NXT Vengeance Day results: Moore’s live review of Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams for the NXT Title, Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Title, Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals

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

NXT Vengeance Day
Streamed February 4, 2024 on Peacock
Clarksville, Tennessee at F&M Bank Arena

Pre Show Notes

Megan Morant, Sam Roberts, and Matt Camp checked in from the WWE studio set where they hosted the pre show. The hosts ran through the advertised Vengeance Day card. The panel first discussed the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals as well as Trick Williams having to do double duty.

A hype package aired for the Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez women’s title match. Backstage, Tatum Paxley was still annoying Lyra with Lyra trying to avoid her and send her away. The panel gave their predictions for the women’s title match. Matt Camp noted that Lyra Valkyria has been undefeated since losing to Rhea Ripley a few months ago…

Backstage Kelly Kincaid interviewed Dragon Lee about facing Oba Femi to attempt to get his North American Title back. Dragon said he’s beaten bigger opponents before but Oba is a monster. Dragon said every thing Oba has, Dragon matches with desire. Dragon said Oba can’t match his heart. He said he knows he’ll get beat up, but he’ll walk out with the Championship. Kincaid sent it back to the panel who went into their predictions..[c]

The show cut to Bron Breakker mulling over his Raw and Smackdown contracts. Baron Corbin showed up and said that Bron should be very excited. Bron said he’ll make a decision soon. Bron also bragged about wearing a better cowboy hat than Corbin. Bron told Baron to focus and that they should focus on winning the Dusty Classic. Bron said they will win because of him. Corbin talked about how he has a special entrance planned.

Bron asked Corbin why he didn’t tell him. Corbin said Bron had his phone off. Corbin said Bron will think of something. Bron then shifted tone and thanked Corbin for being his tag team partner. Both men shook hands respectfully. Bron said the best team in all of WWE will be the Wolf Dogs. Corbin jokingly acted like he’s still annoyed with the name. The panel then gave their thoughts on the unlikely Corbin and Breakker duo…

A hype package aired for the OTM vs. D’Angelo Family match. The panel then gave their thoughts and predictions. The show then cut to a video package hyping up the women’s title match again followed by the panel giving more thoughts…[c]

The show cut to The D’Angelo Family chatting in a SUV. Stacks and Rizzo were bickering while Tony told them to stay focused on their upcoming six person tag match. Rizzo talked about how she’s ready to take Jaida Parker out of the picture…

The panel then gave their thoughts on the Dijak vs. Joe Gacy match. The show cut to Kelly Kincaid trying to interview Joe Gacy, but Gacy was tossing around random junk backstage. Gacy said he was looking for stuff to beat up Dijak with. He handed Kelly a kendo stick, chain, and duct tape, which Gacy banged on things to demo what he’s going to do to Dijak. Kelly sent the show back to the panel with Joe Gacy also sending the show to the panel just because he wanted to…

Megan Morant sent the show to the Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams NXT Championship hype package. The panel then gave their thoughts on the upcoming NXT title match. Matt Camp noted that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals will open up the show (which makes sense for Trick to bookend the show to have enough rest time between matches). Morant kept drawing attention to the mystery of “who attacked Trick?” being possibly revealed tonight. The panel then ran thorough the card one more time before cutting over to the main show…

Main Show Review

The Vengeance Day intro video day which gave the show a bit of a Valentines Day motif while also hyping up the matches on the show…

Vic Joseph was on commentary. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer…

Vic Joseph checked in on the entrance ramp and introduced the returning Wade Barrett as the color commentator for the night…

Entrances for the opening Dusty Rhodes Tag Team final took place. Trick and Melo had both of their themes alternating with each other every few seconds. Wade Barrett did a cringey but hilarious white guy rendition of Booker T’s Trick Williams theme interludes. Baron Corbin made his entrance on a chopper motorcycle while wearing a hooded cape. Bron Breakker also made his entrance on a chopper…

1. “The Wolf Dogs” Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Melo and Bron started with a collar and elbow which started in a stalemate. The crowd showered both men in Whoop Dat Trick chants. Breakker managed to ground Melo. Melo tagged in Trick who soaked in cheers. Bron put Trick in a side headlock. Trick showed some agility dodging Bron’s moves, but Bron took down Trick with a shoulder tackle. Corbin tagged in and ate a dropkick from Trick.

All four men entered the ring and traded hands. Trick and Melo dumped the Wolf Dogs to ringside to hold higher ground. Trick caught Corbin with a gut punch and running neckbreaker for a two count. Corbin came back with a front kick and boot to Trick’s lower knee. Melo tagged in and caught Corbin with a strike combination and rally chops. Corbin lowered his weight to block a Fireman Carry. Melo landed on his feet during a DVD attempt.

Melo tossed Corbin into the ringpost and hit him with a Fadeaway leg drop. Trick hit Breakker with a pop up punch. Corbin hit Trick with a Death Valley Driver. Melo took down Corbin. Bron hit Melo with a nice looking back suplex into a Neckbreaker (that looks like it could be a good finisher for someone). Breakker took down Melo with a shoulder tackle and Corbin followed up by turning Melo inside out with a clothesline.

Wade Barrett said he’s not a dog guy, but if he did have a dog it would be a wolf because that’s cool. Bron and Corbin cut the ring in half on Melo. Joseph reminded viewers that this is Baron Corbin’s 2nd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic final appearance (in 2015 he tag teamed with the returning ECW legend Rhino). Corbin and Breakker kept the isolation game up for a few minutes. Melo was a foot away from the tag several times. Melo managed to fend off Breakker with boots to bring in Trick for the hot tag.

Trick took down both opponents with kicks. He hit Breakker with a lariat and hit Corbin with a flapjack. Trick sold an injured leg. Trick hit Corbin with a Bookend for a nearfall. Melo tagged in and hit Corbin with a slingshot swanton and lionsault for a nearfall. Melo fought out of a delayed vertical suplex. Breakker tagged in. Melo tossed Breakker into the buckle. Melo escaped a Deep Six and dumped Corbin to ringside.

Trick hit Corbin with a crossbody at ringside. Melo hit Breakker with a Codebreaker for a nearfall. Breakker put Melo in the arms of Trick and gave both men a German Suplex at the same time. Corbin tagged in. Breakker tossed Corbin into Trick and Melo at ringside. Corbin hit both opponents with a Deep Six to get a nearfall on Trick. Trick was bleeding from the mouth.

Breakker dumped both opponents to ringside and went to the top rope. Breakker hit both opponents with a top rope cannonball to ringside. Corbin and Breakker put their opponents on the top of opposite top ropes. Trick knocked Corbin off the top rope. Melo knocked down Bron. Corbin blocked Nothin But Net. Trick took down Corbin. Breakker came out of nowhere to hit Melo with a spear for the victory.

“The Wolf Dogs” Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin defeated Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams via pinfall in 14: 27 to become the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Wade Barrett noted that this was redemption for Baron Corbin who lost the tag team classic in 2015 when he teamed with Rhino…

John’s Thoughts: Good tag team action to open up the show. Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin have surprisingly good tag team chemistry and they looked like a veteran tag team here. Both men also seem to be having fun with this whole Wolf Dog tandem which adds to the authenticity of the smash together tag team. Overall too, this has been the best Dusty Rhodes tag team classic in a whole while with The Wolf Dogs and LWO being the standouts in terms of having good matches week to week. I wonder if the story in the main event of the show is going to be the leg injury Trick teased? Another plus, Wade Barrett instead of Booker T on commentary. Booker can be fun, but also grating at times. Barrett has been great no matter what commentary team you put him in (and ironically his first co-commentator was Dusty Rhodes back in FCW, for a bit of parallelism here).

Vic Joseph hyped WWE’s WrestleMania media event happening this upcoming Thursday, featuring Paul Levesque, Roman Reigns, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson…

A hype package aired to hype up Roxanne Perez’s path back to the NXT Women’s Championship title match…

Entrances for the next match took place. Dijak made his entrance. Joe Gacy made his entrance with the video wall having his old Schism imagery. A picture-in-picture replay aired of Joe Gacy getting thrown off a production truck into a garbage container…

2. Dijak vs. Joe Gacy in a No-Disqualification Match. Dijak whipped out a nightstick while Gacy whipped out a retractable baton. Both men missed baton shots and dropped the weapons. Both men then traded hands. Dijak hit Gacy with the Time to Fly Suplex. Gacy dumped Dijak to ringside and hit Dijak with a suicide dive. Joseph noted that Dijak hasn’t even taken off his coat yet. Gacy threw in weapons in the ring. Wade Barrett joked that with all the weapons flying around he might need the bulletproof Michael “Cole Mine” box.

Dijak rallied a bit. Gacy put Dijak on a chair and hit him with a cannonball. Gacy struggled to get a table open and eventually got it. Gacy pulled out a milk crate filled with kid toys. It was mostly hot wheels and army men. Gacy spread the toys on the table. Dijak recovered, escaped a fireman carry, and hit Gacy with a cyclone boot. Dijak gave Gacy mounted punches. Dijak hit Gacy with a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Dijak put a trak can over the head of Gacy and kicked at it a few times.

Dijak called Gacy a “stupid son of a bitch”. Dijak gave the can and Gacy boots and an elbow drop. Gacy sat up, no selling with the trash can still over him. Dijak ran the ropes, but Gacy used the can on his body to knock down Dijak. Gacy rallied with right hands and headbutts. Gacy gave Dijak a suplex and Uranage for a two count. Gacy put Dijak on the apron and shoved him off a springboard right through the table with toys all over it.

Dijak recovered and gave Gacy a sitout chokeslam on a chair for a nearfall. Dijak put the can back around the body of Gacy. Gacy punched Dijak on the top rope and hit him with a Super German Suplex that missed the can on the mat. Gacy got a two count. Gacy grabbed a role of duct tape and taped Dijak’s eyes shut with a forced blindfold. Gacy wailed at Dijak’s back with kendo sticks. Dijak managed to duck Gacy’s finisher while blindfolded.

Dijak hit Gacy with Feast Your Eyes, but couldn’t find Gacy since he was blinded (and too dumb to take the tape off?). A “you can’t see him” John Cena parody chant ensued. Dijak then ripped off the tape in pain. Gacy then grinned at Dijak while doing a handstand on the turnbuckle. Gacy slammed Dijak on a chair and gave Dijak a splash for a two count. Dijak blocked Gacy’s handstand finisher with a nightstick to the gut. Dijak hit Gacy with Feast Your Eyes for the victory.

Dijak defeated Joe Gacy via pinfall in 11:56.

Vic Joseph noted that Joe Gacy was smiling while knocked out…

John’s Thoughts: Joe Gacy is a former CZW deathmatch wrestler, and this was him taking part in a PG version of a deathmatch. Because of the PG-ness of WWE, a lot of the drama was taken away. I get a kick out of the lego or toy spot sometimes, but at times like this it was a bit hokey. This match wasn’t horrible and both men worked hard, but the PG limitations and lack of real story build took away from the drama. One spot that looked like it legit hurt though was when Dijak ripped the duct tape off his faded hair. I imagine that hurt for real.

Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail were at a merch table selling Women of Chase University calendars. Jacy told Kelly Kincaid that the calendar was a huge success and they will save Chase University in no time. Jayne noted that next week the Chase U women’s calendar will be out on WWE-Shop. Karmen Petrovic and another developmental woman were helping Thea and Jayne out by signing the calendars…

Oba Femi was shown doing bicep curls with stage scaffolding…

A hype package aired for the OTM vs. D’Angelo Family match aired. Out tha Mud came out first on low rider bikes. The D’Angelo Family’s entrance theme played, but the trio snuck in from behind to blindside OTM…

3. “Out Tha Mud” Bronco Nima, Lucien Price, and Jaida Parker (w/Scrypts) vs. Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo, and Adriana Rizzo in a six person mixed tag team match. The men brawled at ringside while Jaida and Adriana started the match in the ring. Parker draped Rizzo on the turnbuckle and hit her with a draped Banzai Drop. Rizzo and Parker trash talked a bit. Rizzo gave Parker a Thesz Press. Nima and D’Angelo tagged in. Price tagged in and blindsided Tony. Nima tagged in and gave Tony D a boot to the chest.

Stacks tagged in to swarm Nima with a strikes. Stacks got a two count on Nima. Tony D tagged back in and gave Nima hockey punches. Rizzo and Stacks joined in on their opposite opponents and all three Tony D family members gave stereo hockey punches. Tony D gave Stacks a hip toss onto Price. Tony D refused to hip toss Rizzo at first, but eventually agreed to hip toss Rizzo onto Parker (looks like her boots might have caught Jaida’s face). Stack gave Tony D a hip toss onto Nima.

Scrypts got on the apron for the distraction which allowed Parker to hip attack Stacks off the apron. Price gave Stacks a forearm smash on the apron. Price put Stacks in a sleeper. OTM cut the ring in half on Stacks with quick tags and isolation offense. Stacks almost got the hot tag, but was given alternating hands to send Stacks to ringside. Scrypts gave Stacks a cheap shot. OTM went back to isolation offense with Nima and Price trading quick tags.

Tony D broke up a pin attempt and was dumped to ringside by Price. Parker knocked Rizzo off the apron. Price hit Stacks with an assisted power slam to give Nima a nearfall. Stacks did a judo roll under Price’s lariat to bring in Tony D for a hot tag. Tony D suplexed around Price and Nima. Tony D hit Nima with a Butterfly Suplex and planted Price with a spinebuster. Parker slapped Tony D to get Nima out of hockey punches. Tony called “Rizzo!”. Rizzo gave Parker a lariat to send her to ringside.

Stacks hit Nima and Price with a flip dive to ringside. Rizzo hit Price, Nima, and Parker with a high fly flow to ringside. Tony D planted Price with a Spinebuster and Fisherman Suplex for the victory.

Tony D’Angelo, Channing Lorenzo, and Adriana Rizzo defeated Lucien Price, Bronco Nima, and Jaida Parker via pinfall in 10:11.

John’s Thoughts: A decent six person tag. I’m surprised that they have OTM lose here as it would have been the perfect win to set up a tag title shot. I’m not impressed with the way NXT is pushing OTM because they’re making the big men eat too many losses. I really want to see OTM succeed because I really like their Inglewood/South Central aesthetic, complete with Scrypts giving them credibility due to being a real life OG. I hope they bounce back. As for the newcomers Rizzo and Parker, limited action, but they looked better than most developmental first-timers. Rizzo showed good athleticism and Parker had some good booty-based moves. Rizzo and Parker are also very solid on the mic so far, so there is something to work-with with both women.

Vic Joseph thanked the band Bring me the Horizon for providing the song “Darkside” as the theme of Vengeance Day…

The show cut to Kiana James and Izzi Dame hanging out poolside in a quad area. They talked about being focused on the women’s title. They called out Kelani Jordan in particular and said they have to pay special attention to her…

Trick and Melo were backstage while Melo was finished being checked on by a medic. Trick asked Melo why he took the spear for Trick in the match? Melo said he did it so Trick could be ready for the main event. Trick thanked Melo for the support. Trick then asked Melo if he can be ringside for his match against Ilja. Melo agreed and both men dap’d it up…

A Lyra Valkyria hype package aired…

Lyra Valkyria and Roxanne Perez were shown walking through the hallway in their pre-match championship match camera shot. Roxanne Perez made her entrance in all red and a pre match jacket that had the word “prodigy” written on the back (the all red reminded me of Nikki Bella’s ring gear).

Lyra had her usual fog machine entrance. Wade Barrett noted that he relates to Roxanne Perez since he once had to vacate an intercontinental championship due to injury. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring championship introductions…

John’s Thoughts: Perez’s size really stands out here. Lyra is usually the smaller woman in most matches she’s in, but here she’s taller than Perez (I’m also reminded of that one camera shot of Booker T looking the size of two Rok-C’s).

4. Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Championship. Lyra worked on Roxanne with a Belly to Back suplex to start the match. Both women then had a test of strength. Perez and Lyra traded rapid fire pin attempts. Both women then traded leg scissors and counters leading to a stalemate and standoff. Looks like we might be pacing for a longer match. Perez put Lyra in a side headlock. Lyra came back with a shoulder tackle. A portion of the crowd were chanting “Ey! We want some Rok C!” in the tune of “Hey! We want some P*ssaaaay!” Both women traded counters. Perez took down Lyra with a huracanrana.

Lyra blocked a Suicide Dive with a Bull Hammer. Lyra did her vogue pose and hit Perez with a wrecking ball dropkick. Perez ducked a diving crossbody and gave Lyra a Thesz Press. Perez pummeled Lyra in the corner with forearms. Perez hit Lyra with a springboard moonsault for a nearfall. Lyra used double boots to shove away Perez. Lyra hit Perez with a Fisherman Suplex for a two count.

Perez got a two count off an inside cradle. Lyra hit Perez with a leg hook German Suplex. Perez hit Lyra on the top rope with lariats and a superplex. Perez hit Lyra with Pop Rocks. Lola Vice ran out with a referee to cash in her kinda-Money in the Bank contract. Tatum Paxley tried to prevent her, but she ate a kick from Lola. Lola made it to the ring to cash in the contract. Alicia Taylor announced that the match was now a Triple Threat Match.

4b. Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Lola Vice for the NXT women’s Championship. Lola Vice hit Lyra with a hook kick. Perez and Lola traded holds. Lola locked Perez in a sleeper. Perez rolled up Roxanne for a two count. Lola hit Perez with a spin kick for a two count. Lyra hit Lola with a frog splash. Perez broke up the pin. Lola hit Lyra with rapid tae kwon do kicks. Lola and Perez traded forearms.

Lola gave Perez rapid Tae Kwon Do kicks. Lola yelled “I’m a Latina!” and hit both opponents with hip attacks. Perez recovered and gave both women a DDT. Perez hit Lola with a suicide dive. She then gave Lyra a suicide dive. Lyra rolled through a Perez crossbody and gave Perez a Michinoku Driver. Lola broke up Lyra’s pin and Lyra broke up Lola’s on Perez.

Lola hit Lyra with a knockout kick. Lyra kicked out. Lyra blocked a Juji Gatame and gave Lola a Crescent Kick. Perez rolled up Lyra for a two count. Perez caught Lyra in the corner with Pop Rocks. Tatum Paxley attacked Perez (no DQ in a Triple Threat). Lyra ducked Lola’s Tae Kwon Do Hook Kick and hit Lola with a Michinoku Driver for the victory.

Lyra Valkyria defeated Lola Vice and Roxanne Perez via pinfall in 13:30 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship. 

John’s Thoughts: A good match until Lola Vice ran in and made things a bit convoluted. When things settled down, the match did get decent again, but I felt like they were en route to a classic match, only to have that taken away. My guess is they’re saving the big Lyra vs. Roc-C match for WrestleMania weekend. I’m okay with Lola failing her cash-in (she joins ACH in failing to cash in the Breakout contract. ACH lost to Adam Cole). She’s not ready for the main event in her developmental stages and NXT doesn’t have a mid card women’s title like the men’s do that Oba Femi got (though Oba did prove in his match against Riley Osborne that he can have a good match against a veteran). Perez is protected by Paxley interfering, and this will most definitely end up in a rematch. I hope Lyra ends up turning heel because a heel turn might be what Lyra needs to finally come out of her shell and connect with the crowd.

The show cut back to the Chase U merch table. Riley Osborne walked up to Thea Hail and asked her if she has a valentine? Thea nervously said no. Riley asked Thea if she could be his Valentine? Thea accepted…

The show cut to an ominous black screen with text in the center. It talked about how men three faces: One the world sees, the one his family sees, and the real one no one sees, but reflects the evil he truly possesses. It may be the debut of a new or repackaged wrestler…

Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett checked in from commentary and announced the NXT “Roadblock” themed show on March 5th…

Dragon Lee made his entrance (I miss his old NXT entrance where he had the cool kata cut-ins. That would also work fun on the main roster). Oba Femi had a cool badass entrance with the fog machine and laser lights turned on. Wade Barrett hyped up how Oba Femi has picked up the craft faster than anyone would expect. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in ring championship introductions…

John’s Thoughts: I’m hyping this up now. Brock Lesnar may or may not be done with WWE. Who needs him when we had this mountain of a titan in Oba Femi.

5. Oba Femi vs. Dragon Lee for the NXT North American Championship. Dragon quickly dumped Oba to ringside and gave him a Suicide Dive. Oba came back by tripping Dragon off the apron. Dragon dropkicked the 2nd rope into Oba. Dragon hit Oba with a gamengiri. Oba caught Dragon off a crossbody. Dragon shoved Oba into the turnbuckle. Dragon gave Oba a double stomp to the back to a two count. Oba then gave Oba a double stomp to the front for a nearfall.

Oba tossed Dragon like a shot put (he is a amateur shot put athlete). Oba hit Dragon with a vertical suplex to slow down the action. Oba worked on Dragon with methodical boots. Oba tossed Dragon to ringside and Dragon beat the ten count at nine. Oba immediately gave Dragon a series of backbreakers. Dragon hit Oba with a jawbreaker. Oba blocked a Destino attempt, but Dragon converted the move to a octopus stretch.

Dragon got Oba to a knee. Oba got back to his feet and walked to the ropes. Dragon kept the body scissors to prevent the hands from hitting the ropes. Oba bit the top rope for a unique rope break. Dragon worked on Oba with a kick combination. Dragon Lee hit Oba with a Tornado DDT and jumping knee for a good nearfall. Dragon hit Oba with a few hesitation dropkicks to get Oba to the mat. Dragon then hit a third Hesitation dropkick for a nearfall. Dragon staggered Oba on the top rope with a gamengiri.

Dragon hit Oba with a sitout Power Bomb for a nearfall. Dragon tried to huracanrana Oba off the apron, but Oba caught Dragon. Dragon kicked Oba off the apron. Oba swatted Dragon off the apron with a running slap to the chest. Dragon reversed a chokeslam with a DDT. Vic and Wade noted that Dragon might have DDT’d Oba’s head on a monitor. Oba chokeslammed Dragon on a office chair.

Lee reversed a power bomb into a victory roll for a two count. Oba hit Dragon with a clothesline for a two count. Oba tossed Dragon like a shot put. Oba hit Dragon with a power bomb for a clean win.

Oba Femi defeated Dragon Lee via pinfall in 10:56 to retain the NXT North American Championship. 

John’s Thoughts: A well worked match that didn’t have the crowd fully behind it. I think it’s a combination of the crowd not wanting to boo Oba Femi due to him being so cool, and Dragon Lee not being too over yet due to lack of connection with the audience. Given the way Paul Levesque has got things right eventually with people like Shinsuke Nakamura or Finn Balor, I’m confident that they might get things right with Dragon down the road. Oba Femi is a future WWE World Champion if they do things right. He’s only 22 or 23 years old too! This guy has future Paul Heyman Guy written all over him too.

Lexis King approached Thea Hail and Jacy Jayne to hit on them. Riley Osborne showed up and got in Lexis’s face. Riley and Lexis then brawled.

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Ava about her first night as NXT GM. Ava said she things the show has been good so far and thanked the town for being good hosts. Ava then hyped up how Stand and Deliver PLE ticket sales have exceeded last year’s Staples Center sales. Kelly and Ava then announced that NXT was “going back on the road” (for weekly TV? They weren’t clear on that)…

Brinley Reece was still trying to hype up Edris Enofe and Malik Blade backstage. Malik Blade showed Brinley his positive list. On his negatives, he said they ended up losing their last match. Axiom and Nathan Frazer showed up and mocked Enofe and Blade for losing to the makeshift tag team in Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin. Both teams bickered. Brinley Reece was super optimistic and talked about how she’s going to help out both teams…

Vic Joseph announced the following segments for the next episode of NXT: Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Axiom and Nathan Frazer, Lexis King vs. Riley Osborne, and Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker’s Dusty Cup Celebration.

The show cut to Lola Vice and Roxanne Perez brawling backstage. Oney Lorcan and a bunch of referees pulled apart both women…

The Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams hype package aired…

Trick Williams, Carmelo Hayes, and Ilja Dragunov were shown heading to the ring in the pre-match for the championship match. Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes made their entrance first. Ilja Dragunov made his entrance with extra fog cannons (HBK and crew really like them some fog machine entrances). Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring Championship introductions…

6. Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams (w/Carmelo Hayes) for the NXT Championship. Trick sidestepped Ilja and gave Ilja right hands. Trick’s lip was busted from the match earlier. Ilja came back with chops. Trick came back with a body slam.  Ilja came back with a standing switch. Trick escaped and hit Ilja with a dropkick. Ilja caught Trick off a pop-up with an enzuigiri. Ilja hit Trick with a Constantine Special Lariat. Ilja had some blood on his own face.

Ilja worked on Trick in the corners with chops. Ilja pummeled Trick with machine gun chops. Ilja then worked on Trick with face wash boots. Ilja soaked in boos from the crowd. Trick tried to come back with right hands, but was taken down with a spinning knife edge chop. Ilja worked on Trick with a sleeper and German Suplex. While in the German Suplex, Ilja yelled “you promised me everything!”.

Trick escaped a third German by tripping Ilja. Ilja shoved Trick to the bottom rope and hit him with a Face Wash Boot. Ilja hit Trick with a German Suplex at ringside. Ilja hit Trick with a Death Valley Driver on the hardest part of the ring. Melo helped Trick back in the ring. Trick ate a missile dropkick on Trick. Ilja fired up Trick to get him to his feet. Ilja blocked a kick and reversed it into a knee hook Uranage. Trick blocked an H Bomb with a Capoeira Kick and Codebreaker.

Trick and Ilja traded Yay-Boo punches. Ilja rallied with forearms. Trick came back with a few crescent kicks. Trick hit Ilja with a flapjack. Trick soaked in Whoop Dat Trick chants. Ilja got back to his feet and gave Trick a boot. Trick blocked a Constantine Special. Trick rebounded off a lariat into his own lariat to take down Ilja. Melo clapped at ringside. Trick dumped Ilja to ringside with a right hand.

Ilja shoved Trick’s lower back into the apron. Trick held on to the top rope to block a Death Valley Driver. Trick dumped Ilja to ringside. Ilja came back with a knee to Trick’s gut. Melo got in Ilja’s face. Ilja punched Melo, which caused Melo to “accidentally” chop block Trick. Trick recovered and hit Ilja with a flying clothesline in the ring. Trick hit Ilja with an H Bomb for a nearfall.

Trick tried to wake up his knee. Ilja slammed Trick to the mat and hit him with an H Bomb. Ilja hit Trick with a top rope H Bomb with Melo shaking his head. Trick kicked out of Ilja’s finish. Trick ducked a Torpedo Moscow and hit Ilja with a Cyclone Boot for an amazing nearfall. Ilja shoved Trick into the referee while the referee was distracted with Melo. REF BUMP!!! Trick hit Ilja with a Flash Knee, but there was no referee. A 2nd referee ran out and counted two.

A “Ref you suck” chant ensued. Ilja caught Trick with a knee and standing H Bomb. Ilja dragged Trick near the corner. Trick used two knees to block a top rope H Bomb. Trick woke up his knee. Trick went for a Flash Knee, but Ilja fought through it by hitting Trick with a Torpedo Moscow for the victory.

Ilja Dragunov defeated Trick Williams via pinfall in 17:58 to retain the NXT Championship.

Ilja posed at the top of the ramp. Carmelo Hayes picked up Trick Williams in the center of the ring as the WWE Signature appeared at the bottom of the screen. The camera stuck by after the signature, so you knew what was happening next. When Trick turned his back to Melo, Melo nailed Trick with a chop block. Melo brought a chair in the ring.

The camera showed shots of shocked fans. in the crowd. Melo then went to town on Trick’s knee by slamming it with a chair several times. Melo soaked in boos and gave Trick a final overhead chair shot to the knee. Melo then opened a chair up and arrogantly sat on it. Alternating “F*ck you Melo” and “Melo Sucks” chants alternated. Melo laid a TMG (for Trick Melo Gang) towel over the fallen Trick Williams. Referees sent Melo to the back. As Melo walked up the ramp, he kept blaming the fans and saying that all this was their fault. NXT Vengeance Day closed…

John’s Thoughts: Uncensored F bomb chants from the crowd. I’m not complaining because USA’s censoring gets annoying with their mute button (and this is on Peacock). Really good match between Ilja and Trick. Trick may not be the fanciest craftsman in the ring, but he has perfected the fundamentals and done a great job and mastering how to work the crowd as a babyface. Yes, part of it’s being in the ring with such a great storyteller in Ilja, but Trick deserves a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate in any situation WWE puts him in.Ilja and Trick also seem to be having a lot of fun in the ring and on the mic against each other too, so there is a bit of chemistry.

Curious to see who’s next up for Ilja Mania weekend, because there doesn’t seem to be a ready made challenger for him? (Maybe whoever that cryptic vignette was for earlier?) Trick has the out this match because of the ref bump finish and “accidental” chop block from Melo (which Melo can still sell as benefit of the doubt even though he made the final heel turn). The post-signature stinger wasn’t as much of a surprise as when WWE did it with DIY and CM Punk. We all had a hunch that this slow burn story would come to a head here with Melo turning heel. This should be a really dramatic feud if done right given their long term history along with Trick taking so well to being the lead protagonist of NXT.

If I were to grade this PLE, I’ll give it a B -, I could maybe argue a B (but there’s just so much good wrestling out there that it’s tough to push it higher when there’s so much to compare it to). I was hovering around a C+ before the main event and hoped that the main event would elevate the show, and it did. The stinger in the end also leaves for a good cliffhanger for this week’s “Why? Melo! Why?” edition of NXT on Tuesday. I’ll be by later tonight with an audio review for the Dot Net Members and patreon patrons.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. What’s the exact point of the Dusty Classic. Definitely not to push tag teams. Out of the 8 Dusty Classics, only four have been won by established teams. The others were won by makeshift teams. Looking at its history, the makeshift teams tend to do better.

    Rant aside, that was a good tag match. It just does nothing for either Breaker or Corbin since Breaker is headed to the main roster.

    • I think they’ve explained this before (don’t quote me on it, but I remember the announcers maybe pointing it out for teams like Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle), where it’s “In the spirit of Dusty Rhodes” that the gimmick of the tournament is unlikely teams coming together to form a new bond.

  2. As someone who has stepped on hot wheels, army men, and legos, I can tell you from experience that table spot legitimately hurt. So did the duct tape.

    I still don’t understand why Dijak is not a main event talent. He came up when Vince was still in charge and has the size and look Vince drools over. On top of that, he can go in the ring.

    • I think if Retribution had gotten over, he would have ended up being the face of the faction. Unfortunately since it didn’t get over, he is probably thought a little less of by higher ups even though Ric Flair in his prime would have not been able to get over with Retribution.

  3. I wasn’t really interested going into this but 3 matches deep and I’m totally enjoying this. It has a bit of “all over the place” ECW feel in a good way

  4. Richard Mulkerin February 5, 2024 @ 1:38 am

    Entertaining show – not having to listen to booker t- priceless!

  5. “The camera showed shots of shocked fans. in the crowd.”

    Plants, or people who have literally never seen any wrestling before? 😀

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