NXT recap & reactions (Nov. 22, 2022): Wes Lee might not like being him

Are You Him?

Wes Lee & Carmelo Hayes put on a clinic this week. There’s something special about these two cats together that creates magic. They’re so similar in the ring but polar opposites outside of it. Those different philosophies provide ample storytelling opportunities, but tried and true one-upmanship always gets the job done. After all, they don’t call it “tried and true” for nothing.

I use these words for a few matches but it’s appropriate here: recapping it doesn’t do it justice. I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing ever, just that it’s pretty damn dope and nothing I say will elevate it in a reader’s eyes. Talking about the counters in the beginning of the match, the break neck pace in the middle, and the Trick Williams spot in the final act just seems silly when the match as a whole is worth all your time. Especially as it relates to Wes, a man who needed this win more than anything else. Even as North American champion, Wes felt a little inferior to Hayes. And he never pinned Hayes for the title, so there’s that too. Wes not only did that, but he knows Hayes so intimately that he used a lot of his own tricks—no pun intended—against him. He countered Nothing but Net, subdued Williams, and pinned Melo in the middle of the ring. That he did all this against a man wearing a shirt that simply read “HIM.” made it that much sweeter.

Where does Melo go from here? I’m not sure. He can’t clown Wes anymore or call him a paper champ. I don’t know if he can even go back to the barbershop after this. Bron Breaker’s dance card has no more room, as illustrated tonight through separate vignettes with Apollo Crews and Bron himself. They’re playing into the idea that Bron is a little underwater at the moment. If Crews or JD knocks him off his perch, perhaps that’s the opening for Melo. Plus? Him not going after the NXT championship after all this time just feels kinda silly. Wes is a better champion because of this match and because of all the luster put on that title, thanks in part to Melo.

Speaking of Wes, Dijak is his next challenge. The big man returned to the black and gold brand, sans any traces of RETRIBUTION. After weeks, we finally know the man who promised his own “brand of justice” would soon reign in NXT. I don’t see them taking the belt off of Wes right now, but Dijak brings a very different element than Melo or anyone Wes faced so far.

Count me in.


Extracurriculars

Almost Nice

Getting this out of the way early, but I’m very disappointed WWE2K22 is 67 percent off for Black Friday instead of 69 for obvious reasons. Such a wasted opportunity for immature people around the world. Le sigh, WWE & 2K. Le Sigh.

The Chase

Not only one of my favorite Foxy Brown songs, but emblematic of where Chase U found thresmevels this week in the middle of a tag team championship match. And we got here because Pretty Deadly insulted Chase U earlier during the show. The NXT tag champs, along with Grayson Waller, believe Duke Hudson is full of it. You know what “it” is in this case. Grayson thinks this whole Chase U thing is a ruse, while Pretty Deadly are a bit insulted that Duke dons the shirt and hangs with people they consider lesser than. A fight broke out and Duke talked him and Andre Chase into a tag team championship match.

Andre Chase scores with everything he does in NXT right now. His wrestling is no different. Chase is the sympathetic good guy so everything he does packs emotion and it’s fun rooting for him. Pretty Deadly and Duke are no slouches, which is why the match worked so well, but Chase just does more for me.

The story here is whether or not Duke really is sabotaging Chase U from the inside. He does stuff on the regular to make one question his allegiance. This week? After getting the hot tag and getting on a roll against the champs, Duke tagged Andre, who clearly had no business in the ring while he caught his breath and recovered. The two tried a double team maneuver but Duke inadvertently hit Chase with a big boot instead. Or was it inadvertent?

Pretty Deadly got the win with Spilt Milk and Chase U looked united in defeat. But at what point does Andre Chase or Thea Hail ask the same questions posed by Waller and Pretty Deadly?

All Wet

Cora Jade and Wendy Choo wrestled this week and the ending confuses me. The match itself was pretty good, with both women showing their skills and Wendy impressing just as much as Cora. But that ending…

Cora went for her kendo stick because of course, and Wendy blocked her attack. The predictable part was the ref getting the stick out of the ring and missing something. No issue with that since it comes with the territory. But the ref missed Cora throw Wendy’s cup of whatever in Cora’s face. Cora goes for the ph in while the ref counts three while his hand splashes down in multiple puddles.

I know if the ref doesn’t see it then it didn’t happen, but that’s egregious. Obviously this feud isn’t over with Cora cheating for the win, but I wish they went another route to get there.

Diamonds in the Rough

Ivy Nile vs. Kiana James was okay. A couple rough patches, most notably Ivy’s hurracanrana that caused a delayed reaction from Ms. James. But anyway, Ivy got the W here in a relatively quick match that also saw Fallon Henley get in Kiana’s face. I’m more interested in that due to the personalities involved.

The post match is where things got interesting if you’re a fan of the Diamond Mine. The Brothers Creed celebrated Ivy’s win and accepted Sanga & Veer’s challenge. Ivy, who still considers herself Sanga’s friend, put up a small protest. Nothing crazy but she clearly stated her objections to Brutus & Julius. While I love Diamond Mine in theory, the crew just isn’t the same since Stokley ditched diamonds for jade. If this is the beginning of the end, I’m okay with that.

Sooooo…

Scrypts is Reggie. Right? Do we all agree on that? We should. He looked good because Reggie’s aerial skills are unmatched. Some time in NXT might be good for him.

I’m not sure what I think about the gimmick. It’s a lot, and not all in a bad way. On one hand there’s the entrance, which is really dope with the portraits circling the arena. On the other hand there’s the calling card he leaves on his fallen opponent’s chest. You’re not Spider-Man, Reggie. That’s his bit.

And Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Here comes Nikkita Lyons to ruin Zoey Stark’s day. Zoey defeated Sol Rocca. Sol keeps improving and this was her best match so far. Letting her lean on her personality until she gets the wrestling kinks ironed out sounds like a good idea but hey, I don’t work for Shawn Michaels. It’s not a match worth seeing if you missed it, especially since the story is Lyons stepping to Zoey after the bell.

Toxic Relationships

Toxic Attraction kicked off the show gloating as usual. And with good reason. I got a chuckle out of Jacy Jayne referring to Alba Fyre as “Fire bat.” Jacy & Gigi Dolin called out Katana Chance & Kayden Carter because they want “their” titles back. The tag champs happily obliged, a war of words ensued, and the champs found themselves outnumbered because 3>2. But they found their third woman in Nikkita Lyons, who forged a bond with the champs and offered her help for a six-woman tag match.

Color me shocked if Zoey Stark doesn’t interfere in that somehow.


We often remark in our Slack channel that NXT does a lot in two hours. This was definitely one of those shows where they stuffed a lot into two hours but only some of it truly connected. The main event? Definitely. The Chase U stuff? Of course. Even Bron’s vignette on a boat discussing the weight of the crown caught my attention because it’s a different side for a guy who barks in the ring. But some of the matches, along with the handful of backstage segments, plus Schism taking time out of everyone’s lives to scold us about commercialism and Thanksgiving, made the show feel chaotic with no true rhythm. NXT is at its best when it slows down and moves methodically.

This was not that.

Grade: C+

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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