By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Live from Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired January 17, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s New Year’s Evil themed show aired…
Vic Joseph and Booker T were on commentary. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer…
Entrances for the opening match took place. Trick Williams be running out there looking like El Fuerte from Street Fighter 4. Thankfully he dropped the mask off…
1. Apollo Crews and Axiom vs. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. Trick and Axiom started the match out with lockups. Axiom broke the hold and landed a dropkick on Trick. Trick came back with a shoulder tackle and a shimmy. Trick swatted Axiom with a nice popup punch. Melo tagged in. Axiom hit Trick with an arndrag and Melo with a huracanrana at the same time. Axiom then followed up with a dropkick. Apollo tagged in.
Apollo did a few agile dodges and landed a dropkick on Melo and Trick. Apollo hit Melo and Trick with simultaneous hip tosses. Melo landed a pop kick and La Mistica on Crews for a two count. Crews gave Melo a knee and Axiom hit Melo with a German Suplex. When Melo retreated to ringside, Crews gave Axiom a Military Press slam to slam him on Trick and Melo. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Axiom turned a Front Chancery into a rollup for a two count. Melo and Axiom took each other out with clotheslines. Crews and Axiom hit Trick and Melo with stereo chained German Suplexes. Melo caught Axiom’s kick and tossed it into Apollo’s face. Melo got a two count after slamming Axiom. Trick and Melo traded quick tags to cut the ring in half on Axiom. Axiom managed to escape the corner and tag in Apollo who pummeled Melo with powerful strikes.
Crews hit Melo with a series of corner splashes and enzuigiri. Apollo hit Melo with his signature press slam moonsault combo. Trick broke the pin and was dumped to ringside. Axiom hit Trick with a modified Golden Ratio. Melo went for the Nothing But Net, but Crews dodged it and rolled up Melo for the pinfall win.
Apollo Crews and Axiom defeated Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams via pinfall in 10:35.
John’s Thoughts: Solid opening match with a fluky enough finish to allow for more encounters down the road. Trick continues to improve slowly and surely. He doesn’t really mess up. He’s still green and hopefully he’s getting valuable reps on the live event tours and Level Up.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were shown walking across a bridge (I think it’s the same bridge that they dumped the body of Cole Karter). Generic mafia music played in the background. Tony dumped coins over the bridge and said the bridge is where things begin and end. Tony talked about how Cole is a solid money earner and takes the bullet time and time again for Tony.
Tony said the Dijak situation didn’t end how he’d like it. Stacks apologized and said he’ll do anything for Tony. Stacks said that Tony should do what he has to do. Tony said Stacks’ days as a sholdier is over, because he’s now an underboss. Tony had a leather jacket with a eagle insignia on the back. Tony said it was the family insignia (it looked like an iron-on sticker). Stacks thanked Tony for the promotion…
Highlights from last week’s 20 woman battle royal aired. Toxic Attraction were then shown backstage, heading to the ring…[c]
John’s Thoughts: The D’Angelo act still seems cheesy, but I’m intrigued at seeing if they treat Stacks as more than a generic goon. What’s also odd is Tony talks about having a mafia family, but it seems to consist of just him and Stacks. Maybe they could use some Developmental Students to serve as generic goons (similar to how Andre Chase has developmental wrestlers as his generic “college students”).
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Tiffany Stratton. Stratton berated McKenzie a bit. McKenzie presented footage of Tiffany struggling to get in her locker room. Indi Hartwell walked out and said it wasn’t her locker room anymore. Indi tore off the Tiffany sign and put a “Women’s Locker Room” sign. Back at the interview, Tiffany talked trash about Indi and said she’s going to show the locker room that she’s the number 1 in the division…
Toxic Attraction, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne, made their entrance. Both women took turns bragging about becoming number 1 contenders at the same time. Jacy talked about people being hyped when they thought Toxic Attraction was about to implode. Jacy said that they are a team and that even caused them to fall at the same time together. Gigi said there is no elephant in the room and the Toxic Attraction Revenge Tour is in full swing. Jacy said Roxanne will regret becoming NXT Women’s Champion.
Lyra Valkyria made her entrance to interrupt Toxic Attraction. Lyra said she sees a couple of Toxic Crows. Lyra talked aobut how she would have won if not for Cora Jade. Lyra said she doesn’t see a champion in Jacy or Gigi. Jacy and Gigi talked down to Lyra and told her to get to the back of the line. Lyra said she sees two women who can’t beat Roxanne Perez by herself so they have to team up. Toxic Attraction beat down and put the boots to Lyra. Roxanne Perez ran out to chase away the heels and check on Lyra…
John’s Thoughts: Simple stuff from Gigi and Jacy. Sounded a bit robotic though, like both women were reading scripted lines. This stands out to me because I’ve seen Gigi Dolin sound much more organic when she was cutting good promos on MLW. Lyra Valkyria wasn’t bad and showed good confidence. If only they get rid of the bad instagram filter she has when she makes her match entrance, they might have something in her. I thought she looked good here in her short promo time.
Julius Creed was doing Ground and Pound on a training dummy. Brutus demanded to Julius that he’d go after Jinder next, but Julius said he wasn’t done with Jinder. Ivy Nile gave both men a speech about getting focused (it sounded a bit robotic). Nile told both men to grow a set and figure things out (that line came out more organic). Julius said maybe Ivy has a point…
Alba Fyre made her entrance…[c]
They aired a clip of WWE wrestlers recreating the famous Robert De Niro “are you talking to me” line from Taxi Driver. This was during the promotion of LA’s last WrestleMania over a decade ago…
A promo aired for the Twitch Streamer Wrestler, Stevie Turner. Steve said she was going to give her twitch reactions to the women’s battle royal footage last week. Steve gave comments on some of the alliances and eliminations that happened during the match…
John’s Thoughts: I’m curious here. There might be money in an e-girl gimmick. They can totally strike and miss, but I think there’s potential with this (though Twitch isn’t as hot as it was two or 3 years ago.
Sol Ruca made her entrance…
2. Alba Fyre vs. Sol Ruca. Ruca landed a high crossbody on Fyre for a two count. Ruca got another two count after a backslide. Ruca got yet another two count after a sitout jawbreaker. Fyre slammed down Ruca and put the boots to her. Fyre gave Ruca a few PKs. Ruca and Fyre traded counters. Fyre hit Ruca with a superkick. Isla Dawn was shown laughing at Alba Fyre from the Crow’s Nest. The distraction allowed Sol Ruca to hit Fyre with the Sol Snatcher (Handstand Moonsualt Cutter) for the upset victory.
Sol Ruca defeated Alba Fyre via pinfall in 3:17.
Vic Joseph hyped a Grayson Waller interview for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Yes, another match where they go above and beyond to protect Fyre, but this one made sense given how early Ruca is in her development. A nice feather in the cap of the rising star Sol Ruca. Ruca probably isn’t ready for a long form match yet, but she’s on the fast track to becoming a meaningful star given her athleticism. Her crazy finishing move solidified her spot on the roster and she impressed even more last week with the Kofi Kingston handstand spot.
“Hard Justice” Dijack cut a sitdown promo in a dark smoky room. He said he has come to collect punitive damages. He talked about how Wes Lee will provide him something he never had before in WWE, a championship. He said he’d offer Wes Lee a plea bargain for the title, but Lee has no shot of leaving Charlotte, NC with the championship. Dijak said it won’t be vengeance day for Lee, but judgement day…
Vic Joseph and Booker T checked in from the commentary table. Vic sent the show to his sitdown interview with Grayson Waller. Vic asked Waller how he feels after New Years Evil. Waller said he was supposed to save NXT last week. Waller said Breakker couldn’t beat Waller last week. He said Berakker was just as strong and stupid as he thought he was. Waller said he lost not to Breakker, but to something he couldn’t control. Waller said the Crew failed their one job in fixing the buckle, and it cost him the championship.
Joseph talked about how impressive Waller’s high knee looked and he thought Waller would have won. Waller said he thought so too, but he was cost in the end again by the buckle breaking. Waller said he feels like a champion seeing Breakker knocked out. Waller then pulled out a replica NXT Title belt. Joseph pointed out that the replica isn’t the real belt.
Joseph hyped the Cage Match between Waller and Breakker at Vengeance day. Waller hyped up NXT being back on the road and said who’d be better to ride the car than Grayson Waller. Waller said he’s taking the title and Charlotte, North Carolina viral when he wins the title…
Gallus, Mark Coffey and Wolfgang were walking backstage. There was green lighting randomly. They hyped up beating Briggs and Jensen later on. They headed to the ring. The show cut to Briggs, Jensen, and Henley heading to the ring and talking about how they are going to take care of Gallus…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Waller continues to impress on the mic with his wit and confidence. Only thing that still comes off as odd was the convoluted buckle break spot. Reason it comes off as convoluted is because we rarely see the buckle break as a spot, so it would have helped to have some sort of explanation as to why it happened randomly during the NXT championshp match.
Alba Fyre was backstage pinning a referee against a cage with her bat. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance showed up and told Fyre to chill. Fyre threatened to go after the tag team titles. Chance said they’d be happy to fight, but Fyre doesn’t have a partner. Fyre said she doesn’t need one…
The Tyler Bate return vignette from last week aired…
[Hour Two] Briggs, Jensen, and Henley were already in the ring. Gallus got the full televised entrance. Gallus had new entrance music. It was the same “hey yah, woah uh” lyrics in a different chord…
3. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen (w/Fallon Henley) vs. “Gallus” Mark Coffey and Wolfgang. Both teams paired off and started brawling. Gallus managed to drag Jensen to their corner to cut the ring in half on him. Jensen managed to tag in Briggs wo slammed Mark for the two count. Wolfgang and Jensen tagged in. Gallus cut the ring in half on Jensen again with tags and methodical offense. Booker said he thinks that Jensen might be distracted for the “lovely little honey” Kiana James.
Briggs tagged in and was dominated by Gallus. Gallus pulled apart the padding near the ramp. Briggs adjusted his weight to block a suplex on the exposed floor. Briggs managed to hit Mark with a suplex on the padding. The show cut to picture-in-picture. [c]
Briggs backdropped Mark and tagged in Jensen for the hot tag. Jensen cleaned house with both Gallus members. Jensen’s back gave out on him during a suplex. Wolfgang tagged in and hit Jensen with a cross senton for a two count. Wolfgang and Mark traded quick tags to isolate Jensen again. Jensen did a judo roll to get to Briggs for the hot tag. Briggs dumped Gallus to ringside and hit Mark with a diving shoulder tackle. Wolfgang slammed Jensen on the concrete.
Briggs caught Mark with a diving lariat, body slam, and standing splash. Henley called for a medic. Jensen was distracted in concern. Mark rolled up Briggs for a two count. Mark and Briggs took down each other with lariats. Kiana James ran out to check on Jensen. Henley and James argued on how to take care of Jensen. The medics took their time helping Jensen to his feet. Briggs fought Gallus off with right hands.
Mark took down Briggs with a right hand. Gallus took down Briggs with their Enzuigiri and Power Slam combo for the win.
Gallus defeated Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen via pinfall in 11:59.
James and the medic carried Jensen to the back while Henley went to check on Briggs…
Andre Chase confronted Duke Hudson about how Duke Hudson was talking about Chace U taking a lot of L’s recently (via Chase). Hudson said they need to focus on Thea Hail. Hail said she was focused. Andre wished Hail luck…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Makes sense for Gallus to get their win back after all this time, but it would be cool to see Gallus get a few squash wins given their status as a powerhouse tag team. At least Jensen and Briggs have more credibility these days, so the longer match isn’t fully odd to see. The announce team did go above and beyond to protect Jensen by pointing out how Jensen is distracted by Kiana James. I just think Gallus needs to look more dominant because their last run in NXT consisted of them eating a ton of losses.
Josh Briggs and a doctor were checking in on Jensen in the medical room. Fallon Henley showed up and talked trash about Kiana James, saying that James is just using Jensen. Jensen pointed out that she isn’t using Henley and Henley got her bar back. Jensen said he and James love each other. Henley said James is going to break Jensen’s heart and she’s not going to be around to pick up the pieces…
Valentina Feroz got a televised entrance for the next match…
4. Valentina Feroz vs. Thea Hail. Hail worked on Feroz wtih wrist holds and armdrags. Woth women traded armdrags and rollups. Feroz hit Hail with a Judo toss and dropkick for a two count. Elektra Lopez showed up at ringside to scout the match. Joseph pointed out how dead the crowd was and credited it to them being distracted by Lopez. Both women traded pin attempts. Hail kept going back for the pins. Feroz hit Hail with a few kicks. Feroz and Hail took out each other with crossbodies.
Joseph talked about NXT_Anonymous continuing to creep on people. Booker said in wrestling they call creepers “Stasiaks” (Shawn Stasiak?) Elektra Lopez handed Feroz brass knuckles, but she refused them and gave them to the referee. Thea Hail hit Feroz with a One Percenter for the win.
Thea Hail defeated Valentina Feroz via pinfall in 3:25.
Joseph noted this was Hail’s first win on NXT TV. Apollo Crews contfonted Trick and Melo in the parking lot to trash talk. Melo said Apollo’s win was cheap. Apollo said he’s going to celebrate by getting a fresh hair cut. Crews walked away laughing. Williams was confused because why would Crews need a haircut if he’s bald???
The show cut back to the announce table for some very sad news. Vic Joseph noted that current Ring of Honor Tag Team Champion Jay Briscoe has passed away at 38 years of age…
John’s Thoughts: Oh no! Dammit. When Vic made the announcement, was hoping that I was mishearing things. That one really hurts. Prayers and condolences to the Jay’s family and friends. Jay had a hall of fame career. He and his brother were in their prime too. Jay and Mark were arguably the best tag team in the world for the past decade to a lot of people, not to mention Jay being a top tier singles wrestler. This is beyond wrestling though and Again, Prayers to the friends and family of Jay. Prayers to Jay as I hope he rests in heaven.
Elektra Lopez confronted Valentina Feroz in the locker room about not being opportunistic. Feroz talked about Lopez and Sanga having the same cheating mindset these days. Feroz talked about how she does whatever she had to do to win. She told Feroz to watch her match against Wendy Choo next week…
NXT Tag Team Champions Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston made their entrance. Booker continued to talk trash on commentary. Woods and Kofi were in formal attire. Kofi said they were wearing dapper drip because they are “done with Pretty Deadly, Baby!”. Woods asked who they will be going against at Vengence Day? Kofi announced that Gallus were the number one contenders. Woods and Kofi mocked the Gallus arms cross pose.
Kit Wilson and Elton Prince, Pretty Deadly, interrupted. Prince said this is nonsense. Wilson asked New Day if this was funny. Woods said this is hilarious. Kofi said said it’s hilarious that Pretty Deadly lost. Woods said all Pretty Deadly had to do is get the WWE memorabilia. Wilson said they are rightful contenders to the titles. Mark Coffey and Wolfgang interrupted with mics in their hands. Wolfgang said Pretty Deadly don’t deserve title shots.
Wilson said that Gallus wasn’t supposed to be in the match. Mark said that everyone’s chances to be NXT Tag Team Champions are done because Gallus boys are back on top. Wolfgang talked about taking care of Pretty Deadly and Briggs and Jensen, and New Day is next on their list. Mark talked about New Day bragging about records, but they are messing up everyone’s time. Woods said he can’t understand Gallus due to their thick accends, but the body languages says they want a fight.
Before New Day and Gallus could brawl, Pretty Deadly jumped Gallus and New Day. New Day dumped Pretty Deadly to ringside with the numbers advantage. Oney Lorcan and Robby Brookside, NXT producers, ran out to drag Pretty Deadly to the back. Referees ran out to separate Gallus and New Day…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Roxanne Perez and Lyra Vakyria about teaming up later in the show. Perez talked about how they have common enemies in Toxic Attraction. Lyra said she usually flies alone, but she’s making an exception. Javier Bernal interrupted with a guitar in hand. Javi claimed his christmas album hit the top 40. He said “Feliz Javidad” was flying up the music charts. Lyra was disgusted…
Vic Joseph hyped up a sitodown interview with Bron Breakker after the break…[c]
Vic Joseph thanked the band Beartooth for providing the song “Riptide” which is the theme song for NXT Vengeance Day.
Vic Joseph had a sitodown interview with Bron Breakker. Breakker said he has a bad taste in his mouth with the unsatisifying finish. Joseph said he understands. Joseph also talked about how he also noticed how impressive Waller’s high knee was to the point where he thought Breakker lost clean. Breakker said it took everything in his power to kick out. Breakker said the rope breaking creates a “what if” scenario.
He said he understands people have doubts, but the questions will be answered at Vengeance day. Joseph hyped up the steel cage match at Vengeance day. Breakker said he likes that stipulation because there is nowhere to run and hide for Waller. He said the mind games won’t get to him. he said he’s not climbing over the top to win, he’s winning in the center of the ring.
Joseph talked about Waller running around with a fake replica belt. Breakker said Waller is the Chael Sonnen of NXT with all his trash talk. Breakker said Waller’s claims won’t come true at Vengeance Day. Breakker hyped leaving North Carolina as NXT Champion. Joseph hyped up Breakker vs. Waller at Vengeance day…
“Big Body Javi” Javier Bernal was in the center of the ring with a mic stand and guitar. Joseph said he wants ear plugs. Javi went on to try to sing his Feliz Javidad song. he was interrupted by Tyler Bate, who was in ring gear. Booker talked about Tyler looking in good shape (he’s usually jackked, but Booker’s right, he’s looking in good shape)…
5. Tyler Bate vs. Javier Bernal. Bate did a fakeout on a handshake to start the match. Bate did a signature rollup for a two count. Javi put Bate in a headlock. Bate escaped and hit Javi with a dropkick and armdrag. Javi retreated to the ropes for a break. Javi poked Bate in the eyes and gave Bate a bulldog and clothesline. Javi worked on Bate with methodical offense. Bate put on the brakes to block a bulldog. Bate worked on Javi with signature strikes and a flying uppercut.
Bate gave Javi a knee and a diving shoryuken. Bate hit Javi with a T-Bone Suplex and Standing Shooting Star. Javi escaped a Tyler Driver. Tyler hit Javi with two Bop and Bang punches. Tyler botched a Tyler Driver 97′ twice (because Javi couldn’t get up for the move). Tyler pinned Javi for the win.
Tyler Bate defeated Javier Bernal via pinfall in 3:49.
Joseph hyped up the women’s tag team match for later in the show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Good return for Tyler and Javi continues to be one of the most fun acts on the NXT roster. The good went to scary with Javi not being able to stand. The finish had me a bit shook, especially coming off the sad Briscoe news. It looks like Javi got his bell rung. Here’s praying that Javi recovers. Hopefully it wasn’t too bad.
Duke Hudson and Chase U were carrying around Thea Hail in celebration. Fallon Henley confronted Briggs and Jensen to apologize to snapping on Jensen. Henley said he’s going to try to make it work for Jensen. Henley said she’s going to make it up to Jensen by teaming up with Kiana James in a tag match next week
New Day vs. Gallus vs. Pretty Deadly for the NXT Tag Team Championships was announced for Vengeance Day. The following segments were announced for next week: Katana Chance and Kayden Carter vs. Alba Fyre in a handicap match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships, Indi Hartwell vs. Tiffany Stratton, and Thea Hail’s Award Ceremony.
[Overrun] The babyface team got a televised entrance for the next match. Thankfully, Lyra’s gawd awful rain Instagram filter wasn’t used (hopefully that stays in the garbage.
6. Lyra Valkyria and NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez vs. “Toxic Attraction” Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. Perez hit Jayne with a dive at ringside. Lyra hit Dolin with a wrecking ball kick. Perez and Lyra cut the ring in half on Jayne. Dolin tagged in and the babyface team continued to use quick tags to keep the advantage. Jayne blind tagged in and mounted Perez for punches. Dolin tagged in and got a two count off a Jackknife Pin.
Toxic Attraction cut the ring in half on Perez for a stretch. Perez got a window of opportunity after hitting Jayne with a facebuster. Lyra got the hot tag wtih Dolin also tagging in. Valkyria cleaned house with kicks. Lyra hit Dolin with an Exploder Suplex. Cora Jade ran out to shove Lyra off the top rope. Jayne and Perez tagged in. Perez gave Jayne Thesz Press punches. Lyra gave Jade a crossbody.
Jade and Lyra brawled to the back. Dolin hit Perez with a superkick to end Roxanne’s momentum. Toxic Attraction went for their high low finisher, but Jayne accidently missed the mark by hitting Dolin with a spinning boot. Perez dumped Jayne to ringside. Perez hit Dolin with Pop Rocks (Code Red) to pick up the win.
Roxanne Perez and Lyra Valkyria defeated Toxic Attraction via pinfall in 6:48.
Roxanne Perez posed with the NXT Women’s Championship at the top of the ramp while Gigi and Jacy bickered in the ring to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: Logical booking to pair Cora Jade with Lyra Valkyria while continue to sow seeds of descent between Toxic Attraction. Let’s remember, the program heading into Vengeance Day was supposed to involve Mandy Rose to some extent and they had to rewrite things based off her release. So I think they’ve done a done a solid job shifting to a potential Toxic Attraction breakup. “Potential” because they can always have them come together strongly in the end for some character development. I do like Perez looking strong and like a prodigy, which is what she was known for on the indies.
This week’s NXT was a solid show when I was able to focus. To be completely honest, it was tough to focus or hold back tears in the 2nd hour when you randomly hear one of your favorite pro wrestlers of all time have passed away. I’m sure wrestling fans and wrestlers all across the world are mourning based off the sad news. Again, prayers and love out to everyone. Former World Champion Jamin Pugh, Jay Briscoe, again, Rest in Heaven. Classy move by WWE for taking time during the show to pay condolences. I’ll be by in a bit with my NXT audio review for the Dot Net members and patreon patrons.