Wrestling Review: NXT 2.0 Heatwave (2022)

The sun is out, and the dial has been turned up to 11 in NXT 2.0 as it presents the live television special event Heatwave. Three championships will be on the line, including the nearly year-long reign of Bron Breakker being put to the test in the main event, when he faces the Irish Ace, JD McDonagh (formerly known as Jordan Devlin). Mandy Rose will also put her NXT Women’s Champion on the line against Zoey Stark, who recently returned from injury to win a battle royale for this golden opportunity. The self-proclaimed ‘A Champion’ Carmelo Hayes will also be in action as he defends the NXT North American Championship against the high-flying, good looking powerhouse Giovanni Vinci (formerly known as Fabian Aichner). A rivalry will be settle one way or the other, as Santos Escobar and Tony D’Angelo battle for the final time in a Street Fight with a huge stipulation: if Escobar wins, the Legado Del Fantasma team of Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde and Elektra Lopez are free from the D’Angelo Family services – but if D’Angelo wins, then Santos Escobar is banished from NXT 2.0 forever. The friendship between Cora Jade and Roxanne Perez will also be put to rest permanently, as the two former NXT Womens’ Tag Team Champions battle one-on-one in a huge grudge match

+ Santos Escobar (w/ Legado Del Fantasma) vs Tony D’Angelo (w/ Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo) (Street Fight): overall this was good, but perhaps not quite extreme or intense enough for the alleged feud ending match. The stipulations did add a bit of extra something to the match itself, but the “crowbar versus brass knuckles” thing is overplayed, and the ending was actually very similar to something we’ve seen before in this very same feud, and I don’t think it was ever mentioned directly. I hope both guys can use this to springboard themselves somewhere bigger and better
+ Carmelo Hayes (c) (w/ Trick Williams) vs Giovanni Vinci (NXT North American Championship): this match was almost ruined by some preposterous and frustrating referee tropes that NXT (and WWE as a whole) is too fond of, but otherwise this was a great match. Vinci is and always has been far too good to be ‘just’ a tag team guy when he was in IMPERIUM, so I am really hopeful that this is just the beginning of something bigger and better for him. Both of these guys should probably be injecting new life in the main WWE roster at this point

Bron Breakker (c) vs JD McDonagh (NXT Championship): nothing about this story has been exciting or interesting. There is no realm where JD McDonagh is a realistic opponent for Breakker, and nothing in this match convinced me otherwise. McDonagh just looked tiny, did not have any sort of edge that even the likes of Joe Gacy have had against Breakker. At best, “Jordan Devlin” was a discount version of Finn Balor. JD McDonagh is a discount version of even that. The post match stuff here was not good either, and made one person involved look really poor
Mandy Rose (c) vs Zoey Stark (NXT Women’s Championship): this was not a good match. Stark’s return was absolutely not a big deal, and the QR codes have not tied into her new character now at all, so that whole saga was a waste. Mandy has looked bored as champion, and even as a regular competitor on NXT in general over the last few months, and that never stopped even as this match reached what should have been a climax. This wasn’t good
Roxanne Perez vs Cora Jade: all the times I thought Jade was doing well for herself were proven somewhat wrong here, as Perez had her outclassed in almost every conceivable way. Another stupid referee decision took me out of things, but thankfully not to the extent of Hayes/Vinci before it. This whole story had felt so rushed, and frankly I’m just not sure why it has progressed so quickly

> all throughout the show were debuts and vignettes, but truthfully only one made me even slightly interested. I think they made it clear enough where this was leading, but it’s a no from me

Should you watch this event: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carmelo Hayes, Giovanni Vinci and Santos Escobar were the clear highlights of this show. I admire the fact that there are some real stories going on on NXT 2.0, but until the wrestling actually gets better, I can’t imagine any of these shows are going to be must-see TV.

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