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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 11.23.21

November 23, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE NXT 11-23-21
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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 11.23.21  

Hello fellow NXT fans! It’s Tuesday night once again, and it’s time for another episode of WWE NXT. I’m Jeremy Thomas as I always am, and tonight we’ve got a big North American Championship match as Carmelo Hayes defends against Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano. We also have Mandy Rose battling Cora Jade in a WarGames preview, Tommaso Ciampa trying to teach Grayson Waller some respect and more.

Here in the Thomas household things have been trucking along. This week had a lot of viewing ups and downs. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins was a whiff for me despite a solid supporting cast, while Queenpins and The Eyes of Tammy Faye were both just “okay.” In the flip side, I found the Megan Fox thriller Till Death to be an absolute delight and sunk myself into a couple music documentaries in Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage (which was good but not entirely great) and Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) which was fantastic.

Anyway, we’re gonna have a lot to cover tonight so let’s hop right in.

As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.

* Our opening intro video is cut off by Grayson Waller who says no one wants to see it. He notes that Ciampa wasn’t in the video despite being one of the greatest NXT Champions of all time because he’s not larger than life or a superstar like him. He goes off on the booing fans, saying they booed Cena out of WWE and he’s killing it in Hollywood. He says they did the same with The Rock, and don’t get him started on Roman Reigns who headlined WrestleMania after WrestleMania but got booed. And he’s killing it too, so Waller has realized that the fans don’t matter: superstars do.

And here comes Ciampa.

Grayson Waller vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Bell rings and Waller immediately hides in the ropes. They begin to face off, with Waller getting some strikes and playing with Ciampa, offering a free shot but ducking and dodging. He slaps Ciampa and that wasn’t wise, as Ciampa beats him down into the corner and then stomps on him until the four-count! Ciampa charges in with a hard knee, then preps and runs in for another one!

Waller is out of the ring and Ciampa follows for a chop on a chair, then rolls him back in for a chop and elevated punches in the corner. Waller gets out from under and trips Ciampa, then hits a big neckbreaker for two. Waller with a Euro uppercut and a jab, whip into the ropes reversed and Ciampa with a back elbow! Ciampa picks Waller up, big chop and an Irish whip. Waller ducks a clothesline and takes Ciampa down.

Stomp by Waller and a kidney shot, he chokes Ciampa against the ropes. Ciampa is on the apron and Waller gives him a crossface through the ropes to work the back. Both men in now, elbow to the back of the champ’s head and a knee to the side, he picks Ciampa up for a right hand. Waller runs in to a big boot, he ducks a kick attempt but gets caught with a Spinebuster! Waller goes for the People’s ELbow, but Ciampa moves!

Ciampa runs Waller over a couple of times, charging clothesline in the corner and Waller comes out only to get clotheslined out of the ring and into the announcer’s table! Ciampa comes out, runs Waller over and throws him over the booth as we go to break.

Waller back in control as we come back from break, but Ciampa ducks a chop and delivers some of his own. He whips Waller across the ring and follows but gets taken down, Waller off the rope but gets caught with a knee! Both men up and they trade chops, Waller comes out of the corner and leapfrogs Ciampa, rolls him up for two and then does it again. He tries it once more and is caught with a knee. Ciampa goes for the Fairy Tale Ending but Waller reverses into a power bomb for a near-fall!

Waller goes up top but gets decked by Ciampa. The champ is up to the second rope, he tries for a superplex but Waller hangs on and shoves Ciampa off. Ciampa right back for a shot, he picks Waller up — AIR RAID CRASH! Cover gets two! Big chop by Ciampa and another to Waller, who’s on his knees. A third and he picks Waller up, Waller goes for a jab but gets caught, Fairy Tale ending countered and Waller with a crucifix senton. Flying elbow drop off the second rope gets two and a half!

Ciampa to the outside and Waller dives over the ropes onto him! Ciampa rolled back in, Waller comes in but gets caught with the Widow’s Bell. Fairy Tale Ending for three!

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa (13:28)
Rating: ***
Thoughts: That was a way better match than I would have expected. Ciampa made Waller look quite strong here but still got the clean win, making this a very strong opening bout.

* LA Knight is backstage and is asked by McKenzie about the match. He says he could have gone out and cost him the match but he knew he would lose the match himself. He says Waller sucks and that’s just a fact of life. Joe Gacy says his facts are destructive and we should want to build each other up.

Gacy says their safe space is out in the ring and it’s always open. Knight wants to know why he has to make it so creepy. He is willing to beat Gacy’s ass though, and it looks like we have a match.

* We get a recap of the Poker Showdown and Duke Hudson cutting Cameron Grimes’ hair. Grimes is out next.

* Earlier today, Toxic Attraction showed up and talk some shit about Cora Jade. Dakota is sitting there and joins them silently, not responding to anything. Mandy says she doesn’t need the girls with her and they walk up to where someone had wrecked shit, calling it a “rage room.” They walk on and Kay Lee Ray steps out with a pipe.

* Cameron Grimes comes out looking upset with a new haircut and a shorter beard. Not gonna lie, dude cleans up well and is looking pretty sexy. He gets on the mic and says he grew up in a very small North Carolina town and every day he’d have people push him down and tell him he wasn’t good enough. But he showed them he was good enough and if he scratched and clawed, it didn’t matter how many nights he slept on a concrete floor or scraped for change to eat, he showed people that Cameron Grimes holds it down.

Grimes says he made it in this industry and struck it right, but through all that he kept his hair and beard to remind him of his humble beginnings when he had nothing. He says Duke Hudson took that all away from him, humiliated and embarrassed him. But he messed up by making Grimes angry. Grimes tells Duke to come out now because he’s done talking.

Grimes appears on the Tron in a barber shop and says he doesn’t recognize him. He doesn’t understand why Hudson is angry; he took his money last week and got a free haircut. He says Grimes now looks like a human being and not a troll under a bridge. Grimes tells him to come out here and settle this, but he says that’s not happening. Grimes says he gave Duke a chance to show how big his balls are, but he proved that he’s gutless and nutless. Grimes says let’s go all in and calls Hudson out for a hair vs. hair match at NXT WarGames. Hudson says he wouldn’t mind taking more off the top and says Grimes is on. And at WarGames, he’s going to take the rest, as he holds up a baggie of Grimes’ hair.

* We get a brief promo with Dunne who says it’s been too long since he held a title, and says Gargano’s stood in his way too many ways. He says Hayes is made for saying he’s the leader of the new blood, and it’s time for him to become North American champion.

* McKenzie asks Indi about Lumis’ status, and she says he’ll be out for a month but that Gargano is going to take Melo’s title. Persia offers to do it alone this week and Indi says no, she’s good. She looks at the camera and tells Dexter this one’s for him.

* We get a Tiffany’s Epiphanie with a new rich girl character talking about her fabulous life and how her daddy said she’s ready to take over NXT and he’s never wrong. It’s Tiffany Stratton.

Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro

Persia and Kayden start off and Kayden gets sent into the ropes, then knocked down. Indi tagged in and she picks Kayden up for a powerbomb, but Kayden counters and ranna’s her into the corner. Kacy comes in and she and Carter double team Indi, tripping her up. Kacy out and Indie takes over on Kayden, but she gets sent into the ropes and tripped up over a tagged in Kacy, who covers for two until Persia breaks it up.

Persia tags in and Kacy attacks her to no avail, she throws Kacy in a snake eyes into the corner. Indi tagged in, they wipe Kacy out and cover but Kayden breaks it up. Persia tagged in and she picks Kacy into a bearhug, slamming her into the corner. Persia goes to tag but Indi is distracted again, she makes the tag but Kayden tags in too. Indi with a sidewalk slam and stars at her ring, Kayden rolls her back for two.

Indi gets Kayden on the turnbuckle but she gets knocked down, Carter goes over and splashes Indi for three.

Winner: Kacy & Kayden (3:31)
Rating: * 3/4
Thoughts: More angle than match, really. It was too short to mean anything and the “distracted” stuff was way over the top. Not great here.

* We get a Legado highlights vignette recapping the attack on Xyon Quinn from last week.

* Andre Chase is doing a tour of the WWE Performance Center for his students and runs into Cameron Grimes. He says this is a lesson: never make a decision you’ll regret or it will cost you a match, or your hair. Grimes tells Chase to “go to hell” and walks off.

Santos Escobar vs. Malik Blade

Escobar and Blade circle and lock up, Santos manhandles Blade in the corner and slaps his head. Waistlock by Santos, and he slaps the back of his head once again. Lockup and BVlade sent into the ropes, he cartwheels and ducks under, then takes Santos down but immediately eats kicks in the corner.

Santos with a snapmare and kick to the shoulder, then he stomps on Malik. Malik back up but gets cut off, Escobar with a suplex attempt but Blade slips out. He rolls Santos up for two, then gets laid out with kicks. Exploder suplex into the bottom turnbuckle and he lies in wait: charging double knees, then a Phantom Driver for three.

Winner: Santos Escobar (2:27)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: RIP Malik Blade

After the match, Lopez gets the mic and says no one says know to Legado. They offered Quinn the opportunity of a lifetime and he said no? Well look at what happened to him. They never needed him anyway and now that Santos is back, Legado is stronger than ever. Joaquin Wilde starts to talk but Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner come out. KOR says they want the tag team titles too. Wilde says that they already beat him, and Wagner says his foot was on the ropes so they have unfinished business.

Imperium’s music then hits and they come out to balcony, with Barthel saying they people here are unintelligent and don’t understand second languages. He says that the two teams should be ashamed of each other, fighting like children. He calls Von “Lurch” and asks if they think they deserve a shot? Can Legado defeat them? He says neither of them can stop Imperium and Aichner says that they can figure out among themselves who gets the Tag Team Title shot at WarGames.

* Zoey and Io walk up to talk to Cora Jade and Raquel cuts them off. The three start arguing and Cora shuts them up, saying the “Can They Co-Exist” thing is boring. She says they’re all talented and they need to find a fourth, so do that while she kicks Mandy’s ass.

* Tony D’Angelo is there to share his thoughts on tonight’s show and says that the betting is all over the place. His money is on Carmelo Hayes, and he asks if McKenzie wants to put any money down. He says she could double the carat of the ring on her finger and says to call his guy, then mocks the announcers.

Mandy Rose vs. Cora Jade

Cora with a waistlock to start, thrown off by Mandy. She goes back in and gets thrown down. Mandy talks some shit and gets slapped, Jade strikes but gets cut off with a kneelift. Cora into the ropes and she rolls Mandy up, Xfinity screwed me up for a moment but Mandy gets a pin attempt for two.

Mandy beats on Jade in the corner and hits a suplex, she covers for two. Rose is wrenching ont he neck now, Jade gets to her fight but gets thrown back down and Rose locks in a Xenia Onatopp Special. Mandy locks in a chinlock to add to it, and Jade backs her into a pin for one.

Rose kicks Cora and goes for a suplex but gets small packaged for two. Cora on fire and she takes Mandy down, hits a rana and then a charging knee in the corner. Snapmare and cover for two. Cora goes up top, she leaps off for a senton but Mandy moves and trips her onto her back. Mandy is lying in wait but here comes Kay Lee Ray with her bat. She hits the ringpost and destroys a computer at ringside, throws the bat into the ring and Cora rolls up a distracted Mandy for three!

Winner: Cora Jade (4:00)
Rating: **
Thoughts: This wasn’t a bad match until the unneeded distraction finish. I get the point, but it wasn’t executed very well

* Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are backstage and Melo says the disrespect should have stopped last week. He says Gargano says he’s been here five years, like that’s a good thing? He’s been here five months and is champion. Dunne has 10 years experience but it’s not about experience. This is the A show, he’s the A champion, and when he shoots tonight he won’t miss.

* Joe Gacy says not to fear community because connection needs two people, yadda yadda. He’s going to open the eyes of the blind, and Harland (or his hand) is there.

* Cora Jade is congratulated by the other three, and she asks if anyone knew that Kay Lee Ray was coming in. KLR shows up, says she’ll be their fourth, and they’re happy about it.

Joe Gacy vs. LA Knight

Knight is attacked by Grayson Waller on his way out, and the two brawl their way to the back. No match.

Gacy apologizes to the crowd and wishes that he could have shown LA Knight the error of his ways, but that wasn’t mean to be. She wants to talk about how to fix —

And here comes Diamond Mine! Bivens says Gacy stole the spotlight from them last week, so they’re doing the same tonight. He tells Gacy to take his thesaurus-ing ass out of the ring because Ivy has a match. Gacy says he respects that, but he doesn’t have respect for Roderick Strong. His name alone is an example of toxic masculinity and the Cruiserweight Championship is an example of weight-shaming. It triggers those of a certain body type and is meant to divide.

Strong says yeah sure, whatever you say. He fears no one and isn’t scared of him or any weight limit. He says his next money match is standing here and tells Bivens to make it happen. Bivens says he’ll dot the Ts and cross the is for a match between them at WarGames. Gacy thanks Bivens and looks forward to resolving it as one. Bivens tells the Creeds to take out the garbage, and Harland suddenly appears so they back off out of the ring.

* It’s MSK time, and they’re driving to find the Shaman. Lee tells Carter to slow down, just as the police show up. They toss their bag of weed back and forth and Carter rolls down the window. “Hello, ociffer,” Lee says. They were going 7 miles an hour. They have to get out of the car and talk about how they’re too pretty to go to jail. Carter is asked to open the bag and he almost does, but a car races past and so they’re safe. Carter says “he’s” watching over them, and they head off.

Ivy Nile vs. Yulisa Leon

Yulisa dodges Ivy a bit until she gets caught and forced onto the mat. Nile does push-ups on Yulisa, and Leon manages to get a wristlock but Nile turns it right around. They jockey for position, Nile off the ropes with a big clothesline. Running kick to Leon, and then Nile flips her over and locks in a headscissors in her legs. She does crunches while squeezing Leon’s head and then lifts up to increase the pressure. Leon backs Nile’s shoulder’s onto the mat for one, she does it again, Nile flips Leon over to her feet and it turns into a dragon sleeper for the submission.

Winner: Ivy Niles (2:45)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: A squash as it should have been.

* Solo Sikoa talks about how NXT is the perfect battleground and it doesn’t matter if anyone is with him because he’s always been by himself. Old guard, new guard, it doesn’t matter. He’ll fight anyone.

* Grizzled Young Veterans are talking as they bump into a guy and steal his wallet. As they walk off, Waller and Knight’s brawl spills into frame as officials hold them back from each other.

* Boa apparently doesn’t know how to control it. Mei Ying passed on her strength and spirit and he has no control over it. But once controlled, we will fear Boa. Yeah, not likely.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen

Drake starts off against Jensen and takes over for a moment, but then gets handslammed in the corner. Bulldog by Jenson, who tags in Briggs. Drake into the ropes and runs into the two. Briggs tags in Jensen and throws Drake into the ropes, they slide out of the ring and double-deck Drake.

Jensen with jabs to Drake and one more off the ropes. He showboats a bit and Gibson plays distraction, Drake slaps Jensen to no avail. He runs out and around the ring and back in, they manage to make the tag without Jensen noticing and Gibson gets the cheap shot to the throat. Gibson with a short-arm clothesline and then a headlock, controlling Jenson and wearing him down as Knight and Waller are still fighting backstage and I don’t care.

Jensen thrown back into the corner and he hits Gibson. Gibson with a headlock but Brooks picks him up for a back suplex. Drake is tagged in and he locks in a front facelock. Jenson fights through, hits a bodydrop and tags in Briggs, who comes in hot. He kicks Gibson off the apron, slams Drake down and splashes him. Avalanche in the corner, Drake is picked up to go over and he comes down bad on the knee. He plays it up and Gibson tries for the cheap shot, he’s knocked off the apron. Briggs grabs Drake who goes for a kick, bombs him down, and gets the pin.

Winner: Briggs and Jensen (My timer screwed up)
Rating: ** 1/4
Thoughts: Perfectly acceptable match. Not much to say about it beyond that.

* Set for WarGames:
– Hair vs. Hair: Cameron Grimes vs. Duke Hudson
– NXT Cruiserweight Title Match: Roderick Strong vs. Joe Gacy
– Women’s WarGames Match: Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai vs. Io Shirai, Cora Jade, Raquel Gonzalez & Kay Lee Ray.

* Next week, Kay Lee Ray battles Dakota Kai for WarGames advantage.

NXT North American Championship Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne vs. Carmelo Hayes

Dunne gets tossed early by Hayes, and Gargano chops Hayes and then comes off the ropes with a rana. Dropkick to the champion and a wristlock, Hayes escapes and kicks Gargano down. Dunne back in, Hayes comes off and flips over Dunne’s back but gets taken down. Gargano pounces on Dunne and goes for the Gargano Escape but Dunne escapes; Gargano into the ropes but catches himself.

Dunne and Gargano share a look but Hayes takes Gargano down from behind and then drops Dunne. He stomps on both of them, but comes back from Gargano into a single leg takedown from Dunne. Gargano gets involved but Dunne gets both men into a single-leg crab!

Williams pulls Hayes free and Gargano escapes, he takes over on Dunne and goes for a side Russian legsweep. Dunne blocks it but Hayes with a springboard crossbody to both of them! He tries to pin one and then the other to no avail. Hayes with a shot to Gargano’s back, only to get decked by Dunne. Hayes first back and then goes for a suplex on Gargano, but Gargano slips down and pulls Hayes into a bulldog-spear combo with Dunne. Gargano with a spinning DDT to Dunne while also kicking Hayes. He leaps onto Dunne onto the announcer’s table, then slides back in to leap onto Hayes on the other side. Gargano with a running rana to the outside onto Dunne and we’re on PIP break.

We’re back and all three men are down, they beat each other up bad during the break. They all get to their knees and Hayes chops Gargano and Dunne, then picks them both up. The vets hit Hayes with a double shot, Gargano goes for a kick but Dunne dodges. Dunne kicks Hayes and locks in am armbreaker, Hayes gets to the ropes and Gargano nails Melo to break the hold.

Gargano with a big DDT on Dunne and covers for two and a half! He splashes Dunne in the corner and goes for Hayes, but he ducks and splashes Dunne. Hayes gets double-kicked, but he takes out Gargano and then hits a front suplex on Dunne for a nearfall.

Hayes and DUnne up, Hayes charges but Dunne ducks and kicks Hayes in the corner. He stomps Gargano’s feet, goes for the kick but Gargano ducks. Gargano takes Dunne out and lays out Hayes in the corner, he kicks Trick but gets caught by Dunne! Dunne with a Bitter End to Gargano and covers, but Tony D’Angelo breaks it up Hayes with a top rope Rocker Dropper to cover for three.

Winner: Carmelo Hayes (11:29)
Rating: *** 1/4
Thoughts: Obviously with these three, you’re going to have a hell of a match. It was booked well until the end.

After the match, Waller and Knight come out and everything devolves into chaos. D’Angelo, Waller, Trick, and Hayes beat down everyone and go to shatter Gargano’s hand with the chair — BUT HERE COMES CIAMPA WITH A CHAIR! He takes out Hayes, slams Waller with the chair, and clears house. Hayes is alone with Knight, Dunne, and Ciampa and bails. Looks like we got our WarGames match.

Gargano gets up with Ciampa’s help and he stares at his old friend. Breakker then comes out and joins the New Blood, shouts “WAR GAMES!” and it becomes a brawl. Everything is chaotic, and with that, we’re done for the night!

The final score: review Good
The 411
See how much better a show can be when it takes some time to breathe? This week's NXT was the best in a while. Sure, there was still some stuff I didn't like, but this episode was focused on building up WarGames and it did that well. Add in a good opening and closing match, and we have a mostly-enjoyable episode (albeit with a few very skippable parts).

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WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas