This week’s NXT 2.0 episode is the follow up to the WarGames pay-per-view event that took place this past Sunday.
I thought the NXT WarGames PPV was very good and if you didn’t read my review, you can check that out here. The two WarGames matches were highlights along with the Tag Team Title match. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see who steps up and we should also learn more about the futures of some key NXT wrestlers.
This episode is taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The opening video package showed some highlights from Sunday’s WarGames event.
The ring was surrounded by a Steel Cage because it’s a Steel Cage Match to open the show just like there was on Raw. Von Wagner made his entrance first with the fans booing him, Kyle O’Reilly attacked him from behind and then they went into the cage to start the match. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as a two-person team since Beth Phoenix’s last day was at WarGames.
Steel Cage Match: Von Wagner vs. Kyle O’Reilly
It was mentioned by Joseph that you can only win by pinfall or submission.
Kyle was the aggressor, but Wagner hit a clothesline followed by shoulder tackles. Kyle went for an armbar, but Wagner came back with a belly to back suplex. Kyle worked over Wagner with repeated knees to the body. Wagner shoved Kyle down followed by a boot to the face. Wagner hit a gutwrench suplex across the ring, so the fans chanted “you still suck” at Wagner after they were chanting “you suck” at Wagner. Kyle got back into it with some knees, but Wagner blocked a kick leading to a body slam and a headbutt to the chest. Wagner applied a waistlock on Kyle on the mat to try to wear Kyle down. The fans were cheering for Kyle as Kyle fought back with elbows and an arm wrench against the shoulder. Kyle wrenched the leg against the ropes. Kyle with kicks to the legs and Wagner came back with a clothesline. Wagner with a Powerbomb into the cage, but then Kyle hit a DDT. They went to a picture in picture break.
They got into a bit of a slugfest with Kyle getting some kicks, Wagner charged and Kyle sent him into the cage. Kyle with kicks to the body followed by a running knee to the head. Kyle with three forearms that sent Wagner into the cage along with more kicks. Kyle went for a Guillotine Choke submission, but Wagner powered out of it into a suplex as fans chanted “you still suck” at Wagner. Running high knee (like Triple H) by Wagner for a two count. Kyle with another kick to the legs followed by a forearm to the face. Kyle went up top, Wagner followed, Wagner sent Kyle into the cage, then Kyle sent Wagner into the cage and Kyle jumped off the top with a jumping knee smash to the back of the head for a two count. Wagner did the low blow uppercut punch that was legal in a match like this. Wagner whipped Kyle into the cage twice and then Wagner hit a double underhook sitout suplex for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner
Analysis: ***1/4 It was okay for a cage match, but nothing special. They really didn’t use the cage much as a weapon very often, so it felt like a regular match where they were in a cage for most of it. They need to make it look more vicious by whipping the guy into the cage and doing moves into the cage. After Kyle only got a two count after the knee drop off the top, it was obvious that Wagner was going to win. That led to the low blow followed by the finisher from Wagner. It may be the end of Kyle in NXT, so it’s not a surprise that he did the job here to put over Wagner.
After the match, Wagner saw that Kyle was getting back up, so Wagner set him up so that he was upside down against the turnbuckle by the door. Wagner slammed the door two times on an upside down Kyle. Wagner whipped the door into Kyle’s head. Wagner posed in front of a fallen O’Reilly while fans chanted “you still” suck at Wagner. Barrett said Wagner has turned from a boy into a man and he’s a player in NXT now.
Analysis: They really put over Wagner in a big way with the post match attack. It was cheap and got a lot of heat while Kyle was helpless in an upside down position. I think Wagner is easy to like because he’s a bigger guy, but from a personality standpoint, I don’t know if he’s that interesting. I think he’s a guy that could benefit a lot by having a manager like Malcolm Bivens or somebody else. I like Wagner’s aggressiveness here, but again I don’t know if he’s going to stand out other than being a guy that’s 6’5” and 270 pounds.
They showed a clip of Johnny Gargano’s promo after NXT WarGames. Johnny said that the NXT crowd is like his family and he’s got a lot of his mind. Gargano said that he’ll tell us everything on his mind this Tuesday on NXT.
Bron Breakker was shown walking backstage. He’s up next.
A commercial aired for Smackdown hyping up Brock Lesnar going after Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
There was a promo from Joe Gacy saying that what he did at WarGames was more important than the Cruiserweight Title. Gacy said he is trying to change the name of a show that has barriers (205 Live). Gacy said that people don’t consider the size of Harland’s heart, Joe accepts Harland and next week, Harland will make his official in-ring debut. Gacy said it will only be a matter of time until the world accepts Harland too. Gacy said together we can change the world.
Analysis: I figure there’s a name change coming for 205 Live since it’s basically a show featuring NXT wrestlers now instead of cruiserweights like it was in the past. Gacy’s an interesting character to me and I look forward to Harland’s debut.
Let’s Hear from Bron Breakker
Bron Breakker made his entrance wearing a Break Breakker shirt. Bron said that at WarGames, he can honestly say that he has nothing but the utmost respect for Team Black & Gold. Breakker said that Ciampa pinned Breakker at Halloween Havoc and Breakker pinned him at WarGames, so Breakker is throwing out the challenge to face Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship.
Diamond Mine showed up with Malcolm Bivens congratulating Breakker on his win. Bivens was joined by the Creed Brothers and Ivy Nile. Bivens told Breakker he’s the real deal, but he’s not the only one that was successful at WarGames because Roderick Strong had another victory. Bivens said that the weight limit has been lifted, so he’s taking on all comers. Breakker threatened to kick Bivens’ ass, but Bivens said that the Creed Brothers wouldn’t let that happen. Bivens kept calling Bron “LeBron” said that Strong gave Team Black & Gold the blueprint to build NXT. Bivens said that Roderick Strong is the champion in NXT and he’s got his sights set on Breakker. Bron said he didn’t see him. Bivens said he’s not there and said that next week, Strong wants to face Breakker. Bron said he accepts the challenge and left. Bron left the ring and slapped the hands of the crowd to show he’s a babyface.
Analysis: Breakker was in pure babyface mode here, so if you think he was going heel after WarGames, that isn’t happening. Breakker wanting Ciampa again is fine with me. I assume they do it at New Year’s Evil in four weeks and Breakker is probably going to win the NXT Title there.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen entered for tag team action.
A video aired reminding us that MSK will find out who The Shaman is later in the show.
Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen vs. The Creed Brothers (Brutus & Julius Creed)
Grizzled Young Veterans were on commentary while Imperium watched the match from a distance. Jensen with a shoulder tackle followed by a forearm to the back. Briggs and Jensen hit a double team shoulder tackle on Brutus. Briggs slammed Julius down followed by a splash. Briggs and Jensen each connected with punches on Julius at the same time. Brutus was back in with a belly to belly suplex. Julius and Brutus each with knee strikes to the ribs of Jensen. Julius with a body slam. The Creed Brothers each did fireman’s carry takeovers on Jensen. Brutus with a clothesline that sent Jensen over the top to the floor. Julius hit a suplex on Jensen on the floor. James Drake did something to the turnbuckle while Briggs wasn’t looking. Julius applied a Stretch Muffler on Jensen, who fought out of it and kicked Julius away. Briggs couldn’t find the tag team rope because Drake took it. The referee didn’t let Briggs tag in because of no tag rope. Jensen countered a move by Brutus and Jensen sat on top of Brutus for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen
Analysis: ** This wasn’t very interesting. I like both teams in terms of their long-term growth, but it had a lame finish with the tag rope thing and then Jensen ended up winning anyway. I thought it made the Creed Brothers look weak. They are guys that I think should be protected better than that. The match just didn’t click that well with me.
Von Wagner was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Wagner wondering what she expected to happen while commenting on Wagner’s win over Kyle O’Reilly earlier. Wagner said that WarGames is over, Kyle is done and Wagner’s WarGames is just beginning. Wagner left while Robert Stone showed up, so maybe that’s a tease of Stone trying to recruit Wagner.
Coming up next is the new look Duke Hudson.
They showed Xyon Quinn training for his match against Santos Escobar.
Let’s Hear from Duke Hudson
Duke Hudson went to the ring wearing a blonde wig on his head. Hudson said that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet because he read articles saying that Hudson had his head shaved bald, but he has fixed it and it’s as good as new. Hudson said that Cameron Grimes is a disappointment to everybody in the WWE Universe along with his friends and family. Hudson put on some headgear to keep the hair in place.
Cameron Grimes said he knew that Duke would do this, but he didn’t expect Duke to do this. Grimes said he shaved Duke bald, yet here’s Duke denying it. Hudson said that Grimes did something illegal because he held the tights. Grimes said that he knows who he is (admitting that he is a cheater) and he won’t mind doing it all again saying they should do it in a No Holds Barred match. Hudson accepted the match. Hudson tried a cheap attack, Grimes was ready for it and Hudson left while holding onto his wig.
Analysis: What Duke Hudson did is similar to Kurt Angle in 2002 including the wig and the headgear. I guess somebody on the creative team was familiar with it. Anyway, a No Holds Barred match next week is fine with me because it’s probably a way to end the feud for good. Grimes should win that match too.
They showed Kushida and Ikemen Jiro congratulated Briggs & Jensen for their victory. Grizzled Young Veterans showed up saying that Briggs & Jensen won because of them. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter walked up saying they had concert tickets. Briggs and Jensen said they’ll go. GYV and Kushida/Jiro got into a brawl with referees breaking it up. There was also some woman (the former Mei Ying) that has a pillow that apparently sleeps in the background.
Analysis: That was chaotic. Too much going on at once. I understand wanting to build the tag team division, so at least that’s a good thing long term.
Carmelo Hayes, the NXT North American Champion, entered for singles action.
Grayson Waller was shown hitting on a girl in a parking lot. The girl said she’s hanging out with somebody else and it was LA Knight, who is Waller’s rival. Knight said that Waller was all about likes and views, so how does he like this view? Waller said he’s going to get some views.
Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Dexter Lumis
This is not for the North American Title held by Hayes. Lumis had his right hand injured after an attack from Hayes and Williams about a month ago.
Lumis with an uppercut punch on Hayes, who had his ribs taped up to sell the WarGames match physicality. Hayes with a kick to the gut, then a chop and Lumis sent Hayes ribs first into the turnbuckle. Lumis with a body slam while locking eyes with Williams. Lumis left the ring to go after Williams, Hayes left the ring and Lumis decked Hayes with a punch. Back in the ring, Lumis with repeated shoulder tackles to the ribs. Lumis charged, Hayes avoided him and Hayes hit a springboard clothesline for two. Hayes stepped on Dexter’s right hand followed by pulling on some fingers. Lumis with a punch to the body followed by Thesz Press leading to punches and a double axehandle to the chest. Lumis tossed Hayes out of the ring. Lumis crawled towards Hayes, but Hayes capitalized on that with a kick while on the apron.
Hayes was in control with a headlock, then a stomp on the hand missed when Lumis moved and Lumis connected with some punches. Hayes rammed the hand of Lumis into the mat. I think I heard the referee say “two and a half” to the wrestlers to let them know how many minutes were left. Hayes whipped Lumis into the turnbuckle. Lumis back up, Hayes with a kick and Lumis hit a suplex. Lumis with two clotheslines, a corner clothesline and a bulldog. Lumis with a belly to back suplex into a leg drop for two. Hayes got a rollup for two. Lumis with a Silence submission move, so Williams punched Lumis for the DQ finish. (It was two and a half minutes after the ref said that by the way.) The match went 13 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Dexter Lumis
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with a lame finish since it was a cheap DQ. Lumis matches aren’t that interesting. Hayes worked hard, but it’s tough to have a great match with Lumis. They’ll probably do the match again soon.
Post match, Lumis got his hands on Williams going for the Silence submission again, but Hayes saved Williams. The heels Hayes and Williams retreated.
MSK were shown in one of their skits where they were able to find The Shaman. It was Riddle. MSK were so happy to see him. Riddle said he was waiting for them to come find him. Riddle sat down with Wes Lee and Nash Carter along with some candles. Lee and Carter talked about how they have won so much so fast (Dusty Cup and Tag Team Titles), so Carter wondered if this was it for them. Riddle remembered when he won those things with Pete Dunne and he misses that guy. Riddle said it’s not going to be easy at the end of the day. Lee mentioned Imperium beat them for the Tag Team Titles, Carter asked if they are goofing off so much and what needs to change. Riddle said they don’t need to change. Riddle said they’ve been to the top, they’ve fallen and they will climb up to the top again. Riddle claimed he’ll be there every step of the way. Riddle opened the bag and he was happy to see what was there.
Analysis: I guess we are to assume that the bag was full of marijuana since we know Riddle is a stoner. Anyway, this was done to try to give MSK confidence to keep being themselves and try to get back their titles. They spent like six weeks building to that.
The Toxic Attraction trio of NXT Women’s Champion and NXT Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne were shown backstage with Mandy saying they had business to take care of.
Indi Hartwell was shown backstage with Persia Pirotta, who said now that Dexter is back, Indi can focus again. Persia said she needs Indi to be 100% and she needs to leave the love at home. Dexter Lumis walked in to pick up Indi. Johnny Gargano walked in and hugged them.
The Toxic Attraction trio of Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne entered for tag team action.
Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne vs. Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon
Dolin had her ribs taped while Jayne had her right arm taped to sell WarGames injuries. Jayne was sent into the turnbuckle. Dolin tagged in with a kick to the back and Jayne hit a clothesline. Dolin with a forearm to the head. Dolin with a whip into the corner, then a kick to the head. Jayne wit ha cannonball splash on Leon against the turnbuckle. Leon had Jayne on the back leading to a running slam across the ring. Dolin tagged in against Feroz, who hit a dropkick across the ring. Feroz jumped off the top with a cross body block for two. Jayne back in with a running neckbreaker on Feroz. Jayne with a spinning kick to the had for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
Analysis: *1/2 This was pretty basic with the champions winning against some easy opponents. It gives Dolin and Jayne a win after they lost in WarGames.
Mandy Rose did a promo saying they are the baddest bitches in town and still got all the gold. Rose said that she knows that everybody wants a shot at them. Rose said she didn’t blame anybody for that because when you’re this damn good, it’s expected. Rose said they aren’t running from anybody. Mandy mentioned possible opponents while saying they will be waiting and they are still the attraction.
Cora Jade was up next with a sling on her left arm. Jade thanked Mandy for mentioning her again. Cora said two weeks ago she beat Mandy and Cora’s team won WarGames. Rose told Cora no and Mandy threatened to kick her ass right now.
Raquel Gonzalez was up next with a steel chair, so she entered the ring and the women left.
Analysis: A simple promo tog et heat by Mandy leading to two challengers stepping up.
A video aired about Tiffany Stratton coming to NXT soon.
Tony D’Angelo was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Tony saying that Tiffany looks like a great athlete. Tony had a “trophy” from WarGames – a Pete Dunne mouthguard. Andre Chase walked up saying if Tony listened to him then Tony would look like a star. Tony challenged Chase to a match next week. Chase said that nobody talks that way and it’s a teachable moment.
Santos Escobar made his entrance with his Legado del Fantasma group up next.
Cora Jade was shown talking to Raquel Gonzalez. Jade wondered what it would be like if she got the chance to win the NXT Women’s Title from Mandy Rose. Raquel felt like she deserved the next shot at the title. Kay Lee Ray walked up to them with a green baseball bat because she thought Cora needs it more than her. When they asked KLR what she will use, KLR said she has plenty of things.
Xyon Quinn vs. Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza & Elektra Lopez)
Escobar with a hard chop to the chest. Escobar charged leading to Quinn hitting a double forearm strike to the chest. Quinn launched Escobar face first into the top turnbuckle. The announcers talked about how if Lopez had eyes for Quinn and vice versa. Quinn drove Escobar into the turnbuckle. Quinn with a body slam. The Legado guys distracted Quinn so Escobar kneed Quinn off the apron to the floor. Quinn bounced back quick and went back into the ring while Escobar left to the floor. They did a picture in picture break.
Escobar was in control of Quinn with an armbar on the left arm. Quinn came back with punches, a headbuttt, an atomic drop and a clothesline. Quinn tossed Escobar across the ring followed by a shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle. Escobar with a jumping kick to the head. Escobar with double knees against the turnbuckle. Quinn got a hold of Escobar on the shoulders and a spinning Samoan Drop connected. They battled on the turnbuckle, Quinn teased a slam, but Escobar fought out of that. They balanced on the top ropes and Escobar hit a hurricanrana on Quinn across the ring. Quinn landed near Lopez, so Lopez put brass knuckles in the hands of Quinn. When Quin realized it, he threw the brass knuckles at Wilde on the apron. Escobar capitalized with a jumping knee and a Phantom Driver for the pinfall win. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar
Analysis: **1/2 A cheap win for the heel Escobar due to his allies at ringside. The numbers game played a factor as usual and they will probably do the match down the road with Quinn getting the win. The question becomes was Lopez genuine in wanting to help Quinn win or did she do it on purpose to mess with him and cost him the match? That hurricanrana spot off the top was cool, but also took a while to set up. I’m a bit surprised that Quinn would be booked to lose a match so early in his run since he’s been dominant for a few months.
There was a parking segment where Carmelo Hayes went up to Malcolm Bivens of Diamond Mine to remind them that Melo is the main A Champion in NXT. Bivens: “Why is everybody so damn disrespectful around here?” That was funny.
Next week on NXT: Cameron Grimes vs. Duke Hudson in a No Holds Barred Match.
Johnny Gargano was shown backstage with his pregnant wife Candice LeRae and their dog. Johnny was up next in the main event spot.
Boa did a promo in Chinese with the words on the screen. Boa called out newcomer Edris Enofe, so that’s a new feud coming soon.
Let’s Hear from Johnny Gargano
They were near the top of hour two of the show, so there would be an overrun this week. The fans greeted Gargano with a huge ovation along with a loud “Johnny Wrestling” chant repeatedly.
Johnny said that “Heartbreak (Shawn Michaels) told me I can go as long as I want.” Johnny noted that Chucky is not on after, but the movie London Has Fallen is and they can wait. Johnny claimed he was a La Femme Nikita guy. Look it up, kids. The fans chanted “please don’t go” at him.
Johnny noted that this won’t be his most eloquent promo. Johnny said he wishes he enjoyed this more while noting that he worried if his match, promo and performance was good enough. Johnny said he always wanted the fans to have the best. Johnny said that the fans have given him everything. Johnny said in 2015 he was told in a tryout that he wouldn’t be in NXT. Johnny mentioned William Regal bringing him back for a match against Apollo Crews and the fans chanted “Johnny Wrestling” for him. The fans chanted “Johnny Wrestling” as Johnny said this is all because of the fans. Johnny mentioned Takeover main events, video games, action figures and he can’t thank us enough for that. Johnny said that inside him is that chubby 8-year-old wrestling fan. Johnny spoke about self-confidence issues his whole life, but the only place that ever felt special is in this ring in front of all of them.
Johnny said that he’s been in NXT for so long because he loves this place and believes in it so much. Johnny shouted out mom crying at home while his dad might be sleeping. Johnny talked about how Hunter and Shawn mean the world to him. Johnny mentioned so many others backstage along with one of his best friends Vic Joseph there, then Johnny mentioned more people and said that this is like his family that will never change…but sometimes change needs to happen.
Johnny had a message saying you will never fail if you bet on yourself. Johnny admitted he didn’t know about his immediate future, but in February he’ll start the most important job in his life – he will be a dad. The fans chanted “Baby Wrestling” for Johnny’s unborn son. Johnny said he’ll show his son that chant some day and he’ll love it. Johnny’s excited for that because he’ll love that little guy so much. Johnny said that he’s going to teach his son to be the best man he can be and there’s Grayson Waller with a chair to the back!
Waller tossed Johnny out of the ring with the fans chanting “Asshole” at Waller. That led to Waller putting a chair around Johnny’s throat and jamming the chair into the steel steps. Waller gave Gargano a Powerbomb through the announce table. The fans chanted “piece of shit” at Waller, who seemed to enjoy it. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Great speech by Johnny. The fans wouldn’t shut up during most of it, which is not too surprising if you are a regular NXT viewer. That is not me complaining about the fans. I like their passion and the way they support the talent. I honestly have no idea what Johnny is doing next in his career and I think he’s genuine in saying he’s not sure either. I’m not that surprised by the Waller attack because that’s how WWE tends to do these kinds of things where you get all sad about something and then it’s taken away to do an angle. I don’t blame them for doing an angle because if Gargano is sticking around NXT longer then it’s a good thing for Waller getting to feud with him. If there’s no Johnny after this then Waller can be the guy that brags that he took out Johnny.
After the show, the fans cheered for Gargano and O’Reilly some more. Shawn Michaels walked out to hug them. Shawn kissed Gargano on the forehead as well.
— Danielle (@DtfMania) December 8, 2021
Three Stars of the Show
- Johnny Gargano
- Kyle O’Reilly
- Carmelo Hayes
This week: 6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2021 Average: 7.11
It was more of a mixed bag episode this week. A little weak on the wrestling side, but I liked most of the promos and vignettes to further stories along. It’s an easy show to get into like most weeks, but for people still hung up on the old NXT brand then it’s probably tough to like this that much. The longest match was the Wagner/O’Reilly cage match and while it was good at times, it just didn’t feel like a great match. The cage match on Raw was a lot better.
As for the wrestling future of Johnny Gargano and Kyle O’Reilly, I don’t have any secret info on what is next. Your guess is as good as mine. I think Gargano is more likely to stay with WWE whether it’s in NXT, Raw or Smackdown. O’Reilly could be AEW bound early next year at some point. That’s just my feeling. I’ll watch and support both guys no matter where they are.
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.