Date: July 26, 2022
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
It’s the first show of the new regime and I’m not sure how much of a difference that is going to make. NXT seems a bit more planned out that Raw and Smackdown so it might be a little while before the impact takes hold. Maybe they have a few surprises or at least ideas this week though so let’s get to it.
Here is the recently returned Zoey Stark for a chat. She is REALLY happy to be back and talks about being on the shelf since October after tearing her ACL and MCL. The doctors told her it would be over a year before she could return, but she worked in that trainer’s room so hard and beat the expectations by four months. Now she is the #1 contender for the Women’s Title and only has Toxic Attraction standing in her way. Cue Cora Jade on the platform to say she is already sick of Stark.
Jade was ready to be champion but Stark had to take HER MOMENT, just like Roxanne Perez did. They bicker about Jade trashing the Women’s Tag Team Titles but here is Toxic Attraction to interrupt. Mandy Rose is looking forward to becoming the fourth longest reigning Women’s Champion tomorrow when she surpasses Paige. Stark wants her title shot tonight, but instead has to settle for Gigi Dolin. This was just an “I’m back” promo, with Jade being annoying to keep her presence going.
Grayson Waller is ready to take out Wes Lee.
Tony D’Angelo and Family are ready to destroy the Diamond Mine.
Wes Lee vs. Grayson Waller
Waller takes him down to start and gets two off an early rollup. Lee is back with a victory roll for two of his own and there’s a double stomp to Waller’s back to set in the frustration. They run the ropes until Waller kicks him in the chest. That doesn’t do much to Lee, who dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a suplex.
We take a break and come back with Waller hitting a fireman’s carry flipped into a sitout powerbomb for two. Waller starts slapping him in the face, which has Lee fired up and unloading with shots to the face. Lee goes up top but gets shoved off for the big crash down to the floor. Waller yells at the referee and it’s Trick Williams in the crowd (in a hoodie and boxing gloves) with a shot to the back of Lee’s head. Lee dives back in to beat the count but the rolling Stunner gives Waller the pin at 11:00.
Rating: C. Lee continues to be in a weird spot as he is around almost every week but doesn’t ever really do anything important. Granted that is part of the “finding himself” story, but it isn’t exactly making him feel like a big deal. Waller is still a rather good villain, though he doesn’t come off as anything more than a midcard pest most of the time. He could also go with a better finisher than something that requires being outside to start most of the time.
The Schism talks about how Joe Gacy has opened their eyes to a new world. Now they want Cameron Grimes to join them, because Gacy can be the father figure that Grimes needs.
Arianna Grace is bragging about how much people were enjoying watching her in the battle royal last week when Indi Hartwell knocked her out. Hartwell’s gear is atrocious but here she is to say Grace would have done the same thing. Grace talks about how she would never do that as a former beauty queen and can’t stand this negative energy. Grace hasn’t shown me anything on LVL Up and I don’t see an improvement here.
Apollo Crews vs. Xyon Quinn
Crews dropkicks him down to start but Quinn is back up with some shots to the head. Quinn grabs a chinlock before elbowing Crews in the face for another knockdown. Crews fights back up but gets dropped again as he can’t get anything going. An enziguri gets Crews out of trouble though and he grabs a quick spinebuster for the pin at 5:37.
Rating: C-. I like Quinn a good deal but it’s becoming clear that he doesn’t have much to him besides a great look. He is long past the point of feeling like he is going to be something for the time being and while that is sad, it also isn’t surprising. Then you have Crews, who looks like a star and has much stronger of a resume, but the lack of personality is still holding him back. He’s miles ahead of Quinn though and that didn’t leave much doubt here.
Toxic Attraction isn’t worried about Zoey Stark but here is Sarray to say she wants a shot. Mandy Rose is ready for her revenge next week.
We look at Von Wagner beating Solo Sikoa down last week at Smackdown.
Solo Sikoa wants a falls count anywhere match with Wagner next week. Yes more brawling/hardcore stuff, but at least they have the slightest logical reason to go that way.
Gigi Dolin vs. Zoey Stark
The rest of Toxic Attraction is here and their early distraction lets Dolin jump her from behind. Some knees to the ribs and an elbow to the face rock Stark and we hit the bow and arrow hold. Stark fights up and hits a superkick, followed by a fireman’s carry flipped into a knee to the face for the pin at 2:50. Short and to the point here.
Post match Mandy Rose goes after Stark and gets chased to the floor. Cue Cora Jade to kendo stick her down but Roxanne Perez returns to make the save.
JD McDonagh is here….as a fan.
Wendy Choo has nightmares about losing to Tiffany Stratton. She wakes up and promises that this isn’t over with Stratton and next time won’t be so nice. How has anything about this feud been nice???
JD McDonagh is in the crowd and tells a fan to eat his popcorn slowly because people die eating it all the time. Next up he goes to talk to the timekeeper, who has an important job and talks about how you can break a hand with a hammer. Ring announcer Alicia Taylor has a great voice, but then there is Wade Barrett. McDonagh talks about how the calcium deposits from bare knuckle boxing can hurt your joints so watch out for that.
Then we have Vic Joseph, who said some bad things about McDonagh’s family last week. McDonagh thinks he could break Joseph’s collarbone with his bare hands…but he won’t. Instead, McDonagh gets in the ring and calls out Bron Breakker, who is happy to oblige. Breakker is ready to face him in three weeks and knocks McDonagh down, which has McDonagh smiling.
Chase U is ready for Andre Chase to face Giovanni Vinci. Thea Hail wants to do the fighting for him but Chase himself has this. Nathan Frazer comes in and gets to be the Chase U flag bearer.
We look back at Axiom’s debut with a comic book theme.
Roxanne Perez has a lot going on, including being half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions. She has no partner though, and hands the belt over to Alundra Blayze. Next week, it’s a fatal four way elimination match for the vacant titles.
Giovanni Vinci vs. Andre Chase
Chase armdrags him into an armbar to start and grabs a sunset flip for two. Some rollups get two each on Vinci and it’s right back to the armbar. Vinci fights up but gets distracted by the flag waving, allowing Chase to send him into the post. We take a break and come back with Chase being dumped out to the floor.
Back in and Chase hammers away, setting up a belly to back suplex for the double knockdown. The spelling stomps look to set up a double underhook something but Vinci powers out. A backslide doesn’t work for Vinci as Chase grabs a butterfly powerbomb for two more. The Fratliner is broken up though and Vinci clothesline him down. The sitout Last Ride finishes for Vinci at 12:24.
Rating: C+. This is a good example of how you use someone who has been built up into a little something to get a bigger prospect over. Vinci has done well in NXT so far, but he hasn’t won much to make him feel like a big deal. Chase might not be a top star, but the fans love him and the charisma is impossible to ignore. Beating him feels like it matters and that is what made this better than something like the Quinn vs. Crews match.
Post match the beating continues but Nathan Frazer makes the save.
Diamond Mine is ready for the D’Angelo Family.
Yulisa Leon is talking to Valentina Feroz when Sanga comes in. Sanga gives them a pep talk for next week’s Women’s Tag Team Title match.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance want the titles they have been chasing. Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley come in to gloat and trash talking ensues. Elektra Lopez comes in to say Diamond Mine will lost to the D’Angelo Family tonight and the brawl breaks out.
Arianna Grace vs. Indi Hartwell
Hartwell takes her down by the arm to start and works on a headlock. That’s reversed into a chinlock with Grace’s knee in her back before Grace plants her down. A rollup with feet on the ropes gets caught, allowing Hartwell to boot her in the face for the pin at 3:59.
Rating: C-. Grace is still pretty new at this, but the former beauty queen deal doesn’t exactly sound inspiring. I haven’t cared for what I’ve seen of her so far and this didn’t help make things better. At least Hartwell has a bit more star power, even if she hasn’t done much lately. Not a very good match, but at least Hartwell got a boost out of the mess she has been in lately.
Mr. Stone and Von Wagner are ready for Solo Sikoa next week.
Kiana James has a PowerPoint presentation about Nikkita Lyons being terrible in the ring. We see Lyons’ childhood as the daughter of a musician. Lyons doesn’t even have a great vocabulary. James is going to further investigate Lyons, but she already doesn’t care for her.
Video on Alba Fyre vs. Lash Legend.
D’Angelo Family vs. Diamond Mine
Tony D’Angelo drives Roderick Strong into the corner to start but gets armdragged down for his efforts. Everything breaks down and it’s a huge brawl, with Brutus Creed going for an ankle lock on D’Angelo, who gets pulled outside to safety. Julius dives off the apron to take them all down though and we take a break.
Back with Kemp hitting a jumping knee on Wilde and sending him outside. A swinging slam to Del Toro is broken up with a chop block though and Kemp is down. Kemp’s knee gets slammed into the mat and Stacks grabs a quickly broken half crab. Kemp kicks his way to freedom and brings in Julius Creed to clean house. Julius runs the corner to superplex Del Toro and a German suplex drops D’Angelo. Brutus comes back in to run over the Family but Cruz and Del Toro hits their Russian legsweep/big boot combination. Strong knees Brutus by mistake though and D’Angelo fisherman’s suplexes Brutus for the pin at 11:38.
Rating: C+. The Diamond Mine continues to fall apart and it’s hard to imagine that they’re a thing much longer. This wasn’t so much about the D’Angelo Family winning as much as it was about the Diamond Mine losing, so they did have the logic right. I’m curious to see where the split goes, and at least they had a pretty good match to help us get there.
Alundra Blayze doesn’t know who is winning the Women’s Tag Team Titles next week. Toxic Attraction comes up to say they’ll win but Blayze says they have to earn them. This annoys Toxic Attraction to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. While it wasn’t the best show, it was nice to see something a show that felt nice and steady again. This show touched on a variety of feuds and angles while also moving some stuff forward. They need are starting to set up their next big show so they even have a direction. Now just get things set up and pay them off at that show and they’ve gotten somewhere in the right way, just like NXT of old.
Grayson Waller b. Wes Lee – Rolling Stunner
Apollo Crews b. Xyon Quinn – Spinebuster
Zoey Stark b. Gigi Dolin – Fireman’s carry knee to the face
Giovanni Vinci b. Andre Chase – Sitout Last Ride
Indi Hartwell b. Arianna Grace – Big boot
D’Angelo Family b. Diamond Mine – Fisherman’s suplex to Brutus
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