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WWE NXT Review 5.9.23

Things are going to be different around here as the Draft took away so many big-name NXT stars. That means some spots are going to have to be filled, but in addition, we have Battleground coming up in less than three weeks. We’re going to be in for a heck of a balancing act, including the Women’s Title tournament. Let’s get to it.

We open with Indi Hartwell vacating the Women’s Title due to her main roster promotion last week. A tournament was announced and chaos ensued.

The eight participants in the tournament are in the aisle and we’re starting fast.

Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Tiffany Stratton vs. Gigi Dolin

Stratton gets a promo before the match, complaining about being in the tournament and saying she needs this like she needs a pair of fat jeans. A clothesline doesn’t work for Dolin as Stratton Matrixes away, only to have her arm kicked out. Dolin hits a Bronco Buster in the corner but misses a second, allowing Stratton to start in on Dolin’s bad shoulder.

Stratton takes her down by the arm for two but Dolin manages a whip into the corner for two. Stratton’s snapmare out of the corner sets up a missed…I’m not sure, but she’s fine enough to block the abdominal stretch bomb. A Regal Roll sets up the Prettiest Moonsault Ever to finish Dolin at 4:30.

Rating: C. Stratton has to be a favourite to win the title, or at least be in the final, so it makes sense to have her win here. Dolin isn’t about to win here, though I was a bit relieved that Jacy Jayne didn’t interfere here. Let Stratton get her win to start the tournament right, as she very well could be the next champion.

We have brackets for the tournament:

Tiffany StrattonJacy Jayne/Roxanne Perez

Lyra ValkyriaKiana James

Fallon HenleyCora Jade

The Dyad is ready for their Tag Team Title shot but Joe Gacy is following Ava’s advice: he won’t be at ringside.

Earlier today at the barber shop, Trick Williams says he’s ready for Bron Breakker, with Carmelo Hayes thanking him for standing up to Breakker last week. Williams is ready for tonight alone, which is cool with Hayes.

Tag Team Titles: Gallus vs. Dyad

Dyad, with Ava, is defending, so Joe Coffey is here with the champs to even it out. Gallus takes over on Reid’s arm to start but Fowler comes in for a clothesline to take over. It’s back to Mark, who gets kicked in the face, setting up an enziguri into a Downward Spiral for two.

We take a break and come back with Mark fighting up on Reid and bringing Wolfgang in to clean the house. A double Rock Bottom gives Gallus two but Ava offers a distraction, allowing Reid to get in a DDT. Cue Ivy Mile to go after Ava, allowing Gallus to hit the big boot/flapjack combination to finish Fowler at 11:00.

Rating: C+. Fine enough match, but what matters is that the Dyad didn’t win the titles. maybe they tie this into Gacy not being there and we get a rematch later, but anything with less Schism is a good thing. The tag division isn’t exactly deep right now, but Tony D’Angelo and Stacks would be fine. As for this match, it was fine enough for a title defence, though not quite some instant classic.

Gallus is off to drink.

Thea Hail wished she was drafted but Javier Bernal comes in to mock her. Duke Hudson comes in to say that Hail did well on her exam. Bernal thinks Hudson has a big plan, but Hudson says not so fast. He almost calls it Duke University again before a match is made for later.

A hooded figure is watching the various women who have been attacked in recent months. No word on who it is, but having that turn into something would be a good idea.

Javier Bernal vs. Duke Hudson

Thea Hail is here with Hudson, who shoves Bernal out to the floor to start. Hudson gets in a slam back inside but Bernal knocks him down for a breather. The chinlock doesn’t work and some right hands to the head trigger Hudson Dukes Up, including a side slam. A Razor’s Edge finishes Bernal at 3:54.

Rating: C. Hudson has come a long way in just a few months and I’m curious to see where this whole thing goes. You could have a story of him trying to take down Chase U or he could be telling the truth. That makes things all the more interesting, and that’s more than I would have bet on with him.

Mr Stone and Von Wagner talk about their favourite foods until Stone whips out the picture of a baby who appears to have undergone brain surgery last week. Wagner doesn’t want to talk about it and beats up Luca Crusifino for asking about it.

The Creeds want the next Tag Team Title shot and Gallus seems ready to fight.

Damon Kemp vs. Eddy Thorpe

Kemp takes him down to start but Thorpe is back with a headlock takeover. Back up and Kemp runs him over, only to get elbowed in the face. Thorpe’s half crab sends Kemp over to the rope so it’s a German suplex to drop Kemp again. A jumping elbow drop finishes Kemp at 4:59.

Rating: C-. I wasn’t feeling this one as they weren’t exactly hitting on all cylinders out there. Thorpe winning is no surprise as he seems to be getting a strong start, though something other than a jumping elbow drop to finish people off might be advisable. Other than that, I’d still like to see more of Kemp, but this seems to be his ceiling for the time being.

Kiana James is ready for the hardest first-round match in the Women’s Title tournament. She accomplishes her goals though and will do it again.

Bron Breakker says he hasn’t changed his attitude, but rather he just stopped caring. He carried the NXT flag for over a year and what did it get him? Tonight, he’s going to hurt Trick Williams and put him in the same hospital he put Carmelo Hayes in.

Dijak vs. Ilja Dragunov

Dragunov chops away to start so Dijak tells him to do it again. That’s not a good idea, as Dragunov chops him into the corner, setting up a middle rope knee drop. Dijak is fine enough to toss him off the top and out to the floor for the crash. Back in and Dragunov fights back up and slugs away, only to get caught with the Cyclone Boot for two. It’s time to grab a chair and after, and after throwing the referee down, Dijak gets disqualified for using a said chair on Dragunov at 4:23.

Rating: C+. I think you know one of the matches we’ll be seeing at Battleground now and I could certainly go for these two beating the fire out of each other in some kind of a stipulation match. Dijak is slowly starting to find himself again after such a long run of nothing and Dragunov works well with anyone. This is going to give us the ticked-off Dragunov though, and that is just going to end in more violence.

Post-match Dijak crushes Dragunov with the steps and stands on them for some choking.

Tyler Bate is meditating when Wes Lee comes in to thank him for the save last week. Lee says Bate is up next….and Bate wakes up from his meditation with no idea Lee was there. Everything is fine and he’s ready for his match.

Dani Palmer met Tank Ledger/Hank Walker and Brooks Jensen/Josh Briggs. The teams agreed to a respectful match.

Charlie Dempsey vs. Tyler Bate

Drew Gulak and Wes Lee are here too. Bate slips out of a hold to start and snaps off a suplex, only to have to flip out of a Boston crab attempt. Back up and they hit heads, giving us a double knockdown. Bate is up first with an aeroplane spin, but here is Joe Gacy for an argument with Lee. A big dive drops Gacy and Gulak, with the diving Bate going back in to hit Bop and Bang on Dempsey. Not that it matters as Gacy gets in a cheap shot on Bate to knock him silly. Dempsey grabs a dragon suplex for the pin at 3:27.

Rating: C+. There are a few places to go with this one and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends with Bate winning the title in a four-way at Battleground. Bate has needed something more to do and while the meditation stuff is fine for him, some success would be even better. Dempsey as the evil wrestling machine works as well, and you can see a lot of the Villain in him.

Carmelo Hayes is on his way to help Trick Williams.

Noam Dar interrupts a Dragon Lee interview to invite him to be a guest on Supernova Sessions.

Brooks Jensen/Josh Briggs vs. Hank Walker/Tank Ledger

Walker and Jensen brawl on the floor to start before some double-teaming takes over on Briggs inside. Jensen comes in and gets shouldered down hard but it’s back to Briggs for a big boot. We pause for Ledger to spit out a tooth (he puts it in his singlet), followed by a Hart Attack to finish him off at 2:41.

Respect is shown post-match.

Video on Lyra Valkyria.

Nathan Frazer talks about how international NXT has become but focuses on Noam Dar.

Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Kiana James vs. Lyra Valkyria

They trade rollups to start with neither getting very far. Another rollup gives Valkyria two but she gets sent hard into the corner. We take a break and come back with James crushing the ribs but Valkyria knocks her away. A middle rope dropkick puts James down and Valkyria sends her outside for a dive. Back in and a suplex gives Valkyria two but James’ powerbomb gets the same. Valkyria shrugs it off and hits a spinning kick to the face for the pin at 8:50.

Rating: C+. They were working hard enough here and I’m a bit surprised by the result. James has been more prominently featured than Valkyria, who has yet to find herself in NXT. Going with her into the next round is a way to go and she’s more polished in the ring than James, but it was still somewhat surprising.

Gallus is drinking at the bar when Tony D’Angelo and Stacks interrupt, saying they want a title shot. Joe Coffey isn’t having that but threats are made. Gallus’ friends get up and D’Angelo/Stacks are smart enough to leave.

Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams

They fight to the floor in a hurry, with Breakker having to suplex him onto the announcers’ table to stop an early flurry. Back in and Breakker puts on a seated abdominal stretch but Williams fights up with a dropkick. A jumping clothesline drops Breakker again and a Rock Bottom gives Williams two. Breakker has had it with this and spears him down, setting up the Recliner for the win at 6:15.

Rating: C+. What else were you expecting here? Breakker is a machine about to get a title shot against Williams’ best friend so of course he’s going to crush Williams here. There wasn’t much else that could have been done, though Williams gave it all he had. He deserves more credit than he gets, as he has turned a basic hype man spot into something pretty good.

Post-match Breakker goes for him again but Carmelo Hayes comes in. Breakker spears him out of the air (that looked GREAT) and grabs the title to end the show.

ResultsTiffany Stratton b. Gigi Dolin – Prettiest Moonsault Ever

Gallus b. Dyad – Flapjack/big boot combination to Fowler

Duke Hudson b. Javier Bernal – Razor’s Edge

Eddy Thorpe b. Damon Kemp – Jumping elbow drop

Ilja Dragunov b. Dijak via DQ when Dijak used a chair

Charlie Dempsey b. Tyler Bate – Dragon


Brooks Jensen/Josh Briggs b. Tank Ledger/Hank Walker – Hart Attack to Ledger

Lyra Valkyria b. Kiana James – Spinning kick to the face

Bron Breakker b. Trick Williams – Recliner


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