Between the NBA returning to action, the American and National League Championship Series, and another week of NHL games on ESPN, sports fans had plenty of viewing options on Tuesday. If those interests included wrestling, then they had an option there, too, in the form of NXT 2.0.
This week’s edition of the show was the last one before next week’s Halloween Havoc special. As such, the creative team used most of the show to squeeze in the final bit of hype for that show’s featured matches.
How effective they ultimately were will vary, but let’s take some time to look at what went well as the promotion continues its quest to churn out future superstars.
These are the two things that went right on the Oct. 19 episode of NXT 2.0.
Kickstarting a Johnny Gargano/Carmelo Hayes program
Let’s get some of the concerns and issues out of the way. Starting this show with a lengthy “wrestler talks, another wrestler interrupts, a fight then happens” segment a day after Raw opens the same way won’t soothe people worried about NXT becoming too much like Raw and SmackDown.
It’s also troubling to see them book Hayes as a goofball who gets his title stolen a week after he wins it, especially with Hayes winning the North American Championship in such a fluky manner (yes, it was done to set up whatever cinematic thing he’s doing with Dexter Lumis, but still, maybe give the guy a convincing win before building up a skit).
That said, there was plenty to like there. Even in the confines of a rote format, Hayes delivered a good mission statement promo, and Trick Williams’ ad-libs were fun, too. It was also good to see Johnny Gargano back in the role he’s best suited for: confident babyface. And the idea of having Gargano feud with Hayes as a means to boost Hayes’ credibility as a heel champion is a sound one.
Odyssey Jones squashes Andre Chase
As entertaining as Andre Dean Douglas Nowinski Chase is, his current gimmick has a clear “lower midcarder” ceiling. And you know what, that’s perfectly fine! Despite WWE’s goals with this new NXT, everyone isn’t going to become a main eventer, so if you can find a niche that could give you some longevity, that’s just as important as finding the next big star.
After all, you gotta have people around to put over the main event talent, and with this character, Chase is well equipped to get some easy heat before bumping around and taking a loss (and with this schtick, it won’t take much for him to get his heat back).
That’s the precise role he filled in his match against Odyssey Jones. The match didn’t last long, consisted of Jones getting roughly 98 percent of the offense, and ended with Jones flattening Chase with a running splash and scoring the clean fall.
It was exactly what it needed to be. Jones gets a dominant win while also getting revenge on Chase for interfering in his match against LA Knight a couple of weeks ago and Chase now has something else to scream at his students about.
(Also, bonus points to Chase for literally having his own “student section” in the crowd)