NXT – February 15, 2022 (Vengeance Day)

Date: February 15, 2022
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness

It’s a big show this week with Vengeance Day. That means the card is stacked, including the finals of the men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and a main event of Bron Breakker defending the NXT Title against Santos Escobar. Other than that, maybe we get a surprise or two as well to go with the huge lineup. Let’s get to it.

The opening video features Toxic Attraction texting each other about tonight’s show. I’m sure one of them being around a pool, one of them being in lingerie and one of them looking at herself in a mirror is just a coincidence.

Pete Dunne vs. Tony D’Angelo

In a weaponized steel cage, because a cage just isn’t good enough around here. D’Angelo comes out in a rather expensive car. It’s a brawl to start with D’Angelo being sent into the cage but coming back with a hard slam for a breather. D’Angelo goes for a tool box but Dunne slams the lid onto it instead. Dunne uses a wrench to bend the fingers back, though the fingers are fine enough to blast Dunne with a fire extinguisher.

A superplex brings Dunne off the top and D’Angelo zip ties Dunne’s wrists behind his back. Dunne is fine enough to pull D’Angelo into a guillotine choke, meaning D’Angelo has to pull out some cutters to free himself (and Dunne). Back up and Dunne hits the Bitter End for two, followed by D’Angelo hitting him low. Forget About It gets two more and they’re both down. Dunne hits him in the back of the head though and it’s the Bitter End onto a bunch of weapons for the pin at 9:53.

Rating: B-. They didn’t have a lot of time here and having weapons in a cage seems a bit redundant, but the effort was there and carried this to a good match. D’Angelo has gotten a lot better in recent months and Dunne is probably an important part of that improvement. Working with the talented veterans is a good thing and it seems to have worked for him here.

Raquel Gonzalez calls Cora Jade at 5:00am because it’s time for training. They go to the Performance Center and we get a training montage, with Gonzalez not exactly convinced that Jade wants it this much.

The Creed Brothers say they’ll win because they’re better.

MSK says they’ll win because they’re ready.

Women’s Tag Team Titles: Toxic Attraction vs. Persia Pirotta/Indi Hartwell

Toxic Attraction, with Mandy Rose, is defending and jump the challengers from behind to start fast. Hartwell and Pirotta are sent outside for some flip dives before the bell before they head back inside for the official start. Pirotta fall away slams Jayne and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, setting up a clothesline from Hartwell. A Rose distraction lets Jayne get in a kick to the face though, meaning Rose is ejected.

We take a break and come back with Hartwell hitting a faceplant on Jayne. Pirotta comes in to clean house and hits a double Samoan drop on the champs. Everything breaks down and Pirotta heads outside, where she is sent into the steps. Some Jayne interference allows Dolin to plant Hartwell, setting up a high/low to retain the titles at 7:49.

Rating: C-. This was the usual messy match from these four and that is not remotely surprising. The women’s tag team division barely exists and that makes the upcoming tournament sound even worse. It’s the kind of thing that should be let go already, but I can’t imagine that actually happening anytime soon.

Wendi Choo asks Amari Miller to be her partner in the Dusty Classic but Hartwell already has a partner. Choo asks Dakota Kai, who ignores her by talking to…someone who is not there.

Grayson Waller brings cops to arrest LA Knight, but has Sanga stay by the car. I see no future issues with this plan whatsoever.

Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen are at a bar, where Briggs wants to know about how his date with Kayden Carter went. They had dinner, talked about the Dusty Classic, and it was nice. Then Carter said he was like a brother to her, which Briggs doesn’t like. They ask the bartender, who happens to be NXT’s Fallon Henley, what that means. Jensen will have a friend for life, which is enough to make reality set in. Henley and Briggs say he’s in “the Zone”. I’d be more worried about having Jensen, who is twenty, at a bar. That place’s license is going to be in trouble.

Here is LA Knight, with Grayson Waller immediately coming to the ring with police. He says that he can’t sleep since this stuff with Knight started, but Knight has some footage of his own. Knight shows us a clip of Waller attacking him recently, which just happens to go against the restraining order. That means the whole thing is invalid, which is news to Waller. Knight clears the ring and the match is set for next week.

Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta are unhappy with their loss but Dexter Lumis comes in. Indi leaves with him, so here is Duke Hudson to leave with Pirotta.

Tommaso Ciampa is sick of people acting like NXT is a minor league. He still wants the NXT Title back and if he has to go through Dolph Ziggler, so be it. This was a very intense promo from Ciampa and he sold the heck out of the thing.

North American Title: Cameron Grimes vs. Carmelo Hayes

Hayes is defending and has Trick Williams with him. Grimes takes him down by the arm to start and the trade wrist control for a bit. Hayes works on a wristlock but Grimes is back up with a backdrop for a breather. They go outside where Grimes gets his leg swept out on the apron, setting up a kick to the back of the head back inside. A springboard legdrop knocks Grimes out of the ropes and we take a break.

Back with Hayes still working on the arm but Grimes manages his backflip powerslam to put them both down. Grimes avoids some Williams interference and knocks Hayes into the corner. A very spinning Side Effect gives Grimes two but Hayes is back with a springboard spinning forearm to the face.

Grimes superkicks him for two and is stunned at the kickout, even though he should know better than to think a non-finisher is going to end a match. A nice high crossbody gets two on Hayes but he rolls outside. That means Grimes can dive off the apron to take out Williams, only to be sent face first into the barricade. Back in and Hayes hits a spinning faceplant for two, setting up a crossface. That’s countered into a rollup for two so Hayes goes up top for the ax kick to retain at 15:55.

Rating: B. Best thing on the show so far by a mile as you had two talented people getting to do their thing for a long time. Grimes can work well with anyone and Hayes is one of the smoothest workers on the roster. It was too early for Hayes to win the title, though I’m not sure what is next for Grimes either. Both guys would be fine on the main roster, but I’m almost scared to know how bad NXT would be without them.

Video on the Dusty Classic.

Kay Lee Ray breaks stuff with her baseball bat because she wants Io Shirai to get fired up. Shirai gets into the breaking things too. Zoey Stark comes in and can’t believe Shirai destroyed a bunch of things so Shirai breaks more.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: MSK vs. Creed Brothers

Brutus takes Carter down to start but Julius’ waistlock doesn’t get him very far. Some kicks drop Julius and a double stomp puts him down as well. Lee hits a big flip dive over the top to take Brutus down but a heck of a running shoulder knocks Lee off the apron and into the announcers’ table.

We take a break and come back with Carter in trouble but managing to get over get over to Lee for the hot tag. The Final Flash gets two on Brutus with Julius making the save. Lee and Brutus are sent outside, leaving Julius to hit the sliding lariat to Carter for the pin and the tournament at 9:36.

Rating: C+. There wasn’t exactly a ton of drama here but the action was good enough to make it work. The Creeds are absolutely the right call here as they have gotten a lot better in the last few weeks. MSK on the other hand are starting to feel like they are just kind of there and that is never a good place to be.

Nikkita Lyons says her dad taught her that she was here to bring people together. Then we seem to see one of her music videos. She debuts next week and wants us to watch out for this lion’s roar.

Here is Imperium, with the fans chanting WALTER. Gunther: “IT’S PRONOUNCED GUNTHER!!!” They congratulate the Creed Brothers on their win and promise to crush them in their title match. As for Gunther, he wants some gold of his own so he will be watching the main event rather closely. Cue Solo Sikoa, who doesn’t care about the mat but wants to smack the taste out of Gunther’s mouth. A fight is teased.

Dolph Ziggler is ready to take out Tommaso Ciampa and show him what a star does. They meet next week.

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are happy to have retained the title but Pete Dunne interrupts. He seems to have eyes for the title.

NXT Title: Bron Breakker vs. Santos Escobar

Bron is defending and walks away from a burning Vengeance Day logo in the back. Breakker grabs a headlock to start and then runs Escobar over with a shoulder. Back up and Escobar hits a dropkick to the face so Breakker glares at him. Another hard shoulder knocks Escobar silly and there’s a backbreaker to make it worse.

A Raul Mendoza distraction lets Escobar knock Breakker outside though and there’s the big suicide dive. Escobar neckbreakers him over the middle rope as the fans are split again. Escobar crushes Breakker’s face against the post and talks trash, which is enough to fire Breakker up.

House is cleaned, including taking out the rest of Legado. Cue Dolph Ziggler for a superkick though and Escobar gets a close two. Tommaso Ciampa comes in to take out Ziggler but Escobar hits a tornado DDT. A frog splash doesn’t work though and it’s a spear from Breakker, setting up the gorilla press powerslam to retain the title at 12:02.

Rating: B-. Breakker continues to wrestle beyond his means, having matches he should not be able to pull off. There was a lot going on here but it made a lot of sense to put him in there with a veteran like Escobar. The match was good enough and felt like a big show’s main event, though there wasn’t exactly a ton of doubt.

Overall Rating: B. This show was presented as a big deal and that is what we got here. What matters is having a series of good matches with nothing bad, at least in the ring. There are also some things set up for the next few weeks and that is always a tricky task to pull off. As usual though, the problems come from the talking/backstage segments, which range from bad to horrible, as these characters aren’t good in the first place and the performances are even worse. The show was much more positive than negative, but those negatives are pretty hard to get through.

Pete Dunne b. Tony D’Angelo – Bitter End onto a pile of weapons
Toxic Attraction b. Indi Hartwell/Persia Pirotta – High/low to Hartwell
Carmelo Hayes b. Cameron Grimes – Top rope ax kick
Creed Brothers b. MSK – Sliding lariat to Carter
Bron Breakker b. Santos Escobar – Gorilla press powerslam




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