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3 Big Takeaways from NXT - April 25, 2023

This edition of NXT featured a huge title bout with Grayson Waller challenging Carmelo Hayes, a match where the losers got thrown in the trunk of a car, plenty of developments in the women's division, and a lot of Spring Break 'fun' mixed in.

The goofy intro segment notwithstanding, this show had plenty of action to go along with all the absurdity. Since the re-branding of the company from its renaissance era a few years ago, it's always kept this high-def, high-color look. Add in a much more soap opera-esque feel to the entire program, and it's about as far away from those glory days as you can get.

The once-gritty program started out with a picnic and plenty of gossip around the pool. But it sure didn't look much like the intro to a major wrestling presentation.

Still, that's to be expected in the new era, and they have still managed to produce some great wrestlers and matches.

This week's edition was great evidence of that, with the next generation of stars taking center stage. Two title tilts were a part of this surprisingly good card, and they both delivered the goods, as well.

Here's a look at three things that stood out on this episode of NXT:

#1 - Is Pretty Deadly being packed up for the main roster?

In a 'pretty strange' stipulation, the flamboyant team of Pretty Deadly took a ride home in the trunk of a vintage car. One can only wonder if that's a metaphor - meaning they're officially packed up for the main roster now.

By this predictable end to their match-up with NXT's make-believe mafiosos, Tony D'Angelo and Channing Lorenzo, the two were sleeping with the fishes. At least on this particular arm of programming. However, it's widely expected that they are expecting the call to the big leagues when WWE's brand realignment takes place this week.

Pretty Deadly were once just viewed as comic relief, but they have done a great job of developing as a duo. While some may scoff at the gimmick as outdated and often overacted, they have done their very best with it. That is to be commended, and it's very easy to see this team continue to transform and morph into new personas over the years. Right now?

Whatever gets them to the Promised Land is what they need to stick with, and they've done basically everything right to get to the next level. So, with the WWE Draft looming, there's a 'pretty good' chance we could see them on RAW or Smackdown very soon.

#2 - Two of wrestling's brightest young stars battle for the NXT Championship

Grayson Waller has been steadily climbing the ranks of the third brand, combining fantastic promo skills with underrated in-ring skills. This guy may be known primarily as a premier talker, but he brought the heat in this title opportunity.

Early in the match, Waller took out Trick Williams, who was helped from ringside. It was a brilliant strategy as it isolated the two men. It was a smart move. One that would make the remainder of the bout come down to just Waller and Hayes.

At several points in the match, it looked like Waller would get the win, and he put on a rock-star performance. In the end, Hayes hit the Nothin' but Net finisher to get the clean pinfall in the first defense of his title.

Hayes then asked for a match with Bron Breakker, who jumped him from behind. Breakker is sporting all-black gear now and showing a whole new level of barbaric brutality. These two are destined for another clash soon.

#3 - The Ladies take center stage in a championship battle

Indi Hartwell defended the NXT Women's Division Championship in a triple-threat match against rising sensation Tiffany Stratton and former titleholder Roxanne Perez. In a showdown that developed around a story where Indi battled through injury, all three did a great job telling it effectively. Hartwell delivered what the announcers termed a 'gutsy performance' to retain the gold.

What can you say about the development of Hartwell since she's moved past some of her comedy elements of the past? Of course, the InDex storyline - and the involvement of veteran stars Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae - were great boosts to her character in NXT. But, the performer we are seeing now has really matured in all facets of her game.

Is Hartwell the next Alundra Blayze or Charlotte Flair in the squared circle? No. And she doesn't have to be. Right now, she's doing the very best with her skill set, and the effort is paying off. She's had steady improvement, even if some don't necessarily see it on the surface.

Surely, her being rewarded with her current title run is a product of that. It's doubtful that she will be one of the performers selected in the draft, considering her status as the Women's Champion and because she needs some more seasoning. But she's getting very close now, when at one point some critics were questioning if she would make it this far. The best guess is that Indi is on either RAW or Smackdown by the end of 2023.



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