NXT Recap & Reactions (November 22, 2022): Wes Lee may not like being him

Are you him?

Wes Lee and Carmelo Hayes are hosting a clinic this week. There is something special about these two cats together that creates magic. They are so similar in the ring but polar opposite outside of it. These different philosophies provide ample storytelling opportunities, but a tried and true skill always gets the job done. After all, they don’t call it “tried and true” for nothing.

I use those words for some correspondence, but it’s appropriate here: recapping doesn’t do it justice. I’m not saying it’s the coolest thing ever, just that it’s pretty damn amazing and nothing I say is going to elevate it in a reader’s eyes. Talking about the counters in the beginning of the match, the broken rhythm in the middle and the Trick Williams commercial in the final act seems silly when the match as a whole is worth all your time. Especially with regard to Wes, a man who needed this win more than anything. Even as a North American champion, Wes felt a little inferior to Hayes. And he’s never blocked Hayes for the title, so there’s that too. Not only did Wes do it, but he knows Hayes so intimately that he’s used many of his tricks—no pun intended—against him. He countered Nothing but Net, submitted Williams and pinned Melo in the center of the ring. That he did all of this against a man wearing a shirt that just said “HIM”. he made it much sweeter.

Where does Melo go from here? I’m not sure. He can no longer clown Wes or call him a paper champion. I don’t even know if he’ll be able to go back to the barbershop after this. Bron Breakker’s dance card is running out of room, as illustrated tonight through separate vignettes featuring Apollo Crews and Bron himself. They’re toying with the idea that Bron is a little underwater at the moment. If Crews or JD knock him off his perch, maybe that’s the opening for Melo. More? The fact that he’s not going to the NXT Championship after all this time seems a little silly. Wes is a better champion thanks to this match and thanks to all the luster given to that title, thanks in part to Melo.

Speaking of Wes, Dijak is his next challenge. The big man is back to the black and gold branding, with no trace of RETRIBUTION. After weeks, we finally know that the man who promised his “brand of justice” would soon rule NXT. I don’t see them taking the belt off Wes right now, but Dijak brings a very different element to Melo or anyone Wes has faced before.

Count me in.


Extracurriculars

Almost beautiful

Get that out of the way soon, but I’m very disappointed that WWE2K22 has a 67% Black Friday discount instead of 69 for obvious reasons. Such a wasted opportunity for immature people all over the world. I sigh them, WWE and 2K. I sigh.

Hunting

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 in the show. The NXT Tag Champions, along with Grayson Waller, believe Duke Hudson is full of them. You know what “it” is in this case. Grayson thinks this whole Chase U thing is a ruse, while Pretty Deadly is a little offended that Duke is shirt-wearing and hanging out with people he considers inferior. A fight broke out and Duke got 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 nice guy, so everything he does has emotion and it’s fun to root 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 Duke is really sabotaging Chase U from the inside. He does things regularly to question his fidelity. This week? After getting the hot tag and making a shot against the champions, Duke tagged in Andre, who clearly had no business in the ring as he caught his breath and recovered. The two attempted a double team maneuver but Duke inadvertently hit Chase with a large boot. Or was it involuntary?

Pretty Deadly got the win with Spilled Milk and Chase U looked united in the loss. But at what point would Andre Chase or Thea Hail ask the same questions Waller and Pretty Deadly asked?

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 ability and Wendy impressing just as much as Cora. But that ending…

Cora chose her kendo stick because obviously, and Wendy blocked her attack. The predictable part was the referee pulling the stick out of the ring and missing something. No problem with that since it comes with the territory. But the ref missed Cora who threw Wendy’s cup in Cora’s face. Cora goes for the ph in as the ref counts three of hers as her hand splashes in more puddles.

I know if the referee doesn’t see it then it didn’t happen, but it’s blatant. Obviously this feud didn’t end with Cora cheating for the win, but I wish they’d take another route to get there.

Diamonds in the rough

Ivy Nile versus Kiana James was fine. A couple of difficult moments, especially Ivy’s hurracanrana which caused a delayed reaction from Mrs James. But still, Ivy got the W here in a relatively quick match that also saw Fallon Henley get into Kiana’s face. I’m more interested in this because of the personalities involved.

Postgame is where things get interesting if you’re a fan of diamond mining. Brothers Creed celebrated Ivy’s victory and accepted Sanga & Veer’s challenge. Ivy, who still considers herself a friend of Sanga’s, filed a small protest. She’s nothing crazy, but she clearly stated her objections to Brutus and Julius. While I love the diamond mine in theory, the crew hasn’t been the same since Stokley ditched diamonds for jade. If this is the beginning of the end, that’s fine with me.

So…

Scrypts is Reggie. Right? Are we all in agreement on this? We should. He looked good because Reggie’s aerial skills are unmatched. Some time in NXT could be good for him.

I’m not sure what I think about makeup. That’s a lot, and not all in a bad way. To one side is the entrance, which is quite stunning with the portraits circling the arena. On the other is the business card he leaves on his fallen opponent’s chest. You’re not Spider-Man, Reggie. This is the part of him.

And just when you thought it was safe…

Nikkita Lyons arrives to ruin Zoey Stark’s day. Zoey defeated Sol Rocca. Sol keeps getting better and this was her best match yet. Letting her lean into her personality until she sorts out the wrestling kinks seems like a good idea, but hey, I don’t work for Shawn Michaels. It’s not a match worth watching if you missed it, especially since the story is Lyons approaching Zoey after the bell.

Toxic relationships

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

Color me shocked if Zoey Stark doesn’t somehow interfere with this.


We often point out in our Slack channel that NXT does A lot in two hours. This was definitely one of those shows where they crammed a lot into two hours, but only some of it really connected. The main event? Decidedly. The Chase U stuff? Of course. Bron’s cartoon on a boat talking about crown weight also caught my eye because it’s a different side to a guy barking in the ring. But some of the matches, coupled with the handful of backstage segments, plus Schism taking time out of everyone’s lives to chide us about commercialism and Thanksgiving, made for a chaotic show with no real pacing. NXT is at its best when it slows down and moves methodically.

This wasn’t that.

Grade: C+

This is my vote and I stand by it. Your turn.

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