The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 07.26.22
And we’re BACK! Yes, this is the payoff of the “percentage under control” countdown gag, because I was feeling a bit burned out on reviewing 14 AEW shows a week and wanted to mix in something different again. And what’s more different from great wrestling than NXT? Fair warning, I literally haven’t watched or paid any attention since leaving the first time, so hopefully they do a stellar job of catching me up.
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic & Wade
Zoey Stark joins us to start, having won a battle royale last week, and people have been PUT ON NOTICE. She talks about her injury and the crowd is oddly silent for her, although her promo doesn’t really do a good job of connecting anyway. After a while of that, Cora Jade interrupts and she’s apparently a heel now. Zoey accuses her of being a PIECE OF TRASH for throwing away the tag team titles. And then Toxic Attraction interrupts and Mandy Rose is apparently about to be the 4th longest reigning champion. Well that’s noteworthy, I guess. Anyway there may or may not be a title match tonight, I’m not clear on that. This was a brutal way to be welcomed back to the show. Did someone seriously think Cora Jade as a HEEL was a good idea?!
Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo gives a pep talk to his new family, which now includes the Legado crew.
Grayson Waller v. Wes Lee
They trade armdrags to start and Waller rolls him up for two, but Lee gets a sunset flip for two while we learn that the match tonight will in fact be Gigi Dolin against Zoey Stark as Mandy Rose plays MJF and makes her challenger fight through all her goons. Lee works the arm and gets a takedown for two, but Waller puts him down with a big boot to take over. Lee puts him on the floor with a dropkick, but he misses a dive and Waller gets a cheapshot, and they slug it out as we take a break. Back with Waller working on a backbreaker in the ring, and a spinebuster gets two. Waller makes the fatal error of flashing gang signs at Lee, however, and Wes comes back with chops in the corner and tosses Waller for a tope suicida. Back in, Lee goes up, but Waller shoves him to the floor, and Trick Waller pops out of the crowd and knocks him out, although he beats the count at 9. Back in, Waller with the stunner to finish at 10:21. I HATE that finish. Doing the countout tease and then just having the guy hit his finish anyway is double lame. This was pretty disappointing. **
Meanwhile, The Grizzled Young Veterans are now called the Schism and are backing up Joe Gacy. Oh lucky them.
Meanwhile, Indi Hartwell gets dressed down by a newcomer named Arianna Grace who I’m not familiar with, but SHOCKINGLY her character is “bitchy mean girl”. I feel like their writing team needs more female representation because we’ve already got 4 or 5 of that gimmick on this show.
Apollo Crews v. Xyon Quinn
I guess Quinn is a heel now. Hopefully he’ll find a personality to go along with that. Crews hits him with a dropkick and a slam, but Quinn puts him down with a forearm and puts the boots to him. Quinn with a suplex and he grabs a hold on the mat, but Crews fights out of that and comes back with clotheslines. Crews goes up with a flying bodypress and the match grinds to a halt as they don’t seem to know what to do next and Quinn backs off. Did someone get hurt on that? Weird. Quinn gets a death valley driver for two, but Crews chokeslams him for the pin at 5:41. Just a match. *1/2
Meanwhile, Toxic Attraction is interrupted by Sarray, who also wants a shot at Mandy Rose.
Meanwhile, Solo Sikoa challenges Von Wagner to a falls count anywhere match. Even in Wagner’s cave?
Gigi Dolin v. Zoey Stark
Stark hits a running forearm in the corner right away, but she gets distracted by Mandy and Gigi attacks her to take over. Back suplex gets two. Gigi with a bow and arrow, but Zoey rolls her up for two and a knee strike gets two. And then Zoey kind of flips Gigi into a kneelift in a move that doesn’t really mesh with physics very well, and I guess that’s her finisher because it gets the pin at 3:00. I think she needs to workshop that one. * And then Cora Jade attacks afterwards, but Roxanne Perez saves.
Meanwhile, whoever Jordan Devlin is now pulls up, declares to the guard that he’s a ticket-buying member of the public tonight, and then walks into a door marked “Employees Only” to enter the building. Oh, NXT, never change. Well, maybe a little.
Meanwhile, we go full GLOW with a glimpse inside of Wendy Choo’s dream world, which is helpfully a recap of the battle royale last week. God I’d go insane if my dreams were directed by Kevin Dunn.
JD McDonagh introduces himself in the crowd and does some light Irish insult comedy, which leads to him calling out Bron Breakker, in advance of their match at Heat Wave. So JD tries to headbutt him, but misses and hits the NXT title belt, so that’s gotta suck.
Meanwhile, Andre Chase and his weird students welcome Nathan Frazer into Chase U.
Meanwhile, Roxanne Perez demands that the NXT tag team titles should be shown respect, so Alundra Blayze makes a cameo so that she can pull the titles out of the trash this time. And unsurprisingly, the titles will be decided by a four-way match next week. Roxanne is very happy about that for some reason, even though she doesn’t actually appear to have a partner or a place in the match, and in fact just voluntarily gave up the titles. Also did they really wait a WEEK to fish that belt out of the garbage can? Hopefully no one threw away any drinks or corrosive materials all week.
Giovani Vinci v. Andre Chase
Vinci, who is of course a completely new talent that has never been seen in NXT up until now, trades wristlocks with Chase to start and goes to a headlock on the mat. Chase with a backslide for two. Vinci betas on him with forearms, but Chase gets a sunset flip for two. Crucifix gets two. Vinci comes back with a dropkick and smashes up Bodhi’s flag, but Chase runs him into the post as we take a break. Back with Chase getting a sunset flip for two, but Vinci tosses him and follows with a dive. Back in, he gets distracted by Chase U, and Chase comes back with a suplex and an atomic drop to set up a neckbreaker. The Chase U stomps get two and a uranage gets two. Vinci escapes the FINAL EXAM and catches Chase with a brainbuster for two, but Chase hits the Final Exam powerbomb for two. Vinci fires back with a short clothesline and his own powerbomb to finish at 12:00. Easily the best match of the night so far, although the male model gimmick is kind of a loser. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Katana Chance & Kayden Carter were also disgusted by the titles going in the trash, but Ivy Nile and her partner interrupt, which turns into a brawl with Elektra Lopez for some reason.
Indi Hartwell v. Arianna Grace
Indi works the arm to start and gets a sideslam, but Grace takes her down with a neckbreaker in the corner and runs her into the turnbuckles for two. Grace pounds on her in the corner, but Indi comes out with a clothesline and gets an ugly slam for two. Grace rolls her up with her feet on the ropes and gets two, but the ref catches her and Indi boots her for the pin at 4:02. This was pretty bad. ½*
Meanwhile, Von Wagner and Mr. Stone (fitting manager for someone who looks like he’s from Bedrock) disagree on the street fight challenge for next week, and Wagner GO HIS OWN WAY.
Meanwhile, Kiana James is apparently Dean Douglas 2.0. She doesn’t appear to like Nikita Lyons.
Tony D’Angelo & His Family v. Diamond Mine
Strong beats on Tony’s friend Stacks and Julius hurls him with a suplex across the ring, but Tony comes in and takes Creed down. Julius gets a corner clothesline and Tony bails to think about it, and we get a West Side Story stalemate that turns into a brawl. The D’Angelo crew bails and Brutus hits them with a dive as we take a break. Back with Damon Kemp beating on Wild, but the other Legado guy, who is now called Del Toro for some reason, clips Kemp from behind and the heels take over. Stacks drops an elbow on Kemp for two and works on a half crab, but Kemp fights free and Del Toro cuts him off. Julius gets the hot tag and tosses everyone around the ring with suplexes. German suplex on Tony gets two. He goes to an anklelock, but Stacks saves and it’s ALL CATTY WAMPUS. Diamond Mine cleans house on everyone, but Strong hits Julius with a knee by mistake, and Tony finishes with the neckbreaker at 11:45. Kind of messy but pretty fun. ***
Meanwhile, Alundra tries to leave with the tag titles, but Toxic Attraction complains that they deserve them to end the show.
Well, I wanted a change of pace from AEW, and this is certainly that.