Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 03/01/22 Review

wwe nxt march 1

This week’s WWE NXT featured the North American Champion Carmelo Hayes defending his title against Pete Dunne, plus a Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode tag team match.

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.

Welcome to NXT as they get right to the action with NXT Champion Bron Breakker and Tommaso Ciampa entering for tag team action. Ciampa was wearing a colorful singlet like Breakker wears. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual. The Raw tag team of Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler were next. Roode got his “Glorious” music that he had when he started in NXT.

Ciampa and Bron went after Roode and Ziggler in the aisle, so they were brawling on the floor. Roode sent Ciampa into the ring, Bron pulled Roode down and Ciampa hit a twisting dive over the top onto Roode/Ziggler. Bron and Ciampa sat on the apron while applauding eachother. The fans loved that.

Analysis: Great start to the show. A lot of times on Raw and Smackdown they start with promos. It’s not that exciting. I like starting a show with a brawl before an announced match. It sets the tone for the show.

The Dirty Dawgs – Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode vs. Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa and Ziggler started the match with Ciampa getting an armbar leading to Bron getting the tag. Ciampa launched Ziggler into Bron, who hit a spinebuster. Roode distracted Bron, so Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on Bron for a two count. Roode worked over Bron with a neckbreaker. Ziggler tagged in with a chinlock while fans chanted “you don’t go here” at the heels. When Bron broke free, Ziggler hit him with a neckbreaker. Roode tagged in with a suplex followed by a forearm smash off the middle ropes. The fans were chanting for Ciampa as the heels worked over Bron as Ziggler drove his shin into Bron’s face. Bron avoided a corner splash by Ziggler and Bron hit a clothesline on Roode. Ciampa tagged in with clotheslines on both heels followed by a leaping double clothesline. Ciampa pulled down the straps and let out a yell while Roode drove Ciampa into the turnbuckle. Ciampa fought out of the heel corner, but Roode hit him with a spinebuster for two.

(Commercial)

Ziggler was trying to prevent Ciampa from tagging out, but Ciampa caught a dropkick attempt and did a catapult that sent Ziggler over the top to the floor. Roode went over to Bron and knocked him off the apron to prevent a tag. Roode tossed Bron over the barricade into the crowd. Ziggler and Roode hit a double team Powerbomb on Ciampa for two. Ciampa did a rising knee lift to knock Roode down while Bron was back on the apron ready for a tag. Bron got the tag against Ziggler with Bron hitting shoulder tackles followed by belly to belly suplexes to both opponents. Bron hit a running clothesline on Ziggler. Bron charged, Ziggler got a knee lift to counter and Bron avoided a superkick. Bron bounced off the ropes with a huge Spear on Ziggler. That was an impressive Spear! Wow. Ciampa got the tag, Bron had Ziggler on his shoulders and Ciampa jumped off the top with a bulldog (a Steiner Brothers move) and that got a two because Roode made the save. Bron was sent into the ring post, Ziggler got a rollup for two and Ciampa took care of Roode after that. Ciampa and Ziggler exchanged moves with Ciampa hitting a Fairytale Ending on Ziggler for the pinfall win. It went about 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great tag team match. The heels were in control of Ciampa for most of it and I liked how they kept on teasing the hot tag spot. When Breakker got in there, he looked impressive with a lot of power moves including that incredible Spear on Ziggler. I thought this match could have gone either way and I actually thought Ziggler might pin Ciampa like he did in a singles match last week, but they decided to go with Ciampa getting the win. That’s fine with me because Ciampa is great too.

LA Knight was shown walking backstage. He wanted us to call, text anybody you know because in a moment, Knight is going to go to the ring and call out Grayson Waller. Yeah.

This Friday on Smackdown: Ronda Rousey vs. Sonya Deville. Also, The Usos defend the Tag Team Titles against The Viking Raiders and Sami Zayn defends the Intercontinental Title against Ricochet. Neither title match was mentioned.

(Commercial)

A video aired with Gunther doing a promo talking about how he will teach Solo Sikoa some respect and said that Solo’s undefeated streak will end.

Let’s Hear from LA Knight

“Yeah. Yeah. Let me talk to ya” said Knight as usual to begin a promo. Knight mentioned Grayson Waller saying they have been doing this since before Halloween Havoc saying he beat Waller in October 2021 to be the host of Halloween Havoc. Knight talked about how they put eachother through hell at Wargames, then Waller stole his car and he was wrong to think it was enough to get rid of Knight. That led to Knight coming back leading to a restraining order, then Waller got a bodyguard in Sanga and then last week Waller got the win by grabbing the tights.

Grayson Waller appeared on the stage from a distance with Sanga by his side. Waller said that last week he was the winner. Waller said that they were done while Knight called Waller an “Asshole” and Knight pointed that out. Waller tried to leave. Knight said that Waller did have a cheap victory, but it was LA Knight standing tall. Knight said every time they meet, he’s standing tall while Waller’s ass is laying. Knight noted that everybody on Twitter, people called out Waller because he got his ass whipped. Knight said that every time he’s the man standing. Knight wanted to face Waller in a Last Man Standing Match. Waller said that said that next week he’s going viral one more time because Waller will be the Last Man Standing. Knight said that he won’t let Waller get up and that’s just a fact of life. That was it.

Analysis: It sounds like a way to end the feud next week with a Last Man Standing Match. Strong promo work from Knight with the fans chanting along with the catchphrases that they know. The stipulation is fine because they have had a long rivalry as Knight pointed out, so it should end in a big match like that. Knight should win although there are rumors he’ll be on Raw or Smackdown after WrestleMania, so they may want to have Waller get the win since he’ll be in NXT long term.

Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell were shown talking in the locker room about how they had to focus so they can try to win the Dusty Cup. Indi left while Persia looked at her phone to do some more texting.

The unlikely team of Wendy Choo and Dakota Kai entered for a Women’s Dusty Cup quarterfinal match.

(Commercial)

The Toxic Attraction trio of NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose and NXT Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne were watching the match in the “Toxic Lounge” in the upper part of the arena.

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell vs. Wendy Choo & Dakota Kai

Pirotta started with Choo, who did some comedy spots leading to Pirotta hitting a corner splash and Hartwell hit a sidewalk slam. Choo hit a dropkick into the corner, Kai tagged in and worked with Choo to send Hartwell into the corner. Kai with a running boot to Hartwell’s face. Kai and Choo with a double team slam on Hartwell for two. Hartwell hit a back elbow on Choo, Pirotta tagged in and hit a boot to the face to knock down Choo. Hartwell with a clothesline on Choo followed by an armbar. Choo got an inside cradle for two. Kai tagged in with a back kick to the head, Kai punched Pirotta on the apron and hit a neckbreaker on Hartwell. Kai with two running kicks on Hartwell for two. Pirotta tagged in, she sent Kai into the top turnbuckle and then a spinning neckbreaker, but Choo broke up the pin attempt. Kai saved Choo from Pirotta with Kai hitting a kick and they sent Hartwell out of the ring. Choo got the tag and hit a splash off the top rope. Kai jumped off the top with a double foot stomp on Pirotta for the pinfall win. It went five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Wendy Choo & Dakota Kai

Analysis: **1/4 The unique team of Choo and Kai found a way to win. It seems like the pairing of Hartwell and Pirotta are going to split with Pirotta being a heel while Hartwell would be a face. Anyway, the finish was booked well with Choo/Kai working well together.

A look at the NXT Tag Team Title picture was next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium facing the Dusty Cup winners The Creed Brothers. There were promos from both sides with Imperium saying they were the best tag team in the world while the Creed Brothers believed they were the best in NXT. The titles are on the line next week.

Amari Miller vs. Lash Legend

They were a team last week, they lost and then they argued, so the team split up with Legend as the heel and Miller as a face. Miller with a kick to the knee, but then the taller Lash hit a pump kick. Lash hit a weak looking backbreaker followed by a stretch across the knee. Legend missed an elbow drop when Miller moved. Miller hit a dropkick followed by a superkick. Miller went up top and hit a moonsault that looked pretty good. Lash sent Miller into the turnbuckle. Lash set up Miller on her shoulders, then did a slam off the shoulders with Miller’s back/head hitting the mat hard. It went about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lash Legend

Analysis: DUD This was bad. They missed some spots and some of the exchanges did not look smooth at all. I think they should avoid putting Lash in the ring because she looks inexperienced. Apparently, Miller suffered a concussion during the match as well, so hopefully she’s okay.

Lash Legend did a promo trash talking Nikkita Lyons.

Solo Sikoa was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Solo saying that Gunther was in for a fight.

Gunther made his entrance for singles action.

(Commercial)

The tag team Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs were looking at something on their phones. They were checking out things on their phone, they were shouting out things, Elektra Lopez was walking by and was offended by what they were saying. Jensen & Briggs told her they were looking at cars. Lopez said if you found the right car you wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman. Jensen: “Joke’s on you, I’ve never been with a real woman. Boom. In your face.” Funny line. Elektra left. Briggs called Jensen a fool.

Gunther vs. Solo Sikoa

I guess the fans will chant “Walter” and “Uso” for these guys using different names. Gunther was on fire with chops and punches, Solo with punches and then Gunther crushed him with a chop. Gunther with a body slam. Solo with back elbows to the head, but Gunther came back with a back elbow. Gunther applied a chinlock leading to an “Uso” chant for Solo. Gunther broke free with a boot to the face, Solo tried a lift, Gunther was too much and Gunther hit a clothesline. Gunther applied a Boston Crab submission leading to Solo crawling his way toward the bottom rope to break the hold. Gunther with a hard chop, then a punch, Solo with punches and Gunther did a chop to the chest. Solo ran the ropes leading to a forearm smash, Gunther did a leapfrog and Solo hit a spinning heel kick. Solo countered a Gunther move and hit a Samoan Drop leading to Gunther rolling out of the ring. Gunther was on the floor, so Solo jumped off the apron with a splash on the floor. Back in the ring, Solo hit a superkick for two. Barrett said “Walter” because old habits die hard, Solo went up top and missed an Uso Splash when Gunther moved. Gunther applied a tight sleeper, Solo did a jawbreaker to break and Gunther chopped him in the upper back. Gunther had a sleeper hold on again. Gunther hit two straight Powerbombs and covered Solo for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Gunther

Analysis: *** A big win by Gunther although Solo did some get momentum toward the end of the match. I didn’t think it needed to go more than ten minutes because they want to make Gunther look strong, which is a smart move. That chop to the back by Gunther was great leading to the sleeper hold and then two Powerbombs for the win. I don’t see Gunther losing a singles match in NXT any time soon. I think we’ll see him and Bron Breakker headline a major NXT show within a few months.

Dolph Ziggler was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell saying he wants his NXT Title shot next week. Tommaso Ciampa said that Ziggler wasn’t the number one contender anymore since Ciampa pinned him earlier in the show. Ziggler claimed that he calls the shots because he’s a star. Bron Breakker walked into the scene with the NXT Title. Ziggler said that he’s the roadblock between Bron and Stand & Deliver. Ciampa reminded us that he already beat Bron. Breakker said he’ll kick both their asses. Ziggler wished him good luck with all of that. Ciampa just stared at Breakker.

Analysis: They made it official after the break. A big triple threat title match for next week. Sounds good to me.

Joe Gacy was with Harland with Gacy telling Harland that everybody is fighting their own personal battle.

(Commercial)

The team of Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell were in the locker room complaining about the loss. Persia blamed herself while Indi said they win as a team and lose as a team. Duke Hudson showed up, he hugged Persia and they left. Indi wanted Dexter Lumis to text her back because she misses him.

Harland (w/Joe Gacy) vs. Draco Anthony

Harland with a knee to the ribs. Anthony bailed to the floor, then he wrenched the left arm of Harland against the top rope. Harland sent Anthony into the turnbuckle leading to corner splash. Harland with a running splash on the back. Anthony with punches and a shoulder tackle. Harland slammed Anthony’s head into the mat repeatedly. Harland hit a belly to back suplex almost like a spinebuster for the pinfall win after just more than two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Harland

Analysis: 1/2* A squash win to put over Harland. I think he’s improving with some of his power moves looking better this week compared to what I’ve seen in the past. Anthony has a good look and he’s a talented athlete. He’s a guy to watch in the future, but right now this was about putting over Harland.

After the match, Harland picked up Anthony while Gacy had a creepy smile on his face. Harland hugged him. Anthony was shocked by that. Harland stared into the camera to end it.

Carmelo Hayes, the NXT North American Champion, and Trick Williams were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Hayes said that Pete Dunne has been champion, but he’s never been the A Champion. Hayes said that he looks down on all these dudes. Hayes said it’s not about who’s next, but who is left for Melo? He’s in action in the main event.

Raquel Gonzalez and her excitable young friend Cora Jade were up next for Women’s Dusty Cup action.

(Commercial)

They showed Ivy Nile training in the Diamond Mine gym. Her tag team partner from last week, Tatum Paxley, apologized for losing and Nile said if you want to be part of Diamond Mine, you have to learn the hard way.

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Classic Quarterfinals: Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade vs. Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon

Feroz and Leon did a double-team move on Gonzalez by hitting a dropkick to the arm. Feroz tried a sunset flip, but Gonzalez blocked it. Jade with a forearm on followed by a headscissors and a running knee in the corner. Jade with a running knee against the ropes. Feroz sent Jade out of the ring. Leon tagged in and launched Feroz over the top onto Gonzalez on the floor. Leon hit a suicide dive with a somersault on Gonzalez. That was cool. Leon hit a powerslam on Jade for a two count. Feroz went for a sunset flip type move, but it was botched a bit and she still went for pin. Leon went up top with a missile dropkick on Jade for two. Gonzalez got the tag against Feroz with a clothesline. Gonzalez hit the Chingona Bomb on Feroz. Jade tagged in and Gonzalez slammed her onto Feroz for the pinfall win after about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade

Analysis: ** A decent match here with Gonzalez dominating with her power moves since she’s a former NXT Women’s Champion and the biggest star in the match. I was impressed by some of the aerial moves of Feroz/Leon in the match. That’s how you take advantage of some TV time that you don’t always get. Raquel slamming Cora onto the opponent is a dominant way to end it.

The semifinals for the Women’s Dusty Cup looks like this:

* Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray vs. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter

* Dakota Kai & Wendy Choo vs. Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade

Analysis: I think it would be cool if Kacy and Kayden since they are an actual team. However, the finals could certainly be Shirai/Ray vs. Raquel/Jade and then it’s a tossup at that point. I guess I’ll pick Shirai/KLR, but I’m not sure about it.

They showed Sarray talking to some other women in the backstage area when Tiffany Stratton showed up saying Sarray’s necklace was tacky. Stratton offered one of her necklaces, Sarray said no and Stratton slammed Sarray into the garage door. Ouch. Stratton left while the other women check one Sarray.

Andre Chase entered for a match with Bodhi Hayward by his side.

(Commercial)

A video aired featuring Tony D’Angelo saying he’s got his eyes on a big fish, a white whale. Tony said that Stand & Deliver will be his showcase on April 2nd and he’ll become a made man. Tony said his opponent will be sleeping with the fishes. That’s a mafia reference.

Von Wagner made his entrance with Robert Stone by his side. There was a very attractive woman standing in the crowd in the aisle, so the camera made sure to show her. She wasn’t there earlier. I assume she’ll be part of the show soon enough.

Von Wagner (w/Robert Stone) vs. Andre Chase (w/Bodhi Hayward)

Wagner tried a power move, Chase slipped out and hit a forearm. Wagner came back with a punch followed by repeated shoulder tackles. Wagner hit a powerslam on Chase, then some kicks and a corner clothesline. Wagner did a huge hiptoss to send Chase across the ring. Wagner with a backbreaker across the knee. Chase got a hold of Wagner’s leg and wrenched on the knee. Chase hit a clothesline followed by his stomps where he spells out “C-H-A-S-E” as the crowd chants along with it. Hayward got in Stone’s face, so Wagner punched Hayward after Chase moved. Chase sent Wagner into the ring post. Chase back in the ring, Wagner hit a clothesline and Wagner hit a powerful slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner

Analysis: *3/4 A decisive win for Wagner. I’m surprised it wasn’t over in two minutes. Chase is mostly a comedy guy, but he does look skilled in the ring with good bumps and I think his offense looks credible too. They obviously want to push Wagner as a serious, powerful heel with Stone as his manager.

A video aired about Nikkita Lyons while talking about how social media was making headlines. People really liked her outfit and doing the split legged leg drop across the chest.

Nikkita Lyons did a promo saying she heard what Lash Legend said earlier and Lash is obviously threatened by her. Lyons said Lash should be threatened by her. Lyons suggested bringing back the “Lashing Out” talk show so that they can talk about it.

It was main event time with the “A Champion” NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes joined by Pete Dunne.

(Commercial)

Next week is another NXT episode with a themed name since they are calling it NXT Roadblock:

* NXT Championship: Bron Breakker vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler.

* NXT Tag Team Championships: Imperium (c) vs. The Creed Brothers.

* Last Man Standing Match: LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller.

Analysis: Good matches. I think Breakker is going to win, I’ll go with The Creed Brothers becoming NXT Tag Team Champions and I think Knight should win too, but it wouldn’t shock me if Waller cheated to win.

Pete Dunne made his entrance as the challenger for the main event with the fans cheering the Bruiserweight.

NXT North American Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Pete Dunne

Hayes and Dunne exchanged some holds early on, Hayes ducked a move and hit a clothesline. Dunne came back with his own clothesline followed by a kick to the back. Dunne kicked the left arm of Hayes. Dunne ran the ropes, Hayes hit him with a clothesline, Dunne with a clothesline and they kept hitting eachother with clotheslines that led to a slugfest. They both stumbled to the mat. Dunne hit a suplex into a slam.

(Commercial)

Dunne had a hold of Melo’s left hand as they exchanged forearms. Hayes countered a suplex leading to a single leg crab submission, but Dunne got out of that. Hayes sent Dunne against the ropes leading to a kick to the back. Dunne with a jumping kick on Hayes, Dunne went to the apron where he was distracted by Williams and Hayes jumped over the top with a DDT on the apron. That was a great spot. Hayes hit a back elbow on Dunne leading to a chinlock. Hayes with a few forearms, Dunne came back with a harder forearm and a knee drop on the left arm. Hayes went for a springboard attack, but Dunne hit him with an elbow to the jaw for two. Barrett said it was like his Bullhammer elbow and I agree. Dunne with a kick to the back while Hayes was seated and then Hayes countered a suplex into a lung blower (double knees) for a two count. The fans chanted “fight forever” for them. Dunne went for an ankle lock, then he let go and kicked the left arm again. Hayes hit a scissors kick to the back of the head for two. Hayes went for a move, Dunne countered it and Dunne hit the Bitter End slam. Dunne was a bit slow to cover, so Hayes rolled away to avoid being pinned. Dunne went for a triangle choke, Hayes got to the ropes and Hayes sent Dunne throat first into the bottom rope. Hayes applied a Crossface submission, Dunne broke the hold by snapping the fingers and they exchanged moves with Hayes hitting a suplex that was like laying him out with a cutter. Hayes to the turnbuckle, Williams to the apron, Dunne snapped the fingers and Hayes shoved Dunne off the top. Hayes went up top and hit the leg drop off the top to the back of the head for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. They need a name for that finish for Hayes.

Winner by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match with the champion Hayes finding a way to get the win against a tough opponent like Dunne. Lots of reversals in this match. This was more of a hard-hitting match than what Hayes is used to, but it showed can hold his own in that kind of style. The slight distraction from Williams causing Dunne to snap the fingers is what allowed Hayes to shove Dunne off the top. That lead to leg drop to the back of the head for the pinfall win. That’s such an impressive finishing move because of the height that Hayes gets on the leg drop.

After the match, Trick Williams said Hayes is still the NXT North American Champion. Hayes said that at NXT Stand & Deliver on April 2, there’s going to be an NXT North American Championship Ladder Match. That was the end of the match.

Analysis: They didn’t announce who would be in the Ladder Match. There’s a month until that show, so there’s plenty of time to set that up. I think making it a multi-man match would be a smart move.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Carmelo Hayes
  2. Bron Breakker/Tommaso Ciampa
  3. Gunther

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 6.75 out of 10

Last week: 6

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a good episode this week. The opening tag (Breakker/Ciampa beating Ziggler/Roode) and the main event (Hayes over Dunne) were great matches while Gunther/Sikoa in the middle was pretty good. If you’re not watching NXT regularly then you’re missing guys like Carmelo Hayes and seeing how talented he is. That guy is a future main event star. I’m still in awe over that Breakker spear on Ziggler as well. The rest of the show was a bit of a mixed bag. The Women’s Dusty Cup matches were just decent. A lot of short matches other than that.

I think they set up next week (NXT Roadblock) well with two major title matches and the Last Man Standing grudge match between Knight/Waller as well. I’m looking forward to that.

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John Canton

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