The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 10.26.21

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 10.26.21

“HALLOWEEN HAVOC”

Live from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett & Beth Phoenix.  Oh, and Chucky.  Can’t forget about Chucky.

NXT Women’s tag team title, SCAREWAY TO HELL match:  Zoey Stark & Io Shirai v. Gigi Dolan & Jacey Jayne v. Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta

The first 30 minutes of the show are commercial free, just in case AEW is showing anything on TNT that they need to sabotage.  Well, Dark certainly will learn a lesson it’ll never forget.  The champs clear the ring to start and Io immediately pulls out a ladder, but Toxic Attraction cuts her off.  Persia and Indi double-team the mean girls in the corner and they somehow can’t manage to set up a ladder, and then Io and Zoey stop them from climbing anyway.  Jayne pushes the ladder over to get rid of the champs, breaking the ladder in the process, and we get a fight on the floor and everyone seems confused about what they’re doing.  But Io manages to double DDT both Indi and Persia anyway.  So Io sets up another ladder and climbs, but Indi follows her up and knocks her off.  Persia sets up her own ladder, but Dolan climbs it and Stark yanks her off for an ugly bump onto her partner.  Stark falls off the ladder and bounces off the top rope before diving onto the heels, and that nearly went really badly.  Io climbs and Persia pulls her down in an awkward slam into the corner, and then she powerbombs Dolan onto a ladder.  Jayne climbs and Persia tries to powerbomb her as well, but Jayne reverses to a sort of rana and Persia kind of stumbles into a ladder.  Jayne climbs again and Io yanks her down, slamming Jayne’s head into a ladder in the process in a bump that was so terrifying that even Shirai gasped after it happened, and then she moonsaults Jayne on the ladder for good measure.  So then Zoey puts Persia on a ladder and tries a Phoenix splash, but she undershoots that and lands on her feet instead and then kind of falls forward onto Jayne.  Yeah.  Shirai climbs and Indi pushes her off and onto a ladder on the floor.  So then Indi climbs and has to do the fake thing where she stops halfway up the ladder and paws at the belts helplessly, only for Dolan to kick her off and claim the titles at 12:24.  Yeah what a shock that was.  This was really bad, filled with a ton of dangerous botched spots and bumps that women with their experience level should not have been taking, filled with that stupid fake slow-climbing.  **

Meanwhile, Trick and Carmelo show up at Dexter’s haunted house looking for the North American title.  Luckily, Johnny has “Home Alone’d the crap out of the place” with the help of the zombie referee.  And we’ll pick it up later.

Grayson Waller joins us, and apparently he’s hosting the show in place of LA Knight because they can’t even adhere to THAT stipulation.  But then Joe Gacy interrupts whatever he was saying, complaining about Halloween.

Joe Gacy v. Malik Blade

This show is already feeling like a bait and switch, because they promoted it like it was going to be a PPV-style special like last year, and it’s already just another episode now with the usual wacky shit immediately slowing down the momentum again.  Blade attacks with a dropkick to start, but Blade still has no wacky gimmick and so Gacy quickly destroys him and hits a uranage.  Suplex follows and he tosses Blade, where Harland, who is apparently Nailz, chokes him out until Gacy talks him out of it.  And then Joe finishes with a handspring lariat at 2:20.  Everything about this Gacy and Harland thing sucks.   ½*

Meanwhile, Kay Lee Ray smashes stuff because she’s mad.

Meanwhile, at a Halloween party backstage, Grayson Waller explains trick or treating to Jiro and Cameron Grimes strikes out with the ladies.

Diamond Mine Open Invitation:  Malcolm Bivens offers anyone at shot at his team, so Odyssey Jones answers and challenges Roddy.

Roderick Strong v. Odyssey Jones

So the guess the thing with Odyssey and Andre Chase is already done with?  Jones hits Strong with a corner splash and pounds him with shoulders.  Strong takes him down and works the arm and then switches to a leglock, but Jones fights him off and makes the comeback.  The Creeds get involved and Jones clears them out, and Strong hits him with a knee and pins him at 3:55.  No near-falls, no twists, just one move and he’s done.  What is this possibly leading to?  Odyssey Jones challenging for the Cruiserweight title?  *1/2

Meanwhile, Imperium speak European because they’re EVIL.  I think.

Meanwhile, back at the party (after Mandy Rose’s entrance), Elvis gets chokeslammed through a table.

NXT Women’s title:  Raquel Gonzalez v. Mandy Rose

Luckily the extended break between entrances for this allows Mandy Rose plenty of time to pose in the ring.  Oddly, Raquel has completely changed her look and gear for this, with makeup and crimped hair.  And the wheel lands on Chucky’s Choice, which of course ends up being a street fight.  I was hoping for a hardcore match personally, or maybe a no-DQ match.  Why did they need to spin the wheel and then have the doll book the match?  Why not just book it as “Chucky’s Choice” in the first place?  Mandy attacks in the corner to start, but Raquel gets a corner splash.  They fight to the floor and Mandy uses a kendo stick for some abuse and runs Raquel into the post.  We take a break and return with Raquel in control of the kendo stick and beating on Mandy with that.  But then Mandy puts her in an office chair and savagely traps her by putting the stick through the arms.  Sadly, she is unable to make a pin out there because it’s a street fight but not specifically falls count anywhere.  There’s no rules, aside from the one rule.  OK, so another question:  In kayfabe, how would they even know the rules?  The doll announced it was a street fight but the explanation of the rules was on a graphic that they couldn’t see.  They continue fighting on the floor and Raquel sets up stairs on the apron for some reason, but Mandy runs her into them and gets two.  Holy cow, a near fall?  ON THIS SHOW?  Mandy boots her down for two and tries a Pedigree, but Raquel backdrops out of it and puts Mandy through a table.  But then the mystery graveyard person hits Raquel with a shovel and Mandy gets the pin and the title at 8:38.  Well no shock there either.  And the dark stranger turns out to be Dakota Kai, who is apparently still stuck in Orlando.  And then they just go to commercial with no followup.  Match was the usual smoke and mirrors thing.  **1/2

Meanwhile, back at the haunted house, Carmelo and Trick run into a witch and various other spooky people.  And Andre Chase.  Finally they find the North American title, but Johnny and Dexter chase them out of the house and into a zombie fight before they flee.  Which leads to the punchline, as Johnny suggests Halloween at HIS place next year.

Grayson Waller joins us to share his social media, but LA Knight interrupts and he’s also a Dracula.  And before we can delve into this fascinating relationship any further, Solo Sikoa interrupts them and suplexes Waller out of the ring.  OK then, another new bodybuilder who suplexes people around the ring, just what we needed.

Meanwhile, Bron Breakker hangs out with Chucky in the locker room.  If that was their entire attempt at a clever reference, I don’t even know what to tell you.

NXT tag team titles:  MSK v. Imperium

This time the wheel lands on “Lumberjack O’Lantern” match.  Well that’ll stop the heels from running away like they’ve been doing week after week!  Oh no, wait, that would mean there was a point to this stipulation.  Barthel works Lee over in the corner and gets a running kick, then tosses him, but Lee skins the cat back in the ring and dropkicks Barthel to the floor.  MSK follows with a stereo dive as we take a break.  Isn’t the point of the match supposed to be that guys can’t do the stuff outside the ring?  Anyway, back with Carter coming back on Barthel with a high knee, and Wes Lee gets a hot tag and cleans house with kicks and a nice handspring Pele kick for two.  Aichner comes in and gets a double samoan drop on MSK after about four tries at it, but Lee recovers and tries a dive, hitting the lumberjacks outside instead.  And then we get another dive and all the lumberjacks just leave.  Back in the ring, MSK is fired up, but Imperium hits them with double lariats and sets up for the finish.  Carter escapes with a rana on Barthel and a standing moonsault for two.  Aichner gets a brainbuster on Lee and they finish with the Imperial bomb to win the titles at 12:27.  Match was fine, but they literally abandoned the entire stipulation halfway through and just had a normal match.  Doesn’t really matter who the champions are, it’s not like there’s any real tag team division anyway.  ***1/4

NXT title:  Tommaso Ciampa v. Bron Breakker

Ciampa rocking the God of War cosplay tonight.  Breakker overpowers him, but Ciampa takes him down and grabs a headlock.  Bron takes him down and slams him a few times, but he misses a splash and Ciampa gets a bodyscissors on the mat.  Bron slams out of that and we take a break.  Back with Ciampa hitting the running boot in the corner and a double axehandle on the back for two.  Bron fights back with a belly to belly and then goes up for a bulldog, but he slips on the ropes and falls on his face.  Oh dear.  Ciampa gets two off that, but Bron gets another shoulderblock to chase Ciampa to the floor, but he gets caught with the draping DDT for two.  Ciampa puts him down with a high knee for one, but Bron pops up with a Frankensteiner and butterfly bomb for two.  Come on, he looks like a Steiner, talks like a Steiner, barks like a Steiner, does the Steiner moves, but he’s “Bron Breakker”.  Sure.  Bron tries the pop-up powerslam, but Ciampa escapes with an inverted DDT and they’re both out.  They fight to the floor and Ciampa manages to hit a DDT onto exposed concrete, and back in for the Fairy Tale Ending, which gets two.  So Ciampa hits him with the running knees to put him down, and another Fairy Tale Ending finishes at 12:50.  That was definitely a surprise, although seeing Steiner Jr. in this kind of main event situation really showed that he’s not ready for it yet anyway.  Ciampa got a good match out of him because he’s awesome at least.  ***

Overall, mostly just a show and not the flaming dumpster fire that it has been lately.  I don’t think anyone should be shocked by Toxic Attraction getting shoved further down all of our throats.  Not a great show and the booking continues to go in circles with no point to it, but much better than we’ve been getting, so that’s something.