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NXT Battleground 28/05/23 Review

Hello everyone, I am one half of your Irn Bruiserweights bringing you your NXT Battleground Review. So let's get into it.

Match 1 - North American Title: Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate vs. Joe Gacy

Lee is defending and Ava is here with Gacy. They circle each other to start before Gacy has to duck a double chop. Gacy bails to the floor but everyone switches places, allowing Gacy to dive into the other two as they get in a fight. Back in and Gacy hits a scoop brainbuster for two on Bate before Lee gets the same off a German suplex. Lee snaps off a hurricanrana for two on Bate, who is right back with a jumping elbow.

Bate suplexes Gacy down and sends Lee flying with a T-bone suplex. In his showing off portion of the match, Bate airplane spins Gacy and swings Lee at the same time. That’s a Claudio Castagnoli spot, not anyone else spot. Lee and Bate slug it out until Bate backdrops Lee into a Gacy powerbomb (which he didn’t seem to know was coming). Gacy is back up with a Rock Bottom to Lee and a layout reverse DDT to Bate.

The Rings of Saturn have Lee in trouble until Bate (after waiting a bit) slugs away to make the save. Bate misses another shooting star and gets caught in the Rings of Saturn again. Lee makes a save this time and avoids a double handspring/springboard clothesline from the two. A double Cardiac Kick gives Lee two each but he misses a charge into the corner.

Lee is fine enough to grab a sleeper on Gacy but Bate makes the save. Bate hits the Tyler Driver 97 on Gacy but Lee makes the save and cradles Bate, with Gacy making the save (way too fast after getting taken out). Back up and Lee hits a big running flip dive to take Bate down on the floor. Gacy hits a release Rock Bottom on Lee, who pops back up with a Cardiac Kick to retain the title at 11:59.

Official Result - STILL your North American Champion Wes Lee

Overall thoughts - Nice opener here as Lee continues his reign, meaning that Gacy isn’t getting the title, making this a solid match. Bate was just kind of there and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him getting a solo title shot against Lee in the future. Lee is almost ready to surpass Velveteen Dream as the longest reigning champion in history and it wouldn’t surprise me if that is NXT’s big goal at the moment. Part of the reason is that he can keep having matches like this, and it worked well here again.

We recap the Women’s Title being vacated, setting up the tournament, with the finals taking place tonight.

We recap the Heritage Cup Title match. Noam Dar brought the cup over from NXT UK, Dragon Lee, with Nathan Frazer (who doesn’t like Dar either) wanting it.

Here are the rules:

Six three minute rounds, twenty second break between rounds.

First to win two falls win, with falls coming by pinfall, submission or count-out. Knockout or DQ ends the match instantly. A fall automatically ends a round.

If no one has won two falls by the end of six rounds, the champion retains the title.

Match 2 - Heritage Cup: Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee

Lee is challenging with Nathan Frazer in his corner. Round One begins with Dar (who has no corner man) grabbing a waistlock into an armbar and driving some knees into the arm. Lee reverses into an armbar of his own and they stick with the grappling on the mat. Lee can’t get a sunset flip or a superkick, leaving Dar to bail over to the ropes. Instead, Lee punches him in the face and hits a dropkick to the floor as time expires.

Round Two begins with Lee hitting some running elbows and a running hurricanrana. A slingshot kick to the chest has Dar in trouble in the corner but he tells Lee to bring it on anyway. Back up and Dar hits a spinning elbow to the head for the pin and the first fall at 1:31 of the round and 5:02.

Round Three begins with Oro Mensah now as Dar’s corner man and Dar cranking on the arm to no avail. Lee kicks him in the head for the break but Dar elbows him down again. A rollup gets two on Dar and Lee kicks him in the head again. With Dar on the apron, Lee hits a heck of a running hurricanrana to the floor, followed by a heck of a suicide dive. Back in and Lee kicks away but time runs out with Dar in trouble. Hold on though as Dar gets in a cheap shot after the bell, leaving Lee down during the break.

Round Four begins with Dar hitting a running forearm for two but Lee small packages him for the same. Dar slaps on a cross armbreaker but Lee stacks him up to escape. A Texas Cloverleaf goes on Dar, with Mensah pushing the rope towards him for the break. Mensah sends Frazer into the steps, leaving Lee to hit a spinning crossbody for the pin at 2:06 of the round (11:25 overall) to tie it up. Frazer and Mensah get in a fight, with Frazer knocking him outside for a heck of a suicide dive.

Round Five begins with Lee striking away but Dar counters a kick into a quickly broken ankle lock. Another running hurricanrana is countered into a nasty powerbomb to the floor, followed by the spinning elbow to the face for two on Lee. Back up and Dar strikes away, only to get caught with a snap German suplex. Lee hits an awesome sitout powerbomb for two….and here is Jakara Jackson. The distraction lets Lash Legend come in and hit Lee with the bucket. The Nova Roller (running kick to the head) finishes Lee to retain the title at 2:18 of the round and 14:22 overall.

Official Result - STILL Heritage Cup Holder Noam Dar

Overall thoughts - This is one of those match styles that takes some time to get used to as it’s rather different than just about anything else you’ll see. They wound up having a good, back and forth match, though the idea of Legend getting more TV time makes my head hurt. Other than that, I could go for something like this being an on-again/off-again feature, as it works well for a technical style wrestler. Nice introduction to the concept here, Legend interference aside.

We recap Dijak vs. Ilja Dragunov. They hate each other and want to torture one another, which included Dragunov allowing Dijak to torture him. Now it’s a Last Man Standing match, which could be brutal.

Match 3 - Dijak vs. Ilja Dragunov

Last Man Standing. They slug it out to start with neither being able to get very far with the grappling. Dijak knocks him outside and throws the steps back in, only to have Dragunov fight back to take over. Dragunov dives into a raised boot though and gets planted onto the steps for about seven. That lets Dijak get out a table but Dragunov knocks him into the barricade to cut that off fast.

Back in and Dijak’s chokeslam onto the steps is countered into a DDT onto them instead, leaving both of them down. Dragunov crushes Dijak with the steps in the corner, setting up a heck of a Van Terminator to knock Dijak silly. Somehow Dijak gets to his feet so Dragunov unloads on him with forearms and chops.

Back up and Dijak flips out of a German suplex, setting up a hard chokeslam over the top and onto the apron. A quick Feast Your Eyes knocks Dragunov silly, though nowhere near enough for the ten. That means it’s time for some kendo stick shots in the corner, though Dragunov is sitting on the turnbuckle, with his legs shaking. With Dragunov not going down, Dijak gets in his face to yell and swings the stick some more.

The stick is broken over Dijak’s knee so he goes to get a chair. The delay lets Dragunov hit the Torpedo but Dijak is up again. Instead, Dragunov climbs onto the steps and hits a big flying forearm to send Dijak face first into the chair for the win (barely beating the count himself) at 15:56.

Official Result - winner Ilja Dragunov

Overall thoughts - Oh yeah this worked as they just beat the fire out of each other for about fifteen minutes. Dragunov knows how to sell a beating like few others and you can feel the pain when he is out there taking a beating. I could easily see Dragunov becoming one of the biggest stars in NXT rather quickly and this is his biggest win stateside so far. Heck of a fight here and it was all kinds of physical.

We go to Chase U, where Duke Hudson is happy with his students, except for Ricky (Duke: “RICKY YOU SUCK!”). Anyway, Hudson has a lot on his plate so he has brought in Charlie Dempsey and Drew Gulak to help teach catch as catch can wrestling. They use Thea Hail’s lack of grappling skills as proof that she has no future. Hail storms off but Hudson isn’t happy with how things are going. Hudson wants them to have a better lesson plan for next week and sends them off. As everyone leaves, Hudson does not seem pleased with the clip of Hail in the ring.

Noam Dar and company are VERY happy with what they did out there, as the Heritage Cup has come to America.

The Great American Bash is coming to Cedar Park, Texas on July 30.

Match 4 - Tag Team Titles: Gallus vs. Creed Brothers

The Creeds (with Ivy Nile, who cancels out Gallus’ Joe Coffey) are challenging. Julius cranks on Mark’s arm to start and it’s already a four way showdown. Gallus tries to charge at them but it’s Brutus working on Mark’s arm to keep him in trouble. Julius offers a distraction so Brutus can get in an ax handle to the arm but Wolfgang comes in off a blind tag.

That means a hot shot can drop Brutus, allowing the champs to take over for the first time. Brutus fights up from a chinlock but Mark is right there with a middle rope shoulder and a near fall. Mark’s chinlock is broken up but Wolfgang is right there to grab a front facelock. That’s broken up as well and it’s Julius coming in to clean the house, including the suplexes.

As in about six straight, followed by a series of nipups. A standing shooting star into Brutus’ moonsault press gets two on Mark as Julius gets a needed breather. Everything breaks down and the Brutus Ball drops Wolfgang fast. They all get up for the double slugout with Julius clearing the ring again. Cue Ava to go after Nile, with the distraction letting Gallus hit their running knee/spinning flapjack combination to retain at 9:33.

Official Result - STILL your NXT Tag Team Champions Gallus

Overall thoughts - This wasn’t exactly a hot story coming in but it wound up being a good showdown. As you might have expected, this included yet another Julius showcase, as he is one of the most athletically gifted people that I’ve seen in NXT for a very long time now. He isn’t ready to split off entirely on his own just yet, but once he does, the potential is right there for someone who can do that kind of insanely athletic stuff. If he has the charisma and mic skills to back it up, he is an absolute star in the making.

The masked attacker will reveal themselves on NXT.

Video on Lyra Valkyria, who is ready to win the Women’s Title.

Match 5 - Women’s Title: Lyra Valkyria vs. Tiffany Stratton

For the vacant title. Feeling out process to start with Lyra grabbing a headlock takeover to little avail, other than frustrating Stratton. The feeling out process continues until Lyra seems to tweak her leg on a leapfrog. Lyra is right back up and backflips away from a test of strength, followed by an armdrag to send Stratton outside. Stratton pulls her outside and starts in on the knee, including ramming it into the post.

The knee gets crushed back inside and Stratton snaps it back a few times. The Muta Lock goes on to keep the leg in trouble but Lyra manages to get out. Back up and they slap it out, even as Stratton holds her by the leg. We hit the Stretch Muffler for a bit but Lyra is back up with a sunset flip for two. Lyra kicks her into the corner and gets two more off a rollup. Back up and something like an enziguri sends Stratton outside, followed by the big dive to the floor.

They head back inside with Stratton rolling through a high crossbody, setting up a Samoan drop, which is reversed into a crucifix for two. Stratton knocks her down and hits a bottom rope…I think elbow for two more and they’re both a bit winded. Stratton’s running basement dropkick gets two before rolling her over by the leg.

Back up and Lyra pulls her out of the air for a German suplex but the leg gives out on the spinwheel kick. Stratton hits a fireman’s carry slam, only to miss the Prettiest Moonsault Ever. The spinwheel kick connects but Stratton’s foot is on the rope. Lyra can’t follow up though and it’s the fireman’s carry slam into the Prettiest Moonsault Ever to give Stratton the pin and the title at 15:59.

Official Result - NEW NXT Woman’s Champion Tiffany Stratton

Overall thoughts - It was pretty easily Stratton’s best match ever and they didn’t exactly hide how this was going to go. Stratton has been presented as a major star in the division for the last few months and has seemingly just been waiting for the big moment. There was no better option for the title here and Lyra has been a glorified afterthought coming into this. Good match with the leg playing a part almost entirely throughout and it made for a special moment, with the title change making it that much better.

We recap Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Title. Hayes took the title from Breakker at Stand & Deliver and then turned heel, attacking Hayes and Trick Williams multiple times. Now it is time for Hayes to defend the title again in his backyard in a huge rematch.

Match 6 - NXT Title: Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo Hayes

Hayes, with Trick Williams, is defending. Williams handles Hayes’ entrance, comparing Hayes’ title win to other Boston sports win (eh…..yeah ok nice idea). Hayes goes right after the leg to start but Breakker is fine enough to run him over with a shoulder. They head outside with Hayes hammering away but Breakker comes back with the spinebuster powerslam back inside.

Breakker sends him flying with a hiptoss, only to have Hayes score with a Fade Away. It’s back to the leg, followed by a top rope armdrag to keep the speed up. Breakker isn’t having that and blasts him with a clothesline, followed by the overhead belly to belly. A nice spinning belly to belly into some pushups, setting up another belly to belly to keep Hayes down. Breakker sends him flying with a German suplex and even mocks the LET’S GO MELO chant.

The Recliner doesn’t work though as Hayes manages a quick DDT out of a suplex for a breather. A pump kick and springboard clothesline drops Breakker again but he tells Hayes to hit him in the face. That means a knee to said face sets up a suplex cutter for two as Breakker is a bit rocked.

Breakker’s gorilla press is countered into a Codebreaker but it’s too early for Nothing But Net. Instead Breakker cuts him out of there with the spear (geez) for two. The straps come down but the gorilla press is countered into a small package to give Hayes two. Some superkicks into a springboard DDT plants Breakker and Nothing But Net retains the title at 14:15.

Official Result - STILL NXT World Heavyweight Champion Carmelo Hayes

Overall thoughts - This got better as it kept going and it was a good main event as Hayes gets another crowning moment. What matters is having Hayes clear Breakker out, as there is no reason for Breakker to come after the title anytime soon. Breakker showed what a monster he can be but now the crown has moved on, meaning Hayes needs to find a new challenger after this one. Good main event, though if this wasn’t Hayes’ hometown, Stratton should have headlined.

Hayes and Williams celebrate to end the show.


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