WWE Performance Center
We all know this is a war tonight for the Tuesday Night Ratings with AEW Dynamite being moved for a once off time slot to the same night and time as NXT, and both companys have been trying to one up one another this past week, to the point where Tony was acting like a petulant child with his spoiled brat knickers in a twist, even though his company had their show moved to NXT’s time slot and it’s not like NXT was trying to pick a fight. They’re literally just trying not to cop the L on this one.
Cody Rhodes Announcement
We open with Cody Rhodes coming out to make this announcement. The crowd are pretty hot for Cody and ‘Yeet’. Cody talks about the lady’s and men’s NXT Breakout tournaments, as well as the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Tournament. Surely, he elects for he and Jey to join that tournament? By the way, on the other channel, they have Danielson Vs Swerve in a match where you can pretty much pick the winner ahead of time. Cody is the Special Guest General Manager as per Shawn Michaels’ decision.
Ilja Dragunov’s theme song hits and the NXT Champion made his way to the ring. If there’s extra eyeballs on this segment because of Cody, then it’s only good for Ilja! Ilja blows some smoke before you know who, Dominik Mysterio interrupts with Rhea Ripley in tow, to huge heat. I don’t care what anybody says, this segment should surely outdraw a cold match on Dynamite. Dom winds Ilja and Cody up and the hilarious idiot of a man ended up getting himself put in a Title match after suggesting a shot at Ilja’s NXT Title. Cody decides the Special Guest Referee will be L.A Knight. I laughed, they really are laying it on thick to beat AEW tonight.
They show John Cena arrive to NXT as they cut to the commentators as Roxanne Perez makes her entrance. Kelly Kincaid is out and about talking about the upcoming match. This was super random.
Asuka vs. Roxanne Perez
Kiana James has been a bit upset at Roxanne lately and last week she took it upon herself to make a deal to get Asuka to come to NXT to fight her nemesis this week.
As the ladies made their entrance, one of my favorites, Shotzi made her entrance to be on commentary. That’s fun. I adore her, she’s so bad ass. I feel like Roxy has slowly been hinted for a heel turn in recent weeks considering how arrogant she’s been coming across, but then again, I do pick on how they depict her character on the show and maybe my brain is forcing it. Asuka is a heel though, so perhaps I am wrong, but then again, Shotzi is here so who knows! Asuka dominated early.
I know Swerve Vs Danielson went 16 minutes long, as Roxanne was making her entrance. Jericho vs Hobbs was next and that will be interesting to see if Jericho can outdraw Asuka in 2023. This was a test that was needed for Roxanne, I know I give her a hard time because of how she’s been written, but she’s a good little worker for her age, she’s great at selling. Asuka nails Roxanne with a kick to the skull and gets the win. Kiana would be happy! Kiana James got in the ring and was yelling at Roxy, when Shotzi laid Kiana out with her DDT.
Winner: Asuka in 6:15.
I assume Kiana and Roxy will do battle at Halloween Havoc.
They show Paul Heyman showing up, getting mad not knowing where the entrance is.
Gallus are shown backstage pumping themselves up before the Pub Rules Match, then Butch and Tyler Bate are shown too with Ridge Holland. I think they should have been in gear they’d go to a pub in.
Pub Rules Six Man Tag Team Match
Gallus (Joe Coffey, Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland) & Tyler Bate
This was all set up after Butch beat Joe Coffey in the Finals for the Heritage Cup Invitational on September 26th. Joe cost Butch the win against Noam Dar at NXT No Mercy as Tyler Bate backed Butch up, and the following episode of NXT, Ridge Holland from the Brawling Brutes showed up to join the fray and back up Butch too.
This match got off to a hot start as Gallus attacked the Brutes and Tyler during their entrance, and it was hectic. Early on Butch stuck a dart into the hand of Joe Coffey which is hilarious me, a Dart Board was attached to the ring post. They were smart sticking this just before the 30 minute mark before the end of the commercial free portion of the show.
Tyler Bate bowled a bowling ball into one of the Gallus boys who was stuck in a trash can from a tree of woe – what Pub has tenpin bowling? Butch got put through a table and all the pints of beer landed on him! Who wouldn’t want to watch this? NXT always have these weird once off stipulations.
Wolfgang went to the outside with a flip over the top rope and landed on his arse. Joe Coffey had a submission on Bate, and Ridge hit him in the spine with a pool cue, snapping it. Joe gets a beer mug smashed in his face by Bate, and a Triple Powerbomb by Butch, Bate and Holland got the win. That was fun.
Winner/s: Butch, Tyler Bate & Ridge Holland in 11:49.
I assume the feud is over and Butch goes back to the main roster, unless Butch faces Joe in a singles match on Night 1 or 2 of Halloween Havoc.
They show a hype video for Becky Lynch Vs Lyra Valkyria for Halloween Havoc on October 24th.
Lyra Valkyria Interview with McKenzie Mitchell
Lyra says 5 words and Tegan Nox interrupts. For the love of god, these cookie cutter interview interruptions. Thank god there was only one this week. Tegan wants Lyra to postpone her title match because she was so close to beating Becky on RAW. Ridiculous request. Lyra tells her how it is and buggers off.
The thing about this ratings war is – I wouldn’t be surprised if NXT wins. It’s their Main night, the past tells us when somebody like Becky Lynch shows up, the ratings go up, so it attracts that main roster WWE fan. AEW piling their show full of big matches isn’t going to be a blip on the main roster WWE fans radar, because they don’t tune in, in the first place. Evidence is clear because Dynamite essentially gets the same number most weeks and doesn’t grow no matter what they announce.
John Cena’s theme hit and Dynamite will be having a tough quarter hour. The fans sing his theme and John is surprised and says it’s the most street cred he’s got in 15 years. He blows smoke up NXT’s tush. The crowd are so pro-Cena it’s actually refreshing to see, one lone guy was against him and got a shout out, as John laughed over it.
John talked about tonight and oh boy, Bron Breakker interrupted. Here was a big, big chance for Bron. They go back and forth, it’s fun, John offered Bron a handshake and Bron nailed Cena. Bron went for the spear, John went for the AA – and Bron powdered. Simple, effective segment that threaded the story through the show. You know, how an episode of Pro Wrestling television is supposed to be formatted.
Cody is walking around backstage aimlessly, Tony D and Stacks find him and are carrying around their titles. They pitch a number 1 contenders scenario that a matchmaker is supposed to come up with, why would they care enough if the matchmaker cant be bothered sorting contendership out? I know, I’m nitpicking. The BADA BING, BADA BOOM Battle Royal is born and happens next week. 10 Tag Teams enter, and the final 2 have a match to see who the contenders are.
Baron Corbin Interview with McKenzie Mitchell
Baron targets Ilja and continues on with the story which I can see moves on to a showdown at Halloween Havoc. LA Knights theme hits as Baron is talking, and he walks off.
NXT Championship Match
Ilja Dragunov (c) Vs Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley
Special Guest Referee: LA Knight
Earlier tonight, Cody announced himself as GM for the evening thanks to Shawn Michaels, Ilja Dragunov interrupted him and spoke of Cody inspiring him, which lead to Dirty Dom interrupting them and it all ended up getting booked on the fly to get Cody over as GM making last minute decisions to make Dom and Ilja battle with the NXT Championship on the line. Baron Corbin is likely to factor into this too after what just happened. This is Ilja Dragunov’s first title defence since beating Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Championship at NXT No Mercy on September 30th.
It’s good that the card wasn’t 100% put together and announced beforehand like it was for AEW Dynamite, it makes the show come across unpredictable in nature despite outcomes coming across at times like a foregone conclusion. This again, is a practice that Tony Khan does not adhere to. It’s a practice that is used to retain eyeballs. This is going to be interesting as I have never seen Dom face a guy like Ilja Dragunov before, he’s going to cop it! Knight wore his sunglasses, indoors, at night for this and it’s a pop.
It’s inconceivable Dom will be able to find a way to out wrestle Ilja, but I appreciate Ilja giving Dom some heat here and there. Dom chopped Ilja super hard at one stage and the look on Dragunov’s face was hilarious. Finn Balor and JD McDonagh interfered as Ilja was setting Dom up for the finish but got vanquished by Ilja and LA Knight, and Trick Williams stopped Rhea from her antics too – as Ilja nailed Dom and got the victory in a dramatic scene. I stupidly thought both titles were on the line, I guess I misunderstood earlier!
Winner, STILL NXT Champion, Ilja Dragunov in 11:54.
Surprised Baron didn’t rear his ugly head, and I’m not surprised about the Judgment Day. Trick making the save for Ilja was an interesting development in his plight since losing the title back to Dominik a few days after winning it. However, I wonder where this leaves Dragon Lee who seems to have disappeared from Dom’s story in NXT completely?
As I said all that, Baron Corbin came out to confront Ilja, and for whatever reason, Dijak nails Ilja out of nowhere. Baron is confused as hell! Dijak wants the shot even though he lost the Strap Match to Eddie Thorpe a few weeks ago. That’s a little out of left field.
Carmelo Hayes is backstage with John Cena, Carmelo as a character is… so wound tight! He needs to go get a massage or switch to decaf. Trick Williams shows up and he’s not happy with what Melo had to say about Trick getting the North American Title back. Melo walked off. Trick says to Cena “When did you know when it was your time?” and Cena takes him off to give him advice. Onya John.
A limo pulls up and… Jade Cargill shows up and meets HBK in the parking lot, again, she looks incredible. She’s just so impressive looking, I’m not sure if I have ever seen a more fit human being than her! He has a show to run, I find it humerous that she’s coming in for a meeting when there’s an important show on and live.
Cody is still walking around aimlessly backstage because they couldn’t give him a makeshift office for the evening and this is how you lazily put angles togther these days – and Baron Corbin walks up to him and wants a title shot. After a quick back and forth, Cody eventually says if Corbin beats the winner of Bron Vs Melo tonight, and Dijak, in a 3 way next week, he gets the shot at Halloween Havoc.
Dominik Mysterio walks around with ice on his chin with Rhea, complaining about getting no respect, and what do you know, milk toast Nathan Frazier gives Dom some lip about not showing respect to his opponents in front of a bunch of others from NXT. Dom asks who he is, Rhea says he’s nobody because he’s not North American Champion, and Nathan says something else boring. Now that Wes Lee is off TV, Nathan Frazier is public enemy #1 for me. I’m sure he’s a very nice man but boy, do I hate his squeaky clean, potato soup persona on television!
NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament
Lola Vice w/Elektra Lopez Vs Dani Palmer
This is a Women’s Breakout Tournament match, and these are 2 newcomers I have only just started to get to know. Lola I haven’t seen as much from, but Dani I have seen a few times and she is extremely athletic and a former gymnast. I can’t pick a winner here but I will assume Lola gets the win via more TV time.
Dani has new ring gear, and to be honest, the updated gear is even more flattering than before, and I believe she is aware of what she is doing, and everybody reading this that saw the match knows what I am talking about and it’s okay that we all noticed it.
Dani showed off her gymnastics and chain wrestling ability early. Lola has it in the bag here, she’s been seen on TV more than Dani who has primarily been on NXT Level Up from recent memory. Lola took control for the meat and potatoes of the match, it’s obvious this was going to be short, but I would assume Dani’s ring gear may have retained some viewers. No, I’m not being crass, it’s just difficult in the situation NXT is in with AEW to think people would watch a match with two characters they haven’t seen much of, so some assets are required. Lola locks in the Triangle choke, Dani reversed it into this epic pin but Lola kicked out, then kicked Dani in the skull and the fans for some reason didn’t realize Lola was the heel and Dani was the babyface. Lola wins.
Winner: Lola Vice in 3:59.
Lola advances and Dani hopefully tries to get Tatum Paxley back for turning on her in a Tag match on NXT Level Up a month ago which they still haven’t followed up on.
Thea Hail is back in class at Chase U at the suggestion of Jacy Jane, who she seems to get all her advice from these days no matter what. Kids. The only reasoning as so Jacy could be in class too, which Andre allowed, and predictably, Jacy starts gossiping in class with Thea and being distracting in class. She’s on her phone, then suddenly every student is on their phone. Andre goes gangsta on one of the classmates ‘David’ for being on his phone and pelts it at a wall whilst saying the F word a few times. Jacy informs Andre he and Duke are in the Bada Bing Bada Boom Battle Royal next week as per the messages that were interrupting class.
Bron Breakker is getting ready backstage, and Paul Heyman shows up to build Bron up. Paul is into it and calls Roman Reigns as Bron leaves the room. Interesting!
Another vignette for Brian Pillman Jr. airs, who is going to get a name different from his father. He mentions his father, he’s watching footage of him. His look has updated quite a bit! His hair is looking fantastic, with dark facial hair, and he’s going to take after the actual man that raised him. Surprising stuff here! Perhaps this will be a story that leads to his character realizing he’s really a Pillman.
Kiana James is backstage with Asuka who I bet could care less about her plight. She thanks Asuka and then all of a sudden Blair Davenport shows up literally immediately after Kiana walks off. She practices her Japanese with her, some other ladies show up, Tiffany Stratton shows up to suck up too. Fallon Henley isn’t happy about Tiffany’s attitude, oh lord no! That backstage scene was entirely forced.
They run down next weeks show as Melo and Cena are already in the ring after making the entrance to the ring what seemed like 15 minutes ago and Paul Heyman introduces Bron Breakker.
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Carmelo Hayes (w/John Cena) vs. Bron Breakker (w/Paul Heyman)
This was all set up last week after Bron and Carmelo’s disagreement, and Melo organized to have John Cena flank him, and in rebuttal, Paul Heyman decides to manage Bron as the Bloodline continues their feud with John Cena. It will be interesting to see if Bron comes up to the main roster under Paul.
This is about to begin with 20 minutes left in the show so this was set up to be a barnburner. Based off their last 2 battles which Carmelo won both times. After Cena and Knight won at Fastlane, and Bron being 0-2 with Hayes, I can’t see Bron not winning this one. Bron and Melo went back and forth early, Bron regroups at ringside to Paul Heymans advice. A fairly painfully timed picture in picture commercial break came here but I assume it’s got to be the last one of the show. We come back from commercial and Bron was trying to break Melo in half.
If Melo loses this, can you imagine how much more he would be wound up tight? He would be approaching Wes Lee territory, but at least Carmelo’s plight is interesting. Bron hits Cena’s moves and goes for the 5 knuckle shuffle as Heyman laughs and he copped a kick smack right in the mush for taking too long! Melo got a near fall soon after this. Bron drops Hayes off the top rope with a strange gut buster, Bron went for the spear, Melo moved, Melo went for the Nothing But Net, Bron hit the Gorilla Press Powerslam, and there’s a 2 count. Bron grabs the steel stairs and Cena snatches them off him, and Cena kicks Bron in the gut as the referee is CLEARLY able to see it but Heyman didn’t remember his spot and Vic Joseph tried to cover it up on commentary. The referee should have touched Paul’s shoulder to prompt him at least. Solo Sikoa tries to get invovled, Cena chases him off with the stairs and Melo hits the Nothing But Net on Bron Breakker for the win!
Winner: Carmelo Hayes in 12:53.
After the match, Bron speared Carmelo Hayes and asked for the mic. Bron Breakker says there’s only one Bad Ass in all of WWE, and yep, I completely forgot. We hear the gong. The Undertaker’s American Bad Ass theme plays and you can hear the motorbike roar. Here he comes! As promised. No wonder Paul Heyman called Bron ‘Bad Ass’ Bron Breakker earlier.
Seeing Undertaker on NXT is insane to me, and he looked trim! Bron stared The Undertaker in the eyes and called him old timer, oh dear. He says he’s the only Bad Ass around here. Undertaker says Bron will be a special talent one day, but not today, and he nails Bron with a right hand, and hits a massive chokeslam. That was a sight to see! Undertaker must have loved the feeling to get in front of that crowd again. Poignant words from Undertaker followed which may be a nod to the ratings war for the night, or perhaps I read into it too much!
Melo goes on to the triple threat match for next week’s NXT, for Bron Breakker, I once again have no idea where he is heading but I guess we will find out soon enough.
All in all, this was a really exciting edition of NXT and a surefire way to try combat this Tuesday Night War with AEW. I would really be surprised if AEW won this one, I really would. I am surprised they didn’t include Becky Lynch in this episode but again, they already stacked this show top to bottom, even if it didn’t entirely make sense for any of the special guests to show up aside from Cody. Hopefully this helps build NXT and gets that brand to the next level.