“I would personally like to thank everyone who works at immigration for giving me one week off from that man,” Wade Barrett opens the show, referring to desk partner Vic Joseph. Also gone are the infamous NXT 2.0 rainbow splotches, replaced by a retro white and gold as Byron Saxton and Sudu Shah join the booth en route to yet another, much appreciated, NXT overhaul.
NXT Tag Team Champions Pretty Deadly enter the ring to “address the NXT commonwealth” in white wigs and cheap garbs. It’s giving two theatre kids doing Shakespeare, and immigration should’ve withheld them too. But to a big surprise pop, the main roster’s Brawling Brutes – Ridge Holland and Butch – interrupt and eventually send the champions retreating to ringside.
New aesthetic, same dangerous parking lot as Alba Fyre basically kidnaps NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose in her SUV before the opening match proceeds.
Carmelo Hayes vs Oro Mensah
It’s immediately noticeable how much darker the NXT arena appears, and that’s not just the in-ring melanin talking. It’s a more serious and mature atmosphere, where Mensah gains the upper hand despite numbers disadvantage with Trick Williams in Hayes’ corner. Williams takes the hit for Hayes, who capitalizes with a Codebreaker and top-rope leg drop for victory. The winner joins the booth for the next matchup, which will determine who competes against Hayes, Mensah, and Wes Lee for the North American Championship.
Winner: Carmelo Hayes
Footage from last week recaps Damon Kemp’s attack on former stablemate Brutus Creed. The latter is in the training room bruised and battered when Duke Hudson smugly walks in, and brother Julius Creed challenges him to a match tonight.
Andre Chase vs Von Wagner
Preppy Chase, accompanied by students Bodhi Hayward and Thea Hail, is contrasted by the badass Wagner with Mr. Stone by his side. Meanwhile on commentary, Hayes says, “When I was a kid, I used to ask for setbacks for Christmas just so that I could overcome them and stunt on these hoes.” Chase completes the fun C-H-A-S-E-U stomp sequence before Stone is bodyslammed ringside by Hail, but Wagner hits a big boot and finishing slam for three. He advances alongside the aforementioned three to the North American Championship ladder match at Halloween Havoc, which heats up when Lee blindsides Hayes at the booth.
Winner: Von Wagner
Sanga gives Nathan Frazer his support regarding his North American Championship opportunity, and when the latter exits, Veer Mahaan enters.
The Schism’s hooded figure tries recruiting more members in the parking lot as Grayson Waller arrives, demanding that security keep Apollo Crews’ “vision” from coming true.
Lash Legend vs Wendy Choo
Legend towers over Choo, who shows fire after getting attacked before the bell. Choo chops down the tree trunk and eventually hits a top-rope splash for victory, proving that size doesn’t always matter.
Winner: Wendy Choo
Wes Lee is interviewed backstage until being interrupted by Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo, who is alone after Tony D’Angelo’s injury via the former. “You know in your heart you did it on purpose,” accuses Lorenzo.
Gallus is suspended after attacking security last week. They target Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen, Pretty Deadly, and Bron Breakker in a promo package that foreshadows their return.
A sit-down with NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Kayden Carter and Katana Chance details their career struggles and eventual strike at gold.
Toxic Attraction vs Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark
“Another reign of terror begins,” commentary plugs the new season of Chucky, and hopefully not another NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship run for Toxic Attraction in this number-one contenders match. They dominate picture-in-picture as the champions watch backstage at an unnatural angle, and Stark finally makes the comeback. Jacy Jayne hits a discuss forearm but is superkicked ringside before Lyons hits her split-legged pin on Gigi Dolin to gain the victory.
Winners: Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark
A vignette for Ilja Dragunov narrates his ankle injury and subsequent vacating of the NXT UK Championship. The man who gave NXT two consecutive matches of the year in 2020 and 2021 “will once again become champion” at Halloween Havoc.
Put your stock into WWE’s next big talk show, the Grayson Waller Effect, which he legit simultaneously live streams on his Instagram. He introduces his guests Cora Jade and Roxanne Perez, who compete against each other at Halloween Havoc; “Sorry, Roxanne, I didn’t have a booster seat for you,” says Waller. The sob-story breakup angle between two former friends continues on with nothing fresh, but Waller has two scoops: the competitors will choose an opponent for the other, and their match at Halloween Havoc will be a “Spin the wheel, make the deal” match. Waller goes to spin the wheel but is suspicious of the cloaked figure, who he verifies has white skin: “I knew it wasn’t Apollo Crews!” Their match is a Weapons Wild match, and security is forced to pull them apart as Crews eventually appears to pull Waller under the ring. Crews’ “vision” comes true, as Waller crawls out screaming with haunting bloody eyes. The objective is unknown, but it’s inadvertently made Crews look like a despicable monster – horrible man.
The Schism talks down to the hooded figure for failing to recruit members. “We’re not mad. We’re disappointed,” says Joe Gacy.
Julius Creed vs Duke Hudson
Diamond Mine standout Creed gets a taste at singles competition against Hudson – who has “the buns of steel,” boasts Wade Barrett. It’s quick work for Creed, who unfortunately gets the immediate pinfall, because these guys are certainly capable of a showstealer. Brutus Creed continues the assault while Julius and Ivy Nile attempt to separate him, but Damon Kemp makes an appearance atop the ringside podium. All parties are confident on the stick, but ultimately, Julius demands an ambulance match against Kemp, where if he loses, his brother is banished from NXT.
Winner: Julius Creed
A vignette shows “Irish Ace” JD McDonagh meticulously studying tape of Ilja Dragunov and Bron Breakker. To his credit, McDonagh comes across like a creep, but maybe he just really is.
The security team hypes up fellow member Hank Walker before his upcoming matchup, and Quincy Elliot steps in to give a heads up on Xyon Quinn.
The best-of-three series between Axiom and Nathan Frazer concludes next week, where the winner advances to the North American Championship ladder match.
Xyon Quinn vs Hank Walker
After defeating “Big Body” Javier Bernal, security guard Walker was offered an NXT contract by Shawn Michaels – according to commentary. He pumps the crowd with a comeback, but Quinn actually gets a decisive victory for once. Quinn goes for another blow, but Elliot makes the save with a butt smack to new friend Walker.
Winner: Xyon Quinn
Cameron Grimes tries talking sense into the failed hooded person before The Schism ambushes the former. “Job well done. Welcome to The Schism’s tree,” says Joe Gacy with a hug.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen want the first shot against potentially new NXT Tag Team Champions the Brawling Brutes. In comes Edris Enofe and Malik Blade for the same request, but the Brawling Brutes instruct, “Watch and learn, fellas. Cause we put on banga, after banga, after banga, after banga…”
NXT Champion Bron Breakker is interviewed backstage but is of course interrupted by “Big Body” Javier Bernal. “Your stupidity is going to make me request a match against you next week,” says Breakker to the himbo.
The Brawling Brutes vs Pretty Deadly (c) – NXT Tag Team Championships
The Smackdown mainstays take early control, and Butch performs some signature joint manipulation on Kit Wilson. The challengers pay homage to Sheamus with multiple chest shots preceding picture-in-picture, but Pretty Deadly recuperates thereafter. Big Ridge Holland makes the comeback, and Butch hits an assisted sunset flip for two. “Bruiserweight” takes on both Elton Prince and Wilson and cinches the latter with an armbar and Bitter End before his partner forces a rope break. Prince tries socking the referee for some more shenanigans, but the Brawling Brutes hit their double-team finisher. Out come main roster rivals Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser, allowing Pretty Deadly to hit Spilled Milk for victory.
Winners: Pretty Deadly
Edris Enofe and Malik Blade call their shot, and next out is Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen. “Pretty Deadly survive once again to remain tag team champs, but when one problem goes away, there’s always going to be a lot more,” commentary closes the show.
Besides two segments that dragged – the opening state of the commonwealth and regrettably the Grayson Waller Effect, tonight’s episode was a nice watch. Viewer optimism was easy to come by with revamped visuals, and guys like Carmelo Hayes, Julius Creed, and the Brawling Brutes really shined.