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WWE NXT Review 26/12/2023

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

Match 1 - Chase U vs. OTM

If Chase U wins, their debt is paid but if they lose, they have nothing. Chase dropkicks Price to start and hands it off to Hudson as Chase U gets to alternate on the arm. Price kicks his way to freedom and brings in Nima to stomp Chase down for two. A hard corner clothesline rocks Chase again but he fights out of the corner to bring Hudson back in to clean house. Chase comes back in but walks into a superkick, allowing an assisted spinebuster to give Nima the pin at 4:09.

Official Winner - OTM

Official thoughts - This was quick and to the point with Chase screwing up again to get his school into even more trouble. That’s going to be a major problem going forward but for now, he’ll have to come up with a new plan. It’s still really weird to have Chase go from the lovable goon to this loser who screwed everything up and I’m still not sure why this is a good idea. At the same time, OTM gets the biggest win of their career and maybe they’re on the way to something bigger.

Here are some NXT Year End Award winners:

Tag Team Of The Year: Creed Brothers

Female Superstar Of The Year: Tiffany Stratton

Male Superstar Of The Year: Ilja Dragunov

Creeds and Stratton make sense and Dragunov’s only competition was Carmelo Hayes so these all work.

Trick Williams is thinking about pushing his title match back due to Ilja Dragunov’s injury. Carmelo Hayes tells him no way and says take your shot because it’s not Williams's fault that Dragunov is hurt.

Match 2 - Heritage Cup: Josh Briggs vs. Noam Dar

Dar, with the Meta Four, is defending. Round One begins as the much taller Briggs taunts Dar with a test of strength offer before tossing Dar into the corner. Briggs slams him down and gets two off a splash before a running shoulder gets the same. A powerbomb is loaded up but time expires before Briggs can drop him as the round ends. Round Two begins with a Boss Man Slam giving Briggs two. Briggs powers out of a guillotine choke but gets caught in a triangle choke but that’s broken up as well. A hard clothesline gives Briggs the first fall at 1:15 of the round and 4:58 overall.

We take a break and come back with the two of them slugging it out on the apron. Briggs misses a big boot against the barricade though and Dar kicks him in the face as the round ends. Round Four begins with Dar kicking him in the face again and then does it a third time for two. Briggs is back with a chokeslam for two of his own but Dar goes after the knee. Some strikes to the face set up the kneebar but Briggs gets to the rope. Lash Legend hits Briggs with a bucket for two so Briggs grabs said bucket and hits Dar for the DQ at 2:47 of the round. By rule, Dar automatically retains at 12:48 overall.

Official Winner - STILL Heritage Cup Holder - Noam Dar

Official thoughts - Well at least the ending was different. My biggest issue with these matches is they tend to go the same way so points for switching something up for once. That being said, Dar needs to drop the Cup to someone else already, just to freshen things up a bit at least. Briggs wouldn’t have fit as the conquering hero, but someone needs to get the thing off of Dar already.

Nathan Frazer and Axiom are in the back, with Frazer talking about how glad he is Bron Breakker isn’t Superstar of the Year. Frazer: “He’s behind me isn’t he?” That would be correct and a match is made for later.

Match 3 - Cora Jade vs. Karmen Petrovic

Jade stole Petrovic’s to set this up and whipped Petrovic into the corner to start. Stomping and trash talking ensue but Petrovic kicks her way out of the corner. A spinning kick to the back of the head gets two but Jade is right back with the double arm DDT for the pin at 3:02.

Official Winner - Cora Jade

Official thoughts - Really short and to the point here, which is what it should have been. Petrovic is still really new around here and it wouldn’t make sense for her to beat Jade, who is back with a vengeance. Jade getting a push towards the title picture wouldn’t surprise me and this is a nice, albeit small, step in that direction.

Post match the beating almost continued but Gigi Dolin ran in for the save. Hopefully Jade can beat Dolin so we can move on from this for good.

Match 4 - Breakout Tournament Semifinals: Riley Osborne vs. Lexis King

Osborne works on the arm to start as Tre Bearhill comes out with a chair to stare at King. Back up and King takes over to work on the leg. A half crab is broken up so King kicks him in the face and hits a backbreaker. King takes him to the top but Bearhill offers a distraction, allowing Osborne to hit a shooting star press for the pin at 3:43.

Official Winner - Riley Osborne

Official thoughts - Another match that didn’t have much time to go anywhere here, but King’s weird path in NXT continues. He came in with hype, got paired with one of the biggest stars in NXT and is now seemingly feuding with one of the rookies over a spot in the Breakout Tournament. King was still protected in defeat and Osborne seems to be a project around here, but this doesn’t bode well for King’s future as he isn’t off to the hottest start around here.

Post match Bearhill goes after King, who bails out to the floor.

More awards:

Match Of The Year: Ilja Dragunov vs. Carmelo Hayes – No Mercy

Moment Of The Year: The Undertaker In NXT

Ava says Ilja Dragunov gets to decide if he defends the title next week or not.

Match 5 - Nathan Frazer vs. Bron Breakker

Frazer’s headlock doesn’t work in the slightest and Breakker smiles at him a lot. Instead, Frazer tries to run the ropes but gets flattened by a shoulder. A headlock takeover does work for Frazer, at least until Breakker launches him into the corner. Frazer slips out of a suplex though and hits a running kick to the chest as we take a break.

Back with Breakker hitting a gutbuster for two and starting in on the ribs. Frazer fights up again and kicks Breakker to the floor, setting up a heck of a suicide dive. Breakker is knocked into the steps but he’s fine enough to slam his way out of a high crossbody attempt. The spear is cut off by a spear so Breakker tries again, this time cutting Frazer in half for the pin at 11:44.

Official Winner - Bron Breakker

Official thoughts - I can always go for a power vs. speed match and that was on full display here, with both of them doing their parts rather well. Frazer looks desperate when he goes for covers sold how dangerous he knows Breakker to be, while Breakker continues to be a wrecking ball with all kinds of power. I know he’s practically main roster ready now, but giving him a bit more time in NXT to get in reps and be more and more seasoned is helping him so much.

Baron Corbin is watching in the back and seems impressed by Breakker.

The No Quarter Catch Crew wants the LWO next week.

Fallon Henley and Brooks Jensen give Josh Briggs a pep talk, with the team seemingly breaking up on good terms. That came a bit out of nowhere.

Arianna Grace talks to Ava about Roxanne Perez slapping her last week. As a result, Ava makes Perez vs. Grace for next week.

Lyra Valkyria and Blair Davenport have a face to face interview before next week’s title match. They accuse each other of hiding, with Valkyria saying she was beating Becky Lynch while Davenport was jumping people in the parking lot. Davenport has seen Valkyria’s rise but this will be the reason for her fall. This was short but intense.

Match 6 - Breakout Tournament Semifinals: Oba Femi vs. Tavion Heights

The stronger Femi powers him down to start and drops a jumping knee for two. A backbreaker has Heights in more trouble and it’s time to work on Heights’ arm. Femi hits a running charge in the corner for two but Heights is right back with an AA into a suplex. Femi blasts him with a clothesline though and a popup powerbomb finishes for Femi at 4:07.

Official Winner - Oba Femi

Official thoughts - That’s a bit of a surprise as Heights has been pushed rather hard on NXT LVL Up, though Femi is an absolute monster. Heights is going to have his day, but Femi being the one who wrecks everything in front of him makes sense. Femi vs. Osborne should be a heck of a showdown in the finals as it has the power vs. speed dynamic, but this feels like something of an upset.

Ilja Dragunov arrives and wants to talk to Trick Williams.

We look at Dragunov’s injury, with Ridge Holland apologizing on Twitter. More from Holland next week.

Match 7 - Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey

The rest of Gallus is at ringside. They start fast with Gacy being sent outside, where Coffey hits a suicide dive. The fans chant for JOE as Coffey drops an elbow for two back inside. Gacy fights out of the corner and hits some running forearms, followed by a big dive to the floor. Back in and a release Rock Bottom gives Gacy two as Hank Walker and Tank Ledger come out to brawl with Gallus. The distraction lets Gacy hit the Upside Down for the pin at 3:48.

Official Winner - Joe Gacy

Official thoughts - NXT is going to push Gacy no matter what and I can at least take this more than another cult deal. I’m still not sure what Gacy’s deal is at this point but they’re certainly trying something new with him. Beating Coffey feels like a big deal and as long as Gacy doesn’t build up followers, it could be a lot worse.

The LWO is ready for the No Quarter Catch Crew next week. Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice come in, Lopez is happy to see her old friends while Vice seems uninterested.

We run down next week’s card.

Match 8 - Eddy Thorpe vs. Dijak

NXT Underground, meaning no ropes and a bunch of wrestlers around the ring. Anything goes but you can only win by knockout or submission. Thorpe goes for the arm to start but Dijak fights out, only to get caught in a triangle choke. That’s broken up as well and Dijak unloads with the right hands. Dijak tosses him out to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Thorpe in big trouble and being sent back inside. Thorpe fights up and snaps off a German suplex, followed by a brainbuster. Dijak is still up so Thorpe grabs a choke, with Dijak dropping back onto him or the break. That’s broken up as well and Dijak scores with the spinning boot. Another such boot is broken up with Thorpe’s kick to the face before Thorpe suplexes him to the floor.

Dijak lands on his feet though and hits a quick Feast Your Eyes but Thorpe is still in it. Thorpe drops him ribs first onto the apron but Dijak grabs the leather strap. The big right hand is blocked though and Thorpe hits Manifest Destiny (DDT), which still isn’t enough for the win.

Thorpe grabs the strap and whips away before slapping on another choke. Dijak rams him into the post for the break but a powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana to the floor. An elbow off the apron sets up another Manifest Destiny on the floor but Dijak is still in it. Another choke goes on but Dijak climbs the steps next to the announcers’ table, only to have Dijak Manifest Destiny him through the table for the win at 15:48.

Official Winner - Eddy Thorpe

Official thoughts - The unique rules and setup take some getting used to but they had a hard hitting fight and that’s what it needed to be. This felt like the big ending to the feud as Thorpe gets a big boost. I’m not sure how long it is going to last but at least they had a good fight, with Dijak looking strong in defeat, as always.

We get a sitdown faceoff between Ilja Dragunov and Trick Williams. Trick won’t hold back at New Year’s Evil and signs, but says we can push the match back if Dragunov needs more time to recover. Dragunov says no one can stop him and takes off the neck brace before signing. An intense handshake ends the show.

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