Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 11/16/21 Review

wwe nxt nov 16

This week’s NXT 2.0 has several matches announced including former WWE NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez facing former friend Dakota Kai in a grudge match.

Other advertised matches include Tony D’Angelo vs. Dexter Lumis to start the show, Odyssey Jones & Jacket Time vs. Diamond Mine, Cameron Grimes vs. Duke Hudson in some sort of Poker Showdown, Andre Chase vs. Xyon Quinn and the Lashing Out talk show with Lash Legend.

This episode is taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

The show began with Tony D’Angelo making his entrance. I like how they get right to the action in NXT. The commentary team was Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix as usual. Toy gave a dead fish to Indi Hartwell to tease the idea that Indi’s husband Dexter will “sleep with the fishes” after Tony is done with him. The mysterious Dexter Lumis was up next as the opponent. Lumis unveiled a painting of Tony sleeping with the fishes.

Dexter Lumis vs. Tony D’Angelo

Lumis was aggressive with a Thesz Press followed by an elbow smash. Tony took over with a belly-to-belly slam followed by a chinlock and Tony hit a body slam. Lumis went for his Silence submission, Tony got out of it and Lumis rocked him with punches followed by a clothesline. Tony with a neckbreaker across the top rope. Tony brought in the easel that the painting was on, the referee took it away, Tony with an eye poke and Tony hit a twisting neckbreaker/suplex combo for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tony D’Angelo

Analysis: *1/2 A crafty heel for D’Angelo, who was getting cheered a bit in the past, so I think the creative team wanted to make him more of a heel this week and that’s what they did with the eye poke leading to the finish. Lumis isn’t really pushed that much, so he can lose a short match like that.

Post match, Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams attacked Lumis. Hayes with a jumping knee to the face followed by Williams hitting a leaping clothesline. Hayes put a steel chair on Dexter’s hand and Hayes jumped on the chair that was around the hand. Johnny Gargano ran out for the save. Trick ripped up Dexter’s art as well.

Analysis: It looks like an injury angle for Lumis with the hand injury. It furthered the story between Hayes and Gargano as well, so that’s fine with me.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Johnny Gargano

Johnny Gargano did a promo saying Hayes and Williams screwed with his family, so if you screw with his family, he will kick your teeth down your throat. Pete Dunne interrupted the promo saying he pinned Carmelo and Gargano said you did pin him with Gargano’s help.

Carmelo Hayes, the NXT North American Champion, was back with Trick Williams. They were in the back part of the arena. Williams made fun of both guys bickering about this. Dunne asked who that is and Gargano said that guy carries Melo’s bags for him. Hayes said if it wasn’t for this championship, they are relevant because of him. Dunne said that he is the same age as Hayes, plus ten years more experience and he has a win over Hayes. Carmelo said he can run it back with Pete and Johnny can get his title shot too. Carmelo said that they can do it at the same time for the NXT North American Championship and they’ll do it next week because when Melo shoots, he doesn’t miss. Dunne said he missed last week (when Dunne beat Hayes). Gargano said he has only been there six months. Gargano said he’s been there for five years while adding that when he’s in that ring it’s can’t miss. Gargano said next week it’s a triple threat match for the North American Champion and said you don’t want to miss that.

Analysis: That match is going to be outstanding next week! Three of the best in NXT in a title match. That’s great. I liked some of the dialogue there with Dunne trying to shut up Williams/Hayes and Gargano talking about his history in NXT. Hayes exudes confidence as usual. I think Hayes will probably retain, but if Dunne wins that would be fine with me too. I don’t think Gargano needs it.

Diamond Mine was shown getting ready in the locker room. Malcolm Bivens talked about how they are going to win their match. Joe Gacy walked into the room saying Roderick Strong has a great responsibility as a leader. Bivens mentioned having a tryout to join Diamond Mine while saying the price and gave Gacy his card. Gacy thanked them for their generosity. Diamond Mine is in action up next.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for NXT WarGames coming on Sunday, December 5. I called it a Takeover by accident last week. They are not using the Takeover name.

LA Knight was featured in a video package about how he’s a star. Knight said he has a goal to be the NXT Champion. Knight talked about his issues with Grayson Waller, so that feud is still going on.

Diamond Mine – Roderick Strong, Julius Creed & Brutus Creed vs. Kushida, Ikemen Jiro & Odyssey Jones

Barrett mocked the Jacket Time name of Kushida & Jiro saying it’s been a week, yet they’re still using the Jacket Time name. Strong chopped the big man Jones and then tagged in. Julius tagged in, Jones slammed him down and hit a clothesline. Kushida jumped off the top with a chop to the left arm of Julius. Jones jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a chop on the arm. Jiro tried a move off the turnbuckle, but Julius caught him and hit a suplex across the ring. Brutus whipped Jericho into the turnbuckle followed by a gutwrench suplex into a slam. Kushida tagged in against Strong with Kushida hitting a hiptoss and a dropkick. Kushida took out both Creed Brothers, but then Strong hit a forearm to the back leading to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Jiro was legal against Julius with Jiro kicking him in the back. Julius came back with a powerful suplex. Brutus worked over Jiro with repeated forearms to the head. Brutus with a knee drop, then Brutus missed a knee drop and Jones go the tag against Strong. Jones launched Strong into the air and then Jones hit a corner splash. Strong came back with a boot to the face followed by an Olympic Slam, but the pin was broken up by Odyssey’s partners. Kushida and Jiro cleared the ring, so Jones hit a running cross body block on Strong for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kushida, Ikemen Jiro & Odyssey Jones

Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average tag team match with a bit of chaos at the end with a lot of guys in the ring. I liked most of the work in the match with the Creed Brothers showing their power, Strong had a couple of moments where it looked like it might win and then the big man Jones used his power to get the win. Kushida and Jiro are always good. I don’t mind if they push Jones because he’s popular with the crowd and fun to watch.

The Grizzled Young Veterans were shown holding the NXT Tag Team Champions with Zack Gibson (with James Drake) talking to his grandma on a Facetime call and “Nana” said she was proud of them. Gibson said that should get him her inheritance. Gibson said now they had to take back the Women’s Tag Team Titles to Toxic Attraction, so they left.

Analysis: That meant they stole the Women’s Tag Team Titles of Toxic Attraction so that Gibson could fool his grandma into thinking he was a champion. I guess that makes Gibson evil.

Andre Chase was up next for a match.

(Commercial)

MSK were shown in the airport trying to go on a trip. They showed them when they were on separate flights and then in an empty part of the airport. They hugged eachother. Wes Lee and Nash Carter said that they had to go find the guy that is an inspirational shaman in tag team wrestling. They left to go find him.

Analysis: I don’t know why this has taken three weeks, but here we are

Xyon Quinn vs. Andre Chase

They exchanged armbars while fans chanted “Chase U sucks.” Chase got a takedown leading to a slap to the head, which was a big mistake. Quinn with an atomic drop, then a shoulder tackle and Quinn missed a corner charge because Chase moved, so Quinn hit the turnbuckle. Chase with a neckbreaker for two. Chase stomped on Quinn while spelling out “Chase U” during each stomp. Chase applied a chinlock, Quinn powered out of it and Chase hit some elbows to the jaw. Quinn lifted up Chase on the shoulders leading to a spinning neckbreaker. Quinn hit a Jackhammer slam for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xyon Quinn

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Quinn. Chase didn’t get a lot of offense, but I’m surprised he got as much as he did in this match. The Jackhammer slam is a good finisher choice for Quinn, who has an impressive array of power moves.

Post match, Quinn was attacked by Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. Quinn managed to fight them off until Santos Escobar made his return with a forearm to the back. Elektra Lopez told Quinn: “No one says no to Elektra Lopez.” The Legado guys slammed Quinn on the steel that was there. Lopez stared back at the fallen Quinn, who she had flirted with in the past.

Analysis: It is Quinn’s first feud in NXT with Quinn likely having to deal with the three Legado guys led by Santos Escobar. The story has been built for a few weeks with Lopez flirting with Quinn, who turned her down and that’s why Lopez had her allies beat up Quinn. It should lead to Quinn finding a way to beat them and maybe Quinn will get some help in the feud as well.

The Poker Showdown between Duke Hudson and Cameron Grimes is up next.

(Commercial)

Raquel Gonzalez was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Raquel said she hasn’t had a good night’s rest since before Halloween Havoc. Raquel said she took that NXT Women’s Title with her for 200 days and took that title everywhere. Raquel said she’ll take that title back from Mandy Rose while telling Dakota Kai to bring the shovel because Raquel will bury Dakota with it.

Poker Showdown

There was an in-ring Poker Showdown with Duke Hudson and Cameron Grimes. Alicia Taylor read the rules. The wrestlers were seated at the end of the table while there was also a poker dealer. Hudson said that he doesn’t need luck because luck is for losers. Duke told Grimes he’s going to make him his bitch. Grimes said everyone there can see Duke is nervous. Grimes pointed out that last week everybody chanted “you got played” at Hudson so the fans chanted it again.

Grimes had a K-3 and bet $500. Hudson had 5-5 so he made it $1000. Grimes called it. The flop was a 5-J-10 all hearts. Grimes went $1000 while Hudson raised it to $4000 with his three 5’s. Grimes called. The turn card is a Queen of Spades so Grimes had a straight possibility. Grimes bet $2000, called Hudson “Dukey” and the fans chanted “Dukey” so Duke requested silence, which drew more boos. Hudson called. The last card was a 7 of hearts, so Grimes had nothing. Grimes said that when it comes to the moments that make you a star, Duke drops the ball. Grimes said that Hudson has a chance to show how big those balls are and Grimes said he’s all in. Grimes wondered if his balls were raisins or cantaloupes, which led to a “raisins” chant. Hudson said that Grimes has the flush and Grimes said if he thinks that then make the right call. Hudson folded even though he would have won the hand. Hudson had to see the cards, so he grabbed them to show it was a K-3 that was nothing, so Grimes laughed at Hudson. Grimes started a “you got played” chant and Hudson was mad about Grimes bluffing him.

Hudson was furious about what happened, so he kicked and punched Grimes a bit. Hudson gave Grimes a huge Powerbomb through the table. Hudson went under the ring and opened up a toolbox. Hudson grabbed some scissors from under the ring. Hudson brought the scissors into the ring and cut some of Cameron’s hair and beard. Referees came out to stop Hudson, who left up the ramp.

Analysis: I like poker, I play poker and I’m sitting here wondering why this poker segment was on this TV show. It’s just one hand of poker and it’s not that interesting to watch. I thought Hudson’s cheap attack was fitting for a heel like him, so that made it worthwhile in the long run. I also think it’s fair to assume Grimes will come back with a shorter hair look as well as a trimmed-down beard or maybe no more beard. Anyway, this should lead to a match between Grimes/Hudson soon.

Von Wagner was in the locker room with Kyle O’Reilly, who said that he saw Von on Smackdown as Adam Pearce’s bodyguard. Wagner tried to explain. Kyle said he didn’t care and asked what they do on Tuesday nights, so Wagner said it’s time to take care of business. They have a tag team match up next.

(Commercial)

The team of Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner made their entrance while their opponents were already in the ring.

Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner

Kyle worked over Jensen with kicks to the body and Jensen hit a body slam. Briggs tagged in for a double team shoulder tackle followed by a double punch. NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium were shown watching a TV backstage. Wagner tagged in, he exchanged power moves with Briggs and Wagner hit a jumping shoulder tackle. Kyle tagged in, he got caught in the heel corner and Briggs kicked Kyle in the head. Jensen worked over Kyle with punches as well as clotheslines and an elbow drop for two. Jensen with a bearhug, Briggs back in with a bearhug, Jensen with another bearhug and Kyle broke free. Wagner tagged in with a clothesline followed by a gutwrench suplex. Wagner with a lifting flatliner and sent Briggs over the top to the floor. Kyle with a running knee on Briggs on the floor. Wagner with a double underhook suplex for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner

Analysis: *3/4 It was okay with the babyface team of Kyle and Wagner looking impressive as a team that might get a title shot soon. It’s obvious that the creative team is high on Wagner and want to keep showcasing him in matches like that.

Imperium was shown watching on a TV while speaking in Italian and Germany. They agreed that no team in NXT is a match for them.

Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta were backstage with Indi looking concerned about Dexter getting checked out for his hand injury. Persia told Indi to go be with her man because Persia has got this match on her own.

(Commercial)

Lashing Out with Lash Legend was shown for the talk show. Lash talked about Kay Lee Ray walking out when Mandy Rose and Toxic Attraction was there. Grayson Waller showed up talking about how it’s about how many likes and follows you have, not about your indy wrestling experience. Waller said LA Knight asks “whose game is it” while claiming that the game has changed.

Persia Pirotta vs. Gabby Stephens & Jenna Levy

Pirotta shoved one of her opponents down and then she saw Robert Stone in the aisle. Pirotta sent one of the opponents into the turnbuckle. Pirotta with two clotheslines, then a third clothesline and a boot to the face. Pirotta used her power to pick up both opponents on her shoulders leading to a double Samoan Drop. Pirotta with a spinning sitout slam for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Persia Pirotta

Analysis: 1/2* A squash win by Pirotta, who did a nice job of showing off her power and looking dominant. She might not be in a tag team for long.

Dakota Kai was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Kai said she’s been lost ever since she lost to Raquel, so she has to get rid of the past and end Raquel. Mandy Rose walked in with the NXT Women’s Title along with Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne by her side. Kai said that after tonight, Mandy won’t thank her once, they will thank her twice. Zack Gibson and James Drake showed up to give the girls (Gigi and Jacy) back their titles. Zack told James when you need to lie, hide it next to the truth.

Tommaso Ciampa did a promo with the NXT Title. Ciampa spoke about defending the title in Europe and spoke about the young talent in NXT, but then said he’ll address it in the ring.

(Commercial)

A video aired showing highlights of Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter going to music festivals together. They’re the life of the party and bringing the party to everybody. Good for them.

Let’s Hear from Tommaso Ciampa

The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa did a promo on his way to the ring. Ciampa referred to Carmelo Hayes calling the North American Title the “A Title” but he won’t do that around Ciampa. Tommaso mentioned Grayson Waller saying that guys from Ciampa’s generation how they used to travel around wrestling and ripped on Grayson for his comments.

Bron Breakker showed up for the promo interruption. The crowd was barking with Bron joining in as a tribute to his dad Rick Steiner, the dog faced gremlin that liked to bark. Breakker said he bet Ciampa is pissed off that there’s a new crop of talent and Breakker told Ciampa to worry about him because Bron is going to take that NXT Championship.

Ciampa called for the ending of Halloween Havoc three weeks earlier with Ciampa beating Breakker to keep his title. Ciampa said that was 1, 2, 3. Ciampa said Breakker has less than a 33.3% chance of ever taking the NXT Title from him. Ciampa said that Breakker is just a puppy while Ciampa is the NXT Champion. Ciampa left.

Analysis: It seems like they’ll do Ciampa vs. Breakker at NXT WarGames next month and maybe Breakker gets the title from him there. Nice 33.3% reference to Bron’s uncle Scott Steiner. Well played.

Next week on NXT:

* NXT North American Title: Carmelo Hayes vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne.

* During the main event, they also announced Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grayson Waller.

Raquel Gonzalez made her entrance for the main event.

(Commercial)

They showed US Olympic Gold Medal women’s wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock sitting at ringside for this match.

Dakota Kai entered with her pink hair for the main event.

Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai

Gonzalez used her power advantage in the first few minutes with Kai trying to get away, but Gonzalez kept attacking her. Gonzalez sent Kai back first into the turnbuckle with Kai smiling at her since Kai is a bit of a crazy character at this point. Gonzalez sent Kai into the turnbuckle two times. Gonzalez with a backbreaker across her back leading to a running slam into the turnbuckle. Gonzalez hit a running forearm against the turnbuckle. Kai finally got some offense after Gonzalez missed a charging attack, then she was on the floor and Kai hit her with a kick to the head.

(Commercial)

Kai with a drop toe hold into the ropes followed by a running kick to the head. They battled on the turnbuckle fighting over a move with Kai sending Gonzalez sternum first into the top turnbuckle. Kai with a pump kick to the face for a two count. The fans were chanting for both women as they are known to do. Gonzalez got a hold of Kai and hit a two-handed choke bomb. Gonzalez fired up again with a running shoulder tackle, Kai took the bottom turnbuckle off and Gonzalez hit a fallaway slam. Gonzalez with an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. They each got nearfalls. Gonzalez blocked a Kai kick and then did a spinning slam into the mat. The fans were chanting “NXT” for them. They fought over an armbar and then Kai did an arm wringer that sent Gonzalez into the steel turnbuckle that was exposed. Kai brought in a shovel that she used to attack Gonzalez in the past. Gonzalez kicked Kai to prevent the attack, Gonzalez got the shovel and that led to Toxic Attraction’s Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne to attack Gonzalez for the DQ.

Winner by disqualification: Raquel Gonzalez

Analysis: *** This was a pretty good match that was actually given time unlike most of the matches on this show. I like how they booked this with Kai as the aggressive heel while Gonzalez kept on fighting back as the babyface that wouldn’t quit. Just when it looked like Gonzalez was going to get revenge with the shovel, that’s when Toxic Attraction hit for the DQ finish. Nobody ever really likes a DQ finish, but I get why they did it here because of what they set up.

Toxic Attraction held onto Gonzalez so that Kai could kick Gonzalez. I don’t think Kai’s kick even touched Gonzalez. Cora Jade ran out with a skateboard to attack the heels, but Rose stopped her with a clothesline. Jayne with a jumping kick on Jade. Zoey Stark appeared with a brace on her left leg and crutches since she got hurt, so then Io Shirai showed up with a crutch. Shirai used the crutch as an equalizer to attack the four heels in the ring. Shirai was cleaning house with the crutch attack. Jade hit a DDT on Jayne on the skateboard. Gonzalez sent Kai onto the apron and then ran Dolin into Kai to knock her out of the ring. The fans were chanting “Wargames” because they knew what was coming. The four heels were out on the floor. Shirai, Gonzalez and Jade were in the ring with Shirai saying one word: “Wargames!” The fans cheered. End show.

Analysis: I thought they did a good job of building to the WarGames announcement. We know the WarGames match is coming soon, so when you have multiple women in a segment fighting eachother, it makes sense to use that spot to announce it. I miss when William Regal was the authority figure in charge and would announce it, but NXT 2.0 doesn’t use Regal even though he’s still a part of the brand. Anyway, the babyface team will need a fourth woman so they have a few options there like Kay Lee Ray if they want to book her as a face. I assume it will be 4 on 4 rather than 5 on 5 in this match.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Raquel Gonzalez
  2. Dakota Kai
  3. Johnny Gargano

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 6 out of 10

Last week: 5.75

2021 Average: 7.13

 

Final Thoughts

It was the usual kind of show from the NXT 2.0 brand. Just average, but that’s a better score than the last two weeks because I thought the show ended on a strong note. They did a better job of advancing some storylines like Hudson/Grimes although I think the poker segment dragged on too long. I just liked what they did after the segment. The Legado guys attacking Xyon Quinn sets up that rivalry as well. The North American Title triple threat match should be outstanding next week.

The match quality could have been improved in some cases although, in NXT, that’s not always a big priority. It’s more about the stories and getting the characters over. I just think it’s not that exciting in some cases, so the show just comes across as average to me.

I liked the show ending angle to set up WarGames for the women’s division. The crowd was into it too.

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John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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