WWE NXT Review (October 12, 2021)

wwe nxt tommaso ciampa

This week’s edition of WWE NXT featured the NXT North American Title on the line in the main event and the road to Halloween Havoc continued.

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 started with a video from earlier today of the Hit Row group showing up to the building. Legado Del Fantasma pulled up in a car and they attacked them. Santos Escobar sent Swerve into a gate nearby in the parking lot while they took Top Dolla and B-Fab in the car. Escobar wished Swerve good luck. The NXT intro video aired after that.

They were in the WWE PC for the show as usual. The announcers were Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix as usual.

Joe Gacy was sitting in a chair in the ring saying he will be victorious over the NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa. Joe represents “all of my snowflakes” and he will bring transparent inclusivity when he inserts himself into the NXT Championship match at Halloween Havoc. Joe: “This is for all of you.” Joe smiled.

The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance with his title. The announcers talked about Gacy with Beth calling him a lunatic while Barrett wasn’t sure about that.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Joe Gacy

If Gacy wins then he is added to the NXT Title match at Halloween Havoc. This was not for Ciampa’s title.

Ciampa refused a handshake. Ciampa with a back elbow, then Gacy with a shoulder tackle of his own and an armbar on the left arm. Gacy with a forearm to the head followed by a backbreaker. Gacy looked into the crowd where he saw the big man Harland in the crowd, so Gacy smiled at him. Ciampa worked over Gacy with punches followed by a running knee strike against the turnbuckle. Gacy left the ring, Ciampa went after him and Ciampa sent Gacy into the hood of the announce table. Back in the ring, Ciampa avoided a dropkick and did a punch to the nose. Ciampa with a forearm to the head followed by a stomp to the head. They showed Harland in the crowd again. Gacy came back with a corner splash followed by a uranage slam for two. Gacy with a senton splash while Ciampa was on the apron. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Ciampa was in control with four clotheslines in a row followed by a leaping clothesline. The fans were fired up for Ciampa. Gacy and Ciampa exchanged strikes, they each delivered kicks, Ciampa with a knee, Gacy with a forearm and Gacy with a gutwrench Powerbomb for two. Gacy went for a moonsault off the middle rope, Ciampa moved and Gacy did a jackknife pin attempt for two. Gacy went for a move off the ropes, Ciampa with a dropkick to the face and then Ciampa hit the Fairytale Ending for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa

Analysis: *** Good match here with Ciampa looking impressive in picking up a non-title match win over a competitive opponent like Gacy, who put up a fight during the match. I like seeing some of the moves that Gacy does because he moves around well for a guy that might not look like he does. He’s clearly capable in the ring. The last few minutes were great with Ciampa getting a lot of offense with the clotheslines, then they did some nearfalls and Ciampa put him away.

After the match was over, Harland was standing behind Ciampa and he ran over Ciampa with a running body attack. Gacy went over to Harland, Gacy put his hand on his head and Harland calmed down. Harland took off running off in another direction.

Let’s Hear from Toxic Attraction

The gorgeous Toxic Attraction trio made their entrance looking great as usual with the camera zooming in on them for their entrance. It was Mandy Rose with Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne.

Gigi Dolin mentioned that last week they wanted to put an end to Raquel Gonzalez, but then Io Shirai and Zoey Stark ruined their fun. Jacy spoke said that they couldn’t care less about the rules because they do what they want, when they want and what they want are the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Jacy said that their time is up at Halloween Havoc. Rose said that Gigi and Jacy won’t be the only successful ones at Halloween Havoc because she’s challenging Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Women’s Championship. Mandy said that they will make history at Halloween Havoc by winning the titles. Mandy said blonde, brown or any hair color, it doesn’t matter because she’s still the baddest bitch in the game.

Analysis: A simple promo that was kind of like a mission statement. I think Mandy will win the NXT Women’s Title and Gigi/Jacy will win the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles as well. Why not? It’s a way to put over this new group in a big way. Mandy is my favorite in NXT, but I have been impressed by Gigi and Jacy in terms of the way they have fit in with Mandy in terms of looks as well as their promos. The group is working well.

Xyon Quinn entered for singles action.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Halloween Havoc on October 26 with somebody with a shovel. They said: “I will bury the past so I can start again.” We did not see who it is.

Xyon Quinn vs. Malik Blade

Quinn with a shoulder tackle followed by a body slam. Quinn lifted up Blade while driving him into the turnbuckle. Quinn whipped Blade into the turnbuckle. Quinn with a chinlock while the fans were chanting for both guys. Blade got some offense with a dropkick, clothesline and up top with a missile dropkick for two. Blade got a rollup for two. Quinn got a hold of Blade and Quinn hit an impressive spinebuster. Quinn with a running forearm to the head for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Xyon Quinn

Analysis: *1/4 Quinn was impressive with his power moves throughout the match. Blade did a few cool moves including the missile dropkick, but there was never a doubt about the result here. Quinn has a bright future in NXT. This new version of NXT has a lot of short matches like this to put over talent.

Tommaso Ciampa was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell, who mentioned Ciampa defends against Bron Breakker at Halloween Havoc in two weeks. Grizzled Young Veterans walked into the screen with Zack Gibson saying they can’t wait to see Ciampa lose to a rookie. Breakker walked up to them and called them out for saying he was a rookie. Gibson said that’s not how you speak for a veteran. Gibson said they’re not dressed to compete and left. Breakker said he’ll watch Ciampa’s back for now to make sure he’s healthy for their match because Breakker wants Ciampa at his best. Breakker and Ciampa had a staredown.

Analysis: This was done to set up a tag team match next week. They are going into Ciampa-Breakker with both of them as faces that respect eachother rather than a heated rivalry.

Ivy Nile entered with the Diamond Mine group.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage interview with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Mckenzie Mitchell said we haven’t seen his friends. Scott said that Santos Escobar is scared of him and Scott said he’ll take the NXT North American with him to Smackdown and there’s nothing Santos can do about it.

Ivy Nile vs. Valentina Feroz

Feroz with a takeover and a dropkick, but Nile caught a charging Feroz and turned it into a suplex. Nile whipped Feroz into the turnbuckle and there was a slip into the corner. Nile stepped on Feroz in the corner. Nile with a body slam, then grabbed a leg and rolled through with Feroz on the back. Nile applied a Torture Rack submission across her back, she was pulling Feroz across her back and Feroz tapped out. It went about two minutes.

Winner by submission: Ivy Nile

Analysis: 3/4* An easy win by Nile using her power to dominate Feroz the whole way while ending with the Torture Rack submission across her shoulders.

Malcolm Bivens did a promo where he said that Nile delivered a message to the women’s division. Bivens said that the Creed Brothers are in this building daily putting in work and they are the most dominant tag team in NXT today. Bivens mentioned the NXT Cruiserweight Champion Roderick Strong. Strong spoke up, but then he was interrupted by Ikemen Jiro wearing a colorful jacket as usual. Jiro did a belt gesture. Julius Creed spoke up telling Jiro it doesn’t just work like that, so he got in Jiro’s face, Julius said he’s always ready and Jiro punched him. Jiro bailed to the floor.

Analysis: I like the Diamond Mine group a lot. They keep racking up wins and that’s going to make them look like a big deal in the eyes of the fans.

(Commercial)

Julius Creed vs. Ikemen Jiro

Julius hit a running shoulder tackle to the knee of the jacket-wearing Jiro. Julius hit an impressive gutwrench suplex across the ring. Julius with a tackle against the turnbuckle followed by a powerslam. Julius with a gutwrench suplex and then another suplex across the ring. Julius missed an elbow drop, Jiro with punches and a spinning punch to the face. Julius charged in, Jiro with two boots to the face followed by an upside-down splash off the ropes for a two count. Julius to the floor, so Jiro hit a moonsault off the middle ropes onto a standing Julius. Back in the ring, Jiro jumped off the ropes, but Julius slammed him down and hit a running lariat for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Julius Creed

Analysis: *1/2 A nice win for Julius in his first singles match in NXT. Julius will probably keep teaming with his brother Brutus on a regular basis, but I think WWE wanted to see what he could do in a singles match. There has been a lot of hype around Julius as we covered in a news story here a few weeks ago. Jiro is fine as a babyface to put over the bigger names and guys on the rise.

Post match, Diamond Mine attacked Jiro, so then Kushida ran out to the ring for the save. Kushida hit some punches, but he was overwhelmed by the numbers game. Strong with a suplex into the double knees. Diamond Mine stood tall.

Analysis: That could set up a tag team match in the future.

Raquel Gonzalez did a promo saying the NXT Women’s Title means she is the queen of the mountain. Gonzalez said that she hasn’t ducked anybody. Gonzalez said that at Halloween Havoc, it’s on against Mandy Rose. Gonzalez wanted to do a “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” match. It was made official later in the show.

Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner entered for tag team action.

(Commercial)

The “Lashing Out with Lash Legend” talk show was shown. She was sitting in front of a crowd. She made some “Squid Games” jokes and the paid audience laughed. I don’t know what was so funny because I have never watched it. Legend mentioned Hit Row and sang their name. Legend mentioned Tony D’Angelo saying “Fugget About It” to Tony being on her show. That was it.

Analysis: It’s obvious Lash Legend is a good talker. She has a lot of personality too. I don’t mind this since it goes by quick.

Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner vs. Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland

Wagner used his power to deliver a suplex on Dunne followed by a headbutt off the ropes. Holland tagged in against Kyle with Holland doing a knee drop to the head. Kyle with an armbar, but then Holland delivered a belly to belly release suplex. Dunne was back in as he worked over Kyle’s knees with a few moves. Holland back in with an uppercut. Holland with a running shoulder tackle. Dunne worked over the knees some more with a knee drop to the left knee. Kyle with a leg whip takedown on Dunne and pulled Holland’s leg against the middle rope. Kyle came back with kicks followed by a forearm. Dunne and Kyle exchanged forearms leading to Wager tagging against Holland. Wagner and Holland exchanged strikes, Wagner ran the ropes and Wagner hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Holland and Wagner battled on the floor with Wagner whipping Holland into the steel steps.

(Commercial)

Holland was in control over Kyle by grabbing the neck while Joseph noted that Holland was drafted to Smackdown starting October 22. Dunne tagged in, he sent Kyle into Holland and Holland hit a spinebuster. Dunne with a dropkick for two as Wagner made the save. Kyle with a knee to the body of Dunne. Kyle tried to tag, but Wagner took a shot and wasn’t on the apron. Dunne with a double stomp on Kyle’s hands, then Kyle went for an ankle lock, but Holland was back in with a clothesline. The heels tried a double team move on the floor, so then Wagner hit a shoulder tackle to knock the heels down. Wagner got the tag for Holland with elbow smashes, a jumping knee and an Angle Slam like move. Wagner with punches and kicks on Dunne. Kyle with a running knee on Dunne on the floor. Wagner went after Holland, Wagner with a kick to the gut and Wagner hit a double underhook Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner

Analysis: *** A good tag team match here. Dunne and O’Reilly are great at doing all the little things right, working over body parts and things like that. I think they wanted this to be a showcase for Wagner to look impressive while also showing that Kyle could trust him, so you could see as the match went on, Kyle started to trust him more. Since Holland is going to Smackdown next week, I guess the thinking is that he might as well do the job on his way out of NXT. That’s fine because it gives Wagner a meaningful win. The fans were behind Kyle and Wagner here.

Post match, Kyle O’Reilly was happy about what happened and they touched knuckles to show they are on the same page.

Andre Chase University was shown with Andre Chase. Andre was teaching the class about ring psychology. Chase showed a replay from last week when he interfered to cost Odyssey Jones a match. A student named Brendan mentioned Chase cheated Jones out of a win, so Chase told him it was a great point that he was open to discussing “if I gave a f**k” and yelled at him to leave. Fun.

Duke Hudson is against Grayson Waller up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Tony D’Angelo standing by a Mercedes while talking about his big win last week. Tony didn’t like somebody on Lash Legend’s show telling him there was no time for him. Tony said the guy’s name was Mark and the trunk was shaking, so the idea was Tony put him in the trunk.

Duke Hudson vs. Grayson Waller

Two Australian guys here with Hudson having the size advantage. Hudson avoided an armdrag, but then Waller jumped off the ropes leading to an armbar. Hudson used his power to hit a belly to belly suplex. Hudson with elbows along with shoulder tackles. Hudson whipped Waller into the turnbuckle followed by a bearhug. Waller with a jawbreaker, punch, kick to the chest and shoulder tackle. Waller sent Hudson throat first across the top and back in with Waller hitting a Stunner for two. Waller went off the ropes, Hudson kicked the ropes and Hudson covered while holding the tights for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Duke Hudson

Analysis: *1/4 A cheap win for the heel Hudson. I like Waller’s moves a lot and he bumps well. He has a lot of potential. Hudson is more of a traditional heel using cheap tactics, but I think he needs to be more than a guy that plays poker.

Santos Escobar and his Legado del Fantasma group did a promo. Escobar said that Legado will stay in the locker room, so it will be him and Swerve one on one.

Indi Hartwell was shown kissing husband Dexter Lumis backstage with Persia Pirotta as Indi’s partner. The girls are in tag team action.

(Commercial)

There was a promo from Imperium with Marcel Barthel speaking in German and Fabian Aichner in Italian. They trash-talked MSK, who they attacked last week. Both guys speak fine in English, but I guess somebody felt they should use foreign languages.

Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs. Sarray & Amari Miller

Pirotta with a splash on Sarray and Hartwell hit a sidewalk slam. Pirotta with a clothesline on Sarray, but then Sarray came back with punches and kicks. Miller was aggressive with kicks to the legs and a superkick. Miller jumped on Hartwell’s back, Hartwell swung her off and Pirotta tagged in with clotheslines. Pirotta sent Miller into the top turnbuckle followed by a kick. Pirotta with a kick to Sarray. Pirotta with a slam on Miller and then Hartwell tagged in with an elbow drop off the top for the pinfall win after just over two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta

Analysis: 3/4* A quick win for Hartwell and Pirotta to try to build them up in the women’s tag team division. I feel bad for Sarray not getting used better because she was brought in as a big deal, used well for a while and now apparently pushed aside for the most part.

Persia Pirotta suggested that her and Indi go for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. That led to Io Shirai and Zoey Stark, the NXT Tag Team Champions, going to the ring. Shirai said she didn’t like Indi, she didn’t like Persia and she didn’t like Zoey. The Toxic Attraction ladies were back out there as Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin walked out saying they want those titles. The three tag teams got into a fight in the ring. Shirai hit a nice German Suplex on Dolin while Stark kicked Jayne off the apron to the floor. The champs Shirai and Stark stood tall.

Analysis: That sets up the obvious triple threat tag team match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. It was a bit rushed, but got the job done. Later in the show, they confirmed it for Halloween Havoc as a triple threat match. I think Dolin/Jayne will win the titles.

Grayson Waller was shown backstage saying hi to Cora Jade. Waller talked to a pretty woman in a blue dress and Waller said he’ll take her out. Cameron Grimes walked up to Waller how he did that with a girl. Grimes wondered how he can get a girl like that. Waller told him maybe shave his chest, trim his beard and he could meet a girl. Waller suggested online dating apps, so they looked at Waller’s phone and checked out the ladies on there. I guess there will be a woman paired with Grimes soon.

It was main event time with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott entering for his title defense.

(Commercial)

There was a video package about a guy fighting on the streets. His name is Solo Sikoa.

Next week on NXT:

* Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker vs. Grizzled Young Veterans

* Odyssey Jones vs. Andre Chase

Santos Escobar made his entrance with the Legado group, but then he told them to go to the back.

Scott attacked Escobar on the floor and whipped Escobar into the steel steps. They went into the ring to start the match.

NXT North American Championship: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Santos Escobar

Escobar bailed to the floor, so Scott did a running attack with a spinning back dive onto Escobar. Scott hit a backbreaker for two along with a knee drop. Escobar with a hiptoss that sent Swerve across the ring to the floor. Escobar tripped up Scott and sent him to the floor. Escobar hit a suicide dive onto Scott that sent Scott over the announce table. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Escobar was in control with a spinebuster followed by a kick to the back. They got into a slugfest as they exchanged moves including chops, Escobar with repeated forearms and then Scott came back with a big clothesline. Scott with a running corner elbow followed by a jump off the middle rope with a forearm to the back. Scott wanted a flatliner, but Escobar countered into one of his own. There were “NXT” chants for the match. Escobar with two knees to the chest followed by chops. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Escobar with a headscissors off the top. Escobar went up top with a Frog Splash (like the great Eddie Guerrero) and that got a two count. Escobar with a running dropkick to the ribs with Scott going to the apron. Escobar up top, but Swerve hit the leg to trip him up. Swerve with a Death Valley Driver on the edge of the ring apron on Escobar. Scott went up top with a 450 Splash, Escobar got the knees up and Scott kicked out of an inside cradle for two! The Legado guys Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde went on the apron, but then Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams showed up to take care of the heels. Escobar with a forearm to the face, Escobar lifted Scott and Scott got out of that with Scott sending Escobar into the turnbuckle. Scott picked up Escobar and hit the JML Driver for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great match that felt like a big deal with the crowd getting hot for it, they cheered a lot and were into the whole way. Escobar got a lot of offense in the match, that Frog Splash certainly came close to winning it for him, but then it was Swerve making the comeback to find the way to win. I like how it was booked also without any interference whatsoever, which made it more fun to watch. Scott and Escobar always put on a great match together.

The belief was that Swerve was going to Smackdown with the NXT North American Title.

Post match, Carmelo Hayes went into the ring to celebrate with Scott. However, as soon as Scott turned his head, Hays dropped him with a clothesline. Hayes had his contract for a title shot with him. Hayes had the contract for winning the NXT Breakout Tournament recently. Hayes signed his name to the contract and called for the bell to ring.

NXT North American Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Hayes with a springboard forearm for two. Scott with a forearm to rock Hayes, but a fresh Hayes hit Scott with a Brogue Kick like move. Hayes went up top and delivered a leg drop to the back of the head. Hayes covered for the pinfall win. It went one minute.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Champion: Carmelo Hayes

Analysis: 1/2* Big way to end the show. Carmelo gets the title while Scott doesn’t bring it to Smackdown in a week. I figured Scott would lose it since they aren’t going to put a title from NXT on Smackdown.

Carmelo Hayes celebrated with his buddy Trick and the North American Title. End show.

Analysis: I like Hayes a lot. He’s so talented in the ring and they are clearly working on his heel character with Trick Williams, so I think it’s working out well for them.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
  2. Santos Escobar
  3. Tommaso Ciampa

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7 out of 10

Last week: 6

2021 Average: 7.25

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a much better effort this week. Everybody worked hard, some longer matches (three of them over 10 minutes so that’s good) and then a big moment in the main event with Hayes leaving with the NXT North American Title. The women’s stories advanced well by officially setting up two title matches at Halloween Havoc. The men’s stories were executed fine too as they continue to get new people TV time and try to move stories along.

A pretty, pretty good NXT show here.

Here’s the lineup for NXT Halloween Havoc 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.

* NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark (c) vs. Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne vs. Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta

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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

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