Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 04/12/22 Review

wwe nxt april 12

This week’s WWE NXT featured three title matches with the North American, Women’s, and vacant Tag Team Titles on the line.

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.

A video package was shown of Bron Breakker beating Gunther to keep the NXT Title. Gunther was moved to Smackdown last Friday, so it was Gunther’s farewell match. After the match, it was revealed that Joe Gacy and Harland captured Bron’s dad Rick Steiner and tied him up to a chair.

They went right to the ring with the North American Title match with ring announcer Alicia Taylor doing the introductions. It’s Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett on commentary as usual.

NXT North American Championship: Cameron Grimes vs. Solo Sikoa

Grimes and Solo each went for rollup pin attempts for two counts. Grimes with an armdrag to take control, Solo broke free and Grimes applied another armdrag. Solo got some offense going with two shoulder tackles along with a senton splash to the back. Grimes tripped up Solo going for the Cave In, but Solo avoided it. They shook hands, Grimes said he respects him, but Solo’s bloodline can “kiss my grits.” Solo no sold some whips into the turnbuckle (Samoans no sell headshots a lot) and Solo delivered a clothesline to send Grimes over the top to the floor. Grimes came back with a kick to the head, another kick to knock Solo out of the ring and Grimes hit a somersault dive off the apron onto Solo on the floor.

(Commercial)

They exchanged strikes from a standing position, Solo with a headbutt to the chest and a running backsplash. Solo went for a running hip attack, Grimes moved out of the way and Grimes hit a hurricanrana. Grimes with two forearms followed by a bridging German Suplex for two. Grimes ran at Solo, who was ready for him and Solo did a hiptoss into the turnbuckle. Solo hit the running hip attack (a tribute to uncle Umaga) on Grimes in the corner for a two count. They got into a slugfest again, Solo hit a superkick, Grimes got a kick to the face. Grimes up top, he jumped off with nothing when Solo moved and Grimes hit a running cross body block on Solo for a two count. That’s always a good two count spot by Grimes. When Grimes charged for the Cave In, Solo was ready and hit a Samoan Drop for two. Good nearfall. Solo to the turnbuckle, he knocked Grimes down and Trick Williams showed up, so Solo knocked him down. Solo jumped off the apron with a splash on Williams. When Solo got back into the ring, Grimes capitalized with the Cave In to the chest of Solo for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: *** A good match that was very competitive the whole way. The last five minutes really elevated the match with some believable nearfalls and other spots that led to the crowd really getting into it. I was disappointed to see Trick Williams show up so that Solo had to take care of him and then Grimes capitalized to get the win. A cleaner win would have been nice, but I guess it will set up Solo for a feud with Williams and Carmelo Hayes in the future. Grimes winning his first title defense was the obvious result.

Post match, Carmelo Hayes went into the ring to attack Grimes with punches. Solo decked Hayes with a punch, but Williams was there to knock down Solo. Williams sent Solo into the ring post. Hayes and Williams took turns attacking Grimes. Melo hit a springboard clothesline/cross body block on Grimes. The fans booed.

Analysis: It was a way for Hayes to get some heat as the former champion attacking the current champion and a contender like Solo. They’ll probably have Hayes beat Solo in singles first and then do Hayes against Grimes for the title.

Later on the show is a five-team Gauntlet Match for the vacant NXT Tag Team Titles.

Grayson Waller and Sanga did a promo about being in the Gauntlet Match with Grayson saying they should just be handed the titles. Grayson said that they are going to be the new NXT Tag Team Champions.

The NXT Champion Bron Breakker was shown carrying the title backstage because he’s up next.

(Commercial)

The Creed Brothers with Malcolm Bivens did a promo about the Gauntlet Match. Bivens talked about getting revenge against Pretty Deadly. The Creeds said they don’t break, they break people and they’re the best team.

They showed a clip of the Creed Brothers getting their number in the Gauntlet Match. Julius showed Brutus and Malcolm the number with Julius saying they “wouldn’t want it any other way.” They left.

Let’s Hear from Bron Breakker

Bron Breakker walked out to the ring as the NXT Champion. Bron said that Joe Gacy wanted to send Bron a message and get his attention, so Joe has it. Bron said that his dad is home now, safe and sound. Bron said nobody messes with his family, Bron talked about his father Rick Steiner giving 20 years to the business, a WWE Hall of Famer and a legend in this business. Bron wanted Joe to come out there to see how tough he is when he’s standing in front of Bron.

Joe Gacy appeared on the screen. He was outside somewhere near a fire with Joe saying that Bron’s father took his beating like a man. Joe had Rick’s Hall of Fame ring saying Rick worked hard to put food on Bron’s family’s table. Joe tossed the Hall of Fame ring into the fire and did some maniacal laughter. Bron was frustrated. That was it.

Analysis: It furthers the story between Bron and Gacy. Burning a ring is a mean thing to do, so it gets heat. I don’t see there being a title change whenever they wrestle, but Gacy’s the kind of guy that is known for being more of an over the top heel character rather than somebody known for having great matches. It’s not like Gacy is that bad in the ring. They just don’t feature him in big matches that often.

A replay was shown of last week when Toxic Attraction won back the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles from Raquel Gonzalez (now Rodriguez) and Dakota Kai.

The Toxic Attraction trio of NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose and NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Mandy said that she’s going to beat Dakota Kai while reminding us they are the measuring stick that no one can reach. Mandy said they are the brains, the beauty, the gold and the beast. Sure.

Kushida and Ikemen Jiro aka Jacket Time were shown backstage where they were attacked by Von Wagner. Von picked up Kushida and Powerbombed him over some container and Kushida landed on something we couldn’t see. Jiro was down as well. Robert Stone said “looks like there’s no match tonight.” Accurate statement.

(Commercial)

Bron Breakker was shown leaving the building saying he had nothing more to say and he drove away.

Von Wagner was in the ring with manager Robert Stone, who said that it looks like Jacket Time has run out of time. Stone said that you will never see Jacket Time again because this is Von Wagner’s world and you’re just living in it. Ikemen Jericho made his entrance and hit a shoulder tackle on Wagner followed by a kick to the head. Wagner was on the floor. Jiro said he’s going to kick his ass right now, so the match was made.

Analysis: They had Stone do a promo about how we’re never going to see Jacket Time again and then we saw Jiro about 20 seconds later. That was quick.

Von Wagner (w/Robert Stone) vs. Ikemen Jiro

Jiro with a jumping kick followed by punches, but then Wagner sent Jiro into the top turnbuckle. Wagner hit a running clothesline. Wagner with a fallaway slam on Jiro. Wagner applied a bearhug, Jiro fought out of it and Jiro connected with kicks to the legs. Jiro with some jacket punches along with a jumping knee strike. Jiro with a superkick. Jiro went up top and jumped off with a Senton Bomb for a two count. Wagner hit a running boot to the face followed by a slam off the shoulders for the pinfall win after three minutes. It almost looks like a slam into a suplex.

Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner

Analysis: *1/2 It was fine for a three-minute match. Jiro got more offense than I thought he would. It only took two moves for Wagner to put him away. They need a name for Wagner’s finisher.

Post match, Wagner looked at the lovely Sofia Cromwell in the crowd. Wagner picked up Jiro and tossed him over the top into the crowd.

Analysis: Good job by the fans catching Jiro there. I guess they had no choice.

Nikkita Lyons did a sitdown interview with Mckenzie Mitchell, who mentioned Nikkita’s rivalry with Lash Legend. Nikkita said she doesn’t have to prove anything to Lash because she has to prove herself to the NXT Universe while adding that she can make waves in the division. Lash Legend showed up to kick Lyons and knock her out of the chair. That was it.

Analysis: I have said before that I think NXT is going to push Lyons to the NXT Women’s Title within a few months. I think it’s only a matter of time. They see a lot in her and the fans respond to her well. I was hoping the feud with Legend was done, but I guess not.

Dakota Kai entered for the Women’s Title match.

(Commercial)

They showed Ikemen Jiro getting help after he was attacked.

A video aired about the Pretty Deadly team that debuted in NXT after they dominated in NXT UK for over a year. Their names are Elton Prince and Kit Wilson. They noted that nobody has ever won the Tag Team Titles in their first match, but they are going to make history.

They showed a clip from Pretty Deadly earlier in the day finding out their spot in the Gauntlet Match. They said “yes boy” repeatedly because that’s their catchphrase.

The Toxic Attraction trio of NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose and NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne made their entrance. Mandy was in the same gear that she wore at Stand & Deliver, which is pretty cool. I don’t think she could wear a bad outfit.

NXT Women’s Championship: Mandy Rose (w/Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne) vs. Dakota Kai

Rose was in control with forearms to the back followed by a body slam. Kai avoided a move by Rose leading to a crucifix pin attempt for two. Kai got a rollup for two. Kai hit two arm drags followed by a dropkick. Kai kicked Rose out of the ring, Kai went up top and Kai hit a cross body block on all three Toxic ladies on the floor.

(Commercial)

Rose delivered a knee lift to the ribs, Kai went for a headscissors and Rose hit a move that was like a reverse Powerbomb with Kai landing on her stomach instead of back. Rose grabbed a headlock, Kai broke free with a kick and a double stomp to the body. Kai hit a running boot in the corner followed by a side neckbreaker for two. Mandy slipped out of a move, Mandy with a chop block to the back of the leg and Mandy hit a spinebuster for two. Kai got an inside cradle for two. Kai did a flipping backstabber that didn’t look great. They didn’t do the move properly. Dolin distracted the referee, Jayne on the apron, Kai knocked Jayne off the apron, Kai grabbed the title and Rose hit a running pump knee for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mandy Rose

Analysis: **3/4 It was okay. I think it was lacking exciting moments other than Dakota’s top rope cross body block. They did have a bunch of nearfalls, but a lot of them looked like it was going through the motions instead of believable finishing spots. It was also the kind of predictable finish that you might expect with Rose getting an assist from her friends at ringside and Rose capitalized after Kai was focused on knocking Jayne off the apron.

Toxic Attraction was celebrating in the ring, so Wendy Choo showed up at ringside with Super Soaker water guns in her hands and she sprayed the Toxic ladies with water. Choo celebrated while the fans liked that.

Analysis: Fun spot to get the fans behind Wendy Choo even more. Is Wendy Choo, the woman who loves to nap, the next Women’s Champion? She might be. Cora Jade is probably a better pick. I think it’s reached a point now where Mandy could lose the title at any time and most people would be fine with that. I like Mandy in a featured role on this show obviously, but I understand if fans want others to hold the title. When a title reign passes the six-month mark, that tends to happen.

Joe Gacy said that the truth is what believe, not what they know. Gacy said that people don’t know what they want until you give them exactly what they need. Gacy said that he’s the only one that can guide NXT. Gacy said he made Bron angry in one moment and helpless in the next. Gacy claimed when he’s done, he will tear down everything in Bron’s life except he may hang on to one thing…he put the burned Hall of Fame ring on his pinky.

Cora Jade was shown walking backstage for a segment up next.

(Commercial)

Santos Escobar was shown backstage with his Legado del Fantasma group with Tony D’Angelo walking up to him. Tony said that maybe they had a little misunderstanding last week. Tony offered an envelope of cash. Santos said that the respect of La Familia is worth more than that.

Let’s Hear from Cora Jade

Cora Jade made her entrance that saw her run around with a lot of energy since she’s an excitable 21-year-old. Jade did a promo saying that WrestleMania week was the most important weekend of her entire life. Cora said that the best part about it was that her parents got to sit in the second row – she’s working on the front row. Cora said that she held her own against three talented women, but she did come up short. Cora talked about how life doesn’t always work out how you want. Cora said after coming so close at Dallas, she needs to become NXT Women’s Champion. Cora talked about how the goal remains the same because when she was eight years old she wrote in her notebook that she would become a champion in WWE and she meant that. Cora spoke about how she was going to get that reality. Cora talked about women she idolized growing up like AJ Lee, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Bayley, Paige and the list goes on. Cora said that one day her name will be with them and she’ll hold that championship up…but here’s an interruption! It’s Natalya from Smackdown.

Natalya got a big reaction from the crowd because any time a veteran wrestlers from Raw or Smackdown shows up in NXT, they get treated like a big deal. The fans were excited to see Natalya there especially since it was not advertised. Natalya stood in the ring with Cora as the excitable fans chanted “holy shit” for Natalya, who said that she loved the fans. Natalya said that this building brings back so many memories as the fans chanted “welcome back” to her. Natalya said it was great to meet her, she said her name and Cora said that Natalya was her first favorite female wrestler. Cora said that Natalya was the first action figure Cora ever bought. Cora said she messaged Natalya on Twitter after a live event in Hammond, Indiana and Natalya pointed at her, so Cora said it was the craziest thing. Natalya said when Cora debuted on NXT 2.0 she remembered that and saw her message from 2011. Natalya talked about how it blows her away that it inspired Cora that way and she “pointed at the right girl that night.” Natalya said that destiny is always chasing. Natalya said that Cora had passion for this and Natalya loves that. Cora joked that she could pass out and die now. Natalya told Cora saying she has mentored, trained and competed against some of the greatest female superstars in WWE history. Natalya said she looks around backstage, she sees the landscape and she thinks that Cora is the future of the NXT Women’s division…but the future is bleak! Slap to the face by Natalya. Natalya grabbed the legs, flipped Cora over and applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cora was tapping out immediately while referees showed up to try to break it up. Natalya let go. Natalya stood tall while looking confident while Jade was selling a knee injury. I always thought the Sharpshooter was more painful for the lower back, but I guess it’s the knees too.

Analysis: It was a good segment. I’m happy for my friend Natalya to get that reaction considering all she has done in her career. I realize that she has been turned face/heel a lot to the point that some fans might not respect the journey since she’s not pushed to the top a lot, but I admire her consistency and durability in the company. Putting Natalya on NXT in a spot like this is smart just like it was smart to use Dolph Ziggler to work with Bron Breakker. It might be only two or three months and you know in the end Cora is going to get the big win, but I think it’s the right move to try to make Cora better by beating somebody with the credibility of Natalya. I don’t know they’ll put the title on Natalya the way they did with Ziggler. I think it’s more likely that they have Jade beat Natalya in a big match on Cora’s way to winning the title unless they go with somebody else.

The team of Briggs & Jensen were backstage fired up about the Gauntlet Match with their friend Fallon Henley. They were fired up.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Nathan Frazier coming to NXT after competing in NXT UK. Another fresh face on the NXT brand.

Draco Anthony vs. Xyon Quinn

They are both babyfaces with Quinn trying to advise Draco about avoiding Joe Gacy, but Draco didn’t want any more advice. Draco hit a dropkick. Quinn hit a shoulder tackle followed by a huge toss across the ring. Draco bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. Anthony came back with a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Draco mocked the chant that Quinn likes to do, so Quinn was pissed off with punches, a suplex across the ring and a running back elbow. Quinn with a spinning Samoan Drop slam. Quinn hit a running forearm to the face. Quinn with another forearm. Quinn picked up Anthony and hit another running forearm for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xyon Quinn

Analysis: *1/4 A dominated win by Quinn, who hasn’t done much in a few months. Quinn is more established among these two men, so it made sense for him to win. Draco didn’t get much offense in this match. I don’t know if Draco being recruited by Gacy is going to leading to Draco joining Gacy or what might happen.

They showed Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro walking backstage while other women on the roster were hanging around. Natalya was shown walking backstage when Tatum Paxley walked up to her saying she wants to try to prove herself against the Best of all Time (BOAT). Natalya says she’s got it. Natalya: “As for the rest of you, The BOAT is here and you’re all put on notice.” Natalya walked away. Barrett said it sounds like Natalya will be sticking around in NXT.

Analysis: I think Natalya will have a positive impact in NXT. She’ll help the younger talent and has no problem putting people over.

The NXT Tag Team Title match was up next as the main event. They did not mention why the titles were vacant. The Creed Brothers were up first.

Analysis: The reason the titles are vacant is because Nash Carter of MSK, who were the NXT Tag Team Champions, was fired last week. His wife (they are getting a divorce) Kimber Lee accused him of physical abuse and she posted a photo of him with a Hitler mustache while doing a hand salute. That upset WWE management a lot, so Carter was fired and the titles were vacated. MSK was not mentioned won this NXT broadcast. We don’t know what this means for Wes Lee of MSK either.

(Commercial)

They showed Indi Hartwell & Dexter Lumis hanging out with Duke Hudson & Persia Pirotta. The girls came up with the idea that the guys should team up. The guys were hesitant, but then they agreed for a chance to become champions. Dexter gave it the thumbs up the approval.

Next week on NXT:

* Sarray vs. Tiffany Stratton. That feud has been going on for a while.

* Natalya vs. Tatum Paxley.

NXT Tag Team Championships Gauntlet Match

Match #1: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Legado del Fantasma (Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde)

Cruz Del Toro is the new name of Raul Mendoza. I don’t know why, but it’s the name on his WWE.com profile page. I’ll refer to him as Cruz now.

Cruz kicked Julius off the apron to the floor and knocked Brutus out of the ring. Wilde tagged in with an attack off the top rope onto the Creed boys on the floor. Julius tagged in, he was distracted by Cruz and Wilde hit a running splash. Legado boys made quick tags leading to corner attacks, Cruz hit a brainbuster on Julius and Wilde tagged in for a somersault div onto Julius, who was standing. Wilde with kicks, Julius trapped the foot and applied an Ankle Lock. Brutus stopped an interfering Cruz leading to another Ankle Lock. Legado broke free. Brutus used his power to take over as he hit a lifting Powerbomb on Wilde for a two count. Wilde with a jawbreaker on Julius, who tagged in. Cruz with a drop toe hold sending Julius into the turnbuckle. Cruz hit a missile dropkick and Wilde tagged in with a 450 Splash off the top rope. Cruz dropkicked Brutus out of the ring. Julius hit an Angle Slam on Wilde. Julius lifted up Wilde, Brutus hit an Alabama Slam and Julius clotheslined Wilde for the pinfall.

Legado del Fantasma have been eliminated

Match #2: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs

It started out as a slugfest as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Brutus charged at Briggs, who dumped Brutus out of the ring. Briggs hit Julius with a clothesline. Jensen and Briggs grabbed Brutus by the commentary table and they gave Brutus a double Powerbomb through the table. Julius was the legal guy that was in the ring with Briggs leading to Julius hitting a dropkick. Jensen tagged in for a double team shoulder tackle. Jensen and Briggs punched both Creed Brothers to knock them down. Briggs tagged in leading to an atomic drop/boot to the face combo. Jensen hit an assisted Powerbomb on Julius for a two count. Jensen jumped off the ropes with a knee strike while Briggs hit a powerslam. Brutus broke up the pin attempt by tackling Jensen onto the pin attempt. Briggs with a running boot on Brutus. Julius was sent into the ropes, Brutus tagged himself in and Julius pulled Briggs out of the ring. Brutus avoided a chop block to the knee and Brutus hit a clothesline on Jensen. Brutus pinned Jensen to get the win.

Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs have been eliminated

Grayson Waller and Sanga were next with Waller using a sling on his right arm.

Match #2: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Grayson Waller & Sanga

Sanga with a running boot to the face of Julius for a two count. Sanga with two uppercuts, then he wanted a Chokeslam and Julius got out of it. Sanga shoved Julius out of the ring to the floor. Waller took off the sling and punched Brutus. Waller clotheslined Julius while on the floor. The fans were booing Waller as usual.

(Commercial)

Waller was in control of Brutus with a side headlock leading to Brutus hitting a belly to back suplex. Julius got tagged in, Sanga avoided a dropkick on the apron, but then Julius hit a chop block on Waller. Brutus back in with a forearm to Waller. Sanga tagged in, but he was met by a lifting suplex by Brutus. That was an impressive spot. Julius tagged in with a powerslam on Sanga and a clothesline on a seated Sanga for the pinfall win.

Grayson Waller & Sanga have been eliminated.

The final team in the gauntlet match was next: Pretty Deadly. It’s their first match in NXT. Barrett: “The British are coming.” True.

Match #4: The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)

Prince and Wilson went after the Creed Brothers. The referee made sure Julius was ready to go, so he started the match. Pretty Deadly made some quick tags as Prince (the light-haired guy) hit an elbow drop for two. Wilson tried a suplex, but then Julius knocked him down. Wilson tagged in with an elbow drop for two followed by a running knee to the ribs. Creed tried to fight back against both guys, but PD hit a double team suplex for a two count. Prince had Julius trapped in an armbar, Julius broke free and Prince knocked him down again. Wilson hit an uppercut followed by a running back elbow. Prince exchanged uppercuts with Julius, who came back with a belly to belly suplex. Brutus looked exhausted as Prince tagged in and hit a corner splash. Prince tossed Brutus off the shoulders into the double knees by Wilson for a two count. Brutus got an inside cradle on Wilson for two. Prince with a running knee to knock Brutus down. Prince launched Wilson in the air leading to a double knee attack for a two count on Brutus. Good nearfall. Wilson tagged in with a running elbow, Julius clotheslined Prince back into the ring and Brutus/Wilson did a double headbutt at the same time. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for the guys. Brutus was going for a clothesline, but Prince hit Brutus with a knee even though Prince was not the legal man. The referee never saw it. Prince tagged in, Wilson held Brutus and Prince hit a neckbreaker while Wilson hit a spinebuster – it’s called Spilt Milk, so it’s like a Hart Attack with a neckbreaker instead of a clothesline. Wilson covered Brutus for the win. The whole Gauntlet Match took about 28 minutes.

The Creed Brothers have been eliminated.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)

Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a great Gauntlet Match that was given a lot of time and told the story of the Creed Brothers lasting nearly 30 minutes before they were finally put away. Pretty Deadly was on offense for about 90% of that fall since the Creed Brothers were selling fatigue a lot. Julius and Brutus had an impressive showing in the match as they kept on fighting back while the fans were behind them, but they just couldn’t get the job done. This put over Pretty Deadly in a big way since they won the titles in their first match in NXT.

Pretty Deadly celebrated with the NXT Tag Team Titles. They showed replays of the match. Pretty Deadly celebrated some more. That was it.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Creed Brothers
  2. Cameron Grimes
  3. Pretty Deadly

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7 out of 10

Last week: 5.75

 

Final Thoughts

I think it was a good show overall. This was a lot better than last week thanks to three title matches on the show, so there was a lot of up for grabs. There was also more in-ring action due to the Gauntlet Match for the Tag Team Titles taking up most of the second hour. The Creed Brothers were the stars of the match, but the new NXT tag team Pretty Deadly are the new champions. I liked how it was booked with the Creed Brothers putting up a fight and Pretty Deadly winning due to where they were in the Gauntlet Match order.

It’s cool to see Natalya in NXT for now. It will be a role similar to what Dolph Ziggler did for a couple of months. Using established names to work with younger talent like Cora Jade is good for Jade’s career.

I don’t love the Bron Breakker feud with Joe Gacy at this point, but it’s still early. Good title defenses for Cameron Grimes and Mandy Rose while both champions had to deal with future challengers after their wins. It was mostly an enjoyable show this week.

===

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John Canton

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