Date: January 17, 2023
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Booker T., Vic Joseph
We’re done with New Year’s Evil and now all roads lead to Vengeance Day in about two and a half weeks. The show will feature Bron Breakker defending the NXT Title against Grayson Waller in a cage match but we’re going to need more than that. There is a lot of potential for the rest of the show though and we should hear more this week. Let’s get to it.
Opening recap, featuring all of the returns and surprises.
Trick Williams/Carmelo Hayes vs. Axiom/Apollo Crews
Williams works on Axiom’s arm to start and then runs him over for a bonus. A pop up right hand puts Axiom down again and it’s off to Hayes. An enziguri gets Axiom out of trouble though and it’s Crews coming in to clean house. Hayes gets knocked to the floor so Crews tosses Axiom onto both villains as we take a break.
Back with Axiom and Hayes clotheslining each other but it’ snot enough to get back over to Crews. Axiom get sent into the corner for the alternating beatdown before Hayes grabs a chinlock. That’s broken up and Axiom gets over for the corner, meaning Crews gets to clean house. The gorilla press into the standing moonsault gets two with Hayes making the save. Axiom and Williams go to the floor so Hayes goes up top. Nothing But Net doesn’t quite connect and it’s Crews with a cradle for the pin at 10:35.
Rating: C. Nice, fast paced match to open the show as Crews gets a win to build up some momentum. I’m surprised to see Hayes take the fall but you can only beat Williams so many times before it stops meaning anything. Hayes almost has to get into the title picture or move up to the main roster sooner than later, and I’m not sure which way he’ll be going.
Tony D’Angelo and Stacks go to the bridge where D’Angelo killed Two Dimes. D’Angelo isn’t happy with Stacks lying about the Dijak situation, so Stacks says do what you have to do. Instead of killing him, D’Angelo promotes him and makes him part of the family. He even gets a new jacket.
Tiffany Stratton isn’t happy and we see a clip from earlier in the day with Stratton not being able to get into her locker room. Indi Hartwell answered and said that it was really the women’s locker room, because she’s not better than anyone. Hartwell throws Stratton’s stuff out and tells her to dress somewhere else.
Here is Toxic Attraction to brag about their win in the battle royal last week. They had the fans in the palm of their hands and even if Jayne tried to eliminate Dolin last week, it’s all fine. The Toxic Attraction train is on the way to Vengeance Day where they will make Roxanne Perez regret ever winning the Women’s Title. Cue Lyra Valkyria, who says she is tired of all of this bragging. Jayne and Dolin tell her to get lost, but Valkyria says she isn’t here alone. Cue Roxanne Perez to help clear the ring.
The Creed Brothers are training when Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley come in. Nile yells at the Creeds for not being what they used to be, including last week against Jinder Mahal and Sanga. GET IT TOGETHER! The women leave and the Creeds think they might be on to something.
Stevie Turner narrates a video about the battle royal. Of course she would have won if she was there.
Sol Ruca vs. Alba Fyre
Ruca manages to take her down fast to start and flips away to avoid the comeback. Fyre isn’t having that though and knocks Ruca down without much effort. Some kicks to the chest have Ruca in more trouble but she slips out of the Fyre Bomb. Sol tries a Razor’s Edge but gets caught with a superkick instead. Fyre is back up but cue Isla Dawn on the platform for a distraction. That’s enough for Ruca to get the Sol Snatcher (middle rope inverted backflip cutter, which looks amazing) for the pin at 3:19.
Rating: C. This was all about getting the cool finisher on television and that is not a bad thing. If Ruca has anything in the ring to back up that finisher, she could be quite the star. Fyre losing again isn’t great to see but at least there was a distraction. I would have thought Fyre vs. Dawn was done but apparently there is more to it, for whatever reason.
Dijak is ready to win the North American Title at Vengeance Day. He would just let Wes Lee hand him the title, but Lee is too stupid to take the offer. Lee is first to receive high justice and it means Dijak leaves as champion.
We get a sitdown interview with Grayson Waller. Last week, he faced the Bron Breakker he knew he was getting. Breakker is just as big, strong and stupid as Waller knew he would be. Waller had him beaten but someone on the ring crew couldn’t do his job and fix the rope. Waller knew he won so he even has his own title with him. Now it’s time for a rematch inside a cage and Waller will leave as champion.
Gallus and Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen both say they’re ready.
Alba Fyre chokes a referee with the baseball bat until Kayden Carter/Katana Chance calms her down. They say be patience but Fyre says she’ll come for the Women’s Tag Team Titles herself.
Tyler Bate talks about how he had to find his new self. Now he’s back and not leaving.
Gallus vs. Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen
Fallon Henley is here with Jensen/Briggs and it’s a big brawl to start. We settle down to Jensen vs. Mark to officially get things going but Briggs comes in for the double clothesline. Jensen gets taken into the wrong corner though and it’s Wolfgang coming in to hammer away. A leapfrog (or most of one at least) allows the tag off to Briggs. House is cleaned but a blind tag lets Coffey pull Briggs to the floor. The floor mats are pulled back but Briggs grabs the suplex on the exposed concrete instead.
We take a break and come back with Jensen getting cut off due to his banged up back, meaning the double beatdown can continue. Some shots to the back set up the front facelock, meaning Jensen has to fight up again. After a failed attempt, Jensen gets over to Briggs so house can be cleaned for a second time.
Everything breaks down and Jensen gets backdropped on the exposed concrete. The trainers check on Jensen as Briggs splashes Coffey for two. Kiana James comes out to check on Jensen, much to Henley’s dismay. The numbers game gets the better of Briggs though and it’s the enziguri/powerslam combination for the pin at 11:57.
Rating: C+. This got some more time to make it a bit better and they told a bit of a story in there too. Jensen and Briggs are the kind of team who can take more than a few losses as they are able to bounce back rather quickly. They have a little something with the Kiana James stuff, as it isn’t so much about wondering when she is going to mess things up but why and how. Gallus seems primed for a Tag Team Title shot so giving them a win here was necessary.
Thea Hail is getting ready for her first win on NXT when Andre Chase comes in to yell at Duke Hudson. We see a clip of Hudson talking about how Hail has to win and seemingly knocking Chase’s teaching. Chase says if Hudson has something to say, say it to his face. Hudson says it was taken out of context and wants to see Hail win.
Brooks Jensen is in the trainer’s room when Fallon Henley comes in to yell at him about Kiana James. Jensen insists they like each other and what could she be after? Henley already has the bar back, so there is nothing left. Henley has to get used to this.
Thea Hail vs. Valentina Feroz
The rest of Chase U is here with Hail, who starts fast but gets taken down in a hurry. The armbar keeps Hail down as Elektra Lopez comes out to watch. Hail fights up and gets a fast two, only to get rolled up for the same. Hudson glares Lopez away, but she slips Feroz some brass knuckles. Feroz doesn’t want them and throws them away, allowing Hail to hit a faceplant for the pin at 3:25.
Rating: C. Hail winning is a good thing as she has so much charisma that there has to be something for her to do. Even a win over someone as low on the totem pole as Feroz matters as Hail has to start somewhere. They even threw in a bit of a story for Feroz and Lopez, which could go somewhere interesting.
Apollo Crews mocks Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes over the loss. Hayes calls it cheap but Crews thinks it’s time to celebrate.
Commentary announces the death of Jay Briscoe. That is a shock and seems to have been due to a car crash, which is a horrible way to go. Classy move by WWE to acknowledge it, but that’s far from what matters here.
Elektra Lopez asks Valentina Feroz why she didn’t take her help. Feroz wants to win on her own, but Lopez tells her to stop sulking about Sanga. Next week, Lopez is facing Wendy Choo and tells Feroz to pay attention.
Here is New Day for a chat. They are happy to be done with Pretty Deadly and now they are on to the winners of the gauntlet match: Gallus. Cue Pretty Deadly to say they have jumped through all of those hoops to get a title shot and now they want one. Cue Gallus, who says they won and the title match is theirs. Xavier Woods marks Gallus’ accents but New Day is ready for them. Pretty Deadly isn’t having this and the fight is on, with referees breaking it up. The triple threat seems imminent.
Lyra Valkyria and Roxanne Perez are sure they’ll be ok as a team because they have common enemies. Last week it was Cora Jade and now it is Toxic Attraction. They’ll be ready to fight but here is Javier Bernal with his guitar. Bernal is ready for their requests but both of them give him a cold shoulder.
We get a sitdown interview with Bron Breakker, who isn’t happy with how he beat Grayson Waller last week. The knee to the face caught him and he was seeing stars for a few seconds. Now they’re going to a cage and Breakker loves the idea, because there is nowhere to run and hide. Waller is the best trash talker around but can’t back it up in the ring. Violence is coming at Vengeance Day.
Here is Javier Bernal for a concert but someone cuts him off and wants a match.
Tyler Bate vs. Javier Bernal
Bate rolls him up or a fast two and they trade headlocks. Bernal takes him down and hammers away, with the fans not being pleased. Bate fights up and hits Bernal in the face, setting up Bop And Bang. He does it again, setting up the handspring lariat. The Tyler Driver doesn’t work so bate tried it again and drops Bernal on his head for the pin at 3:26.
Rating: C-. That ending really didn’t look good and pulled a lot of energy away from Bate’s big return. Bate is someone who has all of the tools but seems to slip up a few times too many. I’m not sure what doesn’t click for him, but he could use a long stretch of time without anything holding him back (even if it wasn’t his fault, like the visa situation).
Chase U celebrates Thea Hail’s win.
Fallon Henley comes up to Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs and says that because she cares about Jensen, she’s going to try to get along with James. She has even gotten a tag match next week, with James as her partner. Jensen is happy and all three are off to drink.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Lyra Valkyria/Roxanne Perez vs. Toxic Attraction
It’s a brawl to start with Toxic Attraction being sent outside. Perez dives onto Jayne and Valkyria dropkicks Dolin through the ropes. Back in and it’s time to work on Dolin’s arm, with Valkyria coming in with a top rope ax handle. Perez hits a running elbow but a blind tag lets Jayne come in to hammer away.
The forearms to the back keep Perez down and a clothesline gets two. Perez fights up with a swinging faceplant and Valkyria comes in to strike away. There’s a suplex to Jayne but here is Cora Jade to shove Valkyria off the top. Valkyria is right back up to hand it off to Perez before going after Jade, leaving Perez 2-1. Jayne kicks Dolin in the face by mistake allowing Perez to grab Pop Rox for the pin at 6:46.
Rating: C+. They didn’t have a lot of time here but it’s a bit weird to have Perez beat Toxic Attraction 2-1 here when that is the entire focal point of the upcoming title match. Jade vs. Valkyria should be a nice feud for both of them as Valkyria is certainly being thrown straight into a pretty decent sized spot on the card.
Overall Rating: C. After last week’s big show, this certainly felt like a bit of a breather, as there are only two more shows before the big one next month. There was nothing overly terrible here, but it definitely felt like a show that was more skippable than most around here. We do have more set up for Vengeance Day, but they could have used a better TV show to get there.
Axiom/Apollo Crews b. Trick Williams/Carmelo Hayes – Rollup to Hayes
Sol Ruca b. Alba Fyre – Sol Snatcher
Gallus b. Brooks Jensen/Josh Briggs – Enziguri/powerslam combination to Briggs
Thea Hail b. Valentina Feroz – Bulldog driver
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