NXT – March 15, 2022

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

We have just over two weeks to go before Stand & Deliver and the big story coming out of last week’s show was Dolph Ziggler winning the NXT Title from Bron Breakker by pinning Tommaso Ciampa in a triple threat. That should be setting up the rematch at Stand & Deliver with Ciampa left out so let’s get to it.

We open with a look at Dolph Ziggler winning the NXT Title last week.

Here is the special guest star the Miz for MizTV. The fans seem happy to see Miz, who hypes up his Wrestlemania match. With that out of the way, here is Dolph Ziggler, with Robert Roode, as this week’s guest. Ziggler is rather happy to be champion and we see a clip of Bron Breakker not being allowed into the building earlier.

Roode and Ziggler brag about how much money they have but here is LA Knight to interrupt. If Breakker can’t come in and challenge him tonight, he’ll be the one challenging Ziggler instead. Ziggler says he only faces superstars so thanks for coming. Knight says he’s a megastar and Ziggler says he only fights in the main event, so Miz makes the title match for tonight (because he can do that).

Cora Jade doesn’t like Toxic Attraction, who have put Raquel Gonzalez out of action for four to six weeks. Somehow she has all three of their title belts though and it seems like she has plans for them.

North American Title Ladder Match Qualifying Match: Santos Escobar vs. Cameron Grimes

The rest of Legado del Fantasma is here and Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are on commentary. Feeling out process to start with Grimes jumping over Escobar’s legsweep and telling him to do something to his grits. Grimes’ wristlock doesn’t get him very far as Escobar takes him down against the ropes and stomps away as Barrett says he is bout it bout it. Grimes sends him outside but a Legado distraction lets Escobar take out the legs as we take a break.

Back with Escobar kicking away but getting sent to the apron. Grimes gets kicked in the head though, allowing Escobar to go up. Escobar hits a top rope ax handle to the head for two but Grimes is back with a running forearm. A trip to the floor lets Grimes hit a big flip dive to drop Escobar again. Back in and Grimes’ high crossbody is countered into a gutbuster for two. Grimes is back up with a superkick and loads up the Cave In, which is countered into the Phantom Driver to give Escobar the pin at 11:24.

Rating: C+. Another solid performance from Grimes, even though he loses again. At some point you need to let him win something that matters (the Million Dollar Title seems like forever ago) or the spark is going to die. Escobar going into the title match is fine, but I could have gone without Grimes taking another fall.

Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray are ready to win the Dusty Classic.

Wendy Choo loves orange soda (Is it true?) but Dakota Kai will pass. Toxic Attraction comes in to ask about the titles but yell at Choo and Kai, who should be thanking them for their Dusty Classic win. Toxic Attraction is off to find the titles, with Choo and Kai saying they’re hot but weird.

Video on A-Kid.

A-Kid vs. Kushida

The winner gets a North American Title qualifying match next week and A-Kid doesn’t get an entrance. They go with the test of strength to start and hit the mat with Kushida flipping out of a headscissors. Back up and it’s an armdrag into a dropkick before taking Kushida down by the arm. The threat of a double arm hold sends Kushida over to the ropes and he’s right back with a Boston crab. With that broken up, A-Kid snaps off a German suplex and a northern lights suplex for two. A springboard moonsault DDT finishes Kushida at 4:59.

Rating: C+. A-Kid looked good enough here and that should be enough to give him something worthwhile in the next few weeks. I don’t know if he’s here full time or just for a few matches but it’s nice to get some fresh blood around here. He is going to need a bit more of a character (and perhaps a name change) but he has the in-ring skills to hang with a lot of people.

Santos Escobar brags about being the greatest luchador of all time….when the Mysterios come in. The rest of Legado seem to be in awe but they mock Dominik, setting up a match.

Video on Tiffany Stratton vs. Sarray.

Tiffany Stratton vs. Sarray

Stratton jumps Sarray in the aisle, prompting Joseph to say “Sarray didn’t even have the chance to transform.” With that out of the way, Stratton stomps on her in the corner but has to avoid the dropkick against the ropes. A handspring splash in the corner sets up the corkscrew Vader Bomb to give Stratton the pin at 52 seconds.

Gunther doesn’t respect LA Knight for using his mouth so much but Knight doesn’t care. Watch him win the title.

Cora Jade has strung up one of the Tag Team Title belts so Jacy Jayne comes up to pull it down, triggering a cage to close behind her. Jade comes up and mocks her as I try to figure out A, where the camera was in the cage that films Jade mocking her and B, why we actually just had a trap rigged up backstage.

Here is Tommaso Ciampa for a chat. He talks about how he has been at this for seventeen years and has always wanted to find a place that he can call home. That is what he found in NXT and the fans seem appreciative. Ciampa talks about some of his high points in NXT but knows we can’t recap the last seven years.

He always had his fans with him and sometimes he even thinks back to NXT New Orleans where he came out to no music and received a chorus of boos. It was clear that they were making something special and that he could be that guy. Fans: “YOU’RE THE GUY!” It has been a long journey of ups and downs and setbacks and from black and gold to 2.0. The one thing that stuck was he never left and the people never left, which sets off a PLEASE DON’T GO chant.

Ciampa isn’t sure what is next for him but he has been thinking about his perfect fairy tale ending. Walking into a show like Stand & Deliver over Wrestlemania weekend as NXT Champion sounds like a perfect ending. The fact of the matter is that he didn’t capitalize on that, just like he didn’t get to walk in to Brooklyn as champion three years ago.

These last seven days, he keeps wondering what is next for him. He isn’t sure about where this is going, but here is Tony D’Angelo, who throws down his crowbar. D’Angelo has been thinking about who he needs to beat to put in the history books. The match seems to be set for Stand & Deliver and they shake hands, with D’Angelo kicking him low. D’Angelo promises to become the new Don of NXT. I’m not sure if this is it for Ciampa, but having D’Angelo as his last match isn’t quite inspiring.

Persia Pirotta vs. Indi Hartwell

They seem to be cool with each other to start before Pirotta shoves her down. Pirotta goes for Hartwell’s wedding ring, which just annoys Hartwell. Pirotta: “HE DOESN’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!” Cue Duke Hudson to ringside but Dexter Lumis pops out from underneath the ring. The distraction lets Hartwell slip out of a fireman’s carry and roll Pirotta up for the pin at 2:33.

Post match the guys get in and the couples engage in a kiss off contest, leaving all four of them on the mat. I eagerly await the mixed tag.

Gigi Dolin has to climb onto a dumpster to get her title back, but then the dumpster is closed, with a forklift going on top of it. Cora Jade pops up to mock her through the roof.

Joaquin Wilde vs. Dominik Mysterio

The rest of Legado del Fantasma and Rey Mysterio are here. Dominik anklescissors Wilde to start but Wilde sticks the landing, leaving Dominik staring up at him. A very springboardy wristdrag takes Wilde down but he pulls Dominik off the middle rope for a crash. Mysterio is back up with a headscissors (which isn’t quite on the head) but an Elektra Lopez distraction lets Wilde get in a kick to the head. Cue Fallon Henley for the staredown with Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen backing her up. The distraction lets Dominik hit a 619 into a frog splash for the pin at 3:05.

Rating: B-. This was a good, action based match with the interference and distractions serving as a fine enough way to go. Dominik looked better than usual here, as he belongs on a smaller show like this until he figures out something other than being Rey’s son. He can do enough in the ring to have a decent match, but he needs matches like this to let him grow.

Scott Hall tribute video.

Cora Jade still has the Women’s Title and some spray paint as she heads over to Mandy Rose’s car. Mandy is in the back though and jumps Jade, screaming about the tricks that Jade has been playing. A running knee knocks Jade silly and the title match seems to be set for Stand & Deliver. Mandy spray paints Jade’s back for the Scott Hall tribute.

Here are the Creed Brothers, who demand to know who attacked them last week. Cue MSK, who says they didn’t do it (Barrett: “LIARS!”) but the Brothers don’t seem to buy it. Now it’s Imperium popping up on the platform to laugh at both of them. The challenge is made for Stand & Deliver so let’s have a triple threat match. Yes I said a triple threat match for the Tag Team Titles, believe it or not. Imperium says they fear no one so the match is on.

Cameron Grimes is tired of losing over and over but now he is going to be watching Stand & Deliver from home. The last thing he told his father was that he signed to NXT but now he’s still here and disappointing everyone.

Edris Enofe and Malik Blade are in the back to explain to Malcolm Bivens why they attacked Toxic Attraction’s waiters last week. That is their alibi for not attacking the Creed Brothers, followed by the Grizzled Young Veterans saying they didn’t need to take the Brothers out. The Creeds vs. the Veterans is set for next week.

NXT Title: LA Knight vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler, with Robert Roode, is defending. Knight shoulders him down to start but gets taken into the corner. A snapmare sets up a chinlock from Ziggler before he comes back with some right hands to the head. Knight flips out of a suplex though and a neckbreaker gets two. Ziggler is sent outside as Knight seems to be favoring his ribs, though he is fine enough to snap off a powerslam as we take a break.

Back with Knight fighting out of a sleeper with a bodyscissors, even driving Ziggler into the corner. Knight counters the Fameasser into something like a powerbomb and the stomping is on in the corner. There’s the jumping elbow for two as we cut to the back where Bron Breakker comes inside. Knight takes him up top for a top rope superplex, followed by a Burning Hammer for two, with Ziggler getting a foot on the rope. BFT is blocked though and Ziggler hits the superkick to retain at 11:50.

Rating: B-. I say this a lot but when you take two talented guys and let them do their thing for a somewhat extended amount of time, you are going to get a good match. That is what happened here and it was entertaining stuff, as Knight was a good foil for Ziggler, even if he had no chance of winning the title. The good thing about having Ziggler go over some people is they aren’t getting beaten by someone who is beneath them, so it isn’t like Knight takes a big hit from the loss. At the same time, Ziggler gets to look good, making this a smart move all around.

Post match here is Bron Breakker to say he wants the rematch at Stand & Deliver. Roode is dropped and Ziggler says it’s on to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. The show still had problems, but it was WAY better than last week, with good action and a lot of things being set up for Stand & Deliver. You had three matches set for the show, some of which sound interesting, to make the card mostly come together. At the same time though, stuff like Jade hiding the titles was a bit much, along with the Indi vs. Persia stuff that started off silly and then got even worse. I like the guest stars coming in too, if nothing else just for the sake of offering some bigger names to pull the others up a hair. Much better show here, and that is a nice relief.

Results
Santos Escobar b. Cameron Grimes – Phantom Driver
Tiffany Stratton b. Sarray – Corkscrew Vader Bomb
A-Kid b. Kushida – Moonsault DDT
Indi Hartwell b. Persia Pirotta – Rollup
Dominik Mysterio b. Joaquin Wilde – Frog splash
Dolph Ziggler b. LA Knight – Superkick

 

 

 

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