Date: January 25, 2022
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and I don’t think that is going to mean much for most of the people around here. NXT is in a different world than almost anything that happens on the main roster and in a way that’s a good thing, as they can do some positive stuff on their own. Let’s get to it.
MSK is next to the Dusty Cup and ready to win it again. Now they know what it takes to get back to the top of the mountain thanks to Riddle, but DON’T TOUCH THE CUP!
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Jacket Time vs. MSK
Carter and Kushida start things off with neither being able to get anywhere. It’s off to Lee, who immediately gets punched down by Jiro. Jacket Time takes him into the corner to start up the beating and it’s a double bulldog to give Kushida two. Jiro gets taken down in the corner though and it’s Carter hitting a Bronco Buster, which the fans don’t seem to like very much. Some double teaming takes Jiro down and we take a break.
Back with Jiro getting suplexed down, setting up a kick to the chest. There’s the running shooting star for two and it’s back to Lee, who gets caught in the belly to back kneeling piledriver for two. Lee fights up and brings in Carter to clean house. The push moonsault is countered into the Hoverboard Lock but Carter drives him into the corner for the Blockbuster Hart Attack and the pin at 11:32.
Rating: B-. This was the kind of match where they were supposed to go about 100 miles an hour and that’s what they did for a good bit. MSK needed to win to move forward, as there is a redemption story to them making the finals, if not flat out winning the tournament. Jacket Time might not be everyone’s thing, but they are at the level they should be at: a pretty low comedy team who gets good reactions and loses.
Respect is shown post match.
Zoey Stark tells Io Shirai she needs to find a new partner because Stark’s knee isn’t ready yet. Shirai doesn’t want to, but here is Tiffany Stratton to mock both of them. Stratton is ready to beat Shirai tonight, sending Shirai into a rant.
Video on Cameron Grimes wanting to beat Tony D’Angelo and move on to get the North American Title.
Legado del Fantasma is in the ring with Santos Escobar mocking Bron Breakker. People make fun of him because of his family and his poor math skills (Ha!) but he is already billed as a star. Escobar is a real star but here is Breakker to interrupt. Breakker gets in Escobar’s face and tells him to callate because the champ is speaking. Just issue the challenge already because he’ll accept it. Escobar says it’s on his time and leaves, only to have his goons jump Breakker. This goes as well as you would expect and Breakker stands tall.
Video on Boa vs. Solo Sikoa.
Solo Sikoa vs. Boa
No DQ and falls count anywhere with Boa jumping him with a kendo stick to start. A bunch of weapons are thrown in but Sikoa hits a Samoan drop. Everything but a single chair is cleared out so Boa wins a tug of war and beats Sikoa down again. A butterfly suplex onto a trashcan lets Boa set up a table at ringside but the delay lets Sikoa fight up. They fight into the back with Boa sending him into a ladder, which is then rammed into Sikoa’s chest.
Another shot misses though and Boa is rammed into a steel door. Sikoa goes outside and locks the door behind him so Boa opens the damaged garage door. Sikoa is right there with a blast from a fire extinguisher and they head back into the arena. Boa is sent into some chairs in the corner and a superkick takes him down again. The Superfly Splash is broken up with a crotching though and they head outside again. A Samoan drop sends Boa onto the announcers’ table and it’s a Superfly Splash to put Boa through another table for the pin at 8:04.
Rating: B-. I don’t know how big of a win this is going to be for Sikoa as he was beating Boa, but he had a hard fought match that felt like the end of this mini feud. Sikoa has the genetics and family name to make something of himself and the brawling style should work well. Boa….yeah I don’t get it, but he lost in the big match here so at least they didn’t go too far.
Video on Imperium, who talks about how it is time to move on from the past and fear the name of Gunther. WWE certainly feared the long form of the name.
Duke Hudson vs. Guru Raaj
Hudson starts fast and hammers away, setting up a side slam. A Razor’s Edge finishes for Hudson at 1:08.
Post match here is Dante Chen to say he’s coming for Hudson, albeit respectfully. Referees break it up but Hudson chop blocks him down.
Persia Pirotta likes Duke Hudson with short hair but Indi Hartwell tells her to focus. Kay Lee Ray comes in to suggest she wants to beat up Mandy Rose with a baseball bat. Or just pin her.
Legado del Fantasma is unhappy with Bron Breakker and the challenge is on….for him to face Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. He doesn’t have any friends so it’s not worries.
Indi Hartwell/Persia Pirotta/Kay Lee Ray vs. Toxic Attraction
Ray wants Mandy Rose to start but Jacy Jayne tags herself in instead. That’s fine with Ray, who drives her into the corner for the tag off to Hartwell. A kick to the head rocks Jayne so Rose comes in, only to get backbreakered by Pirotta. There’s a kick to the head and it’s back to Ray, sending Rose bailing to the floor.
Ray is left alone in the ring so it’s a huge dive to the floor to take all three down at once. Back in and Dolin gets caught in the corner for a beating, only to drive Hartwell into the wrong corner. Some Kawada Kicks knock Hartwell silly but she’s back with a side slam to Rose. Jayne breaks up the tag though and Dolin takes her down for two.
We take a break and come back with Hartwell still in trouble and Jayne hitting a running neckbreaker. They chop it out and knock each other down so the tag is off to Pirotta to clean house. Everything breaks down and it’s Ray superkicking Rose before grabbing the bat. The bat hits the steps and the post and Ray chases her to the back. That leaves Dolin to small package Pirotta for two, only to get kicked in the face. The fireman’s carry faceplant finishes Dolin at 13:53.
Rating: C. Take the challengers and the champions, put them in the same match and give one of the challengers a win to set up a title match later. That’s classic wrestling booking and it will work fine here. Toxic Attraction feel like vulnerable champions and Hartwell/Pirotta will be fine as challengers on the big show. Ray is the serious threat to Rose and while I don’t know if she will take the title, at least they have set her up well.
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade can’t believe they have made it to the semifinals of the Dusty Classics and they could go all the way. Enofe seems interested in Toxic Attraction though and somehow he loses his shirt.
Earlier today, Raquel Gonzalez was training when Cora Jade came in to ask to be her partner again. That still won’t happen because Gonzalez can’t trust her. Jade loads up a slap but it gets blocked, with Gonzalez getting serious.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Andre Chase/Bodhi Hayward
Drake shoves Chase down to start so Chase flips him around by the wrist. The spelling stomps have Drake in more trouble and it’s time to alternate on the arm. Some Flip Flop and Fly stagger Drake again but Gibson pulls him to the floor. A spike shoulder breaker put Chase down but he’s fine enough to roll over for the tag off to Hayward. House is cleaned but it’s a double Codebreaker to finish Hayward at 5:10.
Rating: C. I like the Veterans, but I am long past the point of believing that they are going to be given a serious push, or even a major win, in NXT. At the same time you have Chase and Hayward and they have managed to get this stupid gimmick over. I absolutely would not have bet on that and well done on pulling off what should not have been possible. It might not go very far, but they have a something with it, at least for the time being.
Post match here is Von Wagner to jump Chase and Hayward. Robert Stone comes in to say Wagner is under new management.
Grayson Waller, with his bodyguard Sanga, is ready to take out LA Knight, who is still under a restraining order.
Odyssey Jones has undergone knee surgery and will be out of action until the fall.
Io Shirai vs. Tiffany Stratton
Shirai doesn’t see sure of what to think of Stratton. A wristlock has Stratton flipping away and she kicks Shirai down, leaving commentary stunned. The chinlock has Shirai in more trouble and even the fans chanting can’t bring her back up. They get to their feet with Stratton shouting a lot, only to get palm struck into the corner. A slam sets up the Moons Over Moonsault for the pin on Stratton at 4:17.
Rating: C. That’s how this kind of a match should have gone, as Stratton is still brand new and Shirai is one of the best ever around here. Stratton got in some offense before ultimately falling, though there was only ever going to be so much drama here. I’m not sure what to make of Stratton so far, but she has the athleticism to make something of herself, assuming she can get around the lame gimmick (see also most of this NXT).
Malcolm Bivens thinks Gunther is a stupid name. Bivens: “It should have been DUMBA**, in all caps!” This is a new beginning and it’s time for the team to take out Imperium, including Ivy Nile stretching him to his mother’s house.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams introduce Olliejayy for a musical performance.
Tony D’Angelo is ready for Cameron Grimes.
Tiffany Stratton is on the phone with her dad and complains about the referee. She runs into Wendy Choo, who thinks the referee had a point. Stratton slaps her cup away, sending Choo into some whining about her free refill. Someone was paid to come up with that.
Tony D’Angelo vs. Cameron Grimes
The winner gets Carmelo Hayes (on the balcony with Trick Williams) for the North American Title in the future. D’Angelo starts fast by snapping off a suplex, setting up a choke in the corner. Grimes gets planted down again and we take a break. Back with Grimes hitting him in the face but getting punched in the ribs. The waistlock goes on but Grimes fights up and hits a bunch of forearms.
D’Angelo is rocked for a change and Grimes hits his flipping powerslam for two. Back up and the threat of the Cave In sends D’Angelo outside. That’s fine with Grimes, who grabs a hat. Cue Pete Dunne with a 2×4 to hit D’Angelo in the hand, allowing Grimes to hit the Cave In for the pin at 11:35 (possibly while thanking D’Angelo at the same time).
Rating: C+. As has been the case with a lot of the matches tonight, I don’t think there was much drama here, but they got tot he point after some good action. Grimes can work well with anyone and it’s not like D’Angelo is awful in the ring. There was no reason to believe D’Angelo was winning here but they didn’t overstay their welcome, even with Dunne’s return.
Bron Breakker is leaving when Legado del Fantasma pops up in their SUV. Breakker is ready to fight but Tommaso Ciampa comes in to even the odds a bit. Breakker says the math checks out for him as Legado leaves to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The best thing I can say about this show is that it felt like one of the old NXT’s. This show felt like it had a bunch of things to accomplish and then went through them one by one, including setting things up for later. That’s one of the reasons NXT worked so well back in the day and it was working again here. While the show has some problems, it feels like it has a direction and that is what matters more than anything else at the moment.
MSK b. Jacket Time – Blockbuster Hart Attack to Kushida
Solo Sikoa b. Boa – Superfly Splash through a table
Duke Hudson b. Guru Raaj – Razor’s Edge
Kay Lee Ray/Persia Pirotta/Indi Hartwell b. Toxic Attraction – Fireman’s carry facebuster to Dolin
Grizzled Young Veterans b. Andre Chase/Bodhi Hayward – Double Codebreaker to Hayward
Io Shirai b. Tiffany Stratton – Moons Over Moonsault
Cameron Grimes b. Tony D’Angelo – Cave In
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