Wrestling Review: NXT 2.0 Halloween Havoc (2021)

The spookiest night of the year for NXT 2.0 is here, as horror movie icon Chucky plays host for the 2021 edition of Halloween Havoc. In the main event, the biggest test of young Bron Breakker’s career when he faces Tommaso Ciampa for Ciampa’s NXT Championship. Breakker’s family has a long history with Chucky, but it is the Psycho Killer Champion that Breakker will need to overcome. The concept of Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal returns, as two of NXT’s top titles will be contested under to be determined rules: NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez faces Mandy Rose of Toxic Attraction, and the team of MSK (Nash Carter and Wes Lee) will defend their NXT Tag Team titles against the IMPERIUM duo of Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. As determined on NXT last week, Io Shirai and Zoey Stark will be defending the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships against the two teams of Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta, and Mandy Rose’s Toxic Attraction teammates, Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolan. Also on the show, Carmello Hayes and Trick Williams will venture to Dexter Lumis’ haunted house to retrieve Hayes’ NXT North American Championship form Johnny Gargano, Solo Sikoa makes his NXT 2.0 debut, and Diamond Mind will hold an open challenge on this spooky edition of NXT 2.0.

+ Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Bronn Breakker (NXT Championship): this was a good match, which I would possibly even say was great when compared to the overly long, PWG-style matches NXT was having before the recent rebranding. Breakker is very clearly still a rookie, but hot damn he has such intensity and physical charisma it is hard to fault him outside of a technical aspect. Ciampa is one of my favourites, and has been for a long time, even with my disdain towards the previous title match format. This was still very good, and probably the second best match of the show
+ MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) (c) vs IMPERIUM (Faban Aichner & Marcel Barthel) (NXT Tag Team Championships) (Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal): Wes Lee is an incredible athlete, in a similar vein as Ricochet before him, but everything he does looks far too choreographed or rehearsed; it feels like he does the exact same movements before any offense and that takes me out of his matches. I have no strong opinion on Carter, which is a negative. Both of the Imperium boys are great, though, so I had something to enjoy here. I don’t know why the crowd has turned on MSK so strongly, but they would always be the lesser favourite against Imperium for me. Nonetheless, this was the only match where all competitors were experienced, so it was easily the best match on the show
+ Marcello Hayes and Trick Williams head to Dester Lumis’ haunted house. I’m a sucker for these Jeremy Borash produced vignettes, and this was another in the long line of good ones. I’m glad that people seem to have warmed up to Lumis, as I’ve been honest that I was a fan even when he was far less refined. As a side note, this Andrew Chase character is a hundred percent getting over with me
+ The Diamond Mine open challenge actually ended up being a good, albeit short match, though frankly I don’t know what the point of this was

Solo Sikoa debuted in a short segment, but it was given such little attention I think it detracted from the moment. I’m also not really sure what the point of a “tattooed, Samoan street fighter” is when Xyon Quinn is here doing the same thing; maybe that’s something to look out for
Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs Mandy Rose (NXT Women’s Championship) (Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal): this wasn’t good. Raquel’s only good matches have been monster’s brawls against Rhea Ripley, and matches where Io Shirai was able to do the heavy lifting. Against someone like Mandy Rose, there is just not that ability to keep the match on track. At least Mandy’s costume was certainly something to see
Joe Gacy vs Malik Blade: this was an advertisement for Halloween Kills disguised as a match, and we already know what I thought of that movie
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark (c) vs Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolan & Jacy Jayne) (Scareway to Hell Ladder Match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships): this was a dangerous trainwreck. Neither of Jayne nor Dolan should be in long matches on TV yet, and certainly not in ladder matches, and even Stark had a small little mistake of her own. Hartwell and Pirotta were fine, and Io was clearly the best person in the match, though even she nearly died at one point. This was a mistake in many levels

> this Joe Gacy character needs to change, or leave. Absolute ‘stop watching the show’ feeling from me, especially considering his wrestling/finishing move in particular are such garbage
> can they please stop hiding away from the fact that Breakker is Rick Steiner’s son? This show was full of nudge-nudge, wink-wink lines and it just makes the show look dumb when they won’t acknowledge it

Should you watch this event: There were a lot of interesting results on this show, and frankly I don’t know if I agree with all of them. The main event was the highlight, but the Haunted House segments were a lot of fun as well. It’s Catch 22 for the new NXT: until the superstars get experience, the matches won’t be very good; but they can’t get experience until they are wrestling in good matches. Almost like NXT shouldn’t have let Adam Cole and Bobby Fish get away.


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