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NXT NEW YEAR’S EVIL PLE REPORT
FEBRUARY 4, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C. AT THE SPECTRUM 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, a VIP-exclusive mailbag will be recorded.
-The show began with Charlotte Flair opening the show in a video, Charlotte’s own (hence her name), as she introduced the main stars of the show almost like it was a game show pairing, squaring off with Flair between them. She started with Bron Breakker and Grayson Waller, then Roxanne Perez and her two opponents, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. She moved on to The New Day defending against Gallus, Chase U, and Pretty Deadly, then Katana Chance and Kayden Carter defending against Fallon Henley and Kiana James. Wes Lee defending against Dijak was next, then ended with the one non-title match, the two-out-of-three falls match between Carmelo Hayes and Apollo Crews. The intro reminded me of American Gladiator, though as a kid I don’t remember the intros as much as the events.
-Vic Joseph and Booker T enthusiastically welcomed viewers for the first road PLE for NXT in years. The North American Champion Lee entered first, which I hate, but I get you want that pop. The arena, at least what wasn’t marked off, looked full. Dijak entered next with his cinema-like black-and-white entrance.
(1) WES LEE vs. DIJAK – North American Championship match
Lee and Dijak circled as a “Wes Lee” chant began. They locked up and Dijak just threw off Lee, who smiled. He taunted Dijak. Dijak has a stance almost like some kind of mixed martial artist. Dijak threw off Lee and hit a stiff shoulder tackle, but Lee just glared up at him. Dijak yelled at him to just stay down. Lee laid down, then kicked Dijak right in the head with the bait. He used his speed to avoid Dijak and head scissor him into a corner. He hit a go-behind, but was thrown off. Dijak sent him to the apron, but ate a sholder, Lee used the top rope to flip in and rana Dijak into another corner, sending him outside, followed by a dropkick. Lee then went for a running lariat, but Dijak hit a vicious Death Valley Driver, basically spiking him outside, but only scored a two-count inside.
He pinned Lee’s left arm behind his back and wailed away for another two-count. Dijak slowed things down and methodically beat away at Lee with a forearm-back elbow-forearm combo in the corner, then a vertical suplex throw for a two-count; Lee landed on the opposite end of the ring. Lee tried fighting back, but Dijak caught him and hit a standing kick to the gut and then just literally tossed Lee outside with a circular throw. Dijak put Lee into the barricade and then back into the ring for another two-count; waiting for an announcer to mention how much energy they’re making their opponent expend on a kick out. Dijak then stomped away at Lee, then beat on him some more in the corner. He whipped Lee across, then hit a big running back elbow into the corner. He sent Lee across again, but this time Lee dodged and Dijak ended up over the ropes and outside.
Dijak reentered the ring, but Lee used his speed to land some kicks and punches to the head and body, including a flurry in the corner. Dijak hit a basement dropkick to force Dijak into a corner, hit a quick superkick, then an enziguri into a deadlift German suplex for a two-count. The crowd is HOT for Lee’s offense in this match. Lee and Dijak fought on the apron on the entrance side. Dijak lifted Lee again for another DVD, but Lee fought out and hit a backbody drop, but Dijak almost missed the entire apron. Lee then hit his cartwheel plancha to the outside on Dijak, impressing Booker T with the ease. Lee rolled Dijak back inside the ring and set for his finisher. Dijak caught him perfectly right into Feast Your Eyes position, but Lee hit a poisonrana. He then powered up Dijak for a fisherman’s driver, and the crowd thought he had it, but it was only for two!
Lee climbed to the top and went for a 450, rolled through, hit a superkick, lost his balance, caught himself, but got caught with a sit-out chokeslam for a two-count. Dijak applied a modified crossface chicken wing (standing), but Lee wouldn’t go down. Lee tried to roll through, but Dijak held on and had it locked in in the middle of the ring. Lee looked to be fading, but he grabbed the ref’s arm. He turned over and rose to his feet as Dijak had cartoonish expressions on his face. They zoomed in on him almost reaching the ropes. Dijak put him in Feast Your Eyes, but Lee rolled out for a close two-count. He then rolled out of the chokeslam again, High Justice apparently, and hit a superkick. Dijak, on his knees, asked for more. Lee hit a big running pump knee, but then ran into a furious discus boot for a two-count.
Dijak hit a superkick and huge lariat, but barely kicked out just before the three-count. Ref Daryl Sharma may have slowed his count as Lee opened his eyes just in time to see the ref’s hand. Dijak grabbed Lee and dragged him to the corner. Dijak climbed to the second rope and lifted Lee into a powerbomb position, well, I think, it was taking a while. He did, but then Lee hit a nasty rana just in time to spike Dijak’s head. Lee climbed and hit a Spiral Tap for only a two to the crowd’s disbelief. Dijak rolled outside to recover. Lee went for a tope, but sidestepped and tossed Lee into the barricade. Dijak grabbed the timekeeper’s nice office chair and then sat Lee in the chair. He grabbed a broom and “trapped” Lee in the chair, hitting him with a stiff superkick. Joseph said this is “referee’s discretion.” Dijak then climbed to the top rope, told the ref to shut up, then moonsaulted, but onto Tony D’Angelo and Stacks. Huh. They saved Lee I guess. Dijak told them to stay out of his business. Dijak went for a springboard, but ate a superkick and Lee’s finisher, the back handspring Pele kick.
WINNER: Wes Lee at 17:03 (back handspring Pele kick)
(Hazelwood’s Take: Holy hell, what an opening match. If that’s an indication of what’s to come, then the rest of the card has a lot to live up to with that quality. Wow. I didn’t see Lee winning, but I love his run. Good for him.)
-After some WWE commercials, they showed Waller and then Breakker entering from earlier today, both looking snazzy. Joseph and Booker T then showed the watch party back in Orlando, with Lash Legend looking like she wanted none of it.
-McKenzie Mitchell was in the back with Carter and Chance. Chance put over being the longest reigning Women’s NXT Tag Team Champion. Carter said nothing matters to them but their championship. Pretty standard stuff.
-Henley and James entered, with Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen, respectively. Oh, the music started out with the cowbell, but then went into basically James’ theme I think. Carter and Chance entered through the crowd, who didn’t really realize they were there for a minute.
(2) KAYDEN CARTER & KATANA CHANCE (c) vs. FALLON HENLEY & KIANA JAMES (w/Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen) – Women’s NXT Tag Team Championship match
Carter and James began the match as the men at ringside were way too enthusiastically cheering on the challenger team. Carter taunted James and then shook his butt at Jensen, who had his eyes covered by Briggs. Carter then slide outside and slapped Jensen’s butt. James chased her around only to be kicked. Chance tagged in and they hit some double team stuff for a two-count. James was able to tag in Henley and went for a double team, but Chance rolled away. Henley held her punch, then they both hit short-arm lariats on the other two. Carter kicked Henley, then tagged in Chance, who hit another double team for a two-count. I’m not sure how effective their offense looks in this match.
Henley tagged in James who hit a textbook belly-to-back suplex. Even though neither team is a heel team, the challenger played that role in cutting off the ring. Henley tagged in and James threw Chance into a running spear from Henley for a two-count. Joseph has mentioned a few times that Henley’s family is watching ringside. Henley held on to a modified sitting rear chin lock, but for so long the crowd began to boo a little. Chance fought out, but couldn’t reach Carter, until she did!
Carter came in hot and took out both women, stacking them in a corner and hitting a corner attack, then a two-for-one kick-splash combo. She kicked Henley clean through the ropes as Chance tagged in and hit an assisted crossbody on the outside to both women. Back inside the ring, Chance hit a somersault leg drop to the back for a two-count. Henley hit an ugly forearm to Chance, but ate a jawbreaker. James tagged in, but Chance escaped and hit a variation of Silly String, only with a head scissors. However, James hit a big spinebuster on Carter for a two-count.
Chance made a sneaky tag, but got hit with knees as she went for an assisted moonsault. James sent Carter outside and then tagged in Henley. Henley hit a springboard middle rope spinebuster and then an assisted Michinoku Driver for a two-count that was broken up. James sent Carter outside. Carter dodged a moonsault, then hit a leaping neckbreaker on the outside from the apron to take both women out. Jensen checked on James.
Back in the ring, Henley and Carter squared off, but Carter made a sneaky tag as they fought in the corner. Carter came in and went for a superplex, but Henley held on from the outside. She hit a headbutt, then started climbing. Chance made a tag that Henley didn’t see. Henley went to the shoulders of Carter for presumably an avalanche victory roll, but Chance hit a rana from there. However, Henley kicked out! They went for their finisher, but James sent Chance flying. Henley countered Carter and hit a rollup, using her legs to pin the shoulders. James, from the outside, grabbed Carter’s legs for leverage, and that’s that!
WINNER: Fallon Henley & Kiana James at 9:23 (leveraged pin) to become NEW Women’s NXT Tag Team Champion
(Hazelwood’s Take: Definitely not a match to write home about and re-watch. The offense of Carter and Chance just looked to choreographed and lacking impact. The most memorable thing about this match was the ending, though it wasn’t much of a shock. I think Nate predicted this on Tuesday’s show. Now, what happens with Henley and James now?)
-They returned with an Instagram video from Drew Gulak telling Hank Walker to use Lee’s strategy in the future. He then told Walker they need proper ring attire. Brian Alston called it.
-Lyra Valkyra vignette. She said her day of vengeance was supposed to arrive last Tuesday, but Cora Jade changed her mind. She said she can’t respect a woman who says one thing and does the opposite. She said Jade will perish. She added on Tuesday, she will be in the middle of the ring and basically gave an open challenge. I’m down, especially since I’m not doing the live report.
-They kicked to a recap video of Hayes vs. Crews which, if you saw the pre-show, was the same one. The arena went black as Trick Williams stood at the entrance and gave an intro as only he could do for Hayes. They raised his banners: 2021 Breakout Superstar, Longest combined NA Championship reign, WarGames winner, and unified Cruiserweight and NA Champion. He ended it with, “HIM,” and no, not from Powerpuff Girls. He took off his shirt with Crews’ face on it and stepped on it, wiping his boots. Crews then had a special intro that started with footage of his NXT debut, his first title match with Finn Balor, winning the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, returning to NXT, and then the closeup of his eyes. He then entered pretty much standard.
Whew, if I thought the first match was a pain, this one is going to increase that…and then when we hit that fatal four-way Men’s NXT Tag Team Championship match, bah gawd…
(3) CARMELO HAYES (w/Trick Williams) vs. Apollo Crews – Two-out-of-three falls match
They just stared at each other to begin the match, sizing each other up and talking smack. They then slowly circled each other before locking up. CThe two hit some quick reversals and counters in a classic mat wrestling start, my kind of start. Hayes took the left arm, then hit a drop toehold, and thus began another series of mat and grappling reversals. The crowd applauded.
Hayes hit a go-behind, but Crews grabbed a side headock and went to the mat. He prevented the head scissors counter once, but not twice, then Hayes locked the left arm to prevent the kip up counter. I love the start to this match, very intelligent wrestling. Crews was able to roll out and then put Hayes in a head lock, but then they just kept countering. They did some running counters and then Hayes put a stop to things by slapping Crews and taunting him. Crews then slapped the living hell out of him. Crews countered Hayes and flipped out of the corner, then taunted him, but Hayes held onto the ropes to prevent a dropkick. Crews then caught Hayes and slingshotted him into the corner, but Hayes landed on his feet and went for a splash only to be kicked in the gut.
Crews then rammed Hayes into the corner, once again slowing it down and working the body of Hayes with his strength advantage. He hit a hard Irish whip on Hayes, sending him chest-first into the corner. Crews then hit a pendulum backbreaker, working more of the heel style; are we getting a double turn? Hayes went for a springboard, but Crews seamlessly caught him into a German suplex. He held on, but Hayes sent him to the apron. He dodged a Hayes attack, then Crews got in Williams’ face as the latter tried to ignore him. Crews then moved as Hayes tried to him him, missing Williams as well, and then took out Hayes. Crews then hit a moonsault from the apron, almost overshooting the splash on the prone Hayes.
Crews hit a splash in the ring for two-count as Williams grabbed a chair and then sat. Crews lifted Hayes into a delayed vertical, ending it after about ten seconds for another two-count. Hayes countered a Crews rush into the corner by not just sending him outside, but breaking it off with a cutter across the top rope. Hayes mimicked dribbling and shooting in the ring before heading outside to retrieve Crews. He then just mauled Crews on the mat for a quick one-count. He then drove his forearm into the face and used his hands to pry open Crews’ mouth. He then grabbed an arm and put his knee on Crews’ head. He then stiffly cinched in a side headlock on the mat.
Williams is the hidden MVP of this match. Hayes then hit a Stun Gun basically, draping Crews across the top rope as a counter to a run for a two-count, then another. Crews fought back with stiff chops and some forearms, but Hayes hit a huge lariat. They are not holding back their shots in this match. Hayes held Crews’ wrist and told him, “Get your ass up. You ain’t him.” Crews then countered into a German, holding on, but Hayes prevented the third. Hayes was instead sent flying with a Northern Lights throw. 12:35 into the match and still no falls.
Crews kicked the gut and hit a running pump kick, then took out Hayes with a few clotheslines. Hayes countered, but he was countered as Crews successfully hit his leaping clothesline. He then hit his corner splash, but missed the second. Hayes went for a springboard from the apron, but ate an enziguri on the way up. He landed on the apron and Crews climbed to the middle rope to drag Hayes for a deadlift superplex! Wow, but only a two-count! Crews called for the military press slam. He hit some stiff knees to the body of Hayes, then lifted Hayes. Hayes slipped out, but ate a pump kick. He hit his tilt-a-whirl front slam for a two-count, then a vertical suplex into a cutter for a two-count, then seamlessly into the crossface. Crews tapped.
WINNER OF THE FIRST FALL: Carmelo Hayes at 16:00 (crossface)
The crowd is booing, but Crews probably tapped to save himself for the next two falls. Joseph asked this very question. Hayes, after taking some time to rest, went after Crews. The two kept trading blows, but Hayes was getting the better. Hayes hit a double chop to the throat like Rip Fowler (Zack Gibson), but Crews suddenly hit Suplex City and a standing shooting star for a two-count. He went to the second rope, but Hayes met him. Hayes set him for Fadeaway and hit! Crews kicked out just in time. Holy hell, Crews hit a running somersault DDT out of nowhere, but Hayes kicked out!
Crews and Hayes were then fighting on a corner. Hayes sent Crews to the mat, but he held onto the ropes. He then chopped away at Hayes and climbed. They both set for superplexes to the outside, Williams watching. Instead, they both snapped across the top rope almost like a variation of Jayne and Dolin winning the battle royal. Referee Tom Castor counted. Hayes pushed Crews, but Crews rolled in just before a ten-count. Crews hit a leaping pump knee, but Hayes countered the wheelbarrow only to be hit with an Olympic slam. Hayes then hit a leaping codebreaker, but then Crews hit a big DVD. Williams then undid the top turnbuckle pad behind the ref’s back and walked to the other side of the ring by the announcers to tell Hayes. Hayes saw and nodded his head.
Castor didn’t see the removed pad. Hayes went for a pump kick that showed light, so Crews powered up and and unleashed, Irish whipping Crews into the corner with the exposed turnbuckle. Hayes, writhing in pain, rolled outside. Williams went for a chair shot, but Commander Azeez, sorry, Dabba-Kato, returned to thwart him. Hayes hit his flying lariat, then climbed to the top and hit Nothing but Net. Sweep.
WINNER OF THE SECOND FALL: Carmelo Hayes at 23:39 (Nothing but Net)
WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 23:39 (2-0)
-After the match, Dabba-Kato entered the ring. He was sporting some facial hair. He helped Crews to his feet and they embraced…he then hit a big headbutt to Crews (duh). He set the chair in the middle of the ring and hit his two-handed sit-out chokeslam onto the chair. I’m guessing the story is he blames Crews for his lackluster career.
-They showed a social media video with Valentina Feroz and Wendy Choo, the former accepting Valkyria’s request.
-They showed Henley and James with the boys in the back. Henley was emotional having won it in front of he family. James said it was Jensen’s idea. Briggs said they should go drink.
(Hazelwood’s Take: A clean sweep definitely shows the pecking order in NXT and that in story, Hayes is just better than Crews. It feels like a waste to have Dabba-Kato return there if Crews wasn’t even going to get one fall. Why not have him appear after the match to chase off the heels and then take out Crews? Oh well. Aside from that, loved that match.)
-They returned with the same Chase U social media video they showed during the pre-show, then had Chase U enter. Thea Hail was a wild animal. Pretty Deadly was next, then Gallus, then The New Day. The New Day received the biggest audible pop by far of the night thus far (at least through my laptop). Pray for my hands. Joseph: “Kofi’s got hips like Shakira, they don’t lie.” Alicia Taylor gave formal introductions from ringside with all of the humanity in the ring already (ten people with Hail and Sharma).
(4) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (c) vs. GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. PRETTY DEADLY (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) vs. CHASE U (Andre Chase & Duke Hudson w/Thea Hail) – Fatal four-way Men’s NXT Tag Team Championship match
This is going to suck to type out. Kingston and Prince began the match. They hit some standing counters, Woods made a sneaky tag, then Kingston hit a big chop, which Woods followed. Woods then sent Prince outside. Wilson was on the apron and lost his balance, but Wilson caught him into an electric chair. Kingston hit a baseball slide to Prince, which caused Wilson to hit the apron. Hail then yelled at them to scare them. Woods then followed on the attack.
Back in the ring, Woods went for a vertical and Hudson tagged in as he did. He then worked the left and tagged in hometown boy Chase for a drop toehold-falling elbow combo. Wilson tagged in, but ate an atomic drop from Chase, a teachable moment. Coffey tagged in on Chase, then tagged in Wolfgang. They worked the left of Wilson, the bonafide textbook heels in this match. PD are more the comedy heels, but intelligent. Woods tagged in on Wilson and went at Coffey with quickfire strikes (complete with sound effects). However, Coffey hit kitchen sink and tagged in Wolfgang, who hit his running splash to a seated Woods. Prince then tagged in on Wolfgang, making him and Woods legal.
He stomped away at Woods in their corner as Wilson yelled at Woods. Prince hit a vertical suplex for a two-count, then forced a fighting Woods into their corner. Wilson tagged in and hit a running uppercut for a two-count. He torqued the fingers as he stretched the left arm, then a modified key lock. He hit a few falling elbows on Woods and tagged in Prince. They hit chops to the chest and back, then Prince stomped on Woods’ fingers. He then taunted the other three teams; Hail yelled at Chase U to get them. Prince then took out both of Chase U as Hail SCREAMED at him. Woods hit an enziuri to create space and tag in Kingston.
He came in hot and took out the other three men, then returned his focus to Prince. He also took out Wilson and Coffey and hit a double Boom Drop. The crowd came alive when Kingston tagged in. He missed Trouble in Paradise, but hit S.O.S. on Prince. Wilson broke up the count and then things devolved with everyone getting shots on everyone. Prince was able to toss Kingston onto Wilson’s knees for a gutbuster, but only a two-count. Kingston flipped out, sent Wilson outside, and then kicked Prince. Woods tagged in, then Kingston again, and they went for UpUpDownDown. They hit, but everyone broke up the pin.
After a bit of ring clearing, it ended up with Kingston and Chase in the ring (I have no idea who is legal anymore). Kingston climbed to the top with Chase, but Chase fought him off and threw him off onto the rest of the competitors (sans Wilson) outside. A big “U” rang out from the crowd. Wilson then took out Chase and looked for a superplex to the outside, but of course, Chase countered and both of them went flying into the mass of humanity. All eight men were laying at ringside in front of Joseph and Booker T after that spot.
Chase got to his feet, but so did Gallus, who took him out and then cleared the announce table. Hudson saved Chase and tossed Wolfgang and Coffey into the barricade. Hudson was drilled by Wilson, and then PD went for a double suplex through the table. Hudson fought them off, Prince saved Wilson, then they rammed him gut-first into the apron. They reset the announce table for Joseph and Booker T; how nice! Back in the ring, they went after Hudson, but he went through them with a double clothesline. He then hit his Chase U punch combo and a senton to Wilson, then a big overhead belly-to-belly to Prince. Coffey came in and Hudson landed a flying forearm, then used the ropes to kip up. Ha! He warmed up the band in the corner, but Coffey rolled outside. Hudson followed and took both on, but they got the better of him and hit a sudden double uranage through the table. Hudson is basically out of the match now.
Gallus then reentered the ring (again, who is legal?). Chase took on both men, using his wits to send Wolfgang outside and then hit the Chase U stomps on Coffey. Chase went to the top rope and hit a crossbody, but Coffey kicked out. He then went for and applied the Figure Four in the middle of the ring. Even if Coffey reaches the ropes, there are no DQ, but Wolfgang came out of nowhere with a Swanton. They hit their enziguri-powerslam combo, but Chase kicked out. They went for it again, but Kingston leaped from the top to take out Coffey and sent Wolfgang outside. He then went for the trust fall outside, but PD caught him and hit Spilled Milk outside! Back in the ring, Woods fought Coffey and went for the top rope elbow drop. Wolfgang came in and caught him. Instead of their usual finisher, Coffey instead hit a sliding forearm (that showed a lot of light) rather than the enziguri.
WINNER: Gallus at 16:51 (sliding forearm-powerslam combo) to become NEW Men’s NXT Tag Team Champion
(Hazelwood’s Take: Aside from losing whoever the hell was legal, that was a fun match even if my hands do hurt. That match went pretty much exactly like I said it would on Tuesday night’s PWT Talks NXT. I’ll explain more on the VIP Roundtable.)
-During the break, they replayed Mitchell’s investigative report on Lyons’ knee injury. As Todd Martin said, pure comedy.
-They showed Waller warming up in the back with a woman holding up his golden kicks on a golden cushion. Very nice haha.
-They transitioned with the same video from the pre-show on Perez, Dolin, and Jayne. There’s also no need that this show needs to be three or more hours.
-Dolin and Jayne entered together, still to the Toxic Attraction theme. They were still billed as such, which is a memo I missed. I still think the best move is to have Zoey Stark become their new leader and add some ruggedness to their act. Perez entered next to a respectable pop. She asked for more and received some more! Nice! She looked happy and confident. TA were in a corner together, glaring at Perez. Ref D.A. Brewer was the fourth person in the ring as introductions were give from ringside. TA were introduced together.
(5) ROXANNE PEREZ (c) vs. GIGI DOLIN vs. JACY JAYNE – Triple threat Women’s NXT Championship match
Perez got a nice pop during her intro and a quick “Roxy” chant. TA encircled her, but she fought both of them off early until the numbers took their toll. They hit a double Stroke (Jeff Jarrett continues to influence!). Perez was caught on a crossbody by both women, then taken out with a big boot by Jayne. Dolin rolled Perez inside the ring after that, but she hit a quick victory roll on Jayne and then a Thesz Press to Dolin. Still, Jayne took her out and they set for their finisher. Perez dodged as Dolin moved to avoid the kick. Perez then hit a double dropkick and worked some offense simultaneously on both women with a rope-assisted double arm drag. She then hit a lope to Dolin. Jayne went for a somersault senton from the apron, but Perez dodged as she took out Dolin.
Perez rolled in Jayne and hit a twisting back handspring splash for a two-count right into a crossface that Jayne rolled into a pin. Perez kicked out, but Jayne hit a neckbreaker and mounted Perez for some punches. The crowd was pretty tepid for this match. Jayne hit a snapmare and PK for a two-count, then applied a rear chinlock. She kept screaming. Suddenly, Dolin picked her leg and dragged her out. They argued for a bit, then refocused. They shook hands, but Dolin then dragged her into the way of Perez’s baseball slide. She then threw Perez into the steel steps and just went at her. She then tossed her into the barricade hard. Dolin has had the most vicious offense in this match.
On the apron, Perez tried fighting off Dolin with forearms. Dolin caught her with a quick STO on the apron, then a belly-to-back in the ring. Jayne dragged her off of the pin. Dolin then returned the favor. Perez rolled outside. The crowd chanted for them to fight. They pointed and yelled at each other. Jayne shoved Dolin, Dolin shoved Jayne, then Jayne slapped Dolin (who the crowd was behind). Dolin slapped her back, then they went after each other. They traded pins, then ate a double crossbody from Perez.
Sloppy sequence, but Perez took it to both women. She hit running uppercuts to both women in opposite corners a few times each, then a side legsweep-DDT combo, but both women kicked out of their respective pins. The crowd chanted for Perez, but Jayne caught her and put her in the Tree of Woe against a seated Dolin. Jayne stomped away and then hit a running cannoball, hitting both women. She hit a quick superkick to Perez, then hit Kissed by the Rose, but the pin was broken up by Dolin.
Dolin and Jayne then began going at it, but Jayne hit a discus forearm to floor Dolin. She even gave her a “Suck It” gesture. Perez hit an inside cradle and crucifix for quick two-counts ln Jayne, but Jayne maintained control. Perez ducked the discus, but Jayne avoided Pop Rocks. Dolin drilled Perez instead and took out Jayne. She hit a bridging vertical suplex and the pin was just broken up by a running senton from Jayne. Brewer could have counted three, but Jayne nearly landed on him!
The crowd was split between Perez and Dolin as they formed a triangle of strikes. Perez valiantly fought against both women, but ate a double superkick. Dolin hit a stiff headbutt on Jayne and they both fell on her (Jayne clumsily) for a two-count. Dolin tossed Perez outside and told Jayne to get the tables, which popped the crowd. They set one up (the announce table is back!) and looked for a double chokeslam, but Perez fought out. She hit Pop Rocks on Dolin on the outside (it didn’t look pretty). Perez turned her attention to Jayne, rolling her inside. The crowd chanted for the table. Perez climbed to the top, but Jayne met her with a knee. Jayne climbed to the top for a superplex, but Perez fought her off with strikes. She went for Pop Rocks, but Dolin returned only to get kicked off of the apron and through the table. She hit avalanche Pop Rocks to retain to a thunderous pop from the crowd.
WINNER: Roxanne Perez at 14:50 (Pop Rocks)
(Hazelwood’s Take: A clumsy match at times, but not on Perez’s part. It’s clear Dolin and Jayne need more time to hone their skills in the ring, at least with WWE style. Their offense just didn’t look believable and again, clumsy parts aplenty. Great win for Perez as I argued it should be for her.)
-They returned with the cage being lowered for the main event and hopeful coronation of Waller. Shawn Michaels made this pin or sub only, no escape to win. Good. They played the hype video. Waller walked out with a chainmail headpiece, his shoe being carried, while Breakker was in his singlet. Waller was first to a round of boos from the crowd. He had a bunch of women dancing with champagne and light tubes for his entrance. The golden shoe is to celebrate his victory tonight. He approached the steel cage hesitantly because they always need that shot, right? The women walked around the ring hyping up the crowd (unsuccesfully). It looks like they exited through the timekeeper’s area. Breakker entered next, running through a Grayson Waller effect logo like it was high school football. Ring introductions were given during the entrances because of the steel cage I guess.
Waller attacked by kicking the cage door into Breakker, then tossed him into the barricade. Smart. Breakker fought back, though, but caught himself before spearing through the barricade. He’s showing layers! He tossed Breakker into and off of the barricade with a large thump, then swung the cage door right into Waller’s face.
(6) BRON BREAKKER (c) vs. GRAYSON WALLER – Steel cage Men’s NXT Championship match
Breakker tossed Waller inside and closed the door. Ref Tom Castor called for the bell. Waller immediately tried to escape as Joseph reminded that Waller can’t win that way. Waller was able to apply a cravate and hit some knees to the head. However, Breakker ran the ropes and hit a Steinerline on Waller. He then lifted Waller into a vertical suplex and walked around the ring before dropping him. He kipped up with ease and hit a standing moonsault, another one that overshot the opponent (what’s up with WWE and overshooting dives and jumps lately?). Waller hit a stiff right, but Breakker no-sold it, causing Waller to look wide-eyed, but he lured in Breakker and hit a big tilt-a-whirl DDT for a two-count.
He mock barked, causing the crowd to laugh as Booker T said it was like a chihuahua. Waller kept on the attack, not giving Breakker much room, methodically wearing down the champion. He tried to toss Breakker into the cage, but Breakker blocked and went on the offensive. He caught Waller and adjusted to hit a side belly-to-belly. Breakker then hit his flying shoulder tackles and catching slam sequence. He climbed to the top rope and hit his father’s bulldog. Waller faked an escape, drawing in Breakker who missed Waller and speared the cage. Waller scored a two-count, then took it to Breakker. Waller tossed Breakker into the cage for a two-count.
Waller then attacked the left leg of Breakker momentarily, then hit a flying body press to Breakker against the cage. He went for another, but Breakker caught him. Waller raked the eyes and then rammed Breakker into the cage twice, then hit a flipping Unprettier! Wow! Waller then hit a snap suplex, hit the second rope, fought off Breakker, but ate a running Frankensteiner for a two-count. Breakker went to the second rope and went for leaping something, but ate that big leaping knee. Waller quickly hit the top for his dribbling elbow, but only scored a two-count.
He then heelishly kicked away at Breakker’s head before tying him up in the ropes. Castor: “What the hell man? Come on.” Waller just beat away at Breakker, even hitting a running dropkick. He slapped Breakker a few times, mocked Breakker, then hit a three-point stance spear into the defenseless Breakker, who just looked to get more pissed. He forced himself out of the predicament, seething at Waller. Waller tried to escape, but Breakker caught him and slammed him to the mat. He threw Waller into the cage several times, then lifted Waller and tossed him into the cage with a military press. He set in the corner for the spear, no, he walked to the other side. Waller leaped over the spear, then hit a low blow. He hit his rolling stunner, but Breakker kicked out of the finisher (though Waller usually has a running start from the outside; kayfabe!).
Waller then yelled some taunts at Breakker. He looked up, so of course he’s going to climb to the top of the cage for a big spot because THIS IS WWE AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS DURING CAGE MATCHES! Breakker slowly started to recover as Waller hit the top of the cage. Like WarGames, he looked to leap, but then Breakker ran to meet him. Waller tried to go outside, but Breakker bought him back in with a sloppy superplex that thankfully didn’t land bad. Breakker then set for the spear and hit. He dropped the straps instead of covering. Waller couldn’t make his feet. Breakker told Waller to look at him and yelled at him. Breakker said he runs NXT; Waller mushed him. Breakker hit a rope run spear to the defiant Waller to (sigh) retain his title.
WINNER: Bron Breakker at 14:27 (spear)
-After the match, Breakker gingerly made it to the top of the cage and celebrated with the title raised. Hayes and Williams made their way to the entrance area and caught the eye of Breakker. Hayes should have been Champ-Champ, but him being the one to dethrone Breakker at Stand & Deliver? I’ll take that, especially if it means more Hayes in NXT.
(Hazelwood’s Take: It was a decently good steel cage match. The cage really didn’t play much of a factor physically in the ring and more of a mechanism to prevent Waller from escaping. We didn’t get the leap from the top, but the superplex was memorable if not smooth. Just, I thought Breakker should have lost the title months and months ago, so it still continuing is just not a draw to me.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A fairly good show that was let down by the finish to the main event, though the setup for Stand & Deliver is a saving grace. The show was way too long (about 2:50) as you could have had one, if not two of these matches this coming Tuesday. Still, overall, this was a much better showing than New Year’s Evil, so NXT is heading into their Mania season with a solid start.
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