A triple threat match for the North American Championship headlines tonight's episode of NXT.
Carmelo Hayes will put his North American title on the line against Johnny Gargano and Pete Dunne. Hayes challenged Gargano and Dunne to the match after both had emerged as challengers to his title in recent weeks.
Two non-title matches involving champions are also set for tonight. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will face Grayson Waller, while NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose will take on Cora Jade.
The women's WarGames match for NXT WarGames has been revealed, with Rose, Gigi Dolin, Jacy Jayne & Dakota Kai set to battle Io Shirai, Raquel Gonzalez, Jade, and a partner who has yet to be announced. NXT WarGames is taking place on Sunday, December 5 and will air live on Peacock/WWE Network.
Plus, Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro vs. Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta has been announced for tonight. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Grayson Waller on the house microphone cut off the canned intro. Waller calls himself the fastest rising stars in NXT. He then addresses Tommaso Ciampa, saying Ciampa was not in the intro. Waller says Ciampa is not a superstar like Waller himself. The crowd chants that Ciampa was going to kill him. Waller then heels on the crowd.
Waller went on to bring up John Cena, The Rock and Roman Reigns. Waller says the crowd booed all of those people. Lots of false equivalences by Waller until the entrance of Ciampa interrupts him.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa defeated Grayson Waller in a non-title match
Ciampa pinned Waller clean in a match that was fun to watch. Ciampa was clearly the ring general, which is fitting since he is the champ of the brand.
Ciampa was dominating at the start until Waller cuts him off. Waller twice uses a neckbreaker to derail Ciampa's train of momentum.
Waller spoofs The People's Elbow, but he misses the actual elbow drop. Ciampa mows down Waller with a series of lariats. Waller is on rubber legs when he is clotheslined over the ropes. Ciampa with more clotheslines at ringside, and Ciampa proceeds to throw Waller over the announce desk.
The match goes through a commercial break. During the break, Wallers cuts off Ciampa with a leg lariat. Ciampa fires up as the show returns from the break. They collide together, and both go down. Ciampa with jumping knee strike, and they both go down again.
Double down led into them trading strikes. Series of counters and reversals at a fast pace, and they trade near falls. They fight for position on the turnbuckles. Ciampa off the middle rope with an avalanche of an Air Raid Crash. Somehow, Waller kicks out.
Waller went back to targeting the neck. Ugly landing on an inverted version of a rolling fireman's carry slam. Waller leapt off the middle rope with a Randy Savage elbow drop. Tope con giro by Waller as he sails over the top rope, but on the follow-up he is caught with a Widow's Bell. Ciampa then delivers a Fairy Tale Ending, and Ciampa scores a clean three count on Waller.
LA Knight, who apparently still has beef with Waller, was giving his thoughts on the previous match when Knight is interrupted by Joe Gacy. This is weird. Vinny V is right to skip every Joe Gacy segment. Thank god Cameron Grimes is up next. Well, not quite next in the recap, but a plug says Grimes is coming up next on the show.
An ad featuring Stone Cold once again plugs WrestleMania tickets for two nights being on sale. Good luck with that.
The trio of Toxic Attraction in a promo from earlier in the say is joined by Dakota Kai. They pass what they refer to as someone's "rage room," which is littered with broken thins. That someone was Kay Lee Ray, who now has an over the top character that is apparently in a constant state of rage. She now breaks a lot of things. Kay Lee Ray was such a bad ass, and now this crappy gimmick. Hopefully she is such a bad ass that she can rise above this new character.
Hair Match Challenge for NXT War Games
Cameron Grimes came to the ring for a promo sporting noticeably shorter hair cut and a trimmed beard after the angle from last week. Tears roll down his face as Grimes begins telling a story of being a growing up in a small town in North Carolina. He was bullied, and people told him he was not good enough. Grimes showed them he was good enough. Grimes showed them that he "holds it down!" Grimes adds that he even got rich.
Grimes went on to say he kept his long hair and beard to remind himself of the times he had nothing. Grimes says Duke Hudson took all that away from him. Hudson humiliated and embarrassed Grimes. Worse than that, Hudson made Grimes angry!
Grimes called out Hudson, challenging him to come meet him in the ring. Hudson appears on the video screen, turning a great segments into a parody of Monday Night Raw. Hudson ridicules Grimes while Grimes yells at Hudson to come fight.
Grimes calls Hudson "gutless and nutless," and then Grimes challenges Hudson to hair vs. hair match at NXT War Games. Hudson accepts the challenge. Hudson warns Grimes he will take the rest of his hair, and Hudson displays a ziplock bag containing locks of Grimes hair that Hudson cut off next week.
The match appears official for War Games with Grimes and Hudson meeting in a hair match.
Pete Dunne in a promo looks like he is a killer.
Indi Hartwell dedicates the next match to her kayfabe husband, Dexter Lumis.
A vignette previews the NXT debut of Tiffany Stratton. She is a rich woman that can wrestle.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter defeated Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta
Catanzaro pinned Hartwell to win the match.
Catanzaro and Carter enter the CWC through the crowd like they were Diamond Dallas Page on Monday Nitro. They emerge from the people. Cool tandem moves by Carter and Catanzaro. Combine that with their shiny new gear, and they are clearly getting a renewed push.
Heat on Catanzaro. Hartwell is distracted by thoughts about her husband. She is tagged in, but Hartwell gets into the ring very slowly. She lands some offense, but she remains distracted. Combo electric chair into a splash by Catanzaro and Carter, and Catanzaro covers Hartwell for a pinfall.
Santos Escobar (with Legado del Fantasma) defeated Malik Blade
Escobar pinned Blade after a Phantom Driver. While Blade is given some offense, this is a showcase for Escobar. He returns to action in NXT in dominate fashion. Escobar looked like a sure enough superstar in this match, separating himself from much of the NXT roster.
Elektra Lopez cut a promo after the match with a warning for Xyon Quinn. Legado del Fantasma were interrupted by Kyle O'Reilly and Von Wagner. They argue about who gets a shot at the tag team titles. Out comes Imperium, who are the NXT Tag Team Champions. This was a bad Raw segment that dragged on. Just make the tag match already. Anyway, this all sets up the tag title match at War Games. Imperium faces the winners of a match between O'Reilly and Wagner against Legado del Fantasma.
Raquel Gonzalez, Zoey Stark and Io Shirai were arguing among themselves. Cora Jade shuts them down by saying the co-exist thing is boring outdated. Jade notes that Stark is injured, so they need to focus on finding a fourth partner for their War Games match. Meanwhile, Jade declares she is going to kick butt.
Tony D'Angelo cuts a promo talking about the bets being placed for tonight's main event.
Cora Jade defeated NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose in a non-title match
Jade pinned Rose after a distraction by Kay Lee Ray.
Jade got to shine during the match. The wrestling looked very choreographed. Not the best match in the world, but far from the worst.
Kay Lee Ray came out swinging a bat like she was Casey Jones in a Ninja Turtles reboot. Ray smashed things, which cause a distraction. Jade then rolled up the champion to pin her in a non-title match. Kay Lee Ray smirked in approval.
Later after a commercial break, the babyface War Games team congratulated Jade on her win. Kay Lee Ray entered the scene to say she would be the fourth member of the War Games team. Ray also says she will represent the team in a ladder match next week to determine which team gets the War Games advantage.
LA Knight was entering the CWC for his match against Joe Gacy. Grayson Waller attacks Knight in the aisle, and they have a pull-apart brawl. This looked like a bad spoof of brawls between Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels in 1993.
Joe Gacy was left alone in the ring, so he begins to cut a promo. Thankfully, he is interrupted by the entrance of Diamond Mine. Malcolm Bivens tells Gacy to get out of the ring because Ivy Nile has match in the ring up next.
Gacy cuts a dumb promo on NXT Cruiserweight Champion Roderick Strong, who responds by challenging Gacy to a match at NXT War Games. So another match is official for the War Games card.
MSK are still on the road looking for their shaman. They were pulled over by police in a traffic stop. A cop wanted to look in their mysterious bag, but the cop suddenly left. They search for the shaman continues. This was a dumb skit.
Ivy Nile (with Diamond Mine) defeated Yulisa Leon
Nile submitted Leon in am enhancement match. Leon was mauled by Nile, and Nile used a modified Dragon Sleeper. Nile at one point threw a lariat that might make Stan Hansen blush. She looked like a killer.
Knight and Waller were still brawling backstage, just like Curt and Shawn in '93 (except not good).
Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson)
Jensen pinned Drake after a high/low combo. Grizzled Young Veterans went from a serious tag team to being a comedy duo.
Briggs and Jensen look like an indie version of the Smoking Gunns, because everything on this show must in some way spoof wresting from the 1990s. Meanwhile, Knight and Waller were still brawling backstage during this match. Once again, just like an angle in '93.
So apparently the match at NXT War Games between Joe Gacy and Roderick Strong is now a Cruiserweight title match. Okay, so weight limits do not matter.
Announced for next Tuesday on NXT is Kay Lee Ray vs. Dakota Kai in a ladder match. Winner gets the War Games advantage for their team.
NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes (with Trick Williams) defeated Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano in a triple threat match to retain the title
Hayes retains after interference by Tony D'Angelo. Huge brawl erupts after the match.
This was most likely the best match of the night, but it was the hardest to recap. The action was fast and furious.
Lots of spots involving all three, as well as plenty of highspots. Quick pace throughout the match. Hayes did not look too out of place among the two veterans, but the vets have much more poise. Dunne and Gargano are also excellent pro wrestlers.
Gargano was the clear babyface, and he ran wild before a commercial break. They did not let up much during the break, as the pace remained quick. The show returned from the break with all three down selling on the mat. The pace soon quickens once again.
Some cool spots down the stretch that led to near falls. TTrick Williams tried to interfere, but Gargano thwarts him.
Dunne delivers a Bitter End on Gargano, and Dunne goes for a cover. Tony D'Angelo then runs in to pull Dunne out of the ring, breaking up the pin attempt. D'Angelo sends Dunne crashing into the ring steps. Meanwhile, Hayes leaps off the top rope with a guillotine legdrop on Gargano. Hayes then covers Gargano for a three count.
A huge brawl ensues between the new school and the old school of NXT. Knight and Waller are back out there fighting again. Hayes went to Pillmanize the arm of Gargano, much like Hayes did to Lumis on a previous episode. Tommaso Ciampa makes a save swinging a chair. The babyfaces clear the ring and clean house. Knight is apparently a part of the babyface team.
Bron Breakker enters the scene, and he screams "WAR GAMES" as the brawl erupts again. Breakker is clearly a babyfaces, but he joined the heels in fighting the dudes in the ring. So it looks like new school of NXT against old school. WCW did something similar. So did TNA. It pretty much sucked both times. Nevertheless, there appears to be a men's War Games match.
This show was a mixed bag. There was some good, and there was equally some bad. It was clearly a developmental show, but it nevertheless built up matches for the War Games supercard in a few weeks. Some things on the show were cringe, while other segments were fun to watch. The characters have little depth, much like characters on the main roster. Old tired ideas and concepts were rehashed into a more contemporary form. Some things should stay in the past. Let's move forward. It is not the '90s, yet this show felt very much like a '90s wrestling show at times. I liked the '90s, but we are in a new century.