The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 02.08.22
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic Joseph & Wade Barrett
Dusty Rhodes Classic semi-finals: The Creed Brothers v. Grizzled Young Veterans
Everyone brawls to start and the Creeds chase the Vets, so they can regroup. Random question: Remember how the Vets were doing those vignettes where they were practicing their cheating and coming up with wacky new ways to win a couple of matches? And then they just dropped it completely and forgot about it? The Creeds double-team Gibson in their corner, but Julius runs into a clothesline in the corner and the Vets take over. Julius slams Drake to escape the corner, just pinballing the poor bastard all over, and the Creeds double-team Gibson with knee strikes and chase them to the floor again. Back in, Gibson hits Brutus in the throat and we get to watch him sell that like a cartoon character for a bit. Back in, Brutus gets double-teamed some more and they choke him out on the ropes and neck him on the top rope for two. His selling reminds me of an 80s Superstars jobber for some reason. It’s really distracting. The Vets continue trapping Brutus in the corner, but he fights back with a suplex on Gibson and makes the hot tag to Julius. He makes his comeback like a bull in a china shop and just hurls Drake with a pair of slams for two. He fights to the floor with Gibson, but Drake nails him from behind in a spot that the camera completely misses, and back in for a Doomsday Device on Julius that gets two. Drake misses a charge and it’s back to Brutus, who beats on Gibson with weak shots while the camera ZOOMS AND SHAKES to make you think he’s making contact, but then they hit him in the throat again to cut him off. Drake goes up to finish, but Julius pops up with a superplex and Brutus finishes Gibson with the sliding clothesline at 12:05. This was way too long for the Creeds, as they kept losing their place and the Vets had to constantly reel them in again. **
Meanwhile, Cora Jade’s promo is interrupted by Leon & Feroz, but Raquel makes the save in Spanish.
Meanwhile, Wendy Choo returns from using Tiffany’s stolen credit card. You know, that’s a pretty serious felony she just committed on TV.
Wendy Choo v. Tiffany Stratton
Tiffany does a flipping wristlock takedown in the corner, but Wendy tries a headlock and then gets a rollup for two. Wendy kicks her down and drops an elbow for two. Wendy with a sleeper, but she tries a handspring and runs into Tiffany’s elbow. Tiffany breaks a nail and gets all fired up about it, hitting her own handspring and then a twisting pump splash for the pin at 3:05. Stratton continues to be horribly miscast in this role. The match was like something out of GLOW. *
Meanwhile, Joe Gacy stops by to listen to Draco Anthony.
Meanwhile, Pete Dunne looks past Draco Anthony in preparation for his cage match next week.
Pete Dunne v. Draco Anthony
We’re joined in progress out of the break with Draco working a headlock, and he pounds Dunne down and tries to stomp the fingers, which only makes Dunne mad. Dunne bends the fingers for some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and then takes Draco down and stomps the arm as well. They slug it out and Dunne wins that one, but Anthony hits a lariat and a slam for two. This brings Gacy out to the balcony to watch and Draco gets another slam to chase Dunne to the floor. But then Tony D’Angelo attacks with a crowbar out there and Dunne has to fight him off, before finishing Anthony with the Bitter End at 4:46. And Anthony vanishes while Dunne prepares the NXT Street Fight Kit, throwing chairs and kendo sticks and trash cans into the ring, as apparently next week will be a cage match with weapons now. Don’t forget the kendo sticks!
Meanwhile, Zoey and Io discuss the Dusty Classic, and Io already has an idea for a new partner.
Meanwhile, Dakota Kai goes through Wendy Choo’s stolen property because she’s all CRAZY.
LA Knight v. Sanga
Knight slugs on Sanga in the corner and gets a dropkick, but Sanga puts the boots to him and chases him to the floor. LA manages to run him into the post and makes a comeback in the ring, but Sanga tosses him down again to take over and drops an elbow for two. Knight fights back again and bounces off Sanga a few times, and a missile dropkick gets two. This allows Waller to pull off a turnbuckle, but Sanga misses a charge and runs into it, allowing Knight to get the pin at 3:15. Sanga looked pretty bad. ½*
Meanwhile, Duke Hudson will not be facing Dante Chen tonight, apparently.
NXT Championship Summit:
So Wade Barrett hosts a promo battle in the ring between Bron Breakker and Santos Escobar, and Bron thinks they should just flip over the table right now and start fighting. But Dolph Ziggler, who is a RAW SUPERSTAR I remind you, breaks down the FORBIDDEN DOOR and interrupts. The fans all chant “Holy shit” even though they literally spent last week telling us that Bron was challenging Ziggler to a match and inviting him to show up. So the segment gets totally derailed by Ziggler, as he puts himself over and Escobar doesn’t even get to do his promo for next week. And then Ciampa also interrupts and he jibber-jabbers with Ziggler, although I did enjoy Dolph burying the “same hundred fans who come out to every NXT show week after week and clap like trained seals” because he’s not wrong. So Ciampa and Ziggler brawl, leaving Bron alone with Escobar, which results in Bron going through the table at the hands of Legado. You know, if you’re going to lampshade the cliché and then just do it anyway, you’re not being clever. Also this whole thing was a giant trainwreck of people talking in circles, and a rare misstep in Bron’s push.
Meanwhile, Grayson Waller is now saying that LA Knight violated the restraining order and he’s getting arrested next week. Well good thing the police are going to wait for next week to do that.
Sarray v. Dakota Kai
We’re joined out of the break again as Sarray misses the dropkick and hangs herself in the ropes, allowing Kai to get two. Sarray fights back and gets the rollup into the double stomp, and the missile dropkick gets two. Kai comes back with a neckbreaker for two and we get SHOCKED TWO COUNT FACE, but Sarray gets a pair of rollups for two. Kai boots her into the corner, but misses a charge and Sarray gets her dropkick and a suplex for the pin at 4:11. Dakota looked about as thrilled to be out there as Ronda Rousey has been lately. Can’t blame her. *1/2
Meanwhile, Carmelo and Trick hang out in the barber shop and they all talk shit about Cameron Grimes.
Meanwhile, Indi and Persia run into Toxic Attraction in the locker room and practice their terrible acting. Apparently Indi might be cheating on Dexter with Dude Hudson or something, whatever, I don’t care. Also it’s never explained what happened to Toxic Attraction last week when they were kidnapped by Kay Lee Ray, but obviously they recovered from it.
Meanwhile, Nikkita Lyons is tough.
Meanwhile, the BJs continue trying to woo the KCs and that goes badly.
Dusty Classic semi-finals: MSK v. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade
MSK double-teams Blade in their corner as Carter gets a broncobuster for two, but Enofe comes in with a slam for two. He takes Carter down with a rana, but Carter lands on his feet and MSK double-teams Blade and we take a break. Back with Wes Lee getting a hot tag and running wild on Enofe, before catapulting him into a Carter superkick for two. Blade comes back with a dive on Lee outside and Enofe rolls up Carter for two, which sets up a flying splash from Enofe for two. But then MSK double-teams Enofe and finishes him off with the blockbuster at 9:00 to go to the finals again. An OK match that never really went anywhere. **1/4 I don’t really get the point of the half-assed push of Enofe & Blade. They fell ass-backwards into the semi-finals and then jobbed clean to another babyface team. The storyline didn’t put heat on any heels for ending their run, it was just a thing that happened. Yay?
Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes would go right back to the trailer park if he could win the North American title.
Meanwhile, Wendy Choo throws shade at Dakota Kai. Well they both lost clean this week so that’s a hot feud that will clearly draw some money.
NXT Women’s title: Mandy Rose v. Kay Lee Ray
Mandy escapes a KLR bomb right away and they slug it out on the mat, but KLR tosses her and gets a dive. Back in, Mandy runs her into the corner and pounds on her, and a spinebuster gets two. They get some counters and Mandy suplexes her for two. She goes to an abdominal stretch, but Kay Lee fights out and gets a moonsault for two. She tries another KLR bomb, but Mandy reverses to a sunset flip for two. Rollup gets two, but Kay Lee superkicks her for two. She goes up, but Toxic Attraction runs in and interferes, allowing Mandy to finish with the knee at 7:45. OK match, lazy finish. **1/4 Toxic Attraction tries the heel beatdown afterwards, but Io Shirai makes the save and I guess they’re gonna be a team in the Dusty Classic now.
Is it me or did this show feel like it was 18 hours long? Just SO MUCH talking on this one and endless backstage segments that went nowhere. The entire Dusty tournament has been a complete slog so far and it really doesn’t leave me actually caring who wins one way or the other. Another completely blah and skippable episode this week.