By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT “Halloween Havoc”
Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired live October 26, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Chucky, from the USA series and Child’s Play movie, introduced NXT Halloween Havoc via the opening teaser…
Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Joseph noted that the first 30 minutes of the show will be commercial-free. The Performance Center was decorated with Halloween decorations. Chucky did a video introduction to introduce the opening match…
1. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark vs. Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta vs. “Toxic Attraction” Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne in a Scareway To Hell match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. The champions dominated early on, but soon things evened up. Pirotta and Hartwell went for the title first, but both ate dropkicks from the tag champs. Jayne knocked the ladder to prevent Shirai and Stark from getting the belts. Stark and Dolan took each other out with roundhouse kicks. Hartwell and Pirotta tried to double suplex Shirai through a ladder, but Shirai reversed it into a double DDT.
Shirai went after the title but Hartwell springboarded and knocked Shirai off the title while climbing up herself. Stark springboarded onto the ladder. Dolan and Pirotta brought a larger ladder into play. Pirotta shoved the ladder down to prevent Stark from getting the belt, which sent her to a pile of wrestlers at ringside. A bunch of wrestlers attempted to climb up the ladder but Pirotta kept pulling them off. Pirotta gave Shirai a snake eyes at the buckle. Pirotta gave Gigi a nasty looking power bomb onto a ladder set up against the turnbuckle.
Jayne climbed the ladder and gave Pirotta a huracanrana onto a ladder. Shirai pulled Jayne off the ladder and slammed her on another ladder. Shirai gave Jayne a moonsault (which Jayne oversold). Hartwell gave Shirai a Yakuza Kick. Stark gave Hartwell and Pirotta roundhouse kicks. Zoey Stark botched a phoenix splash on Pirotta (her feet touched the ground too early. Hartwell gave Stark a spinebuster on a ladder. Shirai knocked Hartwell off a ladder.
Hartwell shoved down the extra tall ladder, sending Shirai flipping and flopping to the ground. Hartwell sold shock at what she did to Shirai. Hartwell kicked off Jayne. Dolan climbed up the other side of the ladder to kick Hartwell off the ladder to pick up the win for her team.
Toxic Attraction defeated Stark and Shirai and Pirotta and Hartwell in a ladder match in 12:22 to become the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Wade Barrett noted that if Mandy Rose defeats Raquel Gonzalez, then Toxic Attraction can hold all the women’s gold in NXT…
John’s Thoughts: A very fun ladder match to watch. It’s tough to pull of an entertaining hardcore match in WWE given their limitations on violence, but this match was pretty good in that environment. The star of the match in my opinion was Persia Pirotta who has won me over the last two weeks with her hard work in this match and in the impromptu emergency situation last week after the Jayne botch. This ladder match was laid out well, starting out with a mad dash and ending with some big spots. The scariest spots being the Pirotta power bomb and Shirai being knocked off the ladder. With Toxic Attraction winning here, it might be easy to predict that Rose comes out of her title match as new champion (presumably via the help of Dakota Kai)
Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from the commentary table. Barrett and Joseph tend to dress casual since the 2.0 revamp while Beth is always usually formally dressed. Joseph sent the show to this year’s Dexter Lumis cinematic match…
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams pulled up to a random house. Williams offered to be the getaway driver while Melo goes in the house by himself. Williams tried to drive away but Melo convinced him to go in with him. Melo and Trick were scared by a jumpscare gooul. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis were in a security room. Gargano said he Home Alone’d the hell out of this haunted house.
Melo and Williams saw a random kid and Melo thought it was Gargano. Gargano shrugged from the camera room. Melo grabbed the kid and said “oh, it’s just a Dead Kid”. Williams responded, “a dead kid?”. Melo and Williams entered the haunted house…
John’s Thoughts: WWE cinematics can be hit or misses. So far it’s a hit for me. As much as I’m going to miss Austin Theory in these Way skits, at least Gargano can carry his end of the goofiness. I did crack up over Gargano’s reaction to Melo thinking that the “dead kid” was Johnny.
Grayson Waller introduced Halloween Havoc and he was saying a bunch of random stuff. He was interrupted by Joe Gacy. Wade Barrett wondered where LA Knight was? Gacy cut his usual promo using buzzwords. In the ring was NXT’s resident enhancement guy, Malik Blade…
2. Joe Gacy vs. Malik Blade. The picture-in-picture showed Dexter Lumis via security cam footage. Blade was dumped to ringside early on. Harland showed up and choked Blade (uhm? where is the ref?). Gacy ordered Harland to stop. Blade walked into Gacy’s finisher, the handstand lariat, for the victory.
Joe Gacy defeated Malik Blade via pinfall in 2:10.
John’s Thoughts: So far, I’m intrigued with this Joe Gacy story. It’s a slow burn, which is something WWE doesn’t have enough patience to do. I like this type of storytelling because it gives you a reason to tune in week to week to fine out the next chapter. What does confuse me a bit is Harland, Parker Bordreux, was dubbed “the next Brock Lesnar” by Paul Heyman, and for some reason he’s given more of a character gimmick as opposed to being a badass.
A Kay Lee Ray vignette aired…
A Halloween party was happening backstage. This was your usual Raw/Smackdown holiday skit. The camera followed Grayson Waller, who interacted with the NXT roster members. Cameron Grimes showed up and scared off some of the girls with bad pickup lines…
John’s Thoughts: Ugh, NXT is getting the WWE holliday skits now?
Malcolm Bivens led the Diamond Mine to the ring. He said he was setting up a Diamond Mind open challenge. Bivens noted that you can pick any members of Diamond Mine to wrestle if you accept the challenge. Roderick Strong’s theme played heading into commercial…[c]
Odyssey Jones made his entrance and picked Roderick Strong as his opponent (they didn’t note it but Strong did beat Jones on 205 Live a few weeks ago)…
3. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Roderick Strong (w/Malcolm Bivens, Hachiman, The Creed Brothers, Ivy Nile) vs. Odyssey Jones in a non-title match. Jones dominated early on. Strong gained the advantage after rallying back with big boots. Strong locked Jones in a grounded abdominal stretch. Jones tried to power out, but Strong tripped up Jones and put him in a modified Deathlock. Jones used his boots to clear Strong out of the ring. Jones hit Strong with a body slam and shoulder breaker.
Strong crawled away to avoid a running splash. The creed brothers distracted Jones. Jones dumped both Creed Brothers off the apron. Strong caught Jones with a jumping knee for the victory.
Roderick Strong defeated Odyssey Jones via pinfall in 3:56.
Highlights from the match aired…
John’s Thoughts: I’m surprised that they are having Odyssey Jones take so many matches, but I’m surprised in a good way in that it seems like WWE is going to take their time developing Jones as opposed to overpushing the guy before he’s ready for the spotlight. Strong winning here makes sense because Diamond Mine could use getting their heat back after the Creeds lost last week. The whole open challenge thing was fun, but it’s also fun seeing Malcom Bivens finally getting to shine. Bivens is living up to the hype of being one of the best newer managers in the business (heck, when he was Moose’s manager, the guys sold me on Moose).
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner about Walter’s thoughts on Imperium challenging for the tag team championships. Barthel spoke in a foreign language, presumably German, subtitled about how Walter is supporting them and by not showing up the focus is on them tonight. Aichner spoke in a foreign language, maybe Italian? Barthel ended the promo by saying that the ring is sacred to Imperium…
Mandy Rose made her entrance…[c]
The show cut back to the Halloween Party backstage. Von Wagner was dressed in regular clothes, claiming to be dressed as Brad Pitt. Some guy in an Elvis costume, I think it was Robbie E, got chokeslammed through a table by Xion Quinn…
The show cut back to Mandy Rose in the ring. Raquel Gonzalez drove into the arena on a motorcycle. The wheel spun and it landed on “Chucky’s Choice”. The show cut to Chucky and he picked a “Trick or Street Fight” which was just a no-dq match…
4. Raquel Gonzalez vs. Mandy Rose in a Trick or Street Fight for the NXT Women’s Championship. Gonzalez dumped Rose to ringside. Rose got the advantage after hitting Gonzalez a few times with a kendo stick. Gonzalez recovered and tossed Rose into the plexiglass barricade. Rose avoided a boot. Rose backed Gonzalez back into the ring by hitting her with the Kendo Stick. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Gonzalez blocked a baseball slide and dragged Rose to ringside. Rose shoved Gonzalez into a office chair and used a kendo stick as a seatbelt to trap her. Rose tried to pin Gonzalez at ringside, but this wasn’t falls count anywhere. Gonzalez got out of the chair, put on a hockey mask, and sprayed fire extinguisher on Rose. Gonzalez gave Rose snake eyes on a pile of chairs set up on the top of the turnbuckle. Rose avoided a Yakuza Kick in the corner, but ended up eating the Yakuza Kick at ringside.
Gonzalez set up the ring steps on the ring apron. Rose ended up recovering and tossing Gonzalez into the steel steps. Rose dragged Gonzalez in the ring for a two count. Gonzalez used her weight to block Rose’s power bomb. attempt. Gonzalez speared Rose into a table. Rose kicked out at two. A random hooded person showed up and hit Gonzalez in the back with a shovel. Gonzalez stumbled ring into Rose’s running knee for the victory.
Mandy Rose defeated Raquel Gonzalez via pinfall in 11:53 to become the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Rose posed at the top of teh ramp with the NXT women’s Tag Team Champions. The hooded person in the reaper costume stood over the downed body of Gonzalez. The person took off their mask to reveal it was Dakota Kai…
The show hyped up Melo and Trick at the haunted house happening after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: After Toxic Attraction won the opening match, it was easy to predict exactly how this match was going to end up, especially with the Dakota Kai vignettes the last couple of weeks (the mystery was hurt due to Kai’s accent). As for the match, it’s always an uphill battle in a match with WWE-style hardcore. The beginning of the match was rudimentary, but both women really kicked things up into another gear in the second half of the match. I give both women a lot of credit for making this an entertaining WWE-style hardcore match. Toxic Attraction having all the gold can lead to some fun storyline possibilities, especially for whoever WWE decides they want their next big women’s babyface to be (Cora Jade?).
[Hour Two] A graphic said that Tommaso Ciampa, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Karrion Kross are multi time NXT Champions…
The show cut to Melo and Trick walking around the haunted house. Some old woman tried to offer them creepy food. Trick and Melo decided to punch at a “monster” that looked like the Oogie Boogie Man. Melo and Trick started to get freaked out at all the random creepy people. For some reason, Andre Chase was there in the house. Melo convinced Chase to take the lead. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis left the security room and left the NXT Zombie to watch the cameras.
John’s Thoughts: You know what would be truly scary! The Mini Big Head Kushida creature from Kushida’s last New Japan match.
Andre Chase yelled “holy shit a skeleton”. Chase was dragged away and presumably eaten by Zombies. Random costumed people continued to try to freak out Melo and Trick. Trick accidentally punched Melo , thinking it was a monster. Trick and Melo finally stumbled on the NXT North American Championship belt. Trick said it was too easy and he thinks its a trap. Melo took the title and all was fine. Gargano and Lumis shoed up and punched Trick and Melo. Trick and Melo fended off some zombies. Melo and Trick ran off when Gargano said boo. Gargano told Lumis that his house is weird and next time they’re doing the party at the Gargano House…
John’s Thoughts: Something tells me that Borash has a lot of fun producing these Halloween cinematics, which he’s been doing since the Broken Matt Hardy days on Impact. Some people will like this, some people will hate this. I’m in the middle. It was fun at points, but I thought the ending was a bit meh. I felt like Trick and Melo were the best part while Gargano and Lumis barely contributed anything to the cinematic.
Grayson Waller, still dressed as a vampire, was in the ring continuing to host the show. Waller told people to follow his social media. LA Knight made his entrance, also dressed as a vampire. Waller claimed he saved the show while Knight had car problems. Knight wondered how Waller knew that (insinuating that Waller broke his car) . Solo Sikoa made his entrance. Knight shoved Waller into Sikoa, who left Waller lying. Knight cleared the ring…
Bron Breakker was doing resistance band workouts in front of the Chucky doll…
MSK made their entrance…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Solo kinda looks like Jimmy Uso if Jimmy had blonde hair. Makes sense since he is their brother and technically the third Uso. There’s a part of me that wants to see him get black hair, join the bloodline, and confuse us even more by having 3 Uso clones running around. That said, this was an odd way to introduce the third Uso to the crowd?
Imperium were in the ring back from the break. Samantha Irvin introduced a random child fan to spin the wheel. The wheel landed on lumberjack match…
5. “MSK” Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. “Imperium” Fabien Aichner and Marcel Barthel in a Lumberjack Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Aichner tossed around Carter. Aichner hit Carter with a body slam for a two count. Barthel hit Carter with an armdrag after tagging in. Lee tagged in and hit Barthel with a slingshot knee drop. Barrett noted that Kushida and Ikeman Jiro were dressed as the Creed Brothers while Duke Hudson was Hugh Heffner.
Lee hit Barthel with a kick combination. Lee dumped Barthel to ringside. MSK hit Imperium with stereo dives heading into picture-in-picture.[c]
Carter caught a diving Barthel with a jumping knee. Lee tagged in and caught Barthel with a roundhouse and waterfall kick. Barthel kicked out at two. Aichner managed to put both MSK members in a Fireman Carry. Aichner hit both opponents with a rolling senton. Lee dove over the corner and landed on the pile of lumberjacks. The Lumberjacks put the boots to both teams. For some reason the referees sent the Lumberjacks to the back? What?
MSK got the advantage early on with kicks. Both teams traded strikes. Imperium turned MSK inside out with stereo lariats. Lee reversed a European Bomb into a DDT on Aichner. Carter came out of nowhere with a Panama Sunrise on Barthel. Carter hit Barthel with Hot Fire Flame for a two count. Lee was crotched on teh top rope. Barthel hit Carter with a running PK. Aichner hit Lee with a deadlift Brainbuster. Imperium hit Lee with the European Bomb for the victory.
Imperium defeated MSK via pinfall in 13:10 in a Lumberjack Match to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Wade Barrett noted that 3 of 3 championship matches ended in a title changes tonight. Imperium got pyro for their championship win…
The announce team checked in and sent the show to Chucky, who hyped up the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker match. The show then cut to a music video package to hype the title match…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A well wrestled tag team title match, as you would expect given both teams. MSK tore through the entire tag team division, so I think it’s fine changing things up with new champs. I don’t think the boo birds were out for this match, right? (If I remember correctly, I believe I heard it reported that the reason MSK gets booed is due to a small pocket of fans hijacking the show over not liking Nash Carter/Zack Wentz).
Bron Breakker made his entrance. Chucky appeared on the monitor and said he hopes that being a loser doesn’t run in Breakker’s family (a shot against the Steiners for some reason?). Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance looking like Kratos from the God of War series. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring championship introductions…
6. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship. Barrett and Joseph kept joking about Breakker being a “Genetic Freak” (Scott Steiner’s nickname). Breakker ran the ropes and took down Ciampa with a shoulder block. Breakker did an Alligator Roll into deadlift Belly to Belly suplexes. Breakker went for a crossbody, but Ciampa avoided it. Ciampa left Breakker lying with a running knee to the gut. Ciampa went for a leapfrog, but Breakker caught Ciampa and planted him with a spinebuster. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Ciampa and Breakker traded strikes in the center of the ring. Breakker sent Ciampa to ringside with a flying shoulder. Breakker tossed Ciampa in the ring. Ciampa caught Breakker with his Willow’s Bell finisher. Breakker kicked out at two. Ciampa punched Breakker and Breakker barked like his father. Breakker then caught Ciampa with a standing “Frankensteiner” (the commentary team is really tossing in all those references aren’t they?).
Breakker went for his Military Press finisher, but Ciampa reversed it into a DDT. Ciampa sent to town on Breakker with strikes. Breakker shoved Ciampa to ringside. The concrete floor was exposed from earlier. Breakker tried to German Suplex Ciampa on the exposed concrete, but Ciampa reversed it into a DDT on the exposed floor. Ciampa did the Steiner Bark and hit Breakker with a Fairy Tale Ending.
Breakker kicked out at two. Breakker’s head was bleeding at this point. Ciampa hit Breakker with a running knee. Breakker got to his knee and took another knee to the face. Breakker took a third running knee. Ciampa hit a bleeding Breakker with the Fairy Tale Ending for the victory.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Bron Breakker via pinfall in 13:49 to retain the NXT Championship.
Tommaso Ciampa hugged his “goldie” belt while on the mat to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: Really good storytelling and I love the fact that they didn’t rush the title onto Breakker in favor of turning this into a longer form story. Believe it or not, Bron Breakker will be more over in the end with the character development as opposed to a hollow title win. Breakker probably doesn’t have the experience to put on a longer form match at this point of his wrestling career; but he is a pure natural and is able to hang in there with one of the best wrestlers in the business in Ciampa. I really liked that ending segment ending in a clean pin for Ciampa. That is how you make a guy look really strong in a loss. Breakker not only kicked out of several finishers, but the running knees added a nice poetic touch to the match (along with the blood on the forehead enhancing things).
Overall this was a solid NXT 2.0 show. This show and the one from two weeks ago were the two best episodes. This one did have a lot of noteworthy moments with the multiple title changes. Barrett pointing out the first 3 title matches being all title changes did help make the main event defense come off as a surprise. The Chucky ad crossover did nothing for me, but that was probably a USA network thing. Good show, but I hope that WWE hasn’t given up on doing NXT Takeovers because even though they can produce good theme shows like this one, Takeovers are something different and special. Have Breakker win his title at a Takeover. I’ll be by later with my NXT audio review.
I’m sports entertained by that ladder match
It was smartly booked. I like endings that make sense (especially in a ladder match, where you often have to ignore some illogical aspects). In a tag team ladder match, a sensible way to win is by using one partner as a distraction while the other one climbs up the other side.
It was also smart to have Io take the biggest bump, as she has the experience to pull that off. It looked rather nasty.
On top of that, a shoutout to Jacy Jayne for bouncing back quickly and working this match without any fear.
We’ll see how the rest of the night goes, but would they give the newcomers tag team gold..while booking Mandy to lose? I wouldn’t think so, but we’ll see.
…(a shot against the Steiners for some reason?)
That reason being Chucky interrupted an interview between “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Rick Steiner back ion a Nitro in 1998.
I remember that. It was AWFUL. Like WCW at its worst awful.
Beat me to it. I thought these guys were wrestling fans?
Awesome show. No need for a third Uso right now. I mean you can tell he’s their brother but let him do his own thing for now. Everyone shined tonight. Heck, even Robert Stone shined tonight lol. Men’s tag match was amazing.
Mandy Rose had a nice angle going with Sonya but was otherwise not used all that well on the main roster. She goes down to NXT, is given the perfect character and stable to work with, and looks like a million bucks. In many cases, acts in NXT simply aren’t main roster acts and that is why they fail. But this seems like a case where it was right under their noses what kind of character she should be. I think Toxic Attraction is perfect.
Nothing about this show really missed for me. Ciampa winning was both a surprise and the right thing to do. New tag champs puts MSK back in a chase mode which could be fun (unless they are main roster bound). The Halloween backstage skits were kept short and sweet, and were obviously used to get some time on the show for the likes of Cora Jade and get a few faces on the screen who we haven’t seen much of yet since the reboot.
Sad that they seemingly didn’t have a role for Kai on the main roster but happy she wasn’t just thrown into catering and is back in NDT instead.
NXT 2.0 is a really nice blend of veteran and young talent, some of which is still a bit green (as you would suspect).