The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 01.11.22
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic Joseph & Wade Barrett
In a move that should come as a shock to no one, apparently NXT’s creative has been brought under the umbrella of the main roster writers and producers now and taken away from the people running it before. I’m sure that will work out great for everyone.
Bron Breakker joins us to start, after winning the NXT title last week and kicking off another new era within this new era. Bron puts over Ciampa as a legend, but now it’s time to issue an open challenge, which seems like it’s going nowhere, but then SHOCKINGLY someone does interrupt him, in this case Santos Escobar, who is here for a match. That poor bastard is gonna rot in NXT.
Santos Escobar v. Xyon Quinn
The winner of this gets to leave with Elektra Lopez, so Xyon is all fired up and does some tribal dancing before attacking Escobar and beating him down in the corner. So we get the weird thing where Lopez is watching from that balcony deal, which is turning into NXT’s version of people watching TVs while facing the camera, although they do that too. Quinn continues throwing punches in various corners and flexing and we take a break with literally nothing happening. Back with Escobar working the leg as Lopez has now made her way to ringside to watch while Wade puts Xyon over as a “talk dark hunk of man-meat”. If he says so. Escobar continues working on the leg with a dropkick to the knee, but he charges Xyon and gets laid out. Quinn comes back with more punching in the corner before getting distracted by the goons at ringside, and both men stop to make time with Lopez, but then she SHOCKINGLY turns on Quinn and kicks him in the nuts. And then the Fantom Driver finishes at 10:15. Shit match with the usual predictable WWE ending. * It was a dumb storyline with a payoff you could see coming a mile away, let’s just move on.
Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo has problems with dog training, which he likens to Pete Dunne. I can sympathize.
Meanwhile, Mandy Rose does a photo shoot at her pool.
Cameron Grimes v. Damon Kemp
Grimes trades leglocks with Kemp and rolls him up for two, while Malcolm Bivens comes out to watch. Grimes goes up and Kemp catches him with a suplex, but Grimes comes back with a corner dropkick and flying bodypress. Cave In finishes at 2:20. Just a squash for Grimes, although you can tell they want to do something with Kemp based on Wade’s rundown of his Minnesota bonafides. But he needs a new wacky gimmick, so it’s time to bust out the Gimmick Generator again: His new name is Kristo Shahram, and he is a lonely, considerate and cruel handyman. His catchphrase is “Is There Something You Want To Tell Me, Son?”
Damn, that’s actually pretty good.
Last Week: Von Wagner beats on Andre Chase, although they only show still frames for some reason. Don’t want to hurt the PPV replay? Weird flex but OK. Anyway, Von has been FINED and SUSPENDED. I’m sure we’ll all miss him.
Edris Enofe & Malik Blade v. Harland & Joe Gacy
Winner of this qualifies for the prestigious 2022 Dusty Cup tournament. Enofe gets some shine on Gacy, but walks into a uranage for two. Enofe gets a rollup for two and brings in Blade for a dropkick and the geeks double-team Gacy for a bit and then Harland comes in and mauls Blade in the corner. And that’s a DQ for kicking too much ass at 3:12. So the jobbers fall ass-backwards into the tournament. This did a tremendous job of making everyone involved look like huge stars who will no doubt be over for decades as a result and have lots of sexy parties to celebrate all the money they’ll be making. DUD
Meanwhile, Imperium takes wrestling very seriously. What’s with all the introductory videos tonight? I mean, the primary audience is 80 years old and likely suffers from memory loss, so I can kind of understand it, but it’s kind of weird.
CROWBAR ON A POLE: Pete Dunne v. Tony D’Angelo
Dunne is seemingly on his way to the main roster so he’s likely putting Tony over on the way out here. Dunne goes for the pole early and Tony slugs him down, so Dunne puts him down with a guillotine and climbs again. Tony brings him down and tosses him with an exploder that’s a tad wild, and they fight in the corner but are both unable to retrieve the crowbar. D’Angelo gets a falcon arrow and we take a break. Back with Dunne fighting out of a chinlock and coming back with a neckbreaker before stomping the fingers. Do we count that as SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION? I’ll allow it. Dunne again climbs and is somehow unable to get the crowbar which is literally hanging there and nearly touching the top turnbuckle, and Tony gets it first. But then Dunne steals it and chases him out of the ring, but Tony yanks him out and suplexes him on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. They fight on the floor and tease some shots with the crowbar, but none of this really goes anywhere because a crowbar is a pretty limited weapon from a working standpoint. Back in the ring, Dunne tries to choke out D’Angelo with the crowbar, but Tony gets a neckbreaker for two. Dunne fights back again and regains the crowbar, taking Tony down with an STF, but Tony fights out and grabs a chair, which is not a legal weapon. So Dunne gets a triangle, but Tony makes the ropes. Because crowbars are legal but ropes break holds. Tony runs Dunne into the corner and hits him with the crowbar for the pin at 13:00. This was OK for most of the match but then absolutely fell of a cliff for some reason once that chair got involved. **1/4 Also the replay of the finish shows how badly Tony missed with the crowbar. You don’t usually want to show that stuff in slow motion.
Meanwhile, Grayson Waller is very confident.
Meanwhile, more posing from Toxic Attraction. This is a really weirdly formatted show. Like, we’ve had 18 segments per week on Toxic Attraction since this new format launched, do we really need video packages explaining who they are?
Persia Pirotta, Indi Hartwell & Wendy Choo v. Amari Miller, Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Wade notes that he’s had some weird tag team partners, including “a guy from West Virginia who was tough to get along with.” What’s the reference there? The Tiktok twins hit dives on Indi to start while Choo literally naps in the corner. Back in the ring, Kayden knocks Persia off the apron and rolls up Indi for two, so Choo comes in and beats on Miller with kicks and a suplex. Overhead suplex gets two, but Persia comes in and everyone hits big moves and they’re all out. So Choo recovers from her nap and brings Persia in, and then Indi comes in with a flying elbow and pins Miller at 3:33. Well they kept it short. * I don’t really get what Choo’s deal is supposed to be. Like, she’s really lazy and then suddenly does a bunch of impressive moves? What kind of an outlaw mudshow is this?
Meanwhile, MSK check out the Dusty Cup, but Dakota Kai is all crazy.
Meanwhile, Kay Lee Ray smashes up Mandy’s photoshoot.
Solo Sikoa v. Boa
Boa gets some kicks and tosses Solo, but Solo comes back in and beats him down on the mat. They fight to the floor and Boa runs him into the post and they both manage to bleed off that. Back in, Sikoa comes back with a senton and clotheslines Boa to the floor, then runs him into the stairs and it’s a double countout at 3:40. This episode is EPIC. They should put the tape in the Smithsonian to preserve it for all eternity as a warning to the next generation. * I mean, they were hitting each other pretty hard in the two minutes before the double countout finish, I suppose, so there’s that.
Meanwhile, Carmelo arrives at the show with 20 minutes left.
Meanwhile, Boa and Sikoa continue fighting in the back, where there’s lots of trash can lids and clanging pipes, but it ends with Boa magically morphing into his evil form and throwing a fireball at Sikoa. SMITHSONIAN QUALITY.
BREAKING NEWS: Von Wagner is already un-suspended and his fine has been paid by a mysterious benefactor. Well it was nice while it lasted. I should point out that Wagner isn’t even on the show this week and he’s still managing to suck up valuable airtime from everyone else. Not that I’m complaining about him not being on the show. Well I guess I am, but it’s Von Wagner, so screw him.
Carmelo and Trick join us to pour one out for Roderick Strong’s title reign. And then he says a bunch of stuff because he thinks highly of himself.
Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes meets up with Carmelo in the parking lot and issues a challenge for the North American title.
AJ Styles v. Grayson Waller
They trade takedowns to start and AJ beats on him with chops in the corner and dropkicks him to the floor. Waller trips him up and dives onto him as we take a break. Back with Waller holding a cravat, which is a complete slap in the face to William Regal the week of his firing. I will not accept that it’s anything but. Is there anyone else in wrestling who loves a good cravat more than Regal? I rest my case. AJ comes back with the strike combo and seated forearm, and the ushigoroshi gets two. AJ goes for the Styles Clash and Waller makes the ropes to block it, but AJ chases him to the floor and then sets up for the forearm. Waller necks him on the top rope to cut him off and then drops a flying elbow for two. Waller misses a blind charge and AJ rolls him into the calf crusher, but Waller makes the ropes. Waller with a sunset flip for two and powerbomb for two. He goes for his own Styles Clash and AJ escapes that, so Waller does his rolling stunner for two. They fight to the top and AJ slips out and tries another Clash, but Waller escapes that. So AJ hits the Pele and a brainbuster to set up the Phenomenal Forearm to finish at 14:45. A good match to end an awful show. ***1/4 And then LA Knight returns from purgatory to attack Waller and pick up that feud again after getting written out off-screen weeks ago. Did they ever actually show what was supposed to have happened to him?
Oh NXT. After teasing me with such a good show last week, it’s right back into the burning tire fire of my cold black reviewer heart again where you belong. Don’t ever change! Or do, whatever.