Wrestling Review: NXT New Year’s Evil (2023)

The junior brand of the WWE looks to kick of 2023 in style with the annual special live episode, NXT New Year’s Evil, where the top prize on the show will be defended, as well as two new number one contenders crowned. Bron Breakker currently sits atop the mountain in NXT, as the prodigious rookie has turned back challenger after challenger. However, standing in his way tonight is the arrogant Aussie, Grayson Waller, who has earned this championship bout after winning the first ever Iron Survivor match back at NXT Deadline. Meanwhile, a 20 woman battle royal will take place to determine who is next in line for Roxanne Perez’s NXT Women’s Championship, and former tag team champions Pretty Deadly have promised to run a gauntlet of the top teams in all of NXT in order to earn another shot at the NXT Tag Team Champions, The New Day. Also on the show: the Creed Brothers, Julius and Brutus, will finally go one on with Indus Sher, Veer and Sanga; Tony D’Angelo must contend with the newly rejuvenated DIJAK; and, tonight will see the second meeting between the far-from-regal Englishman Charlie Dempsey and one of NXT newest superstars, Hank Walker.

+ Hank Walker (w/ Drew Gulak) vs Charlie Dempsey: I’m all aboard the Charlie Dempsey train, and I can’t wait to see what he is given the chance to do. The story of Hank Walker has run its course in my eyes, and until he is actually a good enough wrestler to be in these sort of storylines in a non-ironic sense, then I’ll pass on him, thanks
+ Tony D’Angelo (w/ Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo) vs DIJAK: I’m a big fan of Dijak, no matter what his name is at any given point, and I am glad he’s being given a bit more to work with this time around. D’Angelo is one of those NXT 2.0 guys that has actually worked better than you might expect, and it made for a heated match. I don’t quite understand the alignment of D’Angelo/Stacks as of late, but I won’t complain about it as long as it remains this entertaining

Women’s Championship No. 1 Contender Battle Royal: there was exact one surprising thing about this match, and it was the first thing that happened. After that, this was the same sub-par battle royal we are all too familiar with, featuring a small number of competent women and a much larger number of women that look good but can’t wrestle. I feel like the ending was unnecessarily complicated, especially considering the story they were trying to tell
Bron Breakker (c) vs Grayson Waller (NXT Championship): as a big fan of both guys, but Waller in particular, I was really looking forward to this as I thought both guys could have a great chance to show what they can do in a big match with a big spotlight, and a good story behind it. Breakker is an absolute prodigy, though it was Waller that had the greatest moment of the match. Unfortunately, the ending here sucked so badly that I can’t even believe it was allowed to happen, and it retroactively ruined my enjoyment of the match to that point
Pretty Deadly look to win a Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender Gauntlet: I love Pretty Deadly, and can’t believe they are slaving away on the NXT roster instead of tearing up Raw, but at least it seems like WWE is attempting to split up the Raw/SmackDown tag titles from the Usos; dare I live in hope that Pretty Deadly will be on those shows sooner rather than later? I didn’t care for this gauntlet overall, especially the frankly unsatisfying conclusion
Indus Sher (Veer & Sanga) vs The Creed Brothers (Julius Creed & Brutus Creed): so this didn’t happen the way it was advertised, and to me that felt lazy and intentionally misleading. I don’t think this tag match would have been particularly good, but I still wanted to see it, and what we got instead a bit later in the show was not an improvement

> there were some skits from the likes of Chase University, Briggs/Jensen and their gal pals, and TrickMelo, but none of them were good or bad enough to warrant a spot above. At least they set up some future matches

Should you watch this event: It is a shame that this show looks so negative when ranked above, because if it weren’t for such stupid match endings it might have been one of the better shows. Without directly implying this happened on this show in particular, the idea of investing myself into a ~15 minute match only for it to end in bullshit just sours me from wanting to get invested the next time.

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