Wrestling Review: NXT 2.0 Stand and Deliver (2022)

As the WWE takes over Dallas for Wrestlemania weekend, NXT 2.0 will see their largest show of the year at Stand and Deliver. In the main event, the unlikely and arrogant new champion, the highly decorated main roster superstar, Dolph Ziggler will defend his NXT Championship against the former champion, Bron Breakker. Ziggler shocked the world by winning the title at NXT 2.0 Roadblock, and will look to once again leave the NXT audience stunned by defeating the young challenger. Mandy Rose will also defend her NXT Women’s Championship against noe just one opponent, but three of the top contenders in NXT 2.0: the inexperienced but improving underdog Cora Jade; the most decorated woman in NXT, Io Shirai, and; the longest reigning women’s champion in NXT UK, Kay Lee Ray. Carmelo Hayes has defiantly put his North American Championship on the line in a five way ladder match between himself, Santos Escobar, Solo Sikoa, Grayson Waller and Cameron Grimes. LA Knight and the leader of IMPERIUM, Gunther, are also set to collide in what is essentially a number one contender’s contest between two of NXT 2.0’s top talent.

A triple threat tag team contest is set to determine the NXT Tag Team Championship, as the reigning champions of IMPERIUM, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner, defend against both the teams of the former champions Nash Carter and Wes Lee of MSK, and the winners of the 2022 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, The Creed Brothers of the Diamond Mine, Julius and Brutus Creed. The Creeds were originally owed a championship match due to winning the Dusty Cup, but were taken out in the parking lot before their match, so MSK took their place, while rumours swirl as to who was responsible for that backstage assault — and the Creeds believing MSK are prime suspects. In what is potentially his final appearance on NXT, Tommaso Ciampa will set out to show the young Tony D’Angelo that there is more to being an NXT Superstar than just the fame and fortune, as Ciampa proves why he is the heart and soul of the NXT locker room.

+ Dolph Ziggler (c) vs Bron Breakker (NXT Championship): this was a good match, perhaps even one of Breakker’s best so far in his very short career – but it went the exact way I thought it would, including the ending stretch, finish, and aftermath. I still struggle to believe that Ziggler has become the champion of NXT when there are so many, even in this very review, that deserve it, would make as much sense, and are otherwise wasted. I understand the story, I understand the real world reasoning, and I understand why they think someone like Ziggler would have been good to face Breakker, but it just makes me not want to watch the show. Breakker looked good, but he’s still very inexperienced. He didn’t look as out of place as in the triple threat match from Roadblock, however, so that is already a huge improvement
+ IMPERIUM (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) (c) vs MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) vs The Creed Brothers (Julius Creed & Brutus Creed) (NXT Tag Team Championships): I still can’t quite wrap my head around the story; why were MSK in this match? Both the IMPERIUM boys are being wasted on NXT, when they could be putting on absolute bangers with main roster teams. The Creeds are still very new, but they have a great look, can do some impressive things, and I am sure will be just fine (until the inevitable breakup and feud). This was fine, but Barchel and Aichner deserve better, MSK don’t deserve as much, and the Creeds need more ring time
+ Carmelo Hayes (c) vs Santos Escobar vs Grayson Waller vs Solo Sikoa vs Cameron Grimes (NXT North American Championship Ladder Match): I say it every time, but Waller is going to be a huge star. Solo Sikoa tried some power stuff that frankly he just didn’t look cut out for, but the rest of the four men were all great. Escobar was clearly placed as the centrepiece for the match to run smoothly, but he, Grimes and Hayes are each good enough to ensure this went well. It did fall into the same sort of WWE-style ladder match traps that all the other do, but it was still fun

Gunther vs LA Knight: I can’t stress enough how much I hate the name change and now they’ve gotten rid of Gunther’s music too. What a time to be alive. LA Knight is great in his role, but I didn’t need to see this on PPV. Give me more Gunther versus McIntyre, Lashley, Lesnar, Rollins, Riddle, and the like instead of wasting both these guys like this
Mandy Rose (c) vs Cora Jade vs Io Shirai vs Kay Lee Ray (NXT Women’s Championship): this was not good. Ignoring the fact that Shirai looked like she was injured at one point, Cora Jade was well out of her depth (again), Mandy is more character than worker, and Kay Lee Ray can’t carry a character, a rookie and an injured Io Shirai by herself. I fully understand the idea that multi-person matches mean everyone only has a fraction of the stuff to do, and therefore can hope that their stuff looks extra good but that’s a ridiculous idea. If you can’t trust your singles champion and top challenger to go 10 minutes in a PPV match, maybe neither of them should be there. And can Cora Jade even skate, or is the skateboard literally just for show? How embarrassing
Tommaso Ciampa vs Tony D’Angelo: this was perfectly fine, but hardly worthy of being on this major show. I am pretty sure D’Angelo and Pete Dunne had this exact same match as the main even of a random NXT show not too long ago

> Apparently Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai teamed up again on the pre-show to face Gigi and Jacey of Toxic Attraction for the NXT Tag Titles. I didn’t know there even was a pre-show, so I’ll have to go back and watch that at some point.
> Breakker was directly called the son of Rick Steiner at the Hall of Fame ceremony, and then he introduced them himself. Why can’t he just be Bronson Steiner, Bron Steiner, Rex Steiner, Bron Rexsteiner etc. Why does he have to have such a dumb name?

Should you watch this event: This was a perfectly fine show, but this was absolutely not a great show. The overreliance on multi-person title matches is killing the show for me, especially after watching all of the New Japan Cup (a single elimination, one-on-one tournament). All of IMPERIUM and Legado del Fantasma, Grimes and LA Knight are better than this show.

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