Hey gang! So last week we were introduced to NXT 2.0 and honestly, I enjoyed it! The matches were good, the show flowed well, and I liked the introduction of new characters to the mix. So despite my (and many other fans') reservations going into it, I was pleasantly surprised and was left looking forward to tonight to see if Vince and co. could continue the run with some well-earned goodwill. And did they? Only one way to find out, so let's get to it!
Our recently crowned new NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa hits the ring with Goldie to kick things off tonight. Waiting for him in the ring is a number of NXT's youngest stars, who surround Ciampa as soon as he steps inside.
Ciampa reflects on how long it's been since he was last champion and all he's been through since then, including career-threatening neck surgery. He then sells the new 2.0 version of NXT and says how these young stars have been busting their asses to get over and create something new. He notes the brand's passion and with him as Champion, he says this is now "the A show".
Cameron Grimes heads out now and tells Ciampa that he wants a shot at the NXT title. Joe Gacy steps in and starts telling him why he shouldn't get one, but he's interrupted by LA Knight, who storms out and says the ring is filled with "hot garbage". He's interrupted by Odyssey Jones, who reminds him that last week, he lost twice in the same night.
Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland make their way out now Dunne tells all the young guys that they should make a name for themselves, but all he sees is a bunch of geezers afraid to throw the first punch. Ciampa jumps him then and it's a brawl!
As everyone goes at it in the ring, more stars such as Duke Hudson and Oney Lorcan storm the ring and get into the fight as well. Eventually, Ciampa and Bron Breakker clean house until it's just the two of them left and they talk trash to Dunne and Holland from the ring.
The fighting isn't over though, as we cut to the backstage area to find Kay Lee Ray, Elektra Lopez, B-Fab, and Amari Miller all coming to blows and needing to be held apart by security. Something's in the water in Orlando tonight cause everyone's looking to punch someone!
Back to the ring now, where Ciampa and Breakker are again brawling with Dunne and Holland, before throwing them from the ring. Breakker grabs the mic and challenges Dunne and Holland to grow a pair of balls and have a tag team match against him and Ciampa tonight, which they accept.
What an opening!
Roderick Strong vs Kushida – NXT Cruiserweight Championship
This one was as tight and technical as I had hoped to start! It's all Kushida early as he continuously takes Strong down to the mat with grapples, submissions, and reversals.
Strong turns things around about midway with a strong boot to the face, a backbreaker, and a back suplex sequence. From there he works Kushida over with chops and elbows.
Kushida is able to get the Hoverboard Lock in, but Malcolm Bivens puts Strong's foot on the rope to break the hold. Bivens then leaps to the apron to distract the ref and all of Diamond Mine start pounding on Kushida outside of the ring, before throwing him back in to catch a knee to the face by Strong followed by an End of Heartache for the pinfall.
Winner and new Champion: Roderick Strong
After the match, Diamond Mine flood the ring to celebrate their first title win as a faction.
The celebration is interrupted by the music of Grayson Waller, who struts out and says he realizes NXT 2.0 is a jungle, but he was raised to survive in a jungle. He then challenges Strong for his newly won title next week. Bivens scolds Waller for interrupting their celebration, but they ultimately accept his challenge.
It's Tony D'Angelo time again now, as we head to the loading docks to find the would-be mobster describing his family's work at the docks over the years. He says his success in NXT is a guarantee and he'll see us soon.
We now go to a redneck bar to hear from Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs, where Briggs tells us that they met up at this bar the night he was eliminated from the NXT Breakout Tournament and they had a huge bar fight with each other that night and respected each other after and now they're a tag team…cause that's how that shit works I guess?
I said it last week, but it's even more striking now. WWE is really trying to package these two as Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch 2.0. Here's one of the Cade & Murdoch debut vignettes WWE aired in 2005:
And here's the one for Jensen & Briggs from this week's NXT:
What's old is new again folks!
Kay Lee Ray vs Amari Miller
The very new Miller has a ton of personality in her entrance, but unfortunately, Ray has everything else and just demolishes Miller here. Very quick squash here.
Winner: Kay Lee Ray
We now go backstage to McKenzie Mitchell interviewing Bron Breakker and he tells us he's psyched for tonight. Ciampa approaches to ask if he's ready and as Breakker answers, he again catches a look at the NXT title and can't look away.
We now go to video from earlier in the day, when Xyon Quinn was accompanying Jessica Woynilko and Yulisa León into the building. Quinn holds the door for the ladies, but a rude guy tries to rush past them and Quinn has to teach the guy some manners.
Dante Chen vs Trey Baxter
The debut match here for Dante Chen, NXT's first-ever Singaporean star. And it's an interesting start for him here, as he and Baxter have a fast-paced, but extremely short match. I think Chen hits one actual move before getting the pinfall on Baxter.
Winner: Dante Chen
We now head to "Chase University" with Andre Chase, where he's holding his first day of classes. He gives a lecture to his class (who the hell are these people?) about Odyssey Jones and why he thinks he's a loser. This was pretty dumb and Chase didn't exactly have any charisma here to pull this off.
A side-note though, I've noticed a lot of cursing on tonight's show thus far. Bron Breakker called Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland bitches earlier, Josh Briggs called Brooks Jensen an asshole, and now here, Chase drops a bunch of F-bombs. Could NXT become WWE's PG-13 Attitude Era-Esque destination going forward?
We now get a medical update on Kyle O'Reilly after his attack by Dunne and Holland last week, which kept him out of the Fatal 4-Way Match for the NXT Title. We learn that his ribs have been reinjured (after being initially injured by an anonymous figure who we will never identify going forward…Bay-Bay) and he'll be week to week.
We also get an update on WWE legend and NXT creator Triple H, who tweeted that he's recovering and doing well.
Joe Gacy is sitting in the ring now and he cuts a promo about conflict resolution and not needing to use his male privilege to get what he wants. He goes on being a really woke dude and I swear you can hear Vince and Bruce Prichard giggling from the back.
Cameron Grimes vs Joe Gacy
And now we have a match with Gacy too! It's mostly a Grimes show here, but it needs to be said how genuinely good Gacy is throughout keeping this character up and doing little things like applauding Grimes when he does a good move or after every time he gets going with the offense, Gacy stops and composes himself, as if to try and calm down to avoid violence.
Gacy has a good showing, but Grimes hits the Cave In and gets the pinfall in another pretty short match.
Winner: Cameron Grimes
After the match, Gacy tries shaking Grimes's hand and then hugs him. Gacy is giving me some Bray Wyatt vibes here in his subtle commitment to his character.
We now get a recap of last week's wedding between Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis and we learn they'll be back next week.
Next, we get a video of last week's new star Von Wagner working out and training while describing himself. Oh yeah, you can tell this is one of Vince's handpicked guys if we're seeing him work out and show off his physique on-air…
Elektra Lopez vs Anna Scheer
Lopez just destroys Scheer here in another quick squash for the night.
Winner: Elektra Lopez
After the match, Santos Escobar grabs the mic and celebrates Lopez's win. Lopez then gets the mic and says tonight was just a taste of what she's going to unleash on B-Fab. She continues that B-Fab is all talk and challenges her to come out.
Hit Row heads out now, but B-Fab jumps Lopez from behind and the two start brawling in the ring before Hit Row drag B-Fab out and Legado del Fantasma holds Lopez back.
We now head to the locker room, where Trey Baxter is recovering after his match. Cora Jade runs in to hug him and cheer him up after his loss. She tells him not to worry about it because the other guy looked like a superhero. She then kisses him (I guess they're together?) and walks off as Baxter thinks out loud about "superhero". Ok, we all know where this is heading, don't we? I guess Nikki A.S.H. won't be the only superhero in WWE soon enough…
Franky Monet runs into NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez backstage and Gonzalez informs Monet that she just secured their title match for next week's show. Monet then has a run-in with Lash Legend, who informs her that her debut show next week, Lashing Out will be a much bigger deal.
Well, we officially have our worst segment of the night, so there's that.
Odyssey Jones vs Cary Millman & Darren Chiappetta
Handicap Match action here as Odyssey Jones (who is crazy over with the crowd by the way) takes on two men at once. He might be outnumbered, but these two are no match for the giant powerhouse babyface.
Andre Chase makes his way to ringside to taunt Jones, but to no avail, as Jones dominates his opponents. Jones stacks both men on the mat and hits a Frog Splash from the turnbuckle on them for the pinfall.
Winner: Odyssey Jones
After the bell, Chase hits the ring and swings a steel chair at Jones, but Jones grabs it and breaks the seat out of it with his hand. The shocked and scared Chase then quickly exits the ring as Jones starts stomping.
We now head backstage where Grayson Waller has words with Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams, before Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne walk by and distract Williams and Hayes, who are very impressed by the ladies.
We now get a video package with Ikemen Jiro, where he tells us about himself and shows off his wardrobe. He tells us that while Japanese wrestlers are known for "strong style", he wants to be known for "style strong". He models his jackets and tells us how his name means "handsome man". This guy is hilarious and is overflowing with charisma.
The ladies now hit the ring and apparently, the trio is now known as "Toxic Attraction". Rose tells us she came to NXT 2.0 to be a gift to us, as they desperately needed a woman like her. She then goes on a heavily scripted rant where she mispronounces words with very little charisma, surrounded by two women playing sidekicks to her, even though they're way more talented.
Dolin and Jayne then hop on the mic and give WAY better promos to save the segment. They say they want the NXT Women's tag team titles and won't wait.
We then head backstage to the NXT Women's tag champs, Zoey Stark and Io Shirai and Shirai accepts their challenge. They are then confronted by Persia Pirotta, who tells the champs that Dolin and Jayne aren't the only ones who want a title shot. She says when Indi Hartwell returns next week, they want a title shot as well.
Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland vs Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa
It's an interesting mix of skillsets here as Ciampa and Dunne bring in a quicker technical style, while Holland and Breakker are absolute powerhouses with arsenals of slams and suplexes at their disposals.
Breakker really shines here with some great amateur wrestling takedowns and transitions into big slams and suplexes that would make his father and uncle proud. And all while keeping up his energy and charisma to keep the crowd going.
Ciampa and Dunne slow everything down in the middle, but not in a bad way. They work in holds and strikes to let everyone catch their breath and give the match some ups and downs. Ciampa gets both opponents outside and tosses them into the ring steps and over the announcer's table, but they fight back and stay in it.
Holland works Ciampa over in the ring, but Ciampa hits a big vertical suplex and gets the hot tag to Breakker, who wipes out both opponents with belly-to-belly suplexes and then gets Dunne in the Steiner Recliner, but Dunne bends his fingers to break it.
Holland hits a big Alabama Slam on Breakker, but Ciampa breaks the ensuing lateral press. He and Dunne then trade blows before Holland hits Ciampa with a back body drop and Breakker then hits Dunne with one of his own.
The two big bulls face off before coming to blows and knocking each other down. Dunne tries getting the Billy Club in the ring, but Ciampa gets rid of it. When Holland heads outside to retrieve it, Kyle O'Reilly shows up out of nowhere and bashes Holland with the club, and tosses him back in the ring, where Ciampa hits Dunne with Willow's Bell and Breakker hits Holland with the Gorilla Press Slam for the pinfall.
Winners: Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa
Excellent tag match! Nonstop action, great pacing throughout, and a really fun ending.
After the match, Breakker grabs the NXT title and stares at it in his hands before Ciampa tries taking it from him. Breakker holds onto it but eventually releases it and they celebrate their victory as NXT 2.0 ends.
Ok, so definitely not as strong as last week's show, but not bad either. This felt like the timing was off beginning to end and everything was being adjusted throughout to fit it all in after the long opening segment. The matches (except for the main event) were all noticeably short, but the killer main event ended the night on a really high note. Bron Breakker looks legit!
Till next time friends!