the sudden shift occurred a year ago.
Tune in to PWT Talks NXT to hear more thoughts!