Date: May 2, 2023
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Booker T., Vic Joseph
We are in for the final night before everything changes up next week. The NXT roster was gutted by the WWE Draft and now we get to see everyone have one last night around here. This is going to include multiple champions, so we could be in for some last minute title changes, which could be quite the shakeup. Or WWE will just do something stupid. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the NXT Draft picks.
North American Title: Wes Lee vs. Drew Gulak
Lee, with Tyler Bate (as evened out by Charlie Dempsey), is defending. An early dropkick puts Gulak on the floor but he’s back in with a sunset flip for two. Back up and Lee takes him to the top, only to get knocked to the mat for a top rope clothesline. Gulak cranks on both arms at once but Lee slips out and wins a slugout. A German suplex out of the corner is blocked and Gulak heads outside, where he is taken down by a dive. Dempsey’s interference is cut off by Bate and the Cardiac Kick retains the title at 5:23.
Rating: B-. They didn’t have a lot of time here but they crammed in what they could for a nice opener. Lee is a great choice to open the show as he can excite the fans rather easily no matter who he is in there against. Gulak is going to be around as long as he wants to as he can always be a trainer, plus actively wrestling on the side. Nice opener here and I could have gone for a longer version.
We look at Carmelo Hayes retaining the NXT Title last week against Carmelo Hayes. After the match, the challenge was thrown out to Bron Breakker, who then wrecked Hayes and Trick Williams.
Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn are ready to retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles before they leave NXT for good after tonight. They’re leaving the place in darkness.
Here is Trick Williams for an angry chat. He has known Carmelo Hayes since high school and they have been friends for years. Last week he took a spear for Hayes and he would do it again in a heartbeat because it’s his instinct. Cue Bron Breakker to say Williams must be tougher than Hayes because he’s actually here. The match is on for Battleground, but Williams wants to face Breakker as well. Breakker does it on his time so they can fight next week.
JD McDonagh is ready to move up to Raw but Noam Dar comes in to tell him to take out Dragon Lee tonight. McDonagh says stay away from him or he’ll take the Heritage Cup with him to Raw.
Gigi Dolin vs. Jacy Jayne
Jayne knees her in the ribs to start and trips Dolin face first onto the apron. Back in and Dolin’s half nelson attempt is blocked and it’s a superkick to stagger her again. Dolin is back with a kick to the head though and an STO gets two on Jayne. They head outside again (where Dolin’s brother is watching in the crowd) and some Kawada kicks send Jayne’s head into the steps. They get back inside where Dolin is sent into the turnbuckle bar, allowing Jayne to hit a spinning kick to the face for the pin at 3:22.
Rating: C. Again they didn’t have much time here but this was about giving Jayne a pin over Dolin to even things up a bit. It was a quick beating and Dolin didn’t get in a ton of offense, but at least there were some shenanigans setting up the finish. There will probably be a rubber match at Battleground, but this feud has gone ice cold since Jayne got injured.
Post match Jayne keeps up the beating and even mocks Dolin’s brother for a bonus.
Axiom vs. Scrypts
Scrypts (no entrance) jumps Axiom to start but gets armdragged down. A northern lights suplex drops Scrypts again but he sends Axiom outside. The big dive drops Axiom and a top rope moonsault press gives Scrypts two back inside. Scrypts dropkicks him out of the air but Axiom knees him in the face for two. Axiom gets dropped again but he manages to superkick Scrypts out of the air as well. The Golden Ratio finishes Scrypts at 4:17.
Rating: C+. Now just move on to something else for Axiom already. He’s a talented guy who has been stuck in this weird/not interesting feud with Scrypts for a good while now. They did some nice things here with the flips and dives, but I’m still not sure what the point of Scrypts is supposed to be and I don’t know if NXT knows it either.
Post match Scrypts goes after Axiom and gets exposed as….well the fans chant Reggie but no name is given. This is up there with Doom’s reveal for non-surprises.
Earlier today, Brooks Jensen joined Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley at the bar and thanked them for dealing with him. They say he doesn’t need to apologize, but he did learn enough from Kiana James to help the bar make more money. Some women come up to hit on Jensen but he politely declines because he’s with his friends.
Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh
Lee works on the arm to start but gets driven into the corner. That doesn’t work for Lee, who hits some rapid fire dropkicks in the corner. Cue Noam Dar for a distraction though, allowing McDonagh to tie Lee up in the Tree of Woe. A charge misses Lee and sends McDonagh crotching himself into the post as we take a break.
Back with McDonagh holding a bodyscissors to keep Lee in trouble. Lee isn’t having that though and goes up top for a high crossbody, setting up the big flip dive to the floor. The top rope double stomp gives Lee two and they head to the apron, where McDonagh gets struck in the chest a lot.
They both crash down to the floor and beat the count, with Lee snapping off a fast German suplex. The poisonrana plants McDonagh again but he’s back with a hard clothesline as Noam Dar is here. Lee heads up but gets cut off by a super Spanish Fly. The brainbuster gives McDonagh two, only to have Lee Canadian Destroy him to the floor. Back in and the Devlin Side finishes Lee out of nowhere at 15:03.
Rating: B. These two got a lot more time and had a much better match, which shouldn’t be surprising given the talent involved. McDonagh gets a nice showcase on the way on the way out of NXT and onto Raw with some momentum. At the same time, Lee needs to win something around here and I’m not sure why he keeps losing so often. The talent is there, but those losses pile up.
Post match Lee and Dar brawl to the back.
Katana Chance and Kayden Carter are ready to win the Women’s Tag Team Titles because they’re a better team.
Joe Gacy is ready to sacrifice his body to Joe Coffey to get the Dyad a Tag Team Title match.
We look at various women being attacked in recent months.
Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey.
If Gacy wins, the Dyad gets a Tag Team Title shot against Gallus and the rest of Schism is here. Coffey knees him into the corner to start and stomps away but Gacy hits a knee to the face. The chinlock doesn’t last long as Coffey fights up and hits an elbow for two. Gacy’s belly to back gets the same but gets caught with All The Best For The Bells. The Dyad puts a foot on the rope though and Gacy hits the Upside Down for the pin at 3:21.
Rating: C-. Well Gacy wasn’t going to lose here, even if he should have. Putting the focus on the Dyad is a better idea than focusing on Gacy, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see that coming sooner rather than later. At the end of the day, Schism is still the same level of bad that they have been since they came in and I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon.
Sol Ruca (via phone), Tank Ledger and Hank Walker give Dani Palmer a pep talk. Oba Femi comes in to scare the guys.
Eddy Thorpe was training earlier when Damon Kemp came in to tell him to take out the trash. Kemp called him a young boy too, making a match seem imminent.
Dani Palmer vs. Tatum Paxley
Palmer flips around to start, including flipping out of a wristlock and into a rollup for two on Paxley. Back up and Paxley knocks her into the corner to take over, setting up a chinlock with a knee in the spine. Palmer slips out of an abdominal stretch attempt and avoids a splash, followed by something like a standing Sliced Bread to drop Paxley again. A frog splash gives Palmer the pin at 3:59.
Rating: C+. This was a showcase for Palmer and that’s what it needed to be. She has the athleticism and some charisma to go with it so there is certainly potential there. Paxley is far from a top star but she is someone who has been around long enough to have a bit of a reputation. That makes her perfect to put Palmer over to start and that is all it needed to be here.
Andre Chase is too banged up from facing Bron Breakker, meaning he can’t teach this week. Instead, Duke Hudson takes over the teaching and says we have no more pop quizzes. Hudson: “Duke University?”
Von Wagner and Mr. Stone are going through a photo album but Wagner doesn’t want to talk about one of the photos. Wagner leaves, and Stone sees a baby dealing with a lot of medical issues (presumably Wagner himself).
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Alba Fyre/Isla Dawn vs. Kayden Carter/Katana Chance
Carter/Chance are challenging and both teams are main roster bound. The champs jump them to start fast and the fight is on the floor before the bell. Chance dives onto both of them and we get the bell, allowing Chance to sunset flip Fyre for two. Carter clears the ring and hits a few kicks from the apron as we take a break.
Back with Chance snapping off a hurricanrana to Fyre, followed by a flipping legdrop to the back of the head for two. A springboard moonsault/legdrop combination gets two on Fyre but she kicks Chance into the corner. The Backstabber/Swanton combination gets two, with Carter having to make the save.
Everything breaks down and the 450/neckbreaker combination hits Dawn for two more and it’s time for the big double slugout. Dawn gets sent outside and a super Spanish Fly gets two on Fyre. A high crossbody hits Dawn but Fyre is back in with a Gory Bomb/Downward Spiral combination (that looked sweet) to retain at 9:14.
Rating: B-. Another fun match here, but they didn’t do it any favors with the break in the middle. It still gets very old having that cut out such a big chunk of the match but what we did get to see worked well. Now I’m curious to see what happens to the titles, though I could go with seeing them unified with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Dijak blames Ilja Dragunov for the beating he received last week.
Apollo Crews runs into Trick Williams in the parking low and gives him a pep talk.
Here is Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell, with the fans telling her that SHE DESERVES IT (likely meaning the promotion to the main roster, not the walking boot and crutches). She talks about her path here and what it meant for her to become champion. Then she got hurt in a title defense, but the title reign wasn’t ending on the medical table. Now she is on the way to Raw, but the most important thing right now is NXT.
Starting next week, there will be a tournament to crown a new Women’s Champion, with the new champion being crowned at Battleground. Hartwell leaves the title in the ring….and Dexter Lumis pops out from underneath said ring. Dexter takes her away and Tiffany Stratton comes in to pick up the title. A bunch more women come in and the big brawl ends the show. Makes sense, as Hartwell doesn’t seem able to lose the title right now and you don’t want her getting beaten on the way to the main roster. It also gives a bunch of people something to do so this is the right way to go.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a very different kind of show, as NXT is finishing up a bunch of stars and there isn’t much that can be done with them as a result. Instead, you had some farewells and some things being set up for once everyone is gone. That doesn’t leave you with many options, but at least they got through the show with some good action and an important development in the end. The new NXT starts next week, but for now their latest finale went well.
Wes Lee b. Drew Gulak – Cardiac Kick
Jacy Jayne b. Gigi Dolin – Spinning kick to the face
Axiom b. Scrypts – Golden Ratio
JD McDonagh b. Dragon Lee – Devlin Side
Dani Palmer b. Tatum Paxley – Frog splash
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