This week’s WWE NXT was the Vengeance Day special featuring Bron Breakker defending the NXT Title against Santos Escobar, Carmelo Hayes defending the NXT North American Title vs. Cameron Grimes and a whole lot more.
Just like Raw on Monday, this week’s NXT episode aired on Syfy for those of you in the US due to the Winter Olympics. Next week’s episode will be back on USA Network since this is the last week of the Winter Olympics.
There was a video featuring Mandy Rose in a bikini at her pool as she exchanged texts with her Toxic Attraction teammates Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. Mandy said it’s all about that bling. They “texted” eachother about the matches on the show, then showed their goal and Mandy said: “Happy Vengeance Day, bitches.” Thank you.
The weaponized Steel Cage surrounded the ring for the first match with Pete Dunne in the ring awaiting his opponent. It was Tony D’Angelo up next arriving in a fancy car. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual.
Weaponized Steel Cage Match: Pete Dunne vs. Tony D’Angelo
There were weapons all around the cage. Dunne met Tony right away with strikes and threw Tony into the cage two times. Dunne hit Tony in the back with a steel chair and it broke the chair. Tony got back up with a tackle to avoid a trash can shot to the head and then Tony suplexed Dunne onto ta trash can. Tony hit Dunne with a kendo stick to the back. Dunne closed a toolbox on Tony’s hand and then jumped on the toolbox to smash the hand. Dunne stomped on Tony’s left arm/elbow. Dunne went for the cricket bat, but Tony stopped that with some fire extinguisher spray to the face. Tony set up Dunne across the top of the cage and Tony did a superplex into the ring leading to a “Holy Shit” chant for two. Tony used zip ties to tie Dunne’s hands behind him. The crowd chanted for a table. Dunne with a headbutt and then he used his legs to wrap around Tony’s head/arms. Tony powered out of it with a Powerbomb followed by a DDT for two. Tony tried a Powerbomb, but Dunne managed to snap on a Guillotine headlock on Dunne. Tony grabbed pliers out of the toolbox and cut the zip ties so that it led to Dunne releasing the hold. Tony whipped Dunne face first into the top of the trash can. Tony grabbed a crowbar, Dunne kicked him while Tony was on the top rope and Dunne gave Tony a Powerbomb through the table across the ring. Dunne stomped on Tony’s hands, then a cricket bat shot to the back and Dunne hit the Bitter End for just a two count. That was a shocking kickout since that is Dunne’s finisher. Dunne grabbed the crowbar, but Tony hit a low blow punch and Tony hit a cradle brainbuster type move for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Dunne grabbed his own crowbar (Tony’s weapon of choice) leading to two crowbar shots to the body and then a Bitter End slam for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Pete Dunne
Analysis: ***1/2 A violent match that was fitting for a feud ender with the babyface Dunne getting the win as expected. I think this feud was good for both guys because it elevated Tony a bit by facing one of NXT’s biggest names while Dunne looked impressive in picking up the win. Dunne using a crowbar to win made a lot of sense since Tony used the crowbar to attack Dunne in the past, so it was fitting payback for Dunne. I was a bit surprised when Tony kicked out of the first Bitter End, but then it made sense as the match went on after that and Dunne had to do more damage to put Tony away for good.
A video was shown of Cora Jade getting a call at 5am from Raquel Gonzalez, who told her to get up to go training. Raquel was outside of Cora’s place. They went to the WWE Performance Center before anybody else was there, so then there was a video of Raquel training Cora to toughen her up. When Cora decided to eat, Raquel slapped the food out of her hand. The ladies went running in a park and did some training on the gross including some partner carrying drills. Raquel told Cora they had to do it again the next day with Cora sarcastically saying she was excited.
Analysis: Some female bonding for Raquel and Cora as one of the teams in the Women’s Dusty Cup.
Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett were shown on camera with Wade saying Vic was dressed like Joe Burrow while adding that he was a loser like Vic. Good. Go Rams! Super Bowl Champions.
They showed some comments from The Creed Brothers with Malcolm Bivens with the group saying they’ll be Dusty Cup Champions because Diamond Mine is forever.
The team of Wes Lee and Nash Carter aka MSK talked about how they won the Dusty Cup last year, so they are going to win it again. They said they’ll make history as the two-time Dusty Cup Champions because that’s MSK – all night and all day.
The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were shown arriving earlier in the day and Cameron Grimes was also shown arriving earlier in the day.
It’s Toxic Attraction time with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne arriving with NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose. The trio looks great as always. The team of Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell entered as the opponents. Indi was a former NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion when she was partners with Candice LeRae. They are both Australians who have found success in NXT. Toxic Attraction attacked before the bell rang with superkicks sending the challengers out of the ring. Dolin and Jayne each hit dives off the apron onto their opponents on the floor.
NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions: Toxic Attraction – Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne (w/Mandy Rose) vs. Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell
The bell rang with Jayne hitting Pirotta with a forearm. Pirotta came back with a fallaway slam. Hartwell rocked Jayne with a forearm followed by a boot to the face. Dolin tagged in with a boot that knocked Hartwell off the turnbuckle to the floor. Rose grabbed Hartwell to toss her into the ring and then the referee ejected Rose for getting involved. That made the fans happy while I will miss Mandy. Just being honest. They went to a picture in picture break.
Jayne and Hartwell did the double hair whip spot to knock them both down leading to Dolin and Pirotta getting the tag. The powerful Pirotta hit two clotheslines, a corner splash, a toss into the turnbuckle and a German Suplex across the ring. Jayne jumped on Pirotta’s back, but then Pirotta got a hold of both opponents and hit a double Samoan Drop for a two count. Hartwell tagged in with a tandem spinebuster with Jayne breaking up the pin. Jayne and Pirotta went to the floor with Jayne sending Pirotta into the steel steps. Hartwell tried a move off the ropes, Jayne shoved Hartwell, Dolin kicked Hartwell in the head and got a two count. Jayne tagged in for a jumping kick to the head while Dolin kicked Hartwell low and that was enough for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Toxic Attraction – Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
Analysis: **1/2 This was just an average tag team match with the heel champions working well together to take out Pirotta and isolate Hartwell to get the win. I think it was booked well in that sense because Pirotta is seen as a power wrestler that they want to book strong while Hartwell is the one they would rather beat in a match like that. I like the Dolin & Jayne team although they don’t get booked in title matches that much.
Toxic Attraction celebrated the win with Mandy Rose joining them.
The duo of Wendy Choo and Amari Miller were shown chatting backstage. Wendy asked her if she had a partner in the Dusty Cup, Miller said she had somebody else and Choo walked up to crazy Dakota Kai: “Hey loser.” Choo asked Kai to team up. Kai was talking to an imaginary person since she’s a weirdo now and Choo told her to let her know.
Grayson Waller was shown in the parking lot with Sanga. Waller talked to some police officers (likely indy wrestlers or trainees) saying he wanted them to arrest LA Knight.
A commercial aired for NXT Lvl Up airing Friday on Peacock/WWE Network. It’s the new show replacing 205 Live featuring NXT wrestlers.
The team of Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen were shown in the bar talking about Brooks taking Kayden Carter out on Valentine’s Day while Josh went to a movie with Kacy Catanzaro. Brooks said Kayden insisted on paying for herself and Brooks took her home. Brooks said that Kayden told him that he was like a little brother, so Briggs said that meant they were just friends. The female bartender said that it sounds like he’ll have a friend for life. Brooks yelled “No” and that was it.
Analysis: It’s not the most interesting storyline, but NXT seems to want to try relationship storylines more than Raw or Smackdown.
Let’s Hear from LA Knight
LA Knight entered to a good pop from the crowd. Before he could say anything, Grayson Waller walked out with four police officers with Grayson said that Knight has been attacking him. Two officers went into the ring, so Waller played a clip of Knight attacking him last month. Waller said it caused him emotional trauma. Waller talked about how Knight broke his restraining order and they should arrest him right now. Knight did his “let me talk to ya” line. Knight said that he had his own video evidence from two weeks ago. It was a clip of Waller hitting Knight with a Cutter on the floor during a match.
Knight said he’s not a legal beagle, but we all know that according to page two of this order, it reads that LA Knight cannot touch Grayson Waller, but Waller can’t touch Knight. That led to Waller saying it was just one way and then the police officers left, so that was it for the restraining order. Knight was alone with Waller in the ring leading to Knight hitting a clothesline and punches. Knight did his kicks in the corner while the fans chanted “YEAH” and Sanga walked out there, so Knight punched him off the apron. Knight tossed Waller over the top to the floor. Knight said next week he’s going to face Waller in a match. The fans chanted “YEAH” for that.
Analysis: It was obvious they would build a match between these two guys. I didn’t think that the restraining order was a good idea in the first place. I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. I think Waller should beat Knight in the feud because he’s the heel, but it could be a win for Knight. The rumor is Knight will be on Raw or Smackdown after WrestleMania and I believe it because he’s a very good overall performer especially when it comes to promos.
The team of Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell were shown talking backstage saying they were so close with Indi saying it was her fault, but Persia said it wasn’t her fault. Persia said they can go win the Dusty Cup and win another shot. Dexter Lumis walked up to his wife Indi so they left. Duke Hudson walked up to Persia Pirotta, so they left together. Barrett put over Hudson being a stud and Pirotta was about to get lucky.
Analysis: It’s probably going to lead to Hudson getting Pirotta to dump Hartwell as a partner and then have Hudson feuding with Lumis after that. A mixed tag with Hudson/Pirotta vs. Lumis/Hartwell seems like that’s what they’ll build too. The good thing about NXT is they don’t rush stories a lot, so it will take some time to get there.
The NXT North American Championship match between Carmelo Hayes and Cameron Grimes was next. They were both shown backstage getting ready for their match.
A video aired for Black History Month.
Tommaso Ciampa was shown sitting backstage for a promo talking about how he’s spent the last six years building his brand and building his home. Ciampa said some people think he’s been there as part of a minor league farm system. Ciampa yelled about how Dolph Ziggler thinks he is better than Ciampa, so Ciampa said that Dolph has mistaken his loyalty for fear. Ciampa said Bron Breakker defends the NXT Title against Santos Escobar while Ciampa mentioned that Ziggler will be watching and Ciampa will be watching since this is his home. That was it.
Carmelo Hayes made his entrance as the NXT North American Champion and he says he’s the “A Champion” as well. Hayes was joined by Trick Williams as usual. Cameron Grimes got a decent pop from the crowd for his entrance. This is my favorite match on tonight’s show. This started at the midway point in the show.
NXT North American Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Cameron Grimes
They did some moves locking up and going to the ropes a few times. Grimes did an arm drag leading to an armbar leading to Hayes countering with an armbar of his own. Grimes with a shoulder tackle, then a cartwheel to avoid an attack and a kick to the upper chest. Hayes was sent into the ropes leading to Grimes hitting a back body drop. Hayes ran the ropes, jumped over the back of Grimes and Hayes hit a clothesline. Grimes sent Hayes to the floor, Hayes block a kick on the apron and tripped up Grimes after a small distraction by Trick. Hayes blocked a kick, then did a kick to the back and a leg drop off the ropes. They went to a picture in picture break.
Hayes was in control with an armbar while replays showed that Williams got in some cheap shot punches during the break. They did the spot that Grimes loves to do where he hits a running cross body block leading to flip with Grimes landing on top. Grimes and Hayes exchanged punches, Hayes went for a kick, Grimes blocked and Grimes hit a hurricanrana. Grimes with running forearms, then a charge into a boot by Hayes. Grimes came back with a spinning spinebuster for a two count. Good nearfall there. Hayes with a Lung Blower move followed by a springboard forearm for a two count. Hayes did some taunting, they fought over a move, Hayes jumped over the back and Grimes hit a superkick. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Grimes with kicks to the chest, Williams on the apron, Grimes shoved Hayes into Williams and Grimes hit a reverse hurricanrana on Hayes! Grimes kick Williams in the chest, Grimes up top and a cross body block on Hayes got a two count. That was close. Great nearfall. Hayes rolled to the floor, then Williams stepped up and Grimes got a Cave In stomp on Williams. Hayes shoved Grimes into the barricade. Back in the ring, Hayes hit a spinning side slam for two. Hayes applied a Crossface submission, Grimes countered it into a pin attempt and that got two. Hayes pulled back on the neck of Grimes against the top rope. Hayes jumped off the top with a leg drop to the back of the head for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes
Analysis: **** Awesome match as expected by these guys. That top rope leg drop to the back of the head by Hayes was impressive live and even better when they showed the slow-motion replay of the move. Grimes got a few nearfalls that the fans bought into even though he didn’t hit his Cave In finisher on Hayes. I thought Williams was booked well as a guy on the outside that got involved a bit, but Grimes took care of him. Hayes didn’t win in a cheap manner. It was clean and done in a way that made Hayes look like a credible champion. I liked the match. Hopefully Grimes doesn’t get lost in the shuffle because he’s excellent in the ring and as a character. Check out this match if you missed it. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Next up was the finals of the Men’s Dusty Rhoades Tag Team Classic aka the Dusty Cup. A video aired showing the journeys of MSK and Creed Brothers on their way to the finals.
Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai were shown somewhere in the building with KLR trying to encourage Shirai to use the bat to break some glasses to get rid of some rage. Shirai joined her in breaking things. Zoey Stark said that this place was a mess, Shirai threw down Zoey’s coffee and Shirai said she liked KLR. Zoey said that you’re off to a better start than Zoey was since Shirai constantly said she didn’t like Zoey. Anyway, it’s more female bonding.
A video aired with some comments from the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes talking about how NXT wanted to find great tag teams. Dusty’s theme song played as MSK entered for action followed by the Creed Brothers.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) (w/Malcolm Bivens)
The winners get an NXT Tag Team Title match.
I missed the very start of the match and when I joined the MSK guys were unleashing kicks on Julius. With Julius out of the ring, Lee jumped over the top onto Julius on the floor. That was impressive. Julius got a hold of Lee, he slammed him across the top rope, Julius punched Carter down and then hit Lee with a shoulder tackle to send Lee crashing onto the commentary table. They went to a picture in picture break.
The match continued with Brutus in the ring with Lee with Brutus missing a corner attack and Brutus hitting the turnbuckle. Julius tagged in against Carter, who avoided a leapfrog with a single leg takedown. Carter with a German Suplex, a sweep kick, a kick to the chest and a kick that knocked Brutus off the apron to the floor. They did the assisted moonsault off the apron onto Julius on the floor. Carter went up top and hit a senton bomb on Julius. Lee went up top and hit a twisting splash for a two count. Both MSK guys were in the ring after a Carter tag and hit a jumping foot stomp for a two count because the pin was broken up. Brutus kicked Lee out of the ring. Carter was in there with a knee to the back of Brutus to knock him out of the ring. Julius caught a diving Carter and hit a powerslam on the floor. Back in the ring, Julius hit a hard clothesline on seated Carter for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed)
Analysis: ***1/2 Good match with a lot of nearfalls from the early part of the match right towards the finish. It took two big moves for Julius to finish Cater with a powerslam on the floor and then the clothesline in the ring. I think it was the right call to have The Creed Brothers because MSK own the tourney last year as well as a long run as tag team champions, so let’s see what The Creed Brothers can do in a spot like that. I thought the Creed boys would win, so I’m glad they did.
The Creed Brothers celebrated with the Dusty Cup trophy while Malcolm Bivens was saying it would be Diamond Mine forever.
A video aired about Nikkita Lyons coming soon to NXT. She’s also a singer. Lyons makes her debut next week on NXT.
Let’s Hear from Imperium
The trio of Imperium – Gunther along with Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner, the NXT Tag Team Champions. Gunther made sure we knew his name was Gunther while fans chanted “Walter” at them. Barthel & Aichner congratulated The Creed Brothers on their win while saying they weren’t ready to beat them. Gunther said that it’s time to set eyes on championship gold in NXT. Gunter said that tonight he’s going to watch Bron Breakker and Santos Escobar with the highest of interest.
Solo Sikoa made his entrance with fans chanted “Uso” since he’s an Uso brother. Sikoa said he didn’t care that the mat was sacred. Sikoa said on the island they would get in the face of the biggest guy. Sikoa said he was going to wipe the mat with the Ring General (Gunther) and make him his bitch. Sikoa left.
Analysis: It should be a win for Gunther over Sikoa whenever it happens, but I like it as a fresh matchup that will be good for Sikoa even though he’ll probably lose. Gunther makes people better.
Dolph Ziggler of Raw was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Ziggler talked about how Ciampa was on Raw. Ziggler said that Ciampa is the pulse of NXT, so Ziggler is going to stop him. Ziggler noted that the NXT Title match was next and he’s very interested in that.
Santos Escobar entered with Legado del Fantasma for the min event.
The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes was shown with Trick Williams talking about Melo’s win. Pete Dunne walked up to him saying that he was the champion…for now. End scene.
Next week on NXT:
* Women’s Dusty Cup tournament begins.
* LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller
* Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler
Bron Breakker made his entrance as the NXT Champion with the “V” logo shown backstage lighting on fire. Breakker got a pretty good pop when he made his entrance. This was Breakker’s first NXT Title defense in over one month since he won the title.
NXT Championship: Bron Breakker vs. Santos Escobar (w/Raul Mendoza, Joaquin Wilde & Elektra Lopez)
Breakker locked up with Escobar with Breakker shoving him on his ass. Breakker with a headlock, he was sent into ropes with a clothesline. Escobar hit a dropkick. Breakker hit an impressive Gator Roll headlock on the mat leading to a delayed vertical suplex. Escobar bailed to the floor, then Breakker drove him back in the ring and hit a clothesline. Breakker with a backbreaker across the ring. Wilde on the apron, so Breakker was distracted and that allowed Escobar to hit a forearm to the back. Escobar whipped Baker into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Escobar got a two count after that move on the floor and then another two with a neckbreaker. Escobar with a neckbreaker against the top rope and then senton splash got two. Escobar continued the office with a running attack against the turnbuckle. Escobar with a submission on the floor the head/neck area wrenching on the had. Escobar applied a chinlock, Breakker broke free and then Escobar hit him with his forearm. Escobar did some trash-talking, then Breakker blocked a punch and Baker got in some punches. Breakker with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Breakker knocked Medonza down, tossed Wilde into the ring and Breakker hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Lopez was on the apron, so Dolph Ziggler went into the ring and hit a superkick that the referee never saw. Escobar for just a two count. Ziggler tried going into the ring, Ciampa got a hold of him and they went brawling to the back. Escobar hit a running DDT on Breakker. Escobar went for a Frog Splash off the top, Brady moved and Breakker hit a Spear. Breakker followed up with a press powerslam for the pinfall win. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bron Breakker
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match as expected, but not as good as Breakker’s last title match against Ciampa when he won the title. Bron is still new in terms of what he can do although I do think he sold things pretty well. Escobar getting that nearfall after the superkick was a great spot. That certainly could have been the finish. I liked the involvement of Ziggler and Ciampa because it also builds to their match next week. Anyway, the right guy won. The result was obvious.
There were replays shown. Bron Breakker celebrated in the NXT with the NXT Title. The camera focused on Bron’s face. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Carmelo Hayes
- Cameron Grimes
- The Creed Brothers
This week: 8 out of 10
Last week: 7
Any time NXT does one of these special shows they usually do a great job of having meaningful matches that get a lot of time, which leads to a better than usual show. That’s what happened here and that’s why it gets an 8 out of 10 grade from me. Best match honors go to Hayes/Grimes while three other matches were all close after that.
Congrats to the Creed Brothers on winning the Dusty Cup to earn a title shot. They are extremely hard workers that continue to improve every time I see them.
There were no title changes and I doubt anybody is going to say this was a hugely important show in NXT history. However, it was still an entertaining show with a hot crowd. I enjoyed it.
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