Date: December 14, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
It’s another new era as Johnny Gargano and Kyle O’Reilly are both gone, at least for the time being. That means we might be in for some new names, but ultimately that might not be the best thing. Some of the new generation has done well, but there are more than a few who haven’t been the most thrilling. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Grayson Waller attacking Johnny Gargano to end last week’s show.
Waller arrives and gets booed by a bunch of fans, so he films a bit of the reaction.
We recap Cameron Grimes vs. Duke Hudson. Grimes has beaten Hudson in poker and a match, including cutting off some of Hudson’s hair. Tonight is the final fight, no holds barred.
Duke Hudson vs. Cameron Grimes
No holds barred so Grimes busts out the weapons before the bell. Hudson still has the blond wig, as held down by the headgear. The brawl starts on the floor, with Grimes getting in a few shots early on. Hudson has to fix the hair while fighting back, but Grimes slips out of a Razor’s Edge attempt on the floor. Back in and a chair is set up, with Hudson managing a Rock Bottom onto the edge (that was nasty) for two.
We take a break and come back with Grimes diving over a poker table to hit a high crossbody for another near fall. Hudson catches him on top though and counters the Cave In into a powerbomb through the poker table. The cover takes awhile because the shoulders aren’t on the mat though and Grimes is up at two. The frustrated Hudson goes outside to grab the electric hair clippers but gets kicked in the face. Grimes hits the Cave In through a chair for the pin at 10:45.
Rating: C+. I’m glad they got to the point with this as the feud was more or less done once Grimes cut Hudson’s hair. Grimes has done everything he can to Hudson at this point so let them both move on. It’s good to see Grimes pick up another feud and hopefully he gets to move on to a higher level.
Post match, Grimes de-wigs Hudson to reveal the bald head.
Cora Jade is medically cleared but here is Dakota Kai to say that this is what “she” does. Maybe “they” can get together and win the Dusty Cup! Jade is ready to beat Kai tonight instead. I’m not sure who Kai meant but it almost sounded like the interviewer.
Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs are getting to go to a country concert with Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter. The band isn’t actually mentioned, but the culture clash seems to be a bit of an issue. Carter and Catanzaro wind up dancing with each other.
Here is Grayson Waller for his big talk after attacking Johnny Gargano. Waller is very proud of what happened last week and we see some footage from his own phone of the chaos, including Vic Joseph looking rather annoyed. After he took out Gargano, he spent some time partying with the biggest celebrities in the world. What did the people here do? Spend the weekend yelling about him online!
We see some tweets, including from Wade Barrett, who calls Waller a “POS”, but Barrett might like him anyway. Waller doesn’t care what Barrett thinks because it isn’t 2010. He does find it interesting that Vic Joseph got so mad but didn’t do anything, which has Joseph looking mad. Waller says the only thing he needs to bet on is himself to wrap it up. This was pretty generic at best and I’m not sure if Waller has the level of heat NXT thinks/hopes he does.
We recap Riddle being revealed as MSK’s Shaman.
It’s time for Lashing Out with Lash Legend, with Jacket Time as this week’s guests. We pause for Mei Ying to walk by with her pillow until Legend can talk about how nice the two of them dress. Legend asks about the Grizzled Young Veterans so Ikemen Jiro goes into a rant about the Veterans, albeit with subtitles. That’s all the time we have, making this the least annoying edition yet, mainly because Legend barely talked. As usual though, these segments feel more like the comic relief stuff (especially Ying) and they are such a detour from everything else.
Amari Miller vs. Ivy Nile
Nile throws her down to start and then chokes away in the corner. Miller comes back with some rollups for two each and hits a dropkick. A spinwheel kick misses though and Nile spinebusters her down. The neck crank finishes Miller at 3:40.
Rating: C-. Miller continues to be someone they see something in and that is not a bad thing. She has a great smile and a lot of charisma so if she can back it up with the rest, she’ll be fine. Nile seems like she has all of the basic tools, but she is going to need to show she can do things in some longer matches.
Xyon Quinn knows how Elektra Lopez plays now so the game is continuing. Quinn leaves so here is Robert Stone to say it’s time for him to be taken seriously. Now it’s Von Wagner coming in to say if people has a problem, come say it to his face. Who knew he was an Alex Riley fan?
Riddle has a magic sack and pulls out presents for MSK: a baseball bat, a traffic cone and the John Cena spinner US Title belt. Riddle says these things are holding them down, so it’s time to learn to let it go and become the best again. Then Riddle pulls out a scooter, which is the key to clearing your mind.
Harland vs. Guru Raaj
Joe Gacy (with a peppier song about being yours) is here with Harland. Raaj is sent face first into the mat to start and some elbows to the face keep him in trouble. A belly to back slam finishes Raaj at 1:06.
Post match, Harland beats Raaj up again but Gacy calms him down so they can leave.
LA Knight arrives in his nice car and says he doesn’t want to hear about Grayson Waller after he hit one cool move (with help) at WarGames. It’s not Knight’s fault that some fine woman was feeling him last week and he’ll smack Waller around when he sees him.
Security is trying to get rid of Harland, so he throws Brian Kendrick (an agent) down the steps.
Dakota Kai vs. Cora Jade
Mandy Rose is on commentary. They fight the corner to start, with Jade’s bad shoulder being sent into the buckle. Kai works on the armbar but misses the running boot in the corner, as Rose tries to figure out why Jade rides a skateboard (Rose: “This isn’t a park.”). A Rock Bottom backbreaker gives Kai two, followed by a swinging reverse DDT for the same. Back up and Jade grabs a very quick rollup for the pin at 6:28, leaving Rose stunned at the luck.
Rating: C-. This was mainly a squash until Jade survived in the end, which is rarely a good way to go. I’m not sure how far Jade is going to go around here but she does have some charisma to back it up. That being said, she might need more than being able to hold her shoulder to make something like this work long term.
Post match Kai lays Jade out again but Raquel Gonzalez runs in for the save. Cue Toxic Attraction for the distraction though, allowing Mandy to take Jade down by the arm again.
Tiffany Stratton tells Grayson Waller her daddy thinks he’s a bad person. Io Shirai comes up and yells at Waller a lot. Waller thinks Shirai likes him.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai are fighting in the back.
Andre Chase vs. Tony D’Angelo
D’Angelo drives him into the corner to start and sends Chase face first into the corner. Chase might go to the eyes to escape and swears by his student section that he didn’t cheat. A neckbreaker gets two on D’Angelo and a Russian legsweep gets the same. We hit the chinlock, but D’Angelo fights up and sends him into the corner for the break. Chase’s sweater is pulled over his head for some shots to the ribs, setting up the fisherman’s neckbreaker to give D’Angelo the pin at 4:14.
Rating: C-. These are two of the gimmickiest wrestlers on the show right now and it felt like something out of a low level indy promotion. D’Angelo is still as over the top as you can get and Chase is….I’m really not sure what he is actually. He has some talent, but where is he supposed to go with this beyond the NXT midcard?
Post match, D’Angelo declares himself as the head of the class but here is Pete Dunne to interrupt. D’Angelo doesn’t think much of Dunne and goes after him, only to get his fingers snapped.
Grayson Waller comes into the locker room, where Bron Breakker tells him to get out. Others agree, so Waller says real stars have their own locker room anyway.
Brian Kendrick is being checked on and is in a neck brace.
Boa vs. Edris Enofe
Boa knocks him down to start and grabs a quick cobra clutch to keep Enofe in trouble. Some knees to the ribs set up a butterfly suplex for two. Boa grabs the chinlock but Enofe fights up and hits a dropkick. A fisherman’s suplex gets two on Boa but he grabs the Tongan Death Grip. Enofe is stunned and it’s a spinning kick to the head to give Boa the pin at 3:03.
Rating: D+. I’m still not sure what they see in Boa, but I don’t think it’s the greatest idea to have him beat a bunch of people with interesting vignettes (like he did to Draco Anthony a few weeks ago on 205 Live). The matches aren’t even that good (save for that awesome kick to the head) but the Boa train continues for some reason. At least stop having him beat people before they get the chance to establish themselves.
Raquel Gonzalez has to finish this with Dakota Kai and wants a street fight.
Grayson Waller steals LA Knight’s car, having taken Knight out. There was someone in the car with him but it wasn’t clear who.
Jacket Time vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Kushida takes Drake down to start so Gibson is right there for a pep talk. The advice doesn’t work as Kushida takes him down and twist the arm around. Kushida finally gets knocked down so the double teaming can begin. That lasts all of a few seconds until Kushida strikes his way to freedom and brings in Jiro.
House is cleaned as everything breaks down, including the Hoverboard Lock to Gibson. That’s reversed into a suplex for two but Kushida fights out of Ticket To Ride. Cue the Creed Brothers, whose distraction allows Jacket Time to hit stereo dives. A Swanton/reverse DDT combination finishes Drake at 6:24.
Rating: C. This was much more of a formula tag match and that is a good idea for both of them. That being said, the tag division is pretty terrible right now and I’m not sure I can see it getting that much better. Above all else, the Veterans have gone from a team who could have been a big deal to whatever they are now, while Jacket Time feels like a gimmick that probably doesn’t have much of a shelf life as anything more than comedy.
Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes run into Roderick Strong and don’t think much of him. Then they find a scary drawing from Dexter Lumis and panic a bit.
Cora Jade and Brian Kendrick have both been injured and could be out for awhile.
Bron Breakker vs. Roderick Strong
Non-title. Strong takes him down to start as Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are watching from the balcony. Breakker muscles Strong up to start into a suplex, setting up a nip up to show off. They head outside with Strong dropping him onto the announcers’ table as we take a break.
Back with Breakker fighting out of a front facelock but getting caught with a fireman’s carry gutbuster. Breakker isn’t having that and comes back with a powerslam, followed by the big running shoulders. Strong knocks him against the ropes though and hits the running forearms. The Angle Slam gets two and it’s a top rope superplex into a tiger bomb for two more on Breakker. That’s too far for Breakker, who counters a charge into something like a powerbomb. The gorilla press powerslam finishes for Breakker at 9:53.
Rating: B-. This is the kind of thing they should be doing with Breakker: putting him in the ring with a talented veteran who can show him a lot more of the ropes. Breakker has all of the star potential in the world, but he is desperately in need of experience. Having him out there for ten minutes with someone like Strong, who can walk him through a match, is a good idea and the kind of thing he should be doing three nights a week on the house show circuit. Strong’s Cruiserweight Title continues to mean nothing, but it’s not like it has had any value in the better part of ever.
Post match, Tommaso Ciampa comes in and gives Breakker the Willow’s Bell to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This was a weird show as it had some up and down action, but also some all over the place character stuff. The wrestling was better than not for most of the show, but some of the matches felt like they should have been held in front of coaches at the Performance Center rather than on national TV. It doesn’t help when a lot of these people are flat out not ready for this level but are here anyway because NXT can’t have house shows anymore. There are good wrestlers here, but some of them are glorified coaches/on the job trainers and it shows badly.
Then there is the character stuff, which is the Grayson Waller portion of the show. Waller was ALL OVER this show and I’m not sure what to think of that. On one hand, it is really nice to have an overarching story rather than a bunch of things that just happen. Almost everyone had some kind of an opinion on Waller and it made things more interesting as a result. That being said, it’s still Grayson Waller, who is about as generic of a cocky heel as you can get right now. I’ll take what I can get, but not by much.
Overall, the show feels like it is going in a bunch of directions at once, with a lot of people being shoved into spots they aren’t ready to be in yet. You can tell which wrestlers are veterans and which are long term projects, but it doesn’t make a difference when they’re on the same show. This is what happens when you completely gut your roster, because there is not enough talent on this show to fill two hours of prime time. It’s really jarring to go from a full roster to this in such a hurry, but that’s what NXT is now, and I guess it’s what WWE wants. I don’t know why, but it’s going to be a long road from here on out.
Cameron Grimes b. Duke Hudson – Cave In through a chair
Ivy Nile b. Amari Miller – Neck crank
Harland b. Guru Raaj – Belly to back slam
Cora Jade b. Dakota Kai – Rollup
Tony D’Angelo b. Andre Chase – Fisherman’s neckbreaker
Boa b. Edris Enofe – Spinning kick to the head
Jacket Time b. Grizzled Young Veterans – Swanton Bomb/reverse DDT combination to Drake
Bron Breakker b. Roderick Strong – Gorilla press powerslam
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