Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 10/19/21 Review

wwe nxt tommaso ciampa bron breakker and grizzled young veterans

This week’s episode of WWE NXT is the lead in to next week’s Halloween Havoc live special. We already know Tommaso Ciampa will defend the NXT Title against Bron Breakker that night and Raquel Gonzalez defends the NXT Women’s Title against Mandy Rose as well.

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 show began with highlights from last week when Isaiah “Swerve” Scott beat Santos Escobar and then after the match, Carmelo Hayes turned on Scott to cash in his title opportunity to beat Scott to become the NXT North American Champion.

Let’s Hear from Carmelo Hayes

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were introduced by Alicia Taylor. Hayes was wearing the NXT North American Title. The announces were Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett. No Beth Phoenix there this week.

Trick Williams called for Alicia to introduce Carmelo again, so she did. Williams said that they look good, they look like money, but most importantly they have gold now. Trick said that they aren’t humble and they are having a Melo-bration (celebration).

Carmelo said four and a half months ago, he stepped on the scene and brought that same energy. Carmelo won the Breakout Tournament and proved he was the final boss. Carmelo waited for the opportunity to go for a title, so he pulled a swerve on Swerve himself. Carmelo said when he shoots, he doesn’t miss and fans chanted “he don’t miss.” Carmelo said he’s the leader of the new school and as long as the championship is around his waist and he wants the announcers to refer to it as that. Carmelo didn’t care if anybody had a problem with it like Tommaso Ciampa, management or anybody else had a problem with it.

Johnny Gargano of The Way entered to a big ovation from the crowd. Johnny introduced himself as he got in Carmelo’s face. Johnny received a “Johnny Wrestling” chant. Johnny congratulated Hayes while pointing out that Johnny has been having fun with bachelor parties, weddings and honeymoons, but he’s trying to figure out what’s next. Gargano mentioned Austin Theory going to Raw, Indi Hartwell is married now and his wife Candice is at home pregnant. Gargano thinks what is next for him is staring him right in the face. Gargano said he should go back to being in front of these people in this ring against somebody like Hayes. Johnny suggested the “A Champion” takes a shot at him.

Trick Williams said that Indi has been shooting in Melo’s DMs all week. Gargano acted like it was funny. They called Indi his “daughter” and Gargano pointed out his son-in-law was there as Dexter Lumis was in the ring. Lumis was because Melo and Trick, he got a hold of them, but they managed to get away. Gargano held the North American Title while Lumis stood beside him.

Analysis: It was nice to see Gargano in the mix since he hasn’t had a match since NXT became NXT 2.0 and we know Gargano is a guy that should be a big part of the brand. I also think Gargano and Hayes could have an incredible match together whenever it happens, so I’m all for it. That’s a smart matchup to do and if Hayes gets by Gargano then Hayes would have a lot of credibility. I thought Hayes did a pretty good job with his promo while Williams has a lot of charisma as well. I like those guys.

There was a rundown of the key matches coming up this week.

Odyssey Jones entered for a match.

(Commercial)

Odyssey Jones vs. Andre Chase

Chase was wearing one of his Chase University sweaters for the match. Jones with a shoulder tackle. Jones threw Chase across the ring. Jones missed a corner splash when Chase moved and Chase hit a dropkick. Chase with multiple double foot stomps, punches and a DDT for one with Jones doing a power kick out. Jones with punches, a body slam a corner splash and a rolling senton on Chase. Jones hit a running splash for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Odyssey Jones

Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for the big man Jones against Chase, who isn’t likely to get pushed heavily with this professor gimmick. Jones is a guy that stands out a lot as a 400 pounder that has the support of the fans.

The Diamond Mine group was shown walking backstage with Malcolm Bivens doing a promo. Bivens said that Diamond Mine isn’t going to ask for opportunities, they are just going to take them. The Creed Brothers entered for tag team action.

A commercial aired for Smackdown hyping up the new era for Smackdown with the new roster in place.

(Commercial)

The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)

The Creed Brothers face their toughest test in this match. Aichner started with Brutus and then Barthel tagged in with Brutus doing a waistlock takedown. Brutus with a belly to belly release suplex on Barthel. Barthel tried a double underhook suplex, Brutus fought out of it and Barthel got a slam leading to a kick to the chest. Julius tagged in with a leg takedown as he drove the shoulder into Barthel and then Barthel came back with a kick followed by a suplex. Roderick Strong held Barthel’s leg, so Julius suplexed Barthel across the ring twice. Brutus and Julius each hit fireman’s carry slams for a two count. Julius slammed Brutus on Barthel for two. Aichner got the tag, he knocked down Julius and caught Brutus on the shoulders leading to a rolling senton for two, but Julius broke up the pin to save his brother. Julius was back in against Barthel, who went for a forearm, but Julius caught him and hit a gutwrench Powerbomb. Brutus tossed Aichner out of the ring after Aichner made the save. Kushida and Ikemen Jiro ran out to distract, Brutus got into a fight with them and Barthel rolled up Julius while sitting on top for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)

Analysis: ** A solid match here, but also on the short side I’m a bit surprised that The Creed Brothers would lose a match although it was due to a distraction, so it wasn’t clean. I just thought The Creed Brothers would be booked like a dominant, undefeated tag team and instead, they lost this match due to a rollup. Anyway, it’s good for Imperium to get wins to get them back in the title picture.

Post match, NXT Tag Team Champions MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) attacked Imperium from behind as payback for a previous attack. Some fans booed MSK because they don’t like MSK. Carter with a dropkick on Barthel, then Wes Lee tripped up Barthel and Carter with a foot stomp. Carter with an assisted moonsault on Aichner. Lee hit a somersault dive over the top onto Imperium. MSK challenged Imperium to a title match next week.

Analysis: It should be a great match featuring two of NXT’s best teams. Some fans continue to boo MSK for some reason. I don’t really get it.

The announcers were shown on commentary with Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett there while Vic said Beth Phoenix was on vacation. Perhaps Beth went to Saudi Arabia with husband Edge for his match at Crown Jewel.

There was a video featuring Kyle O’Reilly on a bike and Von Wagner was in a truck. They did some training in the woods with Wagner carrying a piece of wood, then then they did a workout in a forest and chopped some wood. Wagner told Kyle he had a bit of training before the day ends. Wagner gave Kyle a beer and Kyle said if they get on the same page they can cause a lot of damage. Wagner: “Let’s kick some ass.”

Analysis: It was a bonding session while also showing Wagner’s unique training methods. It looks like they are on the same page, so we should more of Kyle and Wagner together.

Cora Jade was up next. She’s a skateboard girl.

(Commercial)

Joe Gacy was featured in a backstage pre-tape promo saying last week was a setback for “us.” Gacy said he knows that the mission remains the same. Gacy said that they don’t need violence and won’t be triggered by fragile people. Gacy said that he will speak for you while saying that as a coalition they will be stronger than they will be as individuals. Gacy put his hand against a screen and told us to take his hand. Harland was across the glass and Gacy said: “Follow me, little snowflake.”

Analysis: Gacy remains an intriguing character. I look forward to Harland’s debut whenever that happens.

Legado del Fantasma was in the ring with Santos Escobar doing a promo. Escobar called Carmelo Hayes a lucky son of a bitch. Escobar said one day he’s going to find Hayes and get that North American Title. Elektra Lopez was about to do a promo, but she was interrupted.

Elektra Lopez vs. Cora Jade

Jade is the youngest woman on the roster that is just 20 years old. Lopez used her power to hit a body slam followed by another body slam. Jade tried to fight back, but Lopez sent her into the turnbuckle. Lopez did a hair toss across the ring. Jade with a sunset flip, Lopez kicked out and Lopez hit a clothesline. Jade got an inside cradle for the three count with Lopez kicking out right after the three. Barrett pointed out that Elektra’s shoulder was up off the mat, but they didn’t show a replay. It went two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cora Jade

Analysis: 1/2* There’s the second win for Jade, who is booked like an underdog in every match and finds a way to win again. The lack of a replay was disappointing. A lot of things are rushed on this show.

The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa and Bron Breakker were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Breakker told him to “watch yourself” and Ciampa said that last week Breakker said that he was going to keep Ciampa safe until Halloween Havoc, so he’s going to follow his lead…champ.

Io Shirai, who is one-half of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions, entered for a triple threat match.

(Commercial)

There were Twitter promos from Grayson Waller and LA Knight doing promos about who should host Halloween Havoc. They have a match later.

Io Shirai vs. Jacy Jayne vs. Persia Pirotta

The winner of this gets to spin the wheel to see what kind of stipulation is in place for their triple threat tag team title match next week.

Jayne slapped Shirai and Persia hit a double clothesline on both women. Jayne with a headscissors on Persia, Shirai with a pin attempt and Jayne pulled her off. Jayne with a knee to Shirai’s jaw, but Persia used her power to hit a double suplex on both opponents. Persia lifted Jayne and Shirai hit a dropkick. Shirai tried a submission, but Persia powered out with a slam. Jayne went for a suicide dive on Persia, she didn’t go far enough and hit the floor hard! Ouch. That’s what you’d call a botch on a high-risk move and I think Persia checked on her right away. Barrett called it a “horrible, nasty landing.” Jayne was back up, so Shirai hit a springboard moonsault on both women on the floor. When I watched it again, it looked like Jayne didn’t jump far enough and her feet hit the ropes.

(Commercial)

Persia was in control with a big kick on Shirai for a two count. Persia hit a running clothesline on Shirai as the fans chanted for Shirai. Persia with a suplex on Shirai, but then Shirai went for an inside cradle. Persia with another clothesline for two. Shirai with forearms, she went for a hurricanrana, but Persia caught her and hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Jayne was still out of the ring. Shirai fought back with forearms, a kick to the jaw and a 619 kick. Shirai hit a springboard missile dropkick after a slip for a two count. There was no sign of Jayne, who was likely getting checked after hitting the floor hard. Shirai trapped Persia in a Crossface, Persia broke out of it and Shirai hit a German Suplex. Shirai went up top and hit the Over Moon moonsault for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Io Shirai

Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match with Shirai standing out the most. Persia is smart to use her power to her advantage a lot with Shirai doing a fantastic job of selling everything as usual. Persia is a bit slow in the ring and getting to the right spot, but they got through it fine. Even though Jayne missed that suicide dive attempt, she’s pretty solid in terms of doing the basics and getting heat as a heel. I guess they took her to the back as a precaution. Shirai is one of the best women’s wrestlers in all of WWE and has been for a few years now.

Post match, Io Shirai was joined by Zoey Stark by the entrance where Io spun the wheel to find the match stipulation. It landed on “Scareway to Hell Ladder Match.” Persia and Indi Hartwell were in the ring. No sign of Jayne and Gigi Dolin reacting to it.

Analysis: A triple threat Tag Team Ladder Match is not easy to do, but hopefully it leads to a great match. I’m leaning towards Jayne & Dolin getting the win just as long as Jayne is healthy.

There was a backstage scene with Legado Del Fantasma beating up Trey Baxter, who is the boyfriend of Cora Jade. Some other guys (Briggs & Jensen) showed up to join the fight and NXT officials arrived to break it up.

Tony D’Angelo is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Solo Sikoa arriving in NXT next week. He is apparently the brother of The Usos and the son of Rikishi. He signed with WWE earlier this year.

Ikemen Jiro walked up to Kushida in the urinals. Jiro talked about how Kushida is his hero. Kushida said he needs Style Strong like this and Jiro put a jacket on Kushida along with grey shades.

Analysis: It looks like Jiro and Kushida will be a tag team now. That’s fine with me. Kushida was in the Cruiserweight division mainly, so now he can go for something else as a tag team.

Tony D’Angelo vs. Ru Feng

I don’t know much about Ru Feng, but the fans liked Tony a lot in his first match and cheered for him this time too. Tony with a shoulder tackle and a tackle. Tony with a side headlock with the fans chanting “Let’s go Tony” for D’Angelo again. Feng with forearms, then a spin kick and Tony came back with a running back elbow. Tony with a clothesline, then a Northern Lights Suplex into a twisting neckbreaker for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tony D’Angelo

Analysis: 3/4* Easy win for D’Angelo, who continues to impress with a mix of power and speed. The fans like the guy because the mafia-style videos were very helpful in terms of building him up.

Tony D’Angelo was interviewed in the ring by Samantha Irvin, who mentioned “Mark” the producer went missing and asked if Tony knew about his disappearance. Tony said “I don’t know nothing about nothing” and put some money in her hands, get something nice and “fugget about it” as the fans cheered.

Analysis: Tony is doing a good job with the mafia gimmick. The fans like it. As a huge Sopranos fan and a fan of the mafia movie genre, I like the gimmick too.

Duke Hudson was shown in his poker room and he beat a guy in a hand where he took some money from a sucker. Hudson said whether it’s in the ring or the poker room, the house always wins.

Analysis: I don’t know why Hudson needs a poker gimmick, but the new NXT 2.0 tends to have characters with other “jobs” now.

There was a backstage scene with Briggs looking at his buddy Jensen on the floor. Joaquin Wilde hit Briggs in the back with a chair. That match is after a break.

(Commercial)

Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen vs. Legado del Fantasma – Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza (w/Santos Escobar & Elektra Lopez)

Wilde worked over Jensen with punches against the turnbuckle. Briggs and Jensen were both injured going into the match, but they kept on fighting with Jensen hiptossed Wilde across the ring. Briggs and Jensen hit a double shoulder tackle, then Briggs with a sidewalk slam and a splash. The referee was looking at Lopez, so Escobar shoved Briggs into the ring apron. Mendoza hit a running dropkick. Wilde and Mendoza did quick tags leading to repeated clotheslines on Briggs against the turnbuckle. The Legado boys hit a double belly to back suplex for two. Mendoza went up top and hit a Superfly Splash on the back of Briggs for a two count. Briggs fought back to bring in Jensen for the hot tag and he launched Wilde into the air with a slam into the mat. Jensen with a powerslam on Wilde. Jensen with a back body drop on Wilde and then Jensen decked Escobar with a punch. Escobar with a back elbow, Mendoza tagged in and Legado hit a double team running kick/legsweep combo for the pinfall win after about six months.

Winners by pinfall: Legado del Fantasma – Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza

Analysis: **3/4 Good tag team action here. It was too short to be much greater than that, but the Legado guys are so technically sound and very talented as a heel team. The pre-match attack set up Briggs & Jensen as a babyface team moving forward and maybe they can try to go after Legado again in the future.

NXT Women’s Championship Preview

A video aired about the NXT Women’s Championship between champion Raquel Gonzalez and challenger Mandy Rose. Raquel said she feeds off being champion and not knowing who was coming next. Mandy Rose was shown driving a fancy car while a slow-motion video was shown of her in a swimsuit. Thank you for that. Rose said when Toxic Attraction was formed, she no longer had to wait in line. Mandy said that she’ll make that title look better. Raquel was shown working in the gym and talking about how she works her ass off to keep the title. Rose said she’s been called many names like “hot, sexy, eye candy” and Rose said that they haven’t called her champion, but that ends at Halloween Havoc next week. Raquel said that Mandy will learn the hard way that she is not championship material.

Analysis: Great video. Maybe I’m biased because I think Mandy is tremendous, but I thought it was really well put together to show the differences between the two women. Mandy looked amazing in it and I think it did a nice job of putting over the hard worker that Raquel is. Mandy made a good point about how she has been called a lot of things in her career, but never a champion, so now it’s time for her to do that. I think Mandy is going to win the title. I think Raquel will be in the Royal Rumble in a few months and then be on Raw or Smackdown after that.

LA Knight entered for a match.

(Commercial)

A video aired about a creepy person in a graveyard debuting (or returning) next week.

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were in the locker room looking for the NXT North American Title. They found a drawing from Dexter Lumis to meet them in Dexter’s Haunted House next week, so Carmelo had to go next week to find his North American Title. That should lead to Carmelo and Trick dealing with Dexter and Gargano.

LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller

Waller got a rollup for a two count. Waller got an inside cradle for two. Waller got a bridging pin attempt for another two count. Knight stomped Waller’s pin attempt with a kick to the head. Knight with punches, Waller sent him to the apron, Knight used the top rope to drive Waller’s throat into the rope and Knight hit a shoulderblock for two. Knight grabbed a headlock as the fans chanted for Knight. Waller with a jumping side kick and an STO trip. Barrett ripped on Australia (where Waller is from) saying they called flip-flops “foams” over there. Waller went for a move off the ropes, Knight avoided it and hit a pump kick. Knight hit the Blunt Force Trauma (BFT) neckbreaker into the mat for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: LA Knight

Analysis: ** It was fine for a shorter match to put over Knight. Waller got some offense in there, the fans like him a lot and then Knight was able to hit two moves to put him away.

The win by Knight means he gets to host the Halloween Havoc special next week.

Next Tuesday on NXT Halloween Havoc:

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

* NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs. Mandy Rose – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal.

* NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (c) vs. Imperium – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal.

* Solo Sikoa arrives next week.

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

* LA Knight is the host of Halloween Havoc.

Analysis: Four title matches. I think title changes are possible in all four of them. I think Mandy Rose and Dolin/Jayne are most likely to win so Toxic Attraction holds the women’s titles.

The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance for the main event tag team match.

(Commercial)

The sirens went off in the arena for Bron Breakker’s entrance. Breakker was wearing the colorful singlet again. The Grizzled Young Veterans duo entered as the opponents. The British duo are one of Barrett’s favorite teams. I like them a lot too.

Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)

Breakker with a shoulder tackle to knock down Drake. Breakker did a waistlock takedown of Drake and ragdolled him around the ring a bit. The fans were barking for Breakker in honor of his dad Rick Steiner (the “dog-faced gremlin”), but the announcers don’t mention that. Drake tried a leapfrog and hit a powerslam. Ciampa tagged himself in. Gibson tagged himself in, Ciampa with multiple clotheslines on both opponents including a leaping double clothesline. That was a great spot. Ciampa delivered a running knee on Gibson right in front of Breakker. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Drake was in control of Ciampa with a side headlock. Ciampa tried to fight back, Drake got a hold of him again and Ciampa hit a belly to back suplex. Gibson pulled Breakker off the apron to prevent a tag, so Drake pulled Ciampa back. Gibson with an armbar as the fans chanted “Gibson sucks” at him. Gibson choked Ciampa over the middle rope. Drake jumped off the top with a double axhandle to the back of Ciampa. Gibson tagged back in with forearms to the head. Ciampa with chops, Gibson with forearms to the back and Gibson stomped on Ciampa’s throat. Gibson hit a missile drop into a flatliner by Drake. That led to Drake applying a submission on the head/shoulders, but Ciampa fought out of it. The fans chanted for Ciampa as Drake punched him and Ciampa hit a DDT. When Gibson tried to attack Breakker this time, Breakker was ready with a clothesline on Gibson. Ciampa hit Breakker very hard to tag him in. Breakker threw a clothesline, Ciampa ducked, so Breakker hit Drake with two clotheslines, then a leaping shoulder tackle and a belly to belly slam. Breakker puled down the straps and slapped on the Steiner Recliner like uncle Scott, but Gibson kicked him. Breakker tossed Gibson out of the ring. Breakker pressed Drake over head, told Ciampa: “Next week, pal.” Breakker did a press slam into a powerslam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes. They should call that finisher the Bron Buster or something like that. I don’t know.

Winners by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good tag team match. The GYV guys always have entertaining matches, Ciampa is awesome and Breakker showed off his power very well. I liked the old school heel tactics by GYV leading to some teaming issues between Ciampa/Breakker in terms of Ciampa being able to tag out. Breakker was absolutely dominant as soon as he tagged in, he didn’t have to sell anything and was able to just destroy Drake easily to win the match.

Ciampa left with “Goldie” the NXT Title with Breakker standing in the ring. Breakker told Ciampa to hold onto it tight. Ciampa went into the ring, they had a staredown in the ring and Ciampa held the title in his hands. End show.

Analysis: I know Ciampa only won the title last month, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Breakker won the title. If Breakker doesn’t win the title, maybe WWE will fast track him, put him in the Royal Rumble and he’ll be on Raw or Smackdown after that.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Tommaso Ciampa/Bron Breakker
  2. Io Shirai
  3. Carmelo Hayes

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 5.75 out of 10

Last week: 7

2021 Average: 7.22

 

Final Thoughts

It was just an average show this week. Last week was better. The match quality was better last week, so that’s why it stood out more. There were some good matches this week including the main event. Some of the other matches were either too short or just felt off a bit.

The build for most of the NXT Halloween Havoc matches has been good.

Here’s the lineup for NXT Halloween Havoc next week on October 26:

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

* NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs. Mandy Rose – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal.

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

* NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (c) vs. Imperium – Spin the Wheel, Make The Deal.

* Solo Sikoa debuts.

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

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport