Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 01/25/22 Review

wwe nxt jan 25

This week’s WWE NXT episode featured Cameron Grimes in action against Tony D’Angelo for a shot at the North American Title while the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continued.

Other matches advertised include Toxic Attraction (Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne) vs. Kay Lee Ray, Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta, and a No Disqualification/Falls Count Anywhere Match with Solo Sikoa facing Boa.

This episode is taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. My WWE NXT Review archive is here. Let’s get to it.

The show started with MSK standing by the Dusty Cup trophy talking about how they won it last year. Nash Carter didn’t want Wes Lee to touch it while Lee said they won’t have bad luck because they’re destined to win this thing. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament Quarterfinals: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Jacket Time (Kushida & Ikemen Jiro)

They are both babyface teams, so the fans were behind both sides. MSK did some tag team moves on Kushida early on. Kushida with a kick to Lee’s leg, Jiro the jacket man tagged in with a kick to the arm. Lee and Jiro showed off their athleticism a bit by escaping moves leading to Lee hitting a dropkick. Jiro did a jacket punch with Lee doing a ridiculous flip bump to sell it. Kushida was the legal man leading to a double team bulldog on Lee. Lee was able to send Jiro the turnbuckle, Carter tagged in for his team leading to a bronco buster on Jiro. Lee made a blind tag as Jericho sent Carter into the ropes. Carter caught Jiro with a neckbreaker against the ropes and then Lee jumped into the picture with a jumping kick. That led to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Lee broke free from Jiro leading to Carter getting the tag with running forearms to the chest. Carter with a single leg takedown leading to a German Suplex. Carter with a kick to the leg for a knockdown followed by a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Great sequence from Carter there. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Lee tagged in, Jericho caught him on his back and Jericho hit a slam where he dropped to his knees for a two count. Kushida back in for a double team armdrag, double dropkick and a double kick to the head for two because Carter broke up the pin. Fans chanted “this is awesome” thing. Lee countered Kushida and sent Kushida into the ropes. Jiro was legal, he went for a Senton Bomb, Lee moved and Carter tagged in against Kushida. Carter with a jumping knee, then he did the backflip with Lee pushing him, but Kushida got the knees up. Kushida with the armbar submission, Carter got out of it, Lee tagged in and jumped off the ropes with a Blockbuster while Carter held Kushida, so that led to the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

Analysis: ***1/4 A very good opener here. Lots of action and excitement featuring four talented athletes. The win by MSK was obvious since they are pushed more as a team while Jacket Time will continue to put on good matches any time they get a chance to show what they can do. I liked the double-team finisher. It always helps when a crowd is hot like these fans.

The win by MSK means they take on Blade & Enofe in the Semifinals.

Post match, the fans chanted “that was awesome” for the wrestlers. MSK and Jacket Time shook hands and hugged after the match. The fans cheered.

Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were shown talking backstage. Stark said she won’t be ready for the Women’s Dusty Cup tournament, so Io has to find another partner. Shirai said she didn’t want a new partner leading to Stark thinking that Shirai likes her, but Shirai said she didn’t say that. The rich girl Tiffany Stratton showed up to say that Io can find a partner after Tiffany beats her tonight. Shirai ranted in Japanese after that.

The Legado del Fantasma group entered for a promo.

A commercial aired for Smackdown while promoting Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns ahead of the Royal Rumble and Naomi faces Sonya Deville.

(Commercial)

Cameron Grimes did a promo telling Tony D’Angelo there is no man tougher than him because Grimes is on his way to take that North American Championship to the moon.

The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were shown arriving with Ollie Jayy.

Let’s Hear from Legado del Fantasma

The Legado del Fantasma group of Santos Escobar, Raul Mendoza, Joaquin Wilde and Elektra Lopez were in the ring. Escobar ripped on Bron Breakker talking about his father, his uncle and his family’s poor math skills. Escobar said that he’s always real. Escobar said that Breakker’s family doesn’t impress him or intimidate him. Escobar said that he despises how Breakker has been given opportunities and he said that he despises that Breakker won the NXT Title before him. Escobar said it makes him sick since Breakker has only been in NXT for a handful of months.

Bron Breakker made his entrance with the NXT Championship on his left shoulder. Breakker said that he thinks Santos is a great superstar that is insecure because he needs those two guys and her. Breakker said that his family taught him how to handle business head on, he mentioned Santos’ family, then Santos told him not to talk about his family and Breakker told him to issue a challenge. Escobar said that things are done on his time while adding when he’s ready, Bron will know. Escobar left with Lopez first while Breakker was ready for Wilde and Mendoza trying a cheap attack. Breakker cleared the ring easily.

Analysis: A simple promo exchange to set up a feud that should lead to a title match soon. Breakker will continue to get better by wrestling against a talented veteran like Escobar. With that said, it’s not like Escobar is going to be the guy to take the title from Breakker.

There was a video showing the issues between Solo Sikoa and Boa, who did some cheap attacks on Sikoa in the last few weeks, including Boa throwing Solo fire in Solo’s face. That match is next.

(Commercial)

Solo Sikoa made his entrance with face paint on. Boa attacked with kendo stick shots to the back. Boa had black/white face paint.

No Disqualification/Falls Count Anywhere Match: Solo Sikoa vs. Boa

Boa grabbed some chairs and a trash can that he tossed into the ring. Boa charged, Solo hit a Samoan Drop and both guys wedged chairs against the turnbuckle. Boa with a chair jab to the ribs along with a few more chair shots to the body. Boa with a double underhook suplex onto a trash can in the ring. Boa brought out a table from under the ring, so he set it up at ringside. Solo came back with punches as they stumbled towards the backstage area with Solo hitting a chair to the back. Boa kicked Solo into a table, then Boa sent Solo into some ladders that were there and Boa attacked with a ladder. Solo avoided a charging ladder attack, then Solo tackled the ladder onto Boa and then Solo sent Boa into a garage door leading to a two count on the floor. Solo charged, Boa move and Solo went back first into the garage door. Boa sent Solo into a door that opened to the outside. When Boa tried to open the door, Solo was on the other side and he locked the door. Boa pulled on some chains to lift a garage door, which led to Solo using a fire extinguisher to the face. They went back into the arena where Solo sent Boa into the ring post at ringside. Back in the ring, Solo whipped Boa into three steel chairs wedged against turnbuckles. Solo hit a superkick. Solo went up top, but Boa hit the turnbuckle to knock him down. They went over to the commentary table where Solo caught a charging Boa with a Samoan Drop onto the hood of the table. Solo set up Boa across a table that was there. Solo went up top and hit an Uso Splash onto Boa through the table on the floor. They went about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Solo Sikoa

Analysis: **3/4 A good brawl full of action with a strong finish due to that impressive leap by Solo to put Boa through the table in an emphatic way. The stuff they did in the hallway out of the ring wasn’t that vicious or anything, but was creative with Solo using the fire extinguisher. It made sense for Solo to win the match to possibly put an end to the feud.

Duke Hudson was shown walking backstage for his match up next.

(Commercial)

NXT Vengeance Day was announced for February 15th. That’s three weeks away on a Tuesday.

A video aired about the Imperium trio of Gunther, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner. Here’s how the group explained the name change while in a foreign language and the words were on the screen:

“Our name stands for dominance, our name stands for pride, our name stands for success. The same goes for my name. The name I’m known as all over the world, the name my parents gave me in honor of our family patriarch, my grandfather, the man who introduced me to this great sport.”

“But now it’s time to leave the past behind and guide Imperium into the future, standing on my own two feet, with my own identity. It is time, it’s the dawn of a new time for Imperium. We’re closing the door to the past and opening the door to a whole new future, a whole new age.”

“It’s going to be a future led by this man, a man who will spread pain and fear throughout the entire WWE, Gunther.”

Analysis: That explanation is fine. I wouldn’t have changed the name, but I also think it’s such a small thing in the big picture. We’ll get used to Gunther like we get used to any wrestling name.

Duke Hudson vs. Guru Raaj

Hudson with a boot to the face followed by punches. Hudson with a sidewalk slam. Hudson hit his version of Razor’s Edge that was more like a Powerbomb. Easy win after about one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Duke Hudson

Analysis: 1/2* A squash win for Hudson. The story is that Hudson is more aggressive since he had a haircut a few weeks ago.

After the match, Dante Chen did a promo letting Hudson know he was coming and then Chen went into the ring. They got separated from referees, but then Hudson broke free and hit a chop block to the right leg. Hudson left the ring.

The team of Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Pirotta saying Duke looked good with short hair. Indi wanted her to focus. Pirotta said they are focused on the championships. Kay Lee Ray walked into the interview to trash talk Mandy Rose while saying that the three of them will stake their claim to the titles held by Toxic Attraction.

The lovely Toxic Attraction trio of NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose and NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne made their entrance looking great as usual.

(Commercial)

Legado del Fantasma were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Santos Escobar said that Bron Breakker made a terrible mistake. Escobar said that Breakker is going to have to find Mendoza and Wilde two on one unless Breakker can find a friend. Escobar said that Breakker’s growing pains will continue.

Kay Lee Ray, Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell vs. Toxic Attraction – Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne

Rose didn’t want to start with Ray, so Jayne started for the championship team. Hartwell tagged in for her team leading to a kick to the head while Jayne was against the ropes. Jayne came back with a knee to send Hartwell into the heel corner. Dolin tagged in, missed a kick and then hit a knee. Rose tagged in with a suplex for Hartwell followed by a cheap shot that knocked Ray off the apron. Hartwell came back with a back elbow on Rose. Pirotta with a backbreaker leading to Hartwell hitting a clothesline on Rose. Ray tagged in against Rose with Ray hitting a shoulder tackle that knocked Rose off the apron to the floor. Ray went up top, the Toxic girls were on the floor and Ray jumped onto all three women! That was impressive. Jayne was back in for her team, Ray with chops on her and there were quick tags by Pirotta/Hartwell working over Jayne. The referee was distracted, so Rose/Dolin did a cheap shot on Hartwell and Jayne did a cannonball splash on Hartwell. Dolin kicked Hartwell in the back followed by some quick kicks to the head and a whip into the corner. Rose back in with a forearm to Ray on the apron, so then Hartwell hit a sidewalk slam. Jayne in illegally, Hartwell kicked her out of the ring and Jayne pulled Pirotta off the apron to avoid a tag. Dolin tagged in with a kick to the back of Hartwell for a two count.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Hartwell remaining as the face in peril while Rose brought in Jayne with a kick to Hartwell’s back. Jayne with a forearm followed by a neckbreaker for two. Hartwell and Jayne hit eachother with kicks at the same time, which led to Pirotta and Dolin tagging in. Pirotta with a corner splash, then she sent Dolin into the turnbuckle and Pirotta hit a German Suplex, but Jayne broke up the pin. Hartwell with a spinebuster on Jayne, so then Rose jumped in with a knee to Hartwell and KLR hit a superkick on Rose that looked great. Ray brought in her green bat, Rose left the ring, Ray swung the bat, Rose moved and Ray hit the steel steps. Ray went after Rose with the bad again, so Rose ran to the back and Ray followed her. The legal women were Dolin countering Pirotta’s suplex with an inside cradle. Pirotta with a boot to the face followed by a spinning slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kay Lee Ray, Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell

Analysis: *** Good job by everybody involved here in a match that was given a lot of time. The heels were in control for most of it, Pirotta was on fire after the hot tag, Ray took care of Rose by chasing her to the back and the match was over right after that. The heels came in as champions, so the typical result in a match like that is for the faces to get the win to earn a future title shot. Since Pirotta/Hartwell are going after the Tag Team Titles, giving Pirotta the win over Dolin made sense. Also, by having Rose run away from Ray throughout the match, it tells us that Rose is scared of her, but whenever they have that match, we could see Ray as the new champion. I’d rather see Rose retain.

A video aired about the team of Edris Enofe and Malik Blade talking about how they won in the quarterfinals and how people thought they didn’t have a chance. They beat Gacy/Harland to get into the tournament, then they beat Legado del Fantasma and then they plan on winning the whole thing. Enofe told Blade after they win, they should ask out Mandy Rose while Enofe will ask out Gigi and Jayne. Blake said that Enofe could be a bad influence on him.

Analysis: It was a bit of character development for a team that is new in NXT. It’s fine to give them time like that.

Grizzled Young Veterans entered for a match after a break.

(Commercial)

They showed Raquel Gonzalez working out with Cora Jade asking if she thought about teaming with her. Raquel said she’s not interested. Jade tried to impress Gonzalez by lifting a lot of weight, but Jade couldn’t do it. Raquel said she needs somebody she can trust and she’s not sure if Cora is the type of person that can get right back up after getting knocked down. Cora tried to slap Gonzalez, but Gonzalez blocked it and Raquel told Cora to stop pushing her.

Analysis: I think we will see Raquel in the Royal Rumble on Saturday. Just a guess. I think she’ll still be in NXT for the Dusty tournament, but after that, I think she’ll be on Raw or Smackdown.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs. Andre Chase & Bodhi Hayward

Hayward is a “student” from Chase University. Drake with an armbar on Chase, who followed up with an armdrag followed by a Russian legsweep takedown. Chase did his stomp routine to spell out “CHASE U” with the fans chanting along. Hayward tagged in with a shoulder tackle followed by a sunset flip. Chase with a double axhandle followed by a Dusty Rhodes style punch routine. Gibson tagged in leading to a double team shoulderbreaker on Chase on the floor. Gibson battled Chase a bit with Chase getting a backslide pin for two. Hayward got the hot tag with two shoulder tackles to the legs of Gibson and a body slam. The fans liked Hayward who did this spot where he ran on the spot leading to three straight splashes. Drake with a distraction, so Gibson did a thrust to the throat. Drake dropkicked Chase off the apron and both GYV guys hit double knees to the face (like a double Codebreaker) for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Grizzled Young Veterans

Analysis: ** An easy win for the better and more established team known as GYV. They are very talented as a heel team with a lot of experience. I think Chase is talented, but the gimmick is more of a comedy routine where he gets beat up a lot at this point in his career.

The GYV guys move on to face The Creed Brothers in the semifinals of the Dusty Cup.

Post match, Von Wagner went into the ring and beat up Hayward with punches along with a slam off the shoulders. Wagner also slammed Chase off his shoulders. Robert Stone went into the ring and presented Wagner with a jacket. Stone said that Wagner has been reinstated and is under new management.

Analysis: I think that’s a good pairing. Wagner is a big guy that looks tough, but he isn’t a great promo. Stone is an underutilized manager that should be featured more, so I like seeing him paired with Wagner. I think this should work out well.

A video aired featuring Grayson Waller talking about how his star is shining brighter than ever. Waller said he’s got one of the biggest guys in Bollywood as his Secret Service. Waller wanted LA Knight to read the restraining order properly. Waller said he’s waiting for Knight, but Sanga (the name of the big man) wants to meet him first.

Io Shirai entered for singles action.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about how Odyssey Jones had knee surgery and will be back in the fall. Joseph and Barrett wished him the best as he tries to come back better than ever.

Analysis: That sounds like a major knee injury if he’s going to be out for that long. Good luck to Jones coming back.

Io Shirai vs. Tiffany Stratton

They spent the first minute doing moves and counters with Stratton managing to send Shirai out of the ring. Shirai was back in the ring with a flatliner. Shirai went for an armbar, Stratton broke the hold by getting to the ropes and stomping on Shirai. Stratton applied a chinlock submission, Shirai fought it as best she could and the fans chanted for Shirai to come back. Stratton did an impressive backflip into a forearm move against the ropes for a two count. Shirai with an uppercut palm strike to the throat followed by the running knee attack and a body slam. Shirai went up top for the Over the Moonsault for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Io Shirai

Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Shirai, who is one of the top women in NXT or at least has been for a few years now. I’m a bit surprised that Stratton was booked to lose this early in her run.

Io Shirai celebrated the win with the fans chanting for her.

Analysis: I think Io Shirai would be a good choice to be in the Royal Rumble match this weekend. She’ll probably be on Raw or Smackdown after WrestleMania if I had to guess.

Malcolm Bivens as shown with Diamond Mine: “Gunther? What an awful name. I can’t believe your parents called you that. It should be DUMBASS in all caps.” Bivens said that the Creed Brothers are going to win the Dusty Cup, then they’ll beat Imperium for the Tag Team Titles and Strong will chop down Gunther. Bivens challenged Imperium to a six-man tag team match. The Creed Brothers and Strong had some words about the Imperium guys.

Analysis: That’s a cool match for next week. Both sides are heels, so I’m not sure who will be more like faces in the match. Maybe Diamond Mine will be more like faces to the crowd. I don’t know.

Musical Performance from Ollie Jayy

The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams introduced Ollie Jayy. Ollie Jayy was in the ring to sing her song “Make ‘Em Fall” and I’m sure a lot of people liked her just based on her looks. Let’s just say she wore an outfit that let us know that she wasn’t shy about showing off her body. During the performance, they showed clips of Cameron Grimes and Tony D’Angelo since they were wrestling in the main event. Hayes and Williams encouraged the fans to make some noise, so the fans cheered.

Tony D’Angelo said that after he’s done taking care of Cameron Grimes, he’s going to have a date with destiny and the North American Championship at Vengeance Day.

(Commercial)

Tiffany Stratton complained to “daddy” on her phone about the referee and Wendy Choo (the sleeper) was there to say don’t feel bad because everybody loses to Io. Stratton knocked Wendy’s drink out of her hand and called her a freak. Wendy didn’t like that.

Next Tuesday on NXT 2.0:

* Diamond Mine (Roderick Strong & Creed Brothers) vs. Imperium (Gunther, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel)

* Cora Jade vs. Raquel Gonzalez

* Bron Breakker & a partner vs. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza)

It was main event time with Cameron Grimes up first while Tony D’Angelo was already in the ring. I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t show Tony’s entrance.

Cameron Grimes vs. Tony D’Angelo

The winner gets a shot at the NXT North American Championship at the NXT Vengeance Day episode on February 15.

Grimes hit two impressive armdrags followed by Grimes sending Tony to the floor. Grimes with a penalty kick to the jaw while on the apron. The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were watching on a platform in the building. Back in the ring, Tony did a head whip into the mat and a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Tony whipped Grimes over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Tony D hit a backbreaker for a two count. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Tony was in control with a belly-to-belly side slam for a two count. Tony hit a double underhook suplex across the ring followed by a weak chinlock leading to a double leg takedown for two. Tony applied a waistlock on the mat. Grimes came back with a hurricanrana, then a forearm to the face and a corner attack missed because Tony moved. Tony hit a German Suplex with Grimes hitting a moonsault bump for a two count. Tony with some punches to the ribs, then he wanted a suplex, but Grimes countered to an inside cradle for two. They ran the ropes leading to the cross body block collision spot where Grimes landed on top for a two count. That’s always a cool move to see. Grimes with kicks to the chest, then a boot to the face and Tony blocked a kick leading to Tony suplexing Grimes into the turnbuckle. Good nearfall there with fans chanting “that was three” for that close finish. Grimes with a boot to the face, then he slipped on the top rope, so he hit a moonsault on the middle rope onto a standing Tony. Grimes with a running knee, then Grimes up top and he hit a cross body block for a two count. Tony rolled out to the floor, Grimes put on Tony’s hat, the referee was looking at that and Pete Dunne showed up with a cricket bat to the left hand of Tony on the announce table. Ouch. That sounded loud. Dunne did his shoulder shrug, then Tony went into the ring and Grimes hit the Cave In double foot stomp on Tony’s chest for the pinfall win. It went 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match here. Grimes is one of the best in NXT while Tony D continues to impress for a guy that doesn’t have that much experience. Grimes sold everything well before it was more of an even matchup in the final few minutes. I don’t know if it was the best way to end it with Grimes benefitting from Dunne’s cheap shot on Tony because I think Grimes winning clean would have been better for him. However, the issues between Dunne and Tony aren’t done, so that’s probably why they felt the need to have Dunne involved there.

Grimes celebrated the win while looking at Hayes/Williams since Grimes just earned his shot at the NXT North American Title on February 15.

Bron Breakker was shown leaving the building when he was asked about a tag team partner next week. Bron said a partner didn’t matter to him. The three Legado guys drove up in a car, they got out of the car and Bron was ready to fight. That’s when Tommaso Ciampa showed up to stand beside Bron to show he would be his partner. Legado left. Bron said 3 on 2 works for him as Ciampa and Bron touched knuckles. That was it.

Analysis: It’s supposed to be a 2 on 2 tag with Bron and a partner against two Legado guys, so I assume that’s what we get next week. WWE confirmed the 2 on 2 tag match here on their website. Ciampa has been off NXT for a few weeks. Good to see him back. Ciampa has been in tryout matches for Raw/Smackdown as well as appearing on Main Event, so he could be done in NXT soon if WWE feels they have something else for him to do.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Cameron Grimes
  2. MSK
  3. Jacket Time/Tony D’Angelo

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

 

Final Thoughts

A good show this week with more in-ring action, less talking and less of the goofy stuff that hurts NXT 2.0 sometimes. The opening tag team match and the main event were a lot of fun with the crowd getting into the matches. Three matches at around the three-star level (with a fourth match close to that) is what I like to see in terms of in-ring action.

They’re building stories well in terms of setting up matches for the Vengeance Day special like Hayes vs. Grimes, which should be an awesome match. They’re clearly building to Breakker vs. Escobar and Rose vs. KLR, plus a lot of tag teams being involved. Nothing seems that rushed on NXT. I like the patience they have for some of the stories they tell. They also do less rematches than what we get on Raw or Smackdown, so that’s a positive too.

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John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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