By: Frank Hyden
NXT held their Halloween Havoc 2020 show last night and it featured a title change and the return of a NXT superstar. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Johnny Gargano beat Damian Priest to become the NXT North American Champion
The wheel landed on a Devil’s Playground match, which is No DQ, falls count anywhere. Priest got a cool live guitar intro. The match itself was pretty good, though it was much more of a brawl than a match. They went around the arena smashing each other with weapons until they got to the elevated stage where the wheel was. Some guy in a Ghostface mask and robes came out and hit Priest in the back with a lead pipe and Gargano smashed a tombstone over Priest’s head, knocking him off the stage through one of the crypts there were a part of the set. Gargano then pinned Priest to become the new NXT North American Champion. I assume this means Priest is getting called up to either RAW or Smackdown soon. He has the size Vince McMahon covets and he has charisma and is a good worker but we’ll see. Maybe they’ll keep him on NXT longer?
GOOD- Pat McAfee promo, Pete Dunne return
Pat McAfee came out with the NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. He cut an old-school heel promo and talked about how he had hired Ridge Holland to take out Adam Cole but when Holland got hurt, he hired Lorcan and Burch to help take over NXT. This brought out Kyle O’Reilly, the last member of Undisputed Era standing, with the others being hurt last week. O’Reilly was hesitant to get in the ring until Pete Dunne made his return, handing Kyle one of the chairs he had. However, he turned on O’Reilly and joined the others as they stomped him. I wondered on Twitter if Timothy Thatcher will join the group as they could call themselves some variation of Shooters or something but again, we’ll see. If they’re going to feud with UE I imagine they’ll add another guy to the group, unless McAfee can make more shows or wants to wrestle more? This faction looks like it’ll be a way to get a lot of good wrestlers who maybe aren’t the best talkers together, I like that.
GOOD/BAD- Santos Escobar beat Jake Atlas
This was too much of a throwaway to be too good. They weren’t given a lot of time nor was this match built up. It was just kind of, “Hey, here’s a non-title match between Escobar and Atlas.” What action we got was good because these guys are good wrestlers, but you knew what was going to happen. The rest of Legado Del Fantasma interfered and cost Atlas the match. The best part of the match was when the ref was leaning into the second rope yelling at the guys outside the ring as Atlas leaped over her and onto them. That was a cool visual. There just wasn’t enough time given here.
BAD/GOOD- Dexter Lumis beat Cameron Grimes in a Haunted House of Terror fight
They did some stuff in an abandoned house with some zombies and other such nonsense. I didn’t really care much for it but it does fit these guys. Grimes is like Shaggy from Scooby Doo and Lumis is like the villain of the week. It was ok for what it was. The fight moved to the arena, where smoke filled the ring floor. The zombies showed back up and Grimes eventually got knocked out with The Silence as Lumis won. A part I thought was funny was when Wade Barrett said “The fog is everywhere!” and Vic Joseph responded “Are you afraid of the fog, Wade?” to which Barrett responded, “I’m afraid of the zombies hidden by the fog, Vic, keep up!”. The funniest part to me, though was when Wade asked if that was Vic’s hand on his leg after the match, to which Vic said no. Wade then said, “Oh, we better get out of here!” Just the deadpan way he said that was hilarious.
GOOD- Rhea Ripley beat Raquel Gonzalez
This was a nice Hoss-style match. They did some good power moves and Ripley was very good at selling her surprise at the power of Gonzalez and the damage she did to her back. Ripley powered through and got the win but this showed that Gonzalez can hang with Ripley. It might have been fun to have Gonzalez get the win but I don’t know what their plans are? Maybe Gonzalez gets the win next time and they set up a trilogy match between them?
GOOD- Io Shirai beat Candice LeRae to retain her NXT Women’s Title
This was a Tables, Ladders, and Scares match. LeRae took some really stiff bumps in this match. Shirai took punishment as well. She also got a live musical intro. Shirai suplexed LeRae onto a folded out chair and she landed on the back support part, which appeared to injure her shoulder. They both took a swinging neckbreaker through 2 tables that were set up at ringside, which logically doesn’t make much sense for LeRae to do that because she could have just thrown Shirai down through the table without going through one herself. But it’s wrestling so I guess you’re not supposed to think too hard about that. The Ghostface guy returned and carried LeRae up to the top of the ladder but Shotzi Blackheart ran in and tossed him into a bunch of chairs on the mat. The biggest bump of the match came when LeRae was on top on one ladder and Shirai pushed it over and LeRae went over the top rope through a ladder that was suspended between the ring apron and the announce table. She seemed to land on the ladder knees-first. Ouch. Shirai then grabbed the belt and won the match. This was a stiff match. I was kind of hoping that LeRae would have won, since Johnny Gargano won earlier in the night, but I’m guessing they have a plan. This was a hell of a way to end the night.
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