[Please note: this was essentially just a regular NXT show, but I will attempt to review any company’s weekly shows that have a fun gimmick.]
For the first time in twenty years, Halloween Havoc returns this time under the NXT Banner. Two huge title fights will punctuate the event, as Io Shirai defends her NXT Women’s Championship against Candice LeRae, and NXT North American Champion Damien Priest faces Johnny Gargano one more time in the opening contest. Both of these matches will be contested in a match to be determined, as the host of the night, Shotzi Blackheart, will ‘Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal’ to reveal the stipulations of the title affairs. Dexter Lumis will fight Cameron Grimes in a Haunted House of Terror match, whilst the two largest competitors in the NXT Women’s division, Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez finally do battle, and Santos Escobar will battle Jake Atlas in a non-title match.
+ Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal: Io Shirai (c) vs Candice LeRae (NXT Women’s Championship): this was a lot of fun. The main event had ot be something big, and this was certainly that. These two are both great wrestlers in their own right, and while they probably have fought just as many times as Priest/Gargano, these women have mixed up their matches enough that it doesn’t feel repetitive. This was a good main event with some great looking albeit predictable spots
+ Cameron Grimes vs Dexter Lumis (Haunted House of Terror Match): this wasn’t a match, no matter what the official name of the segment was. I like Lumis and absolutely don’t understand the hate he gets online, but I will admit the first half of this was a lot more fun than the second. Lumis is a better “presence” than in-ring performer, but Cameron Grimes is money, gold, a star and whatever other names you can think of to say that he should be the world champion right now. Overall this was a positive
+ Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Gonzalez: it’s not often I get two women having a BIG BOI fight, but here were are and I am all for it. Gonzalez is hardly the most athletic of big women, but dammit if I wasn’t impressed by everything she or Rhea did. This was great
+ Pat McAfee, and the NXT Tag Team Champions, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, had a segment explaining their actions as of late. It had a few good reveals, twists, and turns that make me really look forward to whatever McAfee does in the future, as well as my boy Oney finally holding some gold
– Jake Atlas vs Santos Escobar (w/ Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza): this was entirely forgettable. I legitimately don’t remember anything that happened outside the ending, and I literally just watched it
– Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal: Damien Priest (c) vs Johnny Gargano (NXT North American Championship): given where the wheel landed, this match was pretty good, if somewhat standard. Gargano and Priest have fought many times now and it’s not that they don’t work well together, I’m just sick of them as a combination, and as Johnny Gargano being the bad guy against men exclusively larger than him. I don’t think there was anything new here until the “big surprise” at the end of the match, and it left me saying a big old ‘meh’
> husband and wife duo, Johnny Gargano and Candie LeRae came out as Jack Skellington and Sally, respectively, from The Nightmare Before Christmas, aka this humble MoshFish’s favourite movie of all time
Should you watch this event: This was not a great show, but between Pat McAfee’s talking skills, Raquel Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley smashing their lady meat together and the main event, it was well worth watching.