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The time has come. After weeks and months of hints, the September 14 edition of WWE NXT presented the new era of the brand. NXT 2.0 would begin with a huge season premiere.
After the surprise announcement of Samoa Joe relinquishing the NXT Championship, William Regal moved fast to change what was originally a No. 1 contender’s match into a title bout. Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and LA Knight would fight to crown the new champion.
Another wait was finally over. InDex were officially getting married. Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis had an odd but endearing love affair that would end with Johnny Gargano walking Indi Wrestling down the aisle to marry The Tortured Artist.
After a brutal attack last week, Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro wanted revenge on Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. The two teams would clash in an intense fight between tag-team-title contenders.
The show also promised action from plenty of young up-and-coming talent. Ridge Holland and The Creed Brothers would compete in separate matches. B-Fab would make her in-ring debut.
This show did not have a major card set from the outset, but it was clear that it would be a special moment from the hype surrounding the night.
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NXT started with promos from Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, Kyle O’Reilly and LA Knight. When The Million Dollar Mega-Star finished talking himself up, Bron Breakker challenged Knight to a match. Knight accepted with noticeable arrogance.
He found himself quickly at a disadvantage against the newcomer. Breakker’s strength was too much for Knight, who was caught for a gorilla press powerslam for the loss.
Breakker def. Knight by pinfall.
While Breakker is a major prospect given his size and speed, he is a work in progress. This was a very odd booking decision to set the tone of the night. He defeated Knight in less than four minutes on the same night Knight would challenge for the NXT Championship.
This immediately made Knight look less worthy of the title match to come, and it was not even a great showcase for the newcomer. Breakker could have at least gotten to show off more here if he has more to show in the ring before the quick win.
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Josh Briggs talked up his tag team partner Brooks Jensen before the bell, and the two fought hard against a top tag team. However, Imperium used their speed and tag team chemistry to take advantage of mistakes by the new team. Fabian Aichner put this match away with a double underhook superplex.
Imperium def. Jensen and Briggs by pinfall.
While there was a serious possibility of another upset here, this was really just a squash to put over Imperium. Aichner and Marcel Bartel can make anything look good, but there was not much time to make the most of the spotlight.
The newcomer here, Jensen, did not seem ready for the moment. It is good to see NXT will do more with Briggs, but he may be paired with the wrong star to seriously succeed.
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Hit Row put over B-Fab before her in-ring debut. Surprisingly, she herself was short on words, looking to focus on action in the ring.
It was not much of a match once the bell rang. B-Fab crushed Katrina Cortez, catching her with a bicycle kick and a neckbreaker for the win.
B-Fab went off on Elektra Lopez after the bell, which brought up Legado del Fantasma. The two women were ready to fight, but Santos Escobar had Lopez wait for the right time to face B-Fab.
B-Fab def. Lopez by pinfall.
B-Fab did not look great in her first match. She was out of position a couple times in a short match, and Cortez did not sell well. What mattered in the moment was to give B-Fab a victory, but she will need to keep learning before she can seriously challenge the top women in NXT.
She and Lopez have a solid rivalry building, but they are not ready for the spotlight on their own. It is vital that these women are prepared for the moment before they have their first singles match.
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Carmelo Hayes brought out a new friend Trick Williams. He explained that he needed someone to watch his back with a future title opportunity. Trick told Hayes to stop being humble and take his shot at the top. The two walked out of the ring with confidence.
Duke Hudson interrupted the men as they walked out, disrespecting the man that beat him in the NXT Breakout Tournament. Trick and Hayes stomped Hudson into the mat before planting him with a springboard uppercut.
While it was a smart decision to pair Hayes and Trick together, their first night together was uncoordinated. The promo missed its mark from both men. The two spoke with limited confidence but could not seem to find a clear reason behind their words.
This seemed to be a way to turn Hayes, but he was beating down on a heel with limited experience himself. Hopefully, WWE will give the two better material going forward that sells their dynamic much better.
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Before the match, Dolin and Jayne hyped up Mandy Rose’s new look, fueled by her injury at the hands of Sarray. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter lost their smiles before the bell could ring, ready to get revenge on the heels.
God’s Greatest Creation interfered quickly to cause a disqualification. The heels beat down the faces until Sarray made the save. William Regal restarted the match as a six-woman tag.
Rose looked dominant early as she threw around everyone in her path, particularly beating down Catanzaro. Escaping the grip of Jayne, Catanzaro escaped and got the hot tag to Carter, who ran over the heels. Sarray got involved and went after Rose.
God’s Greatest Creation sent The Warrior of the Sun out of the ring. Rose then hit a bicycle knee on Carter to take the victory.
Catanzaro and Carter def. Dolin and Jayne by DQ; Rose, Dolin and Jayne def. Sarray, Catanzaro and Carter by pinfall.
This was the first legitimate match on the card. While it took a restart to get to where it needed to be, the six-woman tag team match was quality. Rose especially showed out throughout.
This was after the reveal of her hair change. Rose going brunette was not the big moment NXT made it out to be, but it at least seemed to fuel a change in personality. She was more aggressive in the ring and fit more naturally working with Dolin and Jayne.
It finally feels like the heel trio has found their rhythm together. NXT can use fresh heels even in a dynamic women’s division.
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Ridge Holland showed no remorse in his vicious attack on Drake Maverick. He sent the smaller star flying out of the ring before finally taking him out with Northern Grit. Grayson Waller checked on his brutalized partner while Holland stood tall.
Holland def. Maverick by pinfall.
This was a perfectly fine squash that did nothing for either man. It was just another opportunity to give Holland a win. This would be fine if there was a clear direction for him, but all he is at the moment is Pete Dunne’s lackey.
Maverick deserves better than he has gotten, but there is no way he is going far in NXT 2.0. He and Waller are a jobber tag team at the best.
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The Creed Brothers just enjoyed punishing their opponents before taking an easy victory. Brutus Creed made an impact before Julius Creed ended this with a rolling fireman’s carry into a low running uppercut.
Malcolm Bivens put over the newest member of Diamond Mine Ivy Nile. Kushida interrupted to challenge Roderick Strong to a match. Bivens made it official for next week for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Creed Brothers def. local competitors by pinfall.
The Creed Brothers are fun to watch but clearly unrefined. It will be interesting to see what happens when they are truly challenged in the ring. For now, we have only seen what they can do when their opponents just lay down for them.
Diamond Mine continues to grow with an interesting addition in Nile, who has a very unique physique for a women’s wrestler. Hopefully, she is not lost in the shuffle.
Kushida vs. Strong has been built a while, and it is the rare feud that has carried over clean to NXT 2.0. Hopefully, the two get the time to shine.
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Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland attacked Kyle O’Reilly in the locker room. The beatdown was too much for KOR to be able to compete tonight, so William Regal replaced him with another new star Von Wagner. Tommaso Ciampa cut a final promo, promising to get back his NXT Championship.
Wagner held the ring early, but he got DDTed by LA Knight followed by The Bruiserweight nearly breaking his fingers. The big man got back into the fight, clotheslining Dunne out of the ring follow by a reverse side slam to Knight.
Knight snuck in to plant The Bruiserweight with Blunt Force Trauma for a nearfall broken up by Wagner. Wagner got the Blunt Force Trauma for his trouble, but Ciampa took over. He nearly had Dunne with the Fairy Tale Ending, but The Bruiserweight turned it into the Bitter End.
Knight got involved again followed by Wagner, who hit The Million Dollar Mega-Star with an Olympic Slam. In the enduing action, Wagner hit a double underhook suplex on Knight then Ciampa ran in and hit the Fairy Tale Ending on Knight for the win.
Ciampa def. Knight, Dunne and Wagner by pinfall to become the new NXT champion.
After a night of too many short squashes, this was a breath of fresh air. Even though Wagner felt a bit shoe-horned in, he definitely showed up in this match. He looked at home in a limited role fighting top talent. WWE still needs to work on his look and presentation though.
This came down to a fight of Dunne and Ciampa to become the veteran that will lead NXT 2.0 immediately, and The Blackheart won that battle. He is now a two-time NXT champion that can work with just about anyone that NXT throws at him.
Given how this first night has gone, it seems like Ciampa will be fighting plenty of new stars in the coming months. It is just a question of who will dethrone him because that could come quickly if NXT 2.0 wants to move away from the old stars.
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Johnny Gargano, Odyssey Jones and Drake Maverick prepared for the wedding. Austin Theory arrived with Damian Priest, hugging Johnny Wrestling. Candice LeRae made sure that Indi Hartwell was prepared beforehand.
Gargano had trouble giving away the spotlight. Theory revealed that Ikemen Jiro had the rings. Indi Wrestling had some cute things to say in her vows. The priest questioned why Dexter Lumis had no vows and got knocked out with the Silence.
Beth Phoenix stepped up to officiate. Andre Chase tried to get involved, but Odyssey clawed him back into his seat. The Tortured Artist finally spoke to say “I do”. The Glamazon ordained the wedding, and the two passionately kissed.
Tommaso Ciampa shook hands with Bron Breakker backstage, who clearly had his eyes on the NXT Championship.
This was everything it needed to be. It was just a massive crazy wrestling comedy angle that did not actually go off the rails. Many stars got a chance to shine without overshadowing the central fun.
Lumis and Hartwell are married, and their angle can continue to grow more wild for NXT 2.0 as a married couple. It should be fun to watch Hartwell’s progression into the wife of The Tortured Artist as well as what will happen with Gargano.