The John Report: WWE NXT 01/17/23 Review

wwe nxt jan 17

This week’s WWE NXT featured some big tag team matches along with interviews from Bron Breakker & Grayson Waller as the brand heads toward Vengeance Day.

A reminder that for NXT I go summary style for most of the show. I’ll go full play-by-play for the opening tag team match and the main event this week.

This episode is taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. My WWE NXT Review archive is here. Let’s get to it.

The show began with a recap of last week’s New Year’s Evil show.

It was Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary as usual.

Carmelo Hayes & Trick Hayes vs. Apollo Crews & Axiom

I’ll do play-by-play for this. Trick knocked down the smaller Axiom with two shoulder tackles followed by a punch on a leaping Axiom. Hayes tagged in, so Axiom hit an armdrag/headscissors takedown. Axiom hit Melo with a jumping kick to the head. Crews tagged in with dropkicks on both opponents, then a double arm drag and Hayes got some offense with a pump kick. Hayes spun around on the shoulders leading to a slam into the mat. Crews with a jumping knee and Axiom hit a German Suplex as the legal man. Crews lifted up Axiom over his head and tossed Axiom onto the heels on the floor.


Hayes and Axiom hit a did a double clothesline spot. Trick went into the ring illegally, so Axiom and Crews each hit two German Suplexes in a row, which led to Hayes catching a kick of Axiom and using Axiom’s foot to knock down Crews. Hayes hit a springboard clothesline on Axiom. The heels made some quick tags as they worked over Axiom, but then Axiom broke free and Crews tagged. Crews with a kick on Hayes, then a clothesline and a leaping clothesline after that. Crews hit two splashes on Hayes, then a jumping kick to the head, a press slam and Crews hit a standing moonsault for two with Trick making the save. Axiom hit a jumping kick off the apron onto Trick on the floor. Hayes jumped off the top for his leg drop, Crews caught him and Crews sat on top of Hayes while Crews held onto the legs for the pinfall win. It went about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Apollo Crews & Axiom

Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good with Crews beating Hayes likely to set up another singles match between them. Hayes won the last time they had a singles match, so I think Crews beating Hayes was done to set up that next singles match between them. Maybe we’ll see that at Vengeance Day. The action was pretty even most of the way. Trick keeps improving while Axiom is one of the best athletes in NXT, so he’s fun to watch.

Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were standing on a bridge. Stacks thought he would get punished by Tony because of the ending of the Tony/Dijak match, but Tony had something else in mind. Tony D told Stacks that his days of being a soldier are over because Tony thinks it is time for him to become the underboss. Tony D gave Stacks a jacket with a crest on it.

Analysis: That’s progress in the story with Stacks continuing to prove his loyalty to Tony D and getting rewarded for it.

A recap was shown of last week when Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne finished tied in the battle royal with both of them earning an NXT Women’s Title match at Vengeance Day. They were shown watching backstage since they are up next.


Tiffany Stratton was interviewed backstage by Mckenzie Mitchell. They showed a clip from a day earlier with Tiffany Stratton walking up to a dressing room with her name on it. Indi Hartwell was there telling Stratton that she doesn’t get her own locker room. Stratton fired back in the interview saying she matters the most.

Let’s Hear from Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne)

Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin made their entrance for a promo in the ring. They mocked the fans for thinking they would fight eachother when they were in the battle royal. They mentioned how they were tried to eliminate eachother, but Jacy said they are a team that think together and fell on the floor together at the same time. Dolin said there’s no animosity, they are doing what needs to be done and it’s full steam into Charlotte, North Carolina for NXT Vengeance Day. Jacy said that Roxanne Perez will regret the day she became the NXT Women’s Champion.

Lyra Valkyria interrupted the promo saying that if it wasn’t for Cora Jade, she would have won. Lyra said she’ll get her opportunity because she doesn’t see a champion when she looks at either of them. Jayne and Dolin trash talked Valkyria, so Valkyria got into the ring and Toxic Attraction beat her up easily. Roxanne Perez made her entrance for the save, which led to Gigi and Jacy to leave the ring.

Analysis: This was okay. Some of the dialogue felt a bit strange, but it was just heel trash talk. They don’t get the same reaction that they used to get like when Mandy Rose was with them. Valkyria looked dumb going in there against two women although I guess it’s a babyface trying to show toughness. This set up a tag team match later in the show.

They showed The Creed Brothers training with Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley going up to them. Nile told them about how Indus Sher have global accolades and Jinder Mahal is a former WWE Champion. Nile told them to go back to what made them the Creed Brothers. Nile left while Brutus said she made a good point.

Alba Fyre entered for a match.


A video aired featuring Stevie Turner recapping the women’s battle royal match. Stevie has a gimmick where she’s a video/podcast host.

Sol Ruca vs. Alba Fyre

Ruca got some offense early on with a cross body block along with a jawbreaker. Fyre suplexed Ruca face first into the mat followed by some kicks. Fyre countered a lifting move that Ruca attempted and Fyre delivered a superkick. Isla Dawn was shown watching from a podium. Fyre walked towards Sol, who jumped off the ropes with the Sol Snatcher! It’s an amazing move that she has used on Level Up, but this is the first time she used it on NXT’s main show. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sol Ruca

Analysis: *3/4 A big win for Sol Ruca picking up the victory over Fyre, who was distracted by Dawn as their issues continue. That finisher by Ruca is very eye-catching because it’s so unique. It’s great live and looks even better on replay.

An interview with Grayson Waller is coming up.


A video aired featuring Dijak talking about how he’s going to take the North American Title from Wes Lee at Vengeance Day. Dijak said it will be Judgment Day for Wes Lee.

Interview with Grayson Waller

Grayson Waller did a sitdown interview with Vic Joseph earlier in the day. Waller said that he was supposed to save NXT at New Year’s Evil while saying that Bron couldn’t beat him. Waller called Bron athletic, strong and stupid. Waller mentioned the rope breaking during the match, which he couldn’t control. Waller said that they had a job to do – fix the ring, but they failed and Waller couldn’t become the NXT Champion. Vic said he thought Waller would win the match after the knee to the face, which got a two count. Waller went to the ropes again and they broke again. Waller lost by countout, but he said Bron was half-dead in the ring. Waller brought his own NXT Championship that he put on his shoulder. Joseph mentioned the Steel Cage Match against Breakker at Vengeance Day. Waller said he’ll make sure there’s a decisive winner because he’ll pin Bron Breakker. Waller said this is the most important event in NXT history and who better to drive the car than Grayson Waller. Waller said at Vengeance Day he’ll take the NXT Title and he’ll go viral when he becomes the NXT Champion.

Analysis: Good interview with Waller handling himself very well as usual. Waller is one of the better talkers in NXT. That’s why he gets so much promo time.

They showed Gallus and Briggs/Jensen walking separately backstage ahead of their match.


There was a backstage scene with Alba Fyre using a bat to threaten to beat up a referee. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance advised Fyre not to attack or she might get suspended. The referee was pulled to safety while Carter/Chance asked Fyre what was wrong with her. Fyre was frustrated about losing. Then it turned into Fyre saying maybe she’ll go after Carter and Chance to try to win the Women’s Tag Team Titles. They pointed out that Fyre doesn’t have a partner, but she said she doesn’t need anyone.

Analysis: I don’t know if this means that Fyre is turning heel or what is going on with her. It feels like the start of a heel turn. Maybe Fyre becomes allies with her rival Isla Dawn because they could be a scary heel team.

Gallus – Mark Coffey & Wolfgang vs. Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen (w/Fallon Henley)

Briggs & Jensen hit a double team slam on Mark for a two count. Gallus did a referee distraction spot leading to Wolfgang hitting a knee to the back as Gallus took control. They did a spot where Jensen was supposed to jump over Wolfgang for a leapfrog, but that was missed and Jensen stumbled into the ropes. Briggs tagged in leading to Mark slamming Briggs onto the apron. The four guys were brawling on the floor with Gallus trying a move on the concrete floor, but Briggs suplexed Mark on the floor (with the mat) instead.


The match returned with Jensen getting the tag leading to a spinning heel kick on Mark. Gallus took control again with Wolfgang with an elbow drop off the middle rope. Jensen broke free leading to Briggs getting he hot tag as he sent both Gallus boys to the floor. Briggs hit a shoulder block on Mark on the floor. Mark gave Jensen a back body drop on the concrete floor after the mat was exposed earlier. Briggs was on offense with a sidewalk slam and a splash while the medical team checked on Jensen. Mark and Briggs did a double clothesline spot. Kiana James checked on Jensen as well. Gallus hit their jumping kick/powerslam combo on Briggs for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Gallus – Mark Coffey & Wolfgang

Analysis: *** It was a hard-hitting tag team match that was unofficially a match to earn a title shot because Gallus was announced for a title match later in the show. There was a stumble on a leapfrog by Jensen, but they got through it fine. The turning point was when Jensen got hurt landing on the cement and Briggs had to fight on his own, but he couldn’t do it. Gallus looked impressive last week and it continued here with this win while Briggs/Jensen are a solid team also.

There was a Chase U scene backstage hyping up Thea Hail for her match. They showed Duke Hudson talking about how Chase U needs a win. It was filmed by the Anonymous person that films random things. Duke talked his way out of it and Thea said they can talk about this later.


Brooks Jensen was in the trainer’s room with Fallon Henley telling Brooks that Kiana James is just using her. Brooks said that she likes him, he likes her and Henley said when Kiana breaks his heart, she won’t be there to pick up the pieces.

Thea Hail (w/Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) vs. Valentina Feroz

Both women lose often on the NXT main show. Feroz was aggressive early on with a dropkick. Elektra Lopez showed up to watch the match from ringside. Hail got a kick to the face and a standing moonsault for two. They did a double cross body block collision spot. The referee was distracted by Chase & Hudson, so Perez put some brass knuckles on Feroz’s hand, but Feroz didn’t want to use it. Hail hit a neckbreaker driver into the mat for the pinfall win after three minutes. It was Hail’s first win.

Winner by pinfall: Thea Hail

Analysis: *1/2 A quick match with Lopez trying to help Feroz out, but Feroz refused to cheat to win. Hail winning finally gives her a win, so that could lead to her getting some momentum moving forward.

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were shown in the parking lot where Apollo Crews confronted him to brag about the win. Hayes said it was a tag team match and they called that a cheap win. Crews mocked them while asking them if they know a good barber in town. Williams: “Fresh cut? He ain’t got no damn hair.”

Analysis: Valid point by Trick there about the hair.

They showed the announcers on camera. Vic said: “Booker, we have just been informed of some tragic news inside the wrestling community that Jay Briscoe has passed away. We want to take this moment to send our condolences to his friends and his family.”

Analysis: The news of Jay Briscoe’s death came out while NXT was on the air, so this was obviously something they decided to mention during the show. I think it was a classy thing to do. Jay was a pro wrestler for over 20 years and crossed paths with a lot of people. Jay is known for his amazing career in ROH with his brother Mark Briscoe. Jay died in a car accident on Tuesday. He was only 38 years old. May he rest in peace.


Elektra Lopez talked to Valentina Feroz in the locker room. Feroz said she didn’t want to cheat. Lopez told Feroz she needs to do whatever it takes to win. Lopez told Feroz to watch what she does in her match against Wendy Choo next week.

Let’s Hear from The New Day

The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were in the ring for a promo segment. They were in dress clothes with the NXT Tag Team Championships around their waist. Kofi said they are done with Pretty Deadly. They mentioned facing Gallus at Vengeance Day.

Pretty Deadly interrupted the promo to say that they rightful number one contender’s for those NXT Tag Team Titles.

The Gallus duo of Mark Coffey and Wolfgang said that Pretty Deadly don’t deserve a chance at those titles. Kit Wilson said that Gallus weren’t supposed to be in that match. Mark said that they are back on top. Wolfgang told New Day they are next. Woods mocked their Scottish accents saying he couldn’t understand what they were saying.

The three teams got into a brawl with Pretty Deadly getting beat up easily and tossed out of the ring. The brawl was broken up by officials.

Analysis: A report came out after the show that this was going to be a segment where The New Day had a funeral for Pretty Deadly’s title shot, but they changed that plan after learning of Jay Briscoe’s death. Good call. I don’t think it would have been any better if it was a funeral segment anyway. They managed to get the point across without it. This obviously sets up a triple threat tag team match for the titles.

Roxanne Perez, NXT Women’s Champion, and Lyra Valkyria were interviewed backstage by Mckenzie Mitchell. They talked about how they had common enemies, so they will be together. Javier Bernal walked up with a guitar talking about his fake Christmas album. Valkyria told him to get out.

Analysis: It was just a generic babyface interview with a bit of Javy thrown in.


Bron Breakker Interview

Bron Breakker, the NXT Champion, was interviewed by Vic Joseph earlier in the day. Bron said he didn’t want last week’s match to end that way. Bron wanted to win the match and he didn’t get that satisfaction, so it’s tough. They mentioned the rope breaks as well as Grayson Waller hitting the knee on Bron. Vic said he thought we might see Waller win the match after that knee. Bron said he caught him and gave him credit, but Bron kicked out even though he could barely see straight. Bron said he didn’t know what would have happened if Waller hit the elbow off the ropes when the rope break happened. Bron said that all the questions will be answered at Vengeance Day. Bron said he’s excited about the steel cage because there’s nowhere to run. Bron said he’s not going to climb over the top because it’s going to happen in the center of the ring. Bron laughed about Waller talking a lot of trash and gets his ass kicked like Chael Sonnen (former UFC fighter). Bron said he won’t be talking trash when he leaves Waller laying in the center of the ring and Bron will leave Charlotte as the NXT Champion.

Analysis: It was an effective interview to get over the story about if Bron was going to beat Waller last week, if not for the rope break. The Steel Cage Match at Vengeance Day should be pretty good.

Javier Bernal was out for his comedy segment. Bernal had a guitar in hand, but he was interrupted by Tyler Bate making his return.

Tyler Bate vs. Javier Bernal

Bate connected with a dropkick followed by an armdrag takedown. Javy got some offense with a thumb to the eye, bulldog and a clothesline. Bate avoided a bulldog by sending Bernal to the mat. Bate hit an overhead suplex and a standing Shooting Star Press. Bate bounced off the ropes with a clothesline followed by a Tyler Driver. They didn’t do it right the first time and then Tyler hit it decently the second time. It went about four minutes. The referee checked on Javy.

Winner by pinfall: Tyler Bate

Analysis: ** A quick match to put over Bate following his return after being away for several months. Javy usually loses in NXT although he does get promo time to put over his comedy gimmick. The ending looked bad, but at least Javy was okay because he was nearly dropped on his head.

The women’s tag team main event was next.


There was a backstage scene with Chase U celebrating Thea Hail’s win. Fallon Henley talked to Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs. Henley said she just wants to look out for Brooks as a friend. Henley said she’s going to team up with Kiana James next week and Brooks was happy about it. They left to go have drinks.

It’s official at Vengeance Day for the NXT Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. Pretty Deadly vs. Gallus.

Next week on NXT:

* Katana Chance & Kayden Carter defend the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships against Alba Fyre by herself.

* Tiffany Stratton vs. Indi Hartwell.

* Thea Hail award ceremony with Chase U.

Analysis: That’s a weak lineup.

Toxic Attraction – Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin vs. Roxanne Perez & Lyra Valkyria

I’ll go play-by-play here. The faces Perez and Valkyria cleared the ring immediately. Perez hit a suicide dive onto Jayne and Valkyria kicked Dolin to knock her down. Valkyria hit Jayne with an uppercut, Perez tagged in and Perez hit a running dropkick for two. Valkyria tagged back in with a double foot stomp on Jayne’s left arm. Valkyria with a hiptoss into a cover for two. Perez hit a running back elbow on Dolin for two. Jayne made a tag with a neckbreaker on Perez as the heels took over. Jayne and Dolin each hit running corner attacks on Perez in the corner. Jayne hit a senton splash on Perez for two. Dolin back in with a kick while Jayne hit a clothesline for Dolin getting a two count. Jayne went for a suplex, Perez on her feet, Jayne with an elbow and Perez/Jayne did a double head slam into the mat. Valkyria tagged in against Dolin with two clotheslines, kicks to the gut, then an enziguri kick on Jayne and an overhead suplex on Dolin. Valkyria went up top, but Cora Jade showed up to shove Valkyria off the top rope. The referee never saw it. Valkyria kicked Jayne away and brought in Perez. Valkyria jumped onto Jade on the floor. Perez hit Jayne with uppercuts in the corner and then Dolin went into the ring with a kick. Jayne bounced off the ropes, went for a kick, Perez moved and Jayne kicked Dolin by accident. Perez gave Jayne a Russian legsweep. Perez hit Pop Rox on Dolin for the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Toxic Attraction – Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. I wouldn’t call it a thrilling main event or anything like that. I thought we might see Jayne or Dolin get the win to give them momentum, but instead, they opted for the miscommunication finish. Perez was put over big because she found a way even with her partner Valkyria fighting Jade to the backstage area.

Post match, Perez celebrated with her title while Jayne and Dolin argued about what happened. There’s a Women’s Championship Summit between those three women next week on NXT. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: I would be very surprised if Perez lost the title to Gigi or Jacy at Vengeance Day. It seems very unlikely.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Apollo Crews & Axiom
  2. Gallus
  3. Bron Breakker/Grayson Waller

The Scoreboard

This week: 6.25 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 6.67

Final Thoughts

I think it was mostly an average edition of NXT. The match quality wasn’t as strong as their better shows, but they do a nice job of advancing angles from week to week while continuing to build the Vengeance Day card. The men’s tag that opened the show was the best match with Apollo Crews pinning Carmelo Hayes, which should lead to another singles match between them.

The interviews with Bron Breakker/Grayson Waller were really well done to follow up on their controversial match finish last week while setting up their upcoming cage match at Vengeance Day. I don’t think the Women’s Title match at Vengeance Day is very interesting at all and the main event tag team match was just average. They do have four title matches set up for Vengeance Day, so that’s good to see.

There was a report that we have up at TJRWrestling about how The New Day was going to do some funeral segment for their promo, but it got changed after the Jay Briscoe death news came out on Tuesday night. They made the right call to change that and the segment came off fine without it.

The next WWE NXT PLE event is Vengeance Day on Saturday, February 4th with this lineup:

NXT Championship Steel Cage Match: Bron Breakker (c) vs. Grayson Waller

NXT Women’s Championship: Roxanne Perez (c) vs. Jacy Jayne vs. Gigi Dolin

NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee (c) vs. Dijak

NXT Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. Pretty Deadly vs. Gallus

There will likely be more matches.


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John Canton


Twitter @johnreport