Date: February 22, 2022
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
We are done with Vengeance Day and that means it is time to head on to whatever the next special show is going to be. The show is going to need a main event and odds are we will find out what that is tonight as Tommaso Ciampa and Raw’s Dolph Ziggler meet in a #1 contenders match. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long Vengeance Day recap.
Here is NXT Champion Bron Breakker for a chat. He talks about Santos Escobar being a tough opponent last week but now it is time for a new opponent. That could be as soon as Stand & Deliver, which will take place over Wrestlemania weekend. Cue Dolph Ziggler, who says he’ll be NXT Champion sooner than later, but the question is whether Breakker will make it to Stand & Deliver as champion.
Tonight, Ziggler is going to take out Tommaso Ciampa and get his title shot, but Breakker wants to fight over Ziggler superkicking him last week. Ziggler says Breakker has the night off this week, meaning he can watch Ziggler do what he does best. These two could make for a good title match and it’s a smart way to use Ziggler to help get Breakker over.
LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller
Sanga is here with Waller, who runs away to start, then does it again for a bonus. Back in and Waller gets in a cheap shot, only to get crotched on top. We take a break and come back with Knight yelling at Sanga and getting sent into the steps as a result. A top rope elbow gives Waller two but he spends way too much time setting up his rolling Stunner (from the floor), allowing Knight to counter it with a belly to back suplex. Knight hits his running clothesline into a backdrop but a Sanga distraction blocks the BFT. Waller grabs a rollup with trunks for the pin at 9:54.
Rating: C. The ending suggests that this is going to keep going and that is not the worst idea. It would make sense for Knight to continue going after Waller, perhaps on his way to the main roster just after Stand & Deliver. I’m not sure if they can stretch it out that far, but Waller getting wins is the right thing if they want him to be such a big deal.
Post match Knight beats on Waller again and drops Sanga with the BFT. Waller gets one as well.
Dakota Kai finds Wendy Choo, who is her partner in the Dusty Cup. Didn’t Kai make it clear last week that they WEREN’T going to team together? Anyway, Kai is upset that Choo is asleep and is worried about having a partner. Choo says Kai has never had her as a partner and leaves. Kai laments to her imaginary/invisible friend.
Cora Jade took Raquel Gonzalez to an adventure park to train and it turns out that Gonzalez is scared of heights. Jade: “You are the height!” They climb on various things and Gonzalez does not take it well, especially the ziplining finale. She finally goes through and her fear is conquered. Now, to conquer the Dusty Cup. This has been your latest example of NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS!
Toxic Attraction is on the platform in the Toxic Lounge and mock Jade and Gonzalez.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Kay Lee Ray/Io Shirai vs. Lash Legend/Amari Miller
Legend shoulders Shirai down to start but Shirai gets over to the apron. She seems to slip off a springboard but a regular dropkick frustrates Legend instead. Miller tags herself in and misses an elbow, allowing Shirai to hit a flapjack. Ray comes in and takes over on Miller, including some hard chops. It’s back to Legend, who gets caught in the KLR Bomb. Shirai’s Moons Over Moonsault finishes Legend off at 2:42. Basically a squash, as it should have been.
Dante Chen is ready to take out Duke Hudson and get his revenge.
Josh Briggs films Brooks Jensen for a dating service, but Jensen can’t even remember his name.
Dante Chen vs. Duke Hudson
Chen jumps Hudson from behind in the aisle and we start fast with Hudson in trouble. They get inside where Chen grabs a DDT for two before hammering away in the corner. Hudson is back with a kick to the face and a Razor’s Edge finishes Chen at 2:17. Hudson has talent and thankfully didn’t have much trouble with someone as low on the ladder as Chen.
Here are Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes to brag about Hayes retaining the North American Title over Cameron Grimes last week. Hayes doesn’t care who he is facing or where he is doing it, because he’s what people will be talking about. Cue Pete Dunne to interrupt and the challenge is on for next week. Williams doesn’t seem interested but Hayes says he’s on, only to get jumped from behind by Cameron Grimes.
Cameron Grimes vs. Trick Williams
Joined in progress with Grimes running Williams over and taking him down with a clothesline. Williams manages a kick to the chest and a jumping clothesline of his own, meaning the stomping can ensue. The chinlock goes on as Barrett sings the Applebees jingle. Williams shrugs off a comeback attempt by knocking him down again and grabbing something close to a cobra clutch.
Grimes fights back up and hits a powerslam swung into a Side Effect. They head outside with Grimes missing a Cave In off the steps but hitting a superkick instead. Back in and Grimes comes off the top with a high crossbody, which mostly hits Williams in the face. The Cave In finishes Williams at 5:58.
Rating: C. There were some sloppy parts in here and it’s weird seeing Grimes have a match that is so off. At least Grimes is winning again as it makes a lot of sense to give him a nice win to get him on track after last week. Not a great match due to some less than sharp work, but it’s how things should have gone.
Brooks Jensen still can’t get the dating video right. He doesn’t know what Transformers are and is still rather hung up on Kayden Carter.
Bron Breakker comes in to see Tommaso Ciampa as he is warming up. Breakker leaves him in the zone but Ciampa says they’re 1-1 and he needs to know who is the better man.
Nikkita Lyons says she is a whole lot of woman who is ready to do a whole lot of whipping.
We go to Chase University for a lesson on intestinal fortitude. Andre Chase does not think Von Wagner has much fortitude left now that he has aligned himself with Robert Stone and freaks out over the idea of someone asking what he’ll do in the ring with Wagner. That was a teachable moment, as Chase continues to nail this stuff.
Nikkita Lyons vs. Kayla Inlay
This is Lyons’ debut and she doesn’t think much of Inlay trying a wristlock. An armbar keeps Inlay in trouble and a hiptoss makes it worse. Inlay blocks a German suplex though and chokes on the ropes, setting up some knees to the ribs. Lyons punches her in the ribs for trying a comeback. Another German suplex is blocked with a stomp to the floor but a third attempt sends Inlay flying. A splits sitdown splash finishes Inlay at 4:02.
Rating: C-. Lyons certainly has a unique look and is a giant compared to a lot of the division, but this needed to be much more one sided. Inlay got in a lot here for someone who is lucky to make it to LVL Up and her blocking the German suplex over and over didn’t work. Lyons will probably be fine, but this wasn’t a good start.
Persia Pirotta says Duke Hudson looked good out there and Hudson kisses her. Indi Hartwell comes in to say gross so Persia leaves. Hudson says Hartwell used to enjoy it but Hartwell says that was a long time ago. Hudson says it doesn’t have to be and Dexter Lumis just happens to be standing by. Lumis leaves with Indi going after him and saying she despises Hudson. NXT’s co-ed locker rooms continue to be odd.
Robert Stone and Von Wagner are ready for Andre Chase.
Here are the Creed Brothers with Malcolm Bivens to celebrate winning the Dusty Classic. Imperium doesn’t have their amateur wrestling background and haven’t defended their titles in weeks. The Creed Brothers are the real deal and Imperium are a bunch of coleslaw and sauerkraut eating….and here is Imperium to interrupt. Gunther doesn’t like what he is hearing and the brawl is on, with Gunther grabbing Bivens by the throat. Cue Solo Sikoa to superkick Gunther down, much to Bivens’ surprise/thankfulness. Bivens offers a very shaky thumbs up but doesn’t seem to know what is going on.
The dating video still doesn’t work but Fallon Henley comes in to say Brooks Jensen can just take a picture, which she does, and set up his profile, which he’ll do. Jensen yells at Josh Briggs for wasting so much time on a video. Henley did something amazing here: she talked like a human being.
Joe Gacy and Harland show us a clip of the two of them going after Draco Anthony in the gym. Gacy sees Anthony as someone he can mold and that will starts next week.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Tatum Paxley/Ivy Nile vs. Kayden Carter/Kacy Catanzaro
Catanzaro rolls Paxley up for two t start and tries a headscissors, only to get punched in the face by Nile. A kick to the throat drops Catanzaro again but she slips over and brings in Carter to pick up the pace. An assisted spinning side slam drops Carter and Paxley adds a standing twisting moonsault. Catanzaro makes the save though and sends Nile outside, leaving Paxley to get caught with the neckbreaker/450 combination for the pin at 3:23.
Rating: C+. Carter and Catanzaro continue to be one of the better women’s teams around here and that could be a good thing for the rest of the tournament. Odds are the tournament has a decent final four, though it does make you wonder why they needed to have eight teams in the first place. I know four is kind of a lousy number, but why stretch it out for the sake of stretching it out?
Post match, Nile chokes Paxley out.
Solo Sikoa is ready to take out Gunther next week. Malcolm Bivens comes in to say that he had Gunther where he wanted him, but good luck next week. Sikoa says he did that for himself.
LA Knight wants another shot at Grayson Waller.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler
For a future shot at Bron Breakker’s NXT Title. They go to the mat to start with Ciampa hitting him in the face to start the frustration. It’s too early for the Fairy Tale Ending and Ciampa misses a running knee to the face as well. A headbutt takes Ciampa down for two and we’re already on the chinlock. Ciampa fights up and makes the clothesline comeback but has to block the Zig Zag. A knee to the face puts Ziggler down and we take a break as Ciampa applauds himself.
Back with Ciampa fighting out of another chinlock and hitting a hard running clothesline for two. They slug it out until Ziggler scores with a dropkick into the Fameasser for two of his own. The superkick is cut off with another knee and Project Ciampa gets two. Ciampa lowers the knee pad and hits another running knee (following the Kenny Omega formula) for two more, with Ziggler getting a foot on the ropes.
They fall out to the floor for a bit before Ziggler grabs a sleeper with a bodyscissors back inside. That’s broken up as Ciampa gets to his feet and then drops backwards for the break and a near fall. They head to the apron for a slugout and an Air Raid Crash onto said apron (with about four camera cuts in five seconds) knocks Ziggler silly. Hold on though as a cameraman decks Ciampa with his camera, leaving Ziggler to hit the superkick for the pin at 15:35.
Rating: B. This felt like a heavyweight slugfest, meaning a match between two main event stars who were beating each other until one of them was left standing. The cheating was a good way to protect Ciampa, who didn’t need to take a clean loss. It was the best match on the show by far and felt like it belonged in this spot.
The cameraman is….Robert Roode. The beatdown is on but here is Bron Breakker for the save. Breakker makes the challenge for the tag match for next week. Ziggler and Roode charge back in and get beaten down again in a huge brawl to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The main event carried this a lot higher as it got time and was high quality, but the rest of the show was only so good. The Dusty Classic matches could have been a lot worse, mainly because they didn’t include the segments of the teams being put together. Some of the other stuff, such as Knight, Grimes and Hudson worked as well, making this a pretty good show. Maybe things are starting to come together around here, which would be nice after some dry months.
Grayson Waller b. LA Knight – Rollup with trunks
Kay Lee Ray/Io Shirai b. Lash Legend/Amari Miller – Moons Over Moonsault to Legend
Duke Hudson b. Dante Chen – Razor’s Edge
Cameron Grimes b. Trick Williams – Cave In
Nikkita Lyons b. Kayla Inlay – Splits sitdown splash
Kayden Carter/Kacy Catanzaro b. Tatum Paxley/Ivy Nile – Neckbreaker/450 combination to Paxley
Dolph Ziggler b. Tommaso Ciampa – Superkick
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