Wednesday’s episode of NXT 2.0 spent a significant portion of its runtime setting up matches for the upcoming NXT WarGames pay-per-view, which will air on Dec. 5. While WWE didn’t completely phone in the build to WarGames as it did with this past Sunday’s Survivor Series show, the hype for this still has that “we waited until the last minute to do this” feel.
As has been the norm with this show, fans saw a mix of good and bad on this week’s episode (and you can’t handwave it by saying it’s developmental since they’re still running PPVs and is still on national television). We can get to the negatives later, but let’s focus on the positives for now.
These are two of the things that went right on the Nov. 23 episode of NXT 2.0.
Honorable mention: Ivy Nile- Nile looked impressive in her enhancement win over Yulisa Leon last night, getting the victory with a Dragon Sleeper that looked agonizing to take. She’s still a little rough around the edges, but her episode is apparent every time she’s on TV.
Honorable mention: Heel Grayson Waller- Much of what made Waller’s character so grating (other than the not caring about wins and losses stuff and his gear) was how it was framed as a babyface. WWE thankfully changed course there, and he looked good in defeat against Tommaso Ciampa in the opening match. If he’s going to have these sort of competitive matches, however, WWE will need to trim down the dorkier aspects of his gimmick.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne
Matches themselves rarely make these pieces since their quality has as much to do with the wrestlers’ skill as it does the booking, but this triple threat match deserves some recognition for how great it was.
Of course, that shouldn’t have been much of a surprise given who was involved, but WWE will get some kudos here for recognizing how good Carmelo Hayes, Johnny Gargano, and Pete Dunne are and giving them plenty of time to do what they do best.
The finish, while a little wonky, was fine; Tony D’Angelo interfering made some sense in that he had placed a bet on Hayes winning (of course he did) and WWE seems to be in the “protect Pete Dunne” business and the visual pin mostly did the trick there.
Cameron Grimes challenges Duke Hudson to a “hair vs. hair” match.
As goofy as Cameron Grimes can be, when the time comes to cut a “get your butt to the box office this instant” promo, he has shown the capability to make draw fans in with his conviction and candor. He added another bit of evidence for that take on Wednesday.
A week removed from Duke Hudson cutting some of his hair and beard off because Hudson didn’t know that bluffing was a thing in the card game he’s supposedly an expert in, Grimes stood in the ring, discussed his humble upbringing, and explained how his hair and beard served as a reminder of how far he’d come. It was easily one of the best promos on the show since the 2.0 transition.
Grimes then challenged Hudson — who addressed Grimes via a bland pre-taped promo — to a hair vs. hair match, which Husdon accepted while holding Grimes’ locks as a trophy.
Needless to say, all of this was far more effective than the contrived poker nonsense.