The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 09.28.21
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix & Wade Barrett
Hit Row join us to start and do a horribly scripted promo where they put over the various title matches upcoming tonight with wacky dialogue that no human being would ever say. Like, this was AWFUL and the crowd was turning on them 2 minutes into their “improvised” routine, saying things written by 50 year white men that are supposed to be down with the lingo of today’s youth. I mean, I’m old and white as FUCK and even I was cringing at this. Like when they were supposed to be rapping freestyle but made sure to hit their timing marks of explaining each upcoming title match so it could sync with the graphics onscreen…GROAN.
B-Fab v. Elektra Lopez
So this is a street fight of some kind, and Fab immediately hits Lopez with a dropkick that’s a solid 1.0 Erik Watts, sending Lopez out of the ring with an embarrassing “bump” to the floor. OH MY GOD already with this show. So everyone in both factions brawls and we MERCIFULLY go to a break and hopefully teach both women how to work a fucking match in the 2 minutes. Back with them fighting over a table, but Fab runs Lopez into the apron and does a completely ridiculous spot where she puts up a table leg and sort of wraps Lopez’s knee onto it. Back in the ring, Lopez completely ignores that devastating move and then finds a chair and kendo stick from under the ring. She slams Fab onto a chair a few times, but Fab ignores that devastating move and comes back with the kendo stick. But then she sets up a chair and Lopez does a bodypress onto the chair and then drops Fab onto an open chair before putting her away with a powerbomb at 8:38. And I’m sure this neverending feud will still continue next week. This was a complete embarrassment to the sport, like some of the worst indie backyard wrestling from people with no idea how to sell or properly take those bumps, stretched out 6 minutes longer than it should have been. -**
Meanwhile, In-Dex has their honeymoon while Johnny and Candice spy on them from the hotel window. And then Johnny remembers his OWN honeymoon and suddenly freaks out, before reappearing in the water with a shark fin on his head to chase them off the beach.
Joe Gacy joins us, still talking about people getting “triggered” by him and his conflict resolution skills. This gimmick is death. I feel like I say that so much that it loses all meaning with this show, though.
Xyon Quin v. Oney Lorcan
I guess Xyon is some sort of island savage/MMA fighter now. That’s a hell of a combo, I suppose. Quin chases Lorcan to the floor, but Oney fires back with forearms in the corner until Quin shoves him off. Lorcan clips the knee and slugs away before going to the chinlock. Quin fights out and slugs him down before hitting a clothesline and samoan drop, then finishes with the superman punch at 3:00. Um, we’ve already got a tattooed samoan who does that finisher, I’m pretty sure. *1/2
Meanwhile, Grayson Waller is EXTREME and he likes to jump out of planes and shit.
MSK joins us for a promo in the ring, and it feels like it’s time for them to get called up and drop those titles. So they’ve got nothing to say, but they get interrupted by the Grizzled Young Veterans, who are looking for a title shot. They’ve already had several and I’ve seen them. And then Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams interrupt and they too want a title shot and jibber jabber back and forth. And then of course we get a fourth team, as Briggs & Jensen take a break from recording their new country album and also want a shot, and then everyone brawls to end the segment. THIS. WAS. DEATH. Every stupid fucking multi-man jibber jabber segment from the main roster, done worse by people who can’t talk.
NXT Women’s tag team title: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark v. Gigi Dolan & Jacy Jayne
Shirai needs to get the fuck away from this trainwreck but she’d just get buried on the main roster anyway. Io chases Dolan with a dropkick to start and then slugs away on Jayne while Wade makes the same point I wanted to about how Io and Zoey never defend those belts. Stark slugs it out with Jayne and gets a springboard senton for two, but Gigi makes a blind tag and gets a cheapshot to take over. The champs chase them to the floor and we get some dives as we take a break. Back with Jayne in control with a suplex on Shirai that gets two. Stark gets a tag and suplexes Jayne for two, but goes after Dolan and that allows Jayne to hit a rolling elbow. Zoey goes up and misses a moonsault, but brings Io back in for the 619 on Dolan and a springboard dropkick that gets two. And then she puts both heels in a double crossface, but they make the ropes. Yeah that one didn’t work really well. Dolan recovers with a german suplex on Stark for two and everyone is so shocked that even Mandy Rose is doing shocked two count face. Back to Io as Stark dives onto Dolan and Io moonsaults Jayne for the pin to retain at 10:48. Very flat finish and I’m not sure why you keep the belts on them at this point since the Mandy Rose team is the one getting the obvious push. Match was very energetic and lots of stuff happened, though. ***
Meanwhile, we meet Bron Breakker again and we watch all his moves that are reminiscent of other more famous people BUT ABSOLUTELY ARE NOT RELATED FROM A TRADEMARK STANDPOINT, we can’t stress that enough!
Meanwhile, Ciampa joins us via Facetime and he’s not afraid of Breakker.
Andre Chase v. Boa
So Chase is apparently going to wrestle in his full school gear. Here’s a question: If they wanted to do this university gimmick for the guy, why not come up with a better name than “Andre Chase”? What is that supposed to have to do with schools or university? Is “Chase U” supposed to be witty in some way? Boa uses his martial arts, but Chase takes him down with a chinlock. Boa kicks Chase out to the floor, but Mei Ying spews vapor at him and Boa pins him at 3:08. So, like, is Boa also supposed to be 1000 years old or just his manager? More garbage here with a stupid finish. *
Meanwhile, back at the beach, Johnny continues freaking out and breaks into the honeymoon suite, finding a giant string of condoms in the suitcase (“Man, I hope they stay hydrated!”) but of course he gets trapped in the closet while the happy couple has a honeymoon pillow fight. And then Dexter gives him a thumbs up while he sneaks out, and pulls out the condoms. Hey, I laughed.
Cruiserweight title: Roderick Strong v. Grayson Waller
Waller is apparently a boxer of some kind judging by his gear. Sure, a skydiving boxer, why not? Just hit all the broad points of 8 different gimmicks and hope that one of them gets over. Waller immediately attacks and we take a break. Back with the match in progress as Strong sends him to the floor, and back in for a backbreaker that gets two. They slug it out and Waller rolls him up for two, but Strong reverses for two and they trade pinball attempts. Strong with another backbreaker and he tries a crossface, but Waller makes the ropes. Strong puts him on the top, but Waller fights back with a missile dropkick as Vic delivers about three weeks of backstory on Waller via commentary because they haven’t bothered to tell us anything else about him before now. Waller goes up with a middle rope elbow for two and then tosses Strong for a dive and then back in with a stunner for two in a hot near fall. But then Strong hits him with a knee strike and pins him in 9:05. Now THAT is a main roster trope finish, where one guy does all his big shit for the close fall and then the other guy just pops up with no transition move and hits his finish for the pin. The booking for this show is so weird. Why do you book someone in a title match for their debut and then beat him clean already? ***
Meanwhile, LA Knight is still whining about the NXT title, but this leads to a confrontation with Odyssey Jones and they brawl.
Meanwhile, Trey Baxter and Cory Jade chat about Jade’s match next week.
Lashing Out with Lash Legend. So this is some kind of wacky talk show and immediately they annoy the fuck out of me because she puts herself over as a former WNBA star with legit credentials. But of course, you’d have no way to know about that because they changed her name to LASH LEGEND and completely disassociate the character from whatever legit sports cred she might have had. Anyway, this was terrible.
Ridge Holland v. Kool Kyle O’Reilly
And, surprise surprise, everyone brawls and we take a break before starting the match in progress. I will say, I kind of liked not having EVERY SINGLE MATCH interrupted by a commercial break for the first two weeks of the new format. Now we’re really settling nicely into main roster formula doldrums again. Holland tries a facelock and Kyle flips into a sunset flip and pounds on him with knees, then takes Ridge down with a leg drag and a knee strike for two. Kyle tries an armbar and Holland slams out of that and follows with a tilt a whirl slam for two. Powerbomb gets two. Kyle clips the knee and slugs him down, but Pete Dunne provides distraction, so Kyle runs Holland into him and rolls him up for the pin at 7:07. Yeah there’s another main roster special. Weird style clash here and Holland was a different page. ** The heels go for the beatdown afterwards, but UNFROZEN CAVEMAN BEVERLY BROTHER makes the save and cleans house.
Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo talks about his cousin Richie in advance of arriving next week. Maybe they’ll debut Cousin Richie as another new guy too.
NXT Women’s title: Raquel Gonzalez v. Franky Monet
We’re starting the match at the very end of the two hours allotted. Does this developmental show REALLY need another 10 minute overrun at this point? Monet tries a headlock and Raquel slams out of that, so they get into a slapfight and Gonzalez gets a fallaway slam to put her on the floor. They fight out there, and Raquel gets a spinning slam for two in the ring. Franky hits the floor again, but pulls Raquel off the stairs for a bump on the floor and that gets two in the ring. Monet with a suplex for two and a curb stomp for two. Gonzalez comes back and this suddenly falls apart as they trade terrible kicks that miss by a mile and they’re just all over the place. Monet gets a double stomp that looks really bad, and that gets two. Also Raquel has a wardrobe malfunction, so they take it home with a powerbomb from Gonzalez to finish it fast at 7:00. Woof, not good. ½* And then it’s right to the next challenger, as Mandy Rose and her crew come out and chase off Monet before beating them down. So they do the thing where 3 people surround the ring and that’s supposed to be inescapable, even though there’s a FOURTH SIDE OF THE RING RIGHT THERE, but alas Raquel tries to fight them off anyway and loses that battle. So yeah, Mandy Rose as your new heel challenger, yee haw. And they all do their stare at the hard camera to look “dominant” as we end the show. So again, if you want to push them, then why did they lose the tag team title match earlier in the show? That makes absolutely no sense. Also, Mandy Rose and the two goth wannabes as the big scary heel faction is NO BUYS from over here, thank you very much.
Overall, I’d call this much better than the first two disasters in that they slowed things down A LOT, but at the same time they just plugged everything into the same stale main roster formula with the same stale scripted promos and bullshit finishes we’ve been watching for a decade now, complete with the same camerawork and replay formats and meticulously timed commercial breaks. That’s not an alternative, it’s just more of the same shit I don’t want to watch on Mondays and Fridays but with a cast of characters that I care even less about. This still feels like a show where they don’t know what it is or what they want out of it yet and I wish they’d figure it out already.