The John Report: WWE NXT 05/02/23 Review
This week’s WWE NXT featured a North American Title defense by Wes Lee, JD McDonagh facing Dragon Lee and the Women’s NXT Tag Team Titles were on the line.
It’s the first episode following the WWE Draft where several NXT stars were drafted to Raw & Smackdown. We have a full list of the rosters here. I’ll go full play by play for one match and summary style for the rest of the show.
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.
The opening video package showed highlights of the WWE Draft featuring the NXT stars that were picked.
The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.
NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee (w/Tyler Bate) vs. Drew Gulak (w/Charlie Dempsey)
Wes hit a running dropkick leading to Gulak regrouping. Dempsey went on the apron to distract Wes, so Gulak got a rollup. Wes got a hurricanrana for two and Gulak got Wes in a pin attempt for two. Wes with a double foot stomp on the back. They fought by the turnbuckle, Gulak punched Wes off the top and Gulak hit a top rope clothesline for a two count. Gulak grounded Wes by pulling back on the right and grabbed Wes by the face. Wes broke free as they exchanged punches, Wes with kicks to the body, a snapmare and a dropkick to the back. Wes with a jumping kick to the back. Drew bailed to the floor, so Wes hit a suicide dive on him on the floor. Dempsey pulled Wes off the apron to the floor, which led to Bate hitting Dempsey with an uppercut. Wes hit Gulak with a forearm to knock him down. Wes did the backflip leading to the Cardiac Kick on Dempsey for the pinfall win after about six minutes. Gulak sold it great.
Winner by pinfall: Wes Lee
Analysis: **3/4 A good match for the time given with Bate’s presence being a big factor because he prevented Dempsey from interfering a lot and that allowed Wes to get a win. I love that finisher that Wes does. At first I didn’t always like it, but now when he does there’s usually a good setup and then it looks devastating when it connects.
After the match, Wes Lee held up the NXT North American Title while Bate was staring at the title. The announcers didn’t mention it.
Analysis: I figure they will likely build to Wes defending against Bate at some point soon, perhaps at Battleground.
A video aired about Carmelo Hayes retaining his NXT Title against Grayson Waller last week. Hayes wants to face Bron Breakker at NXT Battleground, so Bron attacked Wes and hit a running Spear through a part of the set.
Trick Williams, who is Carmelo’s buddy, was shown walking backstage.
A commercial aired promoting Backlash on Saturday night.
There was a video featuring NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn talking about how this was their NXT farewell before they head to Smackdown. Fyre said they’ll leave NXT not in the light, but darkness.
Let’s Hear from Trick Williams
Trick Williams said that Bron Breakker put Carmelo Hayes in the hospital and Melo is still a fighter. Trick said he’s known Melo since high school while talking about how game recognizes game. Trick said that Melo is his brother and it’s the “Trick Melo game” and they are always going to be here. Trick said last week he moved Melo out of the way to take Bron’s Spear and he would do it again.
Bron Breakker said that last week, he Speared Trick and gave him a Recliner and he’s still here. Bron said he Speared Melo through the wall and he took Melo out. Bron said that he didn’t like the idea of holding the NXT Title in front of these stupid fans, but Bron didn’t like Carmelo Hayes holding the NXT Championship and Bron talked about how he accepted Melo’s challenge at Battleground.
Trick said he wanted to handle this like men. Bron said he already put Carmelo in the hospital, so he would hate to do the same thing to Melo’s mouthpiece. Trick spoke up talking about himself while saying he wanted to do the match now. Bron said they can do it next week and call it a preview of Battleground because he’ll break Trick in half.
Analysis: That should be a win for Bron when he faces Trick. I liked Trick’s promo. He’s always had the gift of gab as he likes to say. Bron looks a lot more comfortable doing heel promos compared to when he had to do face promos.
JD McDonagh was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. JD said he waited 21 years to be Monday Night McDonagh on Raw. Noam Dar was interviewed with his Heritage Cup trophy. Dar told JD to take care of Dragon. JD told Noam to stay away from him or else JD will take that cup to Raw.
Gigi Dolin made her entrance and greeted her brother Myles in the crowd. He can see for miles and miles…sorry had to.
There were highlights shown of Dani Palmer about to make her debut.
Jacy Jayne vs. Gigi Dolin
This feud has been going on for several months. Dolin sent Jayne out of the ring, but then Jayne came back with a dive onto Dolin on the floor to take control. Jayne worked over Dolin with kicks and a senton splash. Each woman hit superkicks. Dolin hit some more kicks along with an STO trip for two. Jayne was knocked out of the ring and Dolin sent her into the barricade. Dolin kicked Jayne repeatedly and greeted her brother. Jayne was bleeding from hitting the steps I think. Jayne pulled Dolin’s shoulder into the steel turnbuckle and Jayne hit a spinning kick for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jacy Jayne
Analysis: ** A solid match with Jayne picking up the win using the ring as a weapon. The bloody forehead wasn’t planned, but it ended up helping the story of the match since it’s such a personal rivalry.
After the match, a bloody Jayne continued the attack by sending Dolin into the steel steps two times and Jayne was taunting Dolin’s brother Myles in the crowd. Jacy said she was the star, not Gigi.
Analysis: I like Jacy as a singles star and I think she might be NXT Women’s Champion before the end of this year.
Axiom vs. Scrypts
Scrypts did a cheap attack with a dropkick. Axiom managed to come back with his own dropkick. They left the ring leading to a spot with Scrypts jumping off the announce table with a flipping attack on Axiom. Back in the ring, Scrypts hit an impressive moonsault onto a standing Axiom for a two count. Axiom got some momentum going with a kick and a suplex. When Axiom tried a top rope move, Scrypts dropkicked him. Axiom came back with a rising knee to the jaw. Scrypts tried to get some offense going, he did a flip off the top and Axiom kicked him. Axiom hit the Golden Ratio kick for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Axiom
Analysis: **1/4 There was a lot of athleticism here. They need to start pushing Axiom more because the fans get behind the guy and he’s so talented in the ring. Scrypts is a great athlete like Axiom is, but Axiom is the more complete wrestler.
After the match, Axiom helped Scrypts up, then Scrypts punched and Axiom punched back. Axiom took Scrypts’ mask off and kicked him. The fans chanted “Reggie” at Scrypts.
Analysis: It’s not like it was a mystery of what Scrypts looked like without a mask since he was on Raw for years as Reggie.
Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen and Fallon Henley were hanging out at Fallon’s family bar showing they were all on the same page again. Brooks spoke about some business opportunities for Henley’s family bar that he learned from Kiana James. Two random women asked Brooks for a drink, but Brooks said he was busy hanging out with his friends. Henley said it looked like Brooks has grown up.
Dragon Lee entered for singles action.
JD McDonagh vs. Dragon Lee
This is JD’s last NXT match since he was drafted to Raw. I’ll go play by play here.
They did some mat wrestling to start for about a minute, then JD got a punch to the ribs and a shoulder tackle. Dragon did a monkey flip followed by a dropkick for two. Dragon Lee with a leg trip along with a leap over the top leading to a kick against the turnbuckle. Dragon hit a running dropkick against the turnbuckle two times in a row. Noam Dar showed up with his Heritage Championship, Dragon looked at him and JD hit a dropkick. JD set up Dragon upside down in the corner, then tried a sliding attack, Dragon moves and JD hit the ring post with his groin. Ouch. Dragon hit an atomic drop and clothesline out of the ring.
JD trapped Dragon with a body scissors around the waist while Dar was talking to his trophy. That’s strange. JD teased trying to take Dragon’s mask off, but Dragon elbowed him off the turnbuckle and Dragon hit a cross body block off the top. Dragon hit a headscissors that sent JD out of the ring followed by Dragon hitting a somersault dive over the top onto JD on the floor. Dragon went up top and hit a double foot stomp for a two count. They battled on the apron exchanging chops, then Dragon hit a knee to the face and JD hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Ouch. JD got back before the ten count and Dragon got in at the last moment. Dragon with a boot to the face, Dragon with a snap German Suplex, Dragon with a Poison Rana and he ran off the ropes with JD hitting a clothesline. The fans were chanting “NXT” for this action as both guys were down selling. There were “this is awesome” chants as JD delivered some kicks and a hard palm strike to the face. Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Great nearfall there. Dragon went to the turnbuckle, JD went after him, they battled on the turnbuckle and JD hit a Spanish Fly off the top! JD hit a brainbuster for a two count. Great nearfall there too. Dragon countered a JD move leading to a Canadian Destroyer. Dar tried to hit Dragon, but Dragon superkicked him. Back in the ring, JD hit a headbutt and a Devil Inside suplex for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: JD McDonagh
Analysis: **** This was an excellent match. These guys are so talented and they had chemistry together. Plenty of offense from both guys with a lot of nearfalls making it look like Dragon might win, but JD found a way to get the victory in part due to Dar trying to attack Dragon, which kept Dragon occupied enough to allow JD to hit some big moves to win. The fans were into most of it and especially going crazy in the last few minutes. Having JD lose on his NXT farewell booking would have been fine since he’s on the way out, but they involved Dar
Post match, Dragon Lee hit a suicide dive onto Dar on the floor.
JD was alone in the ring while fans were chanting “thank you” to the Irish Ace for his NXT farewell.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance talked about their title match saying they know they’ve got this.
A video was shown of The Schism backstage with Joe Gacy talking about his match with Joe Coffey. Ava told Joe to do this for them and do something for himself.
They showed videos of NXT women getting randomly attacked in the parking lot area with some tweets from fans about how dangerous the NXT parking lot is.
Joe Gacy (w/Rip Fowler, Jagger Reid & Ava) vs. Joe Coffey (w/Wolfgang & Mark Coffey)
If Gacy wins then The Dyad gets an NXT Tag Team Title match against Gallus, but if Coffey wins then The Dyad can’t challenge for the titles again.
They exchanged strikes leading to Coffey hitting a cross body block. Gacy managed to come back with a uranage slam. Coffey managed to get some offense going with strikes and a shoulder tackle. Coffey hit an overhead suplex that was a rough landing for Gacy. Coffey hit a missile dropkick along with a spinning lariat for two because Fowler put Gacy’s foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin. Gallus chased The Dyad around the ring and Coffey clotheslined Reid. Ava acted like Coffey hit her, so the referee looked at her and Gacy hit the Upside Down clothesline for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Joe Gacy
Analysis: ** It was okay with Gacy getting the obvious win to set up the title match for The Dyad against Gallus. There was some chaos during the finish. I think they could have timed it a bit better because Coffey had to walk into the clothesline like a fool. Anyway, this means that The Dyad will get a title match.
Schism celebrated the win while Diamond Mine was shown watching and Ivy Nile said she’s sick of Ava getting involved.
Dani Palmer was shown stretching before her match while talking to Sol Ruca, who tore her ACL. Hank and Tank showed up to fire up Dani and Oba Femi walked by to just stare at the guys.
They showed Eddy Thorpe was shown sitting on the ring apron talking about some training. Damon Kemp walked up to Thorpe telling him to throw his trash out. They exchanged words with Kemp being disrespectful to Thorpe, but there was no official match announced.
Dani Palmer vs. Tatum Paxley
This is Palmer’s NXT debut on the main show. It was pretty even early on until Paxley got a gutwrench suplex and a jumping elbow drop for two. Palmer countered a move by Paxley by hitting a flipping neckbreaker. Palmer went up top and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Good leap by Palmer there on that finisher. It went about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dani Palmer
Analysis: ** This was fine to put over Palmer in her debut while Paxley isn’t being used much at all. You could tell that they had rehearsed some of the spots and that’s fine because NXT talent all work together at the WWE PC, so they are going to practice spots they do in a TV match. I liked the execution of the finisher by Palmer.
They showed Chase U with Thea Hail saying Andre Chase was away. Duke Hudson took over the class saying there are no more pop quizzes at Chase U. Duke said “Duke University” has a nice ring to it. Of course, there already is a Duke University, so that’s the joke.
The NXT Women’s Tag Team Match was up next.
They showed Mr. Stone and Von Wagner looking at old photos with Von mentioning his dad with the Beverly Brothers. Wagner wasn’t even born yet when his dad wrestled at SummerSlam 1992. Stone pointed out a picture in the photo album with Von having a scar on his head when he was a kid, but Von said he didn’t want to talk about it. Stone said that you are a free agent that can go to Raw or Smackdown, so you should talk to Stone, but Von just left.
NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn vs. Katana Chance & Kayden Carter
Fyre & Dawn were drafted to Smackdown while Chance & Carter were drafted to Raw.
The four women brawled on the floor to start the match with Chance jumping onto both opponents. After the bell rang, Carter sent both opponents out of the ring and she dove onto Fyre while Chance dove onto Dawn on the floor.
Chance was in control of Fyre with a hurricanrana and flipping leg drop to the back of the head. Carter tagged in with a double team splash-leg drop. Fyre blocked a Chance move with double knees up, so that led to a double team Swanton Bomb/backbreaker on Chance for two because Carter broke up the pin. Chance came back with a rollup for two and a Codebreaker. Chance hit 450 Splash, but the pin was broken up. They got into a bit of a four-way brawl, then Chance shoved Dawn into the ropes while Fyre was on the top. Carter tagged in. Chance and Carter hit a double Spanish Fly off the top on Fyre for two. Fyre got a hold of Chance, swung her into Carter and Dawn tagged in leading to a double team Gory Bomb/neckbreaker and Dawn covered Chance for the pinfall win after 10 minutes. Kacy was bleeding around her nose.
Winners by pinfall: Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with the faces finding a way to win. There was a lot of offense from Carter & Chance, but they couldn’t get it done. That double Spanish Fly off the top by Chance & Carter was very impressive. I also liked the Fyre & Dawn double team move. That was really cool to see.
Dijak did a promo talking about how he’s going to break Ilja Dragunov on NXT next week.
Indi Hartwell was shown backstage on crutches with the NXT Women’s Title and she is up next.
Trick Williams talked to Apollo Crews in the parking lot. Trick congratulated Crews on going to Raw. Crews said that they have been through a lot, but Crews told Trick not to let that talent go to waste and next year his Raw will get called to Raw or Smackdown.
Analysis: Well said by Crews. I want to see Trick get more opportunities in NXT as well.
Next week on NXT:
* Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak. That should be awesome.
* Gallus defends the NXT Tag Team Titles vs. The Dyad.
Let’s Hear from Indi Hartwell
Indi Hartwell was in the ring with the NXT Women’s Title with two crutches and a boot on her injured right foot. Indi got drafted to Raw in the WWE Draft so the fans chanted “you deserve it” to her. Indi said 1330 days ago she walked into the WWE Performance Center for the first time as a 23 year old. Indi talked about how she was a fan of the black & gold version of NXT and all the women that made this title feel important. Indi said that people counted her out and people doubted her until she found…The Way.
Indi talked about the family of The Way with Johnny, Candice, Austin and Dexter. That’s when she formed a bond with them. Indi said she got married in this ring. Indi mentioned winning the NXT Women’s Title at Stand & Deliver. Indi said that last week she was in the medical room with a high ankle sprain, but she managed to get back out there against two of the best in the women’s division and kept her title. The fans chanted “Indi Wrestling” for her.
Indi talked about getting drafted to Raw. Indi said Monday, May 8th her new home will be Raw. Indi said that right now the most important thing is NXT and this title. Indi spoke about how there will be a tournament for the NXT Women’s Title culminating in a new champion being crowned at NXT Battleground.
Indi ended it by saying: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Indi kissed her title goodbye, the fans chanted “Indi Wrestling” and Indi put the title down. Indi said she had to figure out how to get out of this ring, so Dexter Lumis was under the ring. Lumis carried Indi out of the building. Vic called it the greatest love story NXT ever told, which is a true statement.
Analysis: A solid speech from Indi. I don’t know if she’s really going to stand out on Raw any time soon, but we did have a news story up about how WWE is going to recreate The Way group on Raw, so that should help Indi to have allies.
They showed the NXT Women’s Title in the ring. That’s when Tiffany Stratton and Cora Jade showed up to grab the title. Roxanne Perez ran out to clothesline them. That led to other women in NXT making their way out to the ring and there was a wild brawl with the women fighting all over the ring. End show.
Analysis: I think Tiffany Stratton and Cora Jade are both favorites to win the NXT Women’s Title. Roxanne Perez is a possibility too. They also could go with somebody Jacy Jayne as well.
Three Stars of the Show
- JD McDonagh
- Dragon Lee
- Wes Lee/Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn
This week: 7 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
2023 Average: 6.94
I thought it was a pretty good show overall. The JD McDonagh-Dragon Lee match was outstanding so check that out if you missed it. Some stories came to an end with several NXT wrestlers leaving NXT for Raw or Smackdown next week. Indi Hartwell gave up the NXT Women’s Title so we get a new champion at Battleground later this month.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.