On WWE NXT last night, Halloween Havoc returned to breathe new life into a struggling black and gold brand. We'll tell you all about it right here in part four of The Shovel: Wednesday Night Wars Edition covering AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT. Tonight is a special Halloween Havoc episode of NXT, and we're just two weeks away from AEW Full Gear.
I'm Jude Terror. This is The Shovel: Wednesday Night Wars Edition, a form of self-punishment where I watch four straight hours of Wrestling on a Wednesday Night and pay tribute to them with the highest art form available to the wrestling "journalist": the TV recap. I watch AEW first and NXT after, and this will be a series of six posts published on Thursday morning because… well, look, I don't get paid by the word. I get paid by the article. You can find the navigation right before the logo below and also at the bottom of the page.
WWE NXT Recap for October 28th, 2020 Part 1
NXT opens with a Halloween Havoc video, welcoming us to the COVID Wrestling Center. So far, the important matches seem to still be happening, despite rumors of another coronavirus outbreak. Then the camera pans through the set. Oh my god, this set is fantastic. You have to see it. Here's a video.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) October 28, 2020
Is Marilyn Manson doing the theme song for this? Shotzi Blackheart opens the show screaming in an electric chair on the stage, then swinging around a circular saw while howling. She looks like a maniac in this bright green costume. I don't even know what she's supposed to be, but it's awesome.
Some chunky metalhead plays a somewhat sloppy guitar solo for Damian Preist's entrance. Twitter tells me this is The Silencer Chaz Williams. Then Damian Priest is in the ring. Johnny Gargano comes out, dressed in a Nightmare Before Christmas jacket, and pops the giant inflatable pumpkin at the top of the stage. You jerk! Shotzi says it's time to Spin the Wheel and Make a Deal. She spins it… and it's a Devil's Playground Match. What the hell is a Devil's Playground match?
Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest – North American Championship Match
I need a moment to soak all of this in because it all happened so fast. After a lackluster run of episodes by NXT (and because it's WWE), I have to admit, I was ready for this to suck, but the campiness and nostalgia of this set and Shotzi Blackheart's complete insanity have me excited again. But then I think about all the awesome gimmicks on the wheel, and we get whatever this is? Watching WWE is such an emotional roller coaster.
Alright. So Gargano is in control and beating up Priest outside the ring. Get grabs a kendo stick, but Priest has a nightstick. This is about to get good, so of course, NXT takes a commercial break. It's picture-in-picture, but picture-in-picture is a scam because you think you can watch the show, but you really just end up paying attention to the commercials because they're so big and loud.
Anyway, after the break, Gargano is beating Priest with the kendo stick, but Priest gets the nightstick again and blocks a kick from Gargano with it. He hits South of Heaven, but Gargano kicks out. Gargano hits Sliced Bread on Priest on the steel stairs outside and pins him on there for two (so I guess this is also a falls count anywhere match?). Priest hits Broken Arrow on Gargano on the announce table, which no-sells because.
They brawl onto the Wheel part of the set, which has all sorts of spooky stuff. Gargano opens a coffin and is scared by a skeleton dummy, so he superkicks it. They brawl backstage, and Gargano blows a fire extinguisher in Priest's face and then slams him into a metal door a bunch of times. Gargano picks up a trash can and empties it on Priest. Hornswaggle is in there! Oops, sorry, Impact flashback. Gargano slams a cart into Priest, and NXT takes another commercial break, the second during this match so far.
After the break, Gargano is getting his ass kicked on the wheel set. But Gargano hits a superkick. Then he beats Priest with a garbage can. Priest fights back and kicks the can into Gargano's face. Priest is about to hit the Reckoning on or off the wheel stage, but someone in a hooded robe and Scream mask comes out and hits Priest with a steel pipe. Gargano hits a DDT on Priest. The mystery person gives Gargano a prop tombstone. Gargano breaks it on Priest's head, and Priest falls off the set through some cleverly-disguised crash pads and to the floor. Gargano makes his way down and pins him.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Okay, so the Devil's Playground Match actually turned out to be pretty great. So who was under the mask? Was it Indi Hartwell?
Vic Joseph is dressed as Waldo from Where's Waldo. Wade Barrett makes fun of him. Joseph says Barrett was supposed to be wearing a costume too. Barrett breaks kayfabe and says he's dressed like his favorite superstar, Bad News Barrett. Pat McAfee is walking backstage with Oney Lorcan and a coronavirus denier. NXT takes a commercial break.
After the break, William Regal forces an extremely reluctant Cameron Grimes to the NXT parking lot. In the ring, Pat McAfee and his boys cuts a promo. He talks about his admittedly great debut at NXT Takeover 30. He calls it the greatest debut in the history of the business. He makes fun of "the idiots of the Internet Wrestling Community." Hahaha. Yeah, you idiots! Not me; I'm in the media. McAfee says after his great debut, Adam Cole didn't show him respect for having such a great match. "That scumbag Adam Cole stood in the ring and flexed on top of me!" McAfee says on his private plane ride home, all he could do was think about what a bum Cole was. He wanted to come back and kick his ass, but he had so much important stuff to do as a celebrity.
So he called up Ridge Holland and bought him a Mercedes to attack Cole at NXT Takeover 31. Then he watched Oney Lorcan shatter Holland's ankle, so then he reached out to Lorcan and offered to work with Lorcan and Birch. They turned him down at first, but then they eventually came around. Burch grabs a mic and is gonna talk, but Kyle O'Reilly interrupts. Uh, alone?
O'Reilly is about to get in the ring when Pete Dunne's music plays. Dunne comes out with two chairs. They tease it out for a long time as Dunne's entrance music plays, and then they get in the ring. McAfee, Lorgan, and Birch back off. And then Dunne hits O'Reilly with the chair!
Now its' a beatdown on O'Reilly while McAfee directs traffic. Dunne "breaks" O'Reilly's arm (I hate that move). Lorcan and Birch hit him with a suspended DDT onto a steel chair. McAfee gets in his face: "I'm smarter than you and your friends. We're the new kings of this brand. And that, Cauliflower Kyle O'Reilly, is undisputed."
Pat McAfee was born to be a professional wrestler.
This post is part of a multi-part series: The Shovel: Wednesday Night Wars Edition for October 28th, 2020.
- AEW Dynamite Recap – Hangman Page Circles His Destiny
- AEW Dynamite Recap – Eric Bischoff Appears at Inner Circle Town Hall
- AEW Dynamite Recap – Kenny Omega Circles His Destiny
- WWE NXT Recap – Halloween Havoc is Back, and It's Awesome
- WWE NXT Recap – Cameron Grimes Visits the Haunted House of Horrors
- WWE NXT Recap – Tables, Ladders, and Scares for Candice LeRea