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NXT Review 26/3/24

We’re getting pretty close to Stand & Deliver and the card seems mostly ready to go. The two glaring spots left are the Tag Team Title and North American Title shots, which we should hear about rather soon. Other than that we are likely going to have more build towards the two main events. Let’s get to it.

Match 1 Dijak vs. Shawn Spears

Dijak starts fast and they fight to the floor, only to have Spears come back with a slingshot splash. Spears sends him back inside but Dijak is right back with a running flip dive to the floor. They get back inside with Dijak unloading in the corner but Spears grabs a swinging neckbreaker.

A headbutt cuts off the comeback so Dijak goes up, only to get caught with a release German superplex. They head outside again…where Joe Gacy slips out from underneath the ring to grab Spears’ chair (neither of them saw him).

We take a break and come back with the two of them holding arms and slugging it out until Dijak gets the better of things. The toss suplex drops Spears as the fans are WAY behind Dijak here. The cyclone boot gives Dijak two but he misses a springboard elbow.

Spears can’t find his chair so he goes up, only to dive into High Justice for two more. Spears blocks a kick but can’t block the second, setting up Feast Your Eyes to give Dijak the pin at 13:22.

Official Result Dijak wins

Rating: C+. I’m a little surprised that Spears lost so soon into his comeback but at the same time Dijak is a bigger star and seems on his way to a title shot. The idea of a Gacy vs. Spears feud is…something, and at least it is something for both of them to do. Gacy is already more tolerable since he isn’t talking, though a feud with Spears could be a tall task to pull off.

Roxanne Perez looks at old footage of herself in NXT and is disgusted by what she used to be. Now she’s all about herself and is ready to take the Women’s Title from Lyra Valkyria at Stand & Deliver. She doesn’t dislike Valkyria, but it’s all about the title.

Various tag teams are trying to host Stand & Deliver. We really need hosts for that show?

Match 2 Thea Hail vs. Jazmyn Nyx

Chase U and Jacy Jayne are here too. Hail jumps her fast to start and grabs a t-bone suplex. Jayne offers a quick distraction and sweeps the leg to take over, setting up an elbow for two.

We hit the chinlock and Jayne tries to throw in the towel, with Riley Osborne keeping it from hitting the mat. Apparently that means it doesn’t count but Chase U is ejected anyway. Hail fights up so Jayne slaps her, allowing Nyx to grab a rollup for two. Before they can get back up, Hail grabs the Kimura for the tap at 3:39.

Official Result Thea Hail wins

Rating: C. We should be in for a big showdown between Jayne and Hail (sounds like a good Kickoff Show match) and that could make for Hail’s big win now that she’s back as part of Chase U. Hail is still a ball of energy and someone who can do more than enough in the ring to get by, but she needs to win something at some point. We might be seeing that soon.

Hail snaps the arm so Jayne comes in for the brawl. Kiana James and Izzi Dame come in for the beatdown but Fallon Henley and Kelani Jordan make the save. Ah, that’s probably the Stand & Deliver match.

We get a long history package on Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes. They came in together as best friends but Trick Williams started to become a star and Hayes couldn’t handle it. Hayes says he brought Trick to the water and let him drink, but Williams thought too much of himself.

Williams was nothing but a hype man and his fifteen minutes are up. Even Randy Orton and CM Punk comment on this to make it that much bigger. More on this later.

Alpha Academy is ready to get into the Stand & Deliver Tag Team Title match tonight.

Match 3 Lola Vice vs. ???

Open challenge and it’s answered by….Natalya. Well of course it is. Naturally she has to talk, saying she sees something in Vice but wants to give her a beating. They start fast with Natalya hammering away in the corner and Vice trying to bail to the floor.

That goes nowhere as Natalya throws her back inside, allowing commentary to talk about Natalya’s world records. Back in and Vice kicks her down as we take a break.

We come back with Natalya fighting out of an abdominal stretch and getting two off the basement dropkick. The Sharpshooter attempt is broken up and Vice gets the ankle lock, sending Natalya over to the rope.

Back up and Vice hits a spinning backfist for two as Karmen Petrovic comes down to watch. Natalya hits her discus lariat but the Sharpshooter is blocked again. The Sharpshooter is blocked so Natalya settles for a rollup and the pin at 8:35.

Official Result Natalya wins

Rating: C+. The technical stuff was fine and Natalya can have a fine match with anyone. As usual, the problem is that there is only so much interest to be found in her and hearing that music play was a bit of a downer. Vice losing mostly clean isn’t exactly helpful either, though she should be getting ready for her match with Petrovic sooner than later.

Shawn Spears is leaving and isn’t happy with Joe Gacy, who throws the chair off the roof. Oba Femi steps on the chair and Gacy shouts down at him too.

Sol Ruca talks about starting fast but then Blair Davenport took her out like a crashing wave. She’s back and mad, so next week she’s getting her revenge on Davenport.

Blair Davenport compares Sol Ruca to sand: annoying and she can’t get rid of it. Next week, the torn ACL will sound like a nice memory.

Match 4 Llja Dragunov vs. Stacks

Non-title and Riz is here with Stacks. Dragunov takes him down to start but gets dropkicked down for his efforts. They strike it out until Stacks hits a running elbow but Dragunov tosses him out of the corner. The H Bomb is cut off though and Stacks steps on the finger.

A tornado DDT gets two on Dragunov as the rest of the D’Angelo Family is watching in the back. Cement Shoes hits the bad hand but Dragunov is fine enough to hit a snap dragon suplex. A powerbomb sets up Torpedo Moscow to finish Stacks at 6:04.

Official Result Llja Dragunov wins

Rating: C. They didn’t waste time here and did everything they needed to in a short amount of time. Stacks did some work on Dragunov’s hand, which could cause him some trouble at Stand & Deliver. There was no need for Dragunov to run through Stacks but he beat him soundly enough to not go too far.

The D’Angelo Family is going to invite Llja Dragunov to the restaurant for a special moment.

We get part two of the Carmelo Hayes vs. Trick Williams video, with Williams talking about living in Philadelphia. His family will be at Stand & Deliver, meaning his real family and not Hayes, who he thought was family. We see Williams training harder than ever because this is the biggest match of his career. He’s coming for Hayes.

The Wolfdogs argue over tanning beds when the OC comes in to say they want a regular Tag Team Title match at Stand & Deliver. They’ll both work hard to make that happen.

Here is Ridge Holland who has to make an announcement. He thanks everyone who helped him get here and says he can’t risk hurting himself or someone else again. Holland knows what people have been saying about him and he is tired of taking his work home from him. He refuses to let this job take away from being the best dad and husband he can do.

In the last few days, he’s had some difficult conversations and he has come to a decision: he is stepping away from in-ring competition indefinitely. Being in this company is a privilege and he’s sorry that his one last shot at redemption hasn’t worked out.

The fans give him a THANK YOU RIDGE chant and he walks off. That’s an emotional way to write him off for now, but him coming back for some reason could make for a nice moment.

Lyra Valkyria talks about how great rivalries come together. She worked hard to get here but now she has to deal with Roxanne Perez, who can’t handle her emotions. The title deserves better than Perez and in another life, they could have been friends.

Perez let the title break her and Valkyria will do anything to keep Perez away from getting it back. Making Perez feel like the threat to take the title is a good thing and it makes Valkyria sound like the hero trying to defend the title from evil.

Match 5 Duke Hudson vs. Josh Briggs

Dijak is on commentary. Briggs powers him into the corner to start but charges into a release Rock Bottom. A running hurricanrana puts Briggs down and a side slam gets two. Hudson sends him outside but gets driven hard into the steps as we take a break. Back with Briggs hitting a splash for two but Hudson fights up for a boot to the face.

The snap jabs set up a backsplash for two on Briggs and a Boss Man Slam gets the same. Briggs hits a belly to back suplex and goes up but gets powerbombed back down. Back up and Briggs hits a hard clothesline to put Hudson down again, followed by a lariat for the pin at 10:30.

Official Result Josh Briggs wins

Rating: C+. Something about big meaty men doing meaty things. That’s pretty much exactly what they billed this as and then it’s what they delivered. Briggs has been pushing towards the NXT Title shot and it wouldn’t shock me to see he and Dijak either fighting for the title match or getting it at the same time. Chase U losing again is hardly a surprise, but it would be nice for something else to happen more often.

Post match Oba Femi pops up to announce the triple threat title match with Dijak and Josh Briggs getting the shots at Stand & Deliver. Well at least they didn’t waste time.

We get the final part of the Trick Williams vs. Carmelo Hayes video, with Williams coming back for revenge on Hayes for taking him out. Cody Rhodes picks Trick for the win to really add some star power to the hype. Hayes hears what Williams is saying but what does Williams know about carrying a brand for two years? Williams believes he can be the best and it’s time to go to war.

As usual, these things are WWE’s strong suit as they know how to turn a feud into the most epic story possible. Williams and Hayes have been around for a long time now and having the get together for a showdown, likely in the main event of Stand & Deliver, is going to be a big moment. WWE made this feel important and that is a tricky thing to pull off, though they tend to do it every time.

Here’s what’s coming on various shows.

Meta Four has taken over the production truck because they are officially hosting Stand & Deliver.

Arianna Grace has found the perfect dress for Gigi Dolin.

The injured Llja Dragunov is invited to a pre-Stand & Deliver dinner, but it won’t be at the restaurant. Luca Crusifino gives him an envelope, presumably with the location, and Dragunov seems confused.

Match 6 Wolfdogs vs. Alpha Academy

Non-title and if the Academy, with Maxxine Dupri, wins, they’re in the Tag Team Title match at Stand & Deliver. Corbin throws Tozawa into the corner to start but Tozawa hurricanranas his way out of trouble. Otis comes in for the headlock on Breakker but it’s right back to Tozawa to hurricanrana Corbin again. The Academy clears the ring as we take an early break.

Back with Breakker running Tozawa over and handing it off to Corbin for a pop up World’s Strongest Slam. Tozawa kicks his way out of trouble and it’s Otis coming back in to clean house. A double backdrop puts the champs down and there’s the Caterpillar for two on Corbin.

Everything breaks down and the Academy loads up a Doomsday Device, only to have Breakker powerslam Tozawa out of the air (geez). A double powerbomb off the apron sends Otis through the announcers’ table, leaving Tozawa to get powerbombed into the spear for the pin at 10:10.

Official Result Wolfdogs win

Rating: C+. It might not have been a great match and it didn’t exactly change anything, but it did give the champs a win over a main roster team. Tozawa was working hard here but Breakker’s stuff was more than enough to make it feel like he was on another level. Pretty entertaining match here, with the Wolfdogs getting better together every time.

Post match the LWO, the OC and Axiom/Nathan Frazer come in for the big brawl to end the show.

Overall Thoughts

With less than two weeks before Stand & Deliver, NXT needed to have the big hard sell show to get things ready. While there is still next week, this show has me wanting to see the show a lot more than I did coming into this week. The Hayes vs. Williams stuff was the highlight of the show and made the show that much better. Good stuff here, and it served an important purpose, which is all the better.


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