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NXT NEW YEAR’S EVIL TV REPORT
JANUARY 10, 2023
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, Booker T
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 Chase U segment. Duke Hudson and Thea Hail were front row as Andre Chase welcomed everyone to a new semester where everyone gets a fresh start. Chase then assigned them to watch the show tonight and gave a rundown of the card with some trademark Chase U antics. Students reacted in shock when he said he was hyped for Hank Walker vs. Charlie Dempsey. He was then kicked out of class by Chase for his “stupidity” when Hudson said he wasn’t Australian, but American. Chase then gave Hail a pep talk because of her heart in tonight’s battle royal.
-Tony D’Angelo’s music hit as “The Don of NXT” made his way with Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo. Dijak entered next. He received a black-and-white entrance like Karrion Kross. Wes Lee joined commentary, sitting by Vic Joseph and not Booker T. Smart.
(1) TONY D’ANGELO (w/Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo) vs. DIJAK – Singles match
D’Angelo immediately came firing and clotheslined Dijak over the top rope. In a white tank, D’Angelo dodged a boot into the steps and hit some front face lock gut punches. Joseph mentioned Lee having to overcome some loyalty issues last year (is that what it’s called, Joseph?). Back in the ring, D’Angelo hit some side headlock punches only to be countered into a rear chin lock, but he rammed Dijak into the corner. Dijak then ran into a lariat for a two-count.
D’Angelo took a methodical approach, but was then hit with a stun gun basically across the top rope and a lariat for a two-count. Dijak took over after that with strong strikes, but D’Angelo dodged and hit a Cactus Jack lariat to send both men to the outside. Stacks was encouraging “The Don,” but Dijak threw him right into Stacks. It looks like a lot of the spray tan from Dijak is on D’Angelo’s tank. [c]
Dijak had a cravate on as they returned. They showed Dijak chaining or handcuffing Stacks to one corner and beating on him during the commercial. D’Angelo fought back with a couple of clotheslines and belly-to-belly side suplex. He hit a spinebuster after an Irish whip for a two-count. He went for a fisherman’s, but couldn’t get Dijak up. Dijak hit some punches and then some kicks, but missed a spinning back elbow. He did land a superkick and then hit a sit-down chokeslam pin for a two-count to Lee’s shock.
Stacks, indeed handcuffed outside to a corner, encouraged “The Don.” He stepped in and said to let him finish him, that he’d to anything for the boss. D’Angelo grabbed him and said, “I’m not your boss, I’m family,” and threw aside Stacks only to be hit by Dijak’s big boot for the three-count.
WINNER: Dijak at 10:05 (big boot)
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Toxic Attraction about the 20-woman battle royal. Jacy Jayne said one of them will win while Gigi Dolin said she takes out her problems on others and she has 18 others tonight. Mitchell said to address the elephant in the room…if it’s them two at the end (oh, that’s the elephant). They said they’d be announced co-winner.
-The Creed Brothers made their entrance. Sanga then entered alone. He said he had something to say while Brutus said he doesn’t give a damn. Sanga entered the ring and said Veer isn’t here, but he’ll honor the match two-on-one. Julius said it’s about respect, but Veer doesn’t have respect to show up. Jinder Mahal (ah) then attacked from behind. They took it to the brothers as the crowd chanted for Mahal, a competitor in the first men’s NXT Championship match against a guy named Seth Rollins. He hit the Khallas on Julius in the ring after tossing Brutus onto the steps outside. He took a mic and said while they fight for respect, he doesn’t. Short and sweet.
-They showed Pretty Deadly in the back with some hair rollers. The New Day approached and said because of the non-match, theirs is next. They said “De-roll, de-roll!” as they left. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Damnit, that was the match I was most looking forward to watching! Mahal being back in NXT is probably better for him than not being used except to job randomly on Raw or Smackdown, and because he’s seemingly paired with Indus Sher, he might not be thrust into the main event picture right away. Pair that with succinct promos like tonight and he could have a little renaissance *if* everything breaks right. It’s a different dynamic than when he had The Singh Brothers/Bollywood Boyz, so I’m at least intrigued, but not necessarily excited, about this development.)
-They returned with Mahal and Sanga in the back speaking I presume to be Punjab based on Mahal’s background. Valentina Feroz appeared and asked him about what happened. Elektra Lopez then told her to focus on herself.
-Pretty Deadly entered for their gauntlet match, hair looking swell even with the early de-roll. Kit Wilson said there’s no time to talk because it’s time to fight, yet they talked. Elton Prince said they picked three of the toughest teams. “The Rockers” entered, “Flying” Brian Williams and “Slamming” Sammy Jackson or something.
(2) PRETTY DEADLY (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) vs. THE ROCKERS (Flying” Brian Williams and “Slamming” Sammy Jackson), EDRIS ENOFE & MALIK BLADE, GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) – Gauntlet match
I don’t know who’s who, but Prince immediately bashed one and tagged in Wilson, sending him into a gutbuster. Prince tagged in and they hit Spilled Milk.
Pretty Deadly wins the first fall at 0:30
The New Day’s music hit and they said naw. Kofi Kingston said they knew this was going to happen, so they made their own preparations. Xavier Woods said they had two top teams to face. “Who? Who? Who?” Edris Enofe and Malik Blade entered. They ran straight in and the bell rung. They took out both men as Enofe looked like a foot soldier for Shredder without the mask. [c]
Prince was sent outside as Blade looked to make the tag. Wilson sent his partner back in, but Blade fought him off to tag in Enofe. Enofe hit a big spinebuster to Wilson, who had also tagged in, and then another one was delivered to Prince. Enofe, in an homage to Mandy Rose, hit Kissed by the Rose for a two-count. Prince tagged in and they hit the assisted gutbuster once more, but for a two-count. Blade was still on the outside recovering. Prince set Enofe up in Enofe’s corner, but Enofe fought him off of the top. Blade made a sneaky tag as Prince went back for a superplex. Blade set and immediately hit a frog splash all the way across the ring, and he made it look effortless, for a two-count.
Blade tagged back in Enofe, who was still selling, then hit a rolling blockbuster-Samoan drop combo, but Wilson broke up the pin. He and Blade went outside as Enofe went for an inside cradle, but Wilson pushed him over for the victory.
Pretty Deadly wins the second fall at 8:26
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen were chosen next, but they didn’t enter. A camera ran to the back where they had been attacked. Gallus then made a shocking return, much to the chagrin of Pretty Deadly. Gallus boys on top! They immediately took out Pretty Deadly at ringside, Coffey on Wilson and Wolfgang on Prince. Back in the ring, Coffey hit a half-and-half. Wilson tagged in, but Coffey fought both of them off and tagged in his partner. They hit an Oklahoma slam-enziguri combo to win the match.
WINNER: Gallus at 9:35 (Oklahoma slam-enziguri)
-Gallus then posed with The New Day near the entrance as they appear to be the next contender for a title shot.
-They showed Julius storming out of medical as Ivy Nile asked him if he’s good. He said he’s not good with being attacked. Nile told him to stop and to be with his brother and to move on from these guys. Nile said she had to get ready and they split like siblings having an argument.
(Hazelwood’s Take: I did posit last week that it seems like a prime spot to bring back Gallus, and sure enough, Gallus boys back on top it seems. Joe Coffey was absent physically, but mentioned on name, as was their storyline suspension that is now up. The New Day are going to be forced to have a different kind of match with Gallus than Pretty Deadly, and honestly, I would have been fine with either outcome. This gives Gallus a big return while giving Pretty Deadly something to struggle against, maybe for their first time in NXT.)
-They returned with a video of Carmelo Hayes in the diner, a shot at Apollo Crews. He was even writing in a diary and narrating his video. Trick Williams then made an appearance wearing a lucha mask. Williams asked how Axiom sees anything under a mask. Hayes said the men’s NXT Championship has his name on it because that’s all it is and that’s all it’s going to be.
TIFFANY STRATTON RETURN PROMO
The ball dropped for a countdown to celebrate new year’s I guess? Then Tiffany Stratton made her return with new music and a new entrance, posing for the photos like paparazzi. She asked how badly they missed her and she said she knows they missed her so much it’s not even funny, but every woman in the locker room is sweating like a disgusting pig because NXT’s biggest superstar is back. She may have forgotten her next line after a pause, but she said she’s a revelation. She said she picked up the business in her first nine months of being here quicker than any woman. She said she’s seen every woman fail to replace her over the past five months. She said no one has her shine, skill, or style, and 2023 can officially begin because the center of the universe is back. I’m guessing “the center of the universe” is either going to be her catchphrase or nickname.
-Joseph then threw to a package hyping the men’s NXT Championship match between champion Bron Breakker and challenger Grayson Waller. It was, as expected, well done in showing Breakker’s dominance and Waller’s successful mind games with the iron plate, but Breakker getting the better last week in The Waller Effect. [c]
-They returned with Kayden Carter and Katana Chance being congratulated for their record-breaking reign of 161 days. Stratton came out and refused to take questions.
-A Waller hype video then played before his music, about 15 seconds of music over his highlights. He looked like he was putting on an air of confidence. The good news: the crowd’s biggest reaction was for Waller, and they’re booing the hell out of him. Breakker then made his entrance in a modern Steiner neon singlet with a black base, but no X to destroy. Alicia Taylor gave formal introduction from inside the ring. She had on a sweet, sweet jacket as she stared intently at who she was announcing.
(3) BRON BREAKKER (c) vs. GRAYSON WALLER – NXT Championship match
Dueling chants began, but louder for Breakker. They tied up, then Breakker pushed off Waller. A second time saw Waller slip Breakker and slap the hell out of him. Breakker then chased Waller around the ring and back inside, dodging an elbow and hitting a shoulder tackle. A delayed vertical suplex followed as he just walked around the ring a bit. Breakker then kipped up and overshot his standing moonsault, but landed a bit. Mahal vs. Julius Creed was made official for tonight.
Waller hit a boot out of the corner, then a tornado DDT counter to slow Breakker. He grabbed a front face lock, but Breakker lifted him only for Waller to switch to a cravate. Knees to the head followed, then a standing guillotine that dropped to the mat. Breakker rose to his feet and went for a vertical, but Waller countered into a belly-to-back suplex for a two-count, then mocked Breakker with pushups.
Breakker caught a punch and hit an overhead belly-to-belly, then a release Northern Lights, then a weird tilt-a-whirl slam that slammed Waller face-first. However, Waller countered an Irish whip with a hard one into the corner. He then rammed Breakker into the same corner and the second turnbuckle came loose. The ring crew came to fix it as they cut to break. [c]
Waller had Breakker in a single leg crab as they returned, ring ropes restored. Breakker fought out of the hold and turned it into a Fujiwara armbar, but Waller quickly reached the bottom rope. Breakker was holding his left leg as Waller held his left arm. An exchange of blows began in the middle of the ring, Breakker then asking for Waller to hit him. Breakker ducked an elbow, but not the lariat to the back of the neck.
Waller barked and called for the Recliner. He mockingly went for it and thought he cinched it in, but Breakker was livid and rose to his feet. He threw off Waller and hit some John Cena flying shoulder tackles before hitting his catching suplex. He went to the top rope and hit the Steiner bulldog. He called for the spear and set, but Waller rolled to the apron and snapped Breakker’s throat on the top. He went for the rolling stunner, but knowing Breakker was going for a spear, he instead hit a rising Tiger Knee to Breakker, but only for a two-count. Waller went to climb the ropes, but the second rope snapped, sending him outside, He couldn’t make it back by the count of ten and that’s how the match ended. Breakker didn’t look pleased.
WINNER: Bron Breakker at 12:20 (count out)
-Mitchell was in the back with Roxanne Perez. Mitchell asked about the battle royal. Perez said she was rooting for Cora Jade, then laughed it off. She said all jokes aside, this is a huge opportunity with the first standalone PLE outside of the PC in three years. Mitchell asked about Toxic Attraction. Perez said they’re definitely threats, but only one woman can win.
-They showed a video of the Drew Gulak-Walker relationship, and the Dempsey factor. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: That was shaping up to be a good match, and then that crap of a finish happened. I guess they want to extend this to Vengeance Day? That’s the only thing I can think of here, a way to protect both without a definitive finish. Still, what a letdown to that championship match.)
-They returned with Crews in the locker room watching the Hayes video from earlier in the night. Axiom approached and thanked Crews. Crews he knows Hayes won’t let him hear the end of this. Axiom said Williams is still the most annoying person on earth, and Crews can read it all over his face (this is becoming a funny gimmick). They said they’re in and went to make calls.
-Walker was in the ring with Gulak as Joseph said the ring was double reinforced. Dempsey entered next.
(4) CHARLIE DEMPSEY vs. HANK WALKER (w/Drew Gulak) – Singles match
Dempsey took it to Walker early, but Walker hit a kick and then a shoulder breaker, which I believe was Rocky Maivia’s first finisher. Dempsey, enraged, took control again, using the top rope against Walker. Walker then lifted and with some effort, ran Dempsey through the ropes and outside, himself following. He rolled Dempsey back in the ring, but ate a kick on his reentry. Dempsey then ground Walker’s head against the bottom rope. Shawn Michaels tweeted he’ll have something on the Breakker-Waller match by the end of the show.
Dempsey then stomped on Walker, but Walker hit a boot. His second one was caught and Dempsey used that as a suplex, then turned it into a modified Regal Stretch that wasn’t fully locked as Walker reached the rope. Dempsey then took out the knee, hit an uppercut, and a forearm, but Walker…hit a rolling armbar?! The hell? Dempsey made his way to the rope, but Walker dragged him back. The crowd was pretty silent during this whole match. Dempsey then bridged and flipped out of the hold and applied the Stretch again. Walker crawled, but Dempsey rolled him through and locked his fingers together.
WINNER: Charlie Dempsey at 4:34 (modified Regal Stretch)
-They showed Sol Ruca preparing in the back as Alba Fyre approached and said Fyre at least owes Ruca a match. Ruca said she doesn’t owe her anything, but Fyre said does she want the match or not? Fyre seemed a bit confused with everything going on with her and Isla Dawn.
-A video played for Tyler Bate, so it seems like he’s making a return soon. I believe the unification bout at Worlds Collide was the last we saw of Bate. Bate said it was time for rest and reflection, but now he returns for new challenges and to settle some old feuds. He returns next week.
-Joseph and Booker T then shifted to NXT_Anonymous video of Scrypts dropping a note in Oro Mensah’s locker.
-Mahal’s music hit as he was accompanied by Sanga. They showed a video of Mahal’s return earlier in the night.
(5) JINDER MAHAL (w/Sanga) vs. JULIUS CREED – Singles match
Creed just ran to the ring and took it to Mahal immediately. He rammed Mahal in to a corner and hit a bunch of shoulder thrusts and punches. Mahal hit a kick out of the corner to blunt the momentum, but ran into a big spinebuster and immediate ground strikes from Creed. Creed then threw Mahal into the ring posts twice followed by a lariat to the outside. [c]
Creed was thrown off of a superplex attempt, but then leaped straight to the top rope and hit anyway, sending Mahal all the way across the ring for a two-count. They are really reinforcing that Mahal is a former WWE Champion. Creed hit a running shoulder thrust into the corner, then hit some more. Mahal hung onto the ropes, then hit a stun gun of his own followed by a big boot for a two-count.
Mahal then methodically took it to Creed with knees and stomps. Creed’s mouth was bloody, looked hardway. Mahal hit a crossface, then a stiff forearm. Creed blocked the next and hit some strikes of his own, but ran into that Mahal high knee for a two-count. It almost looks like Mahal is no-selling a little as a way to tell Creed to really lay it in with the strikes. Mahal then cinched in a modified rear chinlock-armbar combo. Creed fought out, but ate a gut knee. Creed caught Mahal on a lariat attempt and hit a big exploder out of the corner.
Creed hit some running forearms and a modifed front suplex for a two-count. I think the Breakker-Waller ending took it out of the crowd…or they remembered what Mahal matches were like. Creed hit his rolling spinebuster and set for the sliding lariat, but then went to the top instead. Sanga rose to the apron as a distraction, long enough for Mahal to dodge the shooting star that Creed rolled through. He turned right into a running boot followed by a Khallas.
WINNER: Jinder Mahal at 9:49 (Khallas)
-They showed Kiana James and Fallon Henley tending to Brooks Jensens and Josh Briggs, respectively, in medical. James had her hands on Jensen’s arm. Henley said she’s not liking what she’s seeing with those two. Jensen wished James luck.
-Jade made the first entrance for the 20-woman battle royal. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I said Mahal will do better in NXT, and here he gets a strong, albeit distraction-enhanced finish, of one of the best tag team wrestlers on the card. That’s right, I said tag team because he’s mainly tagged and his singles matches have been few. The Damon Kemp match stands out, but what else? It makes sense that Mahal, the “former WWE Champion” as commentary kept reminding us, would beat the inexperienced singles wrestler. Still, I hope they explain why Veer was gone and just how Mahal entered the picture for Indus Sher.)
-They showed a vignette for NXT UK talent Stevie Turner, which was shot like her doing a live stream over her own highlights. She had way too many digital and streaming puns.
-They returned with 19 women in the ring, then hyped Hayes & Williams vs. Crews & Axiom and Briggs & Jensen vs. Gallus. Zoey Stark was the final entrant.
(6) 20-WOMAN OVER-THE-TOP BATTLE ROYAL – #1 contender’s match
Joseph reminded viewers that Stark won the last one. Jade was IMMEDIATELY eliminated by Lyra Valkyria. Tatum Paxley was on the apron and eliminated by James. Henley was saved by James, surprisingly. Lash Legend had Amari Miller on her shoulders and used her to kick others, then slapped Legend in the chest. Legend then shoved her out over the top. Ruca used her handstand abilities to only have one foot hit the ground, then handstand walked around to the other corner and used the bottom rope to pull herself up. A “Let’s go Sol!” chant began. Thea Hail then eliminated I think Valentina Feroz. Joseph confirmed. Hartwell dodged a Legend kick, then eliminated her. Valkyria went for and eliminated James right into Legend. Stark then threw Dani Palmer onto the two. Valkyria went for a Cactus clothesline, but couldn’t get Stark over, so she just went with kicks. Jade came back to try and eliminate Valkyira, but was instead eliminated a second time. Ha! [c]
They came back and both Nile and Hartwell were eliminated. Hail and Henley were eliminated during the break. Lopez was on the apron, but then ate a bad spin kick from Nikkita Lyons to be eliminated; she barely connected. Wendy Choo was saved by her body pillow, but Lopez took it out from under her to eliminate her. Stark then eliminated Lyons, but didn’t see Ruca behind her, who eliminated her. The last five are Dolin, Jayne, Fire, Ruca, and Valkyria. Fyre then eliminated Ruca to big boos.
The remaining four women met and went at each other. Jayne went to eliminate Fyre, but she held on. Valkyria hit a double dropkick, then hit a kick combo to Jayne. She hit a big enziguri to Dolin, then turned to Fyre. Valkyria and Fyre went to the apron on a rana attempt. Fyre went for a German, but Valkyria held on. Jayne and Dolin tried, but failed to elimiate the two. Valkyria then came from behind and used a head scissors to eliminate Fyre. Jade tried for a third time, this time through the crowd, but missed. However, Jayne and Dolin knocked her off to eliminate her. Jade and Valkyria fought around ringside.
Jayne and Dolin celebrated, but the match didn’t end. They then looked at each other. The crowd chanted for Jayne, but she raised Dolin’s hand. She went to go eliminate herself, then turned around and hit superkick. She went to eliminate Dolin, but Dolin stayed on the apron. Both women then went to the top rope as Jayne looked for a superplex to the outside. Dolin fought it off (are we getting 2005 Royal Rumble here?) and they traded blows. YUP! They hit simultaneous punches and they hit the ground. Daryl Sharma called it for Dolin while Tom Castor called it for Jayne. They showd the refs looking at the replay and they came to a decision: Castor raised both hands.
WINNER: Toxic Attraction at 13:15 to become #1 contender for NXT Championship
-Perez made her entrance and looked confidently at both women as the triple threat match is set for Vengeance Day.
-They showed Michaels in the back with both Breakker and Waller. He said he wants a decisive winner. They argued until Michaels jumped in to quell the dispute. He made their rematch official at Vengeance Day in a steel cage match.
(Hazelwood’s Take: This was a bit risky of a move to have them both hit the ground simultaneously enough to call for a tie. It seemed like it was going to happen once it was the two of them anyway, but I like the bit by Jayne where she was wrestling with herself on to eliminate Dolin. A triple threat match helps to cover some of their weaknesses, but in that case, why not go with someone like Stark or Valkyria, who I said was a dark horse to win – I was kind of right as she was the last eliminated. Still, I guess to build the babyface champion, what better first challenge than not one opponent, but two?)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The endings to several matches tonight just left for a weird show that had an odd pace. There’s rumors of a huge story breaking tonight that, as one journalist put it, “could be the biggest story in pro wrestling history.” For a PLE-lite as I like to call the TV ones, this felt more like a regular episode of NXT even with the high-stakes matches. There were just too many moving parts tonight, and not all of them hit their marks. Let’s hope the big news doesn’t hamper things any more.
UPDATE: Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net is reporting the Saudis have bought WWE and are taking it private. Welp.