Date: February 1, 2022
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett
It’s time for a big tag match as NXT Champion Bron Breakker and Tommaso Ciampa are teaming up against Legado del Fantasma. That is part of the way to build things up for Santos Escobar’s upcoming title shot, but for now we get what should be a good tag match. Let’s get to it.
Imperium vs. Diamond Mine
The fans chant WALTER during Imperium’s entrance. Gunther isn’t having any of the posing to start and kicks Roderick Strong in the head before the bell. Brutus Creed suplexes Aichner to start but Aichner manages a Regal Roll in quite the power display. It’s off to Barthel for an armbar and the WALTER chants start up again. Brutus fights up and hands it off to Julius for some knees to the ribs.
That’s broken up in a hurry as Barthel hits a middle rope elbow to the face and it’s off to Gunther to kick Julius in the head. We take a break and come back with Brutus coming back in to get suplexed onto Barthel for two. Barthel gets over for a tag to Gunther so it’s all hands on deck to slow him up. Everything breaks down though and it’s Brutus wrecking Imperium, leaving him for a showdown with Gunther. The sleeper puts Brutus in trouble and it’s a powerbomb to give Gunther the pin at 11:56.
Rating: B. The Creeds are getting better and better by the week and that was on full display here. What mattered was letting people hit each other rather hard as Imperium gets to show off what they can do, but at the end of the day, this was all about Gunther. He is the kind of force that you do not get to see very often and if they can get around the fans chanting WALTER, he should be a big deal.
LA Knight is ready for Grayson Waller but Joe Gacy and Harland interrupt, suggesting that Knight has a problem. Knight offers to get together with them in the ring and maybe he can get two new restraining orders.
Here is Toxic Attraction for a chat. They are ready to beat Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta in two weeks at Vengeance Day but here is Kay Lee Ray to interrupt. She isn’t getting her title match, so she brings in her baseball bat. Mandy tells her to put the bat down and the other two will leaves. Ray agrees, but Mandy would rather talk about her own modeling and fitness accomplishments.
That’s fine with Ray, who says she was holding the NXT UK Women’s Title for over 600 days while Rose was falling at Wrestlemania and sucking face with Otis. Mandy talks about how great she is and how she is what WWE wants and all the talent in the world will never replace her. Ray says that she’ll have her title match by the end of the night and slaps Mandy in the face. The bat is enough to chase off Toxic Attraction.
Cora Jade is ready to prove herself to Raquel Gonzalez, even if it means taking a beating. Gonzalez comes in and asks if she’s ready for the match, with Jade saying she’s in (I barely recognized Gonzalez with her hair down like that).
During the break, Toxic Attraction tried to leave but stopped for an interview. They went to get in their car with Mandy getting in last…but Ray is in the driver’s seat and kidnaps them. That parking lot man.
Cora Jade vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Jade is a bit tentative to start and gets tossed down without much trouble. That leaves Jade in shock at the pain so Gonzalez kicks away in the corner. A spinning Side Effect gives Gonzalez two more and she grabs an over the shoulder backbreaker. Jade is sat on top but manages to knock Gonzalez away this time.
Gonzalez tries another swinging Side Effect but gets reversed into….something we can’t see as the screen goes black, likely due to issues with Gonzalez’s top. Jade drives her into the corner for two and a rope walk hurricanrana rocks Gonzalez again. There’s an enziguri but Gonzalez finally just plants her with the Chigona Bomb for the pin at 11:04.
Rating: C+. Issues with Gonzalez’s gear aside, this was designed to make Jade look tough and it did well enough. I’m sure they’ll be in the Dusty Classic together because it isn’t like there are a bunch of teams to put into the tournament in the first place. Hopefully Gonzalez can move up to the main roster soon enough though, as she seems ready.
Post match Gonzalez says “let’s go and win this”, meaning the Dusty Classic.
Sarraylor Moon is back next.
Video on Pete Dunne vs. Tony D’Angelo.
Sarray vs. Kayla Inlay
Sarray walks through the back as the schoolgirl and then comes into the arena in her regular gear, sans anything schoolgirl. That’s a relief, even if WWE is still way too into this transformation stuff. Inlay won’t shake hands to start so Sarray knocks her into the corner. That’s broken up but we get breaking news about Kay Lee Ray returning, with no sign of Dolin and Jayne. Sarray fights up and hits the running dropkick against the ropes. A high collar suplex finishes Inlay at 3:20.
Rating: C. The match was almost a squash, but it was also quite the relief that Sarray isn’t going to be wrestling as a schoolgirl. That would be the latest bad WWE idea, so seeing her transform was kind of a relief. As weird as that is to say, I’ll take it over what we seemed to be getting, as this was a slightly more fired up Sarray.
Video on Duke Hudson, who gives himself a hair cut and says he makes his own luck anymore.
Bron Breakker is warming up when Tommaso Ciampa comes in. Ciampa hands him the NXT Title and suggests that Breakker doesn’t know what he is in for. As for tonight, they’ll take it to Legado del Fantasma.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are ready for Cameron Grimes because Hayes is always looking down on him. Cue Grimes, who notes the TO THE MOON chants. Grimes says Hayes looks like Spongebob, which makes Trick Squidward. Williams talks a lot but Grimes isn’t sure what he said. Grimes asks which one he’s fighting and Hayes says he’s waiting. As Hayes and Williams leave, Grimes says it’s going to be a one star match, and that one star is going to the moon.
Malik Blade and Edris Enofe debate a team name and Enofe thinks they should ask Mandy Rose. Then Rose literally falls through the door and it’s Blade’s arms (Blade: “Thank you!”). Kay Lee Ray comes in and rips off Rose’s jacket, which has Enofe rather happy. He wants to go after them….but Blade needs a minute.
Diamond Mine is ready to face Imperium again after they win the Dusty Classic. The Grizzled Young Veterans come in to laugh at the prospects.
LA Knight vs. Joe Gacy
Harland is here with Gacy, who gets taken down by an early running neckbreaker. A spinning Rock Bottom gets Gacy out of trouble and it’s off to a neck crank. There’s a suplex to take Knight down again and it’s time to work on Knight’s knee. Knight fights up and hits a jumping neckbreaker into his powerslam, only to collide for a crash to the floor. Cue Sanga (Grayson Waller’s bodyguard) so Waller can hit his rolling Stunner. That’s enough to give Gacy a nine count so it’s the handspring clothesline to finish Knight at 4:14.
Rating: C-. So we have yet another heel with a bodyguard, who happens to be interfering in a match with a heel with a kind of bodyguard? Are they that out of ideas? Waller costing Knight a match is fine, but this was another short match that didn’t have the chance to get anywhere because it’s all about getting as many things on the show as you can in two hours.
Post match Waller yells at Knight, who lunges at him. That means a chokeslam from Sanga, with Waller saying if Knight can beat Sanga next week, maybe the restraining order is gone.
Robert Stone is very happy to have signed Von Wagner.
Wendy Choo vs. Amari Miller
Tiffany Stratton has offered Miller a shopping spree if she takes out Choo. The bell rings and Choo goes to the mat for a nap, followed by taking Miller to the mat for a nap on her leg. An elbow drop gives Choo two and then it’s time to get serious, with a pair of hard suplexes. A sleeper is broken up though and Miller gets two off a jawbreaker. Cue Tiffany Stratton to throw Miller a credit card, allowing Choo to hit Miller in the face for the pin at 3:24.
Rating: D. It’s still the dumbest thing going in wrestling and now they are doing the goofy stuff during the matches rather than having her be serious. The credit card thing wasn’t exactly a good idea either, as we continue to need humor/goofiness in every match. At least they kept it short, but Choo is yet another bad NXT idea that is likely to continue for a long time.
Post match Stratton yells at Miller, but Choo has made off with the credit card.
Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell are ready to win the Tag Team Titles, with Dexter Lumis seeming to approve. Josh Briggs comes in to ask for advice on women, with Indi saying non-verbal communication is a good thing. Lumis looks at her and they’re off to the hot tub.
Video on Draco Anthony.
Nikkita Lyons talks about growing up around music as her dad was a musician and her mom was a groupie. Now she is a singer/rapper but also an NXT star. This is IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM LIKE HIT ROW! NOT AT ALL!
Sarray, once again a schoolgirl, is interrupted by Dakota Kai, who warns her about how relationships can go south.
Draco Anthony vs. Andre Chase
Bodhi Hayward is in Chase’s corner. Chase takes over with few shots to the face into a neckbreaker. Anthony is back with a powerslam and cranks on the arms, only to have Chase fight up again. A Russian legsweep drops Anthony and it’s time for the spelling stomps. Anthony is back up and steals Hayward’s flag but Hayward won’t let him stomp on it. Instead, Chase unloads in the corner and the Downward Spiral finishes Anthony at 4:26.
Rating: C-. Another not exactly great match as the latest new NXT character (just wait, as I’d bet on getting another one before the show is over) loses in his NXT debut. It’s a bit weird seeing the war veteran as a heel but NXT is quite the strange duck at times. Chase is somehow getting this dumb character over and that is quite the accomplishment.
Mandy Rose is still running from Kay Lee ray but stops for a water at the food area. Ray shows up and pours spaghetti on her, followed by a cake to the head area. Then Ray stalks her with the baseball bat.
Legado del Fantasma vs. Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa
The rest of Legado is here too. Ciampa headlocks Mendoza to start but Wilde tags himself in and hits a dropkick. It’s back to Mendoza, who bails to the floor, allowing Breakker to come in and run the ropes. A Gator roll sets up a delayed suplex on Wilde, with Ciampa adding one of his own to Mendoza. We take a break and come back with Breakker getting caught with some running shots in the corner. The front facelock is countered with a suplex though and it’s back to Ciampa to fire off the running clotheslines.
Ciampa tags Brakker back in, despite Breakker favoring his arm. Something like a powerslam plants Wilde but Santos Escobar gets up for a distraction. Mendoza scores with a springboard missile dropkick and a Phoenix splash gets two. A spear cuts Mendoza down but Wilde makes the save. Wilde goes up but gets shoved HARD off the top and through the announcers’ table. The gorilla press powerslam finishes Mendoza at 11:24.
Rating: C+. Breakker is one of those guys that doesn’t need a ton of explanation. He’s a bit like Goldberg in that the idea seems to be flip a switch and watch him smash stuff. That’s a perfect case of “don’t think about this too hard” and it’s working. Escobar will be a good first victim and this was a fine way of setting that up, especially with Breakker possibly having a bad arm going in.
Post match Escobar stares down Breakker but here are Kay Lee Ray and Mandy Rose again. Ray threatens her and gets her title shot next week as a result. The KLR Bomb leaves Rose laying to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I have almost no idea what to make of this show, but the biggest thing that comes out of it is how much is crammed in. The problem with that is the word crammed, as it feels so overstuffed. It is one character with a wacky gimmick after another and that gets tiring after a bit. So many things on here felt like it needed to be over the top or have some kind of a punchline and that gets old after a bit. Even the main event was immediately followed by Rose with cake on her clothes.
This was another way too busy show and I kept wondering what they were going to throw out there next to make me shake my head. It isn’t that these are all terrible ideas, but they keep coming one after another with little getting the time to sink in. There are stories in here that work, but then Mandy Rose is being stalked or Sarray is transforming or Blade and Enofe, who could be a good, young team, are stuck with sophomoric humor.
Overall, this show felt very, very much like a show designed by Vince McMahon or to appeal to Vince McMahon and that is rarely going to make for entertaining TV. It felt like yet another week where they were throwing anything out there and if it works, great, but if not, oh well. That’s not a great way to run a TV show and the wrestlers aren’t going to get much out of it other than a bunch of ideas that aren’t the best to put on their resumes.
Imperium b. Diamond Mine – Powerbomb to Brutus
Raquel Gonzalez b. Cora Jade – Chigona Bomb
Sarray b. Kayla Inlay – High collar suplex
Joe Gacy b. LA Knight – Handspring elbow
Wendy Choo b. Amari Miller – Elbow to the face
Andre Chase b. Draco Anthony – Downward Spiral
Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa b. Legado del Fantasma – Gorilla press powerslam to Mendoza
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