Updated: Nov 11, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Reviews
NXT North American Title, Ladder Match 9.7/10 A
This match was not perfect. There were moments where the sequences could have been smoother than they were, and the wrestlers were clearly thinking. There were moments when the spots very nearly went terribly wrong. However, the match was a must-watch match. It was incredible. The risk that the wrestlers took was out of this world. The spot of the match has to be Von Wagner throwing Wes Lee from the ring to the announce table. It felt like watching mankind fall from the cell. Also, I love that Wes Lee beatdown Carmelo Hayes last to climb the ladder and win his first title ever. This was the kind of match that everyone needed to see for themselves. You don't even have to be a wrestling fan to appreciate it.
Grayson Waller vs. Apollo Crews, Casket Match 8.4/10 B
This was a fun match because Grayson and Apollo really squeezed some creative spots out of this popular stipulation. Grayson threw Apollo off the top rope into a wooden casket, and I'd never seen that before. The match continued because the lid had to be shut on the loser, which can't happen if the top is broken. This was also a clever booking because even though Grayson Waller lost the match, Grayson still had that moment of fake victory for cover.
Cora Jade vs. Roxanne Perez, Weapons Wild Match 8.5/10 B
Cora Jade, and Roxanne took each other to their limit. They had excellent spots, but it wasn't just about the weapons. It was about the story. Cora Jade took Roxanne above the NXT crowd on a raised pillar and took off the guard rail to throw Roxanne like ten feet down. Roxanne turned the tables, but she hesitated, and Cora used that moment to drag her into a Russian leg sweep down to the ground through two tables. In the final moments of the match, Cora said we were never friends before attempting a DDT onto a bed of chairs, but Roxanne reversed. Roxanne said you were my friend then hit Cora with Pop Rox onto the chairs and won the match. Another perfect finish.
Julius Creed vs. Damon Kemp, Ambulance Match 8.2/10 B
This is what Jim Ross (JR) would call a slobber knocker. Julius Creed and Damon made good use of the weapons around the ring and their athletic ability. However, the best aspect of the match was the story. Julius is fighting for his brother, Brutus Creed, because if Julius loses, Brutus will be fired. So I loved seeing Julius get his hand slammed in the ambulance door repeatedly to prevent himself from losing the match. After that heroic spot, Julius flew into a rage and ended Kemp.
Mandy Rose vs. Alba Fyre, NXT Women's Title 7.8/10 C
NXT missed an opportunity here. The cinematic moments before the match were lit. Plus, Mandy and Alba had already faced off before. Instead of a straight-up rematch, they should have had a cinematic match. It would have been perfect for Halloween Havoc. Mandy and Alba's match was very slow compared to the rest of the night. The Toxic Attraction shenanigans saved the match. Toxic Attraction pulled out the ref before he could count three on Mandy, and Alba took out Toxic and the ref. Then, Alba laid out Mandy, but the ref wasn't there.
Unfortunately for Alba, when she went to get the ref, Alba was taken out by Toxic Attraction and served on a silver platter for Mandy to knee and pin.
Ilja Dragonuv vs. JD McDonagh vs. Bron Breakker, NXT Championship 8.7/10 B
This match started out slow, but over thirty or so minutes, it reached a critical mass. JD McDonagh had his coming-out party in this match. He really carried the match for the majority of the match. By the end, everyone had their moments, but JD McDonagh shined throughout the match. Dragonuv and Bron Breakker started to show their stuff at the end of the match. The match design did what it was supposed to do. For now, JD is done in the main event, so he looked great on his way out. Dragonuv previewed what he could do in a singles feud with Breakker. Dragonuv proved himself as more than a threat. If not for JD stopping the ref from bringing his hand down, Dragonuv would be the champion. Bron Breakker finally won a triple threat.
Reverse Hipster's Final Grade 8.5/10 B
This is probably the best PPV of the Triple H era so far. Every result was correct. Not only that, every match finish was perfectly booked. Most of the matches were really good to great. All the segments throughout the night added to the PPV and were really entertaining. As a reviewer, I watch a lot of PPVs, but Halloween Havoc was more than just an entertaining watch. It was the kind of PPV you want to be a part of in person.
Ladder Match (North American Championship)
This was a classic way to kick off the night. The multiman ladder match formula is pretty written, but this combination of superstars found a way to make it feel fresh, and every man came out looking good. A special shoutout to Nathan Frazier, as some of his offense was unreal. Going into the night, I felt like Wes Lee had to win to close his story with Carmelo Hayes and ensure someone new won the championship. Lee took a brutal bump on the table before bouncing back and mounting a comeback against Hayes. The result was a great moment “and newwww” champion to kick off the show. Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Apollo Crews vs. Grayson Waller (Casket Match)
I like the story these two guys told going into the night, and I was ready for some spooky stuff in this match. The spot where Apollo Crews broke through the casket was awesome, but the fallout was kind of confusing. The referees never clearly made a call, and then Crews hailed the druids because apparently he has Undertaker-like powers now. The casket match is a hard match to do entertainingly, and these guys did okay. I’m not sure if Crews was the right winner. Since his white hot streak last year, Grayson Waller seems to be looked over, but a good run for Crews could be worth it. Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Roxanne Perez vs. Cora Jade (Weapons Wild)
This is a tough match to grade. On the storytelling in the match alone, Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade should get an A plus. But the storytelling of the match didn’t really line up with what we know about Perez and Jade. It felt like they were trying to do a Gargano/Ciampa-esque grand finale storytelling match, but Perez and Jade were only together on screen for a couple months. I loved the spot where Perez went down with Jade, and the finish where she said, “You were always my best friend." But I didn’t feel it based on what I’ve seen on screen for the last few months. Unfortunately, that’s what keeps this match at a lower grade. For what it’s worth, I still think Jade was a rare natural babyface too. Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Julius Creed vs. Damon Kemp (Ambulance Match)
One thing I learned here is that Julius Creed can play an intense wrestler better than maybe anyone in NXT. Damon Kemp held his own too. They had a great story going into this match, and the action lived up to the intensity of their blood feud. Creed almost had to win here to keep
the brothers together and on TV. The end result wasn’t epic, but it was the best case scenario minus it being maybe a little too long. Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Mandy Rose vs. Alba Fyre (NXT Women’s Championship)
Earlier in the night, Toxic Attraction had one of the most fun cinematic style segments while hunting down Alba Fyre in a haunted house. It was the perfect amount of silly for NXT, everyone involved did great character work, and the haunted house made for some creative and gripping spots. I almost wish that was the actual match. As the ambulance left, Fyre drove Mandy Rose’s Range Rover back into the NXT parking lot which led to the match. The in-ring match was honestly kind of average, but it reminded me that Fyre is one of the best women in WWE wrestling-wise. It was kind of a bummer but predictable for Rose to win (with help from Toxic Attraction) and maintain her streak. Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Bron Breakker vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. JD McDonagh
What I learned in this match is that the NXT UK guys can really really go. I think the triple threat stipulation helped everyone, as the action was near constant. They had a great story going in, and it felt like these guys all actually wanted to beat each other. JD McDonagh was the smart heel who finally got his comeuppance. Ilja Dragunov was an unbelievable underdog babyface. Bron Breakker is simply the guy in NXT right now. Especially coming off the heels of a Mandy Rose win, it was almost too predictable for Breakker to retain again. They both have been champions of NXT for the better part of the last year, and it’s starting to feel stale. That’s the only thing keeping this from a higher grade because the in-ring work was excellent.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Rob's Final Grades
I loved Halloween Havoc because it had a fun gimmick, entertaining gimmick matches, and a thread that tied it together with fun hosts Shotzi and Quincy Elliot. NXT told great stories coming into this weekend, and I thought it paid off big. The results were sort of predictable and will be a thread to watch of NXT going forward while they still have the same two stars that held their championships at this time last year. This is the first premium live event of the new NXT era, and if it stands to tell anything, we may be getting the best of both worlds- the indy wrestling of black and gold with the zany storytelling/character work of NXT 2.0. For my money, that’s a good thing. Final Grade: 7/10 Good