9/27 NXT REPORT: Hazelwood’s live report on Rose vs. Henley non-title, Gallus vs. Briggs & Jensen in a Pub Rules match, Lee vs. D’Angelo in qualifier, more


Full NXT preview


SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

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.

•CALL: (515) 605-9345

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-The show began with Ilja Dragunov’s music already playing as he made his entrance in a black turtleneck, black blazer, and black slacks (with black dress shoes).


He took a mic and received a loud “welcome back” chant. He said the last time he was in NXT, he conquered an unbeatable machine to become champion. He said he walks into this place like it’s the Colosseum and he suffered, but he succeeded with the heart of the gladiator. He said armed with nothing, just a burning will and an inhuman perseverance, he became a czar because pain has always been his best friend. He said he returned to repeat history, to achieve his destiny, one more time beat an unbeatable machine to claim gold, but this time his name is not Gunther (then Walter), his name is Bron Breakker. J.D. McDonagh’s music hit after the profusely sweating Dragunov stopped speaking.

McDonagh said he knows that Dragunov is a sneaky, dirty little rat, so he isn’t surprised that Dragunov followed him to the states. Dragunov said he seems to remember beating him and forcing him out of NXT UK. McDonagh said that’s true, but Dragunov’s body was so battered that he had to give up the NXT UK Championship, then asked about the broken ankle. McDonagh said he’s going to make one thing perfectly crystal clear: it’s not Dragunov’s time, it’s his time. He said if he needs to top Dragunov one more time, just once more, he’ll end his career. Breakker’s music hit in an oh so traditional WWE spot.

Breakker welcomed Dragunov to NXT, calling him a warrior, but with all due respect, the NXT Championship isn’t going anywhere. McDonagh told Breakker, the “meat head,” to use his head as he’s #1 contender. He said he has an idea, shot down the fan’s idea for a triple threat, then said the other two should challenge each other and he’ll face the winner. Breakker called him out and said the way that he sees it, if his math is correct – “which it always is” – McDonagh has a 33-and-a-half percent chance of winning, and called for a triple threat (why would the champion make his odds worse?). He said he’ll see them at Halloween Havoc.

-They showed a camera running to the back as Gallus was brawling with Josh Briggs  and Brooks Jensen, security trying to separate them.

-Mandy Rose and Toxic Attraction made their way from the back as Rose called out Henley, telling Alba Fyre to take some notes. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I’m really just wondering why Dragunov was sweating so damn much for a show-opening promo. I know he’s always intense, but my goodness, is that kind of intensity healthy? I don’t like when champions make it more difficult on themselves to retain their titles. Sure, a babyface champion should take all comers, but there’s a fine line between valor and stupidity. Turning a singles match into a triple threat match is hedging the latter.)

-They returned rather abruptly with a Schism video where they called out Cameron Grimes, saying they needed to make an example out of him. Joe Gacy said as they continue to grow, Grimes will be right back where he started: alone.

-Henley was in the ring as they cut back to the ring to a country rap entrance theme. Toxic Attraction made their way next. I wonder if she would be accepted as more formidable if she entered these types of matches solo?

(1) MANDY ROSE (w/Toxic Attraction) vs. FALLON HENLEY – Singles match 

The ref called for the bell while Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin were still in the ring. Rose quickly took Henley down, then taunted her. Henley rose straight into Rose’s face, then countered with a grounded side headlock. Rose grabbed the hair to push her off, ate a shoulder tackle, evaded with a cartwheel, then hit Henley with a basement dropkick for a two-count. She then arrogantly mushed Henley’s face (is there any other way to mush someone?). Henley then slapped Rose across the chest, dropped her, then kicked her. She slid outside and hit a straight right to Rose, then back inside for a two-count.

Rose caught Henley and hit a fall away slam. She then hit a running shoulder in the corner, then beat on Henley a bit for a two-count. Rose hit a snap suplex and posed for the crowd. Rose then targeted the left arm and put Henley into a modified abdominal stretch, trapping the left arm in her leg. Henley broke out, but Rose hit her inverted gutwrench suplex thing. She locked in the sub once again, this time for much longer, gouging her elbow into the ribs. Henley broke out, but was favoring her left arm. She landed a short-arm clothesline, but ate a big forearm. Wade Barrett called it a Bull Hammer, “I taught her that.” Henley slammed Rose to the mat for a two-count. Henley and Rose traded blows, Henley getting the better with kicks, but Rose pushed her off and suddenly landed her finishing shining wizard, Kissed by the Rose. I think Barrett said all challengers run into “those American thighs.”

WINNER: Mandy Rose at 5:39 (Kissed by the Rose)

-Rose took a mic and said she knows Fyre is jealous while Rose was conquering two continents as Fyre was lighting another log. Fyre appeared on the Tron and said she doesn’t do verbal warnings; she’s more of a visual woman. She lit a thing that flamed up to say #AndNew.

-Apollo Crews was writing in his journal, saying last week Grayson Waller got a taste of what vengeance means. He said Waller tried to permanently blind his vision (isn’t that redundant?), but he said he was able to blind Waller’s vision for the North American Championship. He said things are still a bit hazy, but one image remains crystal clear and they showed Waller removing sunglasses to reveal red eyes. He said he wasn’t done with Waller, “bitch.”

-Wes Lee was joined by a Connor’s Cure Thriver, Quinn “The King Crusher” Molitor. They danced a lot at the entrance. [c]

-They returned with Dragunov being met in the back by Xyon Quinn (haven’t seen him in a while). Quinn said all that hype for nothing, huh? Dragnov questioningly said thank you? Quinn said he hasn’t had the chance, but if he did, no one would take it from him. Dragunov said he’s heard about Quinn, someone with all of the potential, but a complete mental moron. He said he would never call Quinn a champion and said the ball is in Quinn’s corner and walked away.

-Tony D’Angelo made his entrance, accompanied by Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo.

(2) WES LEE vs. “THE DON OF NXT” TONY D’ANGELO (w/Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo) – North American Championship ladder match qualifier

They locked up, but D’Angelo just threw off Lee. Vic Joseph brought up how Lee was offered a bye into the ladder match, but declined. Barrett, like myself, laughed and asked why make it more difficult? Lee was able to taunt D’Angelo and then cinch in a side headlock. They showed Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams watching from the back. Lee went for a drop toehold, but D’Angelo held up and tossed Lee. He missed a leaping elbow, then ate a modified body rana by Lee. Lee hit a dropkick to send his foe outside. Lee went for a tope, but Lorenzo was in the way to prevent it, saying “The Don” needed some time. Lee hit a crossbody on Lorenzo, then slid back in the ring. D’Angelo had to hold back Lorenzo from attacking Lee. Lorenzo tried again, then eventually shoved Lee. The ref tossed him. [c]

D’Angelo was in control of Lee as they returned, kicking him around the ring. Lee grabbed a hold of the leg, but D’Angelo hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two-count. He put Lee in a rear chinlock, then modified to just crank on the face. D’Angelo quickly struck down a Lee comeback, then slapped him, which just enraged Lee. Lee rose to his feet in the corner, then hit the drop toehold this time, sending D’Angelo into the middle turnbuckle.

Both men struggled to their feet as D’Angelo looked to work out a kink in his knee. The ref put up the X as D’Angelo may have torn a ligament or blown a tendon in his right leg. The crowd gave a respectful clap as Lee looked on concerned for his opponent. D’Angelo’s grabbed his right knee immediately on replay after hitting the mat.

WINNER: Wes Lee at 8:45 (referee’s stoppage) to qualify for the North American Championship ladder match

-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Hayes and Williams. She asked about Lee, and Hayes said he doesn’t feel anything about Lee. Oro Mensah interrupted them, introducing himself and said he looks forward to facing Hayes in the ladder match. Hayes said he knows who Mensah is and respects his drip, that they could be friends in another time, but it’s everyone for themselves “playboy.”

-A Sol Ruca vignette played again, filled with more ocean and beach puns. Her debut is next. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: You never want to see an injury happen like that. It looked serious as the ref lingered with D’Angelo, then threw up the X. If D’Angelo was slated to win the match, that’s even more unfortunate. The only positive I see out of this, if any, is it allows D’Angelo to come back, refreshed, possibly with a distinct turn in his character. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? What does this mean for Lorenzo, though?)

-They returned with Joseph and Barrett at ringside as Barrett cut off Joseph to throw to a day in the life of Pretty Deadly. I don’t think I can do this justice. It was absolutely the arrogant, pretentious, and narcissistic video you’d expect it to be, meaning it was absolutely fabulous.

-Amari Miller was in the ring as they returned. Ruca made her entrance to surfer music.

(3) SOL RUCA vs. AMARI MILLER – Singles match

Ruca kept throwing up the shaka, which is a bit cringe, dear readers, as I live in Hawai’i and Ruca was billed as from California and Oregon; I guess it’s close? Miller took control early. Dragunov vs. Quinn was made official with a graphic as Ruca tried using her athleticism to gain the advantage, but Miller just used strikes to hold the advantage. Ruca hid a back handspring head scissors, then a split leg maneuver for  two-count. Ruca hit a sunset flip, but Miller sat down, then hit a knee to the gut. Ruca countered an Irish whip by climbing to the top and backflipping over Miller, landing on her feet.

Miller maintained control in this slow-paced match, cinching in a arm-trap rear chinlock. Ruca fought out, dodged a big boot, hit an arm drag, then a shoulder tackle, another one, a dropkick, and a front handspring corner splash. She hit a somersault leg drop to the back for the win. Ruca went for the “code of honor” I mean handshake after, and Miller obliged.

WINNER: Sol Ruca at 3:48 (somersault leg drop)

-They showed an intense Grimes making his way, then Schism. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: They kept putting over her gymnastics background, but didn’t connect much to her debut vignettes. Her background showed in this match and sort of remind me of another former gymnast’s early matches in Tiffany Stratton. There is going to be a lot of reliance on those skills by Ruca, as expected, and Stratton was the same way until she gained more experience and became more comfortable in the ring. The spot where Stratton is far ahead, even from the vignette alone, is in character work. I do have concerns that Ruca may lack the charisma, but she can grow into the character. It’s still early after all.)

-They returned with Gallus being forced into a separate room, Joe Coffey punching a security member in the face.

-Schism was already in the ring as they cut back. Grimes made his entrance.


(4) CAMERON GRIMES vs. JOE GACY (w/The Dyad) – Singles match

Grimes immediately hit a big boot, then a series of kicks to the chest against the ropes, nearly being disqualified. Gacy rolled outside, dragged out Grimes, then forced him into the apron and stomped away. Back in the ring, Grimes responded with running forearms, a hip toss, and a running basement kick to the head. Gacy rolled outside, but The Dyad stood in the way. Grimes flipped over them onto Gacy instead.

Grimes was distracted, allowing Gacy to regain control in the ring. Gacy slowed the pace, hitting a DDT for a two-count. Gacy kept telling Grimes it was over for him, but Grimes fought back, countered an uranage, hit a superkick, but had to deal with Rip Fowler on one side then Jagger Reed on the other. This allowed Gacy to his his handspring lariat, which Joseph said, “Gacy entered the Upside Down,” so I guess it’s the Upside Down?

WIINER: Joe Gacy at 3:17 (Upside Down)

-Mitchell was in the back with Waller, pacing. She asked about the vision and he said of course he saw it, do you think he’s pacing back-and-forth for cardio? He asked if she saw how red his eyes were in the vision. Mitchell said if he’s so worried, then just skip next week. He said he couldn’t because he has his talk show next week. He said he’d hire more security. Mate, have you not been watching the show the past few weeks?

-Nikkita Lyons made her entrance with Zoey Stark. [c]

-They returned with the full entrance for Kayden Carter and Katana Chance, the Women’s Tag Team Champion.

(5) NIKKITA LYONS (w/Zoey Stark) vs. KAYDEN CARTER (w/Katana Chance) – Singles match

Carter came up to the clavicle of Lyons in height. Lyons took back control and tossed Carter twice, maintaining her grip. Lyons threw her off, hit a split for a drop down, but Carter cartwheeled over and shook her ass. Carter used her speed to land some head kicks, then there was a sloppy spot where Lyons seemed to be ahead of the spots by a move. Back on the feet, she used power kicks and strikes, including a slow spinning backfist and side kick that showed light. She went for a bodyslam, but Carter slipped out. Carter tried a schoolgirl, but Lyons didn’t budge. Lyons hit a move and then cinched in a modified rear chinlock.

Carter tried rising to her feet, but Lyons just dragged her down. She smiled at the strength disparity. Carter finally broke out, attacked the leg, then the head, and went for a crucifix pin for a two-count. Lyons hit a spinning Michinoku driver that seemed to spike Carter, but she kicked out at two. Carter dodged strikes, took out the leg, then hit a side head kick. She hit a running boot to Lyons, sitting against the bottom rope for a two-count. Cater grabbed a hand and went for the top rope assisted arm drag, but Lyons took out her leg, causing her to bounce off of the rope and land on the mat. Lyons roared and hit her cyclone kick, then roared again for her split leg drop.

WINNER: Nikkita Lyons at 4:53 (split leg drop)

-Joseph threw to a video from last week recapping the tag team match between Hayes and Williams against Chase U, who took the upset victory. A Chase U video played from earlier today with the Chase U faithful chanting. Andre Chase said because of the victory last week, where he pinned Hayes, he’s earned a spot in a qualifier next week…against Von Wagner, who he has history with. He said he will beat Wagner and become the new North American Championship. He asked for questions from members of the press. “Dave” asked how much confidence he has since he’s never beat Wagner. Chase yelled and cussed him out, telling him “That…was a teachable moment!” They cheered some more.

-They showed Dragunov in a fancy feathered robe making his way from the back. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Lyons looked better, but she’s still showing so much light on her what are supposed to be her impact moves. She also seems to be relying more on memory than flow, as evidenced by the sloppy pinning combo spot early in the match. Carter was a good opponent for her to use her size and strength and for Carter to use her speed to create more movement and bumps. Still, Carter might be a bit too fast for Lyons at this moment. I still think Lyons needs to find better finishers than her cyclone kick and split leg drop, or at least hit them with more force, because they just don’t look believable right now.)

-They returned with a video recap of Nathan Frazer tying up the best-of-three with Axiom last week. Frazer said this isn’t the first time he’s been tied one-all. He said when  he played soccer (yes, he said soccer), his teammates turned to him when they needed the win. They showed footage of him practicing on the pitch as well as footage of him from his younger days, including a 30-yard winner. He said they’re both going to empty their playbooks because it’s win or go home. Seriously, I do hope Kelly is covering that match instead of me!

-Quinn was finishing his entrance as they hit the ring. Dragunov made his entrance next.

(6) ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. XYON QUINN – Singles match

Quinn looked wholly unbothered by his foe. Dragunov quickly took an arm, takedown, transition to a side headlock, then a front facelock, rear chinlock, side headlock, and a hip toss counter. He then smoothly transitioned to a front facelock after the pin. Dragunov kep chaining holds, then ran into Quinn, who didn’t fall, but rebounded into a judo toss right into a side headlock. Quinn nailed a strike that Dragunov ate and walked through, then put Quinn in an abdominal stretch. Quinn grabbed the hair and used it to toss Dragunov, then hit a running uppercut in the corner.

Dragunov responded with a chop, then another, but Quinn bounced him off of the ropes and hit his haka inspired double forearms. He then hit a pendulum backbreaker and a big standing splash for a one-count. He then cinched in a seated Million Dollar Dream varaint, but Dragunov fought to his feet and hit a ripcord slap. Quinn hit a slap, but then ate a bit enziguri. Dragunov rolled off the ropes and hit a discus lariat. He went for a German and hit, kept his grip, but had his second blocked. He ducked a strike from Quinn and hit a three-strike combo, then a suplex, followed by a falling forearm to the face, like jumping into guard in MMA. He set and hit Torpedo Moskau, his running headbutt, which Joseph didn’t call.

WINNER: Ilja Dragunov at 4:55 (Torpedo Moskau)

-They showed Damon Kemp making his way to the ring, still wearing a singlet in Diamond Mine colors. They showed Brutus and Julius warming up in the back as Brutus then went out by himself. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was a good way to get stateside fans introduced to Dragunov. He chained a lot of good holds to start the match, showed intensity throughout, showed good bumps against a foe who could believably make him bump, and his unique finisher in Torpedo Moskau. I really would just rather watch a singles match with Breakker and Dragunov than a triple threat involving McDonagh.)

-They returned with a Connor’s Cure promo.

-Joseph then shifted to a Wendy Choo video. Choo said when she hears Lash Legend speak, it’s like hearing nails on a chalkboard. She said she’s not afraid to stand up to anyone and she won’t let Legend and her huge ego get in the way. Legend sais she doesn’t care if you’re Choo, Doja Cat, Beyonce: if you see her, get out of the way. Choo said she proved that when she’s pushed and pushed, she can tap into her dark side, which is what Legend will experience next week. Legend said she kicked Choo’s face off because she pissed her off. Choo said she gets it, it’s hard to be humble when you have the gifts of Legend, but said she’s going to shut up the loudest mouth in NXT. It was a pretty good pre-recorded promo battle.

-Brutus made his entrance first, solo, for this grudge match with Kemp. Kemp entered to terrible music. Brutus rana and met Kemp at the entrance, not waiting for the ring.

(7) BRUTUS CREED vs. DAMON KEMP – Grudge match

When they made it into the ring, it was a full on wrestling brawl with Brutus landing takedowns and then a gutwrench. Kemp countered a rush by tossing Brutus neck-first on the top rope, then locked in a cravat. He kept it in even as Brutus tried fighting out, then rammed Brutus’ head into the turnbuckle. He rubbed Brutus’ head along the rope, still keeping the hold. Kemp held the cravat for close to 90 seconds before he transitioned into a snap mare and a leaping elbow drop. The crowd started booing, well, a couple of loudmouths. Brutus lifted and bodyslammed Kemp to break the cravat, applied again. Kemp sidestepped Brutus and sent him into the corner, then dropped the straps and slapped Brutus. Brutus quickly tried a rollup, but Kemp kicked out. Brutus hit a pounce, sending Kemp outside. Kemp grabbed a chair and hit Kemp, getting disqualified, but then just kept beating the hell out of Brutus until more refs came down to take the chair. Kemp yelled into the camera for Julius to come get some. Kemp must have landed between ten and 15 chair shots.

WINNER: Brutus Creed at 3:05 (disqualification)

-They showed Sanga and Quincy Elliott in the kitchen area in the back. Sanga said Elliott had good luck last week, but he didn’t have it last week. Elliott told him to keep his head up. Sanga thanked him and walked off. Elliott told Quinn, who was walking by, that he watched and just couldn’t find that x-factor Quinn was talking about so much. He laughed and walked off.

-Gallus made their entrance. Joe Coffey was banned after punching security earlier. [c]

-They returned with a video of what happened during the break. They showed Lyons and Stark saying they’re coming for the Tag Team Championship. Toxic Attraction interrupted them and said it was their Tag Team Championship, but Stark pointed out they lost them. Rose said there’s three of them against two, then the ground lit on fire as Fyre appeared.

-Joseph hyped “The Grayson Waller Effect” with Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade, Chase vs. Wagner in a qualifier, and a “State of the Commonwealth Address” from Pretty Deadly.

-Briggs and Jensen made their entrance, Briggs with a bull rope.

(8) GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN – Pub Rules match

Referee D.A. Brewer called for the bell immediately as it’s tornado tag rules here, folks. Wolfgang paired off with Jensen while Briggs paired off with Coffey, the latter two on the outside. Gallus had the advantage until Briggs threw a trash can at and off of Coffey. Briggs climbed back to the ring and beat on Wolfgang, then hitting a double shoulder tackle. Joseph said this was all started because the faces were refused entrance to a game of cribbage while Barrett said you never interrupt a Scot playing cribbage. Briggs and Jensen took out both men with kicks, sending them outside. They then let Gallus grab a table from the ring. Jensen then went to get one of their own. Gallus set theirs up outside while Briggs set theirs up in a corner. The heels tried to lure the faces into a trap, but the faces decided to even the odds and grabbed chairs to Gallus’ trash can lids. The chairs won. You know, I was really hoping this would be more of a cinematic match like the Sheamus-Cesaro bar brawl video from years ago. [c]

Gallus was in control as they returned. They hit a double team enziguri-Oklahoma slam double team on the outside. Joseph said Barrett was hit by a trashcan and screamed, though Barrett said he took it “like a man.” Gallus then focused on Jensen in the ring as pins and submissions can only occur in the ring. Coffey put Jensen in a backslide, then Wolfgang set a chair against the face and kneed it into Jensen, though it only scored a two-count.


Coffe went to use a belt, but Briggs made it back in the ring to save Jensen only to get whooped himself. Coffey and Wolfgang both grabbed belts as the crowd shooshed each other. The started whipping the faces, though only Jensen’s back was fully uncovered until Coffey removed Briggs vest. Briggs tried kicking them away, but just kept getting whipped, same with Jensen. Briggs caught a swing, as did Jensen, and the took hold of the belts. Turnabout is fair play as they whipped away at Gallus. Wolfgang was the only competitor still with a shirt on, thankfully for him…then Briggs put it over Wolfgang’s head and whipped him. They slid out and hit their straight rights with the belts wrapped around.

They noticed the table with empty beer mugs, then shattered the mugs on the heads of Gallus. Coffey was trembling after the strike. They put Coffey into a trashcan head-first, then kicked an interfering Joe Coffey off of the apron and through the table on the outside. They tossed Wolfgang into the corner table. Joe Coffey was on his feet with the trash can around him and ate a high-low.

WINNER: Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen at 11:35 (high-low)

-Henley came out to celebrate with the two after the match as security held Gallus back at the entrance. Wolfgang punched a security guard, then I think Joe punched a ref. Four cops in fresh, never ironed uniforms came out and arrested the three to end the show.

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was, as my friend called it, a “by-the-book garbage match.” It wasn’t anything special and the only thing that made it feel like a “pub rules” match were the mugs being shattered on the heads of Gallus. Other than that, it was just your standard street fight. I would have put the heels over here as I just don’t see much with the faces, not to mention Briggs and Jensen were the first to be (quickly) eliminated in the match at Worlds Collide. It’s a curious booking decision indeed unless the ending is supposed to turn Gallus into an early n.W.o. like group who just ran havoc around the locker room and arenas. I don’t even know if I’d buy that, but it’s the best option after the booking decision tonight.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: It was a weird show in more ways than one. The first two matches and main event were the only matches to go beyond five minutes, while the hour between was all sub five-minute matches. The unfortunate injury to D’Angelo certainly didn’t help. I do think the videos played throughout the show were well done, even if the Crews one still strains reality, but particularly the Pretty Deadly and Choo-Legend ones were well done and did a lot to put over each as characters and, for the latter, build anticipation for their match next week. Ruca’s debut was a tepid while Dragunov’s (re)debut was a success. Overall, the final booking decision and match, which didn’t set the show off with as much of a bang as I think they thought, left me feeling more perplexed about the show than anything.

Tune into PWT Talks NXT for further details!

1 Comment on 9/27 NXT REPORT: Hazelwood’s live report on Rose vs. Henley non-title, Gallus vs. Briggs & Jensen in a Pub Rules match, Lee vs. D’Angelo in qualifier, more

  1. As soon as NXT UK tapings were contemporary with the invasion of Ukraine, they stopped referring to Dragunov as hailing from Russia, dropped the “Moscow” from his torpedo finisher, and changed his music from the Russian military sound. And rightfully so.
    As for Gallus? I think it was bold to put over the young team, and perhaps on to RAW for them. A real threat to the Usos, if you ask me.

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