Date: October 28, 2020
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
It’s time to rekindle an awesome tradition (assuming that still counts twenty years later) with Halloween Havoc. For the life of me I don’t know why it took WWE this long to bring the idea back but here we are, with a pair of Spin The Wheel Make The Deal matches for a title each. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at tonight’s card, while also showing the awesome WCW Halloween Havoc pumpkin set. Cool intro at least.
There’s also a themed set, with a big (inflated and smiling) pumpkin and various leaves and branches everywhere. It looks rather good actually.
Here’s Shotzi Blackheart, with…..something shooting pyro and howling a lot to….well just kind of exist.
North American Title: Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano
Priest is defending and gets a live musical entrance. This is the first Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal match and for some reason, Gargano HATES wheels. He also hates pumpkins, as he stabs the inflatable pumpkin on the way to the ring. With that evil out of the way, Shotzi spins the wheel (which thankfully isn’t digital like it was a few weeks ago) for a…..Devil’s Playground match.
We don’t actually get any rules for the match but Priest starts hammering away in the corner. A toss around the ring has Gargano in more trouble and it’s a Stinger Splash into a spinwheel kick for two. Gargano gets to the apron and tries the slingshot spear but Priest catches him in a front facelock. Instead, Gargano hammers away at the ribs as the announcers seem to say this is hardcore. Gargano whips out a kendo stick and we take a break.
Back with Gargano sticking away at Priest, who pulls out a nightstick to block a kick to the head. South of Heaven gets two and Priest sends him outside for a suicide dive. The chokeslam onto the barricade is countered and Gargano hits a Sliced Bread onto the steps. That’s good for two and Priest is right back up with a Broken Arrow onto the announcers’ table (showing that Vic is dressed as Where’s Waldo).
They fight over to part of the set, with Gargano knocking a skeleton into a standing coffin. That earns him a bunch of strikes from Priest but Gargano whips out a fire extinguisher to blast Priest again. Gargano pours trashcan onto Priest, which just does not seem like a good idea.
We take another break and come back with the fight up by the Wheel but Priest can’t powerbomb him to the wheel. Instead Gargano is back up with a superkick but Priest hits a spinning kick of his own. Priest is back up…and here’s a guy in a Ghostface killer mask (from Scream) to deck Priest, allowing Gargano to hit a tornado DDT off the wheel. Ghostface hands a smiling Gargano a tombstone to knock Priest off the platform and Gargano gets the title back at 20:55.
Rating: B-. I’m not sure what to say about this one as the Ghostface deal was a little bit weird. The rest of the match was a good enough hardcore brawl with both guys using various things fairly well. The set is a nice touch and makes things look that much better, though they only used it in the second half of the match. Gargano almost had to win here, though I’m curious to see who is under that mask for Priest to face next.
Gargano poses near the Wheel as Ghostface is gone.
We go to the commentators, with Joseph as Waldo and Barrett as his favorite wrestler: BAD NEWS BARRETT, complete with gavel.
We look back at the end of last week’s show with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch winning the Tag Team Titles, thanks to help from Pat McAfee.
Cameron Grimes is panicking about his match with Dexter Lumis but here’s William Regal to say there’s a van waiting to pick Grimes up. Grimes would rather go to the ring but Regal says it’s time to go to the parking lot. Grimes: “That’s the most dangerous place! That’s more dangerous than the Bah Mitzvah Triangle!” Regal: “After you.”
Here are McAfee, Lorcan and Burch for a chat. McAfee talks about how they don’t get along on much but they all know that some fans of the Internet Wrestling Community (many of which are here tonight) are stupid. After McAfee had his first match and stole the show, Adam Cole didn’t congratulate him but rather posed over him. McAfee made some mistakes that night and when he was on his way back to Indianapolis, all he could think about was Cole. He was too busy to come back and deal with Cole himself though, so it was time to make some phone calls.
First up was Ridge Holland, who just wanted a Mercedes to do what McAfee wanted. Then after Holland attacked Cole at Takeover, Holland broke his leg in 700 pieces. With that out of the way, it was time to call Lorcan and Burch, but they couldn’t be bought. They lost to the Undisputed Era and then it was time to talk about making a deal.
Cue Kyle O’Reilly….and here’s Pete Dunne after him, carrying a pair of chairs. Dunne hands O’Reilly one of the chairs….and then blasts him with the other, because Dunne is with McAfee and company. The beatdown is on, with Dunne using the chair to snap O’Reilly’s arm, followed by the elevated DDT onto the chair (or close to it at least) from the champs. This could make for a rather entertaining WarGames. Also, well done on tying in the Holland deal and explaining it while Holland is gone. What mattered here though was McAfee, who was fantastic and is already one of the best celebrity heels ever.
Grimes is still trying to talk his way out of the match with Lumis but Regal lets him go outside on his own. After going outside, it’s off to a rather creepy van, with an even creepier person in the passenger’s seat. The back door opens though and it’s MICHAEL HAYES, with BADSTREET playing, saying it’s time to go. They get in the van and drive off, which is never a good sign.
Santos Escobar vs. Jake Atlas
Non-title and the rest of Legado del Fantasma are here too. Escobar (with half of his face painted and some Rey Mysterio Halloween Havoc 1997 tribute tights) starts fast by whipping Atlas into the corner but Atlas gets in a shot. Some trash talk from Escobar earns himself a shot to the face and right hands in the corner. There’s a backdrop and a discus forearm gets two on Escobar. The Cartwheel DDT connects but Legado puts Escobar’s foot on the rope. Atlas dives onto both of them but Escobar gets in a headbutt. The double underhook facebuster finishes Atlas at 3:29.
Rating: C-. It was fun while it lasted but it didn’t last long. I do like the idea of having Atlas take it to Escobar while he could before ultimately falling to the numbers. What we got here did work well enough though and I could go for more of Atlas. He has come a long way in a short amount of time and it wouldn’t shock me if he got a title shot sooner or later.
Ember Moon doesn’t like Dakota Kai getting involved in her match. Kai has grown up a lot while Moon was gone but the kicks won’t be enough.
Shotzi tells us to stick around and howls some more.
Back with Shotzi sending us to the Haunted House Of Terror.
Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes
Cinematic time with Grimes looking rather nervous to go near a house. He says that he’s coming for Lumis and is NOT scared. Grimes keeps watching and Lumis is shown watching from a tree. It’s time to go inside where Grimes finds….a mounted deer and a tricycle riding itself. Grimes: “YOU GOT KIDS???” Now it’s a scary referee terrifying Grimes but here’s Lumis to grab him by the throat for some choking. A window is broken as Grimes gets away to hide in a bathroom. There’s a woman in the shower, which certainly gets Grimes’ attention (Grimes: “I didn’t realize that Lumis had a sister.”)
Grimes goes to join her and it’s a demon woman who might be from the Ring. Grimes staggers out and Lumis reaches through a window with the Silencer. That’s broken up as well so Grimes grabs a stick of some kind but the demon woman scares him. Another woman jumps onto his back so Grimes runs outside and throws her off a bridge. The referee, a woman and someone else show up to chase him off to the van….with Lumis driving him away. To be continued.
Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
They are ready to tear into each other before the bell and the slugout is on with Rhea throwing hands in a hurry. Gonzalez takes her into the corner but Rhea blocks a right hand and hits a headbutt. They go nose to nose to shout at each other and then shove each other a bit. The slap off sets up another slugout until Rhea slips out of a suplex. Neither can get a fireman’s carry so Rhea goes with a running dropkick to the floor. A dropkick through the ropes puts Gonzalez down again, but she catches a dive and hits a powerbomb against the barricade.
Back from a break with Gonzalez working on something like a Gory Stretch until Rhea counters into a sunset flip. A clothesline gives Gonzalez two but Rhea is back up with some knees to the face. Rhea scores with a basement dropkick to the back of the head for two and stomps her down to set up the Prism Trap. That’s broken up though and Gonzalez grabs a spinning powerslam for two.
Gonzalez takes it up top but has to knee her way out of the super Riptide. They slap it out again until Gonzalez hits a running choke throw off the top for two more (with Rhea’s face looking completely stunned on the landing). The powerbomb is countered into a headscissors into the middle buckle though and now it’s Riptide for the pin at 12:52.
Rating: B. It wasn’t their cage match but again it felt like a fight and that’s what they were going for here. These two beat the heck out of each other and it’s nice to see someone who isn’t physically dominated by Ripley for a change. I’m not sure what is left for Ripley but other than the title, what else could she really want in NXT?
Cameron Grimes is running back to the arena. How did he know the way back?
Drake Maverick is Hollywood Hogan, complete with 2.4 inch pythons. He and Killian Dain have tag team gold on their mind, though he thinks that McKenzie Mitchell is Mean Gene. Maverick: “Come on McKenzie. It’s Halloween.” The Giant and the Yeti show up to repeat the big double hug (albeit from the wrong sides) but Dain as the Shockmaster (egads) walks in for the save. Drake isn’t happy with some of Dain’s issues with the team and puts on the helmet, only to fall over. Dain: “He fell on his a***!” Ok that was good.
Grimes is back at the arena, suggesting that they could have gotten to the house with a brisk walk rather than using the van.
After a quick chat with the announcers, Grimes is back in the arena and in the graveyard, where the demon woman is back as well. The other demon woman joins her and Grimes shouts that they better stop because he’s Cameron Grimes. Lumis pops up behind him in the ring and Lumis throws him into the corner. A spinebuster plants Grimes as commentary wants to know where the smoke is coming from. The demons get in the ring and grab Lumis’ legs but more of them are coming in as well. Grimes hits a Cave In on one of the demons but Lumis throws another one at him. The Silencer finishes Grimes at 36:55.
Rating: D. The house stuff was good but it was dragged down by the fact that it was Dexter Lumis. I know I say this every week but egads he’s one of the least interesting people I’ve seen NXT push since Kona Reeves. Grimes was the star of this though as he has more charisma and energy than he knows what to do with and thankfully NXT is featuring him a lot more. If nothing else just have him do the Cave In a lot because that’s awesome.
Video on Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai and all of the matches they could have.
Tommaso Ciampa does not recognize this NXT because it has been out with the old and in with the new. This isn’t Monopoly and we aren’t taking turns. If you’re hungry, come to the top. Everyone wants to blame someone else for what they don’t have and it’s all the same message. It’s the brass ring and the glass ceiling and Ciampa has heard it all before. He was never handed anything and this all begins with Velveteen Dream. The 25 year old prodigy is oozing the it factor. If you hit Ciampa with a cast once, shame on him, but if you hit Ciampa with a cast twice, you’re a dead man. Ciampa’s star power is awesome.
Women’s Title: Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai
Shirai is defending and Poppy plays her to the ring. Shotzi spins the wheel and it’s…Tables, Ladders and Scares. Shirai starts fast and hits a suicide dive to the floor as the title is raised up. Candice comes back with a table….and finds a bunch of severed body parts. Shirai hits her with a bloody arm but gets sent into a ladder (with orange rungs of course). They fight over to the announcers’ table with Candice hitting her in the face (or arm as the replay shows) with a laptop.
Candice bridges a ladder between the ring and the announcers’ table but Shirai throws a chair into the general area of her head. Some running knees against the steps have Candice in more trouble so Shirai grabs more chairs. A chair shot takes LeRae down and we take a break. Back with two tables (with chalk outlines) having been set up (over the severed body parts) and both women throwing in a ladder. Shirai gets knocked down and Candice’s ladder is set up in the corner but Shirai grabs a butterfly backbreaker.
Candice rolls away from the moonsault though and Shirai crashes onto the chairs. A chair is set up and Candice asks if she remembers this, but Shirai suplexes her onto the open chair. Shirai is back up with the running knees in the corner but they only hit ladder, which then falls onto her for a negative bonus. Candice gets caught on top though and Shirai loads up a pair of chairs. The big crash is broken up but Shirai wraps a chair around Candice’s leg and twists it around in a creative spot.
The 619 misses though and Candice hits her in the back with a chair. Mrs. LeRae’s Wild Ride through the tables leaves them both laying….and here’s the Ghostface again. Whoever is it (is looks to be a woman) helps Candice to the top of the ladder but Shotzi runs in to give Ghostface an electric chair off the ladder and onto the chairs. Shirai grabs her own ladder and goes up as well but Candice shoves her down. The ladder is turned over to send Candice through the bridged ladder at ringside and Shirai retains at 16:29.
Rating: B. Your tastes may vary here but they beat the absolute fire out of each other for a long time here. I was actually surprised when Shirai retained but it was a great way to get there. Shirai winning here makes her seem like a bigger star as champion and that’s a lot better than having her be the person who gives the title to Candice so Rhea can chase it. This was one of the most violent women’s matches I’ve seen in a very long time and it was a rather good one at that.
Post match Shirai poses and here’s Gargano to check on Candice.
Overall Rating: A-. Now that felt like a special show and the atmosphere did all kinds of great things. They had the cool set, the creepy (at times) atmosphere and two bookend matches to make it that much better. Throw in the Ghostface deal (which is likely Indi Hartwell) and you had a heck of a night. If you get rid of the Dexter Lumis push, this is one of the best shows in a very long time but otherwise, it’s just a long time. Check out that main event, but McAfee’s promo should come first. This was the NXT that I’ve liked for a long time and hopefully it leads to more, as it hasn’t been this sharp for a good while.
Johnny Gargano b. Damian Priest – Tombstone to the head
Santos Escobar b. Jake Atlas – Double underhook facebuster
Rhea Ripley b. Raquel Gonzalez – Riptide
Dexter Lumis b. Cameron Grimes – Silencer
Io Shirai b. Candice LeRae – Shirai pulled down the title
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