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Zoey Stark is back! The former NXT women’s tag team champion was put on the shelf by Toxic Attraction and returned to take a new shot at the group. She is the new No. 1 contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, held by Mandy Rose.
The July 26 edition of WWE NXT 2.0 would open with Stark speaking on her recovery and vision for her future.
The D’Angelo Family took a major shot at Diamond Mine, laying out The Creed Brothers while Roderick Strong and Damon Kemp fought. Tony D’Angelo gladly accepted an eight-man tag team match challenge to showcase his group’s dominance.
Xyon Quinn has gladly ruined Apollo Crews’ NXT return, costing him a match against Giovanni Vinci. Crews wanted revenge in a match. Vinci would also compete on the night, facing Andre Chase.
Wes Lee looked to get his own revenge, fighting Grayson Waller while building momentum for a rematch against Trick Williams. Indi Hartwell hoped to turn around recent bad luck against Arianna Grace.
This show had a chance to surprise many by highlighting much of the best talent in NXT 2.0 in the ring and outside the ring.
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Zoey Stark showed her appreciation to the fans for accepting her back after her injury. Cora Jade interrupted on the stage followed by Toxic Attraction from the ramp. Stark challenged Mandy Rose to a title match, but instead Gigi Dolin agreed to fight her later.
Jade’s involvement was completely unnecessary in this segment beyond keeping her on television. We may get Stark vs. Jade down the line, but the focus of the night was Stark calling out the women that injured her.
While Stark is not the most polished mic worker, she is passionate, which goes a long way. She told the story of her injury and road to recovery before explaining why she needed to dethrone the NXT women’s champion. She sold the match for any time in the near future.
- Stark advised that she was given a timetable of longer than one year to return from surgery. She returned after eight months.
- Stark called out Jade for throwing away the NXT women’s tag team championship, putting over how much that championship meant to her.
- McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Schism during which Joe Gacy promised he could be Cameron Grimes’ new father figure.
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Grayson Waller dominated the action against Wes Lee. When Lee finally found his opening, Trick Williams cheap-shot him from the crowd, setting up Waller for a return rolling cutter that sealed the win for the loudmouth.
Beyond the cheap finish, this was a really good back-and-forth contest. Waller continues to show off a varied and smooth move set while Lee has always performed at a high level. These two are professionals on a brand that desperately needs them.
Lee vs. Trick is not the most exciting feud, but it has helped solidify Trick as more than just a lackey to Carmelo Hayes. It could very well to the first step in separating the two. Waller picks up another win that could lead him to challenging for the NXT Championship.
Waller def. Lee by pinfall.
- Before walking out, Waller put himself over as better than Lee and everyone watching.
- Lee tried to turn around the action but jumped right onto the shoulders of Waller, who lifted him into an impact powerbomb.
- Waller knocked Lee clean off the top rope to the floor where Trick punched him in the back, nearly causing a count out.
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Xyon Quinn tried to keep firm control of the match, but once Apollo Crews got a foothold, he never let up. He planted Quinn with a single-arm powerbomb for the win.
While this match got time, the match was not overly exciting. There was little drama. Despite weeks of build-up, it never once felt like Quinn had a chance. The finish itself was flat, not landing hard enough to feel like a proper end to the contest.
Both men are talented, but their ability to tell a story in the ring was in question here. Crews has the experience and talent to do more. Quinn has shown serious potential that NXT 2.0 is not all that interested in unlocking.
Crews def. Quinn by pinfall.
- Quinn planted Crews with a spinning fireman’s carry slam then went for his running forearm but took an enzuigiri that turned the momentum of the match.
- Wendy Choo woke up from a dream of her battle royal loss and promised to make Tiffany Stratton’s life worse.
- Kiana James presented a PowerPoint presentation on Nikkita Lyons as the main problem in the NXT women’s division.
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Gigi Dolin barely challenged Zoey Stark. Once the No. 1 contender got going, she planted Dolin with a belly-to-back GTS to win. Afterward, Cora Jade attacked Stark, but Roxanne Perez returned to send her running.
Despite being out eight months, Stark looked smoother than ever in the ring. The action was short but tight, not wasting a second throughout this surprisingly one-sided affair.
It is a shame this was a complete squash, but the point was to push Stark. She came off as a true top name, wiping out a former tag team champion and rival in minutes.
Perez’s return was somewhat anticlimactic. It came off unnecessarily rushed. However, this allowed NXT to quickly announce the future of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Stark def. Dolin by pinfall.
- It was announced that Rose would face Stark at NXT Heatwave on August 16. Sarray confronted the NXT women’s champion, setting up a match between them next week.
- Perez announced alongside Alundra Blayze that she was relinquishing the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships, and a Fatal 4-Way next week would crown the next tag team champions next week.
- Solo Sikoa challenged Von Wagner to a Falls Count Anywhere match for next week. Wagner gladly accepted despite Robert Stone’s warning.
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JD McDonagh appeared in the crowd where he gave health tips to the fans. He then greeted everyone at ringside. Finally, he called out Bron Breaker. The NXT champion challenged McDonagh to a match at NXT Heatwave before headbutting him.
While McDonagh ended the segment sitting on the mat, this was a surprisingly smart segment. He showcased his intelligence by going over the many ways he can break a man with only limited strength.
Even when Breaker knocked him down, he laughed in the face of the champion. The size difference between these two barely feels like a factor at this point as the challenger has explained exactly how he will beat the bigger man.
- McDonagh threatened to break Vic Joseph’s collarbone by applying pressure.
- Breaker busted McDonagh’s lip with a headbutt, causing the challenger to laugh.
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Andre Chase made Giovanni Vinci pay for his cockiness, nearly taking the win at multiple moments. Vinci finally put him away with a straitjacket powerbomb. Nathan Frazer stopped Vinci from attacking The Professor afterward.
This was the match of the night so far, coming from an unlikely source. While Vinci is certainly a great wrestler, he also had to bring out a different energy from Chase. This was worked like a main event and made the most of the time it got.
Vinci needed to win here, but he gave more than expected to The Professor. This was proof of the value both men bring to NXT and why they deserve a larger spotlight. If any match on this show was helped by the new creative regime, it was this one, which got plenty of time.
Vinci def. Chase by pinfall.
- Before the match, Nathan Frazer found Chase U backstage and asked for the opportunity to represent them as flag bearer.
- Vinci dominated until he decided to break the Chase U flag over his shoulder, setting off Chase, who knocked him clean out of the ring.
- Chase planted Vinci with an atomic drop, spinebuster, a series of boots and a side slam that nearly won it.
- Vinci caught Chase jumping with a delayed vertical suplex then Chase responded with a double underhook powerbomb.
- NXT showed a comic-book-style video package for Axiom, celebrating his first win.
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Arianna Grace tried to prove herself, but she had no idea how to take the win. Indi Hartwell knocked her out with a big boot to seal the win.
This was a complete squash match as expected. Grace is still learning, so there was not much action here that left an impact.
Hartwell got a valuable win. It was an inoffensive segment to hopefully push Indi Wrestling down the right path.
Hartwell def. Grace by pinfall.
- Backstage, before the show, Grace questioned why Hartwell cheap-shot her in the battle royal and promised to get away from her negativity.
- Sanga talked up Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon for their title tag shot next week.
- Katana Chance and Kayden Carter got into an argument with Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley, and Elektra Lopez got involved to fuel the fire, causing a brawl to break out.
- In pre-tapped interviews, Lash Legend and Alba Fyre warned one another about what would happen when they fought again.
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Tony D’Angelo made sure Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo isolated the least experienced member Damon Kemp. Finally, he got the hot tag to Julius Creed. He changed the momentum of the game.
Brutus Creed took a High-Low from Wilde and Del Toro, leaving Roderick Strong and Julius to fight the four. Strong accidentally kneed Julius in the face, allowing The Don to win with the Fuggedaboutit.
This was a surprisingly distraction-free clash of talent. The two stables battled to the most logical result. If anything, it felt too short. While The Family is growing more comfortable together, Diamond Mine is falling apart, so there was no reason to mess up that dynamic.
Julius looked good throughout and even before the match. He has been built up as the new leader of the group, which likely means Strong will fight him for control of Diamond Mine soon.
The D’Angelo Family def. Diamond Mine by pinfall.
- Backstage, D’Angelo reminded his family that they needed to stay focused for the battle with Diamond Mine. Diamond Mine got along as they prepared for this match.
- Del Toro and Wilde wore attracts matching D’Angelo and Stacks to show solidarity.
- The match started slow, but a whole brawl broke out before long, ending with The Don retreating only to get a Brutus Bomb.