The John Report: WWE NXT 04/11/23 Review

wwe nxt april 11

This week’s WWE NXT featured a 4-way match to earn an NXT Title shot, the Women’s Tag Team Titles on the line and more.

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.

A video aired recapping last week’s NXT including Bron Breakker turning heel with an attack on NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes.

The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.

Let’s Hear from Carmelo Hayes

Carmelo Hayes, the babyface NXT Champion, was in the ring for an interview with Trick Williams. Melo said that Bron attacking him won’t happen again. Melo said Bron didn’t pass him the torch, Melo took it. Melo was in full babyface mode saying these people don’t want you any more Bron, they want Melo and the fans chanted “Melo” after that. Melo offered Bron a spot in the 4-way match later for a shot that the NXT Title at Melo.

Dragon Lee arrived for the interruption with the mask on his head while dressed nicely in a suit. Dragon shook Melo’s heads and said congratulations to him. Dragon said that last week Bron disrespected him. Dragon said that he came to NXT to fight the best and the title that Melo has says that he is the best. Dragon told Melo he wants Bron, but after Dragon wins the Fatal 4-Way, it’s going to be the two of them at Spring Breakin’ for the NXT Title. Melo welcomed him to NXT and Trick said you should never interrupt the champion. Melo said since he’s new he gets a pass. Melo said he has that championship because he’s really like that.

JD McDonagh was next for the interruption with the fans booing him. JD mentioned one week with the title and Bron already laid him out. JD talked about how his confidence is quiet while saying he knows he is number one. Melo told him to get over the rainbow before he gets to the pot of gold and yes, that’s a leprechaun joke.

Grayson Waller was booed heavily as usual for his entrance. Waller revealed he was the third superstar in the Fatal 4-Way match. Waller said Dragon Lee and the audience are El Stupido. Waller said he’ll win the 4-Way and take Melo’s championship. Melo said that in two weeks we’ll see who faces him and reminded us there can only be one him.

Analysis: It was the usual promo featuring multiple guys talking about how they are going to be the champion. Hayes did fine with his babyface promo. He didn’t have to change the character much. I doubt Hayes loses in his first title defense in two weeks.

Kiana James and Fallon Henley were talking in the locker room with James saying they needed to win by any means necessary. Josh Briggs tried to calm them down. James said that Brooks Jensen isn’t coming since he didn’t want to be around Josh or Fallon.

Analysis: The high school drama story continues.


Sol Ruca and Dani Palmer were making a TikTok video in a parking lot. Tiffany Stratton yelled at them in the parking lot, so that set up a match. That was earlier in the week.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn vs. Kiana James & Fallon Henley (w/Josh Briggs)

The heel champions were in control of Henley for a few minutes. A truck was shown driving up to the building showing that Brooks Jensen arrived to the building. James got the tag leading to a shoulder tackle on both opponents and a clothesline on Dawn. Henley and James were in control leading to a break.


It was Kiana’s turn as the face in peril even though she’s more of a heel and James hit a belly-to-back suplex. Henley got the tag with a bulldog, corner splash and head slam into the mat. Fyre superkicked James off the apron to the floor. Henley hit a Destroyer on Fyre. Jensen handed Henley the Kiana bag to use as a weapon, but Henley screamed at him to get out of there. The referee saw Brooks in the ring and told him to leave. Brooks shoved Briggs down when Briggs tried to talk to his friend. The fans booed Briggs. The champions did a backstabber/senton bomb combo and Fyre made the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with the big storyline ending with Henley refusing to cheat the way James likes to cheat and that led to the champions retaining. Henley is a noble babyface, so she didn’t want to cheat using the bag like Jensen wanted and that cost the team the win.

Post match, Jensen left with James in his arms.

A video aired about Noam Dar arriving in NXT saying he had unlimited potential. Dar talked about the prestigious Heritage Cup he has.


Dragon Lee was shown warming up backstage.

Chase U MVP Presentation

Andre Chase was in the ring with Duke Hudson and Thea Hail along with pictures of Duke Hudson in the ring. There were more “students” on stage beside the ring too. Chase said that Duke was the Most Valuable Player with Chase saying they will always fight together. Chase introduces us to Duke Hudson, who was given some trophy that may have been purchased at a local Walmart.

Duke said that he took Chase U to the promised land. Duke said that he led the march towards evil. Duke thanked Andre and Thea (I guess) and now he is Chase U’s MVP. That led to “MVP” chants. Duke said he wants to spell out another word…CHASE U. The fans joined, but there was an interruption.

It was Bron Breakker dressed in all black saying that everybody wants to hear what he has to say. Bron said there’s a number one contender Fatal 4-Way match later tonight with Bron saying that Melo wants him in a match. Bron said that championship was curse on his career and he didn’t need the approval of the scumbag fans. Bron said that you are going to see a side of him you’ve never seen. Bron told Duke to take Bron’s place in the 4-way match later tonight. Duke shook Bron’s hand. Bron was about to leave, but then he hit Chase with a Spear. Hudson grabbed his MVP trophy and left. Bron grabbed the Chase U flag and ripped it in half. The fans booed.

Analysis: It was a good way to get Bron some more heat after his heel turn last week. Chase U is beloved, so having Bron be a jerk towards them is always going to get the fans to hate him even more. I liked Duke’s speech and Chase did well too.

They showed Gigi Dolin’s small childhood home saying that her mother said that she was told that you don’t deserve to be happy, so Gigi ran away and never looked back. Gigi said that Jacy Jayne broke Gigi’s heart and face. Gigi said that her story started out ugly, but then it bloomed into something beautiful.

Analysis: A little background on Gigi’s life story is certainly fine. I think it makes her a more sympathetic babyface.


A video aired from NXT Anonymous showing Tony D’Angelo & Stacks beating up Pretty Deadly. They put Kit Wilson into the trunk and drove off.

Analysis: The NXT parking lot remains a dangerous place.

Eddy Thorpe vs. Javier Bernal

Thorpe is a newcomer in NXT while Javy rarely wins on the NXT TV show. Thorpe hit an impressive cross body block. Damon Kemp was shown watching from the aisle. Javy got some offense with a running clothesline. Thorpe fought out of a Boston Crab attempt, hit some kicks and a jumping kick to the head. Javy hit a sitout slam for two. Thorpe came back with a kick, German Suplex and a double underhook neckbreaker for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddy Thorpe

Analysis: ** It was okay for a shorter match. Since Thorpe is new, they want to make him look impressive so beating a guy like Javy was an obvious result. I like Thorpe’s finisher. It looks similar to an Angelo Dawkins move, but it works just fine.

Gallus, the AEW Tag Team Champions, walked up to Tank Ledger with Joe Coffey wanting to face Tank. Schism walked up to them with The Dyad saying it was typical Gallus to pick on people. They exchanged words, so that set up a match.

Analysis: The Dyad guys – Reid & Fowler – asked for their releases, but they are still in WWE.

Tiffany Stratton made her entrance for a singles match.


Scrypts had a message for Axiom that was a bit of a warning.

Sol Ruca vs. Tiffany Stratton

They are two blondes that are young and great athletes with a lot of potential. They quickly did a gymnastics routine featuring very little contact, but some impressive backflips. They each did cartwheels leading to a staredown. Stratton worked over the left elbow/arm a lot. Sol got some offense going including a double underhook suplex. Sol hit a powerslam for two. Sol hit a sloppier powerslam for a two count. Stratton hit a rising kick to stop an attack. Stratton hit a rolling senton slam. Stratton hit the triple jump moonsault off the top for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match. I understand doing the gymnastics routine to show off their athleticism, but it looks a bit silly when you go for about one minute without touching eachother much at all. Considering how inexperienced Ruca is, she continues to impress me. Stratton is somebody I praise regularly because she has so much potential and I think she’s figured it out in terms of her look.

They showed Chase U in the locker room with Duke saying he’ll be the first to finally bring home gold to Chase University.

Cora Jade was shown backstage doing some slow walking for a promo up next.


Diamond Mine was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Ivy Nile saying that last week she handled Tatum Paxley. The Creed Brothers issued a challenge against Gallus for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Julius said they’ll be out there to watch Joe Coffey in action.

Tiffany Stratton was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell with Tiffany talking about how she has beaten Indi Hartwell multiple times, so it sounds like she wants a title shot.

Let’s Hear from Cora Jade

It was “mean girl” Cora Jade out for a promo with the fans booing her. Cora said it was time to start humbling some people. Cora credited Zoey Starks for being a great athlete, but she will always be a challenger, not a champion. Cora mentioned her old best friend Roxanne Perez claiming she’s the only reason that Perez is there. Cora said she knew what Perez went through, but how long are you going to use it as your crutch? Cora said that Perez proves that some of us are better at handling the pressure than others. Cora spoke about how Gigi Dolin was fingertips away from that NXT Title, but that title says Cora Jade, so go inside so the door doesn’t hit her Instagram-famous ass on the way out. Cora said she thinks Tiffany Stratton looks the part, but she runs this place, not Stratton. Cora said she didn’t know much about Lyra Valkyria saying that Lyra has no fear. Cora said that Lyra should fear Cora.

Cora said there was one woman left – NXT Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell. Cora said she was chanting “took you long enough” at Indi instead of “you deserve it.” Cora said this is her NXT and she’s the hero of this story.

Lyra Valkyria showed up saying that Cora can shut up now. Lyra wondered if Cora was jealous of the women in the match at Stand & Deliver as the fans chanted “Cora’s jealous” at her. Lyra said that if Cora goes near the championship, Lyra will rake her eyes out. Cora slapped Lyra, then Lyra hit a kick to the chest. Lyra went for a spin kick, but Cora avoided it and bailed to the floor.

Analysis: It was a solid heel promo from Cora. She is one of the better women’s talkers in NXT and much better as a heel. Valkyria doesn’t get to talk that much, but I liked what she said and how she said it. That should set up a match between them. I think Cora will be the NXT Women’s Champion this year. I don’t know if she’s the next champion, but she might be.

Ilja Dragunov and Von Wagner were shown in separate hallways ahead of their match.


Wes Lee, the NXT North American Champion, was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey interrupted with some threatening words. Lee was open to facing Dempsey since Lee is open to facing anybody. That was it.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Von Wagner (w/Mr. Stone)

The stipulation is that Mr. Stone will no longer be Von’s manager if Von loses this match.

Wagner hit a boot to the face to start the match. Wagner launched Dragunov across the ring. Wagner hit a lifting belly-to-back suplex with Stone telling the big man to “win the match.” Dragunov got some offense going with a running clothesline and a high-angle suplex. Wagner came back with a double underhook Powerbomb-style move for two. Dragunov came back with a kick and running forearm. Dragunov hit the running uppercut Torpedo for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ilja Dragunov

Analysis: ** A decisive win by Dragunov after Wagner started off on offense for a few minutes. I hope Dragunov is regularly featured with a meaningful feud soon. They need to use that guy often.

After the match, Stone told Wagner they are done and Stone left.

Analysis: I really like Stone as a manager that’s a former wrestler (Robbie E in TNA), so I hope there is some good role for him in the future.

Dijak made his entrance for a face off with Dragunov. Dijak said if pain makes you feel alive, that’s great because Dijak will make him feel immortal.

Analysis: That’s a good new rivalry.

Hank Walker was shown hyping up newcomer Tank Ledger for his debut match on NXT TV.

Joe Coffey of Gallus made his entrance for singles action.


JD McDonagh was shown getting ready for the four-way match.

Tank Ledger vs. Joe Coffey (w/Mark Coffey & Wolfgang)

Ledger is a former college football player at Northwestern. Tank hit a leaping shoulder tackle. Joe came back with a backbreaker. After Joe grounded Tank a bit, Tank came back with an overhead suplex. Tank did a cartwheel leading to a splash. Joe punched Tank with a lefty punch to the jaw leading to Tank bumping to the floor. Joe sent Tank into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Joe hit a discus clothesline. Thank was back up, so Joe hit another discus clothesline for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Joe Coffey

Analysis: *1/2 The veteran Joe Coffey beat the newcomer, which is not a surprise as the result of this match. It’s clear that Tank looks the part physically as a former football player. He showed some personality as well, so we’ll see how Tank develops in the weeks ahead.

Post match, The Creed Brothers and The Dyad attacked Gallus in the ring. It was a three team brawl. They cut away as the fight continued.

Analysis: NXT loved multi-person matches. I don’t like them as much for tag teams and they do them too much in NXT, in my opinion.

Tony D’Angelo and Stacks were shown talking to Roxanne Perez backstage. Roxanne said she was feeling good after taking a bit of a break. Tony said they’ll be Tag Team Champions and they suggested that they could be Roxanne’s backup. Zoey Stark walked in to trash Roxanne. Perez talked about how Zoey is the kind of person why people don’t talk about anxiety (because you get mocked for it). Perez talked about facing Zoey next week. Pretty Deadly showed up to beat up Tony D and Stacks. They ripped up Stacks’ jacket too.

Analysis: A lot of action there to set up matches.

The four-way main event was next.


Next week on NXT:

* NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus (c) vs. Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad of Schism.

* NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee (c) vs. Charlie Dempsey.

* Roxanne Perez vs. Zoey Stark

Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh vs. Duke Hudson (w/Andre Chase & Thea Hail) vs. Grayson Waller

The winner of this match gets an NXT Title match against Carmelo Hayes at the Spring Breakin’ episode in two weeks. No countouts and no disqualifications in a four-way match.

Waller pulled Hudson out of the ring and punched him. JD knocked down Dragon with a shoulder tackle. Dragon showed off his impressive speed leading to a dropkick. Dragon sent Waller into the turnbuckle, JD and Waller kicked Dragon. Hudson blocked a double suplex attempt and then Hudson hit a double suplex on Waller & JD. Hudson body-slammed all three opponents in a row. Dragon sent Duke out of the ring and Dragon hit a somersault dive onto Duke on the floor. Waller clotheslined Dragon on the floor. JD hit a springboard moonsault on Dragon on the floor. Hudson charged for a dive, but Waller hit him with a Stunner for two as the others made the save.


There was a double half crab submission on Hudson, but Dragon made the save with some impressive kicks. Dragon jumped over the top with a kick to the face on JD and a running dropkick on Waller. JD shoved Dragon into the ring post and then Waller shoved JD into the ring post. Waller jumped off the middle rope with an elbow drop on Hudson for two. Duke did a no-selling routine to fire up with the comeback with two elbows and a sidewalk slam. Duke with a back body drop on JD and an overhead suplex on Dragon across the ring. Duke with a corner clothesline on Dragon and a uranage slam on JD. Duke sent Waller into Dragon’s ribs as the fans chanted “MVP” for Duke, who hit an elbow and a senton. Hudson hit an impressive German Suplex on Dragon for two as Waller made the save. Hudson slammed Waller down off the shoulders and the same move to Dragon as well. JD countered Waller with a Poison Rana spiking Duke on his head. JD hit a twisting splash on Waller and the Devil Inside suplex on Waller, but Dragon jumped off the top with a double foot stomp to break up the pin! What a great move.

Dragon was on the apron battling JD with a kick to the face. It was really Dragon kicking the turnbuckle. JD kicked Dragon. They were on the top turnbuckle, Dragon put JD in a tree of woe position followed by a double foot stomp. Dragon hit a Suicide dive on Hudson on the floor. Dragon hit a running knee on JD for one…two…no! Just a two count. Waller back in, Dragon kneed him to the apron, JD with a jawbreaker, Hudson kicked Waller out of the ring and Hudson hit a double clothesline on JD/Dragon at the same time. Dragon countered Duke into a headscissors into the corner and JD dropkicked Hudson into the corner. Dragon hit a snap German Suplex on a running JD, who bumped out of the ring to the floor. Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb on Hudson, but Waller jumped back in with a Stunner on Dragon. Waller pinned Hudson for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Grayson Waller

The win by Waller means he will challenge Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Championship at NXT Spring Breakin’ in two weeks on April 25th.

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an excellent match! I thought Dragon Lee really stood out the most in the match with so many incredible moves and nearly winning many times throughout the match. However, it was the crafty heel win by Waller because he jumped back in at the perfect time to hit a Stunner on Dragon and pin Hudson for the win. JD McDonagh also did very well in the match. These four-way matches are not easy to do, but they worked well together and it was a fun match to watch.

Post match, Grayson Waller drank some liquid out of his shoe. Gross. Waller was in the aisle so, the NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes walked up to Waller. The graphic reminded us about their match at NXT Spring Breakin’ in two weeks. They had a staredown and exchanged some trash talk. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: That should be a win for Hayes, who should have a lengthy championship run.


Three Stars of the Show

1. Grayson Waller/Dragon Lee

2. Duke Hudson/JD McDonagh

3. Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn


The Scoreboard

This week: 6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.75

2023 Average: 6.95


Final Thoughts

A good episode this week that really benefitted from an outstanding match in the main event. It wasn’t at the level of last week’s great show, but it still had plenty of interesting moments. The main event four-way match with Grayson Waller winning over Dragon Lee (the star of the match) Duke Hudson & JD McDonagh was fast-paced and full of action. Easily the best match of the night. That sets up Waller against Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Title at Spring Breakin’ in two weeks. Melo should win that, but it’s a credible opponent for the new champion at least.

The match quality wasn’t as good as last week. A lot of average matches this week, which also tends to happen when you have shorter matches like we got for most of this show. There’s a lot of young talent in NXT, so having them get four or five minutes is smarter than going longer. I’m not saying a show with shorter matches is necessarily bad. I’m just saying that last week was better because of the match quality making it a more exciting show.

I thought there would be another Bron Breakker-Carmelo Hayes interaction, but there was not. Bron did appear to do a heel promo and hit a spear on Andre Chase. Cora Jade, who is dating Bron, did a solid heel promo as well. I wonder if Waller goes to the main roster after he loses to Hayes because with the WWE Draft coming next month, I can see Waller going to Raw or Smackdown soon.


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

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport