NXT: Gacy’s Druids are at the forefront of a brand of ridiculousness

NXT 2.0 regularly features cheesy dialogue and stereotypical derivative characters, but Joe Gacy’s druid army may take the cake. In the final segment of tonight’s episode, druids surrounded the ring as Gacy described his cast version of NXT – an acceptance version, but “mission not quite accomplished”. After sending NXT Champion Bron Breaker into a tailspin last week, Gacy said his opponent was not cleared for next week and a new champion would be crowned. But WWE Hall of Famer Rick Steiner says his son will defend the title at NXT Spring Breakin’. Before the druids could attack, Breakker arrived and cleared the mass of cloaks before Gacy cut the wind off the champion – and the show.

Nikkita Lyons vs Lash Legend

“The Twitterverse is frothing at the mouth as we speak,” read a comment on Lyons. The hype, however, stops when the bell rings because the two contestants’ striking play is so noticeably awkward. Granted, rookies Lyons and Legend have improved since they last met, and the former takes the overall victory with a tornado kick. Natalya immediately attacks the winner, but the backup is Cora Jade with a skateboard in her hand.

Winner: Nikkita Lyons

Roderick Strong speaks sternly to Diamond Mine: “This band is too good to fall apart like my last band did!” He brings in Ivar and Erik from the Viking Raiders, who will be the Creed Brothers’ hand-picked opponents next week.

Tony D’Angelo vs. Von Wagner with Mr. Stone

Backstage, D’Angelo says, “When I’m done with the excitement of sir, he’s going to sleep with the fishes. Santos (Escobar)! You know what I’m talking about, don’t you, man? D’Angelo is deceptively tall, but Wagner still uses his height advantage in the first steps. Stone – who has obviously also been the victim of name deletions – applauds Wagner at ringside as he slams D’Angelo into the apron before picture-in-picture. They trade strikes and D’Angelo takes his opponent down with several belly to belly. As D’Angelo is sent off, Legado del Fantasma jumps onto the apron and Escobar attacks his rival with a foreign object. Two of D’Angelo’s “wise men” fend off LDF, but Wagner delivers a big boot for the overall win.

Winner: Von Wagner

Toxic Attraction directs gruesomely clichéd insults at newcomer Roxanne Perez, who challenges the faction to a match tonight.

Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen and Fallon Henley are motivated to take down Legado del Fantasma. The beautiful Sofia Cromwell passes and Jensen naturally loses his concentration.

Nathan Frazer is to make his debut, but his opponent is caught off guard by Grayson Waller, who is more incredibly obnoxious than usual. He starts talking to Chase University saying, “Your sorority girls are built like refrigerators!” Frazer leaps out and takes Waller out with an intense dive, and Andre Chase describes it as a “teachable moment”.

The first-ever NXT Women’s Breakout tournament begins next week, and a package for Arianna Grace showcases her background in boxing and mixed martial arts. Oh, she’s also Santino Marella’s daughter!

Tiffany Stratton is interviewed backstage before Grayson Waller interrupts her, and they agree on Nathan Frazer’s “terrible accent”. Waller “can’t put up with anyone with an accent” despite being Australian.

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Yulisa Leon and Valentina Feroz

It’s been an eventful week for 5’0″ Chance, who changed her name from Kacy Catanzaro and was included in the WWE 2K22 Banzai Pack DLC along with other short characters such as Yokozuna, Umaga, Rikishi and Omos. Meanwhile, Leon makes his comeback as Chance is mysteriously knocked out at ringside, the latter eventually recovers and hits the 450 Splash for the win.

Winners: Katana Luck

The referees and the doctor take care of Brooks Jensen, who is devastated by a leg injury. “They did that!” his partner Josh Briggs screams.

Kay Lee Ray is now to reintroduce herself as Alba Fyre. “A resurrection where I come from,” she explains.

Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley vs Legado del Fantasma

Briggs and Henley are outnumbered with the absence of Brooks Jensen, but the big man still cuts through the opposition. As Joaquin Wilde takes over, Mr. Stone joins in the commentary to explain that “just like Ikemen Jiro had wandering eyes, Brooks Jensen had wandering eyes. So you two do the math. Henley and Elektra Lopez fight somewhere, and Briggs loses yet another partner. Wilde and Cruz Del Toro hit their double team for the overall victory as innocent men.

Winners: Legado del Fantasma

Natalya and Lash Legend are interviewed backstage, and the premiere will “find out how flexible Nikkita (Lyon) really is” at NXT Spring Breakin’ next week.

Kiana James “brings sophistication to this Breakout tournament. I’ve calculated all the odds, and this tournament is going to work out in my favor. So she’s an accountant?

Solo Sikoa vs. Trick Williams with Carmelo Hayes

North American Champion Cameron Grimes is commented on as Williams aims for his opponent’s left arm. William’s suave mic skills have unfortunately yet to translate to smooth work in the ring, making this match painfully methodical. Sikoa brings great energy with his return and definitely puts his opponent away with a splash off the top rope. Next, Grimes comes face to face with Hayes before being superkicked by Sikoa.

Winner: Solo Sikoa

Edris Enofe is confident about his match with Malik Blade with the Viking Raiders. He urges his partner to shout, “I see speed, I see power, I see heart, and I see a badass who isn’t afraid of anyone!” These two are an underdog team to follow.

Legado del Fantasma celebrate their victory before turning to Tony D’Angelo. Santos Escobar says: “He tasted his own medicine…an eye for an eye.”

Malik Blade and Edris Enofe against the Viking Raiders

Smackdown’s Ivar and Erik do something worthwhile again as the audience chants “Welcome Home“. Enofe gets a solid attack before being completely mauled by the opposition. Ivar scraps Blade’s comeback attempt and a double slam gives the Viking Raiders their biggest win in ages. Friendly vikings shake hands with their opponents as the Creed Brothers appear at the entrance.

Winners: The Viking Raiders

A stunning and powerful video sets up the unexpected Wes Lee singles run. “I can bitch and complain about how unfair everything is, or I can get down on my knees and make the waves I’m meant for.”

Tony D’Angelo responds to Santos Escobar and his team saying, “Tony D made a few calls, and now my team is here.” It features Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan and Channing Lorenzo, who are somehow more stereotypically derived than the Don himself.

Roxanne Perez Vs Mandy Rose With Toxic Attraction

Speaking of lame gadgets, Perez, the video game player of his childhood, is sent to the deep end. She gets the better of the NXT Women’s Champion, bites off her finger and slams it into the steel steps. After the picture in picture, Rose works her opponent until the comeback is done, but the champ delivers a jumping knee for the win. Wendy Choo appears behind Toxic Attraction with water guns, and the three run to the entrance to be trapped by a net. Choo and Perez spray Toxic Attraction with a silly string as they scream like they’re on fire. What a mess.

Winner: Mandy Rose

Sloane Jacobs, 19, says “the path to the women’s title is through winning this Breakout tournament.”

“Let’s go change the world,” Joe Gacy says, leaving his circle of druids and heading to the ring for the show’s final segment.


Orlando, Florida

There are always sporadic highlights throughout the show, and they’re usually simple things – like Viking Raiders’ dominating matchup or Legado del Fantasma’s tag team showings. But too much NXT is overproduced, overwritten nonsense that can be a chore to get through. Tonight was just one of those nights.

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