NXT Battleground results: Moore’s live review of Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship, Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria for the vacant NXT Women’s Title, Gallus vs. The Creeds for the NXT Tag Team Titles, Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate vs. Joe Gacy in a Triple Threat for the NXT North American Title, Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee for the NXT Heritage Cup


By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT Battleground
Streamed May 28, 2023 on Peacock
Lowell, Massachusetts at Tsongas Center

Pre Show Notes

The Pre Show hosts Meagan Morant, Matt Camp, and Sam Roberts checked in from the WWE studio set. The panel ran through the advertised card…

Morant sent the show to McKenzie Mitchell, who checked in on-site at the Tsongas Center. Mitchell talked about how the NXT roster got to spend yesterday touring Fenway Park. A clip was shown of Carmelo Hayes and Bron Breakker facing each other off at Fenway. McKenzie Mitchell sent the show to the Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak hype package…

The show cut back to the panel to discuss the Dragunov vs. Dijak build. Camp talked about Dijak being in his home state of Massachusetts. Morant sent the show to the Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria hype package…

The panel discussed the build for the Women’s Championship match. Morant sent the show to the Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee Rounds Match hype package which also included the Heritage Cup rules video…

The show cut to Noam Dar trying to beg Oro Mensah to be his cornerman again. Dar talked about how he showered Oro with gifts. Oro said he appreciates the gifts, but “I’ll think about it”. After Mensah left, Dar was shaking nervously and cradling his Heritage Cup like a human baby. The panel gave their thoughts…

Bron Breakker was shown walking through the backstage area. Breakker was bumping into people in the halls. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were shown arriving at the arena. Melo shook hands with a local sports radio host. Jeremy Borash was also backstage…[c]

A Lyra Valkyria vignette aired. The video focused on Lyra’s path to the finals of the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament finals. The panel then gave their thoughts on Lyra’s chances of winning. Side note, Sam Roberts toned down his usual pre-show heel act this time…

Morant started the discussion on Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate vs. Joe Gacy. Highlights from their interactions on last week’s NXT were shown. After the discussion, the panel repeated the card again…

Roberts sent the show to the Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker hype package. Morant led the discussion off by talking about how WWE has had recent big moments with Zelina Vega, Sami Zayn, and others being welcomed huge in their home town. The panel gave their thoughts on home town advantage, while also giving their predictions. Morant closed the show…

John’s Thoughts: Uhm? By the way? Last NXT PLE, Carmelo was draped in Lakers Purple and Gold, all Kobe’d out. And now he’s presumably going to be in Celtic green? As a Lakers fan that’s very ironic. That said, I am rooting for the Celts to beat the Miami Heat in Game 7 to move to the NBA finals. I’m a huge fan of Jayson Tatum, a Kobe Bryant protégé

Main Show Review

A NXT Battleground Intro Video aired…

Vic Joseph and Booker T were on commentary. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer…

Entrances for the North American Championship match aired. Vic Joseph noted that if Wes Lee wins, he would secure the record for most successful North American Championship title defenses…

1. Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate vs. Joe Gacy (w/Ava) for the NXT North American Championship. All three men rolled each other up early on for some quick pin attempts. Bate and Lee teased an alliance, but after they agreed Bate didn’t assist Gacy. Gacy tried to stir the pot, but ended up getting dumped by both guys. Lee shoved Bate in the chest. Gacy got on the apron and continued to stir the pot.

John’s Thoughts: Ugh, they’re integrating the poor build into this match. Lee and Bate are acting extra dumb for this whole petty dissention thing.

Gacy hit Bate and Lee with a dive to ringside while they were at odds. Gacy hit Bate with a Death Valley Driver. Lee broke up Gacy’s pin attempt. Lee tossed Gacy and Bate with a Sunset Flip to get a two count on Gacy. Lee hit Gacy with a double stomp and hit Bate with a Frankendriver for a two count. Bate hit Lee with a diving Uppercut.

Bate hit Gacy with an Exploder Suplex. Bate caught Lee and hit him with an Exploder. Bate hit Gacy with Bop and Bang. Bate did a simultaneous Helicopter Spin and Giant Swing on Gacy and Lee (He couldn’t really get more than two spins). Bate military pressed Gacy. Lee used a right hand to break Bate’s pin. Lee and Bate traded strikes.

Lee landed a CQC combo on Bate. Bate backdropped Lee into Gacy’s arms. Gacy power bombed Lee onto Bate. Bate caught Lee and Bate and hit both of them with a Flatliner and DDT at the same time. Gacy put Lee in an Rings of Saturn. Bate tried to break the submission, but Gacy no sold Bate’s kick. Bate used punches to finally break the hold.

Gacy put Bate in the Rings of Saturn. Lee broke up the submission. All three men traded fatigued right hands. Bate and Gacy took each other out with their signature rebound moves. Lee hit both opponents with a Double Cardiac Kick. Bate and Gacy both kicked out of Lee’s finisher. Lee gave both opponents running European Uppercuts in the corners.

Lee caught Bate with a Gamengiri. Gacy sidestepped Lee and gave Lee a right hand. Lee put Gacy in a Sleeper. Gacy broke the hold by taking Lee with him in a cannonball in the corner. Tyler Bate broke up the pin with a Spiral Tap. Bate hit Gacy with a Tyler Driver.

Lee broke up the pin with a meteora for a two count on Bate. Lee hit Bate with a Flip Dive over the Ringpost. Gacy caught Lee with a Uranage. Gacy went for his Handstand Lariat finisher, but Lee caught Gacy mid-move with a Cardiac Kick for the victory.

Wes Lee defeated Joe Gacy and Tyler Bate via pinfall in 11:59 to retain the NXT North American Championship. 

Vic Joseph noted that Wes Lee broke the North American Championship title defense record. Joseph also threw in a line calling Lee a “Rascal for life” (ode to Trey Miguel and Zack Wentz)…

John’s Thoughts: I groaned at the beginning of the match when Lee and Bate continued their fabricated hatred towards each other that stemmed from their bad feud. It makes no sense that Lee would be pissed because of his whole fighting champion persona. That said, once they ditched that schtick after the opening minutes, the match got good as expected. It was the right decision to have Lee go over to solidify the milestone with him.

A video package aired spotlighting Tiffany Stratton’s path to the finals of the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament…

Bron Breakker was shown walking through the backstage area. Breakker was bumping into people in the halls. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were shown arriving at the arena. Melo shook hands with a local sports radio host. Jeremy Borash was also backstage…

The hype package aired for Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee. The video also laid out the rules for Heritage Cup Championship matches…

Entrances for the Heritage Cup Championship match aired. Alicia Taylor introduced the match from in the ring. The match had a scoreboard and timer graphic on screen…

2. Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee (w/Nathan Frazer) in a Rounds Match for the NXT Heritage Cup Championship. Dar dominated early on with ground holds. Half way through the first round, Dragon managed to turn the tables with joint manipulation. Dar turned the tables immediately and tangled Dragon’s legs like a pretzel. Lee quickly shoved Dar away. Dragon slowed things down by putting Dar in a headscissors. After trading counters, Lee managed to land a kick on Dar. Lee ended Round 1 with a dropkick on Dar. [End of Round 1] 

Oro Mensah ran out with a towel to be Dar’s corner man. Dragon rallied with clotheslines and a huracanrana. Dragon hit Dar with a slingshot boot to the face. Dragon caught Dar with a Hesitation Dropkick for a two count. Dar rolled up Dragon for a surprise pinfall on Dragon for the 1st point. [End of Round 2]

Noam Dar scored the first fall via pinfall in 1:32 of Round 2 to go up 1-0.

Dar tripped Dragon off the top rope and got a two count. Dragon rolled up Dar for a two count. Dragon caught Dar with a knee and hook kick. Dar rolled to the apron to stall. Dragon jumped over the top rope to huracanrana Dar off the apron. Dragon caught Dar with a Suicide Dive. Dragon gave Dar a knee for a two count. Dragon worked on Dar with strikes. The bell rang. Dar gave Lee a cheap shot after the bell and claimed he didn’t hear the bell. [End of Round 3]

Lee avoided a corner splash. Dar caught Lee wit a Yakuza Kick. Dar hit Dragon with a basement lariat for a two count. Dragon crumpled to teh ground to prevent Dar from hitting his finisher. Dar went for a Juji Gatame, but Dragon kept his arms clasped.

Dragon rolled up Dar for a two count. Dragon hit Dar with a Scorpion Kick. Dragon put Dar in a Cloverleaf. Mensah pushed the rope to give Dar a rope break.  [end of round 4]

Dragon Lee scored the second fall via pinfall in 2:04 or Round 4 to tie the match 1-1. 

Dar reversed a Dragon Screw into an ankle Lock. Dragon dumped Dar to ringside with a huracanrana, but botched the move by falling on his own back at ringside (hopefully not on the neck). Dar dragged Dragon back in the ring for a two count. After eating a few kicks, Dragon got a 2nd wind with a German Suplex.

Dragon hit Dar with a Power Bomb for a two count. Jakara Jackson ran out to distract the ref. Lash Legend hit Dragon in the back with a metal bucket. Dar hit Dragon with the Nova Roller Leg Lariat for the win.

Noam Dar defeated Dragon Lee 2:15 in Round 5 to retain the NXT Heritage Cup Championship 2 falls to 1. 

Dar, Jackson, Legend, and Mensah celebrated after the match…

John’s Thoughts: Damn, that was a bit of a mess. Sad too given how good both wrestlers are. We’ve seen better from Dar on WWE television and Lee didn’t stand out under all the Rounds rules. The botch didn’t help. The overbooked finish to protect Lee wasn’t great either. I wouldn’t mind both men running this back down the road to redeem this. On the other side. Dar seems to have a faction now. I also noticed that Dar seems to be most comfortable hanging around the black brothers and sistas backstage. Does mah man Noam have a little bit of Black blood in him? Am I allowed to invite him to the cookout?

Jacy Jayne vs. Gigi Dolin in a “Weaponized” Cage Match (a.k.a. Lethal Lockdown) was advertised for this upcoming NXT on Tuesday…

The Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak hype package aired…

Dijak made his entrance in his home state. His wife and kids were in the front row. Dijak yelled at his wife to take the kids to the back because he doesn’t want them to witness the violence that’s about to occur. Ilja Dragunov made his entrance…

3. Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak in a Last Man Standing Match. Both men traded forearms to start. Dijak got the advantage with clubbing overhead blows. Both men no sold chops. Dijak grounded Ilja with a discus lariat. Ilja recovered and Dijak blocked a German Suplex with his weight. Ilja went for a Tiger Feint, but Dijak dumped Ilja to ringside. Dijak tossed some steel steps into the ring. Ilja recovered and gave Dijak a few kneees and overhead forearms to the back.

Ilja slammed Dijak’s face to the announce table and hit Dijak with a Yakuza Kick. Ilja jumped off some steel steps, but his face went right into Dijak’s lifted boot. Dijak hit Ilja with a Front Suplex on the steel steps. Dijak got cheers from the crowd when he brought a table to ringside. Ilja ran through the table while Dijak was lifting it up.

Ilja’s mouth was bleeding at this point. Dijak rolled in the ring to beat the 10 count. Replays aired as the referee attended to Ilja. Both men traded strikes in the ring. Dijak held on to the ropes and shrugged off Ilja, sending Ilja into the steel steps in the ring. Ilja reversed a chokeslam into a DDT, sending Dijak’s head into the steel steps.

Ilja gave Dijak face wash boots on the bottom buckle. Ilja smashed the steel steps onto Dijak. Ilja trapped Dijak in the corner with the steel steps by jamming it on him. Ilja climbed to the top rope on the other side of the ring and hit Dijak with a Steel Step VanTerminator (Coast-to-Coast). Dijaked used a leg bridge to eat the ten count.

Ilja worked on Dijak with rapid chops to the chest. Dijak came back with a chop and kick. Ilja recovered and went back to the rapid chops. Ilja hit Dijak with a chambered chop to send Dijak to the mat. While lying down, Ilja continued to chop Dijak. Ilja gave Dijak a reverse chop and laid down to rest a bit. After recovering, Dijak no-sold a German Suplex with Fighting Spirit.

Ilja gave Dijak face wash slaps. Dijak choke slammed Ilja on the apron. Ilja crawled to the apron to beat the count. Dijak and Ilja snarled at each other. Dijak hit Ilja with Feast Your Eyes, but Ilja stayed on his feet by stumbling to the 2nd turnbuckle. Dijak let out a roar of frustration. Dijak brought out a kendo stick.

Dijak hit Ilja in the chest with the cane and asked Ilja if he likes it. Ilja cried in pain a bit. Dijak hit Ilja again and asked Ilja if he feels alive. Ilja yelled “Not even close”. Dijak gave Ilja another home run swing to the chest and asked Ilja to stay. Dijak took some of Ilja’s blood and put it on the cane. Ilja broke up the stick on Ilja’s chest.

Ilja crumpled off the buckle, but didn’t fall to his back. Dijak brought a chair into the ring. Booker said Dijak is in Interrogation Mode (what?). Ilja tried to rally back with rapid chops, but Dijak hit Ilja on the back with a chair shot. Ilja recovered out of desperation and hit Dijak with Torpedo Moscow. Ilja hit the grounded Dijak with a diving forearm.

Ilja went to the top of the steps in the ring and gave Dijak a diving forearm smash to the back of the neck. Both men were on the ground. Ilja was the only one moving, and got to his feet to beat the ten count. Dijak didn’t move.

Ilja Dragunov defeated Dijak in an Last Man Standing Match in 15:54.

Highlights from the match aired…

John’s Thoughts: A brutal brawl as expected from both men. A bit plodding at points, but both men put in a lot of effort to get the most out of the stipulation. Both men also used this match to play into their torture build. What was missing was blood. Blood would have really took this match up a few levels. You can tell both men wanted blood as well as they did as much as they could with the blood coming out of Ilja’s chin.

The show cut to Chase University. Duke Hudson is still the substitute teacher. Duke said everyone did well on the quiz, except Ricky. Duke yelled at “Ricky” and told him he sucks. Duke introduced Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey as guest teachers to teach catch wrestling. Gulak and Dempsey aired footage of a Thea Hail match, talking about her bad technique.

Gulak said Chase U doesn’t have to fail like Thea. Thea walked off. Duke Hudson berated Hudson for bullying Thea. Gulak said people shouldn’t be crying in WWE. Duke said that Gulak better have a better lesson plan next week. Gulak and Dempsey left. Hudson dismissed the class and said he’s going to check on Thea.

Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, Miss Jackson, and Lash Legend were celebrating the Heritage Cup win. McKenzie tried to interview Noam, but he and his crew overwhelmed her with their excitement…

The next NXT PLE is the NXT Great American Bash on July 30th in Cedar Park, TX. Booker T talked about how he won the WWE World Championship at a Great American Bash…

Entrances for the Tag Team Championship match aired. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the Championship match…

4. “Gallus” Mark Coffey and Wolfgang (w/Joe Coffey) vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed (w/Ivy Nile) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Wolfgang hit Julius with an uppercut and tagged in Mark. Julius hit Mark with a Judo toss. Brutus tagged in and worked on Mark with a double leg takedown. Wolfgang and Julius tagged in to set up a faceoff.

Julius took down Wolfgang and Brutus took down Mark with a Fireman Takedown. Julius tagged in. The Creeds passed around Mark with knees to the gut. Brutus got a blind tag in which allowed Brutus to surprise Mark with an axe handle strike. Brutus hit Mark with his signature Hulk smashes. Wolfgang blind tagged in and flapjacked Brutus, throat first, into the top rope. Gallus cut the ring in half on Brutus for a few minutes.

Brutus managed to dump Mark to ringside. Wolfgang cut Brutus at the pass. Brutus backdropped Wolfgang and tagged in Julius for the hot tag. Julius hit both opponents with 3 release Belly to Belly, while also doing a bunch of Kip Ups. Julius woke up the crowd with his excitement. Julius gave Gallus their 4th Belly to Belly. Julius hit Mark with a Standing Shooting Star.

Brutus hit Mark with a Standing Moonsault for a two count. Julius put Mark in electric chair. Mark rolled up Julius for a two count while also avoiding a Doomsday Ball. Gallus gave Julius a double chokeslam. Brutus hit both Gallus members with a Brutus Ball. Julius and Brutus lifted each other and shared words of encouragement. Gallus also recovered. A hockey fight ensued.

Julius took down Mark with a tackle. Julius hit Mark with a cartwheel driver. Joe Coffey tried to run interference, but he was tripped up by Ivy Nile. Ava ran out and tossed Ivy into the ringpost. Gallus hit Julius with their Flapjack Knee combo to give Mark the win over Brutus.

Gallus defeated The Creed Brothers via pinfall in 9:33 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. 

Gallus did their pose in the center of the ring while the Creeds checked on Ivy…

John’s Thoughts: A decent tag team title match, but nothing to write home about, especially with all the moving pieces at the end of the match to protect The Creeds. Part of the problem is they haven’t really set a character alignment for Gallus. I assume they’re heels because of Joe running in the ring, but they haven’t established that yet. On the bright side, Julius Creed was the biggest positive standout in the center of the match. He sensed the crowd was getting out of it, and he woke them up with that amazing Belly to Belly sequence. Credit him for his crowd awareness. Can’t say I’m excited for an Ivy Nile and Ava feud, most notably because Ava didn’t show she’s ready in-ring at Stand and Deliver.

A vignette aired of the mystery woman parking lot attacker. She talked about how she’s reeked havoc on NXT for months. She said she’s going to reveal herself on this upcoming NXT.

A vignette aired to spotlight Lyra Valkyria’s path to the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament finals…

Entrances for the NXT Women’s Championship match aired. Alicia Taylor was in the ring and handled the formal in-ring introductions for the NXT Women’s Championship Match…

6. Lyra Valkyria vs. Tiffany Stratton for the vacant NXT Women’s Championship. Both woman sized each other up. Both women traded shoves. Lyra slammed Tiffany with a side headlock takedown. Tiffany got to her feet and worked on Lyra’s left arm with arm wrenches. Lyra came back with arm wrenches of her own. Lyra used a crucifix pin for a two count. Tiffany went for a crucifix pin, but Lyra rolled through for a two count.

Tiffany put Lyra in a headlock and followed up with a shoulder tackle. Lyra did a leapfrog, but her injured knee buckled (the injured knee from Cora Jade’s post match attack). Lyra and Tiffany traded counters during a test of strength. Lyra dumped Tiffany to ringside with a Tornado Armdrag. Tiffany rolled to ringside to recover. Tiffany dodged a Wrecking Ball dropkick and dragged Lyra to ringside.

John’s Thoughts: Just sayin’, Lyra should have asked Cody Rhodes for a Titanium Knee Brace.

Tiffany slammed Lyra knee first into the ringpost. Tiffany tossed Lyra’s injured knee again into a different ringpost. Tifanny ripped off Lyra’s knee brace and worked on Lyra’s injured knee with Dragon Screws. This allowed Tiffany to get a two count. Tiffany worked on Lyra with reverse Indian Deathlocks. Tiffany put Lyra in a Last Chancery. Lyra broke out.

Tiffany and Lyra traded slaps. Tiffany ducked a enzuigiri and slammed Lyra’s leg into the mat. Lyra used boots to escape a Stretch Muffler. Lyra got a two count off a Sunset Flip. Lyra shoved Tiffany into the ringpost and got a two count. Lyra rolled up Tiffany for a two count. Lyra hit Tiffany with a Missile Dropkick and sold her injured knee.

Both women traded Boo-Yay uppercuts. Lyra hit Tiffany with a bicycle kick combo. Lyra hit Tiffany with a Chained Northern Lights. Tiffany escaped a third attempt. Lyra dumped Tiffany to ringside with an enziguri. Lyra hit Tiffany with a Wrecking Ball Dropkick and crossbody at ringside. Lyra hit Tiffany with a Crossbody. Tiffany rolled through and went for a rolling senton.

Lyra reversed the Senton into a Crucifix Driver for a two count. Lyra was tripped and put in a Tree of Woe. Tiffany hit Lyra with a dropkick. Tiffany hit Lyra with a move in the corner for a two count (the camera missed the move). Tiffany gave Lyra’s knee a mule kick. Lyra rolled up Tiffany for a two count. Tiffany hit Lyra with a front dropkick for a two count. Tiffany did a backflip, but right into Lyra’s German Suplex.

Lyra went for a Crescent Kick, but her injured knee buckled. Tiffany hit Lyra with a Rolling Senton. Lyra dodged the Prettiest Moonsault Ever. Lyra hit Tiffany with a Spinning Crescent Kick. Tiffany broke the pin with the foot on the bottom rope. Both women brawled to the top rope. Tiffany grabbed the top rope to block a Sunset Bomb. Tiffany managed to hit Lyra with a Rolling Senton and Prettiest Moonsault Ever (BME) to pick up the win.

Tiffany Stratton defeated Lyra Valkyria via pinfall in 16:01 to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. 

John’s Thoughts: A hard worked match which ultimately became pretty good. Both women had an uphill battle to climb, mainly because of the lack of crowd investment in Lyra as a babyface (maybe they should have gone with Roxanne Perez?). That said, both women managed to win over the crowd with the final stretches of the match. This was definitely Lyra’s best match in NXT US to date. Key with her is to give her character development. Tiffany Stratton finally has the ball to run with. This is going to be interesting given how little ring experience Tiffany has, but how fast of a learner she is. I’m confident she has all the tools to succeed.

Vic Joseph announced that Gigi Dolin vs. Jacy Jayne in the Weaponized Cage Match will open this week’s NXT…

The hype package aired for the upcoming Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker match…

Both opponents were followed to the ring by the cameras…

Bron Breakker made his entrance wearing a hooded vest and a plastic dog mouth mask. Bron Breakker walking out there looking like a potential Mortal Kombat character (doesn’t look as great when he took the hood down). Trick Williams came out first to give Carmelo Hayes a personalized ring introduction.

Trick named out all the Boston sports teams. Trick said that the latest champion to bring a Championship to Boston is “Him”. Carmelo Hayes made his entrance in gold trimmed attire with Gold flags on his biceps. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring championship introductions…

John’s Thoughts: Ah, not Celtics attire. I did get a chance see him at press conferences at Mania weekend and even jumped in on a conversation he was having on greatest NBA players. He seems more of a 76ers fan, specifically Allen Iverson, which he basses his character off of.

7. Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship. Melo started the match with quick strikes out of the gate. Bron slowed things down with a stiff standing shoulder tackle. Melo came back with a flip and pump kick. Melo hit Bron with a flip dive (but credit to Bron for catching Melo, Bron may have saved Melo’s life). Bron tackled Melo into the apron to end Melo’s rally. Bron blocked a leapfrog with a spinebuster. Bron worked on Melo’s injured ribs with shoulder tackles.

Melo recovered and hit Bron with a dropkick. Bron ended Melo’s rally with a hip toss. Bron yelled that the fans are idiots. Melo managed to drape Bron and hit Bron with a fadeaway leg drop. Bron rolled over to escape a Half Boston Crab. Bron hobbled on an injured leg, but turned Melo inside out with a lariat. Bron manhandled Melo around the ring. Bron hit Melo with a twisted Belly to Belly for a one count.

Bron did pushups to mock Melo and Vic noted that Bron may have broke the pin on purpose. Bron soaked in “you suck” chants. Bron continued to trash talk Boston. Bron kept a low base to block a Sunset Flip. Bron yanked Melo up and hit Melo with an overhead Belly to Belly. Bron caught Melo in the corner with a Frankensteiner. Bron worked on Melo with shortarm lariats. A “you’re not him” chant ensued for Bron.

Melo recovered and came at Bron with chops. Bron ended that small rally with a German Suplex. Bron worked on standing hip strikes to the back to set up the Steiner Recliner. Melo fell crotch first into Melo’s knee when Melo turned over. Melo then reversed a Vertical Suplex into a DDT to give himself a moment of respite.

Melo and Bron traded Yay-Boo punches. Melo caught Bron with a thrust kick and springboard crossbody.  Melo hit Bron with a La Mistica Slam for a half a count. Melo hit a daring Bron with a knee. Melo hit Bron with a Final Cut for a two count. Melo and Bron traded fatigued Yay-Boo strikes. Melo reversed a Military Press into a Codebreaker.

Bron rolled away to avoid Nothin’ But Net. Melo avoided a first spear. Bron reversed Melo’s springboard Crossbody with a Spear. Melo kicked out of Bron’s finisher. Bron hit Melo with a series of Gutwrench Suplexes. Melo reversed a Military Press into an Inside Cradle for a two count.

Melo hit Bron with a series of superkicks. Melo hit Bron in the back of the neck with a springboard elbow. Melo hit Bron with the Nothin’ But Net leg drop for the clean win.

Carmelo Hayes defeated Bron Breakker via pinfall in 14:14 to retain the NXT Championship. 

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams celebrated in the ring to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: A really good match and good run-back from Stand and Deliver. This was the closing sequence we should have got at the House that Kobe Bryant Built instead of that weird Ref Bump and Belt Shot finish. What was also different here was the athmosphere. The LA match had the looming shadow of Bron’s daddy acting a fool (again, I’m of the belief that the sins of the father shouldn’t be passed down to the son). This was a better athmosphere. Bron is doing great stuff as a Heel and I liked his trash talk interjections. Little bit of Scott, but not as witty.

If I were Bron, I’d actually seek out Bully Ray for advice, who is good at using interjection to generate heat. Bron’s in-ring seemed very inspired here too and he’s looked the freshest as he’s been in months given how stale he was getting as a babyface. As much as I praise the crowd at points for getting up at the right moments, I don’t think WWE got the ticket sales they wanted for this premium live event. I mean, the price of watching Double or Nothing on PPV is less than a trip to an arena all things considered. Crowd-wise they had the crowd packed well, so it looked decent visually.

What it did look like was they had the mid-seats tarped and had to only use low and floor seats (maybe I’m off, but that’s what it looked like). Another indicator of low ticket sales for me was Vic going into pitch mode for them more than he usually does. Quality-wise, this was an “okay” show. Probably the weakest overall of the paid shows this week (I haven’t seen Impact’s yet, but I heard good things). I hold NXT (non-2.0) to a high standard, and this was “average” on that high standard.

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Readers Comments (20)

  1. Great first match. Would like to see more 1 on 1 matches for the North American title on these special event. I believe 3 out of the last four defenses at these special events were multi man matches. It’s not that this match was not enjoyable, it really was, I would like to see Wes Lee in more meaningful title defenses.

  2. Ohhhh big fan of that Heritage Cup match. Creative format and a fun athletic match. Noam Dar is so annoying but it works

  3. I liked the Heritage Cup format. This was my first exposure to it and I thought it was an interesting format. The match itself was just OK for me though. I was half expecting Nathan Frazier to turn in order to protect Dragon Lee. However, the outside interference worked too.

  4. Creative table spot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it before. Still trying to figure out why Dijak is not a bigger star. He has the size and look that Vince favors and he’s really good in the ring. Nice coast to coast with the stairs. It looked brutal. This match was awesome. My only issue is it seems like Dijak has fallen into the Tyler Breeze gatekeeper role.

  5. @carl. Was just saying the same thing myself. Dijak has the look and never seems to have a bad match. I too think he should / could be a bigger star

  6. Good tag match. Who would have thought we were going to Suplex City? I think Creeds are main roster ready. My only issue was the tired and overused distraction finish.

  7. Lyra needs a new finisher, her current one looks really weak. This match, to me, overstayed it’s welcome and they really leaned into the knee injury to give Lyra an out. I see Stratton as a transitional champion. I don’t think she will hold it for long.

    • I’ve performed that kick myself, via TKD. What makes it look a bit weak is her height. If she wants to use the Spinning Crescent Kick, she might want to do a “Jumping” Crescent Kick which I’ve seen performed in demos, and look good coming from shorter fighters.

  8. Why can’t the main roster women put on that type of compelling match. It wasn’t perfect but it had me on the edge of my seat and when TS landed the first moonsault and Lyra moved at the last minute I almost saw an upset in the making. 100x better than Bianca and Asuka yesterday.

    Carl might be right Tiffany may be a short term champ but that might be as a result of a call up because she is the future

  9. TheGreatestOne May 28, 2023 @ 9:07 pm

    Dijak can’t talk. If you can’t talk, you’re not a star in pro wrestling, period.

  10. TheGreatestOne May 28, 2023 @ 9:08 pm

    Stratton is a megastar waiting to happen. She’s got everything except experience and she’s only 24.

  11. TheGreatestOne May 28, 2023 @ 9:11 pm

    Stratton is a megastar waiting to happen. She’s got everything except experience and she just turned 24.

  12. TG1, I agree with you on Stratton. I think this time next year she will be ready for a lengthy title reign.

  13. Tiffany is a prodigy. Works her character well. She has a good array of both power moves and athletic moves. She sells well. She has the tools to be a megastar.

    Lyra felt like the perfect opponent for her because she works hard and is safe in the ring. Some of the stuff she did was impressive, including having solid and believable counters to Tiffany’s finishing moves.

    She perhaps should have been built up better as a true underdog type. That said, I am one who doesn’t always like it when the booking falls into the “lovable underdog” trap. Lyra being a badass face is fine as well – but the fans don’t yet have a reason to cheer her. She has faced little to no adversity and was fed as a top tier talent perhaps a bit too soon.

    Regardless, the match was very strong and I think it was a perfect pairing even though we likely needed more story to make it a truly memorable type of match. Both certainly gainer a lot from it, though.

    • Plucky underdogs are a dime a dozen. If I were to refocus Lyra, I’d might take a Thunder Rosa approach in terms of making her a undersized worldbeater (who dominates due to surperior technique). She reminds me a bit of Thunder.

  14. Expected outcome in championship match. Hopefully, there is a call up in the future for Bron Breaker. If so, please let him keep his current attitude and dump the ridiculous name.

    • Only problem now is I think WWE’s trying to distance Bron from the Steiner name from the time being given the actions of his father (I honestly think his dad needs to issue a genuine apology or at least clear the air to come off as a decent and loving human being. People’s beliefs are fine. Hate, doesn’t need to come out of them). Booker in particular has stopped using Steiner specific references notably. Maybe they’ll come back once things die down.

  15. TheGreatestOne May 28, 2023 @ 9:40 pm

    Agreed Carl. Rex Steiner as a heel is a great way to start him off on the main roster. He’s a lot like his dad was in the Mid South and early Crockett days right now.

    Also, give Trick Williams his props. It’s really hard to be the manager/second of a babyface when the heel is out there by themselves, but he genuinely adds to the act and is only noticeable in good ways at the right time (like how he was going crazy after the spear out of mid air). That duo is main roster ready as well.

  16. “Does mah man Noam have a little bit of Black blood in him? Am I allowed to invite him to the cookout?”

    Oh boy. Sometimes John’s Thoughts should just remain that…thoughts.

  17. Tiffany Stratton is going to be a very interesting champion for NXT and I think an exciting one. She reminds me of Mandy Rose without the faction behind her. Mandy Rose was actually getting better and better in the ring after she first got the title. By this time next year Tiffany is going to be putting on 5-star matches.

    I like Lyra, but like somebody said she reminds me a lot of Thunder Rosa with her size. She’s really good in the ring. If her character can develop even more then she gonna be a good one. I think she showed a lot of in her feud with Cora Jade which I liked. That feud is likely continuing after what Jade did to her knee on Tuesday.

    Tiffy Time with the title is great though as she’s a prodigy like somebody mentioned and she’s only 24 right now. She can be the next Trish Stratus when she hits the main roster. She has a lot of Maryse in her character and some Mandy Rose, but not as sexy as Mandy Rose was as I think Mandy had a bit of a pornstar type gimmick.

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