This week’s WWE NXT featured Santos Escobar vs. Tony D’Angelo in the main event, The Creed Brothers faced The Viking Raiders for the second time and the Women’s Breakout Tournament continued.
The opening video package highlighted last week’s show with the start of the NXT Women’s Breakout tournament from last week with Fallon Henley and Nikkita Lyons picking up wins. Also, Natalya beat Cora Jade in the main event with the Sharpshooter, but the key thing was that Cora didn’t tap out. Cora earned a lot of respect as they shared a hug after the match. That was Natalya’s NXT farewell for now.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams did a quick promo before their match talking about how Hayes was going to win back the NXT North American Champion. Solo Sikoa and NXT North American Champion Cameron Grimes were the opponents. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual.
Solo Sikoa & Cameron Grimes vs. Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams
Grimes kicked Hayes out of the ring, Grimes kicked Williams and Solo hit a running senton on Williams. Solo kicked Williams in the chest to keep him down, Grimes tagged in and they did more kicks. Grimes ran the ropes with a running kick for two. Hayes tagged in, Williams with a clothesline and Hayes did a springboard cross body block. Solo was back in with a running clothesline on Williams. Solo hit the running hip attack in the corner. The fans were chanting “Solo” a lot as Hayes got in a cheap kick to the head of Solo and Williams hit a neckbreaker. They went to a picture in picture break.
The heels remained in control as Hayes tripped up Solo and jumped over the ropes with an elbow drop to the back. Williams tagged in, Solo avoided a splash attempt and Grimes got the tag with forearms for both guys. Grimes with a double hurricanrana on both guys. Grimes with a kick to the chest of Williams, a shoulder tackle to Hayes and Grimes jumped off the top with a cross body block. Solo tagged himself in, Grimes didn’t like it and Grimes kicked Williams out of the ring. Hayes hit a springboard forearm on Grimes. Solo hit a huge uranage slam on Hayes. Solo went up top, Grimes hit the Cave In to the chest to Williams and Solo hit an Uso Splash off the top on Hayes. It went about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Solo Sikoa & Cameron Grimes
Analysis: *** A good match with the faces getting the win while the fans were loudly backing Solo for this match. I figured Williams would be the guy that was pinned for his team rather than Hayes, but having Solo pin Hayes makes Solo look stronger since Hayes is pushed a lot as a top heel. Solo wants a shot at the NXT North American Title held by Grimes, so this kind of win will help Solo’s chances of getting a title shot.
Post match, Solo held the title first and handed it to Grimes. Solo told Grimes: “I got next.” Grimes held up the title.
The Pretty Deadly team of Elton Prince and Kit Wilson were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. They bragged about how they are one of a kind. Kit said let’s see what The Creed Brothers are like tonight after The Viking Raiders destroy them.
Lash Legend entered for singles action.
A video aired about an NXT newcomer Thea Hail, who is 18 years old from Pittsburgh and she talked about how tough the tryout was. They showed Thea at the tryout and she said she can’t wait to start training at the WWE Performance Center. She said that she graduates high school this week and will attend college while training with WWE.
Analysis: They have a lot of young talent in NXT and that’s about as young as it gets. Good luck to her.
NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament Quarterfinals: Lash Legend vs. Tatum Paxley
Lash is the taller of the two women, but Paxley has a good power game. Lash knocked down Paxley with a clothesline and Paxley came back with a leg scissors takedown. Paxley with a dropkick for a two count. Lash sent Paxley into the middle turnbuckle followed by Lash ramming Paxley’s leg against the ring post. Legend pulled on Paxley’s leg against the ropes. Lash applied the Stretch Muffler submission working on the knee, but Paxley got out of it leading to a two count. Paxley tried to lift Lash, who got out of it and Paxley managed to hit a suplex. Paxley hit a twisting splash for a two count. Paxley tried a lift again, Lash was too big for it and Lash hit a pump kick to the face for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lash Legend
Analysis: *1/2 It was a basic match with Lash using her size advantage to avoid Paxley’s attempts at a power move and Lash finished her off easily. Paxley kept going for a lifting move, Lash avoided it and it was an easy win for Lash.
Tony D’Angelo was backstage with the two guys from his crew. Tony talked about beating Santos Escobar later in the show. Tony said he’s going to face Santos alone and beat him.
The announcers talked about the NXT roster going on tour this summer. It’s been a few years since they have been on tour. It looks the tour is only in the state of Florida at small buildings. Good for the wrestlers getting experience working on the road.
Duke Hudson was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Duke said that he had to dig himself out of the hole he was in. Duke said that nobody can measure up to him, then Bron Breakker walked into the screen, Duke wasn’t happy about being interrupted and Bron called for somebody to hit his music.
Let’s Hear from Bron Breakker
The NXT Champion Bron Breakker made his entrance. Bron said that the last time you saw him, Joe Gacy dumped him in a field and Joe wants Bron to work for him. Bron told Joe “you can kiss my ass.” Bron told Joe he should have finished the job out in that field. Bron said he’s coming to put Joe unconscious.
Joe Gacy’s music hit as the man in black was on the platform in the arena along with two guys wearing red robes. Bron wanted Gacy to bring his ass to the ring, but Gacy said that is predictable. Gacy said that Bron has a long history of losing his temper. Gacy told Bron that their journey together is not yet over while telling Bron that he has rejected an opportunity to join Joe. Gacy said that he’s going to give these people what they want – a one-on-one match. Bron said it’s done. Gacy said it’s time to up the stakes while reminding Bron what he’s done to him. Gacy said that Bron should inflict pain on Joe like he’s never done before. Gacy told Bron that if he loses control then he loses his prized possession. Gacy informed Bron that at NXT In Your House. if Bron gets disqualified then he’ll lose the NXT Championship. Gacy wondered how bad does Bron want it? Bron: “You’re on.” Bron’s music played to end it.
Analysis: Breakker beat Gacy clean the last time they wrestled, so they really should have moved on, but I guess NXT decision-makers want to keep pushing Gacy. The stipulation that Bron would lose the title if he’s disqualified puts a wrinkle into the match to give Gacy a chance to win since a regular singles match would obviously be a Bron win. Now there’s a possibility that Bron can lose the title if he snaps and gets disqualified, so that makes it a bit more intriguing.
Indi Hartwell did a promo saying she was tired of feeling down and feeling sorry for herself. Indi said for the first time in her career she’s flying solo with no tag team partner and no life partner, so it’s sink or swim on what she does. Indi called out Mandy Rose for wanting to kick Indi when she’s down. Indi said if Mandy is the measuring stick in the division, so let’s see what happens when Indi takes that stick and shoves it up her ass. Indi left.
Analysis: I like Indi and I’m happy to see her getting a singles push that will probably lead to a title match with Mandy Rose. I also think NXT needs to do a better job of having people “earn” title shots because I don’t remember Indi’s last significant singles win. You need to build up challengers in ways that are better than a simple promo based on a quick interaction last week. Anyway, I think Indi can certainly be the next Women’s Champion in NXT.
The Viking Raiders entered for tag team action.
Wes Lee was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell, who noted his match was (against Xyon Quinn) was postponed because Lee said that Quinn is not medically cleared again. Lee said when Quinn is medically cleared, he knows where to find Wes. Nathan Frazer walked up to Wes saying he knows Wes wants to be in that ring and so does Frazer. Lee said that this might not be the right time since Lee has a lot of pent-up aggression and he doesn’t want to take it out on him. Frazer said he looks forward to the challenge.
The Creed Brothers duo of Julius & Brutus Creed made their entrance with Diamond Mine leader Roderick Strong and Damon Kemp. The Creeds get an NXT Tag Team Title shot against Pretty Deadly at In Your House in over two weeks. A clip aired of Strong doing a cheap shot knee on Erik to give The Creeds the win, but The Creed Brothers didn’t like the cheap shot.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed)
Julius showed off his athleticism right away with a leapfrog over Ivar, then a forearm for Erik and Ivar. Brutus tagged in with a clothesline that sent Ivar out of the ring. Erik tagged in against Julius with a forearm to knock Julius down. Ivar with a body slam. Erik back in with an armbar on Julius, who was sent into the corner and Ivar punched Julius. Erik with a corner clothesline followed by Ivar getting a clothesline of his own. Brutus tagged in with punches and forearms. Brutus hit a German Suplex on Erik to send him across the ring. Brutus lifted up Ivar to the top turnbuckle leading to Julius hitting an impressive dropkick. Brutus tagged in, held his legs and did a Cannonball leap called a Brutusball that knocked down both guys. They went to a commercial.
The Creed Brothers were in control with some quick tags as they worked over Erik in their corner. Erik managed to fight back to send both brothers out of the ring. Ivar got the tag with a shoulder tackle on Julius along with two clotheslines. Ivar worked over Julius with repeated elbow strikes. Ivar hit a running corner splash on Julius for a two count. Julius sent Ivar out of the ring, Brutus tagged in against Erik and Brutus lifted Erik so that Julius could deliver a knee while Brutus hit a spinebuster on Erik for two. Erik tossed Brutus out of the ring, he avoided legal man Julius and Ivar did a double stomp to the chest on Julius. Ivar got a hold of Julius while on the middle rope leading to diving body slam with Erik getting the two count when Brutus broke up the pin. Erik hit a German Suplex on Brutus. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” as Julius hit a German Suplex on Erik. Ivar went up top, Julius jumped to the top and Ivar shoved him down. Ivar jumped off the top with a splash, Julius rolled away and got a rollup for two as Erik made the save with a knee to the face. Great nearfall. All four guys were down as the fans chanted “NXT” for them. Both teams slowly got back up, they got a second wind and it turned into a brawl. Erik rocked Brutus with a knee (with a loud leg slap) to send Brutus out of the ring. Kemp on the apron to distract the referee, Strong tried to do a move on Ivar, but Julius caught Strong and sent him out of the ring. Julius said they didn’t need Strong’s help. Ivar hit a spin kick on Julius. Erik got the tag for a double Chokeslam for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders
Analysis: ***1/2 Great tag team match as The Creeds continue to improve while Viking Raiders are always putting on quality matches when they get time. The key moment came at the finish when Strong tried to cheat to help the Creed Brothers win, but Julius stopped that and then it took two moves to put Julius away. Based on the story, I get why The Creed Brothers lost, but I’d rather see them get wins since they challenge for the NXT Tag Team Titles in over two weeks. Anyway, these teams work really well together and the fans were into the match.
After the match, Roderick Strong was not happy with Julius, who didn’t want help.
Santos Escobar was with Legado del Fantasma for a promo. Escobar said he’s always been one step ahead of Tony D’Angelo. Santos said it will be one on one. The other guys wanted to get their hands on Tony, but Santos told them it needs to be a singles match and told his guys they know what they need to do.
Grayson Waller was in the locker room with Tiffany Stratton, who was doing her annoying voice routine complaining about things. Tiffany told Waller to take care of this Andre Chase situation and Waller told her that he’ll handle that next. Waller told her to make sure she’s watching.
Bron Breaker was in the parking lot saying that as long as he has the championship, Gacy isn’t going to do a damn thing. Duke Hudson interrupted him since Breakker interrupted Hudson earlier, so Bron challenged him to a match. Duke said that sounds good, so they should do it next week.
Analysis: It’s a match for next week to give Breakker a win.
Andre Chase (w/Bodhi Hayward) vs. Grayson Waller
Waller was aggressive early on, Chase managed to counter a move and hit a neckbreaker for two. Waller ran the ropes, Chase tried a leapfrog, Waller held onto the ropes and kicked Chase down. Sarray was in the Chase U section for this match. Waller hit a suplex for two as fans chanted “Waller sucks” against Grayson. Chase hit a sunset flip for a two count. Waller with a jumping side kick for a two count. Chase did a catapult that sent Waller into the turnbuckle. Chase with an atomic drop followed by a Russian legsweep. Chase did the stomp while the crowd chanted “CHASE U” for every stomp. Waller with a punch, then a charge and Chase dumped Waller over the top onto Hayward on the floor. Hayward said he was fine as Chase checked on him, but that allowed Waller to leap into the ring with a Stunner for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Grayson Waller
Analysis: **1/4 It was decent for a short match. Waller is pushed more than Chase is, so it makes sense for Waller to get the win. Chase is fine as a lower card babyface act while Waller is a guy that’s going to get pushed in the months and years ahead. Nice timing by Waller on the finish.
They showed the Toxic Attraction trio in their lounge watching a promo from Kayden and Kitana talking trash about Gigi and Jacy as champions. Mandy Rose, the NXT Women’s Champion, asked if they heard what Indi Hartwell said about her. They complained about the other women in the company. Gigi talked about how they have dominated for the last eight months. Gigi said there’s not enough respect on Toxic Attraction’s name and they need to change that, so Mandy said that it starts with Indi Hartwell.
Analysis: I like them, but the dialogue is so scripted and doesn’t seem natural with how they say their words. Anyway, it should lead to Mandy vs. Indi and Kayden/Kitana going after Gigi/Jacy for the Tag Team Titles soon.
Roxanne Perez made her entrance for her match.
Diamond Mine was shown in the locker room with Roderick Strong telling The Creed Brothers they should be thanking him for getting them a Tag Team Title match at In Your House. Strong wanted them to listen to him and follow their lead. Julius & Brutus left, so then Strong told Damon Kemp to get them and said that they need to learn. Pretty Deadly walked up to Strong saying Strong’s boys can’t beat them. Strong fired back saying that next week he’ll team with Damon Kemp against Pretty Deadly next week. Pretty Deadly accepted that.
Analysis: One thing I like about NXT is that they set up matches well on a week-to-week basis. It’s better than how Raw and Smackdown do it too because they do it a lot more often on this show. That shows the creative team is more organized.
NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament Quarterfinals: Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James
James with a shoulder tackle, Perez came back with a cartwheel to avoid James and Perez hit multiple arm drags. Perez hit a nice dropkick for a two count. James set up Perez against the ropes leading to a forearm to the back and driving the knees into the back. The fans were chanting “Roxy” for Perez as James applied the double knees to the back submission. James hit a shoulder tackle. James applied a Boston Crab submission, Perez was near the ropes and then Perez slipped out of it for a pin attempt. Perez hit a backbreaker for a two count. Perez got a headscissors takedown. Perez with double axhandle knockdowns, then a Thesz Press, punches and a Russian legsweep for two. James hit a sidewalk slam. Perez hit the Pop Rox (a Code Red or sunset flip powerbomb) for the pinfall win after
Winner by pinfall: Roxanne Perez
Analysis: *3/4 It was okay. Perez is good at selling in a believable way, which puts her ahead of a lot of the women in NXT. James has good form on a lot of her moves. Perez is the most impressive young woman in NXT that I’ve seen over the last year.
Here’s how the semifinals of the Women’s Breakout Tournament looks:
Analysis: Nikkita Lyons faces Fallon Henley and Roxanne Perez faces Lash Legend in the semifinals I think Lyons will win by beating her rival Legend in the final. Perez is better than Legend, but I think they will want a face-heel matchup in the finals with Lyons getting the win.
Malik Blade and Edris Enofe did imitations of Santos Escobar and Tony D’Angelo in the backstage area. Tony D’s guys “Stacks” and “Two Dimes” challenged them to a match next week on NXT. Enofe said now they are speaking their language.
Nathan Frazer was shown walking backstage. He stared at the lovely Sophia Cromwell backstage, which is a mistake since she is aligned with Von Wagner and Robert Stone.
Roxanne Perez was about to be interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell, so Cora Jade walked up to her saying she was so proud of Roxanne. Perez said that Cora was the one that helped to push Roxanne to come to NXT. Elektra Lopez said that tonight belongs to Legado while next week will be her night when she beats Alba Fyre. Lopez ripped on both women, Cora asked what’s her problem and Lopez said when she sees what’s in front of her, neither of them are her problem.
Wes Lee vs. Nathan Frazer
They are two high flyers that are both babyfaces with Frazer as a newcomer in NXT. They did some spots early on doing some fast-paced moves for some quick nearfalls. Lee tried a couple of kicks, but Frazer blocked one and got out of the way of another kick attempt. The crowd chanted “NXT” for them. Frazer went for a move off the apron, but Lee knocked him down to the floor. Lee jumped over the top onto Frazer with a cross body block. Lee sent Frazer back in the ring, so Frazer hit a suicide dive onto Lee on the floor. They were back in the ring with the fans chanting for both guys. Lee with an enziguri kick followed by a German Suplex for two. Lee up top, but Frazer stopped that with a jumping kick. Frazer went for a superplex, but Lee countered with a counter into a pin attempt for two. Lee charged in, Frazer hit him with a superkick and Frazer went up top. Frazer jumped off the top with nothing because Lee moved, then they ran the ropes and did a double cross body block spot to knock both guys. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as Von Wagner went into the ring and kicked Frazer in the face. There’s the DQ after five minutes.
Winner by Disqualification: Nathan Frazer
Analysis: **3/4 It was fun while it lasted until Von Wagner intervened as the big man bully that he is. It gets Wagner cheap heat for stopping a match like this. While Lee and Frazer wrestle an exciting style, Wagner does not, but there is the size difference that WWE cares about a lot.
Wagner sent Frazer out of the ring. Lee went after Wagner with a jumping kick to the head. Wagner shoved Lee down and did a running boot to Lee. Robert Stone was shouting in support of Wagner. Wagner picked up Lee over his head and tossed him onto the commentary table. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that.
Analysis: It’s the right way to book Wagner by having him look dominant against a smaller guy like Lee. The problem is that Wagner hasn’t been impressive when he’s had matches. He can look strong here, but can he keep it going in a match? He still has to show that he can do that.
Tony D’Angelo was shown talking to his associates and then Tony made his entrance. Santos Escobar was also shown talking to his team while telling them to stay in the back.
This Friday on Smackdown: The Usos vs. RK-Bro in a Tag Team Championship unification match.
Wes Lee and Nathan Frazer were shown walking backstage. Sanga was sitting there saying it was a great match, but it was unfair what happened for “two men of your size” having to deal with Wagner. Lee thought that Sanga was taking a shot, Frazer didn’t think it was that and Frazer left. Lee said he won’t stand for this disrespect. Sanga said he meant no disrespect. Lee said he wants to prove that you don’t have to be ten feet tall to be successful around here. Sanga said if you want, they’ll have a match.
Next week on NXT:
* Bron Breakker vs. Duke Hudson.
* Mandy Rose vs. Indi Hartwell.
* Alba Fyre vs. Elektra Lopez.
It was main event time with Santos Escobar already in the ring. Tony D’Angelo made his entrance as the opponent. Both guys are heels, but I’d say Santos is more of a face in this rivalry.
Santos Escobar vs. Tony D’Angelo
The fans were chanting for “Santos” at the start of the match. Escobar got a waistlock takedown, Tony got to the ropes and Tony came back with a punch followed by an elbow. The fans were chanting for both guys. Tony sent Escobar to the apron along with a neckbreaker against the ropes. Tony hit a running neckbreaker. Tony raked the ear of Escobar against the top rope and then sent him into the turnbuckle. Tony with punches to the ribs, but Escobar came back with an enziguri kick to knock Tony out of the ring. Escobar tried for a dive, but Tony stopped him with a punch to the face. They went to a picture in picture break.
Tony was in control with a dragon sleeper into a reverse DDT for two. Escobar got some offense going with a dropkick and a jumping side kick to knock Tony out of the ring. Escobar hit a suicide dive onto Tony on the floor. Santos sent Tony into the steel steps. Tony was grabbing his left shoulder/arm as Escobar hit a senton splash from the apron into the ring. Escobar used his legs to wrench on the left arm of Tony as the fan continued to chant for both guys. Escobar let go of the hold leading to a dropkick. Tony hit a double knee attack on the left arm. Tony started a comeback with punches, a clothesline and a back elbow. Tony hit a belly-to-belly side slam two times in a row. Tony delivered a kiss of death on the cheek followed by a third belly-to-belly side slam. Escobar went for a suplex from the apron to the ring, but Escobar punched Tony to stop that. They were standing on the top rope together leading to Escobar hitting a hurricanrana to take Tony down. The crowd was chanting “HOLY SHIT” loudly so they were muting the sound. Tony searched for one of his weapons by the steel steps, but it wasn’t there because Escobar’s buddies had the crowbar. Tony’s buddies went out there to fight with them. Tony went over to Escobar, who had brass knuckles and punched Tony with them. Tony sold it like he was knocked out, so Escobar pinned Tony for the pinfall win. It went 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with the more experienced wrestler Escobar getting the win. I doubt it’s the end of the rivalry because I think Tony D is going to win this feud by the time it’s finished. Tony is credible on offense. I think his selling needs to improve. Escobar is one of the best veteran wrestlers in NXT, so he’s always going to have an entertaining match if he gets the time to show what he can do. They were two heels that both wanted to cheat, but Escobar managed to outsmart Tony D and that was why Escobar got the win.
The replay showed that Escobar got some brass knuckles that were by the ring apron. The referee never saw Escobar get them, so then Escobar punched Tony D with the brass knuckles for the win.
There was one minute left as Joe Gacy did a promo saying that we all know that Bron Breakker has uncontrollable rage. Gacy said that Bron won’t be able to control his anger next week or at In Your House. Gacy said that the lack of control will deliver Gacy full control of the NXT Championship, the brand, and the world. Gacy did an evil laugh to end it. As the camera panned out, it showed that Gacy was on a rooftop with his two mysterious allies by his side. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Santos Escobar
- The Viking Raiders/Creed Brothers
- Solo Sikoa/Cameron Grimes
This week: 6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
The show was solid in terms of building some stories for the In Your House event in a few weeks as well as next week’s show. As I wrote in the review, NXT does a great job of doing segments to set up matches for next week. If you watch Raw and Smackdown regularly, they do that sort of thing sometimes, but not as often as NXT does and I think NXT does it well.
The main event with Escobar beating Tony D was a solid match. It was a matchup of heels with Santos out-heeling Tony D. There were two pretty good matches including The Viking Raiders beating The Creed Brothers in what I thought was the match of the night and I liked the Grimes/Solo match against Hayes/Williams. The crowd really loves Solo a lot, so I think he should get a push moving forward.
They also continue to feature a lot of women every week, which has become a strength of the NXT 2.0 brand. If they’re not in the ring, a lot of them are in backstage segments. If you want to appeal to a younger audience, it’s a good strategy in the long term.
NXT In Your House takes place on Saturday, June 4th. Here’s the updated lineup so far:
NXT Championship: Bron Breakker (c) vs. Joe Gacy – Breakker loses the title if he is disqualified.
NXT North American Championship: Cameron Grimes (c) vs. Carmelo Hayes
NXT Tag Team Championships: Pretty Deadly (c) vs. The Creed Brothers
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