Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 10/26/21 Review (Halloween Havoc)

wwe nxt halloween havoc tommaso ciampa bron breakker

It’s the Halloween Havoc edition of WWE NXT with four titles on the line to make it feel like a bigger episode than usual.

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

The opening video aired promoting Halloween Havoc with the evil horror movie doll Chucky talking about the evils of Halloween. Chucky talked about the matches coming up on the show. Chucky called Breakker a “Puppy Faced Gremlin” so that’s like the “Dog Faced Gremlin” nickname that Breakker’s father Rick Steiner used.

They were in the usual spot for NXT at the WWE PC with about 500 fans in attendance. They let us know the first 30 minutes were commercial-free. The announce team was Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett & Beth Phoenix as usual. Chucky talked about the women raising some hell in this ladder match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles.

Scareway to Hell Ladder Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Toxic Attraction’s Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne vs. Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta

The team of Dolin and Jayne were tossed out of the ring. Stark kicked Pirotta and sent Pirotta out of the ring. Shirai and Stark with a double suplex on Hartwell. Shirai grabbed a ladder from under the ring. Dolin with a headscissors on Stark that didn’t look perfect, but Stark sold it anyway. Pirotta used her power with Indi as they took control and Pirotta hit Gigi/Jayne to knock them both down. Stark and Shirai hit dropkicks to knock Indi and Pirotta down. Jayne kicked the ladder and broke the side of it. Jayne with a jumping knee on Stark, but Stark came back with a superkick. Dolin and Stark kicked each other at the same time. Hartwell and Pirotta set up a ladder bridge for a double suplex, but Shirai countered with a double DDT. Shirai was all alone in the ring with the ladder, Hartwell knocked Shirai down and Stark punched Hartwell to stop her. Pirotta set up a taller ladder, Dolin pulled her down and Dolin superkicked Pirotta. Stark stopped Dolin and tossed Dolin onto Jayne on the mat. Shirai jumped onto Hartwell on the ladder, Stark was at the top of the ladder and Pirotta shoved the ladder over, so then Stark jumped off the top rope onto a bunch of women on the floor. Wow. Great spot there. Pirotta kicked a ladder against Stark, who was against the turnbuckle. Shirai battled Pirotta, then Dolin went into the ring, Pirotta got rid of her and Pirotta sent Shirai into the turnbuckle. Pirotta got a hold of Dolin and gave her a stiff Powerbomb onto a ladder that was against the turnbuckle. That earned a well-deserved “holy shit” chant. Damn. Jayne got back into it as she charged a climb, but Pirotta grabbed her and Jayne gave her a headscissors into the ladder. Jayne climbed up, Shirai grabbed her and Shirai did a moonsault onto Jayne, who was on a ladder! Ouch.

Stark set up Pirotta in the ring, then Stark went for a twisting splash, but then she didn’t land it perfectly. Stark was limping around while favoring her left knee, so I don’t know if she was legit hurt or just selling. Anyway, Stark barely connected and Pirotta still sold it. Indi gave Stark a spinebuster on the ladder. Shirai went up the ladder, but Hartwell shoved the ladder and Shirai bumped onto the ladder bridge between the announce table and the ring apron. Brutal! That led to another “holy shit” chant. Hartwell climbed up, Jayne punched her in the back, Dolin was up on the other side of the ladder, then Hartwell turned around and Dolin kicked Hartwell down. Dolin grabbed one of the titles to win the match. Jayne went up to grab the other title, so Toxic Attraction wins! It went 12 minutes.

Winners AND NEW NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions: Toxic Attraction’s Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a good match with some big spots throughout the match. Some spots were scary and it’s not everybody in the match is very experienced, but I thought it was a nice effort by everybody involved. I’m not going to compare it to some all-time great ladder match or anything like that, but they worked hard and had some impressive moments throughout the match. The biggest bump in the match was when Shirai was sent off the ladder and crashing onto a ladder that was bridged from the ring apron to the announce table. It shows how willing Shirai is to steal the show like she usually does. Scary bump too, but Io was fine after it. It looked like Stark hurt her knee legit after that dive out of the ring, but I’m not sure. She still attempted that move off the top that missed, so maybe some fans might be critical of her for that. Kudos to the ladies for working hard and earning some supportive chants from the crowd. I also thought the right team won.

The Toxic Attraction duo of Dolin and Jayne celebrated on the top of the ladder with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles.

Analysis: I’m happy for them. Toxic Attraction was my pick to win. The group is doing really well.

There was a video that aired showing Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams in a Haunted House to try to get Carmelo’s championship back from Dexter Lumis and Johnny Gargano in the house. Trick wanted to stay in the car, but Melo made him go with him. There was a spooky figure near the front of the house. Gargano and Lumis were shown with Gargano saying he had cameras everywhere. The zombie NXT referee was there too. Hayes picked up some kid that he thought was Gargano and the kid motioned them to go in a certain direction. To be continued.

Grayson Waller was dressed up saying he wasn’t the host, but he did a promo about how there’s a party. Waller said that the best looking women are there wearing tiny and small outfits. Waller was interrupted by Joe Gacy.

Joe Gacy did a promo talking about how Halloween is not a very inclusive holiday. Gacy said that it’s an excuse to exploit and sexualize all people. Gacy said he’s there to send a positive message.

Malik Blade vs. Joe Gacy

Blade hit Gacy with a dropkick while Gacy was talking. They showed a video of Harland entering the building. Gacy hit a spinning uranage slam. Gacy with a kick to the head followed by a suplex. Gacy with a corner splash and he tossed Blade out of the ring. Harland appeared at ringside where Gacy was, he grabbed Blade by the jaw and Gacy told him that he didn’t have to do this. Back in the ring, Gacy hit a handspring into a clothesline for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Joe Gacy

Analysis: * A dominant win by Gacy as he continues to be featured as a heel that is spreading his message. Blade didn’t really get to do much. Harland didn’t actually hit Blade, he just held his face, so I guess that’s why it’s not a disqualification finish.

After the match, Gacy went up to Harland and told him that he can trust Gacy.

A video aired featuring Kay Lee Ray talking about how she has not gotten any respect or appreciation and now everybody is going to pay.

A video aired of the NXT Halloween party in the backstage area. Some people were dressed up, but others were just in their wrestling gear. Waller tried to explain to Ikemen Jiro to get a costume. Waller spoke to Tony D’Angelo. Franky Monet had a great outfit. Cameron Grimes showed up wearing a spaceman outfit, hit on some girls with bad lines and the girls left.

Malcolm Bivens made his entrance backed up by the Diamond Mine group. Bivens said it’s a Diamond Mine open challenge. The open invitation is up next. There’s the first commercial after 30 minutes.

(Commercial)

Malcolm Bivens and Diamond Mine were in the ring with Bivens asking who is going to step up to the plate? It’s the big man Odyssey Jones, who said he wanted to face Roderick Strong. Bivens told Jones he is not 205 pounds. Jones is about 400 pounds in case you don’t know. It is not for Roderick Strong’s NXT Cruiserweight Title obviously.

Roderick Strong vs. Odyssey Jones

Strong with a jumping knee, then repeated chops and Jones launched Strong into the air. Jones hit a corner splash followed by shoulder tackles to the ribs. Strong applied a sleeper hold, Jones fought out of that, Strong with kicks to the head and a running kick. Strong tried an armbar, Jones fought out of that and then Strong applied a leg submission as he pulled back on the left leg. Jones managed to kick Strong out of the ring, then Strong was back in and Jones hit a clothesline followed by a body slam. Jones with a shoulderbreaker. Jones punched Brutus Creed off the apron, then brought Julius in the ring and hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Strong managed to come back with a jumping knee to the head, Jones sold it like he was knocked out and Strong covered Jones for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roderick Strong

Analysis: *3/4 The veteran Strong took advantage of the distraction caused by the Creed Brothers to get the win with the jumping knee to the head. I like Jones a lot as a bigger babyface that can move around the ring pretty well for a guy that’s nearly 400 pounds like him. I’m a bit surprised that they would have Jones lose in a spot like that, but it’s also smart to keep Diamond Mine as a dominant group.

Imperium were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Marcel Barthel spoke in German, Fabian Aichner spoke in Italian and the translation was shown on the screen. They did the usual dialogue about how the mat is sacred. Their title match is later.

Mandy Rose of Toxic Attraction made her entrance looking incredible wearing red and black attire along with some wings that were part of her entrance. Mandy’s NXT Women’s Title match is next.

(Commercial)

The NXT Halloween party was shown with Tony D’Angelo giving Lash Legend some money, so Lash said Tony can be on Lashing Out next week. Kyle O’Reilly was with Von Wagner, who said he was Brad Pitt. Duke Hudson talked to Cameron Grimes, who said he’ll see him in Duke’s Poker Room next week. Robert Stone was dressed like Elvis and was slammed through a table by Xion Quinn. Everybody cheered. Franky Money just walked away even though she is Stone’s friend sometimes.

Raquel Gonzalez was shown driving a motorcycle up to the building and she drove it into the NXT arena.

Chucky appeared on the screen saying let’s go for a spin, so Raquel spun the wheel to find out the stipulation. The wheel landed on: “Chucky’s Choice.” Chucky called for Trick or Street Fight.

Trick or Street Fight for the NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez vs. Mandy Rose

The rules mean that weapons are allowed, no disqualifications or countouts and the finish had to take place in the ring. It’s a typical WWE Street Fight match.

The women started brawling right away. Gonzalez blocked a suplex attempt and Gonzalez hit a corner splash. Rose got a kendo stick, Gonzalez left the ring and Rose hit Gonzalez in the ribs a few times. Gonzalez got back into it with punches and tossed Rose into a barricade at ringside. Gonzalez went for a kick, Rose moved and Gonzalez hit the ring post. Rose with more kendo stick shots to the body. They went to a picture-in-picture commercial break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with more weapons getting utilized with a table in the ring. Rose went for a sliding dropkick, but Gonzalez pulled her out of the ring. Gonzalez grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring and then hit Rose in the back with it. Rose slid a leather chair into Gonzalez. Rose used a kendo stick to trap Gonzalez in the chair and Rose hit a running knee on the floor. Rose went for a pin attempt on the floor, but the referee told her that she had to pin in the ring. I don’t think that was a botch by Rose. I think that’s part of the story to enforce the rules that it had to end in the ring. Gonzalez was on the announce table with a mask on her face and sprayed her with a fire extinguisher. Gonzalez put Rose back in the ring. Gonzalez with a clothesline and sent Rose into a chair against the turnbuckle with Rose using her hand to hit the chair. That got a two count for Gonzalez, who set up Rose on the turnbuckle. Gonzalez went for a kick, Rose left the ring to the floor and Gonzalez hit a running kick to knock Rose down. Gonzalez whipped Rose into the bottom of the steel steps. Gonzalez put the steel steps on the apron, Rose back in the ring, Rose with a kick and Rose whipped Gonzalez into the steel steps, which led to a two count for Rose. Mandy with a knee to the face, but not her finisher and that got a two count. Rose went for a power move, Gonzalez blocked it and hit a back body drop. Rose was standing in front of the table that was against the ropes, so Gonzalez gave Rose a Spear through the table that was only good enough for a two count. Mandy got her right shoulder up at the last possible moment. There was a woman in a black cloak that hit Raquel with a shovel to the back. Rose hit a jumping knee to the face and covered to win the title. It went 13 minutes. Yes! Mandy Rose wins her first title in her WWE career.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Mandy Rose

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good match with a lot of weapon spots and big moments while leading to a shocking ending. I’ll get to the interference below, but the main reason why I think they did it like that is because they book Raquel in such a strong manner. I just didn’t think Raquel could lose clean even though I felt like it was the right time to put the title on Mandy, so I’m glad Mandy won. I’m so happy for Mandy. I thought she worked well with Raquel, it felt like a fight and it was a satisfying ending for me as a fan of Mandy. She deserves a title run.

After the match, Mandy Rose held up the NXT Women’s Title while her Toxic Attraction teammates Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne were there with their titles as well. Toxic Attraction has the gold.

Analysis: I’m happy for these talented ladies. This group has worked really well together and now they all have gold to give them more credibility. Great moment for them.

Back in the ring, the figure in the black cloak outfit took the hood off and it was Dakota Kai. The fans reacted to that since they know the history between the two.

Analysis: I called it right in the preview: “My prediction here is that a returning Dakota Kai will cost Raquel the match.” That’s exactly what happened. You’re welcome. It should lead to another Dakota/Raquel match although this time with no title on the line.

More of the Haunted House is up next.

(Commercial)

It was back to the Haunted House where Melo and Trick had to deal with some creepy figures in the house. A lady with face paint welcomed them there while Melo and Trick just wanted to find Johnny and Dexter. Every time Melo and Trick walked down a hallway, there was another figure there to scare them. Trick said it felt like somebody was chasing them, so Andre Chase was there and they got Andre to walk around with them. Andre said he came there with his students, but he can’t find them. Johnny and Dexter left where they were hiding out. Chase saw a skeleton, then somebody pulled him and Gargano grabbed Melo I think. Trick was alone, he was scared of some zombie that was there and Trick punched Melo by accident. Melo saw the NXT North American Title on a shelf, so he grabbed his title back. That’s when Gargano and Lumis punched them. Melo and Trick left the building, so then they saw some zombies that they had to beat up. Gargano said “boo” so Melo and Trick ran away. Gargano and Lumis were outside with all of their friends from the house. Gargano told Lumis that his house is kind of weird, so next year they can do Halloween at Johnny’s place.

Analysis: That’s the end of the Haunted House chase throughout the show. It was fine. I get why they do stuff like that to have some fun and be creative with the characters. It’s hard to recap it, though. I do like that it gets Melo and Trick more screen time. I look forward to when Melo gets to wrestle Gargano because it will be awesome.

Grayson Waller was in the ring in his Dracula outfit in the ring. Waller’s social media info was put on the screen as he promoted himself. LA Knight walked out there wearing the same Dracula outfit. Waller said it’s not his fault that Knight had car problems and Knight wondered how did Waller know about the car troubles? They argued.

Solo Sikoa made his entrance for his NXT debut. Knight shoved Waller into Sikoa, who punched Waller and suplexed him over the top to the floor. The fans were chanting “Uso” for Solo since they know he is a brother of the Usos. Sikoa celebrated. That was it.

Analysis: I was hoping for a match from Sikoa, but it was just two moves on Waller and that was it. I think Sikoa should do well in NXT although some fans are going to keep chanting about The Usos since he is their brother.

Bron Breakker was shown working out in his locker room with a Chucky doll behind him. Bron said he knows him and asked who Chucky is picking tonight. No response.

Analysis: When WCW did a crossover with Chucky many years ago, it was Bron’s dad Rick Steiner that did a promo with him, so that’s what that “I know you” reference was from. Well played.

The MSK duo of Wes Lee and Nash Carter entered for their tag team title defense.

(Commercial)

Imperium was in the ring for the title match. They had a kid named Alex there to spin the wheel for the next match. It was a Lumberjack O’Lantern Match, so that meant there were lumberjacks (other tag teams) that surrounded the ring. A lot of them had costumes on.

NXT Tag Team Championships Lumberjack O’Lantern Match: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)

Aichner used his power to toss Carter across the ring followed by a body slam and elbow for two. Barthel was back in with an armdrag. Carter tripped up Barthel and hit a dropkick. Lee tagged in with a senton splash off the top. Barthel with a boot to the face, Lee with a chop, then Barthel with chops and a forearm. Barthel with ha running kick to the chest. Lee jumped over Barthel, then a dropkick and Barthel bumped to the floor. The lumberjacks were supposed to send Barthel into the ring, but there was a bit of a fight. Lee and Carter and hit suicide dives onto their opponents. There was a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Barthel was in control of Lee with a suplex, but then Barthel jumped off the ropes with Carter hitting a knee to the head. Lee tagged in with a kick, then a spinning heel kick and a kick to the head. Lee with a backflip kick to the head for two. Aichner tagged in with a shoulder tackle on Lee, then a clothesline and Aichner got a hold of both guys on his shoulders leading to a rolling senton on both guys. Barthel tagged in, Carter with a headscissors on Aichner and Lee hit a somersault dive over the top onto the lumberjacks (and Aichner) on the floor. Carter got a hold of Barthel on the ropes and gave him a Cutter all the way to the floor. That was wild. The lumberjacks started brawling, so they were told to go to the back by referees, so the lumberjacks were gone in this lumberjack match. The four guys were all in the ring crawling to try to get back into it. Carter superkicked Aichner and Barthel, then Lee with a forearm, then Imperium with running punches. Jumping knee by Carter. Both MSK guys ran the ropes leading to both Imperium guys hitting clotheslines leading to flip bumps by the MSK guys. Imperium went for the finish again, but Lee saved Carter with a DDT. Barthel with a forearm to Lee and Carter hit a Canadian Destoyer off the ropes on Barthel! That was impressive. Carter with the assisted moonsault for two. Lee tagged in, Aichner shoved the MSK guys into eachother, Aichner with a spinebuster on Carter and Barthel with a kick to the chest of Carter. Barthel with a jumping kick on Lee and launched Lee towards Aichner, who hit a brainbuster on Lee. Imperium hit the Imperial Bomb (forearm to the chest by Barthel into a Powerbomb by Aichner) and Aichner pinned Lee after 13 minutes for the win. Carter was too hurt to make the save. Imperium are the new Tag Team Champions!

Winners by pinfall AND NEW NXT Tag Team Championships: Imperium

Analysis: ***1/2 An entertaining and fun tag team match as usual by these teams. They have worked together many times in the past, so it wasn’t that new, but they did some cool stuff as usual. The story, in the end, was about Imperium working together better as a team, they avoided some of the big double team moves that MSK likes to do and then after they took out Carter, poor Lee was done due to the double team attack. The lumberjack idea didn’t really work since they were taken out of the match midway through it. The last few minutes were excellent in this match. I didn’t predict a title change, so the result surprised me a bit. It’s nothing against Imperium, who I like. I just thought it might be another tag team that beat MSK for the titles.

Chucky did a quick promo talking about the Ciampa/Breakker match for the NXT Championship.

A video package aired about Tommaso Ciampa winning the NXT Title last month with Bron Breakker stepping up as the first title challenger.

Bron Breakker made his entrance looking serious and ready to go. Chucky did a promo saying he hoped that being a loser didn’t run in Breakker’s family. Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance wearing a God of War style outfit I guess according to Barrett. Ciampa had blue body paint on his head as well as his chest. The two wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker

Breakker ran the ropes, Ciampa with a leapfrog and Breakker hit a shoulder tackle that sent Ciampa out of the ring. Ciampa back in, Breakker tossed him across the ring and Ciampa applied a headlock. Ciampa with a back elbow to the head, Breakker with a shoulder tackle and two lifting slams. Ciampa got some offense going with clotheslines, then they ran the ropes, Ciampa tried a leapfrog again, but Breakker caught him with a powerslam for two. Ciampa rolled to the floor leading to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Ciampa in control with a running kick to the head. Ciampa with a running knee to the jaw with the fans chanting for Ciampa. Ciampa went to the middle rope with a double axhandle to the back. Ciampa grabbed a headlock, Breakker broke free with clotheslines and a belly to belly side slam. Breakker went for a move off the middle ropes, he did some barking like his dad Rick Steiner and Breakker slipped off the middle ropes, so Ciampa covered for a two count. I don’t think that slip was on purpose. Ciampa sent Breakker into the ropes, so Breakker hit a shoulder tackle to send Ciampa out of the ring. Ciampa hit a Willow’s Bell DDT near the ropes, but Breakker kicked out with his right shoulder up. Ciampa with kicks to the head, then a forearm, Breakker did some barking and Ciampa hit a knee for a one count. Breakker was back up with a Frankensteiner (called that by Vic Joseph) and then Breaker hit a double underhook suplex for a two count. Breakker went for a press slam, but Ciampa countered it into a reverse DDT. Ciampa and Breakker exchanged punches, then Ciampa was in control with punches and Breakker sent Ciampa to the floor. The mat was pulled up on the side of the ring, so there was exposed concrete and Ciampa gave Breakker a DDT on the concrete. Back in the ring, Ciampa hit the Fairytale Ending and it was only good for a two count. That was a surprising kickout. Breakker was bleeding from the forehead and bleeding from the mouth. Ciampa with a running knee two times in a row. Ciampa with a third running knee to the face. Ciampa hit the Fairytale Ending for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match that was better than I thought it would be because I really didn’t know what to expect from Breakker in a longer singles match. I think Breakker more than held his own out there because he kept on fighting back even while taking some huge moves. Ciampa was very aggressive in hitting big move after big move, then Breakker would keep kicking out at two and even at one in some cases. It was a smart way to book it to put over Breakker even in defeat because it took a DDT on the concrete plus multiple running knees and the Fairytale Ending twice for Ciampa to get the win. I thought there might be a title change here. Even though there wasn’t a title change, I am fine with Ciampa as the NXT Champion because he’s the heart of NXT that makes everybody around him better. Breakker will do very well in his WWE career no matter how long he’s in NXT or if he gets called up to Raw or Smackdown some day. Anyway, this match is a testament to how great Ciampa is and how bright of a future Breakker has. I’m so excited to see how far Breakker can go in WWE.

Ciampa hugged the NXT Title in his arms. They didn’t do an overrun this week and ended the show right at 10pm ET this week.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Tommaso Ciampa/Bron Breakker
  2. Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne of Toxic Attraction
  3. Imperium

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.5 out of 10

Last week: 5.75

2021 Average: 7.24

 

Final Thoughts

This was a very good show. It was the best NXT episode in this NXT 2.0 era if you want to call it that. I really enjoyed it because they had four title matches that were all given a lot of time. Three title changes on the show are a big deal as well. I’m so happy for Mandy Rose and her Toxic Attraction allies Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne because that group has been built up so well over the last month, so now they get to hold the titles as they should. It was also a smart way to bring back Dakota Kai by costing Raquel Gonzalez her title.

There were three title changes on the show. While I did predict there would be three of them, I didn’t get it perfect because I thought MSK would keep the Tag Team Titles while Breakker would win the NXT Title, so I got those things wrong. Booking a lot of title changes made sense to show that NXT is going in different directions now.

I enjoyed this episode of NXT a lot. Exactly the kind of shows that NXT is capable of if they do other special episodes like this in the future.

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Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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