Welcome to the WWE NXT recap! My name is Dylan Tracy, and I’ll be taking you through the two hours of NXT before their big event next week, Halloween Havoc. If you’re confused at the above image or you’ve came here for the man in the middle, stay here and get a decent look of the night’s show.
The previous week of NXT was a huge push for Halloween Havoc, setting up Tag Team, Women’s, and North American title shots throughout the night. The only real misstep of the night was how they handled the return of Toni Storm and her match with Aliyah (with Robert Stone) was flat and gave us nothing about Storm we didn’t already know. Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish of the Undisputed Era defeated Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to win the shot next week against champions Breezango, Candice LeRae beat Shotzi Blackheart in the match of the night for a match with the Women’s champ Io Shirai, and after Damian Priest defended his North American title against Dexter Lumis in the main event, Johnny Gargano attacked Priest and was granted a title shot by GM William Regal against Priest in a callback to Halloween Havoc ‘92’s “Spin the wheel, make a deal” match (Sting vs. Jake Roberts), announced by Shotzi Blackheart in what I can only describe as simultaneously the best and worst thing I have ever seen in a promo.
We are set to expect the Tag Team championship match between Strong/Fish and Breezango, with Undisputed Era proclaiming their Golden Prophecy has a second coming. A longer story that hasn’t been emphasized that well is now coming to a head with a triple threat match between Velveteen Dream, Kushida, and Tommaso Ciampa. And lastly previewed is yet another battle in the war between Legado del Fantasma and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Scott will be teaming up with Jake Atlas and Ashante “Thee” Adonis.
The night started with the triple threat, with a lot of offense coming from Ciampa and Kushida throughout the match. A couple of nice spots, but Dream really was a good heel in this match, agitating and pushing these guys to their best. Kushida even got Dream to tap on the outside in a flurry of events from the Time Splitter at a peak moment of the match. The big finish was Ciampa hitting Willow’s Bell but then taking Dream’s cast, pushed into a German suplex from Kushida and getting the big win over these two guys. It’s nice to see a plan come together, I just wish we didn’t have to have waited this long for a good Kushida push.
Adam Cole pops on and cuts a decent promo on why Fish and Strong will defeat Breezango and a second coming of their Golden Prophecy will come. And then we cut back to programming for Halloween Havoc to see Rhea Ripley will face Raquel Gonzales. But for now, we take the focus to the next match, Ember Moon. A lot of good spots with Jessi Kamea, Moon is primed to become a great part of an already great women’s division on NXT. At the end of the match, Dakota Kai comes out and attacks Moon to set up a future feud. A lot more submission work in this match that I remembered from Moon, it wasn’t all that impressive, though.
Next up was Austin Theory going up against Bronson Reed. Theory started out super hot, but Reed roared back in control and hit the Tsunami in a fairly good, fairly fast match. Theory immediately demanded a rematch, in which Reed then grabbed him and slammed him with a Samoan Drop, 1-2-3. Theory left, saying he was done with WWE. Not a great finish to this story for Theory to keep losing in a scenario that either leads me to believe he’s going to another brand or possibly something like Retribution? No clue where this is going.
Next up was the six-man tag team match with Legado del Fantasmo and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott’s team of himself, Jake Atlas, and Ashante “Thee” Adonis. Legado del Fantasmo led a tag match fully aware they are in control here, and they didn’t let up for a large portion of the match. It wasn’t so much a match as a reminder they are really making Scott go through frustration after frustration in order to possibly remove the belt from Santos. Finish here was a Wilde and Mendoza leg sweep/leg lariat finisher while Escobar dove at Scott. Before they cut to break, we got a video of Johnny Gargano being very upset a wheel is deciding his title match stipulation against Damian Priest next week.
Following the six-man tag, we now have a normal tag match between Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs. Ever-Rise. Except there’s nothing normal about the outcome – Ever-Rise taunt Drake about how Dain is his only friend, and that sets Drake off. He grabs a steel chair and proceeds to get DQ’d, but it impressed Dain. Somewhat of an interesting story here, I’m just clueless where it goes after this. I also haven’t been the hugest fan of the story thus far, and I’m willing to just move on from it. Ever-Rise are… okay??? That’s all I got there. After this, a very short match between Kacy Catanzaro and Xia Li occurred and went real fast, due to a roll-up by Catanzaro. But after, Li went off and started fighting Catanzaro after the bell. Out of nowhere came Raquel Gonzalez still talking about Rhea Ripley. What did it have to do with this match here? No clue! Why did we turn someone only for them to be crushed ten seconds later? No clue either! Why did we do this after already announcing she had a match next week? After this, Cameron Grimes discovered that the stipulation for the match with him and Dexter Lumis will be a “Haunted House of Terror” match. What is that?
After those two matches, we get a promo of Timothy Thatcher explaining some submission techniques and the importance of leverage. Anthony Greene, a student of his, got a little rough on Thatcher at one point, and they just said, “Screw it, let’s have a match.” Thatcher gets a quick win in a half Boston crab. Thatcher looks like he can do a lot more than I expected when he first came into NXT programming, and I think he’s primed for something important very soon. He just needs to actually let his wrestling do his talking because these somewhat off-putting and not so great promos think he’s gonna be relegated to something else, and with his talent, that’s just unbelievable. “Thatch as Thatch-Can” can work for a little while, but he needs to have a feud sooner rather than later.
Oh, boy, the main event. Bobby Fish is out of the match after being attacked backstage, and so is Roderick Strong now. Kyle O’Reilly says he can’t fight for both of them, so Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch get a title shot in the main event of NXT (you cannot believe how happy this made me that Lorcan and Burch were getting title shots, and this was before the big reveal). The offense of Lorcan/Burch kept Breezango against the wall for a portion of the match, until Breeze got to injuring Burch’s leg, and for a while, I expected a title defense as they rallied back into the match. But then someone attacked Dango and Burch caught Breeze with a low blow, pinning 1-2-3. Lorcan and Burch are your new NXT Tag Team champs, and the man in the mask? None other than #ForTheBrand himself, Pat McAfee. Presumably the man who attacked the Undisputed Era in both situations, this puts Lorcan and Burch in a fantastic position of having a mouthpiece for them that can also get in the ring to push this feud to the next level. Not only did I not see this coming, but I also expect this was an audible for Ridge Holland after his injury. This changes a lot of things going forward for the tag team division of NXT, and it also changes everything for the Undisputed Era.
Also, pour one out for Breezango. Their reign was a very entertaining and necessary one. They deserved it. Dun. Dun. Dun Dun Dun. It’s probably not going to be the last time, but the first time was great.
In general, NXT has a good episode with some weird turns. It leads nicely into their Halloween Havoc, which weirdly enough only has 4 announced matches. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano will be a great match, regardless of what style. They are two great workers who can make even a Coal Miner’s Glove match work. Candice and Io are gonna probably be the best match of the night, based on the story and hopefully with a Shotzi interference. She is ready to be a big name in NXT and her match with Candice last week was phenomenal. Rhea and Raquel, however, is a head-scratcher for a big event like this. And, lastly, Cameron Grimes going up against Dexter Lumis in a Haunted House of Terror match is a potentially great idea or could be a trainwreck. There’s some weird expectations to have, and I guess for something like Halloween Havoc, that’s fitting.
That concludes this recap of NXT, so I will be off to Twitter (@buffdrinklots) if you want to chat about NXT or wrestling.