NXT 2.0 kicked off its first show of the year with a stacked card. NXT New Year’s Evil should be considered the true, kicking-off point for the brand to be fully led by the “new blood” that will stand at the forefront for NXT.
Championship Unification Match – Carmelo Hayes vs. Roderick Strong
The show kicks off with Carmelo Hayes vs. Roderick Strong: Champion Vs. Champion. The A Champion vs the guy I still refer to as the Messiah of the Backbreaker. By the way, it was announced that this match will determine who will be the NXT North American champ, so I’m guessing that means the cruiserweight title will be defunct after the match is over.
A collar and elbow tie-up to start things off.
The two champions trade holds for a brief moment, shortly after. The feeling-out process consists of some arm drags, headlocks, and a great show of athleticism.
Midway thru and it’s apparent this match is going to be an even affair with both men gaining the upper hand at different times.
In the end, Hayes picked up the win with a move that’s straight out of Cena’s playbook. The leg drop bulldog off the top rope.
I have no idea what he calls the move. So until it gets coined, it will be known as that.
AJ Styles confronts Grayson Waller
The crowd shows Styles some love before Waller ever approaches the ring. Styles thanks them. He says it’s the passion that makes NXT go round and he doesn’t want Waller to take that away from the fans.
Soon after, Waller makes his unfortunate entrance. The crowd has some words for Waller and certainly isn’t trying to hear anything he has to say. Could you blame them?
Waller states he’s living in Styles’ head, rent-free, and teases him for his loss to Omos.
Styles challenges Waller to match and of course, Waller doesn’t want to face AJ tonight. Waller says he’ll be ready next week, though. He then takes a cheap shot and misses. The two have a back-and-forth brawl. Then Waller makes his escape.
Imperium vs. MSK & Riddle
This match had a little of everything. By that, I mean there was something everyone, in other words.
MSK came with the flippy fast past wrestling that old school guys like to rag on. Riddle came with the star power and Imperium came with that smash-mouth hard-hitting, yet technical style, reminiscent of the old school days.
Riddle picks up the win for his team with an RKO on Imperium’s Marcel Barthel; paying homage to his tag team partner Randy Orton.
NXT Women’s Championship Match – Mandy Rose vs. Cora Jade vs. Raquel Gonzalez
So Mandy makes her grand entrance in a helicopter, Raquel arrives via a badass motorcycle and Jade makes her way to the ring like she always does. With a skateboard. Mind you, not a special skateboard, not one that sparkles, not one with shining bright little diamonds that says “Next NXT Women’s Champ”… just a skateboard.
Anyway, Gonzalez starts the match with a big boot to Jade. It’s everyone for herself, as neither of the three is teaming up.
At one point Gonzalez military presses Jade out of the ring and Mandy sidesteps an incoming Jade. Mandy then tries to make a quick escape, but Ms. Gonzalez catches her before she can do so.
Just as it looks like Big Mami Cool is about to regain the title with her patented chingona bomb, Jade climbs the top turnbuckle and breaks up the pin.
Now, it looks as though Jade has an opportunity to win.
She attempts a roll-up, but Mandy counters with a pin of her own. On this night, it was enough to pick up the win and consequently keep her title.
NXT Championship – Bron Breakker vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Breakker shows off his dominance and strength during the beginning of the match by no selling a chop from Ciampa and applying a gator roll into a stalling vertical suplex. While Breakker gains the upper hand at the start of the match, the veteran manages to turn things around.
Later on, we get a call back from their previous match where Breakker climbs the 2nd rope. This time he doesn’t slip because this time, he has 2nd thoughts. However, the hesitation leaves him open for Ciampa to attack him.
Ciampa attempts a widow’s bell on the outside, but it’s countered into an Alabama slam through the announce table.
Ciampa is able to once again regain control of the match. He hits Breakker with some hard-hitting knee strikes and plants him with the fairy tale ending. Ciampa goes for the cover. The ref counts 1… 2… but Breakker kicks out.
Eventually, Breakker hits a 2nd rope bulldog and follows it up with a Steiner Recliner. Ciampa shockingly taps out.
Bron Breakker is the new NXT Champion.