WWE NXT Recap: Is Swerve Working on a Degeneration X Reboot?

Welcome to The Shovel: Wednesday Night Wars Edition, a column wherein usually I watch four straight hours of wrestling starting with AEW Dynamite and then following up with WWE NXT on DVR and tell you what happens so you can live a life that isn't insane. But this week, Dynamite is preempted for a basketball game, which means I'll be watching NXT first and Dynamite last, which messes with my whole flow.

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]
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WWE NXT Recap for December 23rd, 2020

Drake Maverick and Killian Dane vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch attempt to head to the ring for an NXT Tag Team Championship street fight, but they're jumped at the top of the ramp by their opponents, Drake Maverick and Killian Dane. They have a match. Dane and Maverick have a chance as long as Dane is in the game, but whenever he gets taken out, it's bad news for Maverick. That's how the match goes for about 15 minutes with Maverick making the occasional spunky comeback until the bald one finally pins him.

Winners: Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan

I can't even tell these two apart much less muster up enough interest to care about their tag team title run. Dane carries his partner backstage.

A Very Gargano Christmas

The Garganos decorate their Christmas tree while Johnny Gargano plays Oh Christmas Tree on the piano. Candice says the kids want to open their presents. The kids are Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory. They're super excited about this family Christmas. They open the gifts. Theory gets The Gargano Whey protein powder. Gargano says he "whipped it up" himself. To be clear, I'm pretty sure he masturbated in that jar.

Finn Balor vs. Kyle O'Reilly DVD Commentary

In the next segment, Finn Balor and Kyle O'Reilly "relive" their NXT Championship match that injured both men. It's basically a gimmick for a video package promoting their upcoming rematch at New Years Evil in two weeks.

McKenzie Mitchel tries to interview Tyler Rust but Malcolm Bivens does the talking. He puts over Rust but Rust appears to have some doubts.

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Jake Atlas

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott heads to the ring for a match with Jake Atlas, who's already there. They fight, with the story being Swerve was a poor sport after losing his last match to Atlas and he needs to beat him tonight. He does, after a hard-fought match, with a kinda cheap headbutt.

Winner: Swerve

After the match, Swerve celebrates a little too hard and he gives Atlas a crotch chop. Beth Phoenix practically loses her mind over this, not having it when Wade Barrett tries to argue a little celebration is okay. "There's a way to do it with class and that ain't it, Wade." Swerve offers Atlas a hand up after the match but Atlas too is horrified by the crotch chop. It's a good thing there aren't multiple people in NXT management known for throwing that gesture around.

McKenzie Mitchell asks Adam Cole about the upcoming Kyle O'Reilly vs. Finn Balor match. Adam Cole says O'Reilly will win this time. Roderick Strong agrees. Velveteen Dream slides into these DMs and my interest in this segment slides out. Bottom line is it ends up creating a match between Cole and Dream for later tonight.

Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai

Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai are seen getting ready backstage as NXT takes a commercial break. Then Timothy Thatcher cuts a promo on Timothy Thatcher. He says he's gonna take liberties with Leon Ruff and if Ciampa really is the man he says he is he'll come out and stop him.

Rhea Ripley heads to the ring, followed by Dakota Kai. Commentary talks about a bunch of tweets that set up Raquel Gonzalez being banned from ringside. They have a match. Despite Gonzalez coming out to stand on the stage and glare at Ripley, Ripley still wins with the Riptide.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Gonzalez continues staring. Ripley coaxes her to the ring. They fight. Refs break them up. That turns out to not be enough so more officials come out. Eventually, they get it under control.

A Very Gargano Chrismas

More Gargano Christmas stuff. Indi Hartwell opens her present and it's a PS5. But the box is empty. Gargano says the real gift is that she can take on the family nickname. She's now Indi Wrestling. Candice says they support Indi Wrestling.

Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell asks Toni Storm what's next for her after beating Rhea Ripley. She says she's going after Io Shirai and the NXT Championship. After some commercials, another video shows Xia Li and Boa training. Now, they aren't even phased by the abuse. I guess the training is working. Is this whole thing just a ploy to get Hugh Morris his job back?

Bronson Reed vs. Ashante "Thee" Adonis

Bronson Reed heads to the ring. Ashante "Thee" Adonis is already there. Reed destroys him.

Winner: Bronson Reed

Promo: Io Shirai

McKenzie Mitchell asks Io Shirai if she heard what Toni Storm said about her. Shirai says she did and goes right to the ring. She sets up a chair in the middle of it, sits down, and calls out Toni Storm. Storm's music plays, but Mercedes Martinez jumps Shirai from behind. Martinez assaults Shirai and then puts her through the announce table. Not through the top. Through the front. Man, did Martinez dodge a bullet by getting dropped from Retribution. NXT takes a commercial break.

A Very Gargano Christmas

Candice LeRae opens her gift now. It's the crushed wheel of Shotzi Blackheart's old tank. He dug it out of a junkyard. She loves it. They take a family photo.

WWE NXT Recap

Timothy Thatcher vs. Leon Ruff

Timothy Thatcher is in the ring. Leon Ruff is already there. Another week goes by in which Leon Ruff fails to take my advice of adopting a dog-themed gimmick playing of his last name. As such, he fails to reach his full potential and only wins this match with a rollup after getting his ass kicked the whole time, and only then because Thatcher was too obsessed with drawing out Ciampa to pin Ruff when he had the chance.

Winner: Timothy Thatcher

Ciampa runs out and DDTs Thatcher. He says he'll see him in the fight pit. What the hell is the fight pit? Is it like Raw Underground? NXT takes a commercial break. Then Dexter Lumis, via one of his drawings, announces that Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez at WWE NXT: New Years Evil will be a Last Woman Standing match.

Tyler Rust vs. Ariya Daivari

Tyler Rust heads to the ring with Malcolm Bivens. Ariya Daivari is in the ring. They have a match. It's longer than it needs to be. Rust makes Daivari tap out.

Winner: Tyler Rust

McKenzie Mitchell asks Leon Ruff how he feels after his win. Ruff says he feels good, but even better, William Regal just granted him a rematch for the North American Championship. That will happen next week.

Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream

Adam Cole is seen walking backstage, as is the Velveteen Dream, as NXT takes a commercial break. After a video from Karrion Kross directed at Damian Priest and some information on next week's show, it's time for the main event. Velveteen Dream is already in the ring, writhing around. Adam Cole comes out. Since I don't feel like watching a Velveteen Dream match, I'll just tell you Cole won and we'll call it a night.

Winner: Adam Cole

Final Thoughts on WWE NXT

I think NXT may have been a little less annoying tonight because it wasn't the second half of a four-hour wrestling marathon. The Gargano stuff was funny. The matches were all decent. The main event was a letdown but that has more to do with WWE's handling of the Velveteen Dream situation than anything else. Everyone making a big deal out of that crotch chop was funny. I hope Swerve this is the beginning of Swerve starting his own version of DX.

WWE NXT may be over, but my work has only just begun. An episode of Dynamite must be recapped as well. Read it at the link down below.

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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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