This week’s WWE NXT featured Carmelo Hayes bragging about his attack, Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker celebrating, Ilja Dragunov in action against Dijak and more.
It’s the first NXT episode since the Vengeance Day PLE from Sunday. The big story coming out of that show was Carmelo Hayes finally turning heel on Trick Williams after teasing it for several months. It was obvious it was coming, but it was still done well. I’ll do this summary style and play-by-play for one or two matches.
It was Vic Joseph and Byron Saxton on commentary this week. Booker T is off for a few weeks after a medical procedure.
Carmelo Hayes made his entrance with a chair in his hand as the fans booed him loudly. Melo went into the ring with the chair. Melo sat on the chair in the ring while fans booed him loudly. There were “F**k You Melo” chants that were muted due to the PG rating in WWE. Melo said, “Not yet.” He left the ring to boos.
Analysis: It has been reported that fans were told not to chant “F**k You Melo” after this segment. I’m sure some people will complain about that, but I get why WWE told the fans that since they have to mute the swear words.
A video package showing NXT Vengeance Day highlights. The show ended with Carmelo Hayes’ cheap attack on his best friend Trick Williams. Melo used a steel chair to beat up Trick and Melo attacked Trick’s left knee with the chair.
Let’s Hear from Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker
Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker were at ringside with their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy. Baron wanted to announce them, but Bron asked Alicia Taylor to do it, so Taylor did it. She called them the “Wolf Dogs” which led to Bron laughing. Corbin said that they dominated and nobody could stop them. Corbin asked Bron how is his face since he had a mark on it from when Bron went running into the top rope. Bron said when you’re running 23 miles an hour, sometimes things are going to go wrong. Bron congratulated Corbin on his first dive ever and said he never would have made it over the top without Bron giving him a boost.
Corbin said that their win meant they got a shot at tag team gold. They mentioned Tony D & Stacks and how they are on the hunt.
Axiom & Nathan Frazer entered for their tag team match. Corbin and Bron were not happy about being interrupted.
Axiom & Nathan Frazer vs. Malik Blade & Edris Enofe
This was a long match, so I’ll go full play-by-play here. Corbin & Breakker were on commentary. Enofe hit a dropkick on Axiom. Axiom came back with an arm drag followed by a dropkick. Blade tagged in with a superkick on Axiom and Frazer was in the ring legally and that led to Blade & Frazer each hitting dives out of the ring. Blade hit a cross body block on Frazer.
Axiom and Frazer hit a double team clothesline/bulldog combo for two. Axiom headbutted Enofe in the ribs. Axiom clotheslined Enofe in the ribs. Axiom hit a German Suplex on Enofe and Frazer tagged in with a twisting neckbreaker for two. Frazer nailed Enofe with a running back elbow smash for two. Frazer tripped up Enofe followed by a trip and Frazer hit a running SSP for two. Enofe broke free from Axiom and Enofe hit a jumping knee. Blade tagged in with an impressive dropkick on Frazer, who was on the top rope and Blade knocked down Axiom. Blade with a fallaway slam on Frazer and a clothesline on legal man Axiom. Blade hit a sitout Powerbomb on Axiom for two. Blade did a Powerbomb on Axiom again for a two count. Enofe tagged in with an elbow drop off the top onto Axiom for two because Frazer made the save. Frazer sent Blade into the turnbuckle and Enofe hit double knees on Frazer. Axiom hit a jumping kick on Blade and a Spanish Fly slam. Frazer tagged in with a Phoenix Splash on Enofe for a two count, but Blade broke it up. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match continued with Frazer hitting a superplex on Blade along with a brainbuster/superkick (kick by Axiom) combo for two. The fans chanted “NXT” for them. Blade blocked two leaping attacks and tagged out. Enofe was back in for a double team spinning slam on Axiom for two, but Frazer was there to break it up. Frazer shoved Blade off the top to the floor. Enofe missed a top rope elbow, Frazer hit a Phoenix Splash and Axiom made the tag leading to the Golden Ratio kick for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Axiom & Nathan Frazer
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a terrific match. I didn’t expect them to get 17 minutes, but these four athletic guys were given a lot of time and had an impressive showing. I was hoping for Enofe & Blade to get a big win so they could break out of the pack a bit, so I was a bit disappointed by the result. Axiom & Frazer are awesome. I don’t mind them at all, of course. I just think Enofe & Blade could have used this win. Anyway, good job by everybody involved here and it’s nice to see them get as much time as they did. A decisive win by Axiom & Frazer in a match full of action.
After the match, Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker attacked Axiom & Frazer. Corbin & Bron threw Axiom & Frazer out of the ring. Some fans chanted “Wolf Dogs” for them.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo, the NXT Tag Team Champions, walked out with Adrianna Rizo. Corbin shouted at the champions to put the titles on the line next week. Stacks said you got it.
Analysis: I think there will be a NXT Tag Team Title change in that match. I know Bron is likely going to be on the main roster, but I think he can still work NXT for a few months too.
Ilja Dragunov, the NXT Champion, was shown in the parking lot with Kelly Kincaid trying to talk to him. Dragunov said respectfully now wasn’t the time for him to talk to her because he wanted to get some answers from Carmelo Hayes. Dragunov went into the building.
When a graphic was shown of the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event, the fans were chanting “We Want Cody” loudly.
Let’s Hear from Ilja Dragunov
Ilja Dragunov, the NXT Champion, said that on Sunday night they went to war. Dragunov said that he respects and likes Trick Williams, but he couldn’t let Trick slay the Mad Dragon. Dragunov said if one man could beat him, Trick would be a worthy champion.
Dragunov said it was his duty to call out one person…Carmelo Hayes. The fans booed. Dragunov said that Melo has been attacking him with false accusations for the past couple of months and now we can all see Melo’s true colors. Dragunov wanted Melo to come out right now while saying that the fans gave it to Melo verbally, but Dragunov said he’d go further than that. Dragunov wanted Melo to come out there right now or Dragunov would fight him himself.
Dijak interrupted the promo telling Dragunov to stay right there. The fans chanted “you suck” at Dijak. Dijak told Dragunov that he’s obsessed with Trick & Melo. Dijak mentioned that he beat Joe Gacy at Vengeance Day, so they’re a couple of winners. Dragunov didn’t seem interested in talking to Dijak, who told the fans to shut up, so the fans kept booing. Dijak claimed Dragunov had a broken nose while bragging about beating Joe Gacy. Dragunov advised Dijak to get out of his way because Dragunov wanted to face Melo, so Dijak punched Dragunov in the nose. They were both held back by several security guys while the fans chanted “let them fight” as Dragunov’s music played.
Analysis: That’s a good match for later while also teasing the idea of a future Dragunov-Hayes match as well. They are two of the best, most believable wrestlers in NXT and they always have great matches together. That’s fine with me.
Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail were backstage talking about the success of the Chase U women’s calendar. Hail wanted to go watch Riley Osborne’s match up next, but Jayne advised her to hang out in the back since she was already his Valentine. Jayne reminded Hail she was never wrong.
Lexis King entered for singles action.
Von Wagner and Mr. Stone were backstage talking about how Von nearly won the Heritage Cup from Noam Dar. Stone’s twin sons were there to suggest that Stone teams up with Von. Stone said okay one time, they’ll do it.
Analysis: Stone used to be a wrestler known as Robbie E in TNA, but in WWE he has been just a manager. Stone is still in great shape, so it wouldn’t shock me if he wrestles a bit more often moving forward.
Riley Osborne (w/Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) vs. Lexis King
Riley looked into the crowd, but looked a bit sad that Thea Hail wasn’t in the Chase U section. Riley hit a back body drop and a hard chop to the chest. After Riley sent King out of the ring, Riley hit a twisting dive over the top onto King on the floor. They battled on the apron where King slammed Riley onto the commentary table. King hit a running clothesline to the back of the head for two. Riley got a rollup for two along with a dropkick and a running leg lariat. Riley went up top, was distracted by Hail not being in the crowd and King kicked Ripley in the legs. King hit the Coronation neckbreaker for the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lexis King
Analysis: **1/4 A crafty win for King, who usually wins matches like this against fellow midcarders. Riley was distracted by Thea Hail not being there and King took advantage to win. A simple story that works in a short match.
Carmelo Hayes was walking in the parking lot and he’s up next.
A video aired about Kelani Jordan. She refuses to settle for anything less.
Kiana James and Izzi Dame went into the locker room doing their mean girl routine. Brinley Reece walked in with her drink, so Dame told Reece to give James the drink. James said she didn’t like coffee, so she tossed it in the trash.
Analysis: A riveting backstage segment as usual. It might set up a match due to pouring a coffee out.
Let’s Hear from Carmelo Hayes
Carmelo Hayes was seated in a chair in the ring. The arena had the lights shut off and there was a spotlight on Hayes while the fans were booing him. Melo was facing the hard camera. Melo wondered why nobody wanted to hear his side of the story. Melo said that he is not jealous of Trick’s success – he allowed him to succeed and wanted him to achieve the highest of highs in this business. Melo spoke about how he had to take it away from Trick to remind him of his place and remind him of what happens when you bite the hand that feeds you. Melo said that Trick crossed him first. Melo complained about how Melo was going after the NXT Title and Trick was going after the NXT North American Title but then Trick thought they were on the same level so he went after Melo’s title. That’s why Melo had to do what he had to do. Melo admitted that he was the one who attacked Trick Williams. Melo: “You’re damn right I did and I’d do it again…” and here’s the music of Trick Williams.
The fans were chanting “Whoop That Trick” for Trick, but it was all a ploy by Melo because Trick wasn’t there.
Melo said that Trick Williams ain’t coming back. Melo said he was in a hospital bed next to Booker T chanting that stupid ass song. Melo bragged about how Trick and him are not the same. Melo said that Trick wanted to be Melo so bad that he wore glasses like Melo, got on the apron like Melo and wore the same gear as Melo, but Melo said he was just a trick. Melo said that Trick was always his hype man. Melo said that’s all it is and that’s all Trick will ever be. Vic called Melo a coward.
Analysis: Good promo from Melo explaining his heel actions because he was jealous of Trick Williams’ success even though he didn’t admit that’s really the reason. Melo’s viewpoint is that Trick wanted to be like him and was going after the NXT Title that Melo wanted to win again, so that’s why Melo did what he did. There is the admission from Melo that he was the person who attacked Trick Williams back in October. That was obvious from months ago, but now it’s official with Melo admitting it. This should lead to Trick coming back in a few weeks and I think they’ll have a big match at NXT Stand & Deliver in two months in Philadelphia on WrestleMania Saturday. It doesn’t have to be for the NXT Title either.
A video aired about a mystery person: “Man has three faces. One the world sees. One his family sees. And the real one no one sees but reflects the evil he truly possesses.” That was it. It was the same video at NXT Vengeance Day as well.
Roxanne Perez entered for singles action. She got into a brawl with Lola Vice at Vengeance Day, so that led to the next match.
A video aired about the 6’6” 300-pound NXT North American Champion Oba Femi, who beat Dragon Lee at Vengeance Day last Sunday. Femi is impressive for a guy who has had less than ten NXT TV matches.
Riley Osborne was shown talking backstage with Thea Hail & Jacy Jayne. Hail said she had “grown ass woman” stuff to handle so that’s why she missed his match. Riley asked if they were still on for Valentine’s Day and Hail said yes. Riley left, so Jayne told Hail she’ll give her advice for Hail’s Valentine’s Day date.
Analysis: I know it’s not the most riveting storyline, but this is the kind of cheesy thing that some fans like. I don’t mind it that much. It gives the wrestlers some acting experience and hopefully the end result is entertaining.
Lola Vice vs. Roxanne Perez
Perez hit a cross body block. Vice came back with multiple kicks to the body. Vice hit a running hip attack. Perez hit an uppercut along with a gentle Thesz Pres attack. After a rollup by Perez, Vice delivered a kick that knocked Perez off the turnbuckle to the floor.
Vince hit some knees to the ribs and Perez got a pin attempt for two. Perez hit a legsweep followed by a springboard moonsault for two. Vice caught Perez going for a choke submission, but Perez managed to get out of it. Perez sent Vice back first into the turnbuckle and Perez got a cradle for two. Vice hit a back fist to the face for two. Tatum Paxley ran out to try to cash in the NXT Breakout Contract, which is ridiculous, so Vice hit Paxley with a spin kick. Perez came back with a kick to the body and Pop Rox for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roxanne Perez
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay. A distraction finish yet again for these women. It protects Vice since she didn’t lose clean. Paxley continues to cause problems for the women of NXT due to her obsession with NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria, who wasn’t involved in the match.
Meta Four’s Lash Legend, Jakara Jackson, Heritage Cup Champion Noam Dar & Oro Mensah were interviewed by Kelly Kincaid. Dar was happy to accept Von and Stone’s challenge. Drew Gulak’s No Quarter Catch Crew showed up to trash talk Dar, but it didn’t lead to anything.
Fallon Henley & Wren Sinclair entered for tag team action.
Meta-Four – Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson (w/Noam Dar & Oro Mensah) vs. Fallon Henley & Wren Sinclair
Wren knocked down Legend, but then Legend drove Wren into the heel corner and Jackson worked over Wren a bit. Legend was back in with a forearm on Wren. The heels continued to work over Wren with some basic kicks and some weak rest holds. Henley got the hot tag and hit a neckbreaker on Jackson for a two count. After an assist from Legend, Jackson hit a dropkick. Legend was back in with Wren leading to Legend hitting a Powerbomb for the win.
Winners by pinfall: Meta-Four – Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson
Analysis: **1/4 It felt like an average tag team match to put over Legend’s power as the reason why her team won. Jackson mostly just does the basics on offense and she does sell well. Henley is really talented while Wren is still new here. They really didn’t give Wren much offense in this match. It was all about putting over Legend.
Josh Briggs was shown in the locker room when Brooks Jensen walked up to Briggs. Brooks said he was doing okay, Briggs said he had to go and Brooks admitted he was struggling with Briggs and Henley. Brooks said he needed them. Briggs told Brooks that he’s not a kid anymore. Briggs told Brooks he could either sit and cry like he is right now, or he could grow some balls. Briggs told Brooks to wake up.
Analysis: Brooks Jensen really hasn’t done much since the group he had with Briggs & Henley was broken up, so it’ll be interesting to see if Brooks can succeed on his own.
The NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov entered for the main event.
The NXT GM Ava was backstage talking to Jaida Parker, who wanted a match with Adrianna Rizzo next week. Ava said that Parker’s boys can’t be ringside and Parker said okay to that. Ridge Holland walked in saying that Gallus tried to break his leg. Ava said he’s not giving all of Gallus to Ridge 3 on 1. Ava said that Ridge could face them all in singles matches, but if Ridge loses then it’s over.
Next week on NXT:
* NXT Tag Team Championships: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker
* Noam Dar & Oro Mensah vs. Von Wagner & Mr. Stone
* Kiana James vs. Brinley Reece
* Adrianna Rizzo vs. Jaida Parker
They showed a clip of Carmelo Hayes’ promo from earlier in the night.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak
This was not for Dragunov’s NXT Championship. They came out slugging with strikes from both guys. Ilja hit two German Suplexes. Dijak hit an elbow to the nose to break free. Ilja came back with a barrage of chops along with a running knee attack. Ilja hit a knee drop off the middle rope as Ilja grabbed his nose to sell the injury he was dealing with. Ilja went up top, but Dijak hit his legs to stop that attempted attack. Dijak superkicked Ilja off the top turnbuckle to the floor. It looked like somebody was grabbing Dijak’s foot under the ring, but when Dijak looked, nobody was there. I think we know something involving Joe Gacy was coming. Anyway, Dijak nailed Ilja with a punch to the face.
Dijak with a punch and Ilja came back with a jumping kick to the head. They exchanged some strikes including a boot from Ilja, but Dijak came back with his spinning boot to the head. Ilja hit a jumping kick to the head. Ilja lifted up Dijak, who gouged the injured nose of Ilja and Ilja rammed Dijak into the turnbuckle. Ilja jumped off the top with a senton bomb for a two count. Ilja hit a running kick to the chest. Ilja worked over Dijak with chops to the chest. Dijak came back with a knee lift to the nose and a sitout Chokeslam for two. They choked eachother, Ilja came back with headbutts and three chops to the body. Dijak came back with a lariat. Dijak was on the apron leading to a springboard elbow drop, but Dijak hurt his elbow, so Ilja hit a knee to the face. Dijak pulled the ring apron up, so Joe Gacy was there under the ring and Gacy hit Dijak with a stick that had a boxing glove at the end of it. The referee didn’t see it. Ilja hit his H-Bomb forearm smash to the head for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ilja Dragunov
Analysis: ***1/2 These guys are great and always have terrific matches together. The ending was cheap with Joe Gacy getting involved, which likely means that Dijak’s rivalry with Gacy will continue even though Dijak got the win at Vengeance Day. I say all the time about Ilja that the way he sells moves is amazing and he also has a lot of cool moves too. I just think the selling is so important. Dijak is very talented as well because he knows his role, he knows how to use his power game against a smaller guy like Ilja and they mesh well together.
After the match, Carmelo Hayes attacked Dragunov from behind with a chop block to the back of the left knee. The fans were booing. Melo worked over Dragunov with punches. Melo nailed Dragunov with the NXT Title to the face. Melo posed with the NXT Title. End show.
Analysis: That should lead to Carmelo Hayes likely facing Ilja Dragunov for the NXT Title. That will probably be at their next NXT TV special in a few weeks. I think either Melo wins the title or the more likely result is Trick Williams returning that night and costing Melo the win. Trick beating Melo for the title does sound great, but I don’t know if NXT wants to put the title on Melo for this feud.
Three Stars of the Show
- Ilja Dragunov
- Axiom/Nathan Frazer and Edris Enofe/Malik Blade
- Carmelo Hayes and Dijak
This week: 7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
2024 Average: 7.04
Final Thoughts on WWE NXT
A good show this week as the follow up to NXT Vengeance Day. The opening tag team match with Axiom & Frazer beating Enofe & Blade was excellent. It just shows how much talent there is on this brand and if you give them nearly 20 minutes, they can really have a great match. The Dragunov/Dijak main event was very good as well as usual from those two. A little cheap at the end, but I enjoyed it.
I thought Carmelo Hayes did a pretty good job with his heel turn explanation promo. Melo admitted to attacking Trick Williams way back in October and it was all out of jealousy because Trick has had success as a singles wrestler. Melo claimed that Trick was just his hype man. It should lead to a big grudge match at Stand & Deliver in two months. Hayes attacking Dragunov after the main event was a good way to get heat on Melo too.
Their next PLE Stand & Deliver on WrestleMania Saturday should be where Trick faces Melo and some of other big matches. I look forward to the two months of building to that show. Don’t sleep on the NXT brand, my friends.
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