At NXT Vengeance Day, the Two Out Of Three Falls match between Carmello Hayes and Apollo Crews descended into chaos when a long-absent star made his return to the developmental brand.
In recent weeks, Apollo Crews and Hayes have traded wins, with Melo defeating Crews in singles action while the former Intercontinental Champion evened the score by pinning his rival during a Tag Team match.
With both men vying to become the next Number One Contender for the NXT Championship, they were set on a collision course for Vengeance Day to settle the score in a definitive Two Out Of Three Falls bout.
The match kicked off with Crews in control. The star was able to counter everything Hayes threw at him, including catching him when he jumped from the top rope to drop him with a German Suplex, and dropkicking him in the ribs.
Despite this, it was Hayes who got the first fall, managing to get him on the mat and apply a Crossface for the submission.
This turned the tide for Hayes, but not for long as Crews came back with three straight German Suplexes and a Standing Shooting Star Press. The action spilled to the outside, with Hayes trying to get a count out win, but Crews was able to get back in.
At this point, Hayes’ ally Trick Williams got involved, removing a turnbuckle pad behind the referee’s back. However, the plan backfired as Crews threw hayes into the exposed turnbuckle.
When Williams got back on the apron with a steel chair, Dabba-Kato – formerly Crews’ partner as Commander Azeez – appeared from nowhere and pulled him down. Williams rolled in the ring only to be Clotheslined out by Crews.
It wasn’t enough though, as Hayes used the distraction to connect with a Springboard Clothesline and then Nothing But Net to the back of Crews’ head for the second straight fall, winning the match.
— WWE (@WWE) February 5, 2023
Dabba Kato turns on Apollo Crews at Vengeance Day
Following the bout, Dabba-Kato got in the ring and helped Crews up, only to drop him with a Headbutt before Powerbombing him onto the steel chair that was still lying in the ring.
Dabba-Kato was last seen as Commander Azeez on Main Event in May 2022. His last match saw him defeat Akira Tozawa before being sent back to NXT.
The star has since appeared sporadically on the developmental brand’s Live Events, but Vengeance Day marked his first TV appearance in almost eight months.