Last week on NXT, things got mad spooky. Halloween Havoc gave one of the best episodes of NXT, if not the single best episode with plenty of history being made. We start right away in this week’s episode with something mentioned last week, Ember Moon entering the ring to face Dakota Kai.
Ember Moon vs. Dakota Kai (4 stars)
Starting good and slow right out the gate, a good sequence of chain wrestling leads into Ember Moon, leading Kai on with a little bit of mind games, gets some good early momentum, but ends quickly with a big corner post shoulder move. Kai starts working on the arm, keeping Moon at bay and keep the explosive offense to a minimum. Commentary plays up their work so far, Kai not happy about being a “stepping stone” for Moon getting back to peak roster booking. Surprisingly technical, this match gave both women a solid match to keep the feud working and good. Moon gets out of a really bad spot picking Kai up in the middle of an armbar and landing a huge slam, Raquel Gonzales overlooking for Kai with a perfect WOW face. Moon mentions something about a receipt and kicks Kai in the head over the apron then lands a huge tope suicida. But she goes for a second, misses, and it goes to commercial, coming back with Moon gaining momentum again after the spill with a near fall after a one-armed spinebuster due to her injury. Kai lands a big move and almost gets a 3, as well, keeping both of these good workers looking really great for the moment. Another huge near fall exchange goes for Moon on Kai, and Moon looks gassed and Kai is selling perfectly. They both on their knees start slugging back and forth at each other. Moon taunts Kai to go for one, and Moon catches it into a crossface. Kai is terrified and losing it in a big way, but then she spins for a near fall, and Moon turns Kai for another near fall. Kai rolls, Moon rolls, Kai finally spins her in a direction to get a Fujiwara armbar. Moon reaches for the rope. Sliding over, she gets her tippy-toes on the rope and the armbar finally breaks. Kai starts taunting at her, “You think you can come back here?” Slapping Moon directly across the face, Moon turns it on, slapping around Kai and landing knees then fists against the back as she rolls away. Big corner splash, huge hip toss. Moon is on fire. Raquel finally gets involved when Ember gets on the top rope and Kai lands her finisher. 1-2-3. An amazing starter. “You think I was the same person when you left NXT? I just proved you wrong.”
Cameron Grimes is scared shitless from last week, still, and jumps at the backstage interviewer and ignores the fact that a match happened last week. He mentions the ref was a zombie, looking over his shoulder, completely paranoid. Tonight, Cameron Grimes will face Kushida up next, but before he does, a ref comes up and scares him. We come back after the break with Shotzi Blackheart, host of last week’s Halloween Havoc, facing Toni Storm tonight. For hosting, she chose Toni and plugs all her accomplishments so far in WWE. She calls it a huge test and calls out Toni, welcoming her to the “ball pit” and howling like a wolf as she walks away. Cut to Kushida in the ring. And Grimes is also in the ring.
Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes (3 ¼ stars)
Grimes is worse than I thought. Literally avoiding Kushida in every move, he is constantly shifting around to see in a full circle around him. Eventually, the chain wrestling starts out a decent start for two good and can-be-great wrestlers. Grimes gets aggressive at the end and starts trying to get an advantage, but Kushida gets him on the ground and locks him in a series of submissions throughout to keep Grimes from hitting the ropes. “Methodical style here,” Wade Barrett plugs as Kushida lands an arm breaker and Grimes hears him. He starts trying to work on Kushida’s arm as well. A near fall roll up for Kushida, Grimes keeps in it by landing Kushida on the ropes from his shoulders. Picture-in-picture starts and Grimes stays in control for most of the break, getting a near fall and arguing with the ref for a moment. Coming back from commercial, Kushida starts getting momentum by landing a series of athletic moves, culminating in a big cross-body splash off the top rope. Near fall, but Kushida tries to stay on top grabbing both wrists and starting to stomp, but Grimes slides out and hits a schoolboy, but then transitions back into a powerbomb for a near fall. Grimes is starting to feel it at this point, laying down on the mat, wondering what it’s gonna take. Grimes puts Kushida on the top turnbuckle and advances up, but Kushida fights back, putting Grimes over the top rope, legs split. And then Kushida then lands a huge move off the top rope, pinning Grimes’ arm back behind his back. Nailing a kick to the elbow as Grimes is starting to get up, Kushida sets up for a move, but Grimes slides behind for a German suplex, but then pushes Kushida forward and hits the ref, not once but twice in total. Talk about forming a complex with referees Kushida locks in his finisher, but there is no ref. While getting the ref alive, Grimes lands a Spanish fly after running the ropes and dodging lariats. Screaming for a ref, Grimes sees the ref from Havoc and looks like he’s seen Satan himself. Grimes could get the count, but instead he runs around and Kushida gets the Hoverboard Lock in again and Grimes finally taps. Kushida is on a good roll, now, getting some very good victories with moderate amounts of success. No title shots yet, but he’s getting close. Cameron Grimes, on the other hand, has a very interesting yet painfully bad story going right now.
Toni Storm cuts a pre-recorded video on Shotzi Blackheart and plugs her talent and how honored she is, but mentions that Halloween Havoc is over and it’s the new Toni Storm, planning to use Shotzi as a stepping stone to the top. After the break, Io Shirai gets a moment to explain Rhea Ripley is obviously her next contender. And it seems that it would be a great idea for both – Io to prove she owns it and Rhea Ripley to exact her revenge for pinning her for the title while she was stuck in a Figure 8 from Charlotte to lose the NXT Women’s title. And, oh boy, I was not prepared to see Drake Maverick and Killian Dain after this with this music. It’s the worst I’ve heard in ages. It’s the worst Sims music I’ve ever heard and I like the Sims music.
Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs. Ever-Rise (¾ star)
Ever-Rise starts yelling at Dain and Maverick and Dain starts with Chase Parker. Dain tags Maverick by giving Drake an actual chop. Then they showcase a few tag moves and get a near fall already. Matt Martel gets in early, and if at this point you’re reading it, yes I did mention them both coming in the ring not only for context but also because these guys have the most generic, forgettable names and I need to keep typing them to remember them. That’s how stale these guys already are. Ever-Rise own the opening moments and first salvo, really taking it to Drake repeatedly.
In the middle of this match, Pat McAfee and the NXT Tag Team champs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch are here, also with Pete Dunne if you didn’t see last week’s segment. As they enter the ring, they all come down and Pat grabs a camera while the other three get in and start beating down everyone, mostly Dain and Maverick. They all pose for a selfie before cutting to commercial. Coming back, they are still in the ring. And Pat goes overboard right away, just like he should, calling the four in the ring the best ever and says they aren’t scumbags. They are men of class and they are professional. They mention paying tribute to the Undisputed Era, and mention they want to put up their flag in the rafters and then Pat gives a wonderfully bad overview of UE, calling Bobby Fish “mustache stooge.” Pat lets Pete Dunne even cut a big of a promo on Roderick Strong. Pat then launched into a very righteous and absolutely correct (not joking) assumption that Undisputed Era is overbooked, overplayed, and overdone. “Putting this group together was the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” says Pat. He self-retires UE, but before he does, he mentions that everyone should vote on hanging the banner into the rafter or putting in the trash can. They obviously went with the trash can. Pat even cut at Vic Joseph, for no particular reason, but it’s amazing. They light it on fire. It burns. Pat puts themselves over, craps on the fans, and they all leave back through the arena back into their car. Execpt Killian Dain comes out of nowhere and starts fighting Pat before the rest get involved. Pete Dunne ends up shoving Dain’s head into the car’s door and kicks the door. Pat recommends they leave and he reminds everyone again that they are the greatest. Dain is left lying in a pool of blood. Instant classic segment.
Johnny Gargano is back on our screens after the break and immediately launches into proving he loves wheels, playing a game of Life. “Everything’s coming up, Johnny.” He plugs all the history he’s made in NXT, especially his most recent accomplishment of being the only two-time North American champ. In the middle of him being obnoxious but great, he gets a phone call from someone in a Scream mask. He then looks next to him and they are sitting next to him. I can only assume since it is the same mask that it is the same person who got involved in the Women’s title match, the Grim Reaper. Continuing, Gargano mentions he knows everyone has been talking about his previous short title reigns, and Johnny Wrestling wants to disprove that. He promises to defend the title next week against a worthy opponent. He then asks the Reaper to spin the wheel on the game, and buries them while singing a song about how much he wins. He takes his title and leaves the room.
Toni Storm vs. Shotzi Blackheart (3 stars)
Toni Storm gets a real opportunity to prove she belongs back in the most promising women’s division in America. Shotzi comes out running at her, yelling and looking completely pissed off. Storm gets the early advantage after the bell rings and Shotzi immediately slips on a springboard dive attempt. Back and forth after the weird slip spot, but this is definitely higher paced match than the previous three to start. Storm immediately looks tons better than she did before, and slows down the game after the good momentum brought on in the first five minutes. After a commercial break, Shotzi is in control, getting a lot of great kicks and big moves in. After a 2 count, Storm blocks a couple of different moves and lands a German suplex and tries to set up for another without letting go, but Shotzi breaks and attempts a big kick, but Storm sticks in and lays another huge German suplex down for a very close 2 count, Shotzi really kicking out at the last moment. Blackheart lands a huge move and gets another near fall, but then they both run into each other, keeping things really hot for another near fall. Toni tries to go up top, but Shotzi pulls her down to the apron and after a series of blows, Shotzi jumps over the top rope carefully and tried to land a big DDT on the apron on Toni, but almost misses her completely. Storm sells well and Barrett sells it as a “modified DDT,” but it’s clear to see Shotzi is feeling the effects. Shotzi rolls in at 9 and the count stops as the ref checks on her, but suddently Candice LeRae is on the big screen. She points out how someone left her tank in the road. Toni Storm rolls her up from behind and gets the surprise win. After a moment of the confusion settling into defeat for Shotzi, Candice comes back, saying the tank is safe, but someone is coming. They stop and Candice actually gets in the Hummer. She then says something about this is what happens when you get involved in other people’s business and runs over her tank to screams of anguish from Shotzi throughout. Even Toni Storm consoles her as we fade to black.
Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma arrive, and Escobar sells that winning is all that matters and replayed his victory last week. A car pulls up, and it’s Jake Atlas, who promptly attacks Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde with an object. He leaves before Escobar could do anything. Cut back to the ring and THATCH AS THATCH-CAN is back! Timothy Thatcher opens by introducing himself and his student, Hakeem. Today’s lesson is reversals. Thatch mentions that last time shows anyone can catch a good hold, so this is apt. Thatch starts to get rough again, and Hakeem even speaks up for a moment. Then Thatcher really breaks, and Austin Grey, the man from the first lesson, superkicks Thatcher back after a scuffle and Thatch is pissed. They cut to Xia Li who mentions something about some personal letters and Regal actually hands her another one. Li immediately challenges Raquel Gonzalez and Regal accepts reluctantly. A video package for the main event, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream, plays before the break. After the break, Rhea Ripley comes back to mention how awesome it is she gets to face Io for the title and promises to end 2020 like she ended 2019, with the belt in her hands. Lorcan & Burch will defend the tag titles against Breezango next week. And now…
Velveteen Dream vs. Tommaso Ciampa (4 stars)
Velveteen Dream is in the ring, sliding around all Dream-like. And then Ciampa comes out with a sick mask. As the bell rings, commentary immediately plugs Dream’s cast and its use in this feud. Ciampa immediately goes after that cast and arm. Dream yells at the ref, then slams his hands on the commentary table, immediately regretting his decision. A few moves happen outside before Ciampa gets a knee to Dream’s head as he lays over the barricade. Dream slides out again after that and gets planted on the commentary table (still intact), and slams his hand on the desk repeatedly. Ciampa even gives himself a pat on the back. A random note, Dream actually takes off a shirt to throw at Ciampa, missing wildly but gets some offense in. Velveteen Dream pulls a classic heel move and starts walking back to the back, but Ciampa doesn’t let him and lands multiple big moves and even goes to start the Fairy Tale Ending. But Dream slides out. Ciampa stomps and pulls at Dream until we go to picture-in-picture. Ciampa stays in control even after the break ends. Dream finally turns the tide after landing a huge spinebuster. Not waiting too long, he starts waylaying Ciampa with random strikes in a full mount position, then starts to taunt and putting the Blackheart into a clutch, pushing the cast into his face and eyes. Ciampa gets in six consecutive lariats and then lands one in the corner, beaming with aggression and fury. He lands a superplex, 1-2-… kick out. Dream almost hits a Dream Valley Driver, but Ciampa hangs on to the ropes, and eventually, Dream seems fine with a big boot and throwing Ciampa out for a big dive. Dream even suplexes him back outside, with the Dream even landing super late and awkward. Dream, to distract to use the cast as a weapon, grabs at a chair and throws it in the ring for the distraction. He goes for the big dive, but Ciampa lands a massive knee into Willow’s Bell into Fairy Tale Ending. Dream Over. Ciampa wins.
That was NXT in detail. Started out great, finished great, had some iffy moments in between, but also some good segments to keep NXT’s Halloween Havoc hype from dying down. Nice wrinkle in a lot of stories tonight, can’t wait to see what the Undisputed Era have to say to Pat and the Boys, if they even say anything at all. I feel that NXT has finally found a nice stride, even if it isn’t peak stride. And for pandemic times, that’s definitely a good thing. Stay tuned in with us over here and check out some other wrestling content while you’re here. Talk at me at @buffdrinklots if you had other thoughts about NXT.