The John Report: WWE NXT 04/25/23 Review (Spring Breakin’)

wwe nxt review april 25

This week’s WWE NXT episode is the Spring Breakin’ show including Carmelo Hayes defending the NXT Title against Grayson Waller and more big matches.

Since it’s more of a special episode I’ll go play-by-play style for the whole show.

It’s the last NXT episode before the WWE Draft begins on Friday’s Smackdown and continues on Monday’s Raw, so for some of these wrestlers it could be the end of their NXT run if they get called up to the main roster.

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.

They showed a Spring Breakin’ picnic party with members of the NXT roster having a good time. They talked about the matches happening at Spring Breakin’ as well. Ivy Nile beat some dude in an arm wrestling competition. More wrestlers of the NXT roster talked about the matches and storylines while Dabba Kato chased Javier Bernal around. Kato tossed Javy into a fountain of water to end that opening sequence.

There were beach chairs and tables by the entrance. The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.

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

The first team to put their opponents in a trunk and slam it shut will be the winners. They had a 1947 Chevy car. It’s essentially No Holds Barred rules.

It started out as a brawl on the floor. When they got back into the ring, Tony & Stacks were in control with repeated knee lifts. Tony chopped Wilson and clotheslined him out of the ring. Tony D hiptossed Stacks onto Prince against the turnbuckle. They went to the back part of the building where the car was parked. They were fighting around ringside with Stacks dropkicking a trash can into Prince and Tony hitting Wilson in the back with a trash can. Tony and Stacks set up a table at ringside. Prince sent Stacks into the ring post while Wilson knocked down Tony, so PD put the table backstage. Tony D used a wheelbarrow to hit Prince in the knee. Tony suplexes Wilson onto Prince in a kiddie pool that had ball pit balls in it and Stacks did a running surfboard attack on his opponents.


PD were in control with Prince hitting a running kick on Stacks, but Tony hit a double clothesline. When they went into the ring, Stacks was hiptossed by Tony into a steel chair because one of the PD guys moved. Prince kicked Tony to knock him down. Stacks was set up upside down against the turnbuckle while Wilson hit Tony in the back with a steel chair twice. PD double suplexed Tony onto the trash can. PD hit a Spilt Milk double team neckbreaker on Stacks on the floor. PD put Stacks into the trunk of the car, then they tried to put Tony in and Stacks sprayed a fire extinguisher into PD’s face. Tony hit Wilson with a crowbar. Tony and Stacks hit a double team spinebuster on Prince through a table. Tony & Stacks put Prince in the trunk with Wilson and shut the lid for the win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

Analysis: *** It was fun overall although there’s less drama in a Trunk Match because it’s not as interesting watching guys trying to throw others in a trunk. I liked the big spots by the winners with Tony using a crowbar and then the table spot. This could be the end of Pretty Deadly in NXT because they have been rumored for the main roster. They are certainly ready for it.

Post match, Tony D & Stacks drove the car out of the building.

Tiffany Stratton was shown arriving in to let us know that tonight is “Tiffany Time” because she’s going to win the NXT Women’s Title.

Andre Chase was shown getting ready for his match with Duke Hudson motivating Chase by saying he was an inspiration for all of Chase U. Andre said he’s going to give Bron Breakker a Chase U-sized ass whooping and that match is next.

A commercial aired for the WWE Draft this Friday on Smackdown.


They showed some tweets from Dijak and Ilja Dragunov exchanging words to likely set up a match.

Bron Breakker vs. Andre Chase (w/Duke Hudson)

It was heel Bron time with a black singlet instead of the more colorful patterns when he was a face. Chase was aggressive with punches, uppercuts and Bron came back with a running tackle into the turnbuckle. Bron hit a running shoulder tackle two times in a row. Bron hit an overhead suplex. Chase avoided a charging Bron, then Bron hit a dropkick and an arm wrench against the top rope. Chase hit his Russian legsweep followed by the CHASE U stomp attempt, but Bron caught the seconds stomp and hit a clothesline. Bron hit a press powerslam that he has used as a finisher. Bron applied the Steiner Recliner submission and Chase tapped out. It went about four minutes.

Winner by submission: Bron Breakker

Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for Bron Breakker as you would expect in that match. Chase got some offense early, but Bron hit a few big moves for the win. I like Bron using the Steiner Recliner submission as a finisher for him as a heel.

A video aired about the NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes.

Mckenzie Mitchell was outside in the parking garage. Ilja Dragunov was shown arriving, Dijak attacked him with a kick and sent Dragunov into a bunch of ladders that were there. Dijak asked if the pain made him feel alive. Dragunov shut the garage door on Dragunov’s chest. Some referees and WWE officials broke it up and pulled the garage off Dragunov.

Analysis: That was a very cheap attack by Dijak to further their rivalry. I can remember Chris Benoit doing the slam-the-garage door thing on Chris Jericho in 2000 I think it was. It’s a way to make it more personal. That should be a great match when Dijak faces Dragunov.

Lyra Valkyria vs. Cora Jade

Lyra hit a boot to the face on a charging Jade followed by a hiptoss. Lyra hit a springboard cross body block leading to a picture-in-picture break.


Jade was in control with a rising knee that Lyra sold very well. Lyra with a slap to the face, kick to the back and a Northern Lights Suplex two times. You could hear Lyra tell Jade to get out of it, so then Jade hit a rising knee. Lyra sent Jade over the top to the floor. Lyra hit a running dropkick on a standing Cora on the floor. Lyra hit a missile dropkick off the top. Lyra hit a Fisherman’s suplex for two. Jade got an inside cradle for two. Lyra did a handstand off the ropes leading to a kick to the jaw. Jade avoided a kick and left the ring. Jade wrenched on the arm against the top rope. Jade grabbed her kendo stick, the referee grabbed it from her and Lyra missed a kick. Jade hit a chop block to the ring leading to a DDT for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cora Jade

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. I could hear them calling spots a few times and you could tell there was some hesitation about some moves. The finish was a bit sloppy because I’m not sure why having a kendo stick can lead to Jade avoiding a kick, but that’s what she did. The referee wasn’t looking as Jade hit the chop block move that looked sloppy. I think Jade needs a better finisher than a simple DDT. Lyra is talented, but she hasn’t been pushed much. Jade is a likely NXT Women’s Champion either later this year or next year as long as she’s not on the main roster.

Grayson Waller and NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes were shown walking backstage in different parts of the building for their match up next.


They showed Tony D and Stacks driving the car while Pretty Deadly was making noise in the back. Stacks opened the door and punched PD a bit to silence them. Tony & Stacks bragged about how it was an easy night.

Grayson Waller made his entrance with an attractive woman bringing a golden shoey (a golden shoe) to ringside. Carmelo Hayes made his entrance as the NXT Champion with the fans cheering him and chanting “Melo” since Carmelo is a face now. Carmelo had Trick Williams with him as usual. This is Melo’s first title defense. Ring announcer Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions.

NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Grayson Waller

Hayes was in control with a suplex, then a kick while Waller was by the ropes and Hayes hit a suplex using the ropes for an assist. Melo went up top, Waller hit the ropes leading to a bump for Hayes and Waller left the ring. Waller threw a chair into the ring, Trick went after Waller, so Waller hit Trick in the ribs with a chair and hit Trick in the back with a chair. Hayes chased after Waller on the floor leading to Waller hitting a clothesline on the floor. That led to a break.


Waller was in control with a half-crab submission. Hayes managed to get some momentum going with kick followed by a fadeaway leg drop off the middle turnbuckle. Hayes with a couple of weeks, then Waller bounced off the ropes and they did a double clothesline with Waller getting a two count. Hayes worked over Waller with some kicks to the legs, then a pump kick to the head and a springboard DDT for two. That was an awesome DDT. Waller went to the apron, Hayes went after him, Waller with a punch and back in with a jumping side kick. Waller hit a sitout spinebuster for two. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them as Hayes knocked down Waller, then Hayes went for a springboard attack and Wall hit a Stunner, but Hayes rolled out of the ring. Waller cleared off the commentary table, punched Hayes a few times and Waller hit a top rope elbow through the commentary table. Impressive leap! I guess breaking a table in a regular match is okay because that table is part of the match. Waller sent Hayes back in and got a two count. Great nearfall. Hayes came back with a Codebreaker double knee attack. Waller left the ring, then drove Melo’s throat into the bottom rope. Waller tried a leap back into the ring, but then he sold a right leg injury (or maybe was legit to some degree), so Hayes superkicked him. Hayes went up top and hit the Nothing But Net leg drop to the head for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good championship match by two of the best in NXT. I doubt anybody watching this thought that Hayes would lose since it was his first title defense, but I’m glad they had a very competitive match. They are both very athletic, so they had a lot of cool moves along with counters throughout the match. I’m not a big fan of doing the table spot in a regular match because it’s questionable for a referee to allow that. However, I get why it’s done to generate a reaction from the fans. Anyway, Waller got a couple of good nearfalls in the match and went for his finish, but then he sold an injury. That’s what led to Melo hitting the finisher off the top for the win.

Carmelo Hayes did a post match promo saying that he wants to face Bron Breakker at NXT Battleground on May 28th. Hayes said he didn’t care if Bron wants it, Hayes wants it and it’s in Melo’s neck of the woods.

Bron Breakker’s music hit and he appeared in the ring behind Hayes and Williams. Bron tackled Trick with a Spear. Bron hit a press powerslam on Hayes. Bron applied the Steiner Recliner to Trick as well. Hayes left the ring, so Bron hit a Spear that put Hayes him through a part of the set in the back part of the building. Officials checked on Hayes to help him.

Analysis: That was a great way to put over Bron Breakker’s power. It also sets up a rematch for Battleground this time with the story of Bron as the challenger and the heel, so we have to see if Melo can win. I think Melo will win there.

A video package aired featuring Roxanne Perez talking about how she has dreamt of being a wrestler her entire life.

There was a video about the high school drama story involving Kiana James using Brooks Jensen while Jensen’s friends Fallon Henley and Josh Briggs were trying to look out for Brooks. This has been going on for a very long time.


Joe Coffey was shown talking on the phone with Joe Gacy of Schism joined by Ava. Gacy and Ava said they wanted their buddies The Dyad want a NXT Tag Team Title match against Gallus. Gacy and Ava suggested that Gacy faces Joe Coffey next week with the stipulation that if Gacy wins then The Dyad gets a title shot, but if Joe Coffey wins then The Dyad won’t get a title shot. Joe Coffey agreed to it.

A recap aired of Bron Breakker’s attack on Carmelo Hayes. The announcers said that Hayes has been taken to a “local medical facility” aka hospital.

Brooks Jensen & Kiana James vs. Josh Briggs & Fallon Henley

Brooks had on some different ring gear with a dress shirt as part of his entrance, tights and boots instead of the traditional gear he used to wear, which tells the story of James changing him. Briggs with a shoulder tackle, then an atomic drop and Brooks came back with a clothesline. Briggs sent Jensen over the top to the floor. James tagged in so Henley had to come in. Henley got some shoulder tackles, but Henley came back with a clothesline and a running kick. Henley punched James. Jensen did a cheap shot sending Briggs into the apron. They did a spot where James landed in Jensen’s arms. Briggs came back to knock down Jensen while Henley knocked down James.


Briggs and Jensen exchanged forearms, then kicks and a double clothesline with both of them standing up. The girls tagged in with a routine of kicks that they obviously practiced and James hit a knee to the back. Henley hit a running hair pull slam into the mat. James sent Henley into the turnbuckle. Jensen tagged in and Briggs ran over Jensen with a shoulder tackle. Briggs hit a sidewalk slam and a splash on Jensen. Henley pulled James off the apron and tackled her into the steel steps. Jensen hit a spinning heel kick on Briggs. Jensen and Briggs exchanged strikes, Briggs did a kick that didn’t touch Jensen, but Jensen sold it. Jensen hit a clothesline to the back of the neck, then another clothesline and a brainbuster by Jensen for two. James knocked Henley down and James tossed Jensen the bag to use, but Briggs avoided it. Jensen hit the apron and James bumped to the floor. Briggs hit a lariat on Jensen for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Josh Briggs & Fallon Henley

Analysis: **1/2 It was okay for a mixed tag team match that was heavy on story. James wanting Jensen to cheat with the bag while the referee was standing there in the ring is a dumb spot to do. You should at least try to distract the referee because it looked too silly.

Post match, Brooks tried to talk to Kiana saying they were still together. James tried a slap, Brooks blocked it, Brooks thought they were in love and Kiana said “I never loved you.” James left. Briggs was there for Jensen and they hugged with the fans cheering.

Analysis: It was an end to this story with Brooks finally realizing that James was just using her.

Dragon Lee was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Dragon talking about Noam Dar. There wasn’t much to it.

A Scrypts video aired talking about his rivalry with Axiom and teased a match for next week.

Oba Femi was up next.


A video aired featuring Indi Hartwell talking about how she’s going to retain the NXT Women’s Title while reminding us it can all come undone in just three seconds, but she said it won’t be tonight.

There was some footage filmed by NXT Anonymous showing that somebody attacked Sol Ruca. It was shot in a way where we couldn’t see who did the attack because they were behind a door.

Oba Femi vs. Oro Mensah

This is Femi’s NXT debut. Femi is 6’6” and 310 pounds, so he’s a huge guy. Femi was a shotput champion in college. Femi picked up Mensah and tossed him across the ring. Femi hit a running back splash in the corner. Mensah got some chops, but Femi flattened him with a shoulder tackle. Mensh got some punches, kicks and two forearms. Mensah hit a flipping kick to knock down Femi to a knee. Mensah hit a springboard kick leading to Femi doing a power kickout. Femi decked Mensah with a forearm to the chest. Femi launched Mensah up in the air leading to a sitout Powerbomb for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Oba Femi

Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win by the newcomer Oba Femi, who certainly looks like a badass and an impressive athlete that has a lot of power offense. I thought he moved around the ring pretty well too. Femi is definitely a guy to watch in the future because there aren’t many guys as big as him.

Gigi Dolin went to commentary to take Vic Joseph’s headset. Gigi said that she’ll make Jacy Jayne’s life hell and her brother will sit ringside to watch Gigi cave Jacy’s face in.

Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. They trashed Wes Lee with Gulak saying he’ll put a stop to Lee and become the new NXT North American Champion. Gulak said it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Tiffany Stratton entered for the main event.


They showed Wes Lee, the NXT North American Champion, watching a TV backstage. Tyler Bate walked up to Lee saying he thinks Wes can use a helping hand. Bate suggested that he could be in Lee’s corner to provide some balance. Bate suggested some pre-match meditation too. Lee agreed to it.

Analysis: I wonder if that leads to Tyler Bate turning on Lee or if it’s simply a babyface being a nice guy.

The former NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez was next. The NXT Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell was up last looking confident. Indi won the title on April 1st in a Ladder Match at Stand & Deliver. Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions. They don’t even say what city these women are from.

NXT Women’s Championship: Indi Hartwell vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Tiffany Stratton

The first fall wins in a match with no disqualifications and no countouts. There were multiple pin attempts to start and they went to picture-in-picture break right away.


Perez and Stratton were getting nearfalls on eachother while Indi was on the floor. Perez knocked Indi off the apron to the floor. Perez with a headscissors leading to Stratton doing a handstand. Indi was back in with a double clothesline. Indy bodyslammed Perez and Stratton. They did this spot where Perez held the hands of both opponents and tried some move off the ropes, but the bumping aspect looked bad. I don’t know whose fault it was, but it looked silly. Perez sent both opponents out of the ring with Roxanne hitting a suicide dive on Indi. Perez hit a suicide dive on Stratton, who went back first into the table. Perez hit another suicide dive on Indi. Perez was up top and she hit a cross body block for two on Indi. Perez got an inside cradle for two. Indi came back with two clotheslines. Stratton got back into it with a double foot stomp on Perez for two. Indi got a rollup on Stratton for two. Stratton dropkicked Indi out of the ring. Stratton jumped off the top with a somersault dive onto both women. Indi’s right foot was caught under her and it looked like it snapped or something else. The trainer came out to check on Indi. It was not a worked injury. Stratton with two clotheslines for a two count. They replayed the spot where we could see Indi’s right foot getting trapped under her. There was a long chinlock by Stratton and Perez came back with an attack including some punches. Perez went for a cross body block off the top, Stratton caught her and Perez came back with a rollup for two. Perez set up Stratton on the top turnbuckle leading to Perez hitting a hurricanrana while Stratton was standing on the middle rope and that got a two count. Perez countered a Stratton move with an inside cradle for two. Perez hit a Russian legsweep for two. Indi limped out to the ring with a left foot injury. You could tell Indi was talking to Perez as she tried to pin her. Indi hit a weak-looking spinebuster on Stratton for two. Stratton bodyslammed Perez. Stratton hit a triple jump moonsault on Perez. Stratton landed in a pinning position, then turned her body to the apron and Indi was right there to break it up. Indi went back into the ring and hit a running forearm to the back of Perez’s head for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Indi Hartwell

Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match that was obviously hurt by a real injury. I appreciated the effort of the three women, but the match clearly fell apart when Indi got hurt and that led to some awkward moments with Perez/Stratton looking lost a bit. I admire Indi going out there while being hurt, but it didn’t help the match quality. It was a case of wanting to get to the finish. The moonsault spot looked really bad with Stratton moving from a pinning position over to a different position so that Indi could break it up. It just looks too phony. Anyway, I’m not trying to rip on the match or act like it was bad because there were a lot of good things. I’m just saying the real-life foot injury suffered by Hartwell did hurt the match. There’s nothing you can do about it, but good for Indi fighting through it.

Indi Hartwell celebrated with the NXT Women’s Title.

They showed Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were shown somewhere like a lake. Stacks mentioned Luca Braci from Godfather 1 so it’s a reference to the mafia murdering somebody. They laughed about how they are swimming with the fishes. Tony and Stacks talked about going after the NXT Tag Team Titles. Tony and Stacks said they did some business for the family tonight, so now it’s time to celebrate. They left. End show.

Analysis: That’s likely it for Pretty Deadly in NXT because we’ll see them on Raw or Smackdown after the WWE Draft. That’s fine with me.


Three Stars of the Show

1. Carmelo Hayes

2. Grayson Waller

3. Tony D’Angelo/Stacks and Pretty Deadly


The Scoreboard

This week: 6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 6.94


Final Thoughts

It was okay overall this week, but I wouldn’t say it was a better than usual episode just because it was a special called Spring Breakin’ this week. There were some stories that ended like the high school romance story with Kiana dumping Brooks after they lost a match and Pretty Deadly are obviously off NXT now after Tony D & Stacks sent them “swimming with the fishes.” I think PD will do well on Raw or Smackdown if they get consistent screen time.

The best match was easily Carmelo Hayes and Grayson Waller having a very competitive match for the NXT Title. I doubt anybody thought there would be a title change, but it was still fun to watch. I also Bron Breakker’s heel attack on Hayes with a Spear on Melo through part of the set. That will make the feud more personal for the rematch next month. Also, it’s great that heel Bron uses the Steiner Recliner as a finish paying tribute to Uncle Scott. That’s what he should keep using as a heel.

I hope Indi Hartwell is okay after the right foot injury in the main event. The match fell apart when she got hurt as Roxanne and Tiffany did their best to fill time before Indi came back out to win. They worked hard, but the match suffered because of the injury too. Anyway, I’m interested to see who else goes to the main roster from NXT during the WWE Draft. That will be an interesting decision for WWE’s creative team.


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

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport