SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 31, 2023
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT THE CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS (@spookymilk), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T
Ring Announcer: Alicia Taylor
Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell
Tonight after the show, join Nate Lindberg, Bruce Hazelwood & me to break down the show with calls and emails.
•STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 15 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (515) 605-9345
•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: email@example.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW POST-RECORDING
-Vic announced that the show would be presented with “limited commercial interruption,” which is great for everyone but the recapper and his ability to take a quick bathroom break.
(1) THE CREED BROTHERS (Julius & Brutus) (w/Ivy Nile) vs. INDUS SHER (Sanga & Veer) (w/Jinder Mahal)
Julius & Veer locked up. It went nowhere. Julius shot in for a leg but Veer backed off. Rope run led to both guys trying and failing at hip tosses. Veer powered Julius to the heel corner, threw a leg and tagged. Julius escaped and tagged also. Brutus went for a waistlock and Sanga twisted Brutus to the mat. Brutus shot in and Sanga shoved him to a neutral corner. Both guys fought for control and Veer made a blind tag and hit a big standing elbow drop. Brutus picked up Veer and ran him over to the face corner and tagged Julius. The Creeds teamed up to hip toss Veer and Julius slammed Brutus onto Veer, then covered for one. Mahal distracted Julius long enough for the heels to team up and hang up Julius on a rope. Sanga tagged in and choked Julius against a rope, then leaned on him. Veer tagged in and the two continued the beatdown.
Julius finally managed a takedown, but Sanga had tagged in and he darted Julius onto a neutral corner. Veer tagged in and Julius once again took down Sanga, but Veer laid into Julius with kicks. Another heel tag and the two ran Julius along the ropes and flattened him with a double block. Double wristlock by Sanga, who followed up with a slam and a cover for two. Sanga took Julius to acorner for some knees. Julius fought for the tag and Sanga leaned on him, then tagged. Veer took over the leg and Julius kept reaching. He managed to flip up with a kick and make the hot tag. Brutus mauled Indus Sher in and out of the ring. Brutus hit a German suplex on Veer and clubbed him on the mat. He tagged Julius, and both hit standing shooting star presses on Veer. Sanga made the save. Brutus charged Sanga and the two rolled out of the ring. Julius hit an impressive powerbomb on Veer and got two. Julius set up for a big knee and Jinder grabbed his leg. Ivy jumped to the apron to take issue with Jinder. Julius got run into Ivy, who took a big bump to the floor. Veer hit a big lariat and Sanga, now legal, hit a release uranage and got the win.
WINNERS: Indus Sher at 9:56.
(Wells’s Analysis: The hard-hitting affair you’d want. Relatively obvious outcome as the dynamic between Ivy Nile and the Creeds continues to change.)
-Back in the kitchen/lounge area, Tyler Bate and Axiom watched a match they had on NXT UK when Axiom was A-Kid. They made some cheeky jokes about the two of them wondering where A-Kid was, and decided to tangle tonight. Damon Kemp showed up and ran down the love-in and the European style. He walked off and Bate called him a pendejo, getting a rise from the fans.
-Zoey Stark walked into a group of babyfaces in the locker room and talked them down, particularly Indi Hartwell, given their two performances in the Royal Rumble. Nikkita Lyons was mentioned, since Stark is the kayfabe reason she’s injured.
(2) INDI HARTWELL vs. ZOEY STARK
Action spilled out early, and back inside, Hartwell hit a big boot. She covered for three. Waistlock by Hartwell and Stark raked her eyes, then hit a basement lariat for two. My internet blipped and I missed a minute and a half or so. Stark hit a slingshot senton, then worked a headlock. The crowd clapped Indi back into it and Indi took Zoey to a corner. Zoey fought out, but Indi shoved her in again to break. Slugfest ensued and Indi temporarily won it. Ax-handles by Indi. Thesz press into a cover by Indi got two. Roundhose kick by Stark followed by a German suplex for two. Stark wanted a half-and-half and Indi rolled free. The two jockeyed for position in a corner and Hartwell went for a slingshot kick and Zoey begged off. Zoey hit a flash knee to finish.
WINNER: Zoey Stark at 6:13.
Stark kept up the beatdown and Sol Ruca made the save in street clothes.
(Wells’s Analysis: Not bad stuff here as Zoey continues to be a big high point in the division and Indi, ever so incrementally, becomes a stronger worker.)
-Joe Gacy said The Dyad would change everyone’s reality tonight. Ava Raine said Chase U worshipped a false idol. Four roots, one tree.
-We’ll hear from Wes Lee next. The first commercial aired 27 minutes into the show. [c]
-Apollo Crews talked about the life in the city, and said he needed two falls to finish Carmelo Hayes once and for all. He said if Trick Williams wants to get involved, he’ll be handled. He said if Melo wants to call him the past and himself the future, then at Vengeance Day, the past will take care of the future.
-Wes Lee hit the ramp with his North American Championship belt. He said we’re four days away from Vengeance Day. He messed up “North Cackalacky” as “North Cara – olacky.” He poked fun at himself, acting like he had it all the while. He acknowledged he might get his ass beat on Saturday. Dijak’s music played him to the ramp and he told Lee to soak it in because this is the end of his reign. He said Lee had every option to just hand it over and he was too stupid to do so. He said he’d rip the championship from Lee’s prone hands. Lee said that’s exactly what Dijak would have to do, because through every trial and tribulation, he’s fought. He said the support from every fan showed him he could reach heights he never dreamed of. He said Saturday he’s not just fighting Lee, he’s fighting everyone on the west side. Dijak said Lee might be fighting for them, but they wouldn’t be fighting for him.
Von Wagner and Mr. Stone hit the ramp to boos. Stone said his ears must not be working properly because Dijak said he was the biggest and baddest. Wagner told Dijak to take his shades off because they’re inside. He said he was going to get the respect he deserves. Lee fanned the flames and tried to play the giants against one another. He said he just sees an injustice that has to be fixed. Lee said if Wagner were to beat Dijak tonight, maybe he’ll be the #1 contender come next Tuesday. Dijak shot in for Lee and Lee moved, so the beasts collided. Shawn Michaels made the match immediately, per Vic.
(3) DIJAK vs. VON WAGNER (w/Mr. Stone)
Wagner got the early advantage as the match went to split-screen. [c]
Dijak took control with a lariat. He covered for two. Lee was sitting in on commentary and he said he was eager to find out who the biggest and baddest in NXT really is. Wagner suplexed Dijak into a corner. Big right by Dijak, followed by a big kick by Wagner. They exchanged blocks. Thrust kick by Dijak. Dijak went for a discus kick and Wagner booted Dijak to the mat. The crowd chanted “NXT” during a Wagner match for perhaps the first time. Wagner tried a chokeslam and Dijak impressively rolled through and landed on his feet, then hit his own chokeslam. He covered for two and there was another “NXT” chant.
Dijak took Wagner up a corner. Wagner fought out of trouble and hit a double-underhook into a twisting slam to the mat for two. “NXT” chant again. High-angle slam by Wagner was thwarted and Dijak worked a headlock/wristlock combo. Feast Your Eyes finished.
WINNER: Dijak at 8:38.
(Wells’s Analysis: Fun hoss fight as Wagner possibly had his best match ever, or at the very least, his best one since the around-the-building brawl against Solo Sikoa. This puts some sizzle on Dijak-Lee but it really did a lot for Wagner)
-Stacks and Tony D’Angelo talked near the lockers. Stacks doesn’t like this Dijak guy. They said they have to take care of “that other thing” tonight.
-Nikkita Lyons tweeted thanks to her fans as well as the doctors and surgeons who worked on her injury. McKenzie Mitchell ran through the video from last week where Nikkita was jumped in the parking lot. It was all framed nearly exactly like the Ciampa attack from a few years ago with the large number of suspects. [c]
-We looked back at the Pulp Fiction spoof featuring Booker T and Eddie Guerrero to hype Mania a number of years ago.
-Hype for Breakker-Waller II had a lot of clips interspersed with each guy providing new soundbytes. As usual, Waller was excellent and Breakker was Breakker. A well-produced short segment.
(4) TYLER BATE vs. AXIOM
Nice reactions for both guys, adjusting for the crowd, who have been not so lively tonight again in a trend that’s become all too common on NXT in the past few months. Lockup went to the rope for an early break. Quick reversals and chain wrestling to start. Bate hit a hip toss and held on with an armbar. He kept holding on through various attempts by Axiom to break. Whenever he got close, Bate would toss him again. The spot went on for a surprisingly long time before Axiom used a head scissors to escape. Dropkick by Axiom got two and he worked a front chancery. He kept on top through a few escape attempts and covered for one. Both guys got dumped with Bate taking a particularly rough-looking bump on his leg and the match went to split-screen. [c]
Bate did an airplane spin, the deadlift, and continued the spin as usual into a slam for two. Quick evasions for a bit until Axiom hit an enzuigiri, then a running PK. Bate tried a leaping back elbow, but Axiom trapped him in a body scissors. Bate escaped and again the two jockeyed until Bate trapped Axiom in a believable near-fall. Both guys missed some shots until Bate hit bop-and-bang, then the comeback lariat off the rope. Axiom countered the Tyler Driver ’97, then again with a trap pin for two. The third attempt nailed it for Bate.
WINNER: Tyler Bate 10:06.
Damon Kemp broke up the love-fest after the match, destroying Axiom. Bate made the save and Kemp bolted.
(Wells’s Analysis: Great stuff between the well-acquainted stars. The two drew in the audience nicely on a night where they’re trying hard to be indifferent.)
-Isla Dawn stood by a fire and said “you’ve always had a fire inside of you…you just needed a gentle nudge.” The camera panned out to reveal Alba Fyre. The festival has begun. It was insinuated that the two will be going after tag team gold soon. [c]
-McKenzie Mitchell talked with Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes. Trick didn’t know if he should go to Vengeance Day because of Apollo’s vision. He said “That’s some Miss Cleo stuff, man!” Melo said he took Apollo from the sidelines to the headlines. He said Apollo could be this and he could be that, but until he beats Hayes 2 out of three, he’ll never be “him.”
-Vic interviewed Roxanne Perez (in one location) and Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne (in another). The heels said maybe Perez didn’t win the Royal Rumble because of their attack on her. Perez worked the heels against each other and they said there was no chance Perez would walk out with the championship. The heels continually spoke over Perez and Perez looked increasingly sad and insecure about it instead of angry. Vic took issue with Toxic Attraction’s behavior and he too wondered how they’ll coexist in a triple threat match. Toxic Attraction got a lot more face time. Gigi said something about when she – she means they – become NXT Champion, and Vic started asking her about it when Roxy flew in and laid out both of them. A brawl ensued, wrecking the set.
(5) DANI PALMER vs. STEVIE TURNER
There was a crawler with tweets and other social media engagement during Turner’s entrance. Turner grounded Palmer with a wristlock. Palmer got herself vertical. Back elbow from Turner. Palmer gymnastically evaded some strikes, but Turner caught her with some face washes against the ropes, yell/laughing as she did so. Turner hit a neckbreaker and a snap mare into a headlock. Palmer tossed Turner to create separation, then hit a couple of lariats and a jawbreaker. Thesz press by Palmer, who did some ground & pound. Palmer tried something but Turner caught her with a pump kick and a DDT. Turner hit a uranage to finish, bridging during the pin and pointing at the camera.
WINNER: Stevie Turner at 2:54.
(Wells’s Analysis: Strong squash debut for Turner, who has a more clearly defined character than many in the division already. Good action from both women)
-Kiana James said “I love you too” to someone on the phone. Fallon Henley entered the frame and wanted to know who she was on the phone with. The two argued and Henley said James was going to break Brooks Jensen’s heart. James said it wasn’t what she thinks. The tag champs shot into frame to mock the communication breakdown, then laughed. Henley said they’d just have to coexist on Saturday.
(6) DREW GULAK (w/Hank Walker) vs. CHARLIE DEMPSEY
Headlock takedown by Gulak. Quick mat reversals led to some arm wringers by Dempsey, then a reset. The match went to split-screen. [c]
Dragon screw by Walker. Fisherman suplex with a bridge by Dempsey, who rolled back again into a brief nelson and then a crucifix pin for two. Double-underhook suplex into another brief pin, then a deadlift German with a bridge by Dempsey for two. Gulak got back into it with a few strikes. Dempsey hit another dragon screw and then tried a figure four. Gulak fought it off and hit a discus lariat for two. Dempsey hit a spinning backbreaker with a different landing from the norm that needs to be seen to be understood. I really dig Dempsey’s unique technical offense.
The two tangled on the mat some more and Gulak caught Dempsey in an armbar. Dempsey rolled free and tried a cross-face chicken wing. He inched closer to snapping it on as Hank Walker tried to pump him up. Gulak broke free, shoving Dempsey into Walker, who splayed out on the floor. Gulak used the opening to hit his finisher.
WINNER: Drew Gulak at 8:42.
(Wells’s Analysis: Another strong match on a night full of them. Dempsey taking a loss here doesn’t bother me as the story is clearly not over and Dempsey will now need to work his way up again)
-Mr. Stone and Von Wagner held palaver in the locker room. Stone said he’s been managing Wagner for over a year and he doesn’t know who he is. He implored Wagner (three times): “Help me help you!”
-Vic ran down the card for Vengeance Day.
-The Schism entered ahead of the main event. [c]
(7) EDRIS ENOFE & MALIK BLADE vs. CHASE UNIVERSITY (Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) (w/Thea Hail) vs. THE DYAD (Rip Fowler & Jagger Reid) (w/Joe Gacy & Ava Raine) – Triple Threat match – winner advances to four-way match for the Tag Team Championship at Vengeance Day
Hudson and Fowler opened. Hudson slammed Fowler, then tagged Chase. They double-teamed briefly and covered for two. Reid tagged Enofe. Enofe and Chase shook hands before tangling. Quick reversals and rollups. Rope run led to an Enofe dropkick. Tag to Blade, and the two double-teamed and laid out Chase. Blade covered for two. Rope run and Reid tagged himself in using an unwilling blade. Fowler yanked Chase to the outside and held him up for a charging Reid, and the two spiked him on the floor. Back inside, Fowler hit a slam for two. Hudson got laid out on the outside and Chase had to make a tag but couldn’t. Hail tried to hype up Hudson.
The Dyad teamed up for a backstabber inside. I thought a save was in order, but Chase kicked out. Chase rolled under Reid to make the hot tag to Duke, who lit up The Dyad as Enofe and Blade continued their long sell job out of sight. Hudson hit a slingshot German suplex and covered Reid for two. He started tuning up the band but Blade recovered and tagged himself in. He then tagged Enofe and the two hit flying elbows. They did a team move on Reid and covered, and bodies flew in from everywhere, breaking it up at two.
Things broke down with all six in the ring. The Dyad was dumped first, followed by Chase U. Enofe and Blade hit stereo planchas. Enofe went inside and up, and Reid crotched him on the top buckle. Blade tried to assist and Fowler yanked him to the apron and tossed him to the steps. The Dyad worked on a double suplex on Blade, and Chase set up the pyramid and slammed them all. CHASEU stomps. Chase flatlined Reid and Hudson splashed and covered for the pin. For now, Hudson and Chase continue to get along. Hudson and Chase held their arms high and Hail ran around them and slapped them excitedly to keep up the celebration.
WINNERS: Chase U at 10:36.
Gallus looked on from the perch. Pretty Deadly were on the ramp. New Day showed up on the tron. They led a cheer for Chase U to put them over as Gallus and Pretty Deadly protested.
(Wells’s Analysis: A fun surprise to inject new blood into the top of the tag team division. Perfectly acceptable triple-threat action despite my wishes that there weren’t so many of them)
-Final hype for Vengeance Day ran through each match to set the table for Saturday. I think the brand runs too many major shows, but it feels like this could be a pretty strong one. The show ended at seven past the hour with a shot of Grayson Waller and Bron Breakker staring at each other.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A very well-worked show by basically all parties. There was some surprise and a lot of focus on rising talent despite this being a go-home show.
Andre Chase doesn’t get enough credit for his in-ring work. The gimmick may have an expiration date, but I think he will survive its end. Also I could swaer that when Apollo referenced the “past,” there was a glimpse of a shodowed figure, perhaps Azeez?