The John Report: WWE NXT 04/04/23 Review

wwe nxt april 4

This week’s WWE NXT featured new NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes, Dragon Lee facing Nathan Frazer, two title matches were made during the show and more.

It is the follow up to Stand & Deliver from this past Saturday. I’ll go summary style for most of the show 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 @johnreport. My WWE NXT Review archive is here. Let’s get to it.

There was a video package showing Stand & Deliver highlights.

It was Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary as usual. They mentioned limited commercials this week.

Let’s Hear from Indi Hartwell

Indi Hartwell, the NXT Women’s Champion, made her entrance with her new title. She won the title in a Ladder Match at Stand & Deliver. The fans chanted “you deserve it” for Indi, who really wasn’t pushed much going into S&D, but she left with the gold.

Indi said she can’t believe it’s real that she is the NXT Women’s Champion. Indi spoke about how she really doubted herself. Indi told the fans that they never doubted her, they stood by her and the fans chanted “Indi” for her.

Indi acknowledged Roxanne Perez, who is the former NXT Women’s Champion. Indi said that the first person that should get an opportunity at her title is Roxanne and the fans booed that for some reason.

Zoey Stark interrupted the promo saying she can’t listen to this crap. Stark mocked Indi by saying she was not at the same level as women that held the title in the past. Stark claimed we had a beatable NXT Women’s Champion. Stark said Perez should go to the back of the line and Stark said she wants a title match tonight. Indi accepted the challenge while Stark said Indi made a big mistake.

Analysis: I thought Indi Hartwell’s promo was fine in terms of talking about all that she has been through to become the NXT Women’s Champion after several years in NXT. I was genuinely happy for her.

They showed Wes Lee talking to Axiom in the airport yesterday. Axiom was wearing a mask on his head in the airport, which looks weird. Anyway, Axiom asked for a title shot and Wes granted it.

It’s official with Wes Lee putting the NXT North American Title on the line against Axiom.

Analysis: That means that going into the show there were no titles on the line, but within 13 minutes we now have two title matches.

Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) vs. Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

Tony and Stacks were more like a face team here as Stacks hit a springboard clothesline on Wilson. When Prince tagged in, Tony suplexed him across the ring. Tony remained in control with a clothesline. Tony and Stacks hit double back body drops on their opponents. Tony gave Stacks a hiptoss onto Wilson against the turnbuckle. Pretty Deadly isolated Stacks while Booker praised PD heavily. Tony got the hot tag with suplexes on both PD guys along with a spinebuster on Prince for two. They did a Tony/Prince collision spot, then Wilson switched spots with Prince and used the apron to cover Wilson’s head, which allowed Prince to throw Tony into an exposed turnbuckle and a ROLUP OF DEATH~! by Prince on Tony got the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson)

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match for the time given. Brilliant finish that was fitting for a heel team like PD that knows how to cheat to win. I like Tony and Stacks, but Pretty Deadly is the more established team that needed a win. Tony and Stacks worked well as a face team even though Tony has been a heel character for most of his NXT run.

Jacy Jayne was featured in a video package about how she cost Gigi Dolin the win in the NXT Women’s Ladder match by knocking Dolin off the ladder. Jayne said she was going to make sure that Gigi wouldn’t win the ladder match.

Analysis: That rivalry continues, which is fine with me because there’s a lot of history there.

Dijak vs. Odyssey Jones

They are two of the biggest guys in NXT as Dijak hit a boot to the face. Jones sent Dijak over the top to the floor. They did a spot where Dijak jumped onto Jones, who hit a powerslam. Jones took way too long on the turnbuckle, so Dijak grabbed him and hit an impressive Death Valley Driver for two. Dijak went up top and hit a moonsault for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dijak

Analysis: *1/2 Good win by Dijak winning decisively. I like Jones’ potential, but the injury he had last year slowed down his development and maybe he’ll get some momentum back soon. They need to start pushing Dijak more.

A video aired about Dragon Lee, who debuted at Stand & Deliver and he was up next.


They showed some photos from Stand & Deliver on Saturday.

Gallus was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with NXT Tag Team Champions Mark Coffey & Wolfgang joined by Joe Coffey, who returned at Stand & Deliver. Joe said that they will remain on top and that’s not changing. Joe said he’s going to pick a couple of fights because this is their kingdom.

Nathan Frazer and Dragon Lee made their entrance for a match. Noam Dar showed up with the Heritage Cup saying he was finally here in NXT. Dar said he’ll decide if anybody can challenge him for the cup.

Analysis: Welcome Noam Dar to NXT, who was part of the WWE main roster briefly and also part of NXT UK as well.

Dragon Lee vs. Nathan Frazer

This should be great. I’ll go play-by-play for this since it is Dragon Lee’s NXT TV debut. They locked hands leading to some flips on the mat. Dragon kicked the knee leading to a headlock. Dragon with a shoulder tackle, Frazer jumped off the top rope and a headscissors, but Dragon landed on his feet. They each tried moves, but Dragon ducked a kick and they went to a picture-in-picture break.


Dragon charged, Frazer caught him and sent Dragon into the turnbuckle. Frazer jumped off the middle ropes with a flatliner slam into the mat for two. Frazer went to the turnbuckle, he elbowed Dragon down, but Dragon was up with a suplex only for Frazer to land on his feet. Frazer with a dropkick, then Dragon hit his own dropkick and another corner dropkick. Dragon with a slam onto the knee followed by a running kick for two. Dragon went up top, Frazer went after him and Dragon hit a double foot stomp off the top rope. Dragon charged at Frazer, who hit him with a superkick for two. Frazer jumped off the top, Dragon moved, they each hit knee strikes, Frazer with a kick to the head and Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. The fans were going wild. Dragon hit a running knee to the face for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dragon Lee

Analysis: ***1/2 This was great, especially in the last few minutes. A lot of fast-paced action with Dragon Lee picking up his first win on NXT TV. They are both amazing athletes and make everything look so easy. It’s easy to be impressed by both of them, especially Dragon Lee. I think maybe he needs a better finisher than a running knee, but it’s a move he can do to anybody. There are a lot of running knee/kick finishers in WWE these days. Putting over Dragon Lee makes sense for his NXT TV debut. Frazer always has awesome matches, but he’s not getting a lot of meaningful wins on NXT TV.

There was a video featuring Chase U with Andre Chase thanking Tyler Bate for helping Chase U at Stand & Deliver. Duke Hudson said he was the guy that won it for Chase U. Andre said he remembers what Duke said about awards and ceremonies, which Duke doesn’t seem to like that. Duke spoke about how his performance was something worth honoring. The “class” cheered. Andre said next week they’ll celebrate Duke’s commitment to Chase U and award Duke the MVP trophy. Duke was happy about it.

Analysis: That’s cool. I actually wouldn’t mind a push for Chase & Hudson as a tag team that can beat Gallus for the NXT Tag Team Titles.

Zoey Stark and Indi Hartwell were shown walking backstage separately ahead of their title match.


A video aired featuring Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn as the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. They laughed about how they will beat all challengers and they celebrated by drinking some wine.

Wes Lee, the NXT North American Champion, was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Wes said that the match at Stand & Deliver was the wildest match of his life. Wes said that he was going to go at it with Axiom and left happily.

NXT Women’s Championship: Indi Hartwell vs. Zoey Stark

They started out fast-paced with each woman getting some offense. Stark got the first nearfall after a running kick. Indi was able to get some offense with a punch leading to a two count. Stark hit a baseball slide dropkick knocking Indi out of the ring.


Indi got some offense going with a clothesline and a sidewalk slam. Stark missed a springboard dropkick, so both women were down selling. Stark tried a springboard attack, but Indi caught her with a spinebuster for two. Stark with a suplex followed by spinning lift into the knee strike called the Z360 Indi bumped out of the ring, then Stark put her back in and got a two count, but Indi got a crucifix pin on Stark for the pinfall win! It went 11 minutes with Stark kicking out right after the three count.

Winner by pinfall: Indi Hartwell

Analysis: **3/4 They worked hard and had a solid match. The story was that Indi couldn’t put Stark away, but a clever counter into a crucifix pin got the job done to keep her newly won title. As a worker, Stark is one of the best in NXT because she can do it all in the ring. I think character-wise, she has to improve some more as a heel. I doubt Indi will have a super long run or be a dominant champion, but character-wise the fans care about her and want to see her do well.

Tiffany Stratton made her entrance in a hot pink dress doing a thumbs down gesture to Hartwell. Cora Jade attacked Hartwell from behind and dropped Hartwell with a DDT. Jade held up the NXT Women’s Title and then she placed it onto Hartwell. Jade walked past Stratton on her way to the back. Jade told Stratton that the title is hers and the fans were booing.

Analysis: Welcome back to Cora Jade, who has been off for a few months. As a character, Cora is much better in the heel role. I don’t mind seeing her as a threat to the title and maybe she’ll beat Indi for it. Stratton is another threat for sure.

It was high school drama time with Kiana James getting mad at Brooks Jensen for not handing Kiana her bag during Stand & Deliver because Kiana wanted to cheat to win. Fallon Henley and Josh Briggs showed up with Henley finally saying that James was cheating on Jensen. James said that maybe she was dating around, playing the field, but they never put a label on things. James said when they shared their first kiss, she thought she could trust Brooks and she was wrong. James left. Jensen yelled at Josh and Fallon to stay out of his relationship. Fallon said she’s just trying to help while Briggs mentioned that Henley/James get a title rematch next week.

Analysis: The high school drama continues. None of these people apparently watch the show they work on.

Ivy Nile entered for a match.

A graphic was shown in memory of Bushwhacker Butch. Rest in Peace, Butch. Thanks for the entertainment.


Cora Jade was shown outside in the parking lot. Jade said you will have to wait until next week to hear what she has to say. Lyra Valkyria told Jade she can’t escape fate.

Ivy Nile vs. Tatum Paxley

Paxley turned on her friend Nile three weeks ago, so now they have a match. Paxley was in control after a suplex off the middle rope. Paxley did some basic stuff like a long headlock to take control. Nile was aggressive with punches and knees. Nile tossed Paxley down from her shoulders. Nile went for a kick, Paxley blocked it and Nile applied her Dragon Sleeper, which led to Paxley fighting out.

Winner by submission: Ivy Nile

Analysis: ** It was decent for the time given with Nile getting revenge on Paxley after Tatum turned on Nile in the past. Paxley really didn’t get that much offense in the match other than some basic stuff. Nile won in dominant fashion.

Ivy Nile celebrated with her Diamond Mine buddies, The Creed Brothers.

Ilja Dragunov was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Dragunov said that Wes Lee is a good champion. Dragunov said that nothing in life worth having comes easy. Von Wagner got in Dragunov’s face saying that Von is the biggest monster he has ever seen in his life. Mr. Stone interrupted saying that if Von wants the match, Stone will get the match, but if Wagner doesn’t win, they are done.

Analysis: It’s not like Wagner and Stone had any success together, so if they are “done” it’s not a big loss for either of them. I think Stone could be a good manager with a lot of different wrestlers in WWE.

NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee vs. Axiom

They are two of the best athletes in NXT. I’ll go play-by-play for this. Axiom got a crucifix pin attempt for two. Axiom did an impressive hiptoss leading to a jumping kick to the head. Wes was on the defensive early on until he got a headscissors and a dropkick. They locked hands, Axiom used the ropes and did a hurricanrana sending Wes out of the ring. Axiom hit a dive off the apron onto Wes on the floor. Wes hit an uppercut on Axiom to knock him off the apron to the floor.


The match continued with the two men exchanging forearms/punches. Wes did a snapmare leading to a dropkick to the back. Wes hitting a running splash in the corner followed by a German Suplex across the ring. Axiom tried a kick, Wes hit a stomp and a brainbuster into a pin for two. Wes went for his backflip kick, but Axiom caught him with a sleeper submission on the mat. Axiom hit a half-n-half suplex, Wes broke free and got an upkick. Axiom got a rollup for a two count. Wes came back with a superkick to knock Axiom down. Wes jumped off the top with a twisting dive, but Axiom got his knees up. Axiom hit a running knee to the head. Axiom went for the Golden Ratio kick, Wes avoided it and Wes hit the backflip into the Cardiac Kick for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Wes Lee

Analysis: ***1/2 It was another awesome match just like Dragon/Frazer match earlier. Both matches got around the same amount of time with about ten minutes along with a commercial in between. I think if one of the matches got more time then it would have stood out more. Wes winning was what I expected, but I’m all for having incredible matches like this against a talented athlete like Axiom.

After the match, Wes picked up Axiom and they raised each other’s hands as a sign of respect.

When Axiom was alone in the ring, there was an audio message from Scrypts. When Scrypts jumped into the ring, Axiom nailed him with a superkick. The fans loved that. Axiom said he would expose Scrypts.

Analysis: They haven’t used Scrypts much, which is fine since the character is pretty boring at this point. I like Axiom a lot.

Nathan Frazer was in the locker room talking to Mckenzie Mitchell. Frazer said he believes he can turn things around. Mitchell mentioned he’s just 24 with a great attitude and he’s wise beyond his years. Frazer said your perspective changes and your reality changes when you have a moment of enlightenment, which happened to him.

The new NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes was shown walking backstage with Trick Williams for a main event promo segment.


Coming soon to NXT: Tank Ledger, a women’s wrestler Dani Palmer and a big man Obi Femi.

Next week on NXT:

* NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn vs. Fallon Henley & Kiana James.

* Cora Jade live.

* Ilja Dragunov vs. Von Wagner.

* Duke Hudson is presented with the MVP Trophy from Chase U.

Carmelo Hayes NXT Championship Celebration

The new NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes made his entrance with his buddy Trick Williams. Booker T was excited to see him. Carmelo and Trick spoke with Trick saying he did stand and deliver. Melo said there’s no question who the man is because he is the NXT Champion and “I am him.” Trick said it’s the “Him Era.” Melo said since day one, he had his eyes on that number one spot for 18 months and it wasn’t handed to him, he took it. Melo said that Bron Breakker deserves his flowers for a moment. Melo said that he gave Bron his respect because he truly meant that. Melo called out Bron to tell him something.

Bron Breakker made his entrance as the former NXT Champion. It was nearly a year-long NXT Title reign for Bron’s second reign as the champion. Bron got into the ring with Melo and Trick.

Hayes said that it was really cool of Bron to present Melo with the championship. Melo said that on behalf of himself and everybody here at NXT, Melo thanked Bron. The fans chanted “thank you Breakker” for Bron.

Bron said that he appreciates that because that title holds great legacy. Bron said that it was his job and his duty to pass the torch in the most respectful way. Bron said that Tommaso Ciampa taught him that, he did it for Bron and it’s why Bron did it for Melo. Bron said that NXT is about the superstars just as it is about the NXT Universe. Bron credited Melo and told the fans to make some noise for Carmelo Hayes.

Hayes extended his hand for a handshake, so Bron shook his hand. They had a bro hug. Bron held up Melo’s arm and then Bron decked Melo with a clothesline! The fans exploded in boos. Bron picked up Trick and hit a press powerslam. Bron hit Melo with a Spear! Bron had a big smile on his face while the fans were booing him. Bron tossed his t-shirt onto Melo. Trick put the NXT Title beside Melo while Bron was on the apron smiling about what he did. The fans chanted “one more time” but that was it. End show.

Analysis: There’s the heel turn for Bron Breakker. It was done well because Carmelo Hayes was clearly becoming a face and there was a respect deal between them, but Bron spit in his face by turning heel. We have seen Bron purely as a babyface for the past 18 months, so we will see what he can do in the heel role. I think Bron will be able to show his personality as a heel because he’s a bit one-dimensional as a face. It could be a good thing for him for sure.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Wes Lee/Dragon Lee
  2. Axiom/Nathan Frazer
  3. Indi Hartwell

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.75 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 6.95

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a very good show. The in-ring action was strong with some great matches like Wes Lee-Axiom and Dragon Lee-Nathan Frazer, both of which featured fast paced, exciting action. They aren’t big guys, but they all put on a show. Dragon Lee is going to fit in just fine on this show as a newcomer. Indi Hartwell got a big win over Zoey Stark in her first NXT Women’s Title defense too.

In terms of stories, they progressed some things and started a few new things. That includes Bron Breakker turning heel in the main event by attacking Carmelo Hayes, who is now a babyface NXT Champion. They essentially did a double turn coming out of Stand & Deliver this past Saturday. It’s the first time Bron has gone heel, so we’ll see how he does in that role. Cora Jade is also back after her attack on Hartwell. Since Bron and Cora are dating, maybe they’ll become allies on screen too.

The NXT roster is pretty good overall right now. A lot of young talent that is still developing before our eyes, but they also have plenty of talented veterans that are capable of putting on a show in the ring. We saw that in full force this week.


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

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport