The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 02.01.22

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT 2.0 – 02.01.22

Live from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Vic Joseph & Wade Barrett

Well now we’re never getting a payoff to that Harland angle with Brian Kendrick, I guess.

Imperium & Gunther v. The Creeds & Roderick Strong

We’re on the Road to Wrestlemania after this past weekend’s Premium Live Event, you know!  Well, I mean, none of these geeks are on the Road To Wrestlemania but Vic still has to use his WWE verbiage once per show or they’ll fire him and replace him with another bland announcer with two first names.  Everyone brawls to start and Aichner gets double-teamed by the Creeds in the corner, but he catches Brutus and hits him with a Regal roll.  Marthel comes in and works an armbar, but Brutus hits him with a spinebuster to escape while the crowd chants for some guy named “Walter”.  Never heard of him.  Is he going to be featured on the next Premium Live Event featuring the Devil’s Playground with six WWE superstars competing for a championship opportunity?  Otherwise what’s the point?  Gunther comes in and stomps Julius down, and Barthel goes to a chinlock.  So why couldn’t they just trademark “The Ring General” and call him that?  Roddy gets a hot tag and hits Barthel with a backbreaker, but he walks into a clothesline from Gunther and we take a break.  Back with the Creeds now working on Barthel as we seem to have missed the heat segment on Strong.  The Creeds double-team Aichner for two, but Gunther breaks it up with a chop to the back.  Back to Strong and he escapes a powerbomb and hits Gunther with a knee.  Everyone brawls on the floor and Gunther tries the sleeper on Brutus in the ring, but he fights back.  So Gunther chops him down and powerbombs him for the pin at 11:05.  Wade declares this to be “Maximum Skullduggery”.  I don’t know, I’ve seen more skullduggery.  Good opener, although there wasn’t much of a story to it.  ***1/4

Meanwhile, Joe Gacy offers to help LA Knight with restraining order issues.

Toxic Attraction joins us, and Vic notes there’s an old saying:  He who has the gold, has the power.  Literally no one in the history of the world has ever said that.  Totally not a saying.  So unfortunately Toxic Attraction is more like TALK-sic Attraction and we have to listen to them cut a promo on Indi and Persia.  And then Kay Lee Ray interrupts, threatening them with her baseball bat, and claims to be the longest reigning Women’s champion of the modern era.  One, that’s not saying much.  Two, the promotion was shut down for like a year due to Covid.  So Kay Lee talks about how she was champion while Mandy was “slipping on her ass at Wrestlemania and sucking the face off Otis.”  That actually comes off as really jealous and insecure on her part.  Like, who have you beaten lately?  I’m pretty sure NXT UK doesn’t even count in canon anyway.  Anyway, no title match is forthcoming yet.

Meanwhile, Cora Jade is still stalking Raquel.  Is she such a loser that she can’t find ANYONE else for this stupid tournament?  Raquel has been pretty clear about her desires here.

Meanwhile, Mandy Rose is still denying Kay Lee a title match, so Kay Lee steals her car and kidnaps the other Toxic Attraction girls.  Kay Lee is supposed to be the babyface, mind you.

Raquel Gonzalez v. Cora Jade

Raquel hits Cora with a clothesline right away and goes to a bearhug, but Cora comes back with a dropkick.  Raquel gives her some trashtalk in the corner and hits a spinning slam deal for two.  Suplex gets two.  She goes to a nerve hold and then an over the shoulder backbreaker while the announcers talk about the exciting Premium Live Event from Jeddha next month.  Can’t wait!  Raquel goes for another slam but Cora counters to an armbar of some kind while Sportsnet keeps flashing to a black screen for some reason.  Jade uses the ROLLUP OF DOOM for two and takes her down with a rana.  Watching these two try to sell for each other is…something.  Raquel puts her away with the powerbomb at 6:10.  So after Raquel basically squashes her, then she changes her mind and accepts Cora as her tag team partner.  I’d want someone who wasn’t a loser, but you do you.  Like wouldn’t the logical storyline be “Oh, she beat me, now she’s worthy of my time as tag team partner”?  Match was clunky and not good.  *1/2

Sarray v. Kayla Inlay

So it’s the same Sarray as before, but she’s got a necklace.  Like, did one of the writers read “The Magic Shoes” to his kid as a bedtime story and decide to base a wrestling angle off it?  Just wait until they have a character based on “The Monster at the End of This Book”.  Inlay gets some punishment in the corner for two while we get an audio update from McKenzie with BREAKING NEWS:  Kay Lee Ray is back with the truck, but Gigi and Jaycee are still gone.  Sarray makes a comeback and gets the double-stomp and dropkick on the ropes, then hits an exploder for the pin at 3:27.  This seemed like every other Sarray match I’ve seen in NXT, but now she has a necklace.  *

Meanwhile, Duke Hudson gives up the poker gimmick and now he’s just gonna beat people up.  See, now at least that’s a CHARACTER.  He went through a tangible loss and uses it to move forward.

Carmelo & Trick join us, and although we don’t see Cameron Grimes as a threat, he’s still putting in the work in the gym.  And Cameron interrupts, but Trick informs him that TRICKIN’ AIN’T EASY, so Cameron calls them Spongebob and Squidward.  Anyway they’re having a match at Vengeance Day on SciFi. Putting that show on SciFi seems like a bad move.  Jimmie Uso’s resting blood alcohol level is gonna be higher than the demo for that one.

Meanwhile, Edris and Malik discuss team names, but Mandy Rose bursts in and falls in Malik’s arms.  KLR attacks and they have a catfight, which Edris thinks is AWESOME.  He suggests they go after the ladies, but Malik needs a minute first.  OK that was funny.  I like these guys.

LA Knight v. Joe Gacy

Knight puts the boots to Gacy in the corner to start, but Gacy hits a slam to take over and goes to a chinlock.  And again they keep putting over the Royal Rumble, which just makes this show seem even more third rate.  Gacy beats on Knight with forearms in the corner, but LA hits a neckbreaker and drops an elbow on him.  Knight bails and encounters Sanga and takes a stunner from Grayson Waller, and Knight just beats the count, but Gacy gets the pin at 3:18.  Weak.  *

Meanwhile, Robert Stone introduces his new caveman, Von Wagner.

Amari Miller v. Wendy Choo

Choo clings to Miller’s leg while trying to sleep, but Miller gets a backslide for two.  But then Wendy gets a superkick in the corner and drops an “elbow” for two.  Miller gets a senton for two.  Choo comes back with a suplex out of the corner.  She tries a sleeper, but Amari gets a codebreaker for two.  This brings out Tiffany Stratton, who has been trying to bribe Amari with a shopping trip, but Choo gets a rollup for two and then kicks her down for the pin at 3:24.  And then she steals the credit card as Tiffany has a tantrum.  This was so, SO bad, like something out of third season GLOW.  This Wendy Choo thing is a one-note joke that stopped being funny ages ago.  DUD  Like, you can literally go on YouTube and find dozens of Orange Cassidy matches with routines that can be stolen, including the one that went viral years ago.

Meanwhile, Brooks Jensen gets romantic advice from Indi and Dexter and they all sound like a bunch of f------ geeks.  Who is this supposed to be appealing to?

Meanwhile, Draco Anthony works out in the Performance Center.  Was he the guy who was in the coffee shop one week and then never appeared again?  Anyway his gimmick is that he WORKS REALLY HARD.  Sign me up!

Meanwhile, Nikkita Lyons is apparently a rapper or something.  Also her dad was a bass player in a band and her mom was a groupie but they won’t tell us who either one is.

Meanwhile, Sarray has changed back into her Japanese schoolgirl gear for a backstage interview, but Dakota Kai interrupts and she’s all CRAZY.

Andre Chase v. Draco Anthony

Anthony grabs a headlock to start and beats on Chase in the corner, then hits an exploder for two.  Chase comes back with a legsweep and does the Chase U stomps, but he charges and runs into Draco’s boot.  So Draco steals the Chase U flag and desecrates it, which sets off Andre and he stomps away in the corner and finishes with a flatliner at 4:23.  I’m very confused about who was supposed to be the babyface in all that.  Also why do the introduction to Anthony and then beat him right away?  ½*

Meanwhile, Kay Lee Ray continues stalking Mandy in the kitchen, dumping a bowl of spaghetti on her and then throwing a cake at her.  Again, this is supposed to be the BABYFACE.

Bron Breakker & Tommaso Ciampa v. Legado Del Fantasma

Apparently Dolph Ziggler will be the next WWE curtain jerker coming down to NXT to tank the ratings after a social media confrontation with Bron.  Honestly they should just send Finn Balor back down.  I’m sure he’d be happy to teach Bron how to work and would put him over huge and be much happier doing it.  The babyfaces chase LDF and back in for a pair of delayed suplexes to put them on the floor again as we take a break.  Back with Bron holding a chinlock on Wilde, and a clothesline chases him to the floor again.  But then Escobar runs Bron into the stairs, and he’s dogface in peril back in the ring.  They double-team him in the corner with the rolling clotheslines and a double suplex that gets two.  Wilde with a back elbow for two.  Bron fights him off and makes the hot tag to Ciampa, and they double-team Wilde into a Breakker spinebuster.  Escobar runs interference, allowing Mendoza to hit a missile dropkick and moonsault for two on Bron.  Bron misses a blind charge, but Bron spears him for two.  Ciampa takes care of the LDF geeks and tosses Wilde into an announce table at ringside, allowing Breakker to finish Mendoza with his slam at 12:11.  I wish they’d stop with that table s--- for a while.  Amazingly, they continue booking Bron Breakker perfectly while seemingly not knowing how to get anyone else over.  ***

And then Kay Lee chases Mandy into the ring after the match, continuing to threaten her with the bat and now she wants a title match next week.  And apparently this two hours of terrorism has officially led to her getting a title shot.  Hopefully she gets her ass kicked because even the NXT sheep were booing her for this nonsense by the end of the show.

Now this was more like the NXT I know and hate after an off-week of dull but watchable segments!