The John Report: WWE NXT 02/27/24 Review

wwe nxt february 27

This week’s WWE NXT featured Ilja Dragunov talking with Carmelo Hayes in the main event, plus a NXT Heritage Cup match and more.

I’ll do this summary style and play-by-play for one or two matches.

This episode took 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’s Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary. Booker is back after missing about a month of shows. I don’t mind Booker on commentary. I don’t agree with people who think he’s the worst, but I think others in WWE are better too. Byron Saxton was fine filling in too.

Let’s Hear from Ilja Dragunov

Ilja Dragunov made his entrance as the NXT Champion wearing a suit. Ilja called Carmelo Hayes a disgusting rodent of a man. Ilja said he didn’t want to wait around all night because this is Stand & Deliver season. Ilja invited Carmelo to come out of his hiding place.

Carmelo Hayes walked out by the entrance area and had nine security guards standing in front of him. Melo said that his security guys will do whatever he wants them to do. Melo said Ilja makes him sick with all of his honor and integrity, so fans chanted “shut the hell up” at Melo. Melo said he won’t step into the ring with him until Ava makes this whole thing official and said that Ilja losing the title to Melo is his biggest fear. Melo told Ilja to get everything in order and then they can talk business. Melo said he’ll give him until the end of the night. Ilja went to the apron and hit a couple of strikes on Melo Security guys. Ilja’s music played to end it.

Analysis: It was an opening promo segment to set up the main event promo segment. That’s fine I guess as a way to build up what’s coming later to see if Ilja and Carmelo will have a title match.

Ava, the NXT GM, was shown walking backstage earlier today talking to Gigi Dolin and they went into the office to talk. Jaida Parker was in the office already, so she argued with Gigi. That sets up an obvious match.

Kiana James (w/Izzie Dame) vs. Kelani Jordan

The women whose wrestling names might be inspired by Michael Jordan and LeBron James, which Vic referenced early in the match. Jordan hit an impressive arm drag off the ropes. Dame blocked a move by Jordan, so Jordan hit a springboard moonsault onto both women on the floor. They went to break.


The match returned with the two women doing a cross body collision spot. Jordan hit an impressive flatliner for a two count. James hit a nice spinebuster for a two count. Jordan got an inside cradle for two. Jordan went for a move off the apron, but Dame pulled her leg while the referee was looking at James. James hit the Dealbreaker knee to the face for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kiana James

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match. Jordan keeps getting better while James is one of the best women in NXT in terms of knowing her character and executive moves well. Cheap win for James due to Dame getting involved. NXT books a lot of finishes like that when somebody has a friend on the floor.

A clip was shown from last week when Roxanne Perez was in the locker room complaining about not getting a NXT Women’s Title, so Jakara Jackson walked in saying that Lash Legend stays ready. Jackson mentioned Perez lost the NXT Women’s Title and Perez punched her. Other women broke it up.

The OC – Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows entered for tag team action.


Edris Enofe & Malik Blade vs. The OC – Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

Blade and Enofe hit double dropkicks on both opponents early in the match. There was some more double team offense by Blade and Enofe including Blade jumping over Enofe for a splash. Gallows got the tag leading to The OC working over Blade in their corner for a few minutes. After Blade got a sunset flip on Karl for two, Enofe got the hot tag with a spinning facebuster. Enofe hit a Jackhammer slam on Karl while Gallows sent Blade into the steel steps. Karl avoided a dive by Enofe and hit a spinebuster. Gallows back in for the Magic Killer for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winners: The OC – Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

Analysis: **3/4 Karl & Luke are there to work with the younger team and bring some more credibility to the division due to their status as a veteran tag team. That means they might lose sometimes in the future, but for now, they should get a win in a match like this to show that The OC can still win these big matches.

After the match, Chase U’s Andre Chase & Duke Hudson appeared in the crowd with a warning for The OC. Nathan Frazer & Axiom also arrived for a promo saying they wanted to face The OC after they got attacked. LWO’s Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde attacked The OC from behind with missile dropkicks. The three teams beat up The OC, who retreated. While that was going on, NXT Tag Team Champions Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin were on the platform watching the teams in the ring.

Analysis: A good segment to shine the spotlight on the tag team division. Since The OC attacked those teams last week, it’s only right for those teams to attack The OC this week.

Oba Femi, the NXT North American Champion, was shown talking to Ava, who said she was trying to figure out his next opponent. Ilja Dragunov walked in with his NXT Title for a staredown with Femi, who laughed while walking away. Ilja told Ava they needed to talk.

Roxanne Perez entered for singles action.


Jakara Jackson (w/Lash Legend) vs. Roxanne Perez

Jackson got some offense with a dropkick. Perez hit a springboard moonsault where her knees absolutely crushed Jackson’s upper body. Ouch. Legend prevented Jackson from taking Pop Rox, so the referee ejected Legend from ringside. Jackson hit a sitout neckbreaker too. They exchanged slaps to the face. Perez hit a couple of running forearms leading to a crossface submission for the tapout win. It went four minutes.

Winner by submission: Roxanne Perez

Analysis: ** A decent match with an obvious match as Perez continues to show off her aggressive side. Jackson isn’t featured that much in terms of matches while Perez is a top woman in NXT so the result was obvious here.

The trio of Thea Hail, Jacy Jayne & Jazmyn Nix were chatting as Jayne said that the old Hail was a loser and Jayne said she had to save the university. Hail talked about her failed romance and mentioned getting advice from Fallon Henley. Kiana James & Izzi Dame walked up to them with James saying that Fallon Henley is the last woman you should listen to about boys.

Analysis: I don’t know how to react to these segments. The acting is a bit silly and tough to take seriously. I think it’s leading to Jayne & Nix turning on Hail while Henley will be there to support Hail.

Dijak entered for a match.


Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin were backstage when Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were there. Corbin said that NXT revitalized his career. Anderson said that the Good Brothers came to NXT to become champions and it won’t take them eight months to become champions. Corbin mocked Anderson because AJ Styles slapped him in the mouth. Bron said that when the bell rings, the dogs come out and they destroy everyone. Gallows said that if you can get past Chase U, the Good Brothers will be waiting.

Analysis: It teases a future title match between those two teams.

Dijak vs. Luca Crusifino

Luca hit a dropkick knocking Dijak out of the ring. Back in the ring, Luca hit a cannonball attack against the turnbuckle. Dijak got some offense going with hard chops to the chest. Dijak nailed a stiff clothesline. Luca came back with a belly-to-back suplex. Dijak stopped the momentum with a spinning boot to the head and Feast Your Eyes knee to the face for the pinfall win after nearly four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dijak

Analysis: **1/4 It was good for the time given with Dijak getting the dominant win as expected. Luca was aggressive at the start of the match and got plenty of offense, but Dijak winning was the right move.

After the match, Joe Gacy arrived in a straitjacket from last week and was breaking free from it. Luca knocked Dijak out of the ring, so Dijak fought with Gacy to the back.

Tony D’Angelo told Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo and Adrianna Rizzo that he had something big later in the show.

Lyra Valkyria was shown walking backstage for a segment after a break.


Noam Dar was backstage with Oro Mensah while Kelly Kincaid asked Dar who he wanted to face from the No Quarter Catch Crew. Dar said that it didn’t matter who he faced.

Let’s Hear from Lyra Valkyria

Lyra Valkyria, the NX Women’s Champion, made her entrance for a promo. Lyra wished Shotzi a speedy recovery and when Shotzi does come back, Lyra owes her that title shot. Lyra praised Lash Legend for stepping up. Lyra said that last week, she made Tatum Paxley a promise and now she wants to give Tatum what she deserves.

Tatum Paxley joined her hero Lyra in the ring. Paxley said that last week was so hard because Lyra was in danger of losing her title, but Lyra didn’t and Lyra said that Paxley actually listened. Paxley said she would do anything for Lyra and she was a woman of her word.

Lyra informed Paxley that next week they will team up together. Lyra said that they’ll team up as two women with a common goal when they take on the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Tatum was excited about it.

Analysis: It should lead to Tatum Paxley turning heel on Lyra Valkyria to set up a title feud, but there’s no rush for that to happen.

Let’s Hear from Ridge Holland

Ridge Holland made his way out to the ring and said you’re done, please leave because he had something important to say. The ladies left. Ridge said that his actions have got him into this predicament. Ridge said when he retaliates against people, he takes things too far. Ridge said he was here to apologize for those actions. Ridge said he was defending himself, defending his family and said there was no malice or malicious intent.

The mysterious words were shown on the screens. A man was in the ring and he hit Ridge with a steel chair to the back. The man was revealed to be Shawn Spears, who used to be Tye Dillinger. The fans chanted ‘holy s**t” and it was muted due to the swear word. Vic mentioned Spears’ name and then they cut away.

Analysis: Welcome back to my fellow Canadian Shawn Spears. He has a wrestling school in Orlando and he’s a veteran with over 20 years of experience, so he’ll do well on camera while he can also help the younger talent. I like it for NXT. Spears is back in WWE after spending nearly five years in AEW.

Oba Femi was in the parking lot with the NXT North American Title. Brooks Jensen challenged him to a title match. Femi wasn’t backing down from it.

Lexis King entered for singles action.


Carmelo Hayes was interviewed in his dressing room by Kelly Kincaid. Melo said he wants Ilja out there and he wants Ava out there with a contract for a match for the NXT Title. Melo said he’s only going out there if there’s a contract.

Von Wagner (w/Mr. Stone) vs. Lexis King

Wagner got some offense early with a shoulder tackle and a back body drop. King weakened the big man by going after the left knee, which he rammed against the ring post. King worked over Wagner’s knee a bit. Wagner came back with a boot to the face along with a clothesline out of the ring. They left the ring where King tackled Wagner into Stone on the floor. Back in the ring, King hit a running clothesline to the back of the head. Stone distracted King and Wagner did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner

Analysis: *3/4 It was okay with a weak finish. One of the biggest guys on this brand has to win with a distraction rollup to beat a midcard heel. Weird booking. That was the kind of finish that is booked for a heel to win, but it was a face winning instead.

After the match, King attacked Wagner with punches to the left knee. Stone went into the ring to save his buddy, so King punched him and King hit the Coronation on Stone.

Analysis: This will probably lead to Stone getting a singles match against King.

A video aired about Asuka & Kairi Sane since they are on NXT next week.

Lyra Valkyria and Tatum Paxley were in the locker room talking about the match next week with Paxley saying that Lyra will be a double champion. Jaida Parker talked trash to Lyra & Tatum about getting beat next week. Arianna Grace spoke about how they were all champions in their hearts and minds. Parker insulted Grace’s crown that she has.

Gigi Dolin made her entrance for a match.


Dijak was backstage complaining about things to Ava, but Joe Gacy attacked him while Gacy was holding a camera. The camera dropped to the ground leading to Gacy fighting with Dijak yet again.

Jaida Parker vs. Gigi Dolin

Dolin got an armbar takedown followed by a running dropkick on Parker against the ropes. Parker nailed a splash to the ribs while Dolin was against the ropes. Dolin got Parker with an inside cradle for two and Parker hit a flipping neckbreaker. Arianna Grace walked out there trying to tell them to stop fighting. Dolin got a kick to the head. Dolin was distracted by Grace, who was on the apron and grabbed Dolin’s arm, so Dolin headbutted her. The referee didn’t see it apparently. Parker hit a forearm to the back. Parker hit a running forearm for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jaida Parker

Analysis: *3/4 Poor finish to this match Parker is a star on the rise, so it was a big win for her to beat a more established star like Dolin even though it was a cheap win. Grace’s character is too over the top. It’s easy to like Parker’s potential since she looks the part and her offense looks as believable as any woman in NXT. With that said, I think Parker could use a better finisher than a running forearm.

After the match, Arianna Grace pleaded with Gigi Dolin that they needed to come together.

The No Quarter Catch Crew was shown walking to the ring and so was Noam Dar for their match at next.


Next week at NXT Roadblock, Dijak will face Joe Gacy in an Asylum Match.

No Quarter Catch Crew’s Drew Gulak, Damon Kemp, Charlie Dempsey & Myles Borne all entered in their ring gear because the idea is that we don’t know who is wrestling for them. After Noam Dar walked out as the NXT Heritage Cup Champion, we found out he was against Charlie Dempsey.

NXT Heritage Cup: Noam Dar (w/Oro Mensah) vs. Charlie Dempsey (w/Drew Gulak, Damon Kemp, & Myles Borne)

Round 1: It’s the last match, so I’ll go play by play. There’s a 3:00 clock for each round and it’s best two out of three falls. Dar got a couple of headbutts to the body and Dar tripped him up followed by a rollup. Dempsey did a backslide pin attempt and then he bridged over Dar for the pinfall. After the fall, Kemp did a cheap shot to Dar as well. (Dempsey leads 1-0)

Round 2: Dempsey hit a gutwrench suplex for two and applied an armbar as they went to break.


The end of round two was shown as Dempsey hit a suplex and then both guys exchanged punches.

Round 3: Dar and Dempsey hit uppercuts followed by Dempsey going for another backslide. Dar applied a choke submission, but Dempsey got out of that and went for an armbar and Dar broke free. Dempsey applied an Ankle Lock, so Dar rolled out of that leading to Dar getting a rollup for two. Dar got a punch to the head followed by a suplex leading into a submission move on the left arm, but Dempsey got the bottom rope to break the hold. Dempsey got out of a knee bar and hit a German Suplex. Dar hit a back elbow to the head right before the bell rang.

Round 4: Dar hit a running forearm, a suplex and a back elbow to the head. Dar hit his Nova Roller jumping kick for the pinfall. (Match is tied 1-1)

Round 5: Dar jumped off the ropes with a forearm to the back. Borne was on the apron, so Mensah pulled him down and Borne sent Mensah into the ropes. Dar punched Kemp off the apron while Gulak saved Dempsey from a charging Dar attack. Dempsey hit a bridging German Suplex for the pinfall. (Dempsey wins 2-1)

Winner AND NEW NXT Heritage Cup Champion: Charlie Dempsey

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good match with Dempsey getting the win thanks in part to the help from his friends outside the ring. I wouldn’t call it a great match, but it was entertaining for two heels who aren’t easy to root for. It felt like the right time for a title change since Dar has held the Heritage Cup for so long and Dempsey is a guy who is on the rise.

The main event talking segment with Ilja Dragunov and Carmelo Hayes is next.


Shawn Spears was shown walking outside the building. Spears said he struck Ridge Holland because he was lying to himself and Spears said that the truth can set you free. Roxanne Perez was shown leaving, but she didn’t want to talk to the cameras.

Next week on NXT Roadblock:

* NXT Tag Team Championships: Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin vs. Andre Chase & Duke Hudson

* WWE Women’s Tag Championships: Kabuki Warriors vs. Lyra Valkyria & Tatum Paxley

* Asylum Match: Dijak vs. Joe Gacy

Face To Face: Ilja Dragunov & Carmelo Hayes

Carmelo Hayes and NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov were in the ring for an apparent contract signing segment. The NXT GM Ava was seated in the ring while there was also a table and three chairs. Melo had his security guys with him.

Melo said that he needed security for his own protection. Melo said that next week at Roadblock will be a sweet reunion for him with the NXT Title. Ilja said that Melo was willing to discard anybody for the NXT Title. Melo said that the only difference between them is that Melo is more colder about the way they do things.

Tony D’Angelo entered with Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo and Adrianna Rizzo, but Stacks made them stay in the back. Tony D got into the ring.

Tony D said if you’re talking about big business, he needs to be part of it so let’s talk about it. Melo said Tony didn’t belong there. Tony told Melo you don’t have to be Him or the NXT Champion to make things move around here and Tony said there’s only one Don, so Tony snapped his fingers, and Melo’s security left.

Tony D sat down saying that this Ilja-Melo-Trick saga has been dominating NXT for the past eight months. Tony said that he respects them and Melo tried to talk, but Tony told him to not interrupt Tony D. Tony said that Dragunov dresses like a champion, he’s intense and a little too dramatic. Tony said he’s here to show the world that he wants to take the NXT Title, not Melo. Tony said he’s earned everything he has and everybody that crossed him got what they had coming for them. Tony said that he’s going to earn an NXT Title match at Stand & Deliver.

Ilja Dragunov spoke about how he respects Tony’s position. Tony said that next week at NXT Roadblock, he’ll face Melo and whoever wins will face Ilja Dragunov at Stand & Deliver. Ava said it’s up to Dragunov. Dragunov said he’d like to see Melo earning something and said that Tony has got his match. Ava allowed it while Melo complained. Melo said that Tony can’t be him. Melo told Tony when it comes to that NXT Championship, he is The Don. Tony got in Melo’s face, Ilja got up, Melo shoved Tony into Ilja so an elbow knocked Ilja down. Melo gave Tony D a spinebuster through the table. Melo signed the contract and put it on Tony D and then Melo put the NXT Title onto Dragunov.

Analysis: A good segment overall to get Tony D into the main event picture after he was a tag team wrestler for a few months. I predict Tony D wins because of Trick WIlliams coming back to cost Melo the match. That will lead to Melo against Trick at Stand & Deliver without a title on the line.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Charlie Dempsey & Noam Dar
  2. Shawn Spears – Welcome back.
  3. Ilja Dragunov & Carmelo Hayes


The Scoreboard

This week: 6.75 out of 10

Last week: 6.25

2024 Average: 6.88


Final Thoughts on WWE NXT

It was mostly a good show, but I wouldn’t say it was great. I feel like NXT has had some weeks this year where it has been just average and this episode felt like that. There were a lot of short matches this week and I didn’t like some of the finishes to the matches. They overdid the interference/distraction finishes this week where even babyfaces won because of them.

I like how Carmelo Hayes wasn’t just given an NXT Title match against Ilja Dragunov. Melo has to face Tony D’Angelo next week and the winner of that match gets to challenge Dragunov. That should lead to Trick Williams returning after about a month away, he can cost Melo the match and it sets up Trick against Melo at Stand & Deliver while Dragunov would be against Tony D. That works.

The lineup for NXT Roadblock next week is okay. It certainly will have better in-ring action than what they did this week.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport