By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired live September 28, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary with Alicia Taylor as the ring announcer…
Hit Row made their entrance with mics in their hand. Ashanti The Adonis noted that tonight was “all about the ladies”. Scott asked “where the ladies at” which drew cheers from the women in the crowd. Hit Row hyped up all the matches involving women later in the show. Isaiah Scott pointed out that it’s odd that his championship is not on the line tonight and that no one other than Santos Escobar seems to be gunning for it.
Hit Row went back to hyping more matches happening later in the show. B-Fab started to cut a promo about her opponent Elektra Lopez, leading to Legado Del Fantasma making their entrance. B-Fab and Elektra started to brawl and the bell ran to start the match…
John’s Thoughts: This segment didn’t fully click for me, which was odd because Hit Row are usually really good on the microphone. It wasn’t necessarily a bad segment, but it just felt more like a forced line-read ad as opposed to Hit Row freestyling.
1. B-Fab (w/Ashanti The Adonis, Top Dolla, NXT North American Champion Isaiah Scott) vs. Elektra Lopez (w/Santos Escobar, Joequin Wilde, Raul Mendoza) in a no-DQ match. The action quickly spilled back to ringside. After Elektra tossed Fab into the steps a brawl ensued between the male members of Hit Row and Legado Del Fantasma heading into commercial.[c]
John’s Thoughts: This better not become an eight person mixed tag match after the break!
Elektra worked on Fab with methodical offense back from the break. Lopez tried to bring out a table, but Fab stomped it to the ground. Lopez jabbed Fab in the gut with the table. Fab came back by tossing Elektra around against the apron. Elektra recovered and brought chairs and kendo sticks into the ring. Lopez body slammed Fab on a steel chair a few times. B-Fab drop toeheld Lopez into the pointed foot of a chair. Fab worked on Lopez with a kendo stick.
Lopez gave Fab a crossbody into an open chair. Lopez gave Fab Snake Eyes on another open chair. Lopez gave Fab a pumphandle Bomb for the victory.
Elektra Lopez defeated B-Fab via pinfall in 6:45 of on-air time.
John’s Thoughts: A below-average hardcore match in terms of entertainment value. The build was solid. Sadly, B-Fab is just not ready for in-ring matches on TV. Elektra seems to have experience, but she was not good enough to cover up for Fab’s lack of experience. They probably would have been better off limiting Fab’s interaction to six person tags or outside interference, at least for now.
Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in on commentary. Phoenix introduced the In-Dex honeymoon. The show cut to a (presumably Jeremy Borash produced) cinematic. Dexter Lumis and Indi Hartwell were walking around on the beach in swimsuits. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were watching them from a distance.
Gargano and LeRae were happy for Lumis and Hartwell at first but Gargano got nervous when he thought sexy time might be involved. Hartwell wanted to take Lumis to the water. Hartwell and Lumis were then scared off by a “shark”. The shark was Johnny Gargano with a shark fin on his head…
Joe Gacy was shown backstage and heading to the ring…[c]
John’s Thoughts: If this was truly a Jeremy Borash produced cinematic, that shark would have been TNA’s Shark Boy. That said, I get a kick out of The Way’s form of comedy. I hope they somehow find a way to include Johnny Gargano’s man-son Austin Theory into this series of cutscenes because I feel like he’s the glue that holds The Way together (sadly, I’m also assuming Theory might end up getting called up soon, again, via the WWE Draft).
Joe Gacy was sitting in the center of the ring talking about how the ring is still his safe space. Gacy talked about how he made a huge impact last week and how he has not been canceled. Gacy said he made a bigger impact than stars like Tommaso Ciampa, Roderick Strong, and Bron Breakker. He said all he has to do is use his words, and how he didn’t have to throw a single punch. Gacy said he speaks for a generation that nobody understands other than “us, the enlightened ones”.
Gacy said everyone else is in a darkened obsolete world. Gacy said he saw a lot of “triggered” faces last week in the locker room. Gacy said he’s “inclusive”. Gacy said “not one person can change the world, but I’m here to usher the world to a new normal”. Gacy said he doesn’t want to take up too much time and he thanked the crowd for their time. Xyon Quinn made his entrance. Quinn did a Samoan tribal dance before the match…
John’s Thoughts: Welp, Fox News’s new favorite wrestler, Joe Gacy, has not been canceled! I’m kidding folks! Anyways, I am interested to see if the Gacy character leads to some sort of ratings increase in certain “demographics”, which may or may not show in the ratings. We’ll see.
2. Xion Quinn vs. Oney Lorcan. Lorcan dominated Quinn early on with stiff offense. Quinn hulked up and hit Lorcan with a headbutt combo. Quinn turned Lorcan inside out with a lariat. Quinn hit Lorcan with a Samoan Drop. Quinn did his Samoan Tribal Dance and then hit Lorcan with a flying forearm for the victory.
Xion Quinn defeated Oney Lorcan via pinfall in 3:01.
John’s Thoughts: Decent showing for Quinn, but the guy is still a bit rough around the edges in terms of putting moves together. I get it he’s still a rookie. He’ll get better in time. One thing he does need to tone down is his expressiveness. It’s good to be intense, but at times Quinn was getting “too intense” to cartoony levels. I do like Quinn’s look and confidence, so there’s something there.
An introductory vignette aired for Grayson Waller. Waller talked about how he’s an extreme sports lover and adrenaline junkie…
John’s Thoughts: Do we have a new “Darewolf” PJ Black?
NXT Tag Champions Wes Lee and Nash Carter made their entrance…[c]
Samantha Irvin interviewed MSK in the ring and asked them what was next for them. Carter said they are going to continue dominating the division. Lee said they are going to continue being fighting champions. They talked about wanting to face both the older wrestlers in NXT and even some of the new blood showing up. The Grizzled Young Veterans, Zack Gibson and James Drake walked out and demanded a tag title match. Gibson tried to do his usual Soon To Be Recognized bit, but was cut off by Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. Hayes bragged about having the “golden ticket” in the form of o his open contract.
Williams said they were “bout it bout it” in terms of maybe going for the tag belts. Zack Gibson said the line starts behind the GYVs. Carter said everyone needs to shut their annoying asses. Lee said Trick can pop at the mouth, but they aren’t getting the tag belts. Carter noted that they already proved they are better than the GYVs. Gibson said everyone was talking in riddles. Brooks Jenson and Josh Briggs made their entrance. Williams said some sort of incomprehensible rap. A brawl ensued. The Babyfaces, Briggs, Jensen, and MSK, stood tall to end the segment…
John’s Thoughts: That was a bit all over the place. This seems to be WWE/NXT’s formula in setting up championship contenders. What didn’t click here is them trying to shoehorn the new talent in. Carmelo Hayes looks and sounds great with his new coat of paint! A lot of the others though? Trick Williams has a good look, but his promos seem to be all over the place and nonsensical. The only thing we know about Trick is that he’s “bout it bout it” all the time. Briggs and Jensen feel like they were handed a character that doesn’t fit their actual personalities.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Raquel Gonzalez about her upcoming match against Franky Monet. Gonzalez said that Monet is talented but she’s going to end up like everyone else. Toxic Attraction passed by Gonzalez. Rose said the title looks good on Gonzalez, but it’ll look better on her…
Toxic Attraction made their entrance…[c]
Alicia Taylor handled the formal in ring introductions for the tag title match…
3. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark vs. “Toxic Attraction” Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne (w/Mandy Rose) for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Io took down Gigi with a few shoulder tackles. Gigi hit Io with a huracanrana. Io came back with a Shotgun Dropkick. Jacy Jayne tagged in and asked for a test of strength. Jayne gave Shirai a few kicks. Shirai took down Jayne and hit some ground and pound. Stark tagged in and worked on Jayne with strikes. Stark got an one count after a sweep kick. Both women traded rough looking rollups.
Stark caught Jayne with a back kick and followed up with a slingshot senton for the two count. Dolan tagged in and hit Stark with a PK for a two count. Stark came back with a lariat. Shirai and Stark hit their opponents with springboard dropkicks. Dolan blocked Shirai’s dive with a forearm. Stark dove on Jayne. Dolan hit Stark with a top rope cannonball. Shirai (barely) hit Toxic Attraction with a Triangle Moonsault heading into commercial.[c]
Dolan gave Shirai a huracanrana into the second rope. Jayne hit Shirai with a running knee for a two count. The heels worked on Shirai with methodical offense. Shirai hit Jayne with a handsatnd roundhouse to get the tag to Stark. Stark hit Jayne with a Half and Half Suplex. Stark hit Jayne with a baseball slide. Dolan broke up the pin. Dolan was dumped to ringside. Jayne hit Stark with a discus forearm. Stark went for and missed a Phoenix Splash. Jayne took down Stark with a neckbreaker.
Shirai hit Dolan with a few forearms and a flapjack. Shirai hit Dolan with a 619 and slingshot dropkcik for a two count. Shirai locked Dolan in a crossface.
[Technical difficulties at the moment with my Sling TV]
John’s Thoughts: Sorry folks! My Sling TV screwed up at the end of the women’s tag team match. I did see Boa vs. Andre Chase for a bit, but it took a while to get my feed back.
Shirai locked both Dolan and Jayne in a GTS. Rose put Dolan’s foot on the rope for the break. Dolan ended up hitting Stark with a Bridged German for the two count. Jayne tagged in and hit Stark with a superkick. Stark came back with a tilt a whirl GTS. Shirai tagged in and hit Gigi Dolan with a wrecking ball kick. Stark hit Dolan with a Plancha and made sure to keep Rose at bay at ringside. Shirai hit Jayne with a palm strike and moonsault for the victory.
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark defeated Toxic Attraction via pinfall to retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships.
[Hour Two] Highlights from the match aired…
John’s Thoughts: This was one of the longer matches on NXT 2.0 and the women shined here. An interesting decision to have Toxic Attraction lose their first match as a unit, but at the same time it is refreshing to see that NXT’s new creative forces haven’t given up on the old guard of Shirai and Stark.
A Bron Breaker promo vignette aired which showed highlights from his NXT career so far. Breakker said the last few weeks for him have been high energy and it’s felt like he’s been shot out of a canon. He talked about it being a thrill ride. He said the locker room is full of studs but he’s here to whoop ass. He said that may sound harsh but he doesn’t give a shit. Breakker said if you need a friend you can get a dog. Breakker said his goal is to become NXT Champion…
John’s Thoughts: Seems like all the shows are saying “shit” these days.
Tian Sha, Boa and Mei Ying, made their entrance…[c]
The commentary team checked in from the table. Joseph interviewed Tommasso Ciampa via facetime. Ciampa was at his home gym. Ciampa said Bron Breakker had one hell of a video package. Ciampa said he understands that Breakker is not patient and the message has been received. Ciampa reiterated that it took him 908 days to get back the title he never lost. He said nobody has beat him for the title and no one will beat him for the title. He said that Breakker vs. Ciampa will happen sooner rather than later and Breakker will drown in a sea of inexperience. Ciampa kissed Goldie and said goodbye…
Andre Chase made his cheesy ass entrance…
4. Boa (w/Mei Ying) vs. Andre Chase. Boa worked on Chase with Muay Thai strikes. Chase hit Boa with a neckbreaker. Chase dominated Boa for a stretch. Chase worked on Boa with a crossface. Boa hit Chase with a few roundhouse kicks and a pump kick. Chase threw a fit and called Boa a son of a bitch. Chase yelled at Ying and took mist to the face. Boa hit Chase with an elbow slam for the victory.
Boa defeated Andre Chase via pinfall in 3:09.
John’s Thoughts: Chase is good for some minor comedy with his cursing and fits. I guess he can be there for some undercard levity. Tian Sha on the other hand is a bit stale at the moment and they’ve been stale since Xia Li disappeared out of nowhere. The main problem is even though Boa looks good in a fancy suit, he just hasn’t been able to deliver in the ring. He also sells way too much which goes against the invincibility vignettes they gave him when he got repackaged. I feel like they need to pull what they did with Diamond Mine and add new more believable characters into Tian Sha.
The show cut to the In-Dex honeymoon cinematic. LeRae said that Indi and Dexter are in a room with a bed. Gargano said “you know what people do on beds”. LeRae said “what’s the worst that can happen” as she stared at her own pregnant belly. Gargano said he needs to get them protection. Johnny Gargano tricked one of the hotel’s houskeepers to let him in In-Dex’s room. Gargano looked through Dexter’s luggage and was reassured when he saw condoms in Dexter’s bag. Gargano shrugged and said “you don’t need this many” as he saw a bunch of condoms. Gargano then hid in the closet when Indi and Dexter returned to the room.
Dexter and Indi then had a “pillow fight” where Indi wanted Dexter to give it to her harder. Indi got spent and needed a nap. This allowed Gargano to escape. Dexter saw Gargano walk out of the closet. Both men exchanged thumbs up. Dexter showed off his roll of condoms to end the segment…
Diamond Mine made their entrance. Graphics showed that Malcolm Bivens was chatting with Missy Elliot on social media…[c]
5. Roderick Strong (w/Malcolm Bivens, Hachiman, Julius Creed, Brutus Creed, Ivy Nile) vs. Grayson Waller for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Strong dominated Waller with chain wrestling and pin attempts. Strong planted Waller with a backbreaker. Strong hit Waller with a vertical suplex for a two count. Waller broke a crossface with a rope break. Waller fought Strong off the top rope and hit Strong with a missile dropkick. Waller gave Strong a few strikes and a discus elbow. Waller hit Strong with a springboard elbow drop for the two count.
Waller hit Strong with a handstand roundhouse followed by a Tope Con Hilo. Waller hit Strong with a rolling thunder stunner for a two count. Strong ended Waller’s momentum with a high knee for the pinfall win.
Roderick Strong defeated Grayson Waller via pinfall to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
John’s Thoughts: Good match for strong and good showing for Waller. Waller still needs a vignette or two to tell us who he is, but he did a great job here coming off as a underdog with a glimmer of hope. No reason for WWE to take the belt off of Strong though right after he picked up the belt, so this also served to reinforce him as the leader of Diamond Mine. Diamond Mine is really clicking right now after their soft-reboot and they are one of the strongest overall acts in NXT 2.0. Another plus goes to Roderick Strong establishing both the high knee and End of Heartache as two finishers that can take anyone out.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed LA Knight about challenging Odyssey Jones to a match next week. Knight said he’s not a punk and an uncrowned NXT Champion. Knight said Odyssey Jones has one week to learn a hard lesson. Jones showed up and told Knight that Knight hasn’t seen anyone like Knight in the ring. Andre Chase showed up and said his last loss was “bullshit” (uncensored). The distraction allowed Knight to leave Jones lying after a few punches…
Vic Joseph hyped up Lash Legend’s talk show after the break…[c]
An introductory vignette aired for Dante Chen. He called himself the spirit of Singapore. He talked about how his journey has just begun…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Cora Jade and Tray Baxter about Jade’s debut next week. Jade talked about being only 20 years old and how she’s about to introduce people to the “generation of Jade”. Baxter gave Jade a peck on the lips to end the segment.
John’s Thoughts: Welp? At least Trey Baxter is not Trey ASH yet… yet…
The commentary team cut to Lashing out with Lash Legend. This was a pre-taped talk show. She sat on a red chair on a stage and had a cocktail glass on a table next to her. Lash talked about the WWE draft coming up. Lash talked about having a rebounding record from her college basketball days and how that led to her getting drafted into the WNBA. Lash talked about Cora Jade and Trey Baxter kissing backstage. Lash said Jade needs a real man, like Ikeman Jiro. Lash then talked about Andre Chase and called him a Pee Wee Herman lookalike…
John’s Thoughts: Ugh. Not for me. NXT 2.0 is really reminding me of WWE-ECW post-Heyman departure, both in terms of good and bad. This reminded me 100% of when Vince McMahon and crew feel the mandatory need to implement a “talk show” in all their shows. This was just like when WWE ECW introduced the Abraham Washington show.
Ridge Holland and Pete Dunne tried to make their entrance, but Kyle O’Reilly showed up and brawled at the entrance ramp with them heading into commercial[c]
6. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Ridge Holland (w/Pete Dunne). The match was joined in-progress. Holland gave O’Reilly a backbreaker into a suplex. Holland worked on O’Reilly with methodical power offense. O’Reilly used a thunder clap to escape a bear hug. Holland used a backdrop to escape a Guillotine Choke. O’Reilly worked on Holland with Muay Thai clinch strikes. O’Reilly hit Holland with a forearm and Dragon Screw. O’Reilly followed up with a PK for a two count.
Holland held his hands together to block a Juji Gatame. Holland got to a vertical base to hit O’Reilly with a deadlift Buckle Bomb. Holland hit O’Reilly with a tilt a whirl slam for a two count. Holland hit O’Reilly with a power bomb for a two count. O’Reilly took down Holland with a chop block and axe kick. Dunne got on the apron to distract O’Reilly and the referee. O’Reilly shoved Holland into Dunne to get the rollup win.
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Ridge Holland via pinfall in 5:18.
The heels put the boots to O’Reilly Suddenly, Von Wagner (Cal Bloom) ran out for the save. The heels retreated and the face team stood tall in the ring.
The show cut to this week’s Tony D’Angelo vignette. D’Angelo talked about delivering “goods” at the harbor. He talked about how he is good at handling situations…
Entrances for the women’s championship match took place…
John’s Thoughts: An okay match for what it was and Holland is improving in the ring. I can’t say that O’Reilly taking Von Wagner under his wing really intrigues me. So far WWE has stumbled out of the gate in introducing Von Wagner to the NXT audience. I also feel like this is going to be more trouble than it’s worth in pairing O’Reilly with him. O’Reilly should be on his own patch towards the NXT Championship and it feels like him carrying green Cal Bloom would just be dead weight to him.
Odyssey Jones vs. LA Knight, and MSK, Briggs, and Jensen vs. Zack Gibson, James Drake, Carmelo Hayes, and Trick Williams were announced for next week.
7. Raquel Gonzalez vs. Franky Monet (w/Jessi Kamea, Robert Stone) for the NXT Women’s Championship. Monet got Gonzalez in the corner and pummeled her with slaps. Gonzalez hit Monet with a fallaway slam. Kamea and Stone dragged Monet to ringside for a breather. Gonzalez hit Monet with a swinging power slam for a two count. Gonzalez and Monet brawled to ringside. Monet gave Gonzalez a trip at ringside.
[Overrun] Monet got a two count. Monet gave Gonzalez a knee to the back of the neck. Monet hit Gonzalez with a suplex for a two count. Monet hit Gonzalez with a surfboard into a curb stomp. Monet gave Gonzalez a Kamigoye and a high knee for a two count. Gonzalez rallied back with lariats. Gonzalez hit Monet with a corkscrew Vader Bomb for the two count. Monet escaped a Chingona Bomb and hit Gonzalez with a suplex for a two count. Gonzalez hit Monet with the Chingona Bomb for the clean win.
Raquel Gonzalez defeated Franky Monet via pinfall in 6:57 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Toxic Attraction showed up and bassed by Franky Monet at the ramp. Dolan, Rose, and Jayne put the boots to Monet, Stone, and Kamea to leave them lying on the ramp. Toxic Attraction surrounded the ring where Gonzalez was all alone. Barrett noted that he is reminded of Nexus. Gonzalez hit Dolan with a belt shot to the head, but was overwhelmed by Rose and Jayne. Toxic Attraction beat down Gonzalez 3-0n-1. Jayne and Dolan held Gonzalez in place and Gonzalez was left lying after Rose hit her with a running knee. Mandy Rose posed in the center of the ring with the Women’s Championship to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: A decent match for the time given, but I felt like we were screwed out of a better match because both women were crunched for time. It also seems like Gonzalez vs. Monet was something that “Old NXT” was building to and the NXT 2.0 creative forces are more interested in skyrocketing Toxic Attraction to the top. Gonzalez has had a handful of wins under her belt, and I wonder if they’re building up Mandy Rose to dethrone her as champion? I’m also curious as to the future of Franky Monet? Might we see Monet called up to the main roster? I wouldn’t complain because Monet was main roster ready when she came into the company. She’ll probably be on the same brand as her husband John Morrison, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her given a chance to shine on her own because again, she’s legit one of the best female wrestlers in the world, and NXT hasn’t done much to showcase that yet.
Overall, this was a step down from last week. WWE is still having a hard time trying to integrate so many new faces on the show and so many of these new faces are questionable in terms of their readiness for prime time television. I apologize for the technical issues earlier in the show. I do have an appointment at 8 tonight, so it’ll take a while before I can catch up with what I missed. I should have the NXT review finished either late tonight or early morning tomorrow, but I’ll also have the NXT Audio Review ready by tomorrow morning.