Date: May 23, 2023
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T.
It’s the go home show for Battleground and that means we need to finalize the Women’s Title match. The tournament semifinals will take care of that tonight and there are a few combinations. Other than that, we’ll probably get one more hard push towards Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker. Let’s get to it.
Lyra Valkyria, Cora Jade, Tiffany Stratton and Roxanne Perez all promise to win the title.
Women’s Title Tournament Semifinals: Lyra Valkyria vs. Cora Jade
Valkyria starts fast with a small package for two and a suplex is good for the same. Jade manages to tie her in the ropes or some chops, followed by a kick to the back of the head for two. The chinlock doesn’t last long as Valkyria is up with a bunch of strikes, only to get caught in a guillotine choke of all things. Back up and Valkyria hits a quick spinning kick to the head for the pin at 3:49.
Rating: C. It was nice while it lasted but it didn’t last very long. Valkyria winning is a little surprising but I can go with the idea of pushing someone new to go after the title. The ending really was as out of nowhere as it seemed, with commentary saying they barely even saw Valkyria land the kick in the first place. Not bad, but almost shockingly short.
Post match Jade hits her in the knee before adding in a kendo stick shot for a bonus.
Ilja Dragunov jumps Dijak in the back and tries to crush him with a garage door. Referees intervene but Dijak is banged up.
Axiom vs. Dabba-Kato
Axiom goes for the knee to start before scoring with an enziguri. A chokeslam is broken up and Axiom goes for the leg again. Kato powers him around but a dragon screw legwhip over the rope slows it down again. Back up and a heck of a clothesline cuts Axiom off though and a sitout chokebomb gives Kato the pin at 1:57.
Post match Kato stays on Axiom but Reggie comes in to low bridge him to the floor. Axiom isn’t sure about this.
Tony D’Angelo is being interrogated and wants to get straight to the point. The officer wants to know why D’Angelo’s name keeps coming up in various investigations. They even have a video from an informant (which we can’t see) but D’Angelo denies it’s him. Another officer comes in and says they have more information. More on this later, though D’Angelo goes to listen at the door.
Video on Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo Hayes, with Hayes taking the NXT Title at Stand & Deliver. Breakker then went full evil and has attacked Hayes/Hayes’ friend Trick Williams on the way to their rematch at Battleground. This feels like an epic showdown and that’s what it needs to be on this stage and at this level.
Here is Gallus for a chat. They aren’t happy about the other teams, such as Tony D’Angelo/Stacks and the Creed Brothers coming after the titles but here are the Creeds to interrupt. The Creeds waste no time in issuing the challenge but the match isn’t official. Instead the brawl is on, with Joe Coffey getting involved too. Stacks runs in to even things up and Gallus is cleared out.
Wes Lee isn’t sure what is going on around here and it feels like everyone is coming for the title. Maybe he should just stop letting people get close to him. Cue Tyler Bate to say they’re still friends but he has to worry about Eddy Thorpe tonight. Lee isn’t convinced.
Eddy Thorpe vs. Tyler Bate
Wes Lee is on commentary. Bate works on the wrist to start but Thorpe is back up with a headlock of his own. The technical off continues as Bate sweeps the leg for one and slides between the legs for an early standoff. A small package gives Bate two but a kick to the back cuts him off. Thorpe grabs a seated abdominal stretch but Bate powers up for the middle rope elbow to the face. The standing shooting star press gets two and Bate runs him over again, setting up the Tyler Driver 97 for the pin at 4:58.
Rating: C+. That’s a weird way to have Thorpe lose his first match as he had been getting a nice start to his NXT career. There is no shame in losing to Bate, but I wasn’t expecting Thorpe’s first loss to be so….basic I guess you would call it. The action was good though and that’s about all you needed to have here in such a short match.
Post match Joe Gacy comes in and takes out Bate and Lee, who can’t quite make a save.
Lyra Valkyria’s knee is bruised and swollen but she’s ready or Battleground. She wants Roxanne Perez in the finals because Perez is the best in NXT.
Noam Dar vs. Nathan Frazer
Non-title. Dar works on the wrist to start and is quickly reversed into a headlock. Back up and Frazer starts dodging anything Dar throws at him to increase the frustration. Frazer kicks him out to the floor, with Dar needing to be near the Heritage Cup, as we take a break. We come back with Dar breaking up a springboard to take over and stomp down on the arm.
Frazer is able to strike away, setting up an AJ Styles springboard moonsault into a reverse DDT. Dar tries to break up the springboard but Frazer head fakes him and hits a springboard ax handle. A swinging suplex gets two but a Phoenix splash misses. Dar’s ankle lock is broken up so he settles for kicking Frazer in the head. A cross armbreaker has Frazer in trouble until he stacks Dar up for two and the break.
Frazer gets two off a superkick and they chop it out. Dar hits a heck of a spinning elbow to the face for two as Dragon Lee comes out to admire the cup. The distraction sends Dar outside to check on said cup, allowing Frazer to hit a suicide dive. Back in and the Phoenix splash finishes for Frazer at 12:55.
Rating: B. Good back and forth stuff here with Dar being much more tolerable when he isn’t talking for days on end. Frazer is someone who can wrestle an exciting style and is always close enough to a win that it isn’t a stretch to see him get a pin. Now just give him something to do already.
Frazer and Lee admire the cup as Dar freaks out.
Ilja Dragunov is ready to hurt Dijak at Battleground. Cue Dijak and the fight is on, with the locker room having to split them up.
Carmelo Hayes returned to Boston and got to do a media tour for Battleground. It’s always cool to see a wrestler getting this kind of treatment.
Hank Walker vs. Tank Ledger
They’re partners/friends/opponents so they even come out together for a unique change. They go straight with the brawling to start with Ledger sending him into the corner. Something like a cartwheel splash gets two but Walker hits him in the face. Walker hits a splash in the corner and stereo crossbodies gives Walker the pin at 2:44.
Post match Bron Breakker runs in to spear them both down.
The Creeds thank Stacks for the help earlier. He offers to help them out at Battleground, but the Creeds have this. No offense taken, and Stacks/Tony D’Angelo can even have the first shot at the Creeds. Stacks seems pleased.
Here is Gigi Dolin for a chat. Dolin talks about coming from a broken home where there was a lot of addiction. She has trouble letting people in but she did it with Jacy Jayne, who turned on her. Jayne pops up to say she can’t stand any more of this emo talk. Jayne talks about how she carried Toxic Attraction but Dolin knows she is in Jayne’s head. That doesn’t work for Jayne, who brings up Dolin’s little brother. Dolin just points out the fact that they’re 1-1 but Jayne accuses her of pandering to her social media fan base. They can end this, but let’s do it inside a weaponized cage. The match, and more catty insults, are on.
Luca Crusifino promises legal recourse against Von Wagner tonight. That’s a bold threat.
Video on the Heritage Cup rules and Dragon Lee challenging Noam Dar.
Dar tries to get Oro Mensah’s help against Lee but that’s a no. Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson come in to laugh at Dar.
Luca Crusifino vs. Von Wagner
Mr. Stone is here with Wagner, who wastes no time in sending Luca outside. Back in and Luca avoids a charge in the corner and stomps away. A hiptoss neckbreaker gives Luca two and he sends Wagner outside. That lets Luca go after Stone, who has the picture of the baby in his pocket. That’s WAY too far for Wagner, who runs Luca over and hammers away in the ropes until it’s a DQ at 2:38.
Post match Wagner powerbombs Luca onto the announcers’ table, as Stone freaks out.
Tony D’Angelo is still being interrogated and this time, he gets arrested.
Women’s Title Tournament Semifinals: Tiffany Stratton vs. Roxanne Perez
Perez has to jump up to get a test of strength to start but Stratton spins around and gymnastics herself to a standoff. A sunset flip gives Perez two and she starts cranking on the arm. Stratton reverses into a wristlock of her own but gets anklescissored to the floor. Back in and Stratton pulls her off the top for a crash and we take a break.
We come back with Perez dropkicking her to the floor. Perez nails the suicide dive, followed by the suicide dive for a bonus. Back in and Stratton rolls through a high crossbody, only to miss the triple jump moonsault. Perez hammers away with right hands but Stratton hits a Sky High for two of her own. They go up top with Perez snapping off a super hurricanrana, followed by a Russian legsweep for two. We seem to pause for Stratton to adjust her top, allowing her to hit the Regal Roll. The Prettiest Moonsault Ever sends Stratton to Battleground at 9:41.
Rating: B-. This was the good match you would expect from two of the more talented women in NXT. Perez is probably the most decorated woman in the tournament so beating her is quite the prize in its own right for Stratton. Valkyria vs. Stratton might not be the most hyped up match, but it could go either way and that’s always a good feeling to have.
Lyra Valkyria and Tiffany Stratton talk trash to each other….and the masked woman runs in to jump Roxanne Perez. The masked woman runs off before Valkyria can get to her.
Here is Dijak to sign the hold harmless papers for his match with Ilja Dragunov, only to be jumped by Dragunov. Dijak fights back and sends him into the barricade before signing. Dragunov fights back up and signs as well before kicking the stairs carrying Dijak down. Dragunov jumps onto him and poses on the steps to end the show.
Actually hang on as we get one more video on Battleground, complete with clips of various WWF/E shows in Lowell, Massachusetts over the years for a rather cool touch. They’re making it feel important so well done with putting together an awesome video.
Overall Rating: B. They brought the hard push towards Battleground here and that is what matters most. I’m a lot more interested in what happens at the show now than I was coming in so they have certainly done something right. There was also enough good wrestling here to make the two hours go by quickly, so now we should be in for a solid night on Sunday as NXT gets to hit the road again.
Lyra Valkyria b. Cora Jade – Spinning kick to the head
Dabba-Kato b. Axiom – Sitout chokebomb
Tyler Bate b. Eddy Thorpe – Tyler Driver 97
Nathan Frazer b. Noam Dar – Phoenix splash
Hank Walker b. Tank Ledger – Crossbody
Luca Crusifino b. Von Wagner via DQ when Wagner attacked in the ropes
Tiffany Stratton b. Roxanne Perez – Prettiest Moonsault Ever
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