Biggest Takeaways From WWE NXT TakeOver: In Your House 2022 Results
The latest premium live event from WWE's NXT brand has come and gone, and in its wake are more questions than answers.
NXT champion Bron Breakker successfully retained against master manipulator Joe Gacy, but the second-generation star's immediate future, including who he might square off against next, remains more of a mystery than a certainty.
Ditto Mandy Rose and Toxic Attraction, whose dominance over the women's division and status as faces of NXT may be more of a bad thing than good.
A big night for Carmelo Hayes has audiences buying into his act, while Legado del Fantasma may work for Tony D'Angelo after losing Saturday night but certainly has the potential to be far more successful and prominent than they have been to this point.
In celebration of NXT's latest Peacock presentation, dive deeper into each of those topics with these takeaways from the broadcast.
Legado del Fantasma is a Centerpiece Faction in Waiting
Tony D'Angelo, Two Dimes and Stacks may have won the opening match of Saturday's In Your House, ensuring Legado del Fantasma will work for the self-proclaimed "Don," but it was the crowd's reaction to Santos Escobar, Elektra Lopez, Cruz del Toro and Jaoquin Wilde that made them the real winners of the contest.
The fans inside the NXT Arena greeted Escobar, Lopez, Del Toro and Wilde like genuine stars. They popped for their entrance, sang along to the faction's theme song, and was red-hot for them throughout the match. Their loss may serve the creative direction for now, but if the audience's reaction to Escobar and Co. is any indication, NXT management must seize the opportunity and elevate their status on the show to that of a centerpiece faction.
The fans view Legado del Fantasma as a top-tier act, clearly want to throw their support behind them and believe Escobar to be one of the best wrestlers on the brand. For a brand continuously looking for acts to prominently feature as it still searches high and low for its identity, there exists a faction the fans have already proved a desire and willingness to support.
Why force any other number of acts that will not work rather than taking a group of performers the audience has already embraced and featuring them even more than they already have been?
Whether they remain de facto babyfaces or resume their run as heels, there is potential for Legado del Fantasma to contribute even more to the NXT roster than they already have. It is up to those in power to recognize as much and position them to consistently compete for world and tag team titles.
Toxic Attraction Remains Focal Point of NXT, Too Strong for Its Own Good
Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jane started Toxic Attraction's momentous night Saturday by withstanding the challenge of Katana Chance and Kayden Carter to retain the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships. Mandy Rose followed that victory up by beating Wendy Choo to retain her Women's Championship.
The wins were reflective of an act that NXT management has the utmost trust and faith in. The trio has been at the forefront of the women's division since the brand's relaunch last fall, with both compelling and infuriating fans along the way.
Those victories at In Your House raise the question, though: is Toxic Attraction too strong for its own good?
We have seen everyone from Raquel Rodriguez to Dakota Kai, Cora Jade to Io Shirai fall at the hands of Rose, Golin and Jane. Add in three relatively fresh opponents and there is real reason to believe Toxic Attraction is too strong an act at this point.
Of the rest of the NXT roster, who is believable enough to actually dethrone Rose? Who can knock off Dolin and Jane and take the tag titles? They have run over everyone to the point that it can be argued NXT simply is not able to churn out fresh opposition quickly enough to oppose the trio.
Maybe a makeshift team can make a run at the tag titles. Perhaps a rehabbed Zoey Starks can take a shot at beating Rose. In reality, Toxic Attraction has developed into an act every bit as essential to NXT's success as Bron Breakker. The faction is a pillar of this relaunched, revamped brand and will continue to be so.
Along the way, it will be key to give fans a reason to believe the seemingly insurmountable faction may lose. Put them in peril. Let them lose. Chip away at the air of invincibility—particularly on the part of Rose. Otherwise, drama is nonexistent, and frustration with the dominance will become more prominent.
Carmelo Hayes' Star Burns Brighter Than Any Other in NXT
NXT may focus a great deal of attention on Bron Breakker and present the second-generation star as the face of this era, but it is another champion who continues to prove that his star burns brighter than that of any of the brand's competitors.
Saturday night, Carmelo Hayes became a two-time NXT North American champion by way of his win over Cameron Grimes in a fantastic wrestling match. Hayes paid off a two-month journey back to the title, winning relatively clean and showcasing the skill set that has captured the attention of fans and analysts alike.
Not only is Hayes one of the better in-ring performers on the extremely young NXT roster, but he carries himself like someone who knows stardom is within reach. The look, charisma, ability to hang with anyone on the roster in the ring and on the mic, and his understanding of how to present himself at the level he wants to achieve come together to create a wrestler with greater upside and tangibles than even Breakker.
Look no further than Saturday's show. With considerable pressure on him and Grimes to deliver a match that lived up to lofty expectations from fans who have come to rely on Hayes to show up, show out and steal the show, he did just that.
A lesser star of his age would have folded under the bright lights and failed both themselves and Grimes. Instead, Hayes excelled, regained a title he probably should never have lost and had the best match on the card with, arguably, the MVP of NXT in Grimes.
Much is made of Breakker's family lineage, but it is impossible to look at Hayes—and how far advanced he is in terms of capturing the attention of the audience the moment he steps through the curtain—and not conclude that he is significantly ahead of Breakker.
And justifiably so.
Others have and will continue to get more attention than Hayes, but the uber-smart, even more athletically gifted competitor will continue to showcase his personality, highlight his in-ring offerings and leave fans buzzing about his latest performance every time he sets foot inside the squared circle.
Then, there is no second-generation pedigree that will prevent Hayes from surpassing Breakker as the face of the brand. Hayes' performance Saturday night once again proved as much.
What's Next for Bron Breakker?
Bron Breakker successfully retained the NXT Championship Saturday night against top contender Joe Gacy in a perfectly acceptable match in which the challenger repeatedly attempted to manipulate the second-generation star into inadvertently getting himself disqualified and, thus, losing his title.
It did not work, as Breakker steamrolled Gacy en route to a successful title defense. Now that Breakker has eliminated Gacy from the equation, though, where does the NXT champion go from here?
Breakker is a dominant champion whose rogue gallery is not nearly as deep as it should be. That was on full display in the lead-in to WrestleMania, where Dolph Ziggler dropped down from the main roster to feud with Breakker for the title.
Having dispatched of Gacy, and with no obvious challengers on the horizon, it does leave the audience wondering what becomes of Breakker next? Might the massive Von Wagner emerge as a top contender? Might he pivot and feud with Tony D'Angelo, who will suddenly have double the lackeys by way of his win over Legado del Fantasma in the night's opening match? Perhaps a series with another babyface might be in order.
Whatever the case may be, Gacy's loss essentially frees Breakker up to target another potential challenger. Unfortunately, who that is and why appear to be a mystery at this point.