The John Report: WWE NXT 01/30/24 Review

wwe nxt january 30 review

This week’s WWE NXT featured an Ilja-Trick discussion in the main event, Dusty Cup semifinals and more.

The NXT Vengeance Day PLE takes place on Sunday. I’ll review it live and have a preview up later in the week. I’ll do this summary style and play-by-play for one or two matches.

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

It started with a recap of last week’s episode of NXT as the road to NXT Vengeance Day continues.

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

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams vs. LWO – Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde

I’ll go play-by-play here. Melo got some offense going with an arm drag followed by a dropkick. Melo hit a running bulldog. Trick tagged in with an impressive dropkick as the fans chanted “Whoop That Trick” for Williams. Cruz tagged in leading to some double team offense and Cruz also hitting a moonsault off the bottom rope. Trick nailed Cruz with two body slams, but then Cruz hit a dropkick to the knee. Trick came back with an uppercut punch. Melo was back in with a back elbow, but Cruz kicked Melo off the turnbuckle. Wilde tagged in with an incredible somersault dive onto Melo on the floor. Cruz hit a twisting dive over the top on Trick on the floor. They went to break there.


Melo was isolated from his partner, he broke free of Cruz and Melo/Cruz did a double clothesline spot. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as Trick tagged in against Wilde. Trick hit some leaping kicks and a body slam on Wilde. The fans were chanting “Whoop That Trick” again and Trick hit a double Book End on both opponents at the same time for a two count. Trick hit a spinning kick on Wilde while Melo made the tag and hit an assisted splash for two. Wilde trapped Melo against the turnbuckle leading to Cruz tagging in with a kick. Wilde and Cruz each hit Coast to Coast dropkicks on Melo for a two count because Trick made the save. They did this crazy spot that was a catapult and led to a neckbreaker as well. Melo fought back against Cruz with strikes and Cruz delivered a shot followed by a missile dropkick. Melo avoided a Cruz attack and Melo hit a Codebreaker. Wilde was legal, he went for a springboard attack, but Melo hit a Codebreaker on Wilde. Trick got the tag while Melo clotheslined Cruz out of the ring. Trick hit his jumping lefty knee smash on Wilde for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great match full of action and plenty of unique spots. The LWO guys really stand out as a talented team when they are given the chance to show what they can do. I think the Melo/Trick team winning was obvious just because of the story they are a part of and it’s not like NXT can have a PLE without Hayes in a match. The finish was set up really well. Melo and Trick are great together even though the days of them being allies may end soon.

At NXT Vengeance Day, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals will be Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin vs. Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams.

Analysis: That means Trick is wrestling twice at Vengeance Day since he’s also challenging for the NXT Title held by Ilja Dragunov as well.

After the match, NXT North American Champion Oba Femi attacked Del Toro & Wilde. Dragon Lee tried to save his friends, but Femi beat up Lee. When Lee jumped off the top rope, Femi chopped Lee out of the air. Femi stood tall to end it.

Analysis: Oba Femi will likely beat Dragon Lee at NXT Vengeance Day in what will probably be Lee’s NXT farewell match since he’s a Smackdown guy.

Ridge Holland was shown talking to NXT GM Ava about wanting to face Gallus later. Lexis King walked in with some merchandise and photos for Ava. King said he wanted to talk to Ava about his future. Avan said she had an idea for tonight saying King can face Holland later in the show.

Tatum Paxley was shown earlier in the day talking to a Lyra Valkyrie photo. Lyra walked in asking why Paxley attacked Roxanne Perez last week. Lyra didn’t want Paxley to fight her battles for her. Paxley said when she takes out Perez, Lyra will be NXT Women’s Champion forever. That’s not what Lyra wanted while Paxley left.

Roxanne Perez entered for singles action.


Tatum Paxley vs. Roxanne Perez

The NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria was on commentary. Paxley got some offense going with a dropkick and an enziguri kick. Paxley hit a double underhook suplex. The action went out by the commentary table, so Perez dove onto Paxley while Tatum was looking at Lyra. Back in the ring, Perez kicked Paxley in the ring and hit Pop Rox to get the win after around three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roxanne Perez

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Perez as expected since she’s going for the NXT Title at Vengeance Day and it’s important to make Perez look strong. Paxley had some nice moves in the match, but they just aren’t pushing her much. Pop Rox is an effective finish.

After the match, Paxley went after Perez, so Perez punched Paxley. Lyra Valkyria went into the ring to break it up. Perez and Valkyria had a staredown while Paxley was smiling because she’s probably happy that Lyra saved her.

Arianna Grace and Wren Sinclair were talking backstage with Grace claiming she was an inspirational leader. Fallon Henley walked in to try to shut up Grace and Henley suggested Grace have a match with Sinclair. Henley said she’d go find Ava to set it up.

Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice were shown walking backstage separately with their match coming up next.


Lola Vice vs. Elektra Lopez

Lopez debuted on Smackdown last Friday as part of the Legado del Fantasma group, so this might be her NXT farewell. Vice had her NXT Women’s Breakout Winner Contract with her.

Lopez tackled Vice at the start of the match followed by punches. They left the ring with Lopez sending Vice into the ring post. Vice got some offense with kicks to the body and a charging booty smash against the turnbuckle. Lopez used her power to slam Vice while Vice was going for an armbar. Lopez hit a spinning slam for two. Vice grabbed the guillotine headlock to get out of a move. Lopez hit a spinning kick to the head for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lola Vice

Analysis: ** A decisive win for Lola Vice to put an end to the rivalry. As I mentioned earlier, Lopez is going to be on Smackdown now, so of course she was going to lose. That spin kick that Vice does looks great.

Dijak was shown watching his match with Joe Gacy and made some notes on paper. Joe Gacy walked in to talk with Dijak, who called Gacy an unhinged piece of trash. Gacy said that he’s not going anywhere and he’s going to keep fighting back. Dijak punched Gacy, so Gacy fought back with punches and the scene faded out.

Analysis: That rivalry will continue. Dijak always has intense rivalries.

Ridge Holland vs. Lexis King

Ridge got a takedown followed by a clothesline. They went to a commercial break.


King got some offense with a headbutt to the chest and a chop block to the left knee. Ridge used his power leading to a lefty clothesline. When they left the ring, King clotheslined Ridge on the floor. King was in control for a couple of minutes while Holland had a bloody mouth. King hit a neckbreaker for a two count. King hit a clothesline to the back of the head while Ridge was kneeling. Ridge came back with a couple of overhead suplexes and a spinning slam. Holland hit a headbutt to the chest to counter a move. Ridge clotheslined King in the back of the head. The three Gallus guys went to ringside, so Ridge took care of them. King capitalized with a superkick and the Coronation neckbreaker for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lexis King

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match with a cheap finish because King capitalized on Ridge, who was focused on the Gallus boys. They got nearly ten minutes, but it never got to the point where I’d call it an interesting match. King was on offense for a few minutes, Ridge made the comeback using his power and then Gallus got involved leading to King hitting a couple of moves for the win.

After the match, the Gallus boys attacked Ridge. They put a chair around Ridge’s left knee and Joe Coffey used another chair to hit the chair. Ridge was down selling.

Analysis: They are trying to make Ridge Holland into a big babyface, but I don’t know if it will work. Another option could be that Ridge is going to become a heel because he has no allies.

Andre Chase and Chase U were backstage saying it was time to say goodbye to Chase U forever.


Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were backstage in the locker room. Melo said he can’t be the only one to see Ilja Dragunov playing mind games. Trick said he appreciated Melo looking out. Melo told Trick not to let Ilja get in his head. Trick said tonight they’ll handle this face to face. Melo said at some point, Trick will realize that Ilja’s been playing mind games and Melo has had Trick’s back since the beginning.

Chase U Farewell…Or Is It?

Chase U was in the ring with Andre Chase, Duke Hudson and Riley Osborne in the ring. Andre said he knew the impact that Chase U would make and the impact it would leave in NXT. Andre called Chase U one of NXT’s biggest success stories. Duke said he saw what Chase U could do for him. Duke spoke about how being MVP was the greatest day of his life. Duke said he feels it’s important that everybody positively thinks of Chase U. Duke said that some students made a tribute video of Chase U to remember what was.

A tribute video aired about Chase University. This angle started over two years ago so there were highlights covering that period. They used the song “Tell Me A Lie” that WWE used for Shawn Michaels nearly 30 years ago. Every time they said “Andre Chase University sized ass whooping” it was pretty funny and also Andre saying that is a “teachable moment.” The fans chanted “Chase U” after the video.

Andre Chase said that this whole situation has been a teachable moment. Andre was about to put an end to an interruption, but there was an interruption from Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail.

Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail got into the ring. Jayne said she didn’t think she would fit in with Chase U, but she saw the bond they all had together. Jayne thought that maybe she could actually change. Jayne said she knew she had to stand up to do something when the university was in trouble. Jayne said that she is fiercely loyal to the things and people that matter to her. Jayne said we will not be saying goodbye to Chase U tonight. Jayne introduced the Ladies of Chase U 2024 calendar. Several lovely women walked out by the entrance as some generic music played. Booker: “Give me a towel.”

Jayne said that the projected sales will save Chase U from debt and get us to the promised land. Jayne said that this Sunday at Vengeance Day, the calendar will officially go on sale. Jayne claimed that this calendar will get them to the next level and launch them to the next decade. Andre hugged Jayne. Andre said that he had his doubts, but now Jacy is officially in Chase U. Booker: “How much is the damn calendar?” There was no answer.

Analysis: This storyline is ridiculous and silly, but that’s pro wrestling. Sometimes we need these kinds of stories that are fun while ignoring logic at times. We can question the logic of how a calendar would make enough money to save a “university” but it’s not like it’s a real university or a real calendar. It makes Jacy Jayne look like a hero for the university too. They never really said what Chase U’s debt amount was, nor will they ever talk about the sales of the calendar and so on, but as a story, it’s a happy ending because Chase U will continue to exist. I did predict that Jacy’s plan would save Chase U although I didn’t know what she would announce.

The Family’s Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo and Adrianna Rizzo talked about their life. Tony and Stacks said Adrianna grew up with them, who they put over as being a badass. Rizzo talked about cracking somebody in the mouth when they need it. They spoke about how OTM and Jaida Parker will find out that the streets of NXT belong to the D’Angelo Family. That’s a six-person tag team match at Vengeance Day.

Fallon Henley was shown getting ready for her match when Brooks Jensen talked about their past together as friends. Henley didn’t seem that interested. Wren Sinclair walked in to ask if she could go to the ring with Henley and Henley said sure. Brooks was left alone looking sad.

Analysis: The idea is that Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley are doing well since the group broke up, but Jensen has yet to find his way.


Jacy Jayne and Chase U were backstage. Jacy spoke about getting calendars at Vengeance Day. Andre thanked Jacy for saving his life. Lexis King walked up wanting a signed calendar, so Riley Osborne told Lexis to back off. King said nobody likes Osborne. Hail said everybody likes Osborne and she likes Osborne…but then Dijak was fighting with Joe Gacy in the background, so that put an end to that.

Fallon Henley (w/Wren Sinclair) vs. Arianna Grace

Henley was in control early in the match with some arm drags and a shoulder tackle. Henley nailed Grace with an uppercut punch leading to a break.


Grace was in control with a chinlock. Henley avoided a kick and got a rollup. Grace did a hair pull takedown followed by another chinlock. Henley ran the ropes leading to a neckbreaker of sorts. Henley decked Grace with a punch on the floor. Henley was out on the floor, Jakara Jackson distracted the referee and Lash Legend hit a pump kick on Henley on the floor. Grace got the cheap cover for the win after about nine minutes. Grace was stunned that she won.

Winner by pinfall: Arianna Grace

Analysis: **1/4 It was the second match in a row where a heel won the match due to actions by wrestlers who were not in the match. Arianna Grace does a good job of being an over the top character, but it’s hard to take her that seriously in the ring.

The OTM group was shown walking. It was Lucien Price, Bronco Nima, Scrypts and Jaida Parker. They sat down talking about how people don’t like different. They spoke about how OTM is a lifestyle. Parker said she’s going to wipe the floor with the women’s locker room. They told Tony D and his crew that the streets aren’t for everybody, so they should have stayed on the sidewalk.

Dijak and Joe Gacy were shown fighting outside. They were on top of some truck and there was a trash bin below them. Dijak kicked Gacy in the ribs and Gacy flipped into the trash bin to end it.

Analysis: That rivalry just keeps going.


Bron Breakker was on the phone in the locker room when Baron Corbin called him Mr. Royal Rumble. Corbin was impressed by Bron. Corbin wondered why he had to watch on Peacock. Corbin called them the Wolf Dogs and Bron was happy that Corbin said it. They spoke about how they were going to win the Dusty Cup and be on their way to becoming NXT Tag Team Champions. They touched fists to show they are a cohesive unit.

Analysis: Bron and Corbin are heels in the traditional sense, but they are entertaining together as two jerks who get along.

NXT Heritage Cup: Noam Dar (w/Oro Mensah, Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson) vs. Von Wagner (w/Mr. Stone)

Mr. Stone’s twin sons were in the crowd supporting Wagner.

Round 1: Wagner used his size advantage for a shoulder tackle early on. Wagner hit an impressive arm drag. Wagner hit a gutwrench suplex tossing Dar across the ring. Wagner hit a spinning slam off the shoulders. Wagner punched Dar a few times as the three minutes expired to end round one.

Round 2: Wagner attacked Mensah from behind and sent him outside the ring with a clothesline. Dar capitalized with a jumping kick to the head for the pinfall. Dar leads 1-0.


Round 3: They showed this action in PIP. Wagner was in control in the last 45 seconds with a vertical suplex. Mensah distracted the referee, so Legend grabbed Wagner’s neck. That led to Fallon Henley and Wren Sinclair going out there to attack the girls. Dar tripped up Wagner with a heel hook submission, but the timer expired to end the round.

Round 4: Wagner nailed Dar with a punch to the jaw for a two count. Dar avoided a charging Wagner and sent Wagner to the floor. Dar dropkicked Wagner’s left knee into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Wagner hit a running boot to the face. Wagner charged, Dar moved and Wagner went shoulder-first into the ring post. Dar did a rollup into a jackknife pin for the win after about 10 minutes.

Winner: Noam Dar

Analysis: **3/4 I was a bit surprised by the 2-0 result in this match. I think the idea behind that was to show that Von wasn’t familiar with the rules and that’s why he lost. The first fall for Dar was cheap but the second one was clean since it was a technical wrestling move.

After the match, Dar taunted Mr. Stone’s twin sons in the crowd. Wagner knocked down Dar and Mensah. The fans chanted “table” so Wanger grabbed Mensah and gave him a Powerbomb through the table. Dar tried to stop it, but Wagner kicked Dar to knock him down. Wagner and Stone celebrated with the twin boys.

Analysis: Perhaps this will lead to Wagner getting another shot at Dar down the road.

Dijak was outside by the trash bin/dumpster when Ava warned that he could be suspended. Dijak wanted to face Gacy in a No DQ Match at Vengeance Day. Gacy emerged from the dumpster saying No Disqualifications sounds like fun and he’s in. Ava said you’ve got the match.

Analysis: That is now the sixth match for NXT Vengeance Day on Sunday.

Trick Williams and Ilja Dragunov were shown walking backstage separately for their main event segment.


This Sunday, February 4th at NXT Vengeance Day:

* No DQ Match: Dijak vs. Joe Gacy

* NXT Women’s Championship: Lyra Valkyria (c) vs. Roxanne Perez

* Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo & Adrianna Rizzo vs. OTM – Lucien Price, Bronco Nima & Jaida Parker

* NXT North American Championship: Oba Femi (c) vs. Dragon Lee

* Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin vs. Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes

* NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Trick Williams

I’ll have a preview for NXT Vengeance Day later in the week and a live review on Sunday night.

Face To Face: Ilja Dragunov & Trick Williams

Trick Williams was in the ring saying he had a lot on his mind and he wanted Dragunov to come out there. Ilja Dragunov walked out as the NXT Champion. There was a black carpet in the ring.

Ilja got into the ring with Trick saying he loved the look on Trick’s face. Ilja said that they were both ready to fight on Sunday. Ilja said that they would whoop that trick. Trick didn’t want a handshake. Trick said that Ilja is smarter than he looks and Trick said he knows a Czar will do anything to stay on top. Ilja asked Trick what kind of voice he was making. Ilja told Trick not to let Carmelo Hayes cloud his judgment.

Trick said he thinks that Ilja has been playing him this whole time. Ilja said that in 2023, he destroyed his body for this brand. Ilja said that he pushed everybody to the next level, including Trick. Trick admitted that Ilja has pushed him to the next level and then Trick said now he’s double booked. Ilja said he offered Trick the biggest match. Ilja said he played mind games with Baron Corbin because he made stuff very personal. Ilja spoke about how maybe Trick should be more concerned about Melo. Ilja talked about how Melo needs Trick for further glory and Trick needs to focus on himself. Trick said he’s focused on Vengeance Day.

Trick said that they are going to win that Dusty Classic and then he’ll take that title off Dragunov. Ilja thinks that Trick is clearly not focused. Ilja said that their rivalry made Trick the man he is today. Ilja said he’d break Trick piece by piece and destroy everything that Trick had built. Trick said that there is nobody who can destroy what he has built. Trick spoke about how he knows what is his and he’ll fill the world in on his destiny. Ilja thinks that Trick will write history, but not the history that he wants. Trick said “may the best man win” and they shook hands. Ilja hugged Trick and then Ilja smiled at him.

Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin showed up to attack both guys. Bron & Corbin beat up Trick a bit. Carmelo Hayes made the save leading to Williams & Melo clearing the ring of Bron & Corbin. Trick looked at Ilja in the ring while Hayes stood a few feet behind Trick. The final shot had Melo standing behind Trick while he was staring at Dragunov. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: A good segment overall. The second week in a row where the show ended with a long talking segment. While I would love Trick Williams to win at Vengeance Day, I think it’s more likely that his friendship with Carmelo Hayes will fall apart and that will likely cause Trick to lose. That should set up a Trick/Melo rivalry going into Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania weekend. Anyway, I’ll have more thoughts in the preview later in the week.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes
  2. Noam Dar
  3. Jacy Jayne


The Scoreboard

This week: 7 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7


Final Thoughts on WWE NXT

It was more of the same from NXT with a pretty good show. The opening match with Melo & Trick beating LWO’s Cruz & Wilde was a lot of fun and full of action. Great way to start the show. The other matches were mostly just average. Some of them were kept short.

There was a lot of storyline advancement throughout the show. They built up all of the Vengeance Day matches well. Vengeance Day is on Sunday, so that was a heavy focus of this episode. The Trick/Dragunov main event promo was okay while teasing the idea that Melo will get involved in some way because Melo is worried that Trick isn’t focused on their tag team match at Vengeance Day.

As for the Chase U segment, it was silly and all that stuff, but that’s pro wrestling sometimes. Everything doesn’t have to be serious or logical. I laughed during parts of it. It’s a reminder that NXT has some silliness to it and that’s okay with me.

The first NXT PLE of 2024 is Vengeance Day on Sunday, February 4th. Here’s the lineup so far.

* NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Trick Williams

* NXT Women’s Championship: Lyra Valkyria (c) vs. Roxanne Perez

* Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin vs. Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes

* NXT North American Championship: Oba Femi (c) vs. Dragon Lee

* No DQ Match: Dijak vs. Joe Gacy

* Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo & Adrianna Rizzo vs. OTM – Lucien Price, Bronco Nima & Jaida Parker

NXT Vengeance Day airs on Sunday, February 4th, streaming live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.


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John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport