NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?

Hey gang!  WWE has made sure to keep their main roster and NXT 2.0 stars away from one another thus far, but that has now ended.  Raw star AJ Styles will be on NXT 2.0 and word is he's looking for the dastardly Grayson Waller and might teach the rebelious young star some lessons in respect.  We've also got a Street Fight and some grudge matches on the card, so enough out of me, let's get to the action!

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
Tony D'Angelo and Pete Dunne look to settle their issues tonight on NXT 2.0, courtesy of WWE.

We open with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa already in the ring and ready to address the crowd.

He says as NXT Champion, he's always hunted and everyone is after him.  But he's different in that he's the hunter and Bron Breakker is the hunted.  This brings out Breakker and we're about to have a confrontation.

Ciampa doesn't let him get a microphone and instead recalls Breakker beating him at NXT WarGames and how Breakker now thinks he deserves another title shot.  He says in two weeks at NXT New Year's Evil, he's going to give him another title match, but says he's not ready to be Champion in his NXT.

He goes over how other guys have wrestled for almost 20 years just to get to NXT, but Breakker hasn't wrestled 20 matches yet.  He mocks him for dreaming about being Champion, but says he's the reality to that dream.  He then slaps Breakker in the face, which leads Breakker to grab him by the throat and lift him over his head in a Press.  Breakker slowly lets him down and says he'll see him in two weeks.

Fantastic opening segment here and a truly great promo by Ciampa.  Breakker does a good job here too with a "less is more" kinda deal, staying quiet and letting Ciampa talk, until the end when he makes a big impact statement.  Really good segment with legit heat and it totally sold the match between them.  Good stuff.

Raquel Gonzalez vs Dakota Kai – Street Fight

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
Raquel Gonzalez vs Dakota Kai in a Street Fight tonight on NXT 2.0, courtesy of WWE.

We find this one started already backstage as the two women are brawling in a production area and hitting each other with pipes and equipment.  Kai tries a Head Scissors on Gonzalez, but she reverses it and swings Kai into a set piece.

They brawl backstage for a few minutes, using all kinds of weapons and some creative spots.  A bunch of refs run to them and make it clear the match can only start in the ring, so this is just a brawl.

They then head outside to the parking lot and slam each other into some cars and fight around the outside of the Performance Center.  They make their way back inside and are backstage again and fight some more.

They finally make their way out to ringside and continue brawling and the match has now officially begun.  Gonzalez grabs the top of the announce table and clocks Kai with it.

She then throws a bunch of weapons into the ring and tries to kill Kai with the steel ring steps, but Kai dodges and kicks her into them.  They brawl around ringside a bit before heading into the ring where they do a good flapjack onto a chair spot.

Kai hurricanranas Gonzalez out of the ring and puts her in a garbage can, before hitting her with a leaping stomp from the ring apron.

Gonzalez rallies and Powerbombs Kai onto the steel ring steps on the outside.

They get back in the ring and Gonzalez Powerbombs Kai through a garbage can for the pinfall and the win.

Wow.  Terrific match here!  These two legit looked like they wanted to kill each other the whole time and it was just really well-produced, starting impromptu in the backstage area and culminating in the ring.  Very well-done.

Winner: Raquel Gonzalez

After the match, Gonzalez demands NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose come out and give her a title match right now, but instead she's met by Cora Jade, who says she's the one who wants to beat Rose for the title for what Toxic Attraction has done to her.  They argue over who should get the shot, but are interrupted by a video of Rose from a pool somewhere, where she says that at NXT New Year's Evil, it will be a Triple Threat Match between the three of them for the title.  Gonzaled and Jade are then attacked from behind by Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin with kendo sticks and they put Gonzalez through a table.

We now get a video from Joe Gacy and Harland, where they apologize for what they did to Brian Kendrick last week.  Gacy makes excuses for Harland and says Kendrick "triggered him" and says Kendrick has no one to blame but himself.

This gets a response video from Kendrick, who says he resigned as an NXT Coach and will now challenge Harland to a match next week on NXT 2.0.

We now go backstage to find Grizzled Young Veterans watching footage of The Creed Brothers working out as they get ready for their match against them tonight.  They say they're not going to beat them with strength, but with their brains.

Next, we go to Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell backstage, where Pirotta tells Hartwell their match tonight has been postponed.  They're interrupted by Grayson Waller and Hartwell explodes on him, calling him a douche and saying she'll never forgive him for what he did to Johnny Gargano.  Waller taunts Hartwell as Pirotta holds her back.

The Creed Brothers vs Grizzled Young Veterans

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
The Creed Brothers vs Grizzled Young Veterans tonight on NXT 2.0, courtesy of WWE.

Ok so, these two teams are having a really good legit match here and then halfway through, Jacket Time comes out with a gimmicky mini announce table prop and sets it up to do their own commentary on the match and distract GYV.  It's as if Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard sensed there was good wrestling going on and felt they must ruin it with stupid racist comedy.

Briggs & Jensen then wander out on the entrance ramp and I guess this one's just been tossed in the shitter huh?  Unbelievable…

Anyway, the four men in the ring do their best to still keep the focus on them and their match, but they all eventually spill outside and start brawling with the other teams and the ref call for the bell.

No Contest

We now go to a backstage interview with NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams.  They hype up Williams ahead of his match with Dexter Lumis, until Lumis appears on a video monitor next to them, which scares them off.  Good promo from Williams, but the video things was really stupid.

We now see footage from earlier in the day, where Io Shirai is accompanying Zoey Stark to physical rehab for her knee.  They end up fighting with Legado del Fantasma over a table and Shirai and Elektra Lopez set up a match for later in the show.

Dexter Lumis vs Trick Williams

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
Dexter Lumis vs Trick Williams on NXT 2.0, courtesy of WWE.

Not a great one here and there's lot of noticeable stumbles along the way.  Roderick Strong ends up brawling with Carmelo Hayes at ringside and they head into the crowd.  Lumis and Williams fight a bit more in the ring before Williams tries to hit Lumis with his shoe and Lumis instead locks in The Silencer to knock him out for the win.

Winner: Dexter Lumis

After the match, Grayson Waller beats Lumis with a chair in the ring, until he sees on the video screen that AJ Styles has arrived.

Waller grabs a mic and starts insulting WWE Hall of Fame speeches and how they thank the fans.  He says when he gets inducted, he's just going to say "I told you so!"  He's interrupted by Styles, who makes his way to the ring.

Waller takes credit for bringing Styles to NXT and then the two exchange insults.

Styles then names all of the NXT guys he sees as future superstars, but says he doesn't know about Waller.  Styles insults Waller until the younger star starts to threaten him.  Styles challenges him to do it and Waller instead ducks out of the ring and says "I'll let Omos get you first; I got next!"

And that's it.  So the way they were billing this, it sounded like we were getting a match between them tonight or at the very least some physical action.  Just some verbal sparring though, which I don't know if that's really going to excite anyone too much.

We now go to Malcolm Bivens and Diamond Mine from their training area and Bivens says Roderick Strong challenges Carmelo Hayes at NXT New Year's Evil to a title vs title match.

Next, we get more MSK and Riddle crap.

Von Wagner vs Edris Enofé

Robert Stone comes to ringside to scout this one.  Wagner is in total control, but when he gets Enofé up for a Powerbomb, Enofé reverses and rolls up Wagner for the pinfall.

Winner: Edris Enofé

After the match, Wagner jumps his opponent on the outside and throws him back into the ring to beat him up.

We now head backstage for an interview with the NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium, where they insult MSK and say they're no threat to them.

Next, we see a video of NXT stars doing some holiday charity work with the Boys & Girls Club.  Ok, so yes, of course charity work is great and it's awesome that WWE is doing this.  But why they hell are they putting out a video in the middle of their show showing heels like Grayson Waller standing side-by-side and working with their babyface enemies like LA Knight?  Why is there footage of the evil and heartless Santos Escobar holding babies while smiling?

This is an easy one guys.  Just show Bron Breakker and the other faces doing this stuff (even if the heels are there and helping) and cut out any footage of the heels.  Come on!  I know kayfabe isn't much of a thing, but to wreck it mid-show like that?

Elektra Lopez vs Io Shirai

A pretty good one here, although a bit short.  Shirai is incapable of having a bad match, so this is no susprise.  Xyon Quinn eventually wanders out and beats up Wilde and Mendoza at ringside, before climbing to the apron and holding up misteltoe to Lopez.  Escobar then trips him off of the apron, but Quinn throws him into the ring steps.

This distracts Lopez and Shirai hits her with an open palm strike and a top rope moonsault for the pinfall.

It's not bad, but someone as great as Shirai didn't need all the hoopla to get a win over a newcomer like that.

Winner: Io Shirai

Pete Dunne vs Tony D'Angelo

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
Pete Dunne vs Tony D'Angelo on NXT 2.0, courtesy of WWE.

This was a good one.  Lots of hard-hitting, snug action here.  D'Angelo continues to impress with his suplexes and slams, while Dunne looks like a surgeon at work in the ring and it's all just very effective here.

They beat the hell out of each other, until D'Angelo tries to hit Dunne with a crowbar, but Dunne reverses into an armbar.  D'Angelo then fishhooks Dunne to break it and goes for the Fisherman's Suplex, but Dunne catches him and snaps his fingers before hitting The Bitter End for the pinfall.

Winner: Pete Dunne

They fight more after the match and head out to ringside, where D'Angelo hits Dunne with a spinning Fisherman's Suplex.  He then grabs the crowbar and chokes Dunne with it on the announce table, before smashing Dunne's hand with the crowbar.

D'Angelo stands over a broken Dunne as NXT 2.0 ends.

Alright, so the first hour of this episode was pretty stellar with a good opening segment to set up the NXT title match, a great Street Fight, and some other solid stuff.  There was little to no fat there and it all seemed imperative.  Then in the second hour, the silliness started to find its way in again, but the main event match was really good and the ending was a good cliffhanger.

I know I say it every week, but I really think if NXT 2.0 was only an hour long and they just focused on the important stuff, the entire product would look much, much better.  This was a step in the right direction though and not a bad episode at all.

Till next time friends!

12/21 NXT 2.0

NXT 2.0 Recap 12/22: Did Raw's AJ Styles Teach The Kids A Lesson?
Review by Ryan Fassett

6.5/10
An excellent Street Fight from Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai and an excellent main event match from Tony D'Angelo and Pete Dunne mixed with some really good match-building as they head towards NXT New Year's Evil in two weeks made this a solid show. There was still some perplexing stuff and some awful silliness (you know it involved MSK), but overall, this show was much more good than bad and accomplished quite a bit going forward.

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About Ryan Fassett

As a lifelong fan of movies, comics, wrestling, and collectibles, Ryan is excited to share his thoughts on all of it with you. He is also an active filmmaker and published comic book writer, along with being a connoisseur of soda.
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