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NXT 2.0: Welcome to NXT, AJ Styles
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NXT 2.0: Welcome to NXT, AJ Styles

AJ Syles vs Grayson Waller main event graphic

Reviews by Dave

By David E Houston II

Show air date: January 11, 2022

NXT Episode 654 had to follow up a great New Year’s Evil show from last week and didn’t come close. Right back to “NXT Dark” with a ton of matches and vignettes and not much standing out.

New NXT champion Bron Breakker kicked off the show with a good promo.
No days off, though? You work one show a week, brother. Calm down. You’re not even working this week. Refreshing that no one interrupted him.

Santos Escobar defeated Xyon Quinn

Hopefully ending a terribly boring feud, Santos Escobar beat Xyon Quinn in a match…uh…for Elektra Lopez. They never got out of first gear. Esco tried but Quinn is still too limited. Lopez helped Santos win. This should be done. Xyon looked like an idiot.

Photoshoot and All

Women’s champion Mandy Rose took a break from being bootleg Beautiful to be the Equate Tenille Dashwood, photoshoot and all. Bland as a blond, bland as a brunette.

Cameron Grimes defeated Damon Kemp

Cameron Grimes was back on TV, beating promising youngster Damon Kemp. Nice return. Malcolm Bivens watched from the ramp. Hm.

Malik Blade and Edris Enofé defeated Joe Gacy and Harland

By DQ

Malik Blade and Edris Enofé won their play-in match for the Dusty Cup (who else is even in for a play-in?) in an upset over Joe Gacy and Harland by disqualification when Harland would not relent in beating up Blade in the corner, ignoring the ref’s five count. Interesting with Gacy working most of the match and making it better than it would have been otherwise.

Tony D’Angelo defeated Pete Dunne

In a Crowbar on a Pole match

Pete Dunne vs Tony D’Angelo would probably be a good match but we got a Crowbar on a Pole match. A match that never seemed to end. Just not good and way too long. Tony D won.

Von Wagner was suspended. No one cares. Less than an hour later, it’s rescinded. Even fewer people cared.

Indi Hartwell, Persia Pirotta and Wendy Choo defeated Kacy Catanzaro, Kayden Carter, and Amari Miller

An odd six-woman match with Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta teaming with the exhausted Wendy Choo to beat Kacy Catanzaro, Kayden Carter, and Amari Miller. Nothing special but I thought Miller had some very nice moments on offense and bumping. Choo had some good-looking offense.

Solo Sikoa vs Boa

Double Countout, No-Contest

Solo Sikoa and Boa had a good, physical brawl (both guys were busted open), easily the best thing on the show so far. Double count out means we’re going to get some more. Ignore Boa’s magic trick later. Don’t dumb down this feud.

See Also
Main event graphic for AEW Dynamite

Rest in Piss to All My Opps

North American champion Carmelo Hayes (and the insufferable Trick Williams) came out and cut a promo. That’s it.

Main Event: AJ Styles defeated Grayson Waller

AJ Styles proved again why he’s an all-time great wrestler, carrying Grayson Waller to far and away the best match he’s ever had in a good main event.
The match was about 70-30 AJ and that’s the only way it would work and not be a disaster.

AJ won after making the younger star look good and then, to add insult to injury, introduced long time (way too long) foe, LA Knight, in Knight’s return after a parking lot beatdown weeks ago by Waller.

A completely missable first hour but the second hour got a lot better.

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Reviews by Dave is the best wrestling review on the internet! It’s written by David Houston II, who writes about WWE NXT 2.0, AEW Dynamite, and IMPACT Wrestling.

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