This week’s WWE NXT had a Women’s Battle Royal leading into a Fatal 4-Way match. Plus, Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams in tag team action in one of the two Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches.
I’ll do this summary style and play-by-play for one or two matches.
The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes vs. Malik Blade & Edris Enofe
Blade and Melo showed off their athleticism by doing a routine without connecting on moves and then they both hit a double dropkick. Trick tagged in leading to a beautiful dropkick on Enofe. Blade was on offense against Melo for a bit until Enofe tagged in with a dropkick. Trick and Melo got some tag team offense as Melo hit a springboard splash for two. Blade and Enofe managed to isolate Trick for a bit. Blade hit a somersault dive over the top onto Trick on the floor and Trick had to move up to break the fall. Enofe hit a somersault dive over the top onto Melo too.
Blade & Enofe were in control of Melo until Trick got the tag leading to jumping side kicks. Trick hit a double flatliner on both opponents. Trick hit a Book End for two. Blade hit a Destroyer-like move on Melo. Trick took out Blade, Enofe suplexed Trick and Enofe hit a top rope elbow for two. There was more fast-paced action with Blade hitting a top rope Frog Splash on Melo. Trick punched a leaping Enofe on the floor. Melo hit double knees on Blade and Trick hit the running knee smash for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes
Analysis: *** A good match with Trick & Melo as main event guys in NXT while Enofe & Blade are a regular tag team that just aren’t pushed that much. The action toward the end of the match really picked up with some big moves and nearfalls for both sides. These guys worked well together.
Fallon Henley was interviewed by Kelly Kincaid backstage. Henley talked about the battle royal with 20 women. Henley said she’s never received an NXT Women’s Title match and said she was determined to win.
A video aired about Dragon Lee winning the NXT North American Title and how he was a fighting champion. That tile reign ended last week on NXT when Oba Femi cashed in his NXT Breakout contract and Femi beat Dragon after the match to leave as the new NXT North American Champion.
Oba Femi, the NXT North American Champion, was shown walking backstage.
This Friday on Smackdown: Royal Rumble contract signing for Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, AJ Styles & LA Knight along with the KO Show talk show with Kevin Owens and US Champion Logan Paul as the guest.
Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez were shown talking about their tag team match later along with the NXT battle royal. Tatum Paxley did a promo from behind glass saying they weren’t going to win and that nobody goes near her NXT Champion Lyra Valkyria.
Let’s Hear from Oba Femi
Oba Femi walked out with the NXT North American Title and he was in street clothes. Vic said Femi is the first NIL athlete to win a championship in WWE.
Femi said that this prophecy was long foretold since he was the juggernaut drenched in gold. Femi claimed he was tested as a young Nigerian Prince and he destroyed the competition. Femi said he was tested in the NCAA and as a D1 Athlete, he made that world his own by winning titles. Femi said in NXT, the goal is still the same. Femi said that this title gives him the right to rule over all of you. Femi said that he was bound by destiny.
Dragon Lee walked out for a promo response. Lee said that he can’t be mad about last week because Femi took his moment. Lee praised Femi for making such a fast impact. Dragon Lee talked about being a fighting champion like Wes Lee was before him and he wanted Femi to give open challenges. Dragon suggested that he could be Femi’s first opponent tonight. Femi said no to that. Femi said that open challenges are now closed. Lee wants a championship rematch that he deserves at Vengeance Day. Femi said he may consider it.
Analysis: It looked like Oba Femi was going to be a babyface after the NXT Breakout Tournament, but the way he acted in that promo was heelish. It will likely lead to a title match at Vengeance Day like Dragon Lee wants although it’s not official yet.
Eddy Thorpe was in the locker room talking to other NXT wrestlers like Hank & Tank. Trey Bearhill walked in talking about Thorpe representing their culture. They mentioned Dijak and Lexis King being disrespectful. Dijak walked in saying Thorpe found a new friend. Dijak said that your culture didn’t teach you when to quit and threatened to put Bearhill on the shelf.
Lyra Valkyria made her entrance as the NXT Women’s Champion while Tatum Paxley crawled in from the crowd and Paxley was dressed in a similar outfit as Lyra.
Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes were in the locker room talking about making it to the semifinals of the Dusty Cup tournament. The NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov walked in saying he was sorry about not being cleared two weeks ago at New Year’s Evil and Dragunov said he’s cleared now. Dragunov said their match deserves a big stage, so they can do it at Vengeance Day on February 4th. Melo said that Vengeance Day is supposed to be when they’re in the Dusty Cup Finals. Trick didn’t react to that, but it sets up potential issues.
Analysis: I figured they would do Ilja-Trick at Vengeance Day. It also sets up the possibility that Trick will have to wrestle twice that night if he makes the finals of the Dusty Cup with Melo as his partner.
Lyra Valkyria & Tatum Paxley vs. Elektra Lopez & Lola Vice
There was a creative spot where Lyra did a dropkick near the ropes and then Paxley did it right after. Lopez set up Paxley against the rope leading to a vicious kick from Vice. The heels worked over Paxley for a bit until Lyra tagged in with an enziguri kick to Lopez’s head. Paxley tagged herself in with a cross body block on Lopez. Paxley fought with Lopez, who did a spin kick and hit Paxley, who pushed Lyra out of the way. Lyra ended up falling on top of Perez for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lyra Valkyria & Tatum Paxley
Analysis: ** It was a creative, fluky finish with Vice kicking Paxley and Paxley falling on top of Lopez for the win. It furthers the story of Paxley being obsessed with Lyra and in this case, the obsession led to a win.
There was a shot of the women’s locker room as some of them spoke about the battle royal coming up. Arianna Grace talked about becoming the number one contender. Grace talked about becoming the NXT Women’s Champion. Grace kept on rambling and all the other women in the locker room left.
Ridge Holland entered for singles action.
A commercial aired for the Royal Rumble PLE on January 27th.
Joe Coffey (w/Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. Ridge Holland
Ridge was on fire with back body drops and an overhead suplex. Joe managed to come back with a backbreaker. Ridge nailed Joe with a headbutt, then a stun gun onto the top rope and a lefty clothesline. Holland hit a sitout slam like a Michinoku Driver for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ridge Holland
Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Ridge Holland over a tough opponent like Joe Coffey. It only took a couple of moves for Ridge to put him away.
After the match, Gallus attacked Ridge from behind. They kept looking to the backstage area, but nobody was coming to help Ridge. Joe hit a spinning clothesline on Ridge and Gallus posed together while Ridge was down.
Analysis: The story was that Ridge Holland has no friends due to the injuries he has caused in his career, so that’s why Gallus was able to beat up Ridge so easily.
There was an NXT Anonymous video with Jacy Jayne talking to the ladies helping to raise money for Chase U and praising them for doing very well, but that was still early in the process. Jacy told a woman named Jasmin she did a great job and she wanted to hang out with her.
The Dusty Cup tournament continued after a break.
Kelani Jordan was shown in the locker room talking about the battle royal. The energetic girl Brinley Reece was also there talking about winning and if she can’t win then she wants Jordan to win, so Jordan said the same for her.
Baron Corbin was interviewed by Kelly Kincaid and Bron Breakker showed up after saying Corbin told him the interview was later. They argued about who is the leader. Bron called their team The Wolf Dogs. Corbin didn’t like that. They argued about that. Bron talked about thinking of the name in the shower and Corbin thought it was awkward that Bron thought about that in the shower. Corbin said he was vetoing the Wolf Dogs name and thinking about the team in the shower. They asked Kelly if they were a-holes and she said they both were. Bron suggested the name Wild Boars and Corbin didn’t like that either as the team name.
Analysis: They are an entertaining odd couple tag team.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Chase U – Duke Hudson & Riley Osborne (w/Andre Chase) vs. LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde (w/Zelina Vega)
There were some creative tag team moves by LWO leading to Wilde hitting a moonsault off the ropes. Duke nailed Wilde with a sidewalk slam. Duke also hit a double suplex on both opponents along with a double clothesline. Osborne tagged in leading to a twisting splash over the top onto both opponents.
The action picked up when Osborne showed off his athleticism again with a dive off the turnbuckle onto both opponents. Duke got the hot tag and hit power moves on the LWO guys. Cruz came back with a Poison Rana on Duke, which was impressive. Duke hit a uranage slam on Cruz for a two count. Duke hit a Bossman Slam, but Wilde made a blind tag and hit a missile dropkick. Wilde dove onto Riley on the floor and Wilde hit a suicide dive into a DDT on Duke on the floor. Back in the ring, Wilde hit a moonsault and Cruz tagged in for a Phoenix Splash off the top rope onto Duke for the pinfall win. It went about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with Osborne showing off his offense, Duke was powerful when he got the tag and then the LWO guys worked together with big moves. Wilde has stood out in some recent matches with some crazy moves so kudos to him for doing that kind of thing to get more attention.
The LWO will move on to the semifinals of the Dusty Cup against the team of Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams that won earlier in the show.
Adrianna Rizzo was backstage when Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo encouraged her about competing in the women’s battle royal.
Joe Gacy was on commentary wearing an old WWE sportscoat. Joe said he was looking forward to it. Vic and Booker were wondering what Joe was doing out there.
Dijak made his entrance making angry faces as usual.
Von Wagner was shown in the locker room talking to Mr. Stone. Noam Dar walked in with the NXT Heritage Cup along with Oro Mensah. Von wanted a shot at the Heritage Cup. Dar talked about some of the rules and Von was trying to understand some of the rules. Dar said he was done with this and left. Von revealed that he was just messing with him. Von said he should get some gold in 2024.
Trey Bearhill vs. Dijak
As mentioned earlier, Joe Gacy was on commentary. Trey hit a back body drop followed by a shoulder tackle. Dijak took control after trapping Try against the ropes and hitting a superkick. Gacy: “What a maneuver!” Yes! Dijak continued on offense for another minute until Try hit a suplex into the turnbuckle. The action spilled out to the floor, Dijak beat up Trey a bit and Gacy headbutted Dijak, which the referee didn’t see. Trey hit a running cross body block for two. Dijak hit a spinning kick to the face for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dijak
Analysis: **1/4 An easy win for the established star Dijak while Trey Bearhill is still early in his NXT career. Trey did get some offense, but it wasn’t a surprise to see Dijak get the win.
After the match, Joe Gacy went after Dijak. They went brawling to the back.
In the ring, Lexis King attacked Trey Bearhill from behind. King hit his swinging neckbreaker move. King yelled at Trey for costing King the biggest match of King’s life.
Analysis: Those two post match attacks should lead to matches.
Josh Briggs was backstage when WWE Hall of Famer John Bradshaw Layfield walked up to him. JBL told Briggs that what he was looking for was not there. JBL said that he wanted Briggs to discover who he was. JBL told Briggs he was incredible, but who is Josh Briggs? JBL said that he showed the world he (JBL) was a Wrestling God. JBL wanted Briggs to show NXT and WWE who Josh is. Briggs said “thank you sir” and JBL left.
Analysis: I think Briggs is getting a singles push this year and that’s fine with me because he is a talented guy with a lot of experience. Good job by JBL trying to motivate him.
Kiana James and Izzi Dame were up first for the Women’s Battle Royal match.
Drew Gulak was shown training with the No Quarter Catch Crew and trying to motivate the group.
Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes were in the locker room talking about what’s coming up. Trick said at Vengeance Day they will win the Dusty Cup and then he’s going to win the NXT Title at Vengeance Day. Trick talked about how he could hold the NXT Championship and NXT Tag Team Championship at the same time.
Next week on NXT:
* NXT Vengeance Day Contract Signing: NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria and her opponent
* Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin vs. Axiom & Nathan Frazer
* Lexis King vs. Trey Bearhill
It was mentioned that Cora Jade suffered a Torn ACL at a NXT Live Event. She will miss perhaps up to a year of action.
Analysis: A torn ACL can mean anywhere from nine months to a full year. It happened to Charlotte Flair a few weeks ago and she’s chronicling her rehab on Instagram too. Anyway, best wishes to Cora. I thought this was the year for her to win the NXT Women’s Title, but obviously, it’s not going to happen.
A woman named Wren Sinclair was taking Jade’s place. Wren was known as Madi Wrenkowski before her WWE days. They showed the entrances of the Thea Hail and Blair Davenport.
NXT Women’s Battle Royal
There are 20 women in this match. The final four women in this match will have a Fatal 4-Way match and whoever wins that will get an NXT Women’s Title match at Vengeance Day.
The women were throwing strikes while by the ropes. Gigi Dolin sent Jakara Jackson over the top to the apron and Dolin eliminated Jackson. Lash Legend sent Jaida Parker and Adrianna Rizzo over the top to the apron leading to Parker & Rizzo getting eliminated moments later. Kelani Jordan survived an elimination attempt. By landing onto Jaida Parker and then Jordan was on top of the commentary table. They went to break.
The match with a replay from during the break when Jordan used the barricade and jumped onto the steel steps, which led to a return to the ring. Fallon Henley eliminated Stevie Turner with a punch while Turner was on the apron. Elektra Lopez saved Lola Vice with Lopez eliminating Brinley Reece. Vice thanked Lopez for the save and then Vice eliminated Lopez by sending her over the top to the floor. Tatum Paxley eliminated Lola Vice right after that. Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice got into a fight in the aisle, so they went to the back. That was the end of that friendship. Dolin hit an STO on Blair Davenport, but Blair held on to avoid elimination. Blair pulled the rope down leading to Dolin going over the top to the floor. Blair pulled Thea Hail over the top to the apron. Karmen Petrovic kicked Blair to eliminate Blair. Davenport pulled Petrovic out of the ring and hit her with a knee to the head. Blair put Petrovic back into the ring. Paxley avoided elimination by Lash Legend briefly, but then Lash hit a pump kick on Paxley to eliminate Tatum. Arianna Grace tried to eliminate women, but then she was frustrated that she couldn’t do it. Grace picked up Petrovic, put her over the top and dumped Petrovic out. Grace celebrated like she did it even though Petrovic was attacked. Hail tossed out Grace and the fans popped big for that.
Thea Hail was on fire with moves on several different women in the match. Hail hit senton splashes on Sinclair and Perez. Hail suplexed Kiana James and tried another senton splash, but Izzi Dame caught Hail, so Dame eliminated Hail right there. Dame saved James from an elimination from Henley. Legend and Dame did a running clothesline spot leading to NXT chants. Henley & Perez hit a double clothesline on Dame to eliminate Dame. Legend decked Henley with a forearm smash. Sinclair snuck up behind Legend and Sinclair tossed Legend over the top. James tried to eliminate Sinclair, then Sinclair fought her off and James eliminated Sinclair. The Fatal 4-Way was set.
Battle Royal Final Four: Kelani Jordan, Roxanne Perez, Fallon Henley & Kiana James
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay for a battle royal. I wouldn’t call it great, but certainly good enough. A lot of the spots in a women’s battle royal are repetitive since most of them are not tall enough to take a clothesline over the top to the floor. That means that most eliminations are somebody getting lifted over the top to the apron and then another move leads to that person being eliminated.
Kiana James vs. Kelani Jordan vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Fallon Henley
The winner will challenge NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria at NXT Vengeance Day on February 4th. The fans chanted “NXT” as the four-way began.
James nailed Jordan with an enziguri kick and then James/Henley did a collision spot. Perez hit a suicide dive onto Henley while Jordan hit a springboard moonsault onto James & Dame on the floor. Jordan and Perez exchanged pin attempts a few times. Perez rolled through and slammed Jordan into the mat, but Henley was there to break up the pin. Henley hit a running splash and a jumping kick on Jordan. Henley hit a neckbreaker off the turnbuckle leading to James breaking up the count. James sent Henley into the ring post and James hit two shoulder tackles. James hit a spinebuster on Henley for two as the other two women broke up the pin. Jordan hit a dropkick on Perez. James hit her 401K flatliner on Jordan for two. Perez jumped on James’ back going for Pop Rox, but James got out of that and sent Perez into the turnbuckle. James kicked Henley off the apron to the floor. Perez hit a top rope hurricanrana on James. Jordan hit a Frog Splash on James, but Perez broke up the pin. Henley hit a running kick on James. Perez superkicked Henley out of the ring. Jordan dropkicked Perez out of the ring. Dame pulled Henley out of the way from a Jordan moonsault move off the top. Perez kicked Jordan in the gut followed by Perez hitting Pop Rox (Code Red) for the pinfall win. The time of the battle royal and 4-Way match was about 23 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roxanne Perez
Analysis: *** That’s my rating just for the 4-way. I think they did a nice job of having all four women going for pinfalls often to show how important it was to get the win. That finish was good because they used Dame to save James, which then led to Jordan hitting the mat hard and Perez was in the right spot to capitalize to win. I was hoping Fallon Henley would win just because she hasn’t been pushed into the title picture that much. There’s nothing wrong with Roxanne. I don’t mind her. I’m just saying Henley getting a push would be cool to see.
After the match, NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria arrived with her title. Lyra posed in the aisle and had a staredown with Perez. At NXT Vengeance Day, Lyra defends the title against Perez. They continued the staredown. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Roxanne Perez was the champion one year ago and she never lost the title, so she’ll be looking to get that title back. They are both babyface women just like the men’s match at Vengeance Day, so the fans should be behind both of them. I think Lyra should retain, but I’m fine with Perez getting another title run too.
Three Stars of the Show
- Roxanne Perez
- Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams
- LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde
This week: 7 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
2024 Average: 6.92
Final Thoughts on WWE NXT
A solid wrestling show in terms of matches. Nothing stood out that much, but a few matches were good. Some of the others were kept short, which is fine. The women’s battle royal was decent while the 4-way match that immediately followed was fast-paced and exciting. Roxanne Perez facing Lyra Valkyria at NXT Vengeance Day should be very good. I thought Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes did great as a team.
This was yet another episode of NXT where they did a tremendous job of utilizing so many people on the roster in matches, backstage segments and the 20-woman battle royal as well. There are so many characters on the show and storylines for them all, so you have to credit to the creative team for featuring the roster so well.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.