We get a video package that showed highlights of last week's debut of NXT 2.0, the rebranding of the black-and-gold brand to the Skittles brand.
Vic Joseph welcomes us, exclaiming "let the new times roll." He introduces us to the remodeled NXT 2.0 arena. Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix are also on commentary. The ring is filled with Superstars.
Ciampa comes out to a big pop. Awaiting him in the ring are Bron Breaker, Von Wagner, Odyssey Jones, Carmelo Hayes with Trick, and the team of Josh Briggs (the final Evolve champion) & Brooks Jensen (son of Bull Buchanan). Ciampa lets the crowd chant for Hit Row. Ciampa addresses the long, long journey he's taken from the day he relinquished his title due to a neck injury up to this moment was worth "every damn second." He goes on to tell the NXT Universe "once again Tommaso Ciampa is your N-X-T Champion!" The crowd and Superstars behind him pop. The crowd starts a "Daddy's home/Goldie's home" hybrid chant. Ciampa kisses the belt and tells it he missed it, too. "What a time this is! NXT 2.0! The energy is contagious" and the crowd bursts into a chant for "2.0". He addresses the young talent in the ring, giving them props, and states that Tommaso Ciampa will always be Mister NXT.
He tells us that we can get a fresh coat of paint, change the place up, and call it 2.0. He addresses the NXT crowd, specifically a few of their regular fans. He thanks the NXT Universe because they are why he gets to do what he loves to do in this ring. Big NXT chant from the crowd. Ciampa tells us he's so damn happy to be back, and with Ciampa holding the title, "NXT 2.0 just became the 'A show'." Pop from the crowd. Ciampa tells the crowd he wants everyone to hear them and leads the crowd in a "We are NXT!" shout. Out comes Cameron Grimes! Grimes tells us he's all fired up and what'll help that fire, "that championship belt right there...is the rocket fuel i Need to go to the moon!" We then have Pete Dunne with Ridge Holland interrupt, as well as the young talent--each of whom wants a title shot. Dunne tells the young fresh faces to make a name for himself but "here's the problem. I look around and all I see are a bunch of Geezers who are scared"--and is cut off as Ciampa and Dunne go to blows. Everyone pairs off fighting, with Bron Breaker slugging it out with Ridge Holland before tossing him out through the ropes. Ciampa sends Dunne out after beating him in the ring briefly. We're told there's commotion in the locker room area.
We cut back and find B-Fab, Io Shirai and others fighting while officials attempt to separate them.
Bron gets on the mic and tells Dunne and Holland that the folks here aren't done seeing them, and wonders if "these bitches have the balls" to face him and Ciampa later tonight. They accept and we head to break--the Cruiserweight Championship match is next!
We return from break and its time for our first match of the night. The Diamond Mine--leader Malcolm Bivens, and competitors the Creed Brothers, Roderick Strong, Ivy Nile and Hachiman--are out first to loud boos. Hachiman gives Strong a pep talk before Strong heads into the ring and poses. Kushida is out next to a great pop. During the introductions, Strong is booed heavily and Kushida gets yet another chant. The bell rings and Kushida goes down to the mat, using mat-based leg strikes to hold Strong at bay briefly. Strong and Kushida execute a beautiful sequence of move-and-counter-move. These two put on great chess matches, as Joseph points out. Kushida takes Strong to the mat and looks for a submission lock but Strong continues to counter. Both men continue this for the first minute or so until Kushida drops Strong off a rope rebound with an armbar! Kushida transitions the armbar to a rear arm lock, and Kushida wraps Strong's elbow around his knee. Kushida snaps back to the mat and we go to break with the Champ in charge and Strong yelling in pain.
Back from the break. Strong and Kushida battle it out in the ring. Kushida counters an attempted arm drag with a dropkick. Kushida raises his right and strikes Strong after a moment, dropping him to all fours. Kushida looks for a Field Goal kick but Strong ducks out of the way and takes control. Strong sets Kushida on the top rope and starts to climb up. Kushida catches Strong in a modified Hoverboard Lock and leaps off the top, driving Strong's body into the mat. Both men rise. Kushida with a big left kick. Strong with a pair of kicks, followed with a back breaker and a back suplex for a close two count cover. A light "let's go Roddy" chant competes with a louder "Ku-shi-da!" Strong and Kushida again with chops in the ring. Kushida counters a grapple into a rolling armbar. Kushida locks in a wrist lock and rolls, flipping both of their bodies into the middle of the ring. Kushida changes position as Strong rises. Strong powers to a vertical base but Kushida converts it into a Hoverboard Lock! Kushida has Strong ready to tap. Malcolm Bivens puts Strong's feet up on the ropes and as Strong taps, Bivens points out the foot on the rope. The ref calls for the break, forcing Kushida off Strong. Bivens distracts Kushida long enough for Strong to shove Kushida into the ropes. The Creed Brothers trip up Kushida and attack him outside of the ring, then send him in. Strong with a quick put-away of the champ.
Your Winner and NEW NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Roderick Strong!
Grayson Waller comes out and challenges Roderick Strong for the title next week. Malcolm Bivens gets on mic and yells at him. Bivens takes a moment to talk to Strong, and Waller mocks him, asking if he has to check with daddy first. Bivens sarcastically echoes his jab, then tells Waller that next week, he'll find out what the Diamond Mine is about.
Another video hyping Tony Soprano D'Angelo, who's selling the questionable mafioso gimmick.
We get a video package in which Briggs and Jensen comment about beating the crap out of drunks in bar fights, then they put the rest of the NXT on notice--they're not afraid to beat you up if you're drunk.
KLR makes her way out first and we head to break--her opponent will be announced next! After a break, Amari Miller is out. She has Naomi vibes of energy. The ref readies up our competitors and calls for the bell. Phoenix reminds us that KLR held the NXT UK Women's Championship for an astounding 640+ days, the longest reign in women's history--because we're counting the year or so that NXT UK was shut down due to Covid--and the former champ starts off strong. It takes Ray barely a minute to squash Miller, putting her away with a Parallel Snapmare (if I'm not mistaken).
Your Winner, Kay Lee Ray!
Singapore's first WWE Superstar, Dante Chen, debuts tonight. Baxter is in the ring when we return from a break. Chen comes out with a unique entrance--wearing a hooded cowl of sorts, his face covered with a gold fabric. Interesting. The bell rings and Chen and Baxter lock up. Both jockey for position, with Chen taking Baxter into the corner. The crowd with a chant for Chen. Baxter with a snap back breaker followed by a snap rear suplex. Baxter climbs up top but Chen attempts to stop him. Baxter flies through the air, dodging Chen's charge. Baxter with an inside cradle, but Chen hoists Baxter up and slams him down into the mat in a unique bit of offense--akin to a Guillotine + slam.
Your Winner, Dante Chen!
We get a vignette. Andre Chase welcomes us to Andre Chase University. He addresses a class and pulls up footage of Odyssey Jones' fight with him recently. He calls Jones a loser. He then asks for questions. A rando named Steve in the class reminds Chase that he lost in the first round to Jones. Chase yells "tell me, who the f--- did you ever beat?" He then kicks Steve out of the class.
Kevin Owens Joe Gacy is seated in the ring, on a chair. He addresses the NXT Universe. He tells us he's into conflict resolution. He doesn't want to have to use his male privilege to get what he wants. He tells us that he believes he can be the man to show us peace in this 'safe space' and it starts tonight. Out comes Grimes, ever the fan-favorite, who gets the usual chants and pops throughout the match. The bell rings and both men lock up. The ref forces a break when they push against the ropes. Gacy with a swing and miss. Grimes takes the Kevin-Owens-looking Gacy down to the mat and locks onto the left shoulder. Gacy rolls the move into a leg lock around Grimes neck. Grimes escapes, slaps his ass and says for Gacy to "kiss my grits." I love it.
Gacy takes control with a right. Gacy with a splash in the corner followed with a simplified Urinage. Gacy locks on a rear headlock, taking Grimes to the mat. The crowd chants "to the moon" to fuel Grimes. Grimes gets to his feet and forces Gacy off. Grimes with a running forearm that drops Gacy. Grimes with a second! Grimes goes for a third and the Owens-clone (Clowens?) summersaults against the ropes and off, akin to Aleister Black/Ricochet, and drops Grimes. Gacy fires up for a comeback but Grimes shuts him down with a Cave In out of nowhere when Gacy comes off the ropes! Great effort from the youngster Gacy. After the match Gacy wants to shake Grimes hand, then gives him a hug to Grimes surprise. Grimes gives him a thumbs up as Gacy holds his shoulder and leaves.
Your Winner, Cameron Grimes!
Legado Del Fantasma make their way out first to boos. After a break, we return to find her opponent in the ring. The bell rings and Lopez takes her time removing her jacket, sweating confidence as Scheer holds back, almost nervously. Lopez immediately begins to dominate Scheer, throwing her around the ring with ease. At different points Lopez mocks Scheer, telling her that she's no one. Scheer's complete offense consists of one right fist, an attempted cross body--which was reversed into a suplex/sit-out Powerbomb combination to put her away.
Your Winner, Elektra Lopez!
Santos Escobar gets on the mic, flanked by LDF. He tells us that Lopez is power, beauty, strength, and on fire. He tells us nothing is stronger than family, then tells Lopez "you complete Legado Del Fantasma." Big pop from the crowd. Lopez speaks. "What I did here tonight is just a little taste of what the First Lady of Legado Del Fantasma...la madrina is going to unleash on B-Fab and NXT 2.0. The crowd pops for her and the piped-in digital crowd attempts to boo loudly--but the NXT Universe drowns it out with a Legado chant! Lopez continues, telling B-Fab if she doesn't like what Lopez is saying, she should "get your skinny ass out here!" Enter Hit Row!
B-Fab comes from the blind side of the ring and takes down Lopez. Lopez and Fab struggle on the mat for a few until Hit Row and LDF pull them apart. The crowd chants "let them go". Fab tries to hit the ring one more time but is stopped by Hit Row, and we cut to the back.
Baxter is depressed when his girlfriend walks up. She tells him to chin up, he's her superhero, and gives him a big kiss. She heads off and he mutters the words "super hero." He's not the superhero we want, he's the superhero we need? Meltzer to confirm Nikki A.S.H. vs Trey Baxter at WrestleMania sometime tonight. We head to break.
Monet, Robert Brand and co. are walking backstage when the run into NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez. Raquel informs Franky that she's getting her wish--a title shot next week. Raquel walks off and Lash Legend comes up, announcing the debut of her new show "Lashing Out with Lash Legend" which will debut next week.
We cut to the ring where Odyssey and his opponents are in the ring. I didn't see a title card, nor did the commentary team say names, so they're the Poor Man's MSK for tonight. Jones drops both men down easily. One attempts to pick the left leg while the other locks a headlock on. Jones tosses both men across the ring to opposite corners. Jones with a splash and roll out of the corner to one, then the other. Andre Chase comes out and yells at Jones from the ramp. Odyssey with a shoulder breaker to faux-Lee. Faux-Carter looks for a sleeper hold but Jones send him into his own partner in the corner. Both men collapse on top of each other. Jones heads up to the middle ropes and splashes them off the middle, picking up the win by pinning both men. After the match, Andre Chase attempted to attack Jones with a chair but was caught.
Your Winner, Odyssey Jones!
Hayes touts his contract. Toxic Attraction walk up, distracting the men, who compliment them as fine.
Jiro shows us his fabulous wardrobe and explains "Ikemen" means handsome man, and as a handsome man he needs jackets. He shows off many of his jackets. He states that people think Strong Style when they think of Japanese wrestling, but he specializes in Style Strong. Where's the Fashion Police? They've got a new recruit.
Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne--the newly-established Toxic Attraction--make their way out to the ring and we go to break. Afterwards, Rose talks. "When I came to NXT 2.0, I came here to be your gift. Your golden goddess. I've realized that this division was in desperate need for a woman like me. A woman you people will never be with, but love to look at." Boos but it's true. "And then it took a little turn. Where were you guys when my face was battered(sic) and beaten? Huh, where were you, what did you guys do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's disgusting, it really is. Absolutely disgusting. You ridiculed me. I became an instant gif, replayed over and over again. Yesterday's news, right? But you know what I've realized? You treated me just like the way you've treated Gigi and Jacy. But the only difference is...these two right here, they don't give a damn about what you people think. And all the guidance and advice I can give these women, you know what they showed me? They showed me that behind this beauty, a beast is ready to be unleashed. This is what the future of the women's division in NXT 2.0 looks like and I'm ready to take over your precious, greatest women's division of all time in all sports entertainment, with these two baddies next to me. Gigi, Take over."
Gigi speaks. "The pain of my past has always fueled my aggression and I knew if we could bring that out of Mandy, we knew nothing could stand in our way. But Jacy and I still needed purpose....Mandy's experience brought us purpose and with that...it'll lead us to the top of 2.0!" Rose tells the crowd to "say 'what' if you don't think I"m the hottest (woman) alive." Jacy speaks, telling the crowd that they're not just some pretty faces in a crowd. She tells us if we thought for one second that we were going to wait in the back for n opportunity, they've got another thing comping. What Toxic Attraction wants are the Women's Tag Team Championship. Jacy tells Shirai & Stark they've got an ass kicking waiting for them and warns Shirai & Stark not to keep them waiting.
Dunne & Holland make their way out as we head to a break. After the break, Ciampa and Breaker make their way out, both to noticeable pops. Bron and Ciampa stand together at the top of the ramp and approach the ring together. Ciampa hoists his belt and the ref readies up. We start with Ciampa and Dunne. Ciampa runs off the ropes as Dunne leap-frogs and drops under, ending the sequence with an attempted leg pick Ciampa and Dunne counter and dodging each other. Bron Breaker and Ridge Holland are tagged in. Both big men lock up, and Holland takes an early control with a headlock and a shoulder thrust. Breaker powers out of another side headlock and runs of the ropes, dropping Holland with a shoulder thrust of his own. In an impressive display of strength, Breaker gut-wrench lifts Holland up and slams him down repeatedly into the mat! Breaker tags in Ciampa, who hits Holland with a running Bulldog before locking on a headlock. Ciampa with some hard chops to Holland. Dunne makes a blind tag, and takes down the unsuspecting Ciampa. Dunne paces over to speak to Bron then heads back to Ciampa.
Dunne begins to manipulate Ciampa's fingers and wrists, gruesomely twisting and manipulating the digits. Dunne with an arm bar. Ciampa attempts to thrust out but Dunne takes him to the mat and hits a shoulder breaker. The crowd chants "Pete Dunne sucks." Dunne tags in. Ciampa looks to take down both men but fails as we head to break. When we return, Dunne is still in control over Ciampa. Holland is tagged in. Holland tries for a suplex three times but Ciampa puts the brakes on every time. Ciampa counters with a suplex of his own. Bron is eager for the tag and Ciampa tags Breaker as Holland tags in Dunne. Breaker comes in fast, taking Dunne down with a pair of clotheslines. Exploder to Holland. Steiner with a textbook belly-to-belly on Dunne, then one to Holland.
Breaker pulls down his straps and puts Dunne in the Steiner Recliner! The crowd flips out and chants loudly for Rick Steiner's son. Breaker keeps the Steiner Recliner on but Dunne breaks free by jamming Breaker's fingers into the mat. Dunne begins his attack on the left shoulder and hand, then tags in Holland. The crowd with a loud "Let's go Breaker" chant. Holland sets Breaker up for an Alabama Slam, Pete Dunne Superkicks Breaker's head, and Holland pulls the trigger on the Alabama Slam! Cover but Ciampa makes the save! Ciampa and Dunne slug it out back and forth, and take turns ramming each other. Ciampa with a desperate right roundhouse that drops Dunne. Holland with a belly-to-belly suplex on Ciampa while Bron executes one on Dunne! The crowd is hot as Bron and Ridge clash like titans, both men hammering each other with big forearms. Both men run off the ropes and clothesline each other at the same time. The crowd is still hot.
Dunne enters the ring with Holland's billy club. Ciampa attacks Dunne, knocking the weapon free. Holland and Dunne double-team Breaker. Holland heads out of the ring to take advantage of the weapon and Ciampa while Dunne distracted the ref. Kyle O'Reilly hits the ringside area, making the save and taking out Holland behind the ref's back. Bron follows up with a big slam, putting away Holland and Dunne for good.
Your Winners, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breaker!
Afterwards, the belt is handed to Bron to give to Tommaso. Breaker takes several long moments, admiring the NXT Championship, as Ciampa tries to take it. Their eyes meet and then they pose together, still teasing a future clash. We end our program with Ciampa and Breaker standing on opposite corners, playing up to the crowd as the crowd sends us home with a loud "NXT" chant.
Yet another excellent episode from the Skittles brand. What were your thoughts about tonight's show? Let us know down below. Stay safe out there, Rajahmaniacs. See you Friday night for SmackDown 1.0!