The Gargano Curse was Finally Broken on WWE NXT Last Night [Recap]

Well, I just watched Dynamite's tribute to Brodie Lee, which was a really great tribute show but also very emotionally draining. Not necessarily the best frame of mind to now watch another two hours of wrestling to recap WWE NXT, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do…

The Shovel - Weekly TV Recaps of WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, Impact Wrestling, AEW Dynamite, and WWE NXT [Photo: Shutterstock]
The Shovel – Weekly TV Recaps of WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, Impact Wrestling, AEW Dynamite, and WWE NXT [Photo: Shutterstock]

WWE NXT Recap for December 30th, 2020

Before NXT, WWE puts up the In memory of Jon Hubery graphic. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott heads to the ring to kick off NXT. Bronson Reed follows.

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Bronson Reed

They have a match. Swerve's new bad attitude doesn't help in against Reed, who dominates.

Winner: Bronson Reed

William Regal gives out the NXT Year-End Award for 2020 Breakout Star of the year. It's Shotzi Blackheart. Blackheart gives an acceptance speech from her backyard. NXT takes a commercial break.

Leon Ruff is seen arriving at AEW earlier today. Then the Garganos. As the Garganos are walking in, Johnny Gargano sees a black cat, a bad omen for his chances of successfully defending the North American Championship tonight.

Breezango vs. Grizzled Young Veterans

Beezango and the Grizzled Young Veterans are in the ring and they have a match with each other. I don't get what Grizzled Young Veterans' gimmick is. Breezango's comedy act has been stale for several years. This match goes on for way longer than it needs to and the Grizzled Young Veterans walk away with the pinfall.

Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans

Ever Rise head out to the top of the stage where they are held back by a ref. But she gets annoyed and leaves, and then they realize they don't actually want a piece of the Grizzled Young Veterans.

With that kind of competition, it's no surprise that Undisputed Era wins the 2020 Year-End Award for Tag Team of the Year, even though they are really more accurately classified as a stable or a faction. William Regal presents them their awards and they cut a promo about how long they've been running NXT. Adam Cole reveals he and Roderick Strong will be entering the Dusty Cup as a tag team. NXT takes a commercial break.

A video package shows us that Boa and Xia Li have completed their training and they'll return to NXT next week. These revamped characters could keep them from being buried for weeks.

Mercedes Martinez vs. Valentina Ferez

Mercedes Martinez heads to the ring,. Valentina Ferez is already in there, like a lamb ready for slaughter. Martinez squashes her.

Winner: Mercedes Martinez

Martinez shouts at the camera after the match. Then the Female Competitor of the Year is named, and it's Io Shirai. She thanks the fans for voting for her. Now the Male Competitor of the Year is named, and it's Adam Cole. William Regal gives him the award. He takes the opportunity to cut a promo about how Kyle O'Reilly will win the NXT Championship next week. NXT takes a commercial break.

Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne

Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne head to the ring for a match. Dunne comes out on top of this one with the Bitter End. Well, Strong, you can't win 'em all.

Winner: Pete Dunne

And now it's time for the Match of the Year award. Finn Balor vs. Kyle O'Reilly from NXT Takeover 31 wins it. I would have gone with the Women's triple threat from In Your House, personally. William Regal tries to present an award to Balor, but Balor says to keep his. Instead, he takes Kyle's and heads off to give it to him himself. Along the way, he runs into Pete Dunne, who talks some shit. Balor tells him to get in line and heads to the ring as NXT takes a commercial break.

Promo: Finn Balor and Kyle O'Reilly

After a video advertising Tomasso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher next week, Finn Balor is in the ring with a microphone. He barely gets a word out when Kyle O'Reilly joins him in the ring. Balor tells O'Reilly to take his trophy because Balor has the NXT Championship and steel plates in his jaw to remember the match by. O'Reilly says the trophy may not mean anything to Finn, but it does to him. It's proof he belongs at the top of NXT. But he doesn't need it. It's a participation award. He wants the real prize: the NXT Championship. Both men claim they'll win the match and injure the other one. It seems likely that will happen. They're about to touch noses when Scarlett and Karrion Kross come out. Scarlett says the belt belongs to them and it doesn't matter who leaves with it in seven days: their fate is already sealed. Kross says doomsday is here and promotes his TikTok. Damian Priest shows up behind Kross. They get in each other's faces. Priest slugs him. They brawl all over the Covid Wrestling Center, ending up in an equipment area where they go through a pair of tables. Scarlett seems to be turned on by all of this as she writhes around on top of a crate of vaguely electrical looking things. NXT takes a commercial break.

After a video package for Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez, Legado del Fantasma are in the ring. Santos Escobar talks about how great 2020 was (for him) and how he doesn't care if Undisputed Era win all the awards. Legado del Fantasma are the best. He says there aren't even any challengers for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Now that's just one of those things you should never say, like "this can't possibly get any worse."

Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado come out. Lince Dorado cuts a promo about his furry lifestyle and invites Santos Escobar to adopt a fursona and join him. He says it's not just a pervert thing and anyone can join. Escobar starts taking off his clothes so Lucha House Party charge the ring, dispatch Escobar's goons, and face off with him. The ref makes it a tag match between Lucha House Party and Wilde and Mendoza.

Lucha House Party vs. Wilde and Mendoza

So they have a match. I like the way the pecking order is on full display here. On Raw, The Miz hit rock bottom in his career because he lost to Gran Metalik, but here in NXT, Metalik and Dorado showing up is a big deal. Lucha House Party come out on top here.

Winners: Lucha House Party

Gran Metalik makes the belt motion at Escobar. Then we lean the winner of the Future Star of the Year. Nominees are Austin Theory, Jake Atlas, Leon Ruff, Kacy Catanzaro, Kayden Carter, Indi Hartwell, Xia Li, A-Kid, Aoife Valkrie, and Pretty Deadly. Austin Theory wins the award. Cutting an acceptance promo with the Garganos, Theory gets so excited he says Gargano is gonna break the curse. Gargano gets mad because he said the c-word and throws his bottle of protein powder (which we learned last week is made from Gargano's semen). But the powder breaks a mirror, giving more bad luck to Gargano. NXT takes a commercial break.

After the break, Vic Joseph quickly reveals that NXT Takeover WarGames won NXT Event of the Year and Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole won Rivalry of the Year. Then William Regal reveals that Io Shirai has won Overall Superstar of the Year.

Leon Ruff vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT North American Championship Match

Finally, the NXT main event. The story here is that Gargano always loses the NXT North American Championship on his first defense. Can he retain here against Ruff? He does have the numbers on his side, as Candice LeRae, Austin Theory, and Indi Hartwell are all at ringside. Ruff gives it his best shot, but Gargano comes out on top.

Winner: Johnny Gargano

I hate to say I told you so, but if Leon Ruff would only take my advice and adopt a dog-themed gimmick to match his last name, I know that his career would really take off. Until then, he'll continue to be jobbed out like this.

To end the show, Dexter Lumis is seen standing atop the crowd. He reveals a new drawing: Santos Escobar vs. Gran Metalik for the Cruiserweight Championship has been made official. Then there's Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa in the fight pit. Karrion Kross takes on Damian Priest. Rhea Ripley fights Raquel Gonzalez in a Last Woman Standing Match. And Finn Balor defends the NXT Championship against Kyle O'Reilly.

Final Thoughts on WWE NXT for 2020

Other than the Priest vs. Kross brawl and the North American title match, NXT felt like a lot of filler this week. Maybe no one's heart was in it with the Brodie Lee tribute show going on. Maybe it's the holidays. Hopefully things will pick back up with New Years Evil.

For 2020, while there were lots of things to enjoy about NXT, there were also a lot of ways WWE let its audience down. NXT spent a large portion of the year seemingly fixated on counterprogramming AEW instead of building up their own stories. I think that's gotten better in recent weeks as NXT found its identity again after a turbulent year. Hopefully, things are better for NXT next year and also hopefully they move the show to Tuesdays or Thursdays.

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About Jude Terror

A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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