Date: January 3, 2023
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Booker T., Vic Joseph
We’re in the New Year and that means we have one more week before New Year’s Evil, because the scheduling around here is a little weird. Tonight we have another face to face deal between Grayson Waller and Bron Breakker, as has been the case before. Other than that, we’ll probably get some more matches announced for next week. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the greatest moments of 2022, which certainly had a lot of changes around here.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Apollo Crews
Trick Williams is here with Hayes, who gets dropkicked down to start. Back up and Hayes hits the springboard spinning clothesline to take over, setting up the fade away springboard legdrop for two. Crews is fine enough to hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two of his own and a string of suplexes have Hayes rocked. An apron moonsault to the floor drops Hayes again and we take a break.
Back with Hayes having banged up Crews’ knee during the break, meaning it’s time for a half crab. Crews fights up and hits an enziguri for a breather but Hayes grabs a suplex into a cutter. Melo Don’t Miss misses though and Crews hits a middle rope flipping DDT. The standing moonsault misses though and Melo Don’t Miss doesn’t miss for the pin at 14:21.
Rating: C+. The more I watch Hayes, the more I wonder why he has been spinning his wheels around here for so long. Let him either get into the title hunt or move up to the main roster and see what he can do. He’s way too smooth to be doing this over and over, but maybe this win is a step up for him.
Post match Axiom is back with a high crossbody to Williams and Hayes, meaning we’ll start his scheduled match with Williams after a break.
Axiom vs. Trick Williams
Joined in progress with Hayes working on the arm until Axiom fights up. A springboard dropkick gives Axiom a breather and a springboard crossbody gives him two. Axiom gets in another shot to the face, setting up the Golden Ratio for the pin at 3:10.
Rating: C. This didn’t have the time to go very far, but the weird thing is seeing Williams lose clean. Maybe it’s seeing him featured more on LVL Up but it is almost odd to see him losing here. That being said, Axiom is a bigger deal in NXT than Williams and he needed the win more so it makes sense.
Post match the beatdown is on but Apollo Crews runs in for the save.
Schism wants a Tag Team Title shot and wonders why New Day is ducking them. That would be due to Schism looking like extras from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They argue over which team is more of a family and a match between Kofi Kingston and Joe Gacy seems to be set.
Last week, Dijak kidnapped Stacks and beat him up as a threat to Tony D’Angelo. Stacks offers a match but Dijak says this is just the beginning. He leaves the key to the handcuffs and walks off.
Chase U and Drew Gulak and company don’t see eye to eye on some training methods.
Dijak vs. Stacks
Tony D’Angelo is here with Stacks, who has a big bruise on his ribs. Dijak is smart enough to go right after those ribs, with a hard knee getting two. A big boot gets two more on Stacks until Feast Your Eyes finishes Stacks at 3:43.
Rating: C. I love watching a lackey get beaten up as it is exactly why you have them around. Dijak needed a convincing win and he beat up Stacks to get one, even if Stacks had already taken a beating. Nothing match, but it sets up Dijak vs. D’Angelo as part of the three way North American Title feud.
Post match Dijak goes after Stacks again but D’Angelo makes the save and throws out the challenge for next year.
Javier Bernal interrupts Oro Mensah’s interview to plug his Feliz Javidad Christmas album, because he’s awesome enough to release a Christmas album in January. A match is made for tonight instead.
Here is Toxic Attraction for a chat. It’s time to get away from 2022 and apparently speak in ways that no normal human would ever consider. They want the Women’s Title, but here is Indi Hartwell to interrupt. She thinks there should be some fresh blood in this division but Cora Jade interrupts. Jade doesn’t think much of Hartwell, who loses everything. Nikkita Lyons, Zoey Stark and Wendy Choo get in their own interruptions until Thea Hail pops up to declare a GIRL FIGHT.
All of the women come out and the fight is on, with Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre (facing off tonight) fight off. Roxanne Perez pops up on the balcony to announce a 20 woman #1 contenders battle royal for next week. The fight is on and we cut to Fyre and Dawn fighting outside. This was every “I want a title shot/No I WANT A TITLE SHOT/insults abound” segment you’ll ever see, and thankfully everyone was in their designated place with their microphones ready for such a spontaneous moment. Rather horrible segment indeed.
Post break and the brawl is still on between Dawn and Fyre. Referees can’t break it up but Fyre knocks a pipe away from Dawn. They fight onto a platform and Dawn is knocked off onto a pile of 2x4s and chairs, with referees saying it’s over. Fyre puts her in a chair and tries to wheel her to the arena, meaning it’s time to ring the bell!
Alba Fyre vs. Isla Dawn
Extreme Resolution match (anything goes) and Fyre hammers away, setting up the Gory Bomb for an early two. Back with dawn using a wrench on Fyre’s finger until Fyre fights back and they go outside. Fyre sets up a table and Swantons onto Dawn (table doesn’t break), followed by a Gory Bomb through the table (table breaks) for the pin at 9:35.
Rating: C-. I have no idea what to think of this as it was barely a match. They brawled, they did a big spot in the back, they came to the ring, they went to a break, they came back, they did another big spot, the match ended. I do like that Fyre got a win as she was on a bit of a losing streak, but odds are we’ll see more from this feud.
Grayson Waller is very confident about beating Bron Breakker because he can outsmart him.
Long video on Indus Sher vs. the Creed Brothers.
Javier Bernal vs. Oro Mensah
Bernal jumps him from behind to start and grabs a belly to back suplex for two. A clothesline gets Bernal out of trouble and we hit the Tarantula. With that broken up, Mensah hits the running spinwheel kick in the corner for the pin at 3:34.
Rating: C-. This felt like a match where NXT realized they needed to do something with both of them and threw the match out there. Mensah has more or less vanished from the ring as of late and Bernal is hilarious in the back but not much once the bell rings. Mensah might as well have won on a coin flip so it works as well as anything else.
Kiana James interrupts Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen/Fallon Henley to congratulate Henley on the win last week. James tells Jensen to text her later, which doesn’t sit well with his friends.
Someone has filmed Katana Chance and Kayden Carter meeting with the medical staff without their knowledge.
Andre Chase vs. Drew Gulak
The rest of Chase U and Hank Walker are here too. Chase goes technical to start and gives a clean break as Gulak makes the rope. Gulak offers a similar rope break before armbarring Chase down. We cut to the back where Charlie Dempsey takes his arm out of a sling and comes to the ring as Gulak suplexes him for two. Chase is back up with a Russian legsweep into the Spelling Stomps. The Figure Four goes on, sending Gulak to the ropes. Back up and Gulak hits him in the face to crank up the intensity. The Gulock makes Chase tap at 4:29, with Gulak taking his time letting go.
Rating: C+. This was more storyline advancement than anything else and it went well enough. Gulak going heel as the evil shooter could be interesting and if it gives Chase a new foil, or at least something to do, I’m all for it. Chase and company need to be used for something, as they are crazy over and it would be a shame to not let them try a little upgrade for the team.
Wes Lee likes Dijak and Tony D’Angelo fighting each other and might show up for commentary next week.
Kofi Kingston vs. Joe Gacy
Xavier Woods is on commentary and says Big E. is certainly an NXT Tag Team Champion as well. Booker (at least I think this is what was said): “Big E. is finished, just like New Day at the end of this NXT run.” Kofi starts fast with a spinning top rope crossbody but Gacy crotches him on top.
Gacy starts hammering away as Booker wants New Day out of NXT. Some backbreakers have Kingston down and we hit the reverse chinlock. Kofi fights up and makes the comeback, including something like a snap Angle Slam for two. Woods and Schism get in an argument on the floor, leaving Kofi to hit the flip dive. Back in and Gacy’s swinging Rock Bottom is countered, setting up Trouble In Paradise for the pin at 6:02.
Rating: C. Kind of a weird match here as Kofi only felt like he was in a bit of danger to one of the more established NXT heels. That being said, Gacy has cooled off a ton and there is no reason to believe that he is going to beat a former WWE Champion. That’s part of the problem with Kofi and Woods being in NXT though: they’re such bigger stars than almost anyone else here that it is hard to buy anyone giving them a real test. Finally, heel Booker isn’t so much a good villain but rather an annoying guy who sounds out on his own planet. That’s not a good thing and hopefully it gets dropped fast.
Drew Gulak celebrates in the back when Charlie Dempsey comes up. Next week: Dempsey vs. Hank Walker.
Pretty Deadly yells at New Day about how they’re done jumping through hoops to get another title shot. Next week, Pretty Deadly will run a three team gauntlet to get their shot. Works for New Day.
It’s time for the Grayson Waller Effect, with Bron Breakker as the guest. Waller thinks he’s going to outsmart Breakker again next week but here is Breakker to interrupt. Breakker is rather happy to be here and agrees that Waller has outsmarted him a few times. Waller is a bit surprised and it’s made worse as Breakker talks about how Waller is great at getting under everyone’s skin.
Breakker gets up and talks about all the times Waller has gone viral but Waller brings up Breakker’s dad. That’s too much so Waller gets punched to the floor, leaving Breakker to grab Waller’s phone. The big flip dive (with phone) takes Waller out to end the show. I still think the title changes next week, but this even things up a bit.
Overall Rating: C. I wasn’t really feeling this one as it showed one of the bigger problems with NXT these days: nothing comes off as a big story. Waller vs. Breakker is the top story but it isn’t like it is miles ahead of anything else. The show is very well balanced, but that might not be a good thing as it doesn’t make anything feel must see. They might want to fix that, though it isn’t like the show was a disaster. Just kind of there, but next week is the important one anyway.
Carmelo Hayes b. Apollo Crews – Melo Don’t Miss
Axiom b. Trick Williams – Golden Ratio
Dijak b. Stacks – Feast Your Eyes
Alba Fyre b. Isla Dawn – Gory Bomb through a table
Oro Mensah b. Javier Bernal – Running spinwheel kick in the corner
Drew Gulak b. Andre Chase – Gulock
Kofi Kingston b. Joe Gacy – Trouble In Paradise
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