We open with a video covering last week's special event episode of NXT 2.0, capped off by Bron Breakker's defeat of reigning champion Tommaso Ciampa and the beginning of the Breakker era.
Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett welcome us to the Capitol Wrestling Center as we kick off tonight's live program.
Breakker is announced and comes out wearing the gold strap around his waist. The crowd cheers and woof's with the champ. The crowd welcomes him with a "you deserve/no you don't" dueling chant. Breakker starts off by thanking Tommaso Ciampa and praising his athleticism, performance, and the fact that he's an outstanding human being. "most people didn't see it but when the match was over, he stood up, grabbed my neck, and said 'congratulations, kid, it's your time.'" He then recalls Ciampa heading over to Rick Steiner to pay his respects--and it was Rick's first time seeing his son Bron in action in NXT. Breakker then issues a warning to those who'd want to challenge him. "Everyday you wanna train, I've already trained. Everyday you wanna watch film, I've already watched the film. Every day you leave early, I work late...because I'm the champ (and) I'm going to stay that way." Breakker leaves as Legado Del Fantasma make their entrance, pausing to exchange words with each other.
The winner of this match wins Elektra Lopez. Women as property, great optics by the WWE. Santos makes his way out with Wilde & Mendoza but Lopez is noticeably absent. Quinn makes his way out next to a great pop and great entrance music. We're reminded that the winner tonight will leave with Lopez at their side. Lopez is shown at ringside, watching all of the action. Both men start off aggressively jockeying for control. Xyon Quinn takes the early control, overpowering the luchador. Quinn takes his time dismantling Escobar, and takes him from corner to corner as he works over the midsection. Quinn tosses Escobar across the ring, sending the former champ into the corner as we head to our first break!
Quinn maintains control throughout the break and takes the action to the outside. Quinn keeps his pace slow but steady as he continues to work over Escobar. Wilde charges Quinn from behind and Quinn pops him up in the air...and lets him crash down, face-first, into the hard padded floor. The distraction allows Escobar to hit a suicide dive and take control for the first time in the match. Escobar immediately grounds Quinn and begins to work the limbs, specifically focusing on Quinn's knees. Escobar locks in an inverted Cloverleaf and it takes Quinn several long moments to crawl, inch by inch, to the rope. The ref calls for the break. Escobar takes Quinn into the corner and uses elbow blows and kicks to Quinn's Achilles' to keep him grounded. Escobar slaps on an ankle lock as we return from the break.
Santos continues to focus his attack on Quinn's left knee. Escobar looks for an early cover but barely gets two. Escobar pulls the injured leg and kicks the back of Xyon's knee repeatedly before dropping a knee across the joint. Escobar talks trash to Quinn and toys with him. Escobar positions Quinn in the corner and hits a running shotgun dropkick to Quinn's knee, draped over the middle rope. Escobar slaps Quinn's chest in the corner, angering Xyon, and drops Quinn again with a step-up Enziguri. Escobar fires himself up in the corner, charging--and intercepted by Quinn!
Quinn drops Escobar with a big shoulder thrust then unloads fists into the midsection. Quinn takes Escobar into the corner and thrusts a shoulder into the midsection before tossing Escobar across the ring again. Quinn focuses his offense on Escobar's midsection. Again, LDF cause a distraction and again, Escobar capitalizes on it by dumping Quinn out of the ring. Escobar threatens to ram Quinn's head into the pole but Lopez steps between him and the pole. This distraction allows Quinn to take control. Escobar looks for a surprise suicide dive but Quinn catches him with a big right, dropping him down hard. Quinn and Lopez make eyes at each other...then she kicks him in the junk! Escobar takes Quinn into the ring and hits his driver finisher, winning Lopez's heart and the match.
Your Winner, Santos Escobar!
We cut to the back, where Tony Mamaluke Tony D addresses his match tonight with Dunne. He throws back to breaking Dunne's hand and vows to show Dunne the err of his ways.
When we return from break, Damon Kemp is in the ring and Grimes makes his entrance. Kemp starts off fast, getting in a few moments of offense. Grimes takes control back with an arm drag that he transitions into an arm bar. Grimes kips-up after the break and we see Malcolm Bivens watching from up the ramp. Grimes batters Kemp with chops and kicks. Grimes leaps off the middle rope but Kemp catches him and counters it with a beautiful belly to belly. Grimes takes control back quickly and lays out Kemp with a diving cross body. Grimes takes Kemp to the moon, hitting the Cave In to put Kemp away.
Your Winner, Cameron Grimes!
Gacy takes the time to thank NXT officials to allow Harland and himself to team up and have a qualifying match for the Dusty classic. Gacy plans to use the tournament's platform to "demonstrate that no matter one's size, skill and experience, everyone involved has an opportunity (to win the) Dusty Cup." He tells his opponents tonight that they'll be in a safe space when they step in the ring but their rivalry in the ring isn't necessarily "a rivalry in life." We go to break.
Enofe & Blade are out first, followed by Gacy & Harland. Gacy and Harland are booed heavily. The crowd isn't woke. We start with Edris and Gacy. Gacy hits a spinning Urinage and attempts to overpower Edris.Enofe rolls Gacy up and takes in Blade after the failed pin attempt. Blade & Enofe work together to double-team Gacy with an impressive dropkick. The crowd chants loudly for Malik Blade as he and Enofe use quick tags to double-team Gacy. They use some very unique tandem office that you'll have to see to appreciate. Gacy takes control back on Edris, then tags in Harland as Blade is tagged in. Harland completely overwhelms Blade, brutalizing the much-smaller Superstar in the corner with running knee strikes. Harland lays out Enofe with a big right and throws him into the ring post before going back to focus on Blade. Harland repeatedly rams Enofe's face into the turnbuckle then starts to rub his face into it. The ref counts a five-count warning then calls for the DQ when Harland refuses to lay off. Afterwards, Harland threatened the match and backed him up into a corner.
Your Winners by Disqualification, Malik Blade & Edris Enofe!
Tony D'Angelo is out first and Vic Joseph explains the rule--the first person to retrieve the crowbar may use it as a legal weapon. Tony gets a great mixed of heckles and cheers and plays up to the crowd magnificently. The Bruiserweight is out second, his left hand wrapped and still injured, to a good pop and great Bruiserweight cheer. Our competitors ready-up and we're off! Dunne runs at D'Angelo, who drops him with a big right. Dunne rises and fires off a series of chops but Tony counters with a rising knee. Tony D looks for a suplex but Dunne reverses it into a submission hold. Dunne takes Tony to the mat and stomps on him.
Dunne heads up the turnbuckle, where the crow bar hangs suspended on a pole. D'Angelo intercepts him and the two lock up again. Dunne takes D'Angelo down with a textbook press then looks for the crowbar again. Tony D'Angelo again stops Dunne and lays out the Bruiserweight with a big exploder suplex. Tony looks to retrieve the crowbar--which is blue because, yeah--but Dunne stops him. Dunne attempts to retrieve it and stomps on Tony's head as he tries to stop him. The crowbar falls off one end of its chain and hangs just out of reach. D'Angelo takes Dunne down with a Falcon Arrow as we head to break.
When we return, D'Angelo attempts to work over Dunne on the ground. The technical tzar quickly takes control back, stomping away at D'Angelo before dropping him with a neckbreaker. Dunne begins to work D'Angelo's left wrist, positioning it in an unnatural manner and stomping on it. Dunne eyes the crowbar again as Tony rolls in pain. Dunne opts to go for D'Angelo's arm and hits an arm breaker off the wrist lock, followed by another arm strike. Dunne kicks D'Angelo in the head then climbs up, attempting to retrieve the crowbar. D'Angelo manages to stop Dunne, converting it into a backdrop. D'Angelo climbs up and retrieves the crowbar!
D'Angelo looks to use the crowbar but Dunne takes it from him and chases him out of the ring with it. D'Angelo catches Dunne when he stands too close to the apron and picks his legs out, dragging Dunne down and out of the ring. D'Angelo retrieves the Crowbar and tries to use it to push Dunne's face into the commentary table. Dunne fights back, using the steps to hit a modified leaping fist. Dunne hits a double knee drop on D'Angelo's left arm! The ref counts but Dunne stops the count at eight and takes D'Angelo into the ring. Dunne uses the crowbar to put on a modified crossface. D'Angelo breaks free and uses the crowbar to assist in a neckbreaker. Tony D covers for two. D'Angelo positions Dunne's left hand under the crowbar then stomps down on it. D'Angelo repeatedly strikes Dunne's injured hand with the crowbar before looking for another crowbar-assisted neckbreaker.
Dunne fires up, hitting multiple step-up kicks to D'Angelo, followed by a double stomp. Dunne retrieves the crowbar and swings--and misses. D'Angelo attempts a German Suplex but Dunne floats through! Dunne drops D'Angelo and uses the crowbar to put on a modified crossface again. D'Angelo and Dunne briefly struggle over a chair--illegal in this match--which leads to Dunne locking in a modified Triangle lock, all while twisting D'Angelo's fingers. Rope break. Dunne and D'Angelo slug it out briefly but Tony tackles Dunne down on the steel chair. D'Angelo retrieves the crowbar and hits Dunne across the face, then picks up the cover.
Your Winner, Tony D'Angelo!
Wendy Choo, if you remember, was formerly known as Karen Q and, more recently, as Tian Sha's mysterious Mei Ying. When we return from a break, Pirotta & Indi are already out. Wendy Choo makes her entrance, wearing her pajamas and sleep mask and carrying a body pillow almost as big as her. Out next are their competitors, the three bubbliest Superstars in NXT. We start with Indi and Amari, who lock up and jockey for control. They reposition and Amari locks onto Indi's left arm, using it to take Indi to the mat. Miller sends Indi out of the ring with a big kick then makes a blind tag to Kacy Catanzaro prior to hitting a suicide dive on Indi at ringside! Kacy tags in Kayden and both women take turns hurling out of the ring to wipe out Persia and Indi. We see Briggs & Jensen backstage and Wade Barrett tells us that they're trying to get dates with Catanzaro & Carter. Please stop with the romance crap, Vince.
Hartwell tries to make a tag but Carter attempts to block her. Indi whips carter towards her corner but Carter counters with a dropkick that sends Persia flying off the apron. Indi tags Choo and Amari is tagged in. Amari charges Choo, who ducks under. Choo uses strikes to take Amari off balance then whips her into the ropes, catching her on the rebound with a beautiful Snap Suplex. Choo gets in some pretty impressive, explosive offense until the ref loses control. All six women enter the ring and take turns dropping each other. Choo pretends to sleep on the mat and Miller pulls on her foot. Choo shoves her off and tags in Persia. Persia pulls Amari up in a Samoan carry and tags in Hartwell. Persia slams Amari into the mat, Hartwell hits a diving strike, and the trio pick up the win!
Your Winners, Wendy Choo and Indi Hartwell-Lumis & Persia Pirotta!
After a promo for Toxic Attraction we return to find both men in the ring as our match starts. Solo takes an early lead. Boa, no longer sporting the face paint and looking more like his original gimmick from some time ago, uses his strong style to take the lead. Boa whips Solo into the ropes and hits several rising knees. Boa uses a snap suplex for a pin attempt, then begins to work on the nose. Solo's bleeding from the mouth. The crowd does "Uce-oh!" chants for Solo. Sikoa fights to a vertical base and blocks a kick. Solo lays in with some offense, using rights and kicks to drop Boa. Solo with a big running Senton. Solo hits a Cactus Jack Clothesline! Both men tumble over the top rope to the floor as the crowd pops a cheer for them. Solo is up first and pulls up Boa, viciously whipping him head-first into the steel steps in a wicked spot. Boa fights back and bought men brawl at the ringside as the ref hits the ten-count! Both men brawl to the back, using steel chairs to batter each other as they brawl all the way to the back. Later in the evening we're shown that they're still brawling, even as our main event starts, in the back. Refs beg them to stop but both men use chairs and anything at hand to tear each other apart. Finally, Boa blows a fireball in Solo's face. While refs check on Solo, the camera pans up and we see Boa wearing his black-and-white face paint again.
No Contest--Double Count-out!
After winning the title unification bout at New Year's Evil last week, Carmelo Hayes has arrived and wants to address the NXT Universe. We go to break. And for the record, the unified North American/Cruiserweight title is simply referred to as the North American Championship. Hayes and Williams come out to a mixed, albeit loud, reaction from the NXT Universe. Williams introduces Hayes and gives props to the champ. Hayes then speaks, wearing a "Unified Melo" beanie. He addresses his match last week, and praises Strong as one of his toughest opponents. He then asks everyone to take a moment of silence for the Cruiserweight title. Trick holds a tee up that shows Roderick Strong with the title and the expiration date (last week's episode). Hayes pours some out from, presumably, a forty in remembrance then changes the temp and topic. Hayes praises all his accomplishments in the company (okay). He states that numbers don't lie and Melo don't miss "because I am the walking cheat code, I am a history maker in the physical form, and I am the most scintillating champion ever in NXT!" Loud boos as he brags that whatever you want to call his title, if it's around his waist it's the A-title.
Grimes is awaiting the champ at his car in the parking lot. He tells Hayes of his intention to come after the North American Championship. He promises to take Hayes to the moon and tells Hayes, "don't miss!"
We waste no time in Styles making his entrance as Hayes and Williams leave. Styles gets a great pop from the crowd as he's introduced. We head to break. Waller is out with just under ten minutes to spare; expect an overrun. When the bell rings, the fans start up a dueling chant. Waller dodges and hops around the ring, floating like a butterfly and failing to sting. Waller and Styles finally lock up. The two spend just over a minute jockeying for control, changing the hold and stance repeatedly. Styles gets the better of Waller and focuses his attack on Waller's left knee. Waller smacks Styles, so Styles fires back with a big backbreaker across his knee. Styles takes Waller into the corner and smashes his face into the turnbuckle, then drags him to another turnbuckle and repeats the process. Waller takes the lead after a several long moments, but spends too much time jawing off as he chops Styles. Styles immediately comes out of the corner aggressive, firing off his Styles Combination before sending Waller tot he outside with a step-up kick. Styles looks to springboard to the apron but Waller trips him up. Waller takes control again, outside the ring, and uses the ring side as a weapon as he whips Styles into it. We head to break.
When we return from the break, Styles swings wildly, trying to gain the upper hand. Grayson drops AJ with a big side kick. Waller again wastes precious moments jawing off. Styles starts his comeback sequence, countering a whip and a Samoan carry with his Styles Blitz combination! Styles with a sliding clothesline on a seated Waller as the Phenomenal One fires himself up! Styles with an Ushi Garoshi! Waller flees the ring in an effort to gain some separation. Styles uses a springboard forearm crash to wipe out Waller at ringside. Styles sends Waller in and sets up the Phenomenal Forearm but Waller rolls to the apron. Styles enters the ring and pursues but Waller, playing possum, uses the ropes to drop the Phenomenal One. Waller hits his unique elbow drop finisher and picks up a close two. We're in overrun territory now!
Styles shoves Waller into the turnbuckles and looks for a German Suplex. Waller counters but Styles converts it into a calf-crusher submission! Waller screams in agony and has to drag completely across the ring to make the rope break! Waller hits some feeling into his left knee and both men are slow to rise. Styles goes right after the left knee, striking it. Waller looks for a surprise roll-up but only gets two. Waller hits Styles with a modified arrow driver for a close two! Waller taunts Styles and sets up for the Styles Clash, mocking Styles' as he does. Styles counters with a back body drop. Styles set sup the Phenomenal Forearm but Waller slides out of the ring to avoid it. Styles runs off the ropes and Waller dives into the ring through the ropes, rolls and hits a backpack stunner, covering for a damn close two! He needs to start naming his finishers.
Waller sets Styles up on the top turnbuckle and climbs to the top rope, hinting at a Superplex. Styles slips free and drops Waller across the turnbuckle. Styles kicks Waller in the gut and calls for the Styles Clash. Waller escapes but Styles shuts him down with a Pele Kick! Styles with a Brainbuster on Waller as the crowd fires up for the Phenomenal One. Styles finally hits the Phenomenal Forearm and picks up the 1, 2, 3! Great match.
Your Winner, AJ Styles!
Styles tells Waller that he's good, but he's not Phenomenal. Styles tells Waller that it's not over yet as he wants to introduce Waller to one of his good friends...the returning LA Knight! Knight hits the ring toa huge pop and beats Waller in and out of the ring. Knight throws Waller across the commentary desk and follows him back into the ring. Knight with a huge clothesline, followed by another that sends Waller flying out of the ring! Styles then grabs Knight, turning him to face him. They have a few friendly words then embrace. We end our program with the crowd going wild for the returning Knight.