Date: October 26, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
It’s another special show this time around with Halloween Havoc. Last year’s edition did rather well but now we need to see if they can do the same with the new cast. The main event is Tommaso Ciampa defending the NXT Title against Bron Breakker, plus a bunch of Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal matches. Let’s get to it.
Chuckie as in from the Child’s Play movies, welcome us to the show and runs down part of the card.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Toxic Attraction vs. Persia Pirotta/Indi Hartwell vs. Io Shirai/Zoey Stark
Shirai/Stark are defending in a ladder match, with Chuckie giving us another intro. It’s a brawl to start with Toxic Attraction being sent outside. Some ladders are thrown inside and it’s Hartwell/Pirotta going up, only to have the champs break it up with some dropkicks. Jacy Jayne kicks the ladder and breaks one of the metal pieces in the middle. Since that doesn’t work, Jayne just shoves the ladder over, leaving Stark and Dolin to kick each other over. Hartwell and Stark slug it out on top of the ladder but Pirotta sets up the big ladder.
That sets up a bunch of crashes until Pirotta has to pull Shirai down. Shirai gets dropped onto the top turnbuckle and Dolin gets powerbombed hard onto a bridged ladder in the corner. Jayne tries to go up but Shirai pulls her down onto a ladder, setting up a Lionsault onto Jayne onto the ladder. Now it’s Hartwell planting Stark onto the ladder but Shirai knocks Hartwell off the ladder. Hartwell then knocks the ladder over, sending Shirai back of the head first onto the bridged ladder. With that terrifying crash out of the way, Dolin runs up and wins the titles at 12:23.
Rating: C+. That must be the best ladder match I’ve seen in at least 22 hours. It felt like they went to the ending really fast after Shirai’s landing and at least the right team won. I don’t think there was any real doubt in the idea that Toxic Attraction was going to win here and they didn’t bother going in another direction. This had some brutal crashes, but it’s only so exciting when the most recent WWE match before this was a ladder match as well. At the very least, it’s nice to have a non-thrown together team holding the titles.
Commentary is dressed as…..themselves. Wow that’s a missed opportunity.
We now join Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams as they search through a haunted house for the North American Title, which the Way stole last week. They can’t believe they’re doing this, which I can certainly understand. We cut to Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis in the house, with Gargano saying he Home Aloned the heck out of this house. He even had help from the zombie referee from last year! Back to Williams and Hayes, with Hayes not interested in just getting a replica title. More on this later.
Video on Kay Lee Ray, who breaks a bunch of things.
Grayson Waller (who isn’t the host) is here as Dracula and promises the women will be in revealing outfits. Cue Joe Gacy to complain about things and now it’s time for him to deal with someone.
Joe Gacy vs. Malik Blade
Gacy jumps Blade to start as we cut to Harland walking around backstage in a Michael Meyers style. Another shot puts Blade down but here is Harland to grab Blade by the throat. That’s not a DQ, so Gacy hits the handspring lariat for the pin at 2:18.
Gacy talks to Harland post match.
We go to the NXT Halloween party, with Waller liking what he is seeing (the fact that a lot of the wrestlers aren’t in any kind of special costume tells you a lot about the current state of NXT). Cameron Grimes, dressed as an astronaut, hits on two women but calls them extraterrestrials instead of angels, much to their dismay. Waller gives him a pep talk.
Malcolm Bivens issues a Diamond Mine open challenge.
Odyssey Jones vs. Roderick Strong
Non-title in a rematch from a recent 205 Live. Strong kicks away at Jones, who throws him down with ease. A choke doesn’t get Strong very far so he goes with some kicks to the face instead. Jones fights back up but has to deal with the rest of the Diamond Mine, allowing Strong to hit some jumping knees. A bit one to the jaw makes Jones fall forward for the pin at 4:12 (the exact same finish as their 205 Live match).
Rating: C-. I think we can get closer to writing off Jones, as this wasn’t exactly his finest hour. It’s also not a good thing to see the same finish between the same people on two different WWE shows, even if 205 Live isn’t exactly important. The show is still broadcast by WWE, but they couldn’t even change the endings. WWE being lazy isn’t a surprise, but at least make it seem like you’re trying?
Imperium, with subtitles, promises to win the Tag Team Titles. How you have subtitles on a live interview is beyond me.
We go back to the Halloween party where no one recognized Von Wagner, Cameron Grimes promises to be in Duke Hudson’s poker room next week, and Robert Stone, as Elvis, gets put through a table by Xyon Quin. The latter makes everyone celebrate.
Women’s Title: Mandy Rose vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Gonzalez is defending and comes to the ring on a motorcycle. This is Spin The Wheel Make The Deal, so Chuckie gets to spin. That would be Chuckie’s Choice, so let’s have a Trick or Street Fight. Rose starts fast with the kendo stick but gets knocked outside where Gonzalez, in lime green for quite the visual, misses a boot against the post. Some kendo stick shots rock Gonzalez again and we take a break.
Back with the fight still on at ringside, where Rose puts Gonzalez in an announcers’ chair and locks her in place with a kendo stick. Rose shoves the chair over unloads with the kendo stick again. Gonzalez, now in a hockey mask for no apparent reason, is back up with a fire extinguisher to blind Rose. A gorilla press….doesn’t quite get Rose over the middle rope so Rose gets rolled under the bottom rope instead.
Back in and Rose gets dropped face first onto some chairs in the corner so it’s time for the steps. Rose kicks those into Gonzalez’s face for another near fall but Rose can’t get her up in a double underhook. Gonzalez is back up with a spear through the table in the corner for a very near fall. Cue a woman in a Grim Reaper costume to hit Gonzalez in the back with a shovel, allowing Rose to knee her in the face the pin and the title at 11:08.
Rating: C. It was all smoke and mirrors, but that’s exactly what they needed here. Rose is not exactly a polished worker but doing all of the weapons stuff hides so much of that. This was by no means a great match and the ending was designed to protect Gonzalez. That might be a bit annoying, but it’s all about Toxic Attraction in NXT now and this was as good of a way to get there as they had.
Post match Toxic Attraction poses with their titles and the Grim Reaper is….Dakota Kai. Makes sense.
Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes are still scared in the haunted house. Post break, they run into an old woman and a guy with his face painted and keep moving. Andre Chase pops up and the three of them see Lumis in a mirror. They turn around and Lumis isn’t there, but then he appears so running ensues. Williams and Hayes find the title, but Williams says it’s never this easy in the movies. Hayes grabs the title and everyone shows up, with Gargano saying Lumis’ house is weird. Next week, they’ll do it at Gargano’s place. Everyone gives a collective thumbs up to seemingly finish things up.
Grayson Waller is in the ring to talk about exclusive content on social media when LA Knight arrives (in the same costume). Knight had car trouble, but wants to know how Waller knew about it (that’s a classic angle from back in the day). Not that it matters as the debuting Solo Sikoa, a martial artist, clears the ring.
Bron Breakker is warming up with Chuckie watching from a locker.
Tag Team Titles: MSK vs. Imperium
Imperium is challenging and we Spin The Wheel to Make The Deal of….Lumberjack O’Lantern (as chosen by a fan’s spin). The lumberjacks come out, in costumes, with Vic Joseph calling Wade Barrett “Stu” by mistake. Aichner throws Carter around to start so it’s off to Barthel to kick Lee in the face. Imperium gets sent outside where the lumberjacks jump them, meaning it’s a double dive from MSK.
We take a break and come back with Aichner being knocked outside again, setting up a moonsault for two on Barthel. Aichner picks up both champs at once to plant them down and take over, but the Imperial Bomb is broken up. Lee hits a big dive to take out Barthel and a bunch of lumberjacks, leaving Carter to cutter Barthel off the top and out to the floor as well.
That’s enough for the referees, who eject the lumberjacks, which makes this a rather unique lumberjack match. Another Imperial Bomb is broken up and Carter hits a middle rope Canadian Destroyer to knocks Barthel silly. The push moonsault gets two and it’s a brainbuster to drop Lee. The Imperial Bomb gives Imperium the titles back at 13:12.
Rating: C+. It was a good run for MSK, though you can’t keep the titles on them when the fans are booing the heck out of them every single week. It was better once they got rid of the lumberjacks as things settled down a lot, but Imperium getting the titles back isn’t exactly inspiring. They do their thing really well, but when your gimmick is that you are ultra serious, it is a little hard to get excited.
Chuckie introduces us to a video on Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker. Ciampa won the title back to start the new NXT and now Breakker is accepting the challenge for the title shot. This is all about power and force vs. experience, which makes for an interesting showdown. Chuckie taking shots at Breakker’s dad is a great Easter egg for older fans.
NXT Title: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker
Ciampa is defending in a God Of War costume. A big shoulder puts Ciampa on the floor to start so he comes back in for a headlock. That’s fine with Breakker, who suplexes his way to freedom in a hurry. Ciampa goes to the ribs to slow Breakker down though and we hit the bodyscissors.
We take a break and come back with Ciampa hitting a middle rope ax handle to the back for two. The waistlock stays on the ribs but Breakker fights up and hits some forearms to the face as the LET’S GO CIAMPA/DOG BARKS dueling chants are on. A running shoulder puts Ciampa on the floor again but he grabs Willow’s Bell for two more. Breakker snaps off a Frankensteiner into a butterfly powerbomb for two of his own.
They slug it out with Ciampa getting the better of things. The fight heads outside, where the floor bad has been pulled back. A DDT onto the exposed concrete knocks Breakker silly (while possibly busting him open). and the Fairy Tale Ending gets two. Ciampa knees him in the face a few times and hits another Fairy Tale Ending to retain at 13:50.
Rating: B-. They had a good match, but it’s going to take some time to process Breakker losing that close to clean. I do get the idea that he isn’t ready yet (and he probably isn’t), but dang it was a little jarring to see him get pinned. Ciampa going on as champion is not a bad thing and I can imagine USA wanting to keep the title on a star rather than a project. It’s just kind of surprising to see Breakker lose so soon, even if it probably is the right call.
Overall Rating: C+. This show started off rough but did settle down and got a good bit better by the end. Halloween Havoc is a tricky show to pull off and they did it well enough here, though there were some things that needed to be tweaked. They leaned pretty heavily into the goofy at times, though Chuckie being around all night was a nice touch. The title changes more than made it feel big, though your mileage on Toxic Attraction may vary. Still though, it certainly felt like an important show and that’s what they were going for. Maybe a bit too over the top at times, but it worked more than it didn’t.
Toxic Attraction b. Io Shirai/Zoey Stark and Persia Pirotta/Indi Hartwell – Dolin pulled down the titles
Joe Gacy b. Malik Blade – Handspring lariat
Roderick Strong b. Odyssey Jones – Jumping knee to the face
Mandy Rose b. Raquel Gonzalez – Running knee to the face
Imperium b. MSK – Imperial Bomb to Lee
Tommaso Ciampa b. Bron Breakker – Fairy Tale Ending
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