NXT TV results (4/16): Moore’s review of Carmelo Hayes vs. Trick Williams in a steel cage match, Ridge Holland vs. Joaquin Wilde, Sol Ruca vs. Lola Vice, Noam Dar vs. Dijak


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

Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired live April 16, 2024 on USA Network

[Hour One] Clips of fans arriving to the WWE Performance Center were shown. Vic Joseph and Booker T were on commentary. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer…

Entrances for the opening match took place…

1. Dijak vs. Noam Dar (w/Oro Mensah, Lash Legend, Jakara Jackson). Noam tried to take Dijak down with strikes. Dijak came back with a choke. Noam worked on Dijak with Muay Thai roundhouses. Dijak shoved Noam to escape the corner. Noam took down Dijak with a backfist and tackle for a two count. Dijak fought his way to his feet. Noam rolled to the Meta Four for a time out. Dijak hit Noam with an impressive slingshot clothesline. Dijak reversed Noam into a Guillotine Choke.

Dijak escaped by tackling Noam to the corner. Dijak gave Noam a knee to the gut and garbage toss heading into the picture-in-picture.[c]

Dijak and Dar traded hands while in a Figure Four. Dijak had the rally with forearms and a basement hook kick. Dijak worked on Dar with clotheslines. Dijak gave Dar chest chops with the crowd behind him. Dijak hit Dar with the Time to Fly Suplex. Dar blocked a discus move with a Guillotine. Dijak escaped and gave Dar a High Justice Suplex for a good nearfall. Vic made sure to squeeze in a “new era” line.

Dar and Dijak blocked each others’ suplex. Dar kicked Dijak in the knee cap. Dar crotched Dijak on the top rope by avoiding a big boot. Dar actually hit Dijak with a Fisherman Buster. Dijak kicked out and quickly transitioned into a Juji Gatame. Dijak escaped with a rollup. Dijak caught Dar with a superkick. Dar dumped Dijak to ringside and hit him with a diving axe handle. Dar dropkicked Dijak into the steel steps. Dar caught Dijak with a Judas Effect for a good nearfall.

Dar called for the Nova Roller but Dijak blocked it with a superkick. Dar caught Dijak with a superkick and superman punch. Dijak came back with a strong discus Yakuza Kick. Dijak called for Feast Your Eyes. Oro Mensah got on the apron and ate a superkick from Dijak. Dar hit Dijak with the Nova Roller for the distraction win.

Noam Dar defeated Dijak via pinfall in 12:14. 

John’s Thoughts: Great match with a surprising finish. While I am a bit tired of Noam’s distraction finishes, it was utilized well here. Yes, Dijak eats another loss, but it looked like he was the one being spotlighted here. It seems like WWE sees him more than just a “good hand” these days. Which is why I was super surprised that Noam wasn’t just a fodder opponent for Dijak. It’s also noticeable that crowds are really into Dijak’s babyface moveset.  Noam had one of his best matches in NXT US. Credit to both him and Dijak for making each other look great out there. Now they’ll probably run this back with Dijak neutralizing Meta Four and getting his win back.

Ava welcomed Ilja to her office. Ava noted that next week is week 1 of Spring Break In. Ilja noted that he’ll end Trick Williams’s NXT Career there. Ava noted that it’s not fair that Trick has to wrestle before his big match against Ilja. Ilja agreed. Ava booked Ilja in a match this week where he gets to pick his opponent…

Lola Vice made her entrance…[c]

A cinematic vignette aired for Tatum Paxley. She said she grew up being told to “be a good girl”. Living live like a fairy tale. She said no matter how good she was, no one wanted to play with Tatum Paxley. She said the cool girls didn’t want to be her friend, but she made them. She said she found the one thing that she will always be there for, the NXT Women’s Championship. Tatum named a long list of NXT Women’s Champions.

She then stopped at Lyra. She said “I loved you”. Tatum said she wanted to be Lyra because Lyra was the closest thing to good. Tatum said she was being a good girl by letting her help Lyra keep the championship. Tatum said the title made them real best friends. Tatum chuckled and said that Lyra lost the thing she loves the most. The championship.

Tatum said Lyra broke her heart. B-roll footage aired of Tatum turning on Lyra. Tatum said Lyra means nothing to her. Tatum said Roxanne Perez is the coolest girl in class, but she can play things like that now, she needs the actual belt. Tatum said Lyra was in her way…

John’s Thoughts: Great piece of video package to add some character development to Tatum Paxley. She sorta just started randomly acting like a creepy stalker out of nowhere, so it’s good to finally have context to match the replackage. What’s interesting, is I feel like her character might get more over than Lyra in the feud because Lyra is in the spot where she doesn’t have enough character development (yes the NXT crowd can go into business for theirselves, but it was a bit telling that Lyra was getting booed and “you tapped out” chants).

Sol Ruca made her entrance. Vic noted that Lyra video is going to give him nightmares…

2. Lola Vice vs. Sol Ruca. Ruca tripped up Lola and showed off a bit of her athleticism. Sol reversed a hip toss into a X Factor. Lola came back with a hard backfist. Lola hit Sol with rapid kicks. Lola yelled “I’m a latina!” and hit Sol with a hip attack for a two count. Lola hit Sol with an axe hick combo. Lola worked on Sol with kick pad roundhouses. Lola put Sol in a sleeper.

Sol rallied back with running strikes. Sol hit Lola with a power slam and moonsault for a two count. Lola avoided a slingshot. Sol went for her finisher but Lola grabbed the legs. Sol got a two count off a sunset flip. Sol caught Lola with a superkick. Blair Davenport ran out to knock Sol off the top rope. Lola hit Sol with a Spinning Hook Kick for the victory.

Lola Vice defeated Sol Ruca via pinfall in 4:16. 

Natalya appeared on the big screen and challenged Lola to a NXT Underground match in two weeks…

The NXT Anonymous stalker cam caught Ridge Holland snapping on Joaquin Wilde and slamming him into the wall. Ridge walked away looking disappointed at himself…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Sol seems to be a step back since before her injury, but her being a developmental wrestler against another developmental wrestler gives her the benefit of the doubt. Plus we know how athletic she is so practice makes perfect because she has a lot of potential. I like Lola integrating more grappling into her striking base. Her working with Natalya will definitely do her wonders and it should be a fun edition of NXT Underground.

Vic Joseph and Booker T checked in on commentary They sent the show to a cinematic…

Cheesy sitcom music aired. Ariana Grace met up with Gigi Dolin in a park. Grace talked to Gigi about a makeover. She said she wants to do this to fight for world peace. Grace said she’s here to help Gigi shake off her harsh exterior. Gigi said she wanted to wear all black, but Grace said that was out of the question. Grace said Gigi has to open her mind and she’ll have Gigi looking like her in no time…

Ridge Holland was in the ring looking mopey as usual. Joaquin Wilde came out to the LWO theme…

3. Ridge Holland vs. Joaquin Wilde. Holland wanted a handshake, but Wilde went right for the attack. Ridge shoved Wilde to the ground. Wilde came back with a corkscrew crossbody. Wilde dumped Ridge to ringside. Ridge avoided a plancha. Ridge then worked on Wilde with right hands. Ridge accidentally punched the steel post. Ridge took Wilde off the apron with a clothesline.

Ridge worked on Wilde with European Uppercuts. Ridge hit Wilde with a headbutt and release Belly to Belly. Wilde avoided a corner splash. Ridge launched Wilde with a Pounce. Ridge broke up his own pin. Wilde reversed a power bomb with a DDT. Wilde rallied back with hands. Wilde hit Ridge with a springboard leg lariat and shortarm double boot.

Wilde yelled LWO. Wilde did a nice matrix duck and dumped Ridge to ringside. Ridge caught Wilde out of the air at ringside and hit him with a power slam. Ridge hit Wilde with a modified elevated DDT for the victory.

Ridge Holland defeated Joaquin Wilde via pinfall in 3:58.

Shawn Spears smirked as Ridge passed by him on the ramp…

John’s Thoughts: They’ve toned down the “dad” parts of his act, but he’s back to playing that cringeworthy mopey dad character. They are really trying to get this over, it’s just really hard to extrapolate any entertainment value from this gimmick. It looks like Shawn Spears is back into emperor Palpatine mode. I kinda want to fast forward to the point where Ridge just gives in to the dark side to be Shawn’s heavy.

“Earlier today” a doctor told Josh Briggs that he is cleared even though he has an injured rib. Briggs met up with Ivar and told him that he’s ready and clear to face Oba Femi. Ivar said it’s safer to heal up and allow him to face Ivar first. Briggs told Ivar to go back to raw and get his ass kicked by Sheamus again. Ivar aid if it’s going to be like that, they should face each other to figure out who will Oba. Briggs told Ivar to put on his war paint and meet him in the ring…

A cheesy Brinley Reece twitter video was shown where she was working out with Enofe and Blade. Blade and Brinley were trying to get Enofe to buy into their positivity kool aid…

The D’Angelo Family were shown walking backstage…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Small note, fun seeing Ivar drop the whole “Viking” thing. I remember they did that documentary on NXT years ago that told us that he’s actually a down to earth dude and it’s Ray Rowe who does the cosplay thing in real life. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ivar lean more into a realistic character.

Andre Chase met with Thea Hail backstage and said they have to talk after last week’s gambling revelation. Hail agreed to sit down. Chase said he actually had his gambling habit under control and his bet was more of his confidence in Thea Hail to succeed and win the championship. Chase said he had to throw in the towel because he also cares for Thea’s well being over any wrestling match. Thea said he should have told her earlier and she apologized with a big hug…

Tony D’Angelo, Stacks, Luca Crucifino, and Adriana Rizzo made their entrance in formal attire. Tony took a mic and noted that when he and Stacks lost the tag titles, he set off for rapid growth in the Family. Tony D said yes, he’s not champion. He said he and Stacks made Pretty Deadly “disappear” a year ago. Tony D talked about how Stacks and Luca will bring gold to The Family, Rizzo is a future star in the women’s division, and he faced one of the hardest fights of his career. He said it’s all about going one more round.

He was cut off by Charlie Dempsey, Myles Borne, and Damon Kemp made their entrance. Dempsey confronted Tony D. Tony D brought up how they were hired to take out one of their own. Luca said to not mention any specifics in public. Luca brought up that they owe Tony D money. Luca said to pay up or face The Family. Damon Kemp said what was done was supposed to be for the honor of fighting.

Tony D cut off Damon. Tony D told them all to not come at him like that. Tony D then said that the Heritage Cup looks nice. Dempsey said to not look at that cup. He said it represents competition and shouldn’t be held by a two bit gangster. Dempsey then called Tony D a scumbag and said he can’t let Tony disrespect the cup. Tony took off his jacket and gave Charlie hands. The mafia dudes dumped the heels to ringside heading into break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Welp, they just pulled out the Tony D murder card to write Drew Gulak out of the No Quarter Catch Crew. Doesn’t have to mean it’s the end because Pretty Deadly survived. They did get a little bit wordy, but it kinda feels like an upgrade with Dempsey being the center of the faction.

[Hour Two] Ilja Dragunov made his entrance for an open challenge. The locker room cleared to fight their way into the ring. Je’von Evans flew in the ring to win the challenge…

4. NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Je’von Evans in a non-title match. Ilja slowed things down by hitting Evans with some German Suplexes. Ilja peppered Evans with chops and boots. Evans came back with a nice sidewinder superkick. Evans rallied back with chops. Ilja came back with shortarm headbutts. Evans landed on his feet during a suplex. Evans hit Ilja with a flip thrust kick for a good nearfall. Evans worked on Ilja with kicks.

Ilja came back with a power bomb. Ilja picked up speed and turned Evans inside-out with a clothesline. Evans escaped a fireman carry. Both men traded hands. Evans reversed a Constantine Special with a Spanish Fly for a good nearfall. Booker reminded viewers that Evans is just 19. Ilja turned Evans inside out mid air with a chop. Ilja hit Evans with a running knee for a nearfall. Evans reversed a bomb with a spike DDT.

Evans hit Ilja with a top rope clearing dive. Ilja blocked a frog splash with his knees. Ilja hit Evans with a delayed Death Valley Driver in the corner. Ilja hit Evans with Torpedo Moscow for the win.

Ilja Dragunov defeated Je’von Evans via pinfall in 6:05. 

Vic noted that we should applaud Evans for putting in a good match against the champion…

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Karmen Petrovic. Karmen noted she’ll be Natalya’s corner and training woman. Lola Vice showed up to talk trash to Karmen. Vice teased a surprise cornerwoman…

Thea Hail and Chase U made their entrance…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Unexpected treat of an unadvertised match between the champ and young upstart. NXT has repaired the horrible TNA reverse battle royal gimmick by having it be a way to start open challenges (they started this with Wes Lee). Je’von Evans getting the spot this early in his NXT run tells you that HBK and crew are really high on him, and you can see why. This was kinda of a “ruthless aggression” moment which they used for John Cena back in the day, and recently in NXT when they had Carmelo Hayes have one of his first matches against Champion Adam Cole.

Sol Ruca demanded a No-DQ match with Blair Davenport to Ava, which Ava granted…

5. Thea Hail (w/Andre Chase, Duke Hudson, Riley Osborne) vs. Tatum Paxley. Tatum did some creepy crawling on the mat. Tatum hit Hail with a backbreaker. Tatum hit Hail with a crossbody to the back. Tatum hit Hail with a gutwrench suplex for a nearfall. Tatum locked hail in a innovative reverse surfboard. Hail came back with knees to the arm. Hail hit Tatum with a blockbuster.

Jasmyn Nyx distracted the ref. Hail hit Tatum with the “World’s smallest slam”. Jacy Jayne tripped Hail off the springboard. Paxley rolled up Hail for the win.

Tatum Paxley defeated Thea Hail via pinfall in 3:07. 

Hail brawled with Nyx and Jayne at ringside. Lyra attacked Tatum in the ring…

Backstage Kelly Kincaid interviewed Roxanne Perez. Perez said she’s entertained at seeing Lyra fight with her “girlfriend”. Lyra was about to pick her opponent at Break In. Ava showed up and booked Perez in a title defense against both Lyra and Tatum. Perez claimed this was a conspiracy to get the title off her without getting pinned. Ava smirked and walked off…

The Final Testament group made their entrance…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Eh, a bit rushed booking. Tatum Paxley barely wins, and they had her win here with a cheap distraction finish. On top of having one of the worst win-loss records in NXT (I assume) it is even odder that she’s being booked in a women’s title match.

Enofe and Blade made their entrance…

6. “The Authors of Pain” Akam and Rezar (w/Karrion Kross, Paul Ellering, Scarlett) vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade (w/Brinley Reece). Enofe and Blade tried to get the numbers advantage on Rezar. Akam tagged in and hit Enofe with a Death Valley Driver. AoP cut the ring in half on Enofe with power offense. Rezar hit Enofe with an assisted GTS for a nearfall. Enofe got Blade in for the hot tag.

He managed to dump both AoP to ringside wtih kicks. AoP caught Blade off a flip dive and then blocked Enofe’s suicide dive by tossing blade into him. AoP hit Enofe and Blade with a Super Collider to get the win over Enofe.

The Authors of Pain defeated Edris Enofe and Malik Blade via pinfall in 3:20. 

Nathan Frazer and Axiom, the tag champions, walked to ringside and were held back by referees…

John’s Thoughts: Simple squash for the returning Authors who had their most successful run in NXT going against the likes of DIY or American Alpha. I do kinda hope they do something with Kross and Scarlett because that’s way too much talent at ringside to be used as glorified managers.

Back at the Gigi Dolin and Ariana Grace skit, they were at a clothing store. Gigi didn’t like any of the dresses. Grace squee’d over a green dress that Gigi hated. Gigi agreed to make it her own. She then agreed to try it on. Gigi went into the dressing room and could be heard tearing up the dress. She then walked out with a new dress that looked more gothic. She talked about “gigi-ing” it up a bit. Gigi then had Grace pick up the bill for the dress…

Ivar made his entrance…[c]

Josh Briggs made his entrance…

7. Ivar vs. Josh Briggs. Ivar swarmed Josh with quick strikes. The crowd started to chant meat. Oba Femi was watching the match on a monitor. Briggs hit Ivar with a slam and standing splash for a two count. Evar came back with a corner seated senton. Briggs had Kensio Tape. Ivar escaped a choke and gave Josh a right hook to the gut. Ivar hit Josh with a spinning power slam. Ivar hit Josh with a sitout power bomb for a nearfall.

Josh avoided a crossbody and hit Ivar with a Sidewalk Slam for a two count. Ivar sold the injured ribs. Josh’s ribs gave out on him during a suplex attempt. Josh dumped Ivar to ringside with a pounce. Josh caught Ivar with a diving shoulder tackle. Josh’s ribs gave out during a power bomb attempt. Ivar tossed Josh into the steps and hit Josh with a Spinning Crescent Kick. Ivar hit Josh with a Moonsault for the win.

Ivar defeated Josh Briggs via pinfall in 4:12. 

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Oba Femi and asked him for his thoughts on Ivar’s victory. Oba said “interesting” and walked away. Kelly said Oba is a man of few words. Off camera, Oba slammed a door into Oro Mensah. Oro said “not again!”…

John’s Thoughts: A good match with Josh having the out of having the injured ribs (NXT does tend to overdo it a bit with the Kinesio Tape as it almost gives away that they are giving the wearer an out to lose). Ivar doesn’t win a lot against credible opponents, but he manages to still entertain the crowd with his athletic offense, to the point where he’s almost teflon. Still good to also see Ivar manage to be utilized and get consistent television time even though his tag partner Ray Rowe is on the shelf with an injury.

Vic Joseph ran through the advertised night 1 of Spring Break-In card…

Vic Joseph and Booker T checked in on commentary and hyped up Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes in a cage match as the main event. A Trick vs. Melo hype package aired…[c]

John’s Thoughts: I almost forgot that the main event was Trick vs. Melo. A bit odd that they didn’t plug the match throughout the show, especially since they did a great job promoting the Trick vs. Melo match at Stand and Deliver.

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Carmelo Hayes at the Gorilla Position. Melo talked about giving Trick everything and now he’s going to take it away from Trick’s ungrateful ass. Carmelo Hayes made his entrance flanked by his personal security. Trick Williams was out next to his usual loud “whoop dat trick” chants. The show has 5 minutes at the top of the hour. Vic noted that this is Trick’s first cage match…

8. Carmelo Hayes (w/personal security) vs. Trick Williams. Trick caught Melo and body slammed him a few times. Melo then kept his distance from Trick. Trick hit Melo with a dropkick and body slam for a two count. Melo tossed Trick into the cage and came back with a springboard lariat. A security guard handed Trick what looked like a wooden Katana or billy club. Melo beat on Trick with the baton heading into the picture-in-picture.[c]

[Overrun] Melo gave boots to Trick’s shoulder. Vic noted that Melo was dominating during the break and focusing his offense on taking out Trick’s arms, to handicap Trick’s striking advantage.  Vic noted that Melo is coming into this match with a Mamba Mentality (always love the Kobe references). Melo tossed Trick into the steel cage. Melo also took time to soak in boos. Trick ducked a shoulder tackle to send Melo into the cage.

Trick met Melo on the 2nd rope and hit Melo with a Super Book End. Trick and Melo traded hands with Trick rallying. Trick then hit Melo with a series of crescent kicks and a flapjack. Melo reversed Trick. Trick reversed Melo into a suplex. Trick rallied Melo into the cage and followed up with a neckbreaker. Trick tried to pop up Melo, but Melo rolled aside. Melo dragged Trick’s arm over the top rope. Trick reversed Nothin’ But Net with a Book End for a two count.

Melo hit Trick with an elevated DDT for a nearfall. Melo hit Trick with a code breaker. Melo took down Trick with a nice switch knee. Trick and Melo slammed each other face into the steel cage. Both men dropped from the top rope. Trick blocked a Bulldog with a Superman Pose. Trick took out Melo with a spin kick. Melo’s security tried to enter the ring with Trick fending them off. Trick beat up one who came into the ring with a chair. Trick ducked a chair shot. Trick then gave the chair and Melo a Trick Knee (Tiger Knee) for the victory.

Trick Williams defeated Carmelo Hayes via pinfall in 12:20. 

Ilja Dragunov appeared on the NXT crow’s nest. Ilja and Trick jawed at each other. Vic did final hype for Spring Break In and next week’s NXT Title Match…

John’s Thoughts: A good main event. The Stand and Deliver had the better venue and build-up during the match, but I preferred the final act of this match compared to the abrupt and overbooked Stand and Deliver double ref bump finish. Yes, there was random goons, but it played into the story of the hardcore match. The chair adding to the knockout blow also gives Trick a strong close to the match. I like his usage of a tiger knee as a finisher as it’s easy enough to perform and can come outta nowhere.

With Melo losing two matches in a row, I don’t see the need to have a third match. In fact, he’s right about ready for the callup. Good timing too because the WWE Draft is just around the corner. Speaking of timing, Trick and Melo managed to get a good cage match, while also timing it well to stay under USA network’s 7 minute overrun. Looking forward to the next two weeks of themed shows. There should be more of a turning of the page too with a handful of young stars being jettisoned to the main roster. We also might expect some callbacks with stars who aren’t getting a lot of TV time on Raw or Smackdown.

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