NXT’s first Deadline event was like a hurricane unleashed on Mars while Anya Forger sits eating peanuts.

Did that make any sense to you? Of course, not. Neither does Booker T on NXT commentary.

Don’t get me wrong. Booker is one of my all-time favourites in ring. He has accomplished more in the business, forgotten more about the business than most in it will ever do or know. But, dude is not cut out for commentary and not everyone is. When forced to riff off the top of his head he sputters the most craziest, insane things.

Here is just one example from tonight’s show:

“When we think about the New Day we have to give a shout-out to Big E,” says Vic Joseph.

“I am not giving a shout-out to Big E at all,” replies Booker T.

“What is wrong with you tonight?” asks a bewildered Joseph.

Imagine being Joseph. You are trying to hold a broadcast together. You are trying to have a natural, interesting and at times amusing back and forth with someone and you have a guy sitting beside you who is yammering on about the mating habits of badgers in Mexico or what’s the best way to cook a steak.

I quote South Park’s resident legal genius Johnnie Cochran who said:

“Why would a Wookie, an 8-foot-tall Wookie, want to live on Endor with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more importantly, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I’m a lawyer defending a major record company and I’m talking about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember when you’re in that jury room deliberatin’ and conjugatin’ the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!”

No, Mr. Cochran. It doesn’t make sense. Booker T doesn’t make sense at all. And worst of all, Booker T’s commentary doesn’t enhance the broadcast. It distracts from it, which is why I am mentioning it before anything else. It actually hurts the NXT product.

Now that I have that out of my system…Did the Iron Survivor Challenge work as a gimmick? Actually, it really did. It made for a lot of scrambling, a lot of intriguing scenarios and a lot of mayhem. I would say tonight’s proof of concept was a success.

While the Iron Survivor Challenge was great fun the lackluster main event of Bron Breakker defending the NXT Championship against Apollo Crews was not. Most of the match was spent with the two muscle-heads testing each other’s strength and powering out of each other’s moves. It was the mediocre placeholder you thought it would be.

The big news of the night is that The New Day defeated Pretty Deadly to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions meaning they have won every single tag team championship in WWE.

NXT Deadline Results

In case you aren’t aware of how the Iron Survivor Challenge concept works, well, here you go…

Zoey Stark vs. Cora Jade vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James vs. Indi Hartwell – Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge 

Roxanne Perez comes down to the ring first. She is followed by Zoey Stark. Stark dominates early using her strength and power against Perez. Perez’s agility frustrated Stark who is rolled up over and over but not pinned. Stark takes over whipping Perez into a corner and slams her coming out hard to the mat.

Kiana James is the next out at five minutes in. James almost pins Stark but Perez makes the save. James slaps Perez over and over asking her what her problem is.

I would suggest getting slapped in the face again and again is?

Stark decimates Perez on the floor stomping her head into the ring steps. A big knee to the Perez’s face scores Stark a pin at almost ten minutes in. Perez is forced to go into the penalty box. Out comes Cora Jade to join the match.

Jade scores the next fall by rolling up James. James goes to the penalty box. James reenters the match just before Indi Hartwell does. Indie guillotines Perez on the ropes and pins her with a big boot.

Cora has one point. Indi has one point. Zoey has one point. Kiana and Roxanne have zero, nada, nothing.

James springboards off the security barricade onto Stark. She then throws Stark over the barricade. Roxanne pins Stark with a roll-up. Stark is off the penalty box.

Indi suplexes Jade on the floor just as Perez throws James into a steel post. It leaves Indi versus Perez in the middle of the ring as Stark rejoins the match. Stark leaps off the top rope at 22 minutes taking out everyone on the floor. Stark rolls James back in the ring. Perez notches another fall with just two minutes left. With 30 seconds left James and Stark fight on the top rope. James hits a Spanish Fly on Stark from the top rope but cannot pin her. The hour glass is empty. The match ends.

And your winner is.. Courtesy: NXT.

Booker T says Christmas has come early for Perez while calling the match “The Eye of Survivor Challenge”.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Winner: Roxanne Perez

Match Rating: 7 / 10

When we come back from ads, ads and more ads, Booker T is…blowing his nose right on camera and cannot stop laughing.

“Are you all right?” asks Joseph.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Tatum Paxley and Ivy Nile are interviewed backstage by McKenzie Mitchell. Bottom line is the Creed Brothers are not cleared to compete tonight against Indus Sher. Nile knows she isn’t their favourite person in the world right now but she just wants the best for The Creed Brothers. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter interrupt. Nile tells them both not to mistake her kindness for weakness. Chance and Kayden say the ladies are welcome to a title match any time as they have grown to respect them.

Alba Fyre vs. Isla Dawn

Good to see these amazing UK women in NXT USA now. As soon as the bell rings Fyre and Dawn throw fists and roll out of the ring to the floor where Fyre slams her onto the announce table. Fyre kicks Dawn in the head then rolls her into a submission. Dawn low-bridges out of it. Dawn picks up Fyre slamming her into a corner and drops her with a backbreaker. Dawn removes one of the turnbuckles.

Booker T starts talking about walking on broken glass, gargling gasoline or something like that.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Dawn lands double knees from the top rope. Fyre leaps off the top rope onto Dawn on the floor. Fyre is clutching her ribs though after that landing. Fyre slams Dawn on her face. She lays in some kicks and a spinning DDT off the ropes. Dawn kicks out at two.

Dawn climbs to the top rope. Fyre kicks her off the ropes to the floor. Fyre dives through the ropes knocking Fyre to the floor. Fyre slams Dawn on the floor with a Gory Bomb.

Fyre plants Dawn in the middle of the ring. As the official checks on Dawn she scratches or does something to the official. It really isn’t clear what happened or what she did. Fyre hits the Swanton Bomb but the official starts coughing up and spitting up black goo.

Fyre lands a super kick which sends another official down to the ring. Fyre only gets a two count. Dawn smashes Fyre into the exposed turnbuckle. Dawn pins Fyre.

Booker T says: “Did you see the referee? He had black stuff coming out of his mouth and his damn nose. He needed medical attention. Vic, if you get to the point where black stuff is coming your nose and your mouth I think your mother would want me to help you.”

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Winner: Isla Dawn

Match Rating: 7.5 /10

Pretty Deadly (c) vs. The New Day – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

We have Booker T’s idiot comments before the match starts as mentioned above. Pretty Deadly are dressed up in Santa-like gear.

“Hey! We want the New Day!” shouts the crowd.

Kit Wilson is outwrestled by Woods right out of the gate.

Booker T says Wilson might be “playing possum” when he is just getting the snot kicked out of him as both New Day double team him.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

On his knees, Wilson starts begging off. He chants: “New Day rocks!”

Elton Prince takes over pummeling Kofi in a corner. Prince whips Kofi into the opposite corner. Prince monkey flips Kofi out. Kofi lands on his feet all smiles. Kofi and Prince get into a twerk off.

The crowd starts chanting: Twerk off! Twerk off!

Kit Wilson is splashed by the New Day in a corner. Kofi gets a two count with a sliding clothesline.

“These men can go all night long. There will not be any lactic acid build-up with these young men,” says Booker T.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Kofi splatters both Pretty Deadly in the floor with a splash. Kofi though is guillotined on the ropes, knocked through the ropes by a flying elbow and pushed into the steel post.

Xavier and Prince each throw a tag belt at Kofi and Wilson then fall to the mat pretending they were knocked out with them. Kofi and Wilson then do the same thing and both fall to the mat too so everyone is laid out…or pretending to be.

Wilson hits Woods with a tag team belt. Woods kicks out though stunning Pretty Deadly. Kofi pulls Wilson out the ring so he cannot hit the Hart Attack. Kofi nails Wilson with Trouble in Paradise. Woods gives Prince a Snake Eyes in the corner. Woods holds Prince so Kofi can hit the double stomp from the top rope. Woods pins Prince.

New Day have done it again. Courtesy: NXT.

Match Rating: 7 / 10

Winners: …and new NXT Tag Team Champions…The New Day.

Toxic Attraction stops the women’s tag team champions backstage. They want to know why they offered Tatum Paxley and Ivy Nile a title shot. Toxic accuses them of wanting to only fight teams they can beat. Tatum Paxley and Ivy Nile attack Toxic Attraction from behind. The champs look on as everyone else brawls.

Carmelo Hayes vs. JD McDonagh vs. Grayson Waller vs. Joe Gacy vs. Axiom – Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge 

It is pure mayhem. Courtesy: NXT.

JD McDonagh begins the match with Axiom. JD works over Axiom’s legs and knee. He avoids a figure four though by kicking JD out of the ring.

“It is Christmas time, Vic. You should be careful what you wish for,” says Booker T.

Don’t look at me. Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Axiom leaps through the ropes at JD and hurts himself more than JD. Axiom rams JD’s head into the side of the penalty box. Carmelo Hayes is out next and he takes everyone out.

JD and Hayes take turns punishing Axiom. Hayes gets the pin on Axiom for the first point of the match. Axiom comes out of the penalty box body splashing both men from the top rope.

Grayson Waller roars to the ring. He hits both Axiom and JD with stunners. He pins Axiom for a point then pins JD for another point. This leaves Waller against Hayes. a A discus punch on Hayes almost gets Waller that third pin. Waller gives Hayes a stunner on the apron.

Axiom is grabbed by JD before he leaves the penalty box. Axiom reenters attacking JD. He slams JD into the side of the box and shuts the door on his head. Hayes bounces Waller’s head off the announce table. Waller slams Hayes on the table.

Waller cusses out Booker T before heading back into the ring. Axiom catches Waller getting back into the ring with a roll-up for a pinfall. He gets another pin with a Golden Ratio on JD. Joe Gacy enters the match.

Gacy clotheslines Axiom and Hayes from corner to corner. Gacy makes Axiom tap out to a crossface to score a point. Waller attacks Axiom as he reenters the penalty box. JD lowers the boom on Axiom slamming his head into the side of the box. Gacy notches another fall with a springboard clothesline on Hayes.

JD locks the box and holds the penalty box door closes so Axiom cannot exit. Axiom climbs to the top of the box leaps off backwards onto JD and Waller. Everyone fights on the floor near the box.

Waller taps out to Hayes’ crossface. Everyone has two points now except JD.

JD tries to get his first fall on Waller but everyone breaks up the fall. As the others get to their feet in their respective corners, JD stands in the middle of the ring alone. Everyone hits him with a running boot to the face. Gacy slams Waller on the steel steps. Hayes an axe kick from the top rope on Axiom. Waller halts the pinfall by pulling Hayes out of the ring. Waller covers Axiom for three decisions.

Winner: Grayson Waller 

Match Rating: 8 / 10

Drew Gulak is interviewed backstage. Gulak is disappointed in himself and is blaming nobody but himself. Gulak says he is looking to team up with a younger superstar so he can train them and they can help him climb to the top. Damon Kemp introduces himself to Gulak. Kemp advises Gulak to watch his upcoming match on NXT.

Bron Breakker (c) vs. Apollo Crews – NXT Championship Match

It is a test of strength as both men “feel each other out”. Each man throws the other and each man lands on their feet. Thus far, the match is all about moves and countermoves. It is a strength stalemate. Apollo doesn’t break clean though. He drop kicks Bron and lands the standing moonsault. Apollo is successful again but this time off the ring apron onto Bron.

Bron’s standing suplex and a standing moonsault gets Bron a two count. Bron leaps over the ropes splashing Apollo on the floor.

Bron leaps out of a corner. Apollo meets him with a knee to the face. Apollo grimaces in front of the camera like he is holding in diarrhea. Apparently, that is his way of transforming into the more vicious Apollo. He starts raining haymakers down on Bron. Apollos slams Bron with three German suplexes in succession. Apollo powerbombs Bron three times for another two count. Apollo crushes Bron with a frog splash from the top rope. Another two count.

Apollo sits up with a strange look on his face. It is as if he realizes the diarrhea has squirted out.

Apollo goes for his spinebuster. Bron escapes Apollos spinebuster twice and pins him with his spear to retain.

Grayson Waller comes out of nowhere to nail Bron with his rolling stunner. His stands over a fallen Bron with the title in his hands looking all smug like.

Winner: Bron Breakker

Match Rating: 6 /10



NXT Deadline

I have to admit I haven’t watched NXT for about quite awhile now. Nothing on tonight’s show made me curious about tuning back in either. Before the pandemic and 2.0 it was my favourite brand of wrestling. Despite the strengthening of the roster with bigger names and the decent job they have done of building up some of their talent, many of them still perform as if they aren’t ready for prime time. They all work hard. There is no doubt about that. It is just that star power is missing. Only a handful of them have it and that makes for a very mixed experience as a viewer.  I admire the effort of everyone. They are giving it their all. It is just some of them are far too unpolished and so is the tone. I don’t need a wrestling experience to be all Hollywood for it to appeal to me but I don’t want it to be an unmitigated training ground either.