The John Report: WWE NXT 12/28/21 Review

wwe nxt dec 28 hayes strong

This week’s NXT episode is the final episode of 2021 along with the last show before next week’s New Year’s Evil special on the first show of 2022.

This is going to be a condensed review by me. I am working on the WWE Johnny Awards and simply want to take it a bit easy since it’s a holiday week. I’ll have quick summaries of the matches and promos.

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

Let’s Hear from Grayson Waller

Grayson Waller did a show opening promo about being on Raw on Monday. The fans hated Waller. It led to Waller trashing AJ Styles more while also ripping on his theme song. Waller said that he was supposed to face Dexter Lumis, but he can’t compete and Waller ripped on Dexter’s “wife” Indi Hartwell as well. Anyway, Odyssey Jones walked out as Waller’s opponent. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual.

Grayson Waller vs. Odyssey Jones

Jones used his power to control the action early on. They went to a break during the match. Waller got a nearfall with an elbow drop off the middle rope. They did a spot out of the corner with Jones hitting a Powerbomb while Waller took the turnbuckle pad off. Waller avoided a Jones attack, Jones hit the exposed steel by the turnbuckle and Waller hit a Stunner-like move for the pinfall win. It went eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Grayson Waller

Analysis: **1/2 The positive momentum for Waller continues with another win, this time over a bigger opponent. The crowd hates Waller, so he does a nice job of getting heat.

AJ Styles appeared on the video screen for a taped promo saying that he’s going to be at NXT next week and he’ll see Waller at New Year’s Evil.

Raquel Gonzalez and Cora Jade were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Raquel and Cora said they would work together as a team. Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray showed up saying they wanted a title shot. Mandy Rose, the NXT Women’s Champion, did a cell phone promo saying she’ll give her Toxic Attraction girls the night off, so Io and Ray can face Raquel and Cora instead. The winning team are put in the triple threat against Mandy for the NXT Women’s Title at New Year’s Evil next week.

Analysis: I guess the Toxic Attraction team of Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne are not cleared or maybe one of them has an issue. Hope they are okay.

Grayson Waller was backstage and told AJ Styles to put up or shut up. Waller bumped into MSK when he walked into them.

Xyon Quinn said that Elektra Lopez needs to decide between him or Legado del Fantasma and this needs to happen tonight. The choice is hers.

MSK Calls Out Imperium

The MSK duo of Wes Lee and Nash Carter were back in the arena after being part of vignettes for about two months. They did a promo about finding their Shaman bro Riddle. That led to Riddle doing a taped promo about being like a “higher power” (marijuana reference) and Riddle wanted MSK to challenge Imperium for the Tag Team Titles. MSK called out Imperium, the NXT Tag Team Champions. When Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner appeared, they said that MSK cannot touch them with Barthel saying they are the best tag team this division has ever seen. Carter wanted a title match right now. WALTER appeared via video message saying MSK are a disgrace for the mat they are standing on. Walter told MSK they do not deserve a title match. Riddle appeared via split-screen to challenge Walter, Aichner & Barthel for a 6-man tag team match next week. Walter accepted the challenge.

Analysis: That’s a great tag team match for next week! It makes sense to not have Imperium put the titles on the line without MSK earning a title match, so doing a six-man tag is awesome. Plus, that means Walter is back in NXT, which is always a great thing and then Riddle is awesome as well. That should be an excellent match.

Edris Enofe was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Enofe talking about his first win on NXT last week over Von Wagner. That led to Wagner yelling about it, Malik Blade showed up and Wagner faces him later.

Joe Gacy and Harland were in the ring with Gacy saying that Brian Kendrick was the problem and he was wronged by Harland. Instead of Brian Kendrick showing up for a match, Andre Chase arrived to say it was a teachable moment. Gacy thanked Chase for being Mr. Kendrick’s replacement.

Harland (w/Joe Gacy) vs. Andre Chase

Harland grabbed Chase by the shirt collar and sent him into the mat. Harland used one hand to shove Chase over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Harland slammed Chase’s head into the mat repeatedly. The referee stopped the match after one minute.

Winner by referee stoppage: Harland

Analysis: 1/4* A dominant ass kicking by Harland. I don’t think head slamming into the mat is a great finisher, but I guess it works in this instance.

Post match, one of Andre’s “students” checked on him, so Harland pulled him out of the ring and carried the guy to the back.

Legado del Fantasma was backstage with Elektra Lopez asking what’s up with her. Solo Sikoa was backstage in the area, so Legado got in his face and Solo told Santos Escobar they can settle this in the ring.

Tiffany Stratton vs. Fallon Henley

It’s the debut of the rich girl Stratton on NXT. Stratton showed off her athleticism although she seemed to mess up a cartwheel attack in the corner. Stratton hit a flatliner for the win. It went about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: 1/2* An easy win for Stratton in her debut match. I thought it was okay until she messed up the cartwheel attack against the turnbuckle.

A promo aired from Tony D’Angelo talking about last week’s show when he attacked Pete Dunne by using a crowbar to Dunne’s hand.

Contract Signing for Unification Title Match

Wade Barrett moderated the contract signing. The NXT Cruiserweight Champion Roderick Strong was joined by Malcolm Bivens and the rest of his Diamond Mine group. Bivens talked about how Carmelo Hayes wasn’t there yet. The NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes arrived at that moment with Trick Williams, who called Roddy the “B” Champion since he won’t “be champion” for much longer. Williams spoke some more, so Bivens translated that Strong is a second-tier champion that can’t unite the titles. Bivens said that if you come at the king you best not miss, which is a line from Omar from HBO’s The Wire. That is one of my favorite shows of all-time. Barrett took control to try to get the contract signed.

Carmelo Hayes warned Strong not to play with him while telling Strong that he’s taking that Cruiserweight Champion and he will truly be the “A” Champion in NXT. Strong told Hayes that it was impressive that he even said that to his face. Strong said at New Year’s Evil it will be the greatest night of his career when he unifies those titles and he walks out a two-time North American Champion. Strong said Melo will be “Humbled Hayes.” Strong signed the contract first and then Hayes signed the contract. Barrett made it clear that the winner of the match at New Year’s Evil will be the NXT North American Champion.

After the signing, Bivens trash-talked Trick Williams, so then the Creed Brothers got a hold of Williams and slammed him through the table in the ring.

Analysis: The promos were okay. Bivens is such an entertaining manager and promo guy. I like him in NXT, but he could help people on Raw or Smackdown too. It will be the end of the Cruiserweight Title. I think Hayes will win and if he doesn’t, I’ll be surprised by that. It should be a great match.

There was a video featuring four NXT tag teams going after the tag team gold: Grizzled Young Veterans, Creed Brothers, Briggs & Jensen and Jacket Time. They all did promos about how competitive the division is. I think one guy said they have the best teams in NXT. I wouldn’t say that at all, but it’s nice to have confidence.

Solo Sikoa vs. Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza & Elektra Lopez)

There were some fans chanting “U…so” for Solo while there wasn’t much happening in the first few minutes of the match. When Escobar went for a submission, Solo used his power for a hiptoss. Solo went after Escobar on the floor, the other Legado guys distracted Solo and that led to Escobar sending Solo into the ring post. They went to break.

Escobar was in control for a few minutes. Solo got some offense going after countering a suplex and hit a Samoan Drop that is popular in his family. Solo had to knock Wilde and Mendoza off the apron, so Escobar did a chop block to the leg. Xyon Quinn showed up at ringside, which led to Escobar hitting a suicide dive on Quinn on the floor. Back in the ring, Solo hit a superkick. Solo went up top and hit a Superfly Splash for the pinfall win. It went about 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Solo Sikoa

Analysis:*** That was the longest match for Solo in NXT so far and I thought he did well. Santos always has good matches, so it was a test for Solo. It was relatively clean for Solo since he capitalized on Escobar going to the floor and then back in the ring where Solo hit two moves to win.

There was a video shown of Joe Gacy with Harland and the guy that Harland grabbed earlier. Harland nearly tossed the guy off the roof, but Gacy got Harland to stop.

Solo Sikoa was shown walking backstage when Boa attacked him. That should lead to a match between them.

A video package aired for the New Year’s Evil main event with Tommaso Ciampa defending the NXT Championship against Bron Breakker. The video featured the TJRWrestling logo in it like it has done in the past for Breakker, so that’s cool! Breakker said he made one mistake against Ciampa last time, but failure taught him a lesson that he will not forget. Breakker talked about how WarGames was a stepping stone for him to become NXT Champion. Ciampa said that Breakker got confidence, but don’t mistake a battle for a war and Ciampa said that the NXT Title is the war.

Von Wagner vs. Malik Blade

It was a lot of offense for Wagner in this match with Von hitting a big move including a spinning slam. Wagner hit a gutwrench slam across the ring. Wager hit a huge clothesline leading to Blade doing a big bump onto his head/neck to sell it. Blade got a bit of offense with a cross body block off the top. Wagner caught Blade with a lifting flatliner. Wager hit an Olympic Slam. Wagner hit a double underhook sitout slam for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner

Analysis: *1/2 An easy win for Wagner. Blade got a bit more offense than I thought. Wagner lost to Edris Enofe, so it was about building him up strong.

Wagner tried to attack Blade after the match, but Edris Enofe saved his friend Blade.

There was a rundown of the NXT New Year’s Evil card for next Wednesday:

* NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Bron Breakker

* NXT Women’s Championship: Mandy Rose (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez vs. Cora Jade

* NXT North American Championship and Cruiserweight Championship Title vs. Title match: Carmelo Hayes vs. Roderick Strong

* Imperium – WALTER, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel vs. Riddle & MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

AJ Styles returns to confront Grayson Waller.

Kay Lee Ray & Io Shirai vs. Cora Jade & Raquel Gonzalez

The team of Ray and Shirai worked over Jade for a few minutes to start the match. They went to break shortly after. KLR had Jade trapped in the ring with a single leg crab submission. Jade finally broke free after sending KLR into the turnbuckle, but then KLR got more offense. KLR dove onto Gonzalez with a suicide dive. Shirai with a 619 kick, then up top with a dropkick and the heels continued on offense. Jade with a kick to KLR’s head. Gonzalez cleaned house, she gave Jade a suicide dive, a fallaway slam and Raquel hit an elbow drop off the middle rope. When KLR got a couple of kicks, Raquel came back with a Chingona Bomb. Jade tagged herself in, Raquel tossed Shirai out of the ring to the floor. Jade covered KLR for two with Raquel breaking up the pin. KLR got a rollup, Jade rolled through and sat on top for the pinfall win. It went 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Cora Jade & Raquel Gonzalez

Analysis: **3/4 It felt like an average match to me. KLR worked most of the match for her team while Shirai had some big spots in there. Jade getting the win didn’t feel like much of a surprise.

The win means that Jade and Gonzalez are still getting the NXT Women’s Title match at New Year’s Dash. They argued about it because Raquel didn’t like that Cora tagged herself in.

Mandy Rose did a phone promo from her pool while she was wearing a bikini. Mandy said that she’ll erase them both from the championship picture. Mandy said she’ll see them next week at New Year’s Evil and blew them a kiss. That was it. End show.

Analysis: I think Mandy should retain. Raquel is a candidate for the Royal Rumble and Raw/Smackdown after that while I think we can say the same thing for Io Shirai too.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Solo Sikoa
  2. Grayson Waller
  3. Cora Jade/Raquel Gonzalez


The Scoreboard

This week: 5.75 out of 10

Last week: 6

2021 Average: 7.04


Final Thoughts

A decent episode that built some things well for New Year’s Evil. Some people being absent hurt and there wasn’t a Ciampa/Breakker confrontation. Just average stuff here.

The lineup for the NXT New Year’s Evil special on Tuesday, January 4th looks like this so far:

* NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Bron Breakker

* NXT Women’s Championship: Mandy Rose (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez vs. Cora Jade

* NXT North American Championship and Cruiserweight Championship Title vs. Title match: Carmelo Hayes vs. Roderick Strong

* Imperium – WALTER, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel vs. Riddle & MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

AJ Styles returns to confront Grayson Waller.


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

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport