Welcome to the WWE NXT review. 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 of last week’s first episode of NXT 2.0 that saw some new superstars debut while Tommaso won the NXT Championship for the second time in his career.
The ring was full of some newer NXT wrestlers. The building had a few hundred fans in attendance. The NXT announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix welcomed us to the show.
Let’s Hear from Tommaso Ciampa
Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance with the NXT Championship that he loves calling “Goldie” when he possesses that title. There were “Ciampa” chants from the crowd.
Ciampa said that on day 908, he reclaimed his spot at the top of the mountain and took back the title he never lost in the first place. Ciampa said that it was worth it from neck surgery today – it was absolutely worth it. Ciampa said that once again he is your NXT Champion. Ciampa told “Goldie” he missed it too.
Ciampa spoke about NXT 2.0 saying the energy is contagious with fresh faces and the fans chanted 2.0 for them. Ciampa said that these young men and women have been busting their asses and they want to show just how good they are. Ciampa mentioned Carmelo Hayes, Odyssey Jones, Bron Breakker and you already know that he is Mr. NXT. Ciampa said they can get a fresh coat of paint and call them 2.0, but what hasn’t changed the spirit of NXT. Ciampa shouted out the announcers, he knows the wrestlers are NXT and he pointed out the fans as well. Ciampa said that the fans are the heartbeat and soul of this place, which led to “NXT” chants. Ciampa said he is so happy holding the NXT Title. Ciampa said that NXT just became the “A show.” Good luck with that. Ciampa said that together: “We are…” and the fans chanted “NXT” right on cue.
Cameron Grimes made his entrance saying that all this energy got him fired up. Grimes said that championship is the rocket fuel he needs to go to the moon. Joe Gacy got in Cameron’s face, but then LA Knight interrupted that.
Knight said that he had everybody beat in the Fatal 4-Way. Jones pointed out that Knight lost twice in the same day and told him to shut up.
Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland were up next for this promo party as they got into the ring with Ciampa as well as all of the other guys in there. Dunne pointed out all of these fresh new faces and gave them the advice to make a name for themselves. Dunne said that they are a bunch of geezers that are scared to throw the first punch. Ciampa punched Dunne and then everybody got into a brawl! More wrestlers went into the ring and a huge brawl erupted around the ring. Bron Breakker was punching Holland, then Ciampa tossed Dunne out of the ring and Breakker tossed Holland out of the ring.
They cut backstage where some women’s wrestlers were arguing, so that was broken up by some WWE officials that were back there.
Back in the ring, Breakker and Ciampa cleared the ring again.
Breakker did a promo saying that they want to see this fight continue. Breakker told these “two bitches to grow a set of balls” and face Dunne & Holland in a tag team match tonight.
The Cruiserweight Title match is up next.
Analysis: That was a chaotic opening to the show with Ciampa doing a promo as a leader of the show and the new NXT Champion, so it was smart for him to speak his mind like that. The brawl that followed was predictable, but also something that puts over the excitement about the NXT brand with so many young wrestlers trying to make a name for themselves. I thought it was fine for an opening segment. Breakker sounded exactly like his father Rick Steiner or maybe more like a younger uncle Scott Steiner. You could just tell if you’ve heard their promos. Those voices are unique.
Roderick Strong made his entrance with his Diamond Mine buddies. Kushida was up next as the NXT Cruiserweight Champion. This was delayed by over a month.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Kushida vs. Roderick Strong
There were “Kushida” chants as the match began. They did some mat wrestling to start while fighting over some holds. Kushida with an armbar on the left arm and then he drove Strong’s left arm into the mat. That led to a break.
Kushida with an arm wringer to send Strong’s arm into the mat. Kushida with an atomic drop leading into a dropkick for two. Kushida with a palm strike. Strong moved out of the way of a kick leading to a hard chop. Kushida got a hold of the left arm again leading to a diving armbar to the mat. Kushida with a kick to the left elbow, but Strong came back with a boot to the face. Strong with a backbreaker followed by an Angle Slam for two. Strong with chops, then a running forearm and Kushida got a hold of the left arm in a hoverboard lock. Strong was nearly tapping out, but Bivens put Strong’s foot on the bottom rope, the referee saw it and called for a break. Bivens distracted the referee, the Creed Brothers pulled Kushida out of the ring, Ivey Nile punched Kushida, the Creed Brothers sent Kushida into the ring. Strong with a jumping knee and Strong hit a suplex into the double knees for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Cruiserweight Champion: Roderick Strong
Analysis: *** A pretty good match as expected by these guys. Kushida really didn’t have much momentum as champion, so the title loss is understandable. Strong winning due to an assist from his allies outside the ring made a lot of sense. Kushida was great in terms of working on the arm. The days of the 15-20 minute title matches might be gone on NXT TV, but that’s okay. I get that they want to feature more wrestlers on the show. Sadly, I think Kushida is a guy that they won’t be using as well moving forward, but I hope I am wrong on that.
Post match, Roderick Strong celebrated with the Cruiserweight Title along with the Diamond Mine teammates.
Grayson Waller showed up with a promo congratulating Strong for winning the title. Waller said after what happened to Drake Maverick last week and what happened earlier in the show, he thinks NXT is a jungle. Waller said instead of waiting for an opportunity, he will take one and asked for a title shot next week. Malcolm Bivens didn’t like that. Waller asked if Roddy had to check with “daddy” first. Bivens said that next week, Diamond Mine shows you why they run NXT. Waller was fine with that.
Analysis: Big spot for Waller next week. I doubt he wins next week, but it should be a solid match.
There was a video about newcomer Tony D’Angelo doing a promo about his family business of mobsters and how he’s going to be a success in WWE.
Kay Lee Ray was up next for singles action.
A commercial aired for Extreme Rules on Sunday.
There was a video of Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen becoming friends because they got into a bar fight after Briggs lost in the NXT Breakout Tournament. Briggs and Jensen said that they love to fight and that’s what they are all about. Jensen said that the tag team division is in trouble. Briggs said that him and Jensen didn’t care who started the fight because they are going to end it.
Analysis: It’s basically a gimmick similar to the old APA tag team that liked to drink and get in bar fights. It’s simple, but it can work and it’s always cool to have more tag teams.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Amari Miller
Miller hit a neckbreaker early, but KLR came back with a dropkick. Ray with a front suplex. Miller with a jawbreaker, KLR blocked a kick and that led right into the KLR Bomb for the finish. This was under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kay Lee Ray
Analysis: *1/2 A dominant with for Ray as expected. I don’t know much about Miller, but you can tell she’s very athletic and bumps well. They clearly want to keep pushing KLR, which is smart.
Bron Breakker was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Breakker said he’s in a tag team match with the top three guys in the world and Ciampa’s words hold a lot of weight around here. Tommaso Ciampa walked in with the NXT Title, he asked if Breakker was ready, Breakker said they would kick some ass and who better to do it with than the champ? Breakker slapped Ciampa on the arm and left. The key thing is that Breakker was staring at the title.
Analysis: Bron Breakker will probably get the biggest push out of any of the newcomers in NXT. A title feud against Ciampa could be coming soon too.
A wrestler named Xyon Quinn was shown earlier in the day with two ladies about to enter the building. Another guy walked up, Quinn stopped him, told him “chivalry is dead” and Quinn slammed him into the door after the ladies went in first. Quinn went in after that.
Dante Chen made his NXT debut. He’s the first WWE superstar from Singapore.
Trey Baxter vs. Dante Chen
Baxter with a German Suplex. Chen tried to stop Baxter on the top rope, Baxter jumped off and Baxter got an inside cradle. Chen held Baxter in his arms with a cradle type move and Chen bumped to his ass for whatever that move is called. Chen covered for the win after about one minute. If you do a move like that where you are bumping to your own ass, how is it hurting the other guy? I guess it’s the impact of the bump, but I don’t know if works as a finisher.
Winner by pinfall: Dante Chen
Analysis: 1/2* A rushed match between two good athletes. They are athletic guys that could have been given more time here.
There was a video with Andre Chase welcoming us to Andre Chase University. Chase ripped on Odyssey Jones for not winning the NXT Breakout Tournament and embarrassed himself with a weak cover in his match. A guy mentioned Chase lost to Jones in the tournament, so Chase swore at “Steve” and kicked him out of the class.
Analysis: It’s Andre Chase the evil educator. It’s another gimmick from the past (Dean Douglas and Matt Striker come to mind). Those kinds of gimmicks don’t work that well, but it gives him a character at least.
They showed Triple H’s tweet thanking everybody for the support following his recent heart operation. He thanked Shawn Michaels for running NXT and everybody else involved. Hopefully Hunter is back next.
Cameron Grimes is next.
Joe Gacy was sitting in a chair in the ring doing a promo saying this is a place to settle differences. Gacy said that he understands that life isn’t fair, but he believes we can achieve unity and tolerance for us all. Gacy said that we can achieve peace in this safe space and it starts tonight. Cameron Grimes entered as the opponent. He got a good reaction from the crowd.
Cameron Grimes vs. Joe Gacy
Gacy wrestled in a grey dress shirt and black slacks. Barrett questioned Gacy’s belief that the ring was a “safe space” as the match began. Grimes with an armdrag. Gacy bounced off the ropes, Grimes with a boot to the face. Gacy got some offense with a running splash and a spinning slam with no cover attempt as Gacy applied a chinlock. Grimes charged in with two forearms and then Gacy showed off athleticism with a handstand into the ropes int a clothesline for two. Grimes with a kick, Gacy with a pump kick, then a forearm and when Gacy ran the ropes, Grimes was ready with a Cave In double foot stomp for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes
Analysis: *3/4 It was one move from Grimes and that was it for him. Gacy showed some off some athleticism with some cool moves, so I think he has some potential for sure. Grimes getting the win shows he should remain one of NXT’s top guys that maybe will get a bigger push in the future. Grimes is ready for Raw or Smackdown too. I think Grimes has a very bright future in WWE.
After the match, Grimes celebrated the win. Gacy looked like he might attack, but then he extended his hand for a shake and Gacy hugged Grimes, which confused Grimes a bit. Gacy was selling the chest injury.
A video aired about the Dexter Lumis/Indi Hartwell wedding from last week. Lumis actually spoke when he said “I do” too. There were some comedy bits, but the wedding did take place. Barrett’s comment about Lumis speaking was that “thankfully he learned some oral skills” which led to some awkward moments at the desk. That was mildly funny. Next week on NXT 2.0 is the honeymoon of Lumis and Hartwell.
Elektra Lopez of Legado del Fantasma entered with Santos Escobar, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde for a match up next.
There was a video about Von Wagner saying last week didn’t go his way. They showed Wagner training with an ax and a tire while he noted that his journey in NXT 2.0 has just begun.
Elektra Lopez vs. Anna Scheer
Lopez was dominant with two shoulder tackles. Lopez told Scheer she’s a nobody and Lopez hit a body slam. Lopez caught Scheer for a spinning slam. Lopez with a suplex into a roll through and then a Blue Thunder Bomb for the pinfall win for the victory after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Elektra Lopez
Analysis: 1/2* A dominant win for Lopez, who is on the rise while Scheer is just enhancement talent at this point.
Santos Escobar and the Legado del Fantasma group went into the ring to praise Lopez for commanding silence and respect. Escobar said this is all about one word: “Familia.” Escobar said that Lopez completes Legado del Fantasma. Lopez said this is what a taste of what Elektra Lopez “La Madrina” is going to unleash on B-Fab and NXT 2.0. The fans chanted for the “Legado” group even though they are heels. Lopez mentioned B-Fab can keep talking, but we all know that’s all it is and she dared B-Fab to get her “skinny ass” out here.
The Hit Row group entered with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab attacked Lopez from behind. The women got into a brawl into the ring where they exchanged punches until Hit Row pulled B-Fab off. The women broke free again
Analysis: They have done a nice job of building the story between Hit Row and Legado with the women taking center stage of late. The fans are into it, so that’s a good thing.
There was a locker room scene with Trey Baxter looking dejected when Cora Jade went up to him to hug him. Jade said they’ve been together a long time, the guy he was in the ring with was like a superhero. she loves him no matter what and told him to keep his chin up. She kissed Trey and told him to keep his chin up. Baxter said “superhero” to himself.
The energetic big man Odyssey Jones was up next for singles action.
Franky Monet was walking down a hallway with Robert Stone and Jessi Kamea and then they walked into NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez. Raquel said that they will have their NXT Women’s Championship match next week. Franky told Gonzalez to enjoy her last week as champion and Raquel left. A woman named Lash Legend said her talk show “Lashing Out” debuts next week.
Analysis: I’m glad we’ll get that Gonzalez/Monet match last week. It was supposed to be two weeks ago. I don’t know if there was an injury or a COVID-related issue (Monet was at TV while Gonzalez was not so people will speculate), but it’s happening next week.
Odyssey Jones vs. Cary Millman & Darren Chiappetta
It was the big man Jones against two smaller guys with Jones weighing more than both guys. Jones with a double shoulder tackle. Jones tossed Millman across the ring and splashed both guys. Andre Chase walked out with his “Chase University” sweater. The two small guys tried double-teaming Jones, but Jones broke through their clothesline attempt and hit a double cross body block. Jones splashed the guys against the turnbuckle. Jones went to the middle turnbuckle and hit a splash on both guys for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Odyssey Jones
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over the 400 pounder Jones in a big way. It’s easy to like what Jones does. The fans are into his act and he’s got a lot of personality to match his immense size.
Post match, Andre Chase went into the ring to attack Jones with a steel chair, but Jones blocked the chair with his hand and it broke the seat of the chair! Jones scared Chase, so the smart man Chase retreated.
Analysis: This will likely set up a match with Jones beating Chase easily. Jones is a guy that is a future NXT Champion if he’s there for the next year, but he could get the call to be on Raw and Smackdown because of how big he is. I think Jones has as bright a future as anybody in NXT right now.
They showed Grayson Waller talking to some guys backstage when Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams walked up to him with Hayes reminding Waller of his contract. Hayes said you could win the title, but you could lose it in the same night. Trick said that Hayes is going to keep his options open. Waller and the two random guys left. That led to the trio of the lovely Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne walking into the picture, so Hayes/Williams were checking them out. The girls looked incredible as usual, so it was smart to check them out. Trick and Hayes were happy to check them out.
The Toxic Attraction trio made their entrance looking incredible with the camera zooming on Mandy Rose. Thank you for that.
There was a video about Ikemen Jiro. They showed his colorful wardrobe that included some unique jackets. Jiro said when you think of Japanese wrestlers you think of “strong style” but for him, it’s about being “style strong.” The video focused on Jiro’s unique jackets.
Analysis: It was cheesy, but I give Jiro some credit for being unique in terms of his look.
The NXT theme song was plugged. It’s called “Down South” by Wale.
Let’s Hear from Toxic Attraction (Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne)
I like the Toxic Attraction name for this trio. I think it works just fine. Mandy Rose did a promo saying she came there to be your gift, your golden goddess and then she realized this division was in desperate need for a woman like her. Rose said that she is a woman that you people will never be with, but love to look at. Rose asked where the fans were when her face was battered and beaten? Rose said you did nothing and it’s disgusting. Rose said she became an instant GIF that was replayed over and over again. Rose said that she was treated the same way you treated Gigi and Jacy while Rose said that they don’t give a damn about what you people think. Rose said that these two women showed her that behind this beauty, a beast is ready to be unleashed. Rose said that this is what the future of NXT 2.0’s women’s division looks like and she’ll take over with these two.
Gigi Dolin was next saying the pain of her past has always fueled her aggression. Dolin said that they knew if they could bring that out of Mandy then nothing can stand in their way. Dolin said that Mandy’s experience brought them purpose and makes them unbeatable and will lead them to the top of NXT 2.0. Rose was annoyed by “WHAT” chants so told them to say it if you don’t think she’s the hottest thing alive. The crowd went quiet.
Jacy Jayne said that they are not some pretty faces in the crowd. Jayne noted that they weren’t going to sit in the back and wait for an opportunity. Jayne said what they want is the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Jayne called out Zoey Stark and Io Shirai saying they had an ass kicking waiting for them and said you do not want to keep them wanting.
Analysis: I like this trio a lot. Obviously, they are very attractive, but I think the promos worked well in terms of Mandy saying why she was there, Gigi saying they knew they needed Mandy to help them and Jacy had a lot of confidence talking about wanting the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. Some of the dialogue they had to say is stuff that people would never say normally. I did have an issue when Mandy was blaming fans when she sold a nose injury is weird. What are the fans supposed to do? Help her? They can’t touch her lol. Anyway, Gigi and Jacy were there for Mandy, so they are a team now. Strange dialogue in promos is the nature of scripted promos in WWE. I’m just used to it by now.
They showed Io Shirai and Zoey Stark backstage with Mckenzie Mitchell interviewing them. Shirai said that they get a title shot. Stark didn’t seem to like Shirai making that decision by herself, but Shirai insisted. A taller woman Persia Pirotta showed up saying she is Indi Hartwell’s best friend (an Australian just like Indi) so when Indi wants to go after the Tag Team Titles, they are coming for them.
It was main event time with the team of Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland looking serious as usual.
There was a commercial for the WWE Draft on October 1 on Smackdown and October 4 on Raw. Some NXT names could be involved, but I’m not sure about that.
Next week on NXT:
* Io Shirai & Zoey Stark defend the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships vs. Toxic Attraction’s Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne with Mandy Rose. That could be a title change since the champs haven’t been featured much at all. Shirai could be drafted to Raw or Smackdown as well.
* Raquel Gonzalez defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Franky Monet. I don’t expect a title change.
* Roderick Strong defends the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against Grayson Waller. I don’t expect a title change there.
* B-Fab vs. Elektra Lopez in a No Disqualification Match. That was announced during the main event.
Bron Breakker made his entrance first. The entrance starts with sirens like uncle Scott Steiner, but they don’t acknowledge that. Breakker’s wrestling boots also reference his father Rick Steiner too. Tommaso Ciampa was next up as the NXT Champion.
Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker vs. Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland
Ciampa started with Dunne as they exchanged some holds and neither guy got the advantage as Dunne avoided a running knee. The fans were chanting for both guys. Breakker faced off with Holland as Breakker shoved him at first and then Holland hit a shoulder tackle. Breakker with a waistlock takedown leading to some lifting slams. Dunne went into the ring, so Breakker dropped him with a powerslam. Ciampa was back in with a bulldog on Holland. After Holland hit a slam on Ciampa, Dunne tagged in and hit a dropkick to the back. Dunne pulled back on Ciampa’s arm, then the finger manipulation and Dunne stomping on the ribs. Dunne worked over the left arm of Ciampa some more while pulling on fingers. Ciampa whipped Dunne into Holland and Ciampa threw Holland into the steel steps. Ciampa tossed Dunne over the top and Ciampa did his pat on the back that he likes to do. Holland with a running body attack to knock Ciampa over the barricade to the floor. Holland sent Ciampa back into the ring.
The heels were still in control with Holland hitting Ciampa with some forearms. Ciampa hit a suplex on Holland and Breakker got the hot tag against Dunne. Breakker with jumping shoulder tackles and a spinning belly to belly slam on both guys. Breakker applied the Steiner Recliner submission! The fans were popping big for it while the announcers didn’t use that name for it although Beth did say “recliner” for it. Dunne managed to get out of the hold. Dunne stomped on Breakker’s arm and then Dunne tagged in with an Alabama Slam for a two count as Ciampa broke it up. Dunne and Ciampa exchanged strikes, Ciampa with a rising knee, Dunne with a forearm, Ciampa with a forearm in return and Holland hit a belly to belly suplex on Ciampa, so Breakker hit a belly to belly suplex on Dunne. Breakker and Holland exchanged clotheslines, then they ran the ropes and hit a double clothesline spot. The fans were chanting “2.0” for this new version of NXT. Ciampa stomped on Dunne’s hand with Dunne trying to use a club. Breakker lifted Dunne and Holland hit Breakker to knock him down. Kyle O’Reilly showed up at ringside and hit Holland in the ribs with the club. Ciampa hit the Willow’s Bell DDT on Dune. Breakker picked up Holland overhead for a press slam into a powerslam for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match to put over the rising young star Bron Breakker again after he got a win in the opening match last week. The structure was the right call with Ciampa as the face in peril building to Breakker getting the hot tag. The win wasn’t totally clean since O’Reilly attacked Holland, so Dunne has an out for why he lost. With that said, it was still about WWE wanting to put over Breakker in a big way and that’s what they did. I really liked the Ciampa/Dunne parts of the match, so I hope that they get to have a proper feud leading to a title match soon.
Post match, the referee wanted to give Ciampa the title, but Breakker grabbed the title first. Ciampa tapped him on the face and took the title from him. Ciampa and Breakker raised their hands together. The announcers put over Breakker big after showing the replays. Ciampa and Breakker celebrated the win. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: They are clearly teasing the idea of Bron Breakker going after the NXT Title soon. It’s weird how much they don’t want to embrace Bron Breakker’s family history. Breakker wore “Bite Me” boots like his dad Rick Steiner, his entrance music has sirens like uncle Scott Steiner, he did a Steiner Recliner like uncle Scott and sounds exactly like Scott doing his promo. I understand WWE wants to own and create superstar’s names, but sometimes if there’s a history there, it should be embraced.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Tommaso Ciampa
2. Bron Breakker
3. Roderick Strong/Kushida
This week: 6.75 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2021 Average: 7.31
I liked this week’s show better than last week. Two pretty good matches helped and a strong main event. One of the issues is that there are just so many short vignettes or promos that it’s tough to digest it all. Some of these promos are like 45 seconds while several matches were kept under three minutes.
The format of NXT has changed a lot. Only one match over 10 minutes. There used to be three or four nearly every week. Most Kushida title matches would go 15 mins but this one went about nine minutes. There were more short matches and different people on it. I think some of the vignettes were so short that they don’t have much of a lasting effect, but it’s a way to get more people on the show.
There was a report via Fightful Select that NXT 2.0 is going to be a bit edgier in terms of “in-ring work and aggression to harsher language” as well as “more lenience on female character gear.” When Mandy Rose entered, they zoomed in on her body from head to toe, so clearly, they are trying to emphasize her sex appeal and it’s not something WWE has done that much in the PG era. As far as the language, it was a bit more aggressive at times, so that’s good too. I’m certainly not going to complain about changes like that. The women’s division is being utilized well since there are three women’s matches on the show next week.
I’m still adjusting to NXT 2.0, but I certainly don’t mind it that much. I miss what NXT was a bit because it caters to hardcore fans like us. However, I think long-term this version of NXT is going to work out pretty well in terms of giving screen time to younger talent. If you can’t see the incredible potential of guys like Bron Breakker, Odyssey Jones, Carmelo Hayes and some others then you are not looking close enough. Those are three of the standouts, but there will probably be more.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.