Hey gang! So this past Sunday's NXT WarGames Pay Per View event set the tone of what's to come in NXT and there was a clear message at the end of it all: the future is now. The classic "black and gold" era of NXT is done and the NXT 2.0 era is full-steam ahead, especially after the results of the men's WarGames match. But part of that transition will include the departure of some beloved figures of the previous ers, namely Kyle O'Reilly and Johnny Gargano, both of whom their contract with WWE is up and it appears they're heading elsewhere. So tonight we might very well be seeing the last of them in NXT, with O'Reilly facing his former partner Von Wagner in a Steel Cage Match, while Gargano has promised to address his future with the NXT 2.0 audience tonight.
Kyle O'Reilly vs Von Wagner – Steel Cage Match
Kyle O'Reilly doesn't wait for the match to officially start, as he jumps Von Wagner from behind on his way to the ring.
O'Reilly beats Wagner around ringside a bit, before tossing him inside the cage to get this one started. One thing that has to be noted is the audience absolutely hates Wagner. Now is that because he attacked their favorite in O'Reilly or is this go-away heat because he's green and they don't think he's worth their time?
Time will tell, but being so young and undefined as a character right now, having any kind of heat with the audience can only help him in crafting what and who he will become. In wrestling, the only bad reaction is no reaction. So to have something to work with right now, no matter how we got there, is a step in the right direction.
The match itself is ok. Wagner is physically impressive with his strength and grappling ability, but this one is all O'Reilly. If you watch wrestling for a long time, you can tell when a guy is kind of wrestling himself and that's what we have here. And that's not a dig at Wagner, it's just that he's very green still and O'Reilly is the storyteller here. The positive for Wagner here is he's not trying to outwork O'Reilly or his own abilities and is open to being guided, which can only help him look better right now and help him learn going forward.
But as I said, this one's an O'Reilly show. If O'Reilly is on offense, he's driving the action. If Wagner's on offense, it's O'Reilly's selling and reactions that are doing the work. And that's what a good veteran wrestler is supposed to do when working with a young talent and trying to help get them over. Jerry Lawler was one of the best ever at this. Lawler could sell to and work a parking cone and get everyone into it while making the cone look like a million dollars and himself look all the better for doing it.
They go back and forth and have a battle of brute strength versus skill and determination.
Eventually, though, Wagner hits O'Reilly with a low blow and tosses him into the cage repeatedly, before hitting him with a modified Tiger Bomb for the pinfall and the win. And like that, the age-old wrestling tradition of going out on your back and putting over the younger guy continues. Bravo Kyle.
Winner: Von Wagner
After the match, Wagner hangs O'Reilly over the ropes and slams the cage door on him repeatedly to firmly establish himself as a vicious heel get some extra legit heat. And it was a good way to finish this one. Wagner hits a cheap shot and solidifies himself as a dirty heel and the crowd lets him hear it after.
We now go to a video of Joe Gacy and Harland, where Gacy says it's ok that he lost his match at NXT WarGames because he broke down barriers and is now working to change the name of that show (205 Live). He also announces that Harland will make his in-ring debut next week on NXT 2.0.
It's Bron Breakker time now as the WarGames MVP makes his way to the ring for a promo. He gives credit to the Black & Gold team and says he has total respect for them.
But then he brings up that Tommaso Ciampa pinned him at NXT Halloween Havoc and he pinned Ciampa at NXT WarGames, so they need to fight again to break the tie.
He's interrupted by Diamond Mine and Malcolm Bivens calls him "LeBron Breakker" as he congratulates him on the victory. Bivens says Roderick Strong also had an amazing victory and has now run out of challengers in his weight class. Breakker tells him to get to the point, "or I'll throw your ass into the fifth row!" Bivens says Strong has his sights set on Breakker and challenges Breakker to a match next week on NXT 2.0, which Breakker accepts.
Briggs & Jensen vs The Creed Brothers
Brooks Jensen is wearing a Fabulous Freebirds "Badstreet USA" t-shirt to the ring, which immediately earns him some serious points in my book.
Grizzled Young Veterans are on commentary for this one, while the NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium also watches the match from the balcony.
These two teams in the ring don't have great chemistry and there's a lot of pauses and dead spots, which appears to be due to Briggs and Jensen more than the Creeds, who continue to look like big superstars in the making.
As the two teams battle on the outside, Drake runs up and steals the tag rope from Briggs' corner, so the ref won't count their tags. This distracts everyone and they bump Briggs from the apron, but Jensen then rolls up Brutus for the win? What?! That is an awful, awful ending that makes absolutely zero sense. Total garbage there.
Winners: Briggs & Jensen
We now head backstage to an interview with Von Wagner, whom the crowd is still booing heavily, so they may have actually accomplished something here. He says WarGames is over and Kyle O'Reilly is over, but he has just begun. We then see Robert Stone to the side, taking notes on him. This was a pretty brutal promo. He was looking to a weird spot between McKenzie and the camera, which may have been cards he was reading from. He was also doing this weird over-exaggerating thing with his face. He definitely needs promo work, that's for sure.
Duke Hudson heads to the ring now wearing a ridiculous blonde wig and come on WWE! You're seriously going to do the exact same schtick you did when both Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon had their heads shaved? Really?
Hudson does a promo saying it was only internet rumors that Cameron Grimes shaved his head at NXT WarGames and he just dyed his hair blonde. He says Grimes is just a disappointment, which brings out Grimes and Hudson then puts on wrestling headgear, again, just like Kurt Angle! Come on guys!
Grimes tells Hudson off and says he can't handle losing, which sets Hudson off, as he points out that Grimes grabbed his trunks for the win. Grimes agrees and says they should have a No Holds Barred Match next week, which Hudson accepts. They then fight a bit before Hudson runs off.
We now go backstage to a kitchen area (???) where Briggs & Jensen are settling down after their match. They're interrupted by Kushida and Ikemen Jiro, who congratulate them and smack them on the ass… ok. Grizzled Young Veterans charge in and say they only won because of them (no guys, it wasn't because of you, it was because of bad booking). Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter then do a very random walk-through, announcing they have two extra concert tickets and Briggs & Jensen run off with them. The remaining two teams then start brawling and a ton of refs run in to break them up. As everyone leaves, the woman in pajamas who's always sleeping (the former very scary leader of Tian Sha and now a comedy extra, Mei Ying) stands up from behind the bar and then just sits back down. This was one of the dumbest things I can remember seeing in NXT. Yikes.
We now go outside, where Grayson Waller is trying to impress some woman, until LA Knight rolls up in his sports car and the woman leaves with him, pissing off Waller.
Dexter Lumis vs Carmelo Hayes
An ok one here. Very good job of Hayes to really sell the injured ribs from the WarGames match throughout. They get a solid 15 minutes to work here, but eventually, Lumis locks Hayes in The Silencer by the ropes and Trick Williams runs up and hits Lumis from the outside, which leads to the DQ.
Winner by DQ: Dexter Lumis
After the bell, Lumis locks Williams in The Silencer through the ropes until Hayes pries him loose and they escape.
Now it's time to get some closure on that MSK "Shaman" garbage and it turns out it's Riddle and you know this whole thing is stupid, so let's move on.
We now get a quick walk and talk promo from Toxic Attraction backstage as they head out for a match.
Next, we find Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta backstage, where Pirotta lectures Hartwell on getting her head straight so they can compete again.
Yulisa Leon & Valentina Feroz vs. Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
Not a squash by any means, but a quick enough one for the NXT Women's Tag Team Champions here.
Winners: Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
After the match, NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose cuts a promo on them being the best, until they're interrupted by Cora Jade, whose arm is in a sling after what happened Sunday. Jade mocks Rose for beating her two weeks ago and for winning WarGames. Rose challenges her to come into the ring, which brings out Raquel Gonzalez with a steel chair to chase off Toxic Attraction.
We now get another video teaser for Tiffany Stratton, who is supposed to debut on NXT 2.0 sometime soon.
Next, we go to a backstage interview with Tony D'Angelo, who brags about his team's win and shows off Pete Dunne's mouthguard in a case, until he's interrupted by Andre Chase, who criticizes him. D'Angelo challenges Chase to a match next week on NXT 2.0, which Chase accepts.
We now go backstage to Cora Jade and Raquel Gonzalez talking about becoming NXT Women's Champion until Kay Lee Ray walks up and offers Jade her baseball bat.
Xyon Quinn vs Santos Escobar
Man, Santos Escobar is really one of the best sellers in the industry today. He makes Xyon Quinn look like He-Man here. And by the power of Grayskull, it's a pretty fun match too. I think Quinn has a lot of potential and Escobar is already an incredible talent.
Each man has his sequences to shine here and Quinn does a good job continually showing he's distracted by Elektra Lopez on the outside.
Eventually, they wind up on the top turnbuckle, where Quinn tries to go for a top rope Fallaway Slam, but Escobar escapes and instead hits a Super Hurricanrana on Quinn. But when Quinn lands, Lopez puts brass knuckles on Quinn's hand, which he throws away as soon as he realizes it. Joaquin Wilde is on the apron and Quinn kicks him off, but the distraction allows Escobar to hit him with a jumping knee and then the Fantom Driver for the pinfall.
Winner: Santos Escobar
We now head outside, where Diamond Mine is interviewed about Roderick Strong facing Bron Breakker next week. They're interrupted by Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams, who get in Malcolm Bivens' face about his talking up Strong.
Johnny Gargano heads to the ring now to big "Johnny Wrestling" chants from the crowd. Gargano is visibly emotional here as he makes his way around to greet fans.
He starts by saying Shawn Michaels told him he can go as long as he wants. The crowd chants "please don't go!" as Gargano just shoots here, saying he should have enjoyed his time here more, but he was always worried about giving his best performance and giving the NXT fans something to be proud of.
He goes over his history and how at a WWE tryout in 2015, he was told he would never be in NXT. He credits William Regal with bringing him in and giving him a chance. He thanks the NXT fans for always believing in him and having his back and says the only place he's ever felt special is in an NXT ring.
He says he's stayed in NXT so long because he truly believes in this place and loves it, but sometimes there needs to be a change.
He tells the crowd that "you'll never fail if you bet on yourself" and while he doesn't know his immediate future, he's excited for February when his son will be born and he's focused on showing his son that he can be the best man he can be. It's then that Grayson Waller appears from behind and decks Gargano with a steel chair. He screams at him that "this ain't yours no more!" as he throws him outside the ring, puts his head in the chair, and slams it into the ring steps. Waller then Powerbombs Gargano through the announce table and screams into the camera that it's his house now as NXT 2.0 ends.
Wow, there's an impactful ending! But as good as it was to see Waller get that edge and become a true evil heel, it leaves a giant question: is Johnny Gargano done in NXT?
Till next time friends!