Date: September 12, 2023
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T.
We are less than three weeks away from No Mercy and tonight we’ll find out the show’s main event. This week will see Ilja Dragunov vs. Wes Les with the winner getting an NXT Title shot against Carmelo Hayes at the big show. Other than that, Becky Lynch is here to challenge Tiffany Stratton for the NXT Women’s Title. Let’s get to it.
Wes Lee vs. Ilja Dragunov
The winner faces Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Title at No Mercy. Lee knocks him into the corner to start and strikes away before doing it in another corner for a bonus. Dragunov comes back with some forearms of his own as commentary runs down tonight’s card. The enziguri misses for Dragunov and Lee dropkicks him in the back of the head.
One heck of a chop puts Lee down again but he flips out of a German suplex. Lee kicks him to the floor and hits the required dive but another is cut off. We take a break and come back with Lee getting two off a hurricanrana and kicking him in the head a few times. A Spanish Fly gives Lee two but a hard clothesline gives Dragunov the same.
Lee scores with the Cardiac Kick to send Dragunov outside but he’s right back with a top rope superplex. The H Bomb gives Dragunov two more so he loads up the Torpedo Moscow. Lee cuts that off with a jumping knee but Dragunov blasts him with the forearm to the back of the head for the pin and the title shot at 13:26.
Rating: B. This was quite the fight with Dragunov hitting Lee very hard but Lee hanging in there with his own fast paced offense. While Dragunov felt like the favorite, it wouldn’t have been crazy to see Lee pick up the win, which gave the match that extra layer of drama. Dragunov vs. Hayes II should be a heck of a fight though and No Mercy is looking a lot better.
Post match Carmelo Hayes comes out for the showdown.
We look back at Bron Breakker crushing Von Wagner’s head with the steps. Wagner moved away at the last second, but still got hit hard enough to suffer a minor skull fracture.
Here is a serious looking Baron Corbin for a chat. Corbin talks about how normally, people don’t like him and he doesn’t like them, but last week was different. Von Wagner has a history of skull issues and Bron Breakker took advantage of that. Breakker needs to come out here right now so here he is, though Corbin cuts him off at the entrance. The fans have to get in their chants about tables (because of course)….but Corbin thought last week was AWESOME! They celebrate a bit, but Breakker says he didn’t do it to make Corbin happy. It was about ending Wagner’s career and he absolutely loved it.
Corbin was out here to be nice and he was even going to pay Breakker’s fine, but apparently Breakker doesn’t get it. We hear about Corbin’s career but Breakker cuts him off and challenges him to a fight at No Mercy. Breakker tells him to spend the next three weeks with his family, but Corbin slaps him in the face and the fight is on. I’m glad they didn’t turn Corbin face (though they could have made it work there) but Breakker jumping straight to the match seemed like it needed another step.
Charlie Dempsey/Damon Kemp/Drew Gulak vs. Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen/Myles Bore
Fallon Henley is here too. Briggs slams Kemp to start and Jensen adds an elbow, followed by the running corner clotheslines. Gulak comes in and gets caught with a running neckbreaker as everything breaks down. Borne hits his own neckbreaker on Dempsey, followed by Jensen hitting a running spinwheel kick on Kemp. The fight heads outside with Borne posting Jensen so Kemp can hit a Rock Bottom into a neckbreaker for the pin at 2:40.
Borne celebrates with the winners and Henley is upset.
Andre Chase wants Duke Hudson to find Thea Hail but she’s blocked him. We cut to Hail and Jacy Jayne backstage where two guys hit on them. They make fun of Hail for sounding a bit like a child so she beats them up. Hail is tired of looking like this so it’s time to go shopping.
Lyra Valkyria vs. Dana Brooke
Kelani Jordan is here with Brooke. They trade some misses to start until Valkyria kicks her out to the floor. Brooke takes her down for two back inside and the cravate goes on. Valkyria drives her into the corner and starts kicking away before hitting the spinwheel kick. A top rope splash finishes Brooke at 3:34.
Rating: C-. Every week, I watch Brooke’s matches and segments and try to find a way to be interested in anything she does. Every week, that gets harder and harder to do as Brooke continues to be that uninteresting. She’s just someone who can have an acceptable match and happens to have been around for a long time. That doesn’t warrant this much TV time but she’s here doing the same thing week in and week out regardless.
Post match Brooke tries to lunge at Valkyria but Jordan holds her back.
The NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament is coming.
Eddy Thorpe isn’t done with Dijak, who pops up in the woods where Thorpe tends to go. Dijak whips a tree and Thorpe is out to get him.
Dominik Mysterio runs into Carmelo Hayes and they brag about their titles. A match is set for next week.
Becky Lynch talks about her original time in NXT and no one thought she was championship material. Now she’s back and ready to win the title. Kiana James comes in to says he doesn’t want Lynch around here, which Becky takes as an application for a beating after she wins the title.
Global Heritage Invitational Group A: Tyler Bate vs. Axiom
They trade snapmares to start before Axiom takes him to the mat with a headlock. Back up and Bate elbows him out to the floor but they switch places, with Axiom hitting a moonsault. Bate powers him up into the airplane spin so Axiom rolls outside as we take a break. We come back with Axiom favoring his knee and charging into a suplex out of the corner.
They trade hard kicks as we see the Meta Four watching, with Noam Dar sitting on an elephant. Axiom cranks on the arm but gets caught in another airplane spin. This one is countered into a poisonrana for two, only to have Bate come back with a brainbuster for the same. Axiom Spanish Flies him into a rollup but Bate cuts him off with the rebound lariat. The Tyler Driver 97 finishes Axiom at 10:10.
Rating: B-. As tends to be the case with a lot of TV matches, the break in the middle killed a lot of the flow they had going. Axiom is one of those great hands that can wrestle with anyone while Bate always feels like he is one step away from being a breakout star. They had a good back and forth match here, but it could have been better with some more time.
Group A Standings
Butch (1-0-1, 3 points, 1 match remaining)
Tyler Bate (1-0-0, 2 points, 2 matches remaining)
Axiom (0-1-1, 1 point, 1 match remaining)
Charlie Dempsey (0-1-0, 0 points, 2 matches remaining)
Butch talks about his history with Tyler Bate, but next week, it’s time for Butch to prove that he is the toughest man in NXT.
Schism, now seemingly just Joe Gacy and Ava, say their tree is dying.
Carmelo Hayes comes in to see Trick Williams, who offers to have Hayes’ back next week against Dominik Mysterio. Hayes declines but they’re absolutely still friends. As this is going on, Wes Lee clears out his locker behind them.
Creed Brothers vs. Malik Blade/Edris Enofe
Ivy Nile is here with the Creeds and Angel Garza/Humberto Carrillo come out to watch from the balcony. Brutus gets knocked to the floor to start and Enofe dropkicks Julius for a fast two. Back up and an assisted crossbody gets two on Enofe with Blade having to make a save. A Hart Attack Blockbuster gets two on Brutus and a Fameasser puts him down again. Brutus powers up though and brings Julius back in to clean house. Everything breaks down and the Brutus Ball/powerbomb combination finishes Blade at 3:37.
Rating: C+. It was a fast paced match, but the Creeds are showing how they are far above almost every other team around here. They’re crisp, they work well together and Julius’ house cleaning is as good as it gets in NXT. They feel like they’re one big match away from the main roster, though the division getting some depth might keep them around a bit longer.
Post match Hank Walker and Tank Ledger come in to stare at the Creeds but Bronco Nima and Lucien Price come in to brawl with them in the aisle instead.
Becky Lynch is glad to see Lyra Valkyria, who wants her to win tonight.
Roxanne Perez talks about what the Women’s Breakout tournament can mean but Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice come in to talk trash to her. My goodness learn how women talk already.
No Mercy rundown.
Global Heritage Invitational Group B: Nathan Frazer vs. Akira Tozawa
Frazer grabs a headlock to start before sending Tozawa into the ropes. Tozawa is right back with a snap German suplex into a missile dropkick. With Frazer on the floor, Tozawa hits a dive but takes too long going up, allowing Frazer to run the ropes for a superplex. That’s floated into a suplex neckbreaker for the pin at 2:31. Well that was brisk.
Group B Standings
Joe Coffey (2-0-0, 4 points, 1 match remaining)
Nathan Frazer (2-1-0, 4 points, 0 matches remaining)
Duke Hudson (1-1-0, 2 points, 1 match remaining)
Akira Tozawa (0-3-0, 0 points, 0 matches remaining)
Joe Coffey is ready to beat Duke Hudson next week and win the group. Hudson comes in to point out that if he wins, it’s a three way tie and he’ll be able to call himself the Spoiler.
Mustafa Ali is happy with becoming #1 contender to the North American Title and doesn’t care about a fast count. Dragon Lee comes in and isn’t happy, but Ali says Lee will get the first title shot when he wins the title. Lee doesn’t seem happy.
Wes Lee says he’s done and leaves.
Gigi Dolin jumps jumps Blair Davenport but security breaks it up.
Here’s what’s coming next week.
NXT Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Tiffany Stratton
Lynch is challenging and we get the Big Match Intros. Stratton drives her into the corner to start and cartwheels into a standoff. Lynch flips around a bit as well but it’s too early for the Disarm-Her. They trade forearms until Stratton knocks her to the apron for a hip attack. We take a break and come back with Lynch hitting a running elbow in the corner. A missile dropkick gives Lynch two but Stratton hits a Sky High for the same.
Lynch catches her up top but a superplex is broken up. A Swanton gives Stratton two and a double stomp gets the same as frustration is setting in. Lynch is back up and counters the Prettiest Moonsault Ever into a super Russian legsweep for two. They head outside with Lynch having to climb onto the barricade to avoid a powerbomb. Back in and Lynch hits a legdrop into the Disarm-Her, sending Stratton to the ropes. The sitout powerbomb gives Stratton two but the Prettiest Moonsault Ever misses. Lynch is right back up with the Manhandle Slam for the pin and the title at 13:20.
Rating: B+. This was a heck of a match and the good sign is that Stratton looked more than comfortable in there against a top star like Lynch. They’ve got something with Stratton and it seems that they know it, which makes her all the more valuable. At the same time, Lynch isn’t likely to be a long term champion and someone can take the title from her for a big rub. Great main event here and they more than lived up to the expectations.
Lynch celebrates to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. As usual, NXT is at its best when it lays out a bunch of things it needs to do and then accomplishes them, all while setting up something for the future. That was the case here, with both next week as well as No Mercy being set up. At the same time, they had a good opener and a better main event, making it a strong wrestling show as well. Very solid effort this week and No Mercy is looking that much better rather quickly.
Ilja Dragunov b. Wes Lee – Forearm to the back of the head
Damon Kemp/Drew Gulak/Charlie Dempsey b. Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen/Myles Borne – Rock Bottom neckbreaker to Jensen
Lyra Valkyria b. Dana Brooke – Top rope splash
Tyler Bate b. Axiom – Tyler Driver 97
Creed Brothers b. Malik Blade/Edris Enofe – Brutus Ball/powerbomb combination to Blade
Nathan Frazer b. Akira Tozawa – Suplex neckbreaker
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