The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 11.30.21
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix & Wade Barrett
Wargames Advantage Ladder match: Kay Lee Ray v. Dakota Kai
I’m not big on the idea of wasting a ladder match on something that could be accomplished with a coin flip, but apparently they’ve done this before so it’s OK. The teams brawl to start due to some spectacularly poor entrance tube planning and Kai runs KLR into the ladder, but Kay Lee superkicks her out of the ring and follows with a somersault senton to the floor. They fight over the ladder out there and Kay Lee runs her into the stairs and tries for the first climb, but Kai pulls out the ladder again and so Kay Lee dives onto her. Ray with a suplex on the ladder outside as these women are taking bumps way too crazy for the 85 year old audience watching this show. They both try the climb unsuccessfully and fight to the top rope, where Dakota hangs her upside down and then hits a diving stomp to the floor. We take a break and return with Kai continuing the punishment on the floor, but Kay Lee gets the KLR Bomb onto the table to buy time. And of course we have to cut to the back where Toxic Attraction is pretending to watch a TV screen in the back while facing forward. KLR and Kai slug it out on top of the ladder and Kay Lee goes down first, but Dakota is somehow unable to figure out the mechanism of unhooking the briefcase and so she drops an elbow off the ladder instead. Dakota climbs again but Kay Lee pulls her down from underneath the ladder and climbs again, grabbing the case to win the advantage at 12:45. Like, they do know that it renders the Wargames match mostly pointless if the babyfaces get the advantage, right? The whole point is to build heat on the babyfaces. Anyway, this was easily the best match in the short history of NXT 2.0. ****
Meanwhile, the Grizzled Young Vets are up to skullduggery and no good in the locker room, but Jacket Time is all wacky and alerts the rednecks to their presence.
Cameron Grimes v. Andre Chase
This was stemming from last week’s random confrontation at Chase U, which is impressive continuity for this Russo nightmare of a show. Chase bails to the apron and yanks Grimes down by the hair and follows with a neckbreaker for two. Chase runs him into the corner and puts the boots to him, but Grimes comes back with a rana and forearms to make the comeback. Grimes goes up and misses a stomp, but the Cave In finishes at 2:30. Just a match. *1/2 And then Duke Hudson joins us from the weird balcony thing and we get WACKY PHOTOSHOP HUMOR on the NXT-Tron as Duke shows us potential haircuts. This apparently enrages Grimes so much that he grabs a clipper and goes after Chase, but he’s saved by a student. As usual, the photo humor was death and did nothing to make the match more interesting.
Meanwhile, we meet Edris Enofe, who came from hard times and left the military looking for a purpose. See, that’s a CHARACTER instead of a stupid gimmick. Now watch him lose in a minute when he debuts.
Carmelo Hayes and the team of newbies join us in the ring and they jibber-jabber about the babyfaces, but Johnny Gargano interrupts and we learn that the ladder match tonight will be Johnny v. Bron Breakker, which gives us “Big Bad Booty Nephew” jokes from Johnny as they continue referencing everything related to the Steiner Brothers but never come out and say he’s a Steiner. Like, it’s not particularly clever when they’re the ones who are deliberately making sure not to call him that name.
Meanwhile, MSK are still driving around looking for their shaman after 5 weeks, and even their GPS is giving them shit about taking so long. And then we finally meet the shaman, but we can’t see him, and apparently they’re dragging this stupid shit out for another week. I’m assuming the big payoff is going to be RVD because drugs are hilarious but that hardly seems worth the wait.
Legado del Fantasma v. Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner
Kyle and Von double-team Mendoza in their corner to start, but LDF comes back with a double spinebuster on Kyle and Wilde gets two. Wade as always cuts through the nonsense and sums up the backstory of the babyfaces: “They’re two guys who met four weeks ago and spent the night together in a tent somewhere.” He’s not wrong. Kyle takes Mendoza down and goes for the ankle, but Mendoza blocks that, so he tries for an armbar instead. Over to Von, who flails his limbs all over the ring like a baby deer while Xyon Quinn joins us to make eyes at Lopez while we take a break. Kudos if he is able to look her in the eyes with that top. So Quinn brawls with Escobar and disappears, while Kyle gets distracted and worked over by the heels. They do a series of nice corner clotheslines, rolling into the ring in turn before each one, and Wilde gets a springboard clothesline for two. Wilde with a neckbreaker for two. Kyle fights out of the corner and makes the hot tag thanks to Wagner’s freakishly long arms. Von does his array of slams and gets two on Mendoza off that. Blind charge misses and Mendoza comes back with a springboard dropkick, so it’s back to Kyle because Wagner is so useless as a hot tag. Kyle and Wilde trade forearms and slug it out in an entertaining sequence, but Wilde counters him with a DDT and then draws Wagner in for distraction. But then Wagner manages to not be totally useless and sends Mendoza to the floor, allowing them to finish Wilde with a high low at 11:02. So we get to see if they can co-exist in a tag title match on Sunday, where I’m assuming Kyle finally turns on his ass and then puts him over on the way to AEW. A perfectly cromulent tag team match as long as Wagner wasn’t in there. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Imperium are about to do a promo in English, but Kyle and Von interrupt and call them DUMBASSES. Them’s fighting words!
Meanwhile, Tiffany Stratton is still very rich.
Joe Gacy joins us for his All Inclusive Invitational, which means I get to listen to him talk again. Lucky me. So the deal here is that he is facing a series of non-cruiserweights who are not named. So first up is some guy and Gacy powerbombs him for the pin at 1:00. Next up is some girl, but before they can start the match, Diamond Mine interrupts and it turns into a promo segment instead. But Strong doesn’t want to talk, so they get into a brief fight and then Gacy runs away. This whole thing sucked.
Meanwhile, Solo Sikoa talks about Edris Enofe, but Boa interrupts and it seems like he’s either possessed by demons or having bad acid reflux.
Solo Sikoa v. Edris Enofe
Enofe has a great look but a so-so name. They trade wristlocks while Robert Stone comes out to watch, using what appears to be an Apple Pencil on a phone, which isn’t actually a thing you can do. Solo gets a spinning uranage for two and pounds on Enofe, but Enofe comes back with a standing moonsault and a sliding neckbreaker for two. Solo pounds him with strikes and follows with a senton for two, but he misses a blind charge and Enofe fights back with a dropkick and a crossbody. DDT and Enofe goes up and misses a 450, allowing Solo to finish him with the flying Uso splash at 4:18. These were two very green guys having a very hesitant match. * And then Boa runs in and attack both guys with a Tongan death grip and gets chased off.
Meanwhile, the hospital calls Indi Hartwell to inform her that Dexter Lumis has disappeared.
Meanwhile, Xyon Quinn meets up with Elektra Lopez in the parking lot and reveals that he has a match with Santos next week.
Indi Hartwell & Persia Perotta v. enhancement talent
Indi is double-teamed by the jobber women because Indi is so distracted, but Perotta gets a hot tag anyway and destroys them alone at 1:45.
Vic gives us the War Games rundown, which is streaming EXCLUSIVELY on Peacock! If you don’t count the “Pay Per View” which is right in the graphic for the show. And the WWE Network. But I guess that goes without saying.
Meanwhile, Draco Anthony sits in a coffee shop being all moody. Seriously though, enough with the new characters. The show is already so overstuffed that they have MSK driving around Florida for six weeks looking for a shaman in order to give them something to do.
Wargames Advantage Ladder match: Johnny Gargano v. Bron Breakker
I personally voted for Carmelo Hayes because I figured that Gargano would win and that would be a better match, but obviously Bron is the bigger star at this point. Johnny tries for a takedown and Bron hits him with a suplex, but Johnny dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a dive. Bron takes him out and brings the ladder in, but Johnny hits him with the ladder and we take a break. Back with them fighting on top of the ladder, but Johnny sends him to the floor and goes for the climb. Bron clotheslines the ladder down and then suplexes Johnny onto it, but he goes up with an elbow that misses, bumping off his hip on the ladder. Johnny sets up the ladder in the corner and suckers Bron into it, but Bron won’t go down, so Johnny gives him three superkicks. And then Bron brings him to the top for a Frankenbreakker and tries his finisher, but Johnny reverses to a DDT and makes the climb. Bron follows and Johnny hits him with the case to knock him down, but Bron slams him off and grabs the case at 13:28 to win the advantage. I know it was determined by fan voting (supposedly) but Bron wasn’t the guy for this type of match at this point in his career. Thankfully Johnny is one of the best workers in the world and was able to hold it together because Bron looked like had not much of an idea of when to sell and where to be most of the way. But man, they had that poor kid taking some NASTY bumps that he shouldn’t taking this young. I think his Big Bad Booty Uncle needs to talk to him about bump cards and long term hip damage. *** And then everyone brawls to end the show.
Well, the wrestling was much better overall, but two ladder matches in the same show is definitely overkill. Also, this show did nothing to actually promote the WarGames matches in the PPV they’re pushing and make me actually want to see the matches. Hopefully they can keep the PPV under two hours and prevent anyone from dying, and that should be enough for a thumbs up show at least. But I’m not holding my breath on either one.