WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
Halloween Havoc is back! WWE NXT presented the October 28 edition of the event with several major title matches as well as memorable first-time bouts between some of the top stars of the black-and-gold brand.
Candice LeRae got another shot at NXT women's champion Io Shirai in a match type determined by Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal. Anything could happen in this physical bout between two of the best female wrestlers in NXT.
LeRae's husband, Johnny Gargano, followed suit in a battle for the NXT North American Championship against Damian Priest. The Rebel Heart was concerned about just what stipulation he would be forced to endure against The Archer of Infamy.
Hoping to finally show who was the most dominant force in the women's division, Rhea Ripley challenged Raquel Gonzalez to a physical war of the tallest women on the brand.
Cameron Grimes backed himself into a corner and faced a challenge he was not prepared for. After ruining Dexter Lumis' title opportunity, The Tortured Artist was forced to face The Technical Savage in a Haunted House of Terror match.
Jake Atlas has been making a name for himself recently, and he finally had a chance to solidify his role in NXT in a non-title battle with the NXT cruiserweight champion Santos Escobar.
It was to be a spooky night but also one with plenty of high points from start to finish.
NXT NA Championship Devil's Playground: Damian Priest (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal began with a Devil's Playground match for Johnny Gargano and Damian Priest after Priest got a big live-guitar entrance. The two men quickly went for weapons. The Rebel Heart grabbed a kendo stick, and The Archer of Infamy found a nightstick.
The two fought into the backstage area through the frightening stage props. Gargano used everything at his disposal, including a garbage can. The two battled to the stage where the wheel was set up, and someone in a Scream Ghostface mask caught Priest with a steel pipe.
Gargano smashed a tombstone over The Archer of Infamy's head to knock him off the stage. This set up a pinfall victory that made Gargano a two-time NXT North American champion.
Gargano def. Priest by pinfall to become the new NXT North American champion.
This was a ridiculous match built on its stipulation. The two used weapons and battled all around the stage area. It was certainly not the best of either man, but they had already had a good pure wrestling match at NXT TakeOver. This was about having fun.
The finish was surprising. The Archer of Infamy seemed set for a long memorable title reign to test him. Instead, The Rebel Heart is back on top. He got help, much like Candice LeRae has gotten support from Indi Hartwell. It seems like the Garganos are building a stable of helpers to keep them relevant.
Hopefully, it pays off in the end for LeRae rather than just Gargano continually collecting more gold.
Pat McAfee Introduces the Group That Will Take Over NXT
Pat McAfee stood with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch and taunted Undisputed Era. He told the world that he had originally chosen Ridge Holland but took another option after Holland's injury. He knew he had the right guys to take over NXT.
Kyle O'Reilly came out alone followed by Pete Dunne. The Bruiserweight looked ready to help O'Reilly before smashing him in the back with a steel chair. The heels laid out the only member of Undisputed Era left standing.
This was too telegraphed to work as a surprise, but Dunne is the perfect fourth man to contest Undisputed Era. This is clearly a setup for WarGames. That should be a great fight inside the cage that can hopefully fully establish Lorcan and Burch.
McAfee is a good mouthpiece for this group, even if he does not quite fit the bruiser style of the rest of the crew. He can sell himself as a bruiser while selling the rest better than they usually can on the mic.
Santos Escobar vs. Jake Atlas
Jake Atlas was at a disadvantage from the outset against Legado del Fantasma. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza got involved to save Santos Escobar at crucial moments, which helped seal the victory for the NXT cruiserweight champion. The Phantom Driver ended it quickly.
Ember Moon explained in a video package that she remembered the old scared Dakota Kai, and The War Goddess was not afraid of the new Kai.
Escobar def. Atlas by pinfall.
This was a waste of talent. Escobar vs. Atlas is a matchup that could be the centerpiece of the cruiserweight division. However, short contests like this take away from that mystique. Atlas has a gripe against Wilde and Mendoza, but he still could not last four minutes in the ring with Escobar.
Legado del Fantasma needs a real rival. The talent present cannot contest this crew. Escobar is too unstoppable, even though Isaiah "Swerve" Scott has pinned him a few times. That feud has run its course.
Haunted House of Terror: Cameron Grimes vs. Dexter Lumis
General manager William Regal found Cameron Grimes and led him to a van backstage where he was greeted by Michael "P.S." Hayes.
The Technical Savage tried to be confident as he entered the haunted house, but he quickly found his air of confidence gone. He ran every time he saw Dexter Lumis, and he found many other frightening zombies.
He got back to the van only to see The Tortured Artist in it and began running down the street in terror. He ran all the way back to the NXT Arena.
Zombies crawled toward Grimes, who was forced into the ring to face Lumis. A female zombie climbed onto The Tortured Artist and jumped onto The Technical Savage. Lumis planted Grimes with a kata gatame into the Silence for the win(?).
Lumis def. Grimes by technical submission.
This will not be for everyone, but the supposed match was more a tour through a haunted house. It worked perfectly for what it was. The Technical Savage is ridiculously over the top, perfectly suited for this short horror show.
Lumis did not have much to do, but he has always been great at terrifying with a cold stoic look. While this feud seemed like a mistake for a straightforward in-ring fight, the tone of this rivalry has been perfect for both men. The two clearly needed zombies in their matches together.
Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Raquel Gonzalez asserted her strength advantage early against Rhea Ripley, powerbombing her into the glass panel. She continued to wear down The Nightmare with physical offense. However, Ripley hit her second gear and never looked back.
The Nightmare reversed out of a one-arm powerbomb attempt with a headscissors takedown. A big boot and Riptide followed to seal the big victory.
Drake Maverick was dressed up as Hulk Hogan, while Killian Dain was The Shockmaster, and Maverick had to remind Dain how to be a proper Shockmaster. Tommaso Ciampa cut a promo on NXT, saying that everyone was complaining too much on social media and not fighting enough.
Ripley def. Gonzalez by pinfall.
While these two women have so much more in them with time to grow in the ring, this was a fun clash of dominant stars. Gonzalez impressed by keeping up with the more experienced performer. The two never looked out of place together.
This is a match that should happen down the line with no interruptions on a bigger stage. Gonzalez proved she deserved more big-time matches. It made sense for her to lose this time, but next time may be a different story based on her progression as an in-ring competitor.
NXT Women's Title Tables, Ladders & Scares: Io Shirai (c) vs. Candice LeRae
After a Poppy performance brought Io Shirai to the ring, Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal decided Candice LeRae would fight Shirai in a Tables, Ladders & Scares match. The women went right for the ladders and chairs.
This got brutal as both women were willing to do anything to the other to win. After doing so much damage, the two finally started setting up ladders to retrieve the NXT Women's Championship. The Genius of the Sky missed a moonsault and landed leg-first on a steel chair.
The Poison Pixie took advantage, going after the bad leg of Shirai until the NXT women's champion planted her spine-first on a standing chair. It got worse for both women after LaRae hit a swinging neckbreaker on Shirai through a pair of tables.
The figure in the Ghostface mask ran in to help The Poison Pixie, but Shotzi Blackheart stopped the figure in time. LeRae still was at the top of the ladder after the action, but Shirai recovered and knocked her off a ladder through another ladder. The Genius of the Sky pulled down the title to win.
Shirai def. LeRae by grabbing the hanging title to retain the NXT Women's Championship.
Shirai and LeRae have fantastic chemistry that comes out in every match. This was still not their best match together, but it had a much different focus than their previous clashes. The weapons were the centerpiece, as well as how well both women could sell the damage they inflicted on one another.
The contest made clear that both women could win at any time. LeRae was able to constantly dodge the offense of Shirai, letting her smack into steel. She played it smart but crashed and burned at the end.
In the end, Shirai continues a fantastic title reign. She has been incredible every time out with her title defenses. LeRae is among NXT's best and hopefully gets her own time in the sun soon. Johnny Gargano cannot be the only family member winning gold.