Welcome everybody! NXT 2.0 is on your radio, so I'm here to talk about what happened on that radio. Claire is here too, riding shotgun, with the best blog on the planet. The woman's writing speed and knowledge of wrestling is unsurpassed.
So with all that said, let's talk NXT!
Shoutout to Gunter
I love philosophical differences in my professional sports entertainment wrestling. The Diamond Mine believes the mat is a place to make money. Empire believes it is sacred and a place of purity. WALTER believes his herd needs to be increased, so why not lead by example and welcome Diamond Mine's best dog? Malcolm Bivens inflamed it all when he thrashed the Empire to hype Creed's chances in the Dusty Rhodes Classic. WALTER really wants Bivens, but you know he's not a wrestler. So Roderick Strong will have to do that.
I can not talk about the match without mentioning Strong's handprint on WALTER's chest. Strong, and by extension Bivens, is now part of the two best fights of the NXT 2.0 era. WALTER is clearly different from Carmelo Hayes. That Roddy can struggle with both styles and do it incredibly well is a testament to everything about the man. With the loss to Melo and now putting over WALTER in a big, big way, Strong may be heading out. Give him his props while you still can.
This was physical, grueling, and like any WALTER fight, a fight. The story was simple: Roderick knew the challenge was tough, but had to take advantage of the slightest opening to get the job done. And he almost did. Whether it was the giant superplex he hit, the many charging forearms, or the multiple times he refused to stop. Strong certainly fired his shots whenever he could, but they were never enough to do without the general.
More importantly, they both fought for the pride of their respective crews. And there is no love like the love of the crew.
Eventually, after blocking WALTER's power bomb attempt, Roderick was knocked down too much and could not block the last one. WALTER retained Roderick in an incredible main event, which is hopefully a sign of what's going to happen to Imperium's leader in NXT 2.0
The thing I said about crew love? The rest of the Empire hit the ring to attack Strong and retrieved what is left of the Diamond Mine. NXT Telegraphs an Empire Vs. Creed Brothers tag team championship game. Based on the pedigree from both teams and the way the Creed boys showed up this week, I'm down.
All Creed. No Apollo
The very first match in the Dusty Rhodes Classic was a brutal match between Briggs x Jensen and the Creed Brothers. They struck the tone early as Brutus took a knee to the face that knocked his mouthpiece out. I wear holders at night, and the thought of someone hitting me so hard that one or both of them fly is scary. But that's the taste of the competition we got. Briggs x Jensen delivered the first true test for Brothers Creed. It's fitting that their first real challenge comes in the opening round of the tournament, and that's good storytelling.
The brothers got W after a bit of division and rule, and smashed Jensen into the steel barrier outside the ring so hard that it bent, ending Briggs in the ring.
I love tournaments and this was a great way to get it started for the night.
Carmelo, Trick, Tony, Cameron and the boys
Trick Williams is a god among men. Dude is in FLORIDA and cradles a coat with fur lining. Trick, Melo and Tony D'Angelo are together pure entertainment. How did we get here? Well, Tony D'Angelo held a funeral for Pete Dunne's career. Which probably gives truth to the rumors that Dunne is on her way to the main list every day now.
At least Tony D thinks it's time to reach higher, so the North American championship is on his list. Melo and Trick were offended. They thought they were boys. Tony listed his boys (Tony the Hat, TJ the Brick), Trick says he knows his boys (Moe, Curly, they are all thin like Vic Joseph), and says they are not ready for Melo. Cameron Grimes went to the ring to remind Melo and inform Tony about it he wishes Melos championship. Long story short, Cameron and Tony D will fight for a shot at Melos title.
Also shouts to Melo to pay tribute to The Rock with his attire and one of the greatest MTV VMA moments in history, all in one segment.
This is chess, not checkers
First, the LA Knight is pure 1980s. The man belongs in the era of professional wrestling entertainment. His appearance, his corvette, his building, his music, everything. And I love him for it. The fact that WWE Shop does not sell that LA Knight tank is a parody.
I mention Knight because he started the show with his gaze on everyone's favorite character, Grayson Waller. After insulting Grayson's ability to please the ladies, Waller came to the ring with a restraining order in hand. The first chess move of the night.
The second? LA tells Waller that another man wants a part of him: Dexter Lumis. Waller had two choices: lift the restraining order to fight the LA Knight, or trade with Dexter instead. Grayson chose the latter and the two delivered a solid opening game. The night's third chess move came when an unknown bearded big man came to the ring and attacked Lumis. Waller took advantage, got W, and told the world to say "hello" to his new insurance policy.
It makes all the sense for Waller to hire someone to take care of his back, and this is an impressive cat. Curious to see how the LA Knight navigates both in the law and a man so big with such a thick beard.
Dante Chen returned to NXT tonight, complete with an effective video package. We saw Dante beam about being the first Singapore-born wrestler in the WWE, the pain of suffering a knee injury and his grief over the recent loss of his father. Warm-hearted things that make it easy to cheer on the cat, right? Right.
Just when it looked like a triumphant return was on the horizon, Duke Hudson appeared out of nowhere to attack Dante and his opponent Guru Raaj. Hudson says he's back, and I'm sure Dante has something to say about that. Maybe it's because the video package worked, but I want Chen to toot every inch of Hudson's ass.
All are toxic
Guess what? Kay Lee Ray and Ivy Nile had an okay match. It was Ivy's biggest struggle since her arrival, and even though it was not perfect, it got the job done. My problem is the finish. We know KLR wants Mandy Rose, so of course Mandy shows up during this match to distract his potential challenger. The timing felt a little wrong with how we got from Mandy's distraction to KLR going after another KLR bomb, until Ivy slipped out of it and got the win via the quick pin.
Either way, the fun happened after the match when Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayen reappeared! The full force of Toxic Attraction attacked KLR, bringing forth Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell.
Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we're heading for a brand of six women sooner rather than later.
Bracket busted (so is Santos' head)
Every tournament needs a disruption. This week's Dusty Classic first round match between Legado del Fantasma and Edris Enofe x Malik Blade. The latter team goes on because it is complicated. Long story short, Santos Escobar quickly regretted sticking his nose into Bron Breakker's business earlier in the show. The NXT champion attacked Escobar, who had no trouble interfering in the fight on behalf of his boys, and the distraction was just enough for Blade to get a quick pin.
My only problem is that we pretty much saw the same ending in the previous match. Love watching Enofe and Blade move on as they promote Escobar's beef with Breakker on his quest for the title. But wish they changed the formula a bit here. Like I said, minor quarrel.
Dakota Kai needed this victory. Dakota hit a hard patch and she got into the collective faces of Yulisa Leons and Valentina Feroz earlier in the show. Dakota does not want to see anyone happy because she is still burning over her lost friendship with Raquel González. Leon fought well with Dakota, who put a lot of work here and proved his worth again.
Much better viewing this week than last. A tag tournament always helps, we set up a lot of stories and added twists to the existing ones, topped off by a bold main event and solid wrestling throughout the show. Joe Gacy and Harland obviously showed their faces, and the latter beat an injured Odyssey Jones, but no one is perfect! It was two entertaining hours.
That's my character, and I'm sticking to it. Your trip.