NXT Recap & Reactions (January 25, 2022): I’m not a freak, I’m just safe

The Dusty Rhodes Classic rolls on this week, while we all wonder what the NXT champion has to say about his latest challenger, Santos Escobar. Claire covers it all with her blog while I guess what it all means in this space after the break.

Let’s talk NXT!


The champion of all of North America

Do you remember last week when Tony D’Angelo and Cameron Grimes both wanted a shot at the North American Championship? Of course you do. You saw. I know you saw. Hence this number one challenger match between the two, where Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams watch from Kragereden. Yes, that’s what I call it now. Maybe I have pirates in mind, but it’s the perfect name for that perch in the corner of the Performance Center.

The fight was fun and physical. The competition was a smooth affair, except for a bad sequence where Grimes slipped on the rope to take a quick moon hunger. With a little more spice, both men can work out such a stain and not cope with it see choreographed. I mean, we know it is, but we like the illusion.

The story was obviously first and foremost, getting a shot at Melo on NXT Revenge Day. The second story, one that emerged out of nowhere, was Pete Dunne’s reunion. Dunne showed up with what I think was a cricket bat, and slammed it across Tony D’s hand. Refund of course, and the most obvious sign that their beef is still simmering.

Dunne’s intervention allowed Grimes to take advantage, get W and look directly at Melo.

I’m not sure what level of escalation Dunne and Tony can rise to after the Koben fight. However, I’m sure I would like to find out. And if Melo and Cameron can play a match that is just half the caliber of Melo’s last title defense, then it alone is worth the entrance fee for Revenge Day ina couple of weeks. Not a fan of that name, but hey, it’s the same company that thought Large fireballs was one thing to do.


extra courses

Talk games

Tommaso Ciampa is back. Let’s not even bury the led. How did we get here? Well you asked. Allow me to summarize.

Santos Escobar hates Bron Breakker for many reasons. Yes, his family’s terrible math skills are on the list. And as someone who also sucks at math, I feel with Bron. It is a heavy burden to bear, but we must bear it. The main reason Santos has nothing but hatred for the NXT champion is the fact that he got that gold before Escobar.

Of course, Bron never refrains from a fight or a war of words. The NXT champion came ready to fight, but Escobar still wants to do it on its own terms and its time. You know how it went. The other members of the Legado del Fatansma were fed the dog. And the dog did what dogs do with rented tulle.

LDF challenged Bron to a tag match, provided he can find a partner. If not? Well, a handicap fight suits them fine.

As credits rolled on another week of NXT 2.0, LDF approached Bron as he left the building. Before Santos and the crew got the chance to jump Bron into their gang, Breakker found his partner: Tommaso Ciampa. The LDF backed up, and the former champion and current champion floated together as a sign of solidarity.

New name, who is it?

WALTER is dead. Long live GUNTHER. I think. We got an explanation from the man himself on the name change. GUNTHER represents a new beginning for the Empire. Cool.

Malcolm Bivens speaks on behalf of me, and possibly many of us, when he said that GUNTHER is “a terrible name.” No matter what, Bivens does not care what GUNTHER calls himself; he wants blood. Next week, Empire faces Diamond Mine’s Creed Brothers and Roderick Strong.

Dusty MSK

MSK wants their place back. The Tag team believes the best way to do that is to conquer the Dusty Rhodes Classic and grab that cup. That probably made the outcome of their fight with Jacket Time daily obvious to anyone who is even a little familiar with professional sports entertainment; the person / team with the story usually wins.

BUT, and that’s a big “but” for a reason, Jacket Time did not go without a fight. NXT started this week with an incredible tag match between two equally aggravated teams. Quick break offense from the first ding ding to the last, with each team trying to outdo each other in the name of a trophy.

This was another great match in the tournament, where Jacket Time proved to be more than worthy opponents of the former NXT brand champions.

Dusty vets

The Grizzled Young Vets hurt Chase U’s Andre Chase and Bodhi Hayward to advance to the Dusty Cup. The match was fine. But maybe I’m spoiled after the last two Dusty Cup matches and expected too much.

Mutual interests Tag Teaming

Sometimes booking really is not that difficult. Kay Lee Ray wants Mandy Rose. Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell want all the smoke with Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. Put them together and see what happens.

And guess what? It was pretty cool. The most interesting aspect was whether KLR would keep her cool and does not off on Mandy. It happened for a while, but eventually their beef spilled over into the Performance Center. Pirotta got the W for her team and she more than likely achieved a rooftop championship.

Meanwhile, Mandy has a lot to deal with with KLR.

Better than the first time

Tiffany Stratton’s second match at NXT was much better than her first. I’m sure a lot of it was due to Io Sharai as her opponent. Io won, but Tiffany showed character and skill.

Take it to the streets

There was something wrong with this street fight. At least in the beginning. For a while, it seemed like Boa and Solo Sikoa were going to find their rhythm. It happened as soon as a fire extinguisher entered their street fight. From there, the two went back to the ring after fighting a bit in the “back” and put an end that could make a Dudley smile. Solo gets W after a big splash through a table, which causes the piece of wood to practically explode.

As I said, it started slowly but ended really well.

Here I come

Dante Chen and Duke Hudson continued their dance, after the former got involved in the latter’s big fight last week. Of course, Hudson got the benefit of a chop block on the back of Chen’s previously injured legs. Eventually, these two will … remove it. And no, I do not apologize for that, nor do I feel ashamed.

Oh, and before I forget it, Duke crushed Guru Raaj. Can’t make an omelet without … you know the rest.

His name is Sanga

Grayson Waller’s insurance policy is Sanga, “one of the biggest stars in Bollywood.” If the LA Knight wants Grayson, he must first go through Sanga. Judging by the man’s height, size and beard, it will not be an easy feat.


This was a solid NXT 2.0 show. We got some great fights, a few surprises and a musical performance that was not the best. I like Ollie Jay, but this was not her best moment. But hey, can not win them all, right? As the men’s Dusty Cup rolls on, we even saw some stories for the women’s version. Io Sharai needs a new partner, while the strange marriage of Cora Jade and Raquel González may lead them to the Promised Land.

This show was packed with forward momentum and a sense of urgency. Always appreciate it out of my professional sports entertainment.

One can safely say that NXT 2.0 knows what it is now. You are either inside or out at this point.

Grade: B

That’s my character, and I’m sticking to it. Your trip.

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