By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV – Heatwave
Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired live August 22, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] The show started out with a Heat Wave themed intro skit. Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were partying at a pool. Tony D and and Stacks ran through the advertised Heat Wave matches. Tony D’s hot relative and a bunch of shawtys ran through more matches. Ariana Grace (Santino Marella’s daughter, Bianca Carelli) was flirting with Stacks (I believe they are dating in real life?)…
Vic Joseph and Booker T were on commentary. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer…
Entrances for the opening match took place. Trick Williams has new entrance music. The fans sung “whoop dat trick” in the tune of Trick’s new theme…
1. Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams. Ilja quickly gained the upper hand by dominating Trick with stiff strikes. Ilja beat up Trick all over the ring for a few minutes. Trick managed to get his first licks in with right forearms. Both men traded throat chops. Trick grazed Ilja with a pop up right hand (light botch). Ilja dragged Trick to ringside and hit Trick with a Mafia Kick and German Suplex. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Back from the break, Trick continued to get his booty whooped by Ilja. Trick showed fire and begged Ilja to chop him in the chest. Trick grabbed Ilja’s hand and had to be censored. Trick returned the favor with a flurry of stiff offense to finally get Ilja on the mat. Trick recovered and pressured Ilja with right hands. Trick ducked a punch and gave Ilja alternating gut punches. Trick gave Ilja some paintbrush boots.
Ilja begged trick to feed him more pain. Ilja closed the gap and dragged Trick to the mat. Trick came right back with a flapjack. Trick hit Ilja with a leaping knee strike for a good nearfall. Ilja reversed a wristhold with two DDTs for a nearfall. A “this is awesome” chant ensued. Ilja and Trick brawled to the top rope. Trick managed to hit Ilja with a Super Book End for a great 2.9 seconds nearfall. Ilja reversed a Cyclone Boot into a German Suplex.
Trick slipped out of Ilja’s grasp. Ilja planted Trick with a strong power bomb followed by his signature diving forerarm. Trick kicked out for a great nearfall. Ilja hit Trick with a Avalanche version of the diving forearm for the win.
Ilja Dragunov defeated Trick Williams via pinfall in 12:48.
John’s Thoughts: Wow. Trick did show his greenness at points, but (mostly after the PIP) Trick showed wonderful fire and super star qualities in this match. The story leading up to the match was that Trick had zero chance of beating the main eventer Ilja. Yes he lost, but sold an amazing underdog story in said loss. Ilja is usually the one fighting from behind, so it was cool seeing him on the other side of dominance here. Ilja looks like a beast and he elevated young Trick in the process.
Tyler Bate was backstage doing his zen Buddhist stuff. Nathan asked Tyler what he was doing. Tyler said he was recovering from Dabba Kato’s attack last week. Tyler wished Frazer luck in his Heritage Cup match. Frazer asked Bate to be his corner man and agreed to give Bate the first title shot after he defeats Noam. Bate agreed…
Ivy Nile made her entrance…[c]
Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley were stretching backstage in preparation for their mixed tag match. Mustafa Ali showed up and wished Dom luck. He told Dom to “break a leg”, literally, in a million pieces. Ali said he’s the champion NXT deserves. Dom said he doesn’t care about NXT, only Mami. Rhea said that everyone can look up to Dom. Rhea said Ali only has 10 seconds to get out the locker room or else she’ll make an example of him. Ali said 10 seconds is something Mami and Dom are used too…
The Schism made their entrance…
2. Ivy Nile vs. Ava (w/Joe Gacy, Rip Fowler, Jagger Reid, and unnamed masked cultists). Ava dominated early on after the distraction from The Schism. Ava planted Ivy with a series of body slams. Ava whipped Ivy to the buckle and followed up with a forearm. Ava hit Ivy with a rough looking backbreaker for a two count. Ivy dodged a corner splash and rallied with forearms and a high roundhouse. Ava came back with a Scorpion Kick for a nearfall.
Ava choked Ivy with a knee to the throat. Ivy reversed a suplex into the Dragon Sleeper for the submission win.
Ivy Nile defeated Ava via submission in 2:12.
The unnamed cultists tried to get the jump on Ivy, but Ivy managed to dropkick them all out of the ring, men and women. Ivy tried to attack Ava, but Ava was saved by two large cultists and carried to the back…
John’s Thoughts: Not the best looking match, but Ava did look better than the last few times we’ve seen her. Still a bit green, but she showed improvement. I know there was an injury in the mix, but I wonder why The Rock’s daughter is taking so slow to adapt to pro wrestling? Sometimes it takes longer for some people, so hopefully she keeps at it. Braun Strowman was someone who was very bad his first few years, but it finally clicked and he’s become a strong in-ring performer. Nothing wrong with being a late bloomer.
Ilja Dragunov was recovering from his war in the locker room. Wes Lee asked Ilja if he was ok. Ilja said he was ok and coming after Carmelo’s NXT Championship. Lee said he’s going to beat Melo. Lee gave a fired up speech and noted that he’s looking forward to facing the Mad Dragon as Champion…
The Meta Four made their really cool looking entrance. Nathan Frazer made his entrance with Tyler Bate. A rules graphic aired to lay out the rounds match rules..
3. Nathan Frazer (w/Tyler Bate) vs. Noam Dar (w/Oro Mensah, Lash Legend, Jakara Jackson) for the NXT Heritage Cup Championship. Both men traded wristholds early on. Noam dominated a bit with a armbar. Frazer came back with a side headlock takedown. Both men traded headlocks and clinch moves. Both men ran the ropes. Frazer escaped an armbar. Dar avoided a moonsault. Both men traded right hands. Dar avoided quick attempts to run out the clock. [End of Round 1]
Round 2 started during the picture in picture break.[c]
During the picture-in-picture. Dabba Kato ran out and chokeslammed Tyler Bate. The Distraction allowed Noam Dar to pick up the rollup pinfall. [End of Round 2]
Noam Dar pinned Nathan Frazer to go up 0-1. (Couldn’t get the time due to the PIP)
John’s Thoughts: That’s something you don’t see often. Pinfalls during the break.
Frazer went to check on Bate. Medics dragged Bate to the back. Frazer managed to put Dar in a STF early in the next round. Dar caught Frazer with a high kick to block a springboard. Dar hit Frazer with a draping punt to the chest for the two count. Dar gave Frazer sharp overhead elbows. Dar then gave Frazer shortarm boots to the arm. Dar reversed an Enziguri into a nice Ankle Lock. Frazer whipped Dar to ringside and gave him a Suicide Dive. Frazer gave Dar a Moonsault Reverse DDT and standing Shooting Star for a nearfall. The clock ran out and Dar clocked Frazer with a Judas Effect after the bell [End of Round 3]
Vic argued that Dar should have been penalized. Frazer flipped out of the corner and hit Dar with a World’s Strongest Slam for a two count. Dar avoided a Phoenix Splash. Frazer rolled up Dar for a two count. Dar hit Frazer with a Judas Effect for a nearfall. Frazer hit Dar with a Superplex and Final Cut to pick up the pinfall. [End of Round 4]
Nathan Frazer pinned Noam Dar 1:45 into round 4 to tie the match 1-1.
The show went to PIP…[c]
The show cut back with 30 seconds left in Round 5. Frazer gave the Meta Four a crossbody. Lash Legend held on to Frazer’s leg to prevent him from getting the pinfall on Dar. The clock ran out. [End of Round 5]
Frazer and Dar traded fatigued right hands. Dar rallied with Muay Thai strikes. Frazer came back with a flurry of right forearms to knock Dar to the mat. Dar gave Frazer boots from a prone position. Dar caught Frazer with a Superman Punch. Frazer came back with an enzuigiri. Frazer hit Dar with a superkick. Dar put Frazer in a heel hook. Frazer teased tapping but managed to punch Dar away after reversing the pressure. Frazer caught Dar with a superkick. Frazer kicked Oro off the apron. The distraction was enough to allow Dar to dodge the Phoenix Splash hit his Leg Lariat finisher to pick up the win.
Noam Dar defeated Nathan Frazer via pinfall 2:32 into Round 6 to become the new NXT Heritage Cup Champion.
The Meta Four celebrated up the ramp…
Ava cut a promo backstage and praised the two cultists who saved her. Ava called Ivy a failure like the Creed Brothers. Ava told Ivy to come find her backstage because she’s not hiding…
Tiffany Stratton was shown walking the hallway…[c]
John’s Thoughts: While the NXT Heritage Cup Championship has had a rough start to NXT with some underwhelming matches, the last three have been pretty good at establishing the different styles of match. There’s still a tough hill to climb because the rough start put the Heritage Cup in a hole. Interesting that they put the title back on Dar, but Dar’s so talented that it should be entertaining. Maybe they wanted the title off of him to break up his long title reign that was only long due to him having presumed Visa issues and was stuck in the UK for a long while.
[Hour Two] Tiffany Stratton made her entrance for a promo. She bragged about beating Thea Hail. She proclaimed herself one of the best NXT Women’s Champions and said she’d be even better than Asuka, Bayley, and even Charlotte Flair. Gigi Dolin made her entrance to mock Tiffany. Gigi proclaimed herself as the next challenger for the title.
Tiffany said she doesn’t care that Gigi is shooting her shot, because she’s shooting it down. Tiffany said Gigi doesn’t deserve the title. Gigi mocked Tiffany for tapping out the last time she was in the ring. Kiana James walked out to lay her claim to the title. James called Gigi a “Barbie Wannabe Ass”. Blair Davenport walked out to stake her claim and mock the women in the ring. Gigi noted that Blair has to go through the division. Gigi and Kiana mocked Blair for getting beat up at a convenience store.
Blair said it was cute that Gigi was acting tough. Blair said she’s going to boot Gigi worse than Jacy did and make her face unrecognizable to her little bro. Roxanne Perez walked out to rub her win against Blair in Blair’s face. Perez then acted like she was going to talk to Tiffany, but instead punched her in the face. A brawl ensued with all the women with Tiffany rolling to ringside to head to the back…
John’s Thoughts: Your cookie cutter method that WWE uses to set up a next title defender. A bit basic and overused. Best part of the segment was Roxanne Perez continuing to show she’s more than just a kid, by immediately throwing hands in the face of Tiffany Stratton. Tiffany is still a work in progress in terms of live promos. She might want to practice those during the Florida loop and maybe WWE should be having her cut stronger pre-tape promos for TV (until she develops that chemistry with the crowd and opponents).
Damon Kemp and Charlie Dempsey were sparring in a practice ring. Miles Bourne met up with Drew Gulak. It was tough to hear what he told Gulak. Gulak asked him if he was tired. He said no. Charlie Dempsey snuck up from behind Miles and choked him out in a rear naked choke. Gulak cheered on Miles to not give up and fight through the choke…
NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio and WWE Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley made their entrance to the Judgment Day theme…[c]
Ivy Nile met up with Ava backstage. Ava told the cultists to attack Ivy. To the surprise of no one other than the dumb Schism, the two cultists revealed themselves as The Creed Brothers. Ivy floored Ava. The Creeds cut a promo and challenged The Dyad to a cage match where if the Creeds win, they get their NXT careers back. They noted that they need to accept in order to get Ava back. Apparently the Diamond Mine kidnapped Ava…
John’s Thoughts: Ugh, end this now. In the process they are making the Schism the most dumbass faction in the world by not seeing the obvious.
The Meta Four were having a champagne celebration backstage around the Heritage Cup. A random lady showed up with a letter from the “Heritage Cup Committee”. Oro opened the letter. The letter stated that next week a “global” number one contender’s tournament will start and Dar will defend against the winner at Bakersfield, CA at No Mercy. Noam Dar said he really liked this because it means he doesn’t have to defend the title for 5 weeks. He said it also shows how important he is, having to have a “Global” tournament to face him. The Meta Four toasted, looking forward to heading to California…
Dragon Lee and Lyra Valkyria made their entrance. Vic reminded viewers that this match will be contested with Mixed Tag rules, meaning the men face the men and women face the women..
4. “Judgement Day” Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley vs. Dragon Lee and Lyra Valkyria in a mixed tag. After an even ground and pound sequence, Dragon Lee dominated. Rhea Ripley tagged in meaning Lyra had to come into the ring. Rhea berated Lyra, saying she tried to give Lyra a bit of the rub. Lyra rallied with strikes. Rhea turned the tables after a shoulder tackle. Rhea retreated to the ropes to stall.
Lyra dared Rhea to come at her. Rhea gave Lyra a slap. Rhea gave Lyra shortarm lariats. Rhea said “Viva La Raza” in honor of Eddie. Lyra reversed a 3 Amigos into a kick combination. Dom blind tagged in. Dom dared Lyra to hit him. Dragon gave Dom a Superkick. Lyra gave Dom a crossbody. Lyra and Dragon hit Judgment Day with stereo dives to ringside heading into picture-in-picture.[c]
Rhea had Lyra in a bodyscissors. Lyra tried to roll up Rhea but Rhea managed to get Lyra in the rear mount. Lyra reversed the mount and fended off Rhea with ground and Pound. Rhea came back with a big boot. Rhea used a Pumphandle to hit Lyra with a vertical Suplex for a nearfall. Rhea gave Dragon a DX crotch chop. Rhea continued to keep Lyra dominated with overhead clubbing blows.
Lyra reversed the pumphandle into a DDT. Lyra managed to get to her feet and nail Rhea with her signature Crescent Kick. Dragon and Dom tagged in. Dragon hit Dom with a huracanrana and Dragon Screw. Dragon draped Dom on the top rope and hit Dom with a double stomp for a nearfall. Dom and Dragon traded hands. Dom dialed it up, but missed the 619. Dragon hit Dom with a deep sitout power bomb. Rhea broke up the pin.
Lyra went for a Dragonrana at ringside, but Rhea reversed it and swung Lyra into the barricade. Raquel Rodriguez ran out and brawled with Rhea Ripley to the back. This distracted Dom. Dragon Lee hit the distracted Dominik with Destino for the victory.
Dragon Lee and Lyra Valkyria defeated Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley via pinfall in 14:04.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were sharing complements backstage. Trick said this was a rough start to his singles career, but he’ll find a way to make it work. Melo said he’s trying to make up for the blemish on his title reign against Wes Lee, saying that his win against Ilja ended with an accidental belt shot. Trick wondered if Melo was blaming him? Melo said he wasn’t. Trick wished Melo luck. Both men shared a secret handshake…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Tiffany Stratton. Stratton mocked the Twitter-X trolls. Tiffany Stratton called out Becky Lynch as irrelevant. Tiffany then said she didn’t like being attacked earlier. She then announced that the four women that confronted her will face each other to become number one contender…
Von Wagner vs. Baron Corbin was advertised for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Good mixed tag action that protected the two champs by using Rhea’s currently ongoing feud on Raw. I wonder if they’ll still have her feud with Lyra simultaneously? It still a bit odd that they’re pushing Lyra so aggressively. They’re giving her that “Future WWE Women’s Champion” push. Dragon gets the pin over Dom to set up what I assume is a match at No Mercy at Rey and Dom’s home state. Being Rey’s home state, I wonder if they’ll have Rey be at ringside again? Dom meanwhile, really benefits in terms of development by working with one of the top luchadores in the world in Dragon Lee. I like Lee’s ode to Los Ingonables by using Naito’s Destino finisher.
Footage was shown of last week where Thea Hail was begging the ref to reverse the decision due to Andre Chase getting involved. The ref said he couldn’t do it. Thea walked off throwing a fit about Andre Chase. Jacy Jayne showed up and empathized with Thea Hail due to her getting betrayed by Gigi Dolin. Jacy said “people like us” always get through it…
Von Wanger and Robert Stone were making their entrance. Baron Corbin attacked Von during his entrance. Corbin was wearing fire themed ring gear. Vic joked that it looked like Corbin was honoring Harlem Heat. Both men traded advantages during the ringside brawl before the bell. Corbin managed to stagger Corbin by tossing him into the steel step.
Corbin recovered and shoved Von into the announce table. Corbin gave Von a back suplex on the ringside floor. Corbin was about to suplex Stone, but Von saved him. Von was about to power bomb Corbin through the table, but Bron Breakker flew in outta nowhere with a sweet and sick looking spear on Von Wagner. Fitting, Bron was wearing a “Best spear in the business” tank top. Bron stood tall over Von and Baron…
Joe Gacy, Rip Fowler, and Jagger Reid cut a camcorder promo where they accepted the match in return for Ava. Fowler claimed that the cage can’t keep the cult members out. Reid said they will now end things once and for all…
The main event challengers were shown walking to the ring…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good ringside brawl between Baron and Von to stretch out their feud. That was a sick looking spear that came in from off camera. And it was enough to earn Breakker another feud in NXT. I still think it’s time to either take him off NXT TV for a bit or call him up because he’s totally ready to do things on Raw and Smackdown. Maybe they just don’t have any creative stories that need filling?
A replay was shown of Eddy Thorpe costing Dijak a shot at the NXT Championship from last week. They then cut to a Dijak promo where Dijak told Eddy that he would break Eddy’s bones and spirit next week…
A tweet aired from Becky Lynch where she said “I haven’t been NXT Women’s Champion…yet”, in response to Tiffany’s dis from earlier…
John’s Thoughts: Wow! Lyra getting that Rhea Ripley push, and now Tiffany getting that Becky Lynch push! This is definitely going to be the biggest test and learning experience for the young Tiff.
The following segments were advertised for next week: Blair Davenport vs. Gigi Dolin vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James in a fatal four way number one contenders match, The Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad in a Cage Match for the Creed’s NXT Careers, and The First Round of the Global Heritage Invitational Tournament…
Wes Lee made his entrance. Before Melo made his entrance, a graphic was shown of Lee’s jersey being put in the rafters, burned, and replaced with “HIM”. Carmelo Hayes made his entrance. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the NXT Championship match. Vic Joseph noted that this was the first time two Black WWE Wrestlers have wrestled for the NXT Championship…
John’s Thoughts: Hell yeah! For the culture!
5. Carmelo Hayes vs. Wes Lee for the NXT Championship. Both men traded stereo counters, ending in a stalemate. Wes and Melo traded stereo forearms, kicks, and kip ups. Wes managed to hit Melo with a Spanish Fly heading into picture-in-picture.[c]
Melo tackled Wes in the gut back from the break. Both men traded fatigued strikes. Booker started ranting about Biscottis. Melo managed to drape and nail Wes with the Fadeaway Leg Drop. Melo and Wes traded fatigued right hands in the center of the ring. Melo worked on Wes with a right leg kick combo. Melo floored Wes with a lariat, Atomic Drop, corner tackle, and Cross Kick for a two count. Melo showed frustration after the nearfall.
[Overrun] Vic noted that this was Melo’s first title defense without Trick Williams as his corner hypeman. Melo struggled but gut Wes off his dead weight. Wes recovered and hit Melo with a running meteora for a two count. Ode to his buddy Trey Miguel. Wes caught Melo with a Superkick and Delayed Michinoku Driver. Wes hit Melo with the Final Flash (Spiral Tap) for the nearfall.
Wes reversed a Final Cut and gave Melo a Gamengiri. Melo reversed a Cardiac Kick into a Final Cut. Melo caught Wes with a Codebreaker for the two count. Melo put Wes on the announce table and hit him with a Springboard Trust Fall DDT through the table. That was sick and Innovative. Wes recovered and avoided Nothin’ But Net. Wes nailed Melo with the Cardiac Kick. Melo rolled to ringside to avoid the pin. Wes yelled in frustration.
Wes went for a suicide dive but his feet caught the ropes. Wes’s head hit the barricade flat on (Oh no!). Wes and Melo ended up beating the ten count. Melo spiked Wes into the mat with the Nothin’ But Net leg drop for the win.
Carmelo Hayes defeated Wes Lee via pinfall in 11:38 to retain the NXT Championship.
Carmelo Hayes posed with the title to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: I really hope that Wes Lee is some sorta magician because it looked like his feet caught the ropes during the suicide dive and he he hit his head flat against the thick plastic barricade. Here’s hoping he didn’t get his bell rung. As for the match, I did think the first half of the match was a bit odd pacing wise. Wes and Melo were selling like they were 15 minutes into a war, but only being 5 minutes in. My guess is they were pressed due to television constraints so they had to truncate their match.
The last few minutes of the match, aside from the scary dive, were stellar and a testament to what both men are able to do. That springboard Trust Fall DDT is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before! That was pretty. Good win for Melo, and Wes looked good in defeat. They can always run this back down the road. Curious to see where they go for Melo’s challenger at No Mercy? They can always run this back, but I think they might try to pick a higher profile person than Melo to headline the California show. If they’re setting up Tiffany vs. Becky, might they set up a high profile main roster guy for Melo? We’ll see. This was a good Heatwave edition of NXT.