The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 10.05.21
2.0 is about where my blood alcohol level needs to be for this show, I think.
BREAKING NEWS: The previously announced 8 man tag team match has now been converted to a 4 way match for the tag team titles. Sure, why not.
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett & Beth Phoenix.
Mandy Rose v. Ember Moon
They trade headlocks while this new ref is REALLY animated out there. They slug it out and Ember hangs Mandy in the Tree of Woe while the crowd starts what I can only assume is a very sarcastic “Fight forever” chant at 30 seconds in. Unless it’s “Let’s go Ember” and I just can’t hear properly with all the masks. Mandy bails to the floor, but Ember hits Jacy Jayne with a dive and then powerbombs Mandy onto the apron, which is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, Mandy immediately shakes that off and hits a reverse exploder for two. Vic wonders if Mandy is “building a case for a championship opportunity”? She hasn’t even wrestled a match in NXT yet! Ember controls for a bit and goes up with a codebreaker off the middle rope, but she misses something off the top and Mandy finishes her with a knee at 4:34. Can we dub “one person makes a comeback and then loses to a single move” as an “NXT finish” yet? *1/2 And the heels all do their mean girl pose because they’re girls and mean.
Meanwhile, Legado del Fantasma are still not done with Hit Row yet, even though they’ve won all the matches and chased them to another show. But Santos still wants a shot at the North American title. That would be remarkable, considering that Swerve Scott won the title on June 29 and has only wrestled one match since that time, a six-man loss to Legado del Fantasma. So him defending the belt at all would be a pleasant change of pace after FOUR MONTHS of doing nothing with it.
Odyssey Jones v. LA Knight
I think it’s kind of a shame that they did the whole feud with Cameron Grimes over the Million Dollar belt and then it just ended and the belt went away and both guys are exactly where they started again. Jones quickly hurls Knight into the corner and chases him outside, but Knight catches him with a drop toehold in the corner and chokes him out on the ropes. Knight drops an elbow for two, but Jones fights up, so Knight decides to try a bodyslam and Jones falls back on him. Odyssey slugs him down and follows with a gutbuster, but Andre Chase comes out to provide distraction, and Knight hits a neckbreaker for the pin at 4:00. Yay for distraction finishes. *
Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes is jealous of all the love in NXT, so he’s looking for a lucky lady. So Pete Dunne interrupts for some reason and gets all offended, but Grimes brushes him off and goes to hit on some nearby women.
Meanwhile, Kool Kyle chats Von Wagner, who robotically reads his scripted dialogue in a simulation of human speech. Why is this person on TV?
Tommaso Ciampa joins us, hyping up the return of Halloween Havoc this month, and he needs an opponent for that show. So this brings out Bron Breakker, who has big balls apparently, and he’s like “Let’s fight!” and Ciampa is like “Them’s fighting words!” and clearly they’re switching the title on that show. Frankly I’m shocked that Vince has been able to hold off as long as he is with Bron.
Meanwhile, Indi Hartwell and her friend walk in on Boa doing freaky stuff with Mei Ying.
Ikeman Jiro v. Joe Gacy
Beth is all offended by Gacy’s promo where he declares that there can be two winners, because NXT is all about winners and losers! Except for everyone that loses and then gets title shots. Gacy offers a handshake and then pulls Jiro into the corner for a clothesline and follows with a suplex and back elbow. I’m very confused about what the character is supposed to be. Is he supposed to be a woke liberal stereotype who believes what he’s saying, and thus I’m supposed to boo him for that? Is he supposed to be a heel playing a woke liberal who doesn’t actually believe in his own rhetoric, and thus I’m supposed to boo him for THAT? Jiro brief comeback but as usual, the other guy hits one move, a handspring lariat, and pins him at 3:14. That move’s kind of stupid, because he does the handspring, then literally stops his momentum and then hits the clothesline. I know I say it so much about NXT 2.0 that it’s lost all meaning, but this gimmick is DEATH. *
Meanwhile, Cora Jade is apparently a skater girl. This show is turning into GLOW faster than even I anticipated.
Meanwhile, Duke Hudson is now a poker player in addition to being a wrestler. Hopefully they buy the rights to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” for his entrance music.
Cora Jade v. Virginia Ferry
Nope, Franky Monet attacks the jobber and takes her out on the floor, and so now she gets the match instead.
Cora Jade v. Franky Monet
Franky destroys Cora while dreamboat boyfriend Trey Baxter cheers her on at ringside. What’s his wacky gimmick going to be, I wonder? Bitcoin millionaire? Apple bar technician? Etsy soap maker? Monet goes for the glam slam and Cora rolls her up for the fluke win at 2:00. And then it’s TO THE BACK before we can even register the upset or care about it in the least. ½*
Meanwhile, MSK get into a yelling match with the Grizzled Young Vets and they decide to make the match elimination rules because reasons, which then triggers a big brawl with all four teams.
Meanwhile, Ciampa gets interrupted by Joe Gacy, who is offended by talk of balls, and Ciampa offers him a non-title match next week with a title shot on the line if he wins.
Pete Dunne v. Cameron Grimes
I know clarifying any of this stuff would take more than 5 seconds of thought on their part and that’s why they don’t do it, but doesn’t it kind of make Dunne look like a second-rate loser when his heater gets drafted to Smackdown and they fall all over themselves talking about what a great honor it is for Ridge? So then why didn’t Dunne get drafted? Was he not eligible? Why didn’t Grimes for that matter? Why didn’t NXT get to draft anyone? Grimes snaps off a rana and takes Dunne down with an armbar, but he runs into a clothesline and Dunne goes to work on the arm himself. We get the SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and Dunne dropkicks him in the back, but Grimes makes the comeback with forearms before coming off the top with a crossbody for two. Dunne comes back and goes to the arm again and follows with a german suplex for two, then goes to a cross armbreaker. Grimes escapes with a german suplex for two. Dunne puts him down with an enzuigiri, but Kool Kyle runs out of the audience and attacks Ridge, only for Dunne to hit the Bitter End and pin Grimes at 5:43. This was good for a five minute match worked at a million miles an hour, I guess. ** And then the heels lay out Kyle and we move onto something else.
Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo is next.
Meanwhile, Hit Row denies that they’re running from Legado, and in fact they’re running to the money on Smackdown, as Swerve promises to take the North American title with him.
Meanwhile, during the break, Von Wagner saves Kool Kyle during a commercial because he’s not even ready for the segments that air on TV.
Tony D’Angelo v. Malik Blade
Apparently D’Angelo was an All American collegiate athlete. And now he’s a small time mafia hood. Tony works a headlock while talking trash, but Blade comes back with a dropkick to put Tony on the floor. Vic Joseph notes that it would be a huge upset if Blade spoiled Tony’s debut. Why? It’s both of their debut matches, they’re both 0-0. Is it an upset because Malik Blade doesn’t have a wacky second job as vampire hunter? Blade fights back with a leg lariat and goes up for a bodypress that gets two. Rollup gets two. D’Angelo takes him to the corner and hits a suplex, and then finishes with a fisherman’s suplex at 4:46. This was every green indie guy match you’ve ever seen in your life and was pretty long for a squash debut. * So he’s supposed to be an Italian tough guy, but he does a bunch of suplexes and amateur wrestling moves?
Indi Hartwell v. Mei Ying
So the 1000 year old apparition is an actual wrestler now? How do you get approved by a commission? Oh wait, it’s Florida, never mind. Ying goes to work with the dreaded nerve pinch, but Indi fights out of that, so Ying uses a Tongan Death Grip and takes her to the floor. Indi’s unnamed friend takes a bullet for Indi, and back in Indi finishes with a springboard thing at 2:42. Apparently immortal sorceresses are particularly vulnerable to springboard moves. ½*
Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo makes a pitch for being on Lash Legend’s show next week, and she’s like “I loved him in the new Sopranos movie!” Hey, that’s a thing that exists!
Meanwhile, Diamond Mine is a tough group of fellas, so they say.
Raquel Gonzalez joins us in the ring for a promo and she looks like she’s literally reading off cue cards while staring at the hard camera and taking weird pauses between words. And of course Mandy Rose and her group interrupt and we get to hear them talk, again, and it’s somehow even worse than listening to Raquel Gonzalez trying to sound naturalistic, but they go to attack Raquel and Stark & Shirai make the save. Why do they keep letting these people talk on TV?
Meanwhile, Von Wagner robotically tells Kool Kyle that next week they’re teaming up against Dunne & Holland. Why would you program a robot with that Minnesota accent?
Meanwhile, Io and Zoey also have issues with Indi Hartwell and whoever the other girl is. Why? Actually I don’t care anyway, never mind.
NXT tag team titles: MSK v. Joe Bob Jimbo & Billy Joe Bobby v. Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams v. The Grizzled Young Veterans
So as established earlier in the show, this is elimination rules. I wish some of these matches were Squid Game elimination rules. OH YEAH I’M WATCHING SQUID GAME AND I’M GONNA REFERENCE IT SOMEWHERE BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME. MSK double-teams Gibson with kicks to start, but Hayes tags himself in. Trick comes in for the double-team legdrop and that gets two, so it’s over to Billy Bob and Jimmy Jack, who get their shit in with a double shoulderblock and they run around with clotheslines because they drink beer and love to fight! They told me so last week. MSK finishes Trick with their finisher at 3:56. And we take a break. That’s actually the first match tonight to get a commercial break, mostly because everything else has been so short that there was no time for one. Back with the Vets working on Wes Lee, but he dives for a hot tag to Nash Carter and Nash runs wild. Standing shooting star on Drake gets two and they fight to the floor, where Carter gets a moonsault, but the Vets come back with their double-team finish in the ring. But then Nash had managed to tag Coy and Vance Duke into the match and they powerbomb Gibson and pin him at 9:35. So that leaves MSK with Brooks & Dunn and they get some double-teams on Lee and it’s all pretty sloppy, but Lee gets a rana on one of them and pins him at 11:47. Lots of stuff happened I guess. **1/4 And then they’re like “Hey, let’s steal the belts!” and then they change their mind and they’re like “Hey, let’s not steal the belts!” and then they’re all friends again. Whew. I was worried that this friendship that’s been running for a whole week now would have been ruined. And then Imperium hits the ring and attacks MSK, but Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. make the save for their new old friends and I’m more confused than angry at any one particular team at this point. So I guess that doesn’t count as Carmelo Hayes cashing in his contract then? Also I don’t understand what the point of switching from an 8-man tag to a four-way match was, outside of two more teams having to do the job. Also they spent last week building up three teams as the challengers and then just beat them all and suddenly Imperium are the #1 contenders now, I guess. JUST PICK A FUCKING LANE ALREADY.
Well, as far as being a television program that existed and served to fill 90 minutes that I probably would have just had to waste doing something useful or interesting, this certainly succeeded in meeting that lofty expectation.