This week’s WWE NXT saw Ilja Dragunov defend the NXT Title against Carmelo Hayes, Dominik Mysterio put the NXT North American Title on the line versus Nathan Frazer and more.
I will do the summary style review for most of the show and play-by-play for a few matches.
The Halloween Havoc hosts Shotzi and Scarlett arrived in a Ghostbusters car.
There was a video package showing highlights of last week’s show while the band New Years Day sang a song called “Hurts Like Hell.” On last week’s show, Lyra Valkyrie won the NXT Women’s Title while Chase U’s Andre Chase & Duke Hudson won the NXT Tag Team Titles.
It was Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary as usual.
Tables, Ladders & Scares Match: The Creed Brothers – Julius & Brutus Creed (w/Ivy Nile) vs. Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo
It’s a Tables, Ladders & Scares (Chairs) match where you win by pinfall or submission. The Creed Brothers were coming into this match on a roll after their big win on Raw over the Alpha Academy.
This match has a lot of action, so I’ll go play-by-play for it. The Creeds set up Carrillo on the table while Julius slammed Garza onto Carrillo through the table. Angel hit Brutus with a chair and Carrillo kicked Brutus to knock him down. Carrillo dropkicked a chair into Brutus. Julius used a ladder to knock both opponents down. Brutus slammed a ladder onto the ladder that was on the heels. Angel sent Brutus into the ring post. Angel & Carrillo set up Julius off the top rope and slammed Julius hard onto a ladder bridge in the ring. Ouch. Julius took that like a senton bump onto the ladder. Angel had Brutus on his back as Carrillo jumped off the top with a neckbreaker slamming Brutus through a stacked table. That was wild! It looked like a rough landing although they landed as safely as they could.
Julius and Angel each hit eachother with chair shots. Angel hit Julius with a chair near the head, Brutus hit Garza with a chair smash and Carrillo hit a springboard kick into a chair onto Brutus’ face. That was a great sequence leading to all four guys down selling. Carrillo cleared the ring of Julius and hit Brutus with a chair. Angel went up top and hit a missile dropkick on Brutus, who was on a chair. Carrillo showed off his power against Julius leading to a stiff Powerbomb against a ladder that was against the ropes. Brutus hit both opponents with chair shots to the ribs. Brutus put the ladder on his shoulder and spun around so that the ladder hit both opponents. They left the ring with Angel and Carrillo using chairs to hit a ladder into Brutus. Julius saved his brother with a somersault dive onto both opponents on the floor. The Creed set up two tables in the ring. Brutus and Angel were fighting by the turnbuckle with Brutus punching Angel, who bumped through a table on the floor. Julius put Carrillo on his shoulders leading to Brutus jumping off the top with a Brutus Ball on Carrillo through two tables in the ring! That was so good. Both Creed Brothers covered Carrillo for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Creed Brothers – Julius & Brutus Creed
Analysis: ***3/4 That was an excellent match with a lot of action and plenty of creative spots throughout the matches. They didn’t take it easy with some of the bumps they did. Plenty of tables broken, ladders were used very well and there were some aggressive chair shots too. I loved the finish with Brutus taking out Angel on the floor with a table. That led to the Brutus Bomb off the top while Julius held Carrillo and it was the perfect way to end it. These guys really worked well together. I liked the match a lot.
They showed Shotzi and Scarlett backstage in Halloween costumes. Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn claimed that something else required their immediate attention. Alba & Isla said they can take over. Isla said they were in control, so Alba said they were going to cause chaos and havoc. They said they would have so much fun.
Analysis: I believe Scarlett was at a WWE live event with Karrion Kross in Europe so she wasn’t even there this week. They taped this last week.
Tiffany Stratton was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell, who asked about Fallon Henley imitating Stratton last week and Stratton left angrily.
Joe Gacy was featured in a backstage promo staring into the camera. Gacy wondered if he was the problem. Gacy said that now there are no strings on him and maybe you believe in fairy tales, but maybe not.
Analysis: It’s a restart period for Gacy after the Schism group died over the last few months.
Tiffany Stratton was supposed to face Fallon Henley. Stratton attacked Henley in the aisle and threw Henley into the ring post. Stratton applied the ringpost Figure Four Leglock on Henley, so the referee called for help. Stratton left.
Analysis: That was a quick angle instead of a match. It was okay in terms of furthering the feud.
Meta-Four was featured in a Haunted House segment with the group dressed like Scooby Doo (Noam Dar) and friends. They were at the Haunted House because Akira Tozawa was there with the NXT Heritage Cup he stole from Dar. They kept walking around and were freaked out about it. There were some guys in costumes standing behind the group, so the group freaked out.
Analysis: The Haunted House thing has been done in the past as well. Clearly, the NXT creative team likes doing it.
It’s Dirty Dom against Nathan Frazer after a break.
Nathan Frazer entered first. The NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio was dressed as a criminal and Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley was a cop, so Ripley freed Dominik to allow him to have the match.
NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. Nathan Frazer
Dominik, who is wearing furry boots, took down Frazer with an arm drag, but Frazer popped back up quickly. Frazer came back with his own arm drag leading to Dominik regrouping on the floor. Frazer ran the ropes, ducked a clothesline and Frazer hit a running forearm. Dominik bailed to the floor: “He’s too fast.” Yes, he is. They went to break.
Dominik hit two vertical suplexes, but Frazer came back with his own vertical suplex. Dominik did a disrespectful slap to the face, so Frazer was aggressive with strikes. They each hit a kick and Frazer hit a reverse DDT with Dominik landing hard on his shoulder. Dominik was okay as he hit a necksnap across the top rope. Frazer kicked Dominik off the apron to the floor. Frazer tried a dive, Dominik moved and Ripley distracted, which led to Dominik hitting a superkick. Frazer was back in and Frazer hit a suicide dive onto Dominik on the floor. Back in the ring, Frazer tried a twisting attack off the top, but Dominik moved and Dominik sent Frazer into the turnbuckle. Dominik went up top, Frazer jumped up there with him followed by a superplex and a twisting neckbreaker for two. Ripley slid Dominik her title, but it fell out of the ring. Frazer got a rollup for two. Dominik kicked Frazer into the ropes. Dominik charged, but Frazer was back up with a superkick. Frazer went up top and Dominik shoved him down with Frazer crashing into the commentary table. Back in the ring, Dominik went up top and hit a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 A rare Dominic Mysterio match where he won in a clean manner instead of benefitting from The Judgment Day. They worked well together and had some good spots. Frazer is awesome and one of my favorite guys in NXT, but he’s just not pushed to a championship level at this point. At some point in 2024, I can see Frazer winning a title in NXT.
After the match, Wes Lee made his return and Wes superkicked Dominik. Wes did a double foot stomp on Dominik’s back. Lee picked up the NXT North American Title that he used to hold for a long time.
Analysis: Good to see Wes back after having a break for a couple of months. He’s an awesome performer.
Chase U, the new NXT Tag Team Champions, were backstage with Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail. They talked about how they were going to be Champions University when Jayne & Hail win. Jayne & Hail left for their match. Tony D’Angelo & Stacks walked in wanting a rematch and Hudson said they’ll get that rematch. Tony & Stacks were talking to Chase about something that’s unknown right now. Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre walked in laughing about the bad luck that comes with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. They were dressed in costumes too.
It was back to Meta-Four in the Haunted House where they showed Jakara Jackson getting freaked out and screaming. Jackson also fainted. Oro Mensah was shown trying to act tough, but he was freaked out too. Mensah saw Akira Tozawa so they fought a bit. Tozawa shouted at the guys to take Mensah away so they did. Lash Legend thought she found the Heritage Cup, but it was another trophy. Legend was taken away by some guy in a costume.
Analysis: The story is that Meta-Four is likely just down to Noam Dar because the other three were taken out.
Bron Breakker vs. Mr. Stone
Mr. Stone was in the ring with a white tank top. Stone used to wrestle in TNA as Robbie E for several years and in indies before that. Stone hasn’t been a wrestler in WWE, but he is in good shape. Stone had on some tight pants and white shoes too.
Bron threw Stone into the turnbuckle and Stone threw a punch that had no effect. Bron ran over Stone with a clothesline. Bron tossed Stone across the ring. Bron missed a corner charge, so Stone rolled him up for two. Bron hit an overhead suplex. Bron hit a huge Spear for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bron Breakker
Analysis: * It was about Bron kicking ass and that’s what happened. At least Stone had one rollup in the match.
Post match, Breakker grabbed the steel steps and teased smashing them on Stone’s head, but Von Wagner’s music hit. Von Wagner appeared with a taped up head as he approached Brone leading to them exchanging punches. Bron clotheslined Bron from inside the ring to the floor. Wagner gave Bron a Chokeslam on the bottom half of the steel steps. Bron rolled away to avoid a further attack. Security showed up to stop Von. Wagner checked on Stone to help him back up.
Analysis: This Bron-Wagner story has had a long-term build. I assume they will have a gimmick match at Deadline in December with Wagner beating Bron to end the feud. I can see Bron going to the main roster in early 2024, perhaps at the Royal Rumble for his debut.
Carmelo Hayes was shown getting ready for the main event.
A video package aired about Lyra Valkyria beating Becky Lynch clean in the main event last week. They showed Becky and Lyra hugging after the match with Lynch saying she was so proud of her. They showed a clip of Lyra doing an interview with Irish TV as well. Lyra is back next week.
A video aired with Scrypts and Out The Mud’s Bronco Nima & Lucien Price. Scrypts talked about how he grew up on the streets and he was just playing characters in the past because this is him now. Scrypts told The Brawling Brutes that they were somebody meaning they were threats that Brawling Brutes had to deal with.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Jacy Jayne & Thea Hail (w/Duke Hudson & Andre Chase)
The challengers worked together to shove Niven into the steel steps. Hail showed off her athleticism against Green with some cool moves including a suicide dive on the floor.
Niven was in control of Hail with a shoulder breaker. Hail managed to come back with an impressive DDT. After Green tagged in, Jayne got the hot tag and was on fire with offense including a cannonball splash on Green for two. Jayne hit an impressive sitout spinebuster for two with Niven breaking up the pin. Green and Jayne did a double jumping kick at the same time. Jayne tried to grab Chase’s Tag Team Title to cheat, but Andre told her not to. Green hit the Unpretti-her on Jayne for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Chelsea Green & Piper Niven
Analysis: **1/2 A solid match that was all about the story of Andre Chase not wanting to cheat to help Jacy Jayne win. The fans were into it especially after Jayne got the hot tag. I thought Green did a nice job of selling most of the match while Niven looked dominant. Hail keeps getting better too. Green winning two nights in a row is rare for her, so nice job on that.
Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn were on the platform waving at the champions in the aisle.
Lexis King was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell while King was sitting on a throne. King said that everybody has an opinion of him, but he’s used to it. King said he’s going to start doing things his way because it’s his life. King said you should wait and see what he does next, or better yet, what he’s already done. Mckenzie asked what he meant, then King said you’ll have to wait and see.
Analysis: It was an interesting tease of something to come in the future. Perhaps King is involved in the Melo/Trick story.
Kelani Jordan entered for the finals of the NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament. Lola Vice entered as the opponent and she was joined by Elektra Lopez as usual.
NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament Finals: Lola Vice (w/Elektra Lopez) vs. Kelani Jordan
Jordan got a couple of nearfalls early on with some fast-paced offense. Lola kicked Jordan into the corner followed by a running hip attack.
Things were even once as the match returned until Jordan hit a spinning back kick. Jordan hit a jumping back elbow along with a spinning leg drop for two. Lola hit a spin kick to the gut for two. Jordan did a legsweep takedown. Jordan went up top, Lopez provided a brief distraction and Jordan missed the moonsault off the top when Lola moved. Lola hit the KO spin kick to the head for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall and Winner of NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament: Lola Vice
Analysis: **1/4 It was a shorter match like most of the matches in this tournament since they got about seven minutes with only four minutes on the full screen. Jordan has improved a lot in the last few months with her offense looking more crisp and she has a lot of athleticism. Lola continues to win with that knockout spin kick so it was the usual result for her.
After the match, Lola Vice celebrated the win with Elektra Lopez giving her a hug. Lola Vice held the NXT Breakout Tournament contract in her hands which will give her a future title shot.
Analysis: I’m not surprised that Lola won since she was my pick from the beginning of the tournament. It was pretty obvious that WWE was high on Lola for months now, so seeing her win was an easy prediction.
It was more Haunted House time with Noam Dar dressed as Scooby Doo. Dar saw his beloved NXT Heritage Cup and even put his tongue on it while also hugging the Cup. Dar held the Cup in his arms, but that’s when some creepy guys in costumes showed up. Tozawa was also there to grab the Heritage Cup. Tozawa said all he wants in a Heritage Cup match. Dar said no way since Tozawa didn’t even get a point in the tournament and Dar said okay, you can have the match. Tozawa said see you next week. Dar screamed as the camera faded out.
Analysis: It was mildly entertaining. See you next year, Haunted House skits.
Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov were shown walking down the hallways in separate parts of the arena.
Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre were backstage laughing about all the chaos. Von Wagner walked in with Rob Stone while somebody in a mask was talking to Dante Chen in the background. Wagner said he wanted the match with Bron Breakker next week. Stone said that Von wasn’t ready. Von was selling a head injury again, but Von told Stone to make the match.
Next week on NXT:
* Heritage Cup Match: Noam Dar vs. Akira Tozawa
* Lyra Valkyria is back as NXT Women’s Champion
* Iron Survivor Challenge Qualifying Matches begin
* Bron Breakker vs. Von Wagner
Carmelo Hayes was up first as the challenger in the main event with a “Justice For Trick” shirt. Ilja Dragunov was up next as the NXT Champion. This is their third title match together. The last one with Dragunov saw Dragunov become the NXT Champion and I rated that one a five star match at No Mercy last month.
NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs. Carmelo Hayes
Ilja and Melo each hit chops to start. Melo connected with a jumping kick to the head, but Ilja hit a pump kick. Ilja with a German Suplex. Melo hit his own German Suplex. They exchanged hard slaps/punches and each guy hit a kick to knock the other down leading to a picture-in-picture break.
Ilja was in control with a jumping kick to the head along with a German Suplex. Ilja hit another German Suplex. Melo went for a springboard attack, but Ilja avoided it leading to a back elbow. Ilja hit a running knee. Ilja hit a Powerbomb on Melo for a two count. Melo made a comeback with two superkicks and a pump kick. Ilja hit a clothesline for two. Melo avoided a move by Ilja and Melo flipped around on Ilja’s shoulders leading to Melo slamming Ilja into the mat. Melo went up top, Ilja went after him and slammed him down. Ilja went up top, Melo got back up and kicked Ilja off the top to the floor. Melo jumped over the top with a DDT on the ring apron. The fans chanted “Holy S**t” for it. Melo went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Ilja was able to come back with a clothesline, senton splash and a powerslam into the mat. Melo hit a jumping kick to the head. Ilja with a step leading to a head kick. Melo came back with a clothesline and while Melo was on the ground, Ilja hit him with a forearm smash. Ilja with a hard slap to the upper back of Melo. Ilja went for a swing off the ropes, but Melo kicked Ilja to knock him down on the apron. Ilja picked up Melo on the ring apron and hit a Death Valley Driver slam on the apron. The fans chanted “this is awesome” while both guys were out on the floor. The referee wasn’t counting them out while they were on the floor. Ilja put Melo on the table. Ilja jumped off the barricade with an H-Bomb forearm smash on Melo through the table. The fans chanted “Holy S**t” again.
They were back in the ring with Dragunov working over Hayes with forearms to keep him down. Ilja jumped off the top with a leaping attack, but Melo caught him. Melo hit a double knee lung blower leading to Ilja bouncing off the ropes with another forearm smash for two. Great nearfall. Ilja went up top, Melo caught him and Melo hit a double knee attack. Melo went up top and the music of Trick Williams played as Trick walked out with a stare at his friend Melo. Melo looked like he had seen a ghost. I don’t like the music of another wrestler playing during a match. It’s not necessary and it hurts the match. Ilja went up top and gave Melo a superplex off the top. Ilja hit the Torpedo Moscow running uppercut for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ilja Dragunov
Analysis: **** These guys are awesome. It wasn’t at the same level as the No Mercy match, but it was still a terrific match that I’m rating at four stars and very worthy of a TV main event. I criticize this in other wrestling companies, so I’ll say it here also that they ignored the countout when they were on the floor for about two minutes. I get why it happened because there was action and the announcers put over the referee’s discretion, but I also think you can have the wrestlers break the count too. The presence of Trick distracted Melo as well, so that wasn’t necessarily a clean finish. Dragunov winning was the expected result since his title win was recent. I still liked a lot of the nearfalls throughout the match. That may end the Ilja/Melo rivalry for now, but I certainly hope they get to have a rematch in the future whether it’s NXT or the main roster.
After the match, Ilja Dragunov left as the NXT Champion. Trick Williams slowly walked into the ring to approach his best friend Carmelo Hayes. Vic wondered if they were friends or if Melo was the one who attacked him. The camera went backstage where Baron Corbin was standing over Ilja Dragunov with the NXT Title in his hands. Corbin said he warned Dragunov to keep his head on a swivel. Referees showed up to make Corbin stop. The show ended there.
Analysis: I don’t know if Carmelo Hayes will be revealed as the guy who attacked Trick a few weeks ago or if it’s somebody else. Based on Lexis King’s comment earlier in the show, it might be him as the attacker. The Dragunov/Corbin match is likely coming at the NXT Deadline PLE next month.
Three Stars of the Show
- Ilja Dragunov
- The Creed Brothers
- Carmelo Hayes
This week: 8 out of 10
Last week: 8.25
2023 Average: 7.12
Final Thoughts on WWE NXT
I thought it was a great episode of NXT just like last week’s Halloween Havoc Night 1. The second straight week with an excellent main event with Ilja Dragunov beating Carmelo Hayes, who was stunned by the return of Trick Williams. It makes you wonder if Melo was the one who attacked Trick or if it was somebody else like Lexis King, who had an interesting comment on the show that could be related to this. This Ilja-Melo match wasn’t as good as their No Mercy match, but still a terrific match.
That opening TLC match between The Creed Brothers and Angel/Humberto was excellent as well. They used the weapons really well with some creative spots throughout the match. I loved the finish with the top rope Brutus Ball to Carrillo while Julius held him and Brutus drove Carrillo through two tables for the win. It was a strong two days in a row for The Creeds after an impressive win on Raw and a fun gimmick match here. Congratulations to Lola Vice winning the NXT Women’s Breakout tournament. I think she was an obvious winner who they put over very well with that dangerous spin kick of hers.
I really like the NXT product right now. There’s a nice balance of great matches (two this week), some solid promos, they use the entire roster very well, a strong women’s division and some silly stuff too like the Haunted House skits on this show. Both episodes of Halloween Havoc were very entertaining in my humble opinion.
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