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


are you him?

Wes Lee & Carmelo Hayes gave a clinic this week. There is something special about these two cats together that creates magic. They look so alike in the ring, but outside of it they are polar opposites. Those different philosophies provide ample opportunity to tell stories, but time-tested craftsmanship always gets the job done. After all, they don’t call it “tried and true” for nothing.

I use these words for a few similarities, but it’s appropriate here: summarizing doesn’t do it justice. I’m not saying it’s the best 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 early in the match, the breakneck 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 when it comes to Wes, a man who needed this win more than anything. 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. Not only did Wes do that, but he knows Hayes so well that he used many 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 to a man wearing a shirt that simply said “HIM.” made it so much sweeter.

Where does Melo go from here? I’m not sure. He can’t fool Wes anymore or call him a paper champion. I don’t know if he can go back to the hairdresser after this. Bron Breakker’s dance card is out of space, as illustrated tonight by separate vignettes featuring Apollo Crews and Bron himself. They play on the idea that Bron is a little underwater right now. If Crews or JD knock him off his throne, that might be the opening for Melo. Plus? That he’s not going after the NXT Championship after all this time just feels a little silly. Partly thanks to Melo, Wes is a better champion because of this match and all the shine that has been given to that title.

Speaking of Wes, Dijak is his next challenge. The great man returned to the black and gold brand, without any trace of retaliation. After weeks, we finally know that the man who promised his own “brand of justice” would soon rule in NXT. I don’t see them taking the belt off Wes at this point, but Dijak brings in a very different element than Melo or anyone Wes has dealt with so far.

I participate.


Almost nice

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

The pursuit

Not just one of my favorite Foxy Brown songs, but emblematic of where Chase U found threes at a tag team championship match this week. And we came here because Pretty Deadly Chase insulted U earlier on the show. The NXT tag champions, 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 is a little offended that Duke puts on the shirt and hangs out with people they consider lesser. A fight broke out and Duke pulled him and Andre Chase over for a tag team championship match.

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

The story here is whether Duke Chase is really sabotaging U from the inside out. He regularly does things to make someone doubt his loyalty. This week? After getting hot tagged and taking on the champions, Duke tagged 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 accidentally hit Chase with a big boot instead. Or was it unintentional?

Pretty Deadly won with Spilled Milk and Chase U seemed united in defeat. But when will Andre Chase or Thea Hail ask the same questions as Waller and Pretty Deadly?

Completely wet

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

Cora naturally went for her kendo stick and Wendy blocked her attack. The predictable part was the ref took the stick out of the ring and missed something. No problem with that as it comes with the territory. But the ref missed Cora throwing Wendy’s cup of whatever in Cora’s face. Cora goes in for the ph as the ref counts three as his hand splashes down several puddles.

I know if the ref doesn’t see it, it didn’t happen, but that’s outrageous. Obviously this feud isn’t over with Cora cheating for the win, but I wish they took a different path to get there.

Diamonds in the Rough

Ivy Nile vs. Kiana James was okay. A few difficult moments, especially Ivy’s orracanrana which caused a delayed reaction from Mrs. James. But anyway, Ivy got the W here in a relatively fast paced match that also included Fallon Henley in Kiana’s face. I’m more into that because of 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 victory and accepted Sanga & Veer’s challenge. Ivy, who still considers herself Sanga’s friend, filed a small protest. Nothing crazy but she has clearly expressed her objections to Brutus & Julius. While I love Diamond Mine in theory, the crew just hasn’t been the same since Stokley dumped diamonds for jade. If this is the beginning of the end, that’s fine with me.


Scrypts is Reggie. Right? We all agree on that, don’t we? We should. He looked good because Reggie’s skills in the air are second to none. Some time in NXT could be good for him.

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

And just when you thought it was safe…

Here comes Nikkita Lyons to ruin Zoey Stark’s day. Zoey defeated Sol Rocca. Sol continues to improve and this was her best match to date. Letting her lean on her personality until she irons out the wrestling bumps sounds like a good idea, but hey, I don’t work for Shawn Michaels. It’s not a game worth watching if you missed it, especially since the story is Lyons stepping up to Zoey after the bell.

Toxic relationships

Toxic Attraction started the show with gloating as usual. Rightly so. I had to chuckle at 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 champions happily agreed, a war of words ensued and the champions were outnumbered as 3 > 2. But they found their third wife in Nikkita Lyons, who bonded with the champions and offered her help for a tag match of six women.

Color me shocked if Zoey Stark somehow doesn’t get involved.

We often notice in our Slack channel that NXT does a lot in two hours. This was definitely one of those shows where they packed a lot into two hours, but only part of it really connected. The main act? Surely. The Chase U thing? Naturally. Even Bron’s vignette on a boat about the weight of the crown caught my attention because it’s another side to a man barking in the ring. But some of the matches, along with the handful of backstage segments, plus Schism taking the time out of everyone’s lives to berate us about commercialism and Thanksgiving, made the show feel chaotic with no real 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.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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