The John Report: WWE NXT 06/20/23 Review (Gold Rush Week 1)

wwe nxt june 20 review

This week’s WWE NXT featured Seth Rollins defending the NXT Title against Bron Breakker, Wes Lee’s defense of the North American Title against Tyler Bate and more.

I will use a summary style for most of the review and play-by-play for 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 promoting some of the big matches coming up on this week’s show.

It was Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary as usual.

The NXT North American Champion Wes Lee and challenger Tyler Bate were in the ring for their title match with Mustafa Ali as the referee. Ring announcer Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions.

NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate (Mustafa Ali was the referee)

I’ll go play by play here. This should be great. They went for some basic wrestling holds in the first minute leading to a stand off. When Bate tried a monkey flip, Wes jumped over it and did a flip to show off. Bate got a side headlock for a two count and Ali counted fast. They did a spot where Wes tried pinning Bate with his legs and Ali counted very slowly. Wes complained about it, so Bate got a rollup for two and Ali counted slowly again. Ali was smirking about it. Wes and Bate were engaged in a lockup that saw them tumbling to the floor. Bate hit Wes with an uppercut to the chest lead to a break.


The match returned with Bate hitting a running clothesline leading to both guys doing big bumps to sell fatigue. Wes and Bate exchanged strikes, Wes delivered punches to the ribs along with forearms and Bate hit some uppercuts. Wes came back with a snapmare leading to a dropkick to the back. Bate with a knee lift followed by a running uppercut and an overhead suplex across the ring. Bate went for a standing Shooting Star Press, but Wes blocked it for a two count with Ali going a normal speed. Wes kicked Bate into the turnbuckle. Wes went for the Cardiac Kick, but Bate avoided it and bounced off the ropes with a clothesline for two as Ali made a normal speed count. Bate went up top, Wes kicked him and Wes teased a superplex to the floor, but Bate blocked that. They both hit strikes on eachother leading to Ali bumping to the floor and Bate was in the ring. Ali picked up Wes, slapped him in the face a few times and told him to keep fighting Ali picked up Bate to tell him to keep fighting. Wes got back into the ring with the Cardiac Kick on Bate (who was stumbling to his feet) for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Wes Lee

Analysis: ***1/2 A good as expected here by two of the best in NXT, but not as good as I think they could do because the story of Ali getting involved played such a big part of the match. The finish was a bit strange with Ali lifting up both guys and telling them to keep fighting, which ended up costing Bate because he was still selling while Wes was back up to hit the Cardiac Kick for the win. Wes continues his incredible reign as North American Champion while Bate put up a fight even though the finish was controversial due to Ali getting involved.

After the match, Mustafa Ali raised the hands of both guys and applauded them on the match. Bate and Wes were looking at eachother as if to say they don’t trust this guy.

Analysis: It seems like Mustafa Ali’s overenthusiastic behavior is all a ploy to get Wes and Bate to trust him before Ali turns heel on them.

A video aired about Gigi Dolin talking about how she’s unique for her passion for art. Gigi talked about how she’s led an interesting life because of it.

Kiana James was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Kiana ripping on Gigi for not having ambition and for swimming in a pool of mediocrity.

Chase U was shown walking backstage for Thea Hail’s pep rally.


They showed highlights of Finn Balor beating up Seth Rollins on Monday’s Raw. Rollins faces Bron Breakker later.

Chase U Throws Thea Hail A Pep Rally

Duke Hudson was in the ring for a promo to introduce The Hail, who he says will be the next NXT Women’s Champion. There were some pictures of Hail in the ring. Thea made her entrance with other Chase U “students” while the crowd chanted for Thea. Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey were in the ring too.

Thea Hail said that next week is the biggest match of her life. Hail said that she graduated high school last year. Hail talked about how she has always wanted to be a WWE Superstar and next week she’ll become NXT Women’s Champion. Gulak was shocked by her saying she graduated high school last year. Hail thanked Andre Chase, who was watching at home. Hail thanked Chase U’s MVP Duke Hudson as well. Hail also thanked Charlie Dempsey and Drew Gulak. Hail said that next week she’s going to give Tiffany Stratton a Chase University sized ass whooping.

Tiffany Stratton interrupted with the NXT Women’s Title. Stratton said that Hail was nobody’s pick to win the battle royal and kudos to her for being really lucky. Stratton told Hail she has a 0% chance of winning next week. Hudson said that Hail is taking that championship from Tiffany and Thea is only 19 years old. Hudson said that he believes in Hail, Chase U believes and everybody watching believes in Hail too. Stratton said that Hail won’t beat Stratton or tap her out. Hail grabbed Stratton and put a Kimura Lock on the left arm. Stratton was tapping out. Hail was running around with the NXT Women’s Title as if she won it.

Analysis: It was cheesy, but I was entertained by it. Hail is such an over the top kind of character that it’s tough to deal with all the enthusiasm sometimes. I think this was effective in terms of showing that Hail could be a threat to beat Stratton next week. I doubt Hail will win, but at least it’s a possibility and the way this segment was booked played a part in that.

They showed the Schism foursome talking last week after their loss. Joe Gacy said that he’ll re-evaluate himself. Ava said that their tree will not fall from one single chop. Ava reminded them it’s four roots, one tree.

The Creed Brothers and Ivy Nile from Diamond Mine were shown watching the Schism promo. Julius said that Schism are a serious threat. They all made fun of eachother and laughed about it to show they are close.

It was tag team action up next with Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen entering with Fallon Henley for a triple threat match.


They showed NXT Anonymous filming Jacy Jayne and Lyra Valkyria getting into an argument backstage. Jacy said she didn’t have a problem with Lyra, who said that she didn’t play games. Lyra left.

Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen (w/Fallon Henley) vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade vs. Hank Walker & Tank Ledger

The first pinfall or submission wins. Three guys were legal in the ring. The winning team gets an NXT Tag Team Title match against Gallus next week.

Briggs and Blade started the match with Blade hitting a dropkick. Briggs & Jensen hit double team body slams on Enofe and they did it to Hank too. Hank & Tank tripped up Briggs leading to a slam onto the apron. They did a spot where all six guys were in the ring, so it led to a fight. Blade & Enofe hit dives over the top on Briggs & Jensen. That was followed by Hank & Tank hitting springboard back splashes onto the four guys on the floor. Nice moves! Hank hit a full nelson slam for a two count with Briggs making the save.


Briggs and Jensen were in control of the action. Briggs hit a clothesline after sending Blade into the ropes. Enofe hit an impressive dropkick after jumping off Briggs’ back. Blade got some momentum with a blockbuster on Briggs. Tank was legal with a fallaway slam. Jensen was back in with a neckbreaker on Tank. Jensen slammed Blade onto Tank. Briggs & Jensen did a Hart Attack clothesline, Enofe broke up the pin with an elbow drop off the top and Blade hit a Frog Splash onto Tank for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Edris Enofe & Malik Blade

Analysis: *** It was a fast-paced match with all three teams getting a chance to shine in the match. They weren’t grabbing headlocks or doing spots to slow down the match. It was move after move after move like a triple threat tag team match should be. There were some illegal offense spots, but not that much really.

Next week on NXT Gold Rush, Edris & Malik get an NXT Tag Team Title match against Gallus.

Gallus was in their locker room. Angel and Humberto were there saying if they were in that match they would have won and got a title shot. That was it.

Eddy Thorpe was backstage listening to music when Damon Kemp walked up to him. Kemp said that in two weeks time, he’s bringing Raw Underground to NXT. No ropes in a 20×20 ring and you can only win by knockout, TKO or a submission. Thorpe agreed to it.

Analysis: I didn’t expect to hear the “Raw Underground” phrase on NXT, but here we are. I guess it’s a fitting match for Kemp, who is a former amateur wrestler that had a lot of success at it.

The camera panned over to show Roxanne Perez attacking Blair Davenport. That was broken up quickly with Blair saying it was “game on” now.

Cora Jade entered for singles action.


Seth “Freakin” Rollins was in the locker room with the World Heavyweight Title. Nathan Frazer walked up to him with the NXT Heritage Cup. They congratulated eachother. Rollins said he wasn’t quite 100% but he asked for the best of Finn Balor and that’s what he got. Rollins told Frazer he is proud of him and proud of the performer he has become. Rollins told Frazer to have fun with that trophy.

Analysis: For those that don’t know, Rollins trained Frazer to be a wrestler at Seth’s school a few years ago.

After Frazer left, the NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams showed up to talk to Rollins. They introduced themselves leading to Rollins saying he knows who they are. Hayes was there to pay respect to him as Hayes looked at Seth’s title. Rollins told Hayes to prepare for his title defense. They spoke abut their title defenses saying they are ready with Rollins telling Hayes that he wears that title well.

Analysis: That’s a cool interaction. With Seth on NXT, it’s important to have him interact with some of these guys and say some nice things to babyfaces like Melo and Frazer.

Dana Brooke vs. Cora Jade

After Jade slapped Brooke early in the match, Brooke was aggressive on offense with a snapmare and a dropkick. Brooke did a headscissors spot along with a dropkick. Brooke did a backflip off the apron to the floor. Jade hit a running knee attack to the knee. Dana was favoring her right knee and when she went for a handspring, Brooke collapsed while grabbing the right knee. The WWE Medical team checked on Dana’s knee as they went to a picture-in-picture break.


Brooke was put on a stretcher with her right knee in a brace, then Jade was talking trash and Brooke kept on fighting while selling the injury. Jade hit a chop block to the back of the right knee. Brooke got some offense with a flapjack. Brooke went for a splash off the ropes, Jade avoided it and Jade applied the single leg crab submission. Brooke wouldn’t tape out, but the referee called for the bell due to Brooke’s injury. It went 11 minutes.

Winner by submission/referee stoppage: Cora Jade

Analysis: **1/2 It was decent with Brooke doing a nice job of selling the right knee injury for most of the match. The heel Jade was smart enough to work on the right knee after Brooke sold it in a big way. It’s a good win for Jade, who will probably get a push to the championship either this year or next year. It may not be a bad thing for Dana to sit out for a few weeks to sell the injury and come back as a heel or something different just to see what she could do in a different role.

When they showed the announcers at their desk, we could see Booker’s wife Sharmell and his kids (they have twins – a boy and girl) sitting there.

Von Wagner and Mr. Stone Talk

Von Wagner and Mr. Stone were shown talking in an empty NXT arena earlier in the day. Von said when other people didn’t care about him, Stone did. Von spoke about the picture of himself with a scar on his head. Von said his skull was fused into place early in his life and he had to have surgery. When Von was 15 months old, he had a 14-hour surgery and they didn’t know if he would survive. Wagner said they fixed his skull, they pulled his face down and they gave him a life. Von was in intensive care for a week. Von said his dad was working to pay the bills (he was one of the Beverly Brothers in WWE) and his mom was by Von’s side with Von saying it’s hard for them to talk about it. Von said the scarring on his head made him look different and claimed other kids called him a monster. Von claimed that other parents would stare at him and tell kids not to look at him. Stone sympathized with him. Von said that was enough for today and he left.

Analysis: After two months, we finally learned more about Von Wagner’s past talking about the condition he dealt with as a kid. I said weeks ago you could tell that they were booking Von in more of a babyface way after being a heel for a few years, so maybe a babyface run will be good for him.

It’s Carmelo Hayes and Baron Corbin face to face up next.


Eddy Thorpe was watching Raw Underground clips on a tablet with Scrypts and Axiom talking to him. Thorpe said that he’ll be ready when he puts together a fight camp over the next two weeks. Axiom put over Damon Kemp’s credentials. That’s when Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Steveson walked in for his NXT debut. Gable told Thorpe that if anybody knows Damon, it’s him, so if you need any help, let Gable know. Thorpe shook his hand.

Analysis: The interesting thing here is Steveson and Kemp are brothers. Obviously, Kemp has a WWE name rather than his real name (Bobby Steveson), so I don’t know if WWE will acknowledge that they are actually brothers. Gable referenced it, but he didn’t say it specifically. Maybe Gable will turn heel by helping his brother Kemp win.

Carmelo Hayes-Baron Corbin Face To Face

Carmelo Hayes made his entrance as the NXT Champion for his face to face showdown with Baron Corbin in the ring. Trick Williams walked out with Melo, but then he went to the back. The Hayes-Corbin NXT Title match is next Tuesday on NXT.

Corbin said that Melo holding that title doesn’t mean he made it. Corbin said there’s nothing that Melo can do or say that Corbin hasn’t seen. Melo said Corbin has never seen an NXT Title reign or the respect of these people. Corbin spoke about how they aren’t in his hometown. Corbin said he doesn’t care if the internet thinks he’s cool and he doesn’t care what the fans think or what Melo thinks. Melo told Corbin he won’t be able to take Melo’s title and make himself (Corbin) relevant again. Melo said he’s had dudes from the main roster come after him and they all ended up on a t-shirt and in the rafters. Melo said there’s not a damn thing different about Corbin. Melo mentioned Happy Corbin, so Corbin claimed that Happy Corbin got him a $1.8 million house.

Corbin said that Melo and all these 20-something-year-old kids throw insults and they don’t land. Corbin said he’s had an eight-year career that most of them will only dream of. Corbin suggested comparing bank accounts, lifestyle and Mania moments. Corbin said that it came from being a main event player on the main roster for nearly a decade.

Melo correctly said you used to be that, what happened? Melo said Corbin has had a decade on him. Melo said that at 26 years old he won the NXT Breakout Tournament, then he cashed in to become a champion and Baron Corbin was getting cut by the Arizona Cardinals at that age. Melo said that he gives black & gold guys credit for setting the bar high. Melo said he refuses to meet Corbin’s expectations because Melo will create his own expectations. Melo said his name is on this house. Melo said he had to put a new roof on this house because he tore that roof off so many times. That’s a reference to wrestlers constantly saying they “blew the roof off” when they have a great match. Melo: “I am him.”

Corbin told Melo that if you have to tell the fans that every week that “you’re him” then you’re not. Corbin said that he barely noticed Melo sitting behind the barricade at Smackdown. Corbin told Melo he’s insignificant. Corbin said normally this is where he cracks him in his teeth and leaves him laying, but he doesn’t need to do that. Corbin said after he’s done beating Melo, he’s driving home in his Porsche and putting the title on his mantle in his big ass house. Corbin said that his hot ass wife is going to pour him a drink from a bottle that Melo can’t afford. Corbin said he’ll say to himself: “Today was a good day.” Melo tried to fire back, but Corbin said the “lesson is over” and Corbin left.

Analysis: I liked that a lot. It’s one of those spots where Carmelo Hayes gets a chance to do a promo with an experienced heel veteran and Melo came across great by showing confidence as usual. Baron Corbin isn’t beloved by the fans, but he is a solid promo guy. Corbin saying he has been a main event player for nearly a decade is a stretch. Yes, he had some profile matches and feuds with top guys in the company, but it’s not like he was a consistent main eventer at any point during his career. That’s okay because he’s a heel and we know that heels lie.

There was a backstage scene with Nathan Frazer and Dragon Lee talking to the Feroz & Leon with Frazer thanking them for helping Frazer win the Heritage Cup last week. The ladies left for their tag team match. Frazer said that his mentor Rollins told him to take care of the people that helped him along the way. Frazer told Dragon Lee he’ll get the first shot at the Heritage Cup next week. They agreed to the match.


Gallus was shown leaving the building. Wolfgang and Mark Coffey went into the car to drive off while Joe Coffey was on the phone. Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo drove up, beat up Joe and put him in the trunk.

Analysis: It is Stacks trying to get revenge against Gallus for taking out his buddy Tony D’Angelo, who is in “jail” these days.

Jakara Jackson & Lash Legend (w/Noam Dar & Oro Mensah) vs. Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon

Jackson and Legend are in the Meta-Four group. Jackson and Legend worked together to take control early on. Elektra Lopez and newcomer Lola Vice showed up to watch. Let’s just say their outfits make them stand out from the pack. Damn…in a good way. Jackson hit a Cutter on Leon for two. It looks like Lopez and Vice left while Jackson applied an armbar. Feroz got a jumping kick and an impressive hurricanrana off the top rope. After Feroz was distracted by Mensah on the floor, she went back in the ring and Legend hit a big boot to the face for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Jakara Jackson & Lash Legend

Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to try to feature some different talents. Jackson & Legend look impressive as a team, so they just need to keep improving and I think they’ll be featured more.

Next week on NXT Gold Rush:

* NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Baron Corbin

* NXT Women’s Championship: Tiffany Stratton (c) vs. Thea Hail

* Gigi Dolin vs. Kiana James

* NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus (c) vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade

* NXT Heritage Cup Match: Nathan Frazer (c) vs. Dragon Lee

It was main event time with Bron Breakker making his entrance first wearing the black singlet and attire that he has been using as a heel. When he was a face, he wore more colorful attire. Booker T was excited and doing some barking in anticipation for this match.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion as the fans sang his song as usual. Rollins had his ribs taped to sell the attack from Finn Balor on Raw this past Monday. It’s a smaller building than what Rollins is used to, but it still sounded loud. Rollins posed in the ring with the music stopping and the fans kept on singing. They stood in the ring as Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions. The fans chanted “welcome home” to Rollins, who is the first NXT Champion ever.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bron Breakker

There was a feeling out process in the first 30 seconds, then Bron charged, Rollins avoided it and Bron went tumbling to the floor. Rollins hit a jumping kick to knock Bron down on the floor.


Bron was in control after a bearhug working on the ribs, Rollins broke free and Bron hit a hurricanrana for two. Bron hit an overhead suplex on Rollins two times in a row. Rollins tried a comeback, but Bron stopped that and hit a release German Suplex for two. Bron did some push ups like uncle Scott Steiner did during matches. Bron set up for a Spear, Rollins avoided it and Bron went crashing into the turnbuckle near the ring post. Rollins made a comeback with a kick combo followed by a clothesline. Rollins hit a corner splash. Bron blocked a suplex attempt, but Rollins came back with a knee to the jaw and a knee to the back to send Bron out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive, then another suicide dive and a third suicide dive as the fans sang Seth’s song. Back in the ring, Rollins set up for The Stomp, but Bron rolled out of the ring. Rollins met Bron on the floor with a clothesline. Rollins cleared off the commentary table. Bron with a lift and Rollins kicked Bron onto the table. Rollins went up top and jumped off with a Frog Splash to put Bron through the table. Impressive move! No disqualification for that even though they could go that route. I guess you could always say it’s part of the ringside area like throwing somebody into the ring post, steel steps or barricade. They went to a picture-in-picture break.


Rollins with a forearm. Bron tried a pin and Rollins countered for two. Rollins got another rollup for two followed by a superkick. Rollins went up top and went for a Frog Splash, but Bron moved out of the way. Bron pulled down the straps leading to the Steiner Recliner submission, but Rollins managed to crawl to the ropes. Rollins tried a move off the top, but Bron jumped up with a Frankensteiner! Bron hit the press powerslam that he has used as a finisher for one…two…and no! Rollins kicked out. Bron charged, Rollins hit a knee to the face to counter and Rollins hit a Pedigree for just a two count. Rollins hit a forearm to the back, Rollins ran the ropes and Bron hit a Spear for one…two…and no again! Rollins kicked out at two. The fans were chanting “NXT” for them. Bron went up top, which is rare for him and Bron jumped off with nothing, so Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins hit The Stomp. Rollins didn’t cover right away. Rollins hit The Stomp for a second time for the pinfall win after about 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: **** This was awesome. Great championship match as expected when Rollins gets a long time in a match like that. Breakker has improved as a worker and he’s better as a heel. I don’t think anybody expected Rollins to lose here, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Rollins sold the rib injury really well, Bron was aggressive the entire time and Bron showed how athletic he was throughout the match. Bron hit his big moves like the press powerslam and the Spear for two counts. Those are believable finishing moves for Bron, so having Seth kick out of those is smart. I think Bron kicking out the Pedigree is good for Bron too. The finish was done to show Bron was still inexperienced because Bron is not a top rope guy, so going up top cost him the match. Rollins hit a superkick and The Stomp twice right after that to get the win. It was Bron’s top rope mistake that cost him the match. These guys had a lot of chemistry together, so I’m sure WWE officials are happy about that and know that this is a match that they can go to in the future.

Seth Rollins celebrated the win, the NXT signature graphic appeared on the screen…and then Finn Balor did a cheap attack! Balor hit Rollins with a forearm to the back. Booker celebrated it saying that everybody wanted a piece of the action. Balor was kicking and kneeing Rollins in the ribs. Some weak security showed up, so Balor beat them up. Balor drove Rollins back first into the ring apron. Balor went into the ring and hit Rollins in the back with a steel chair. Balor went up top to do more damage, but Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams showed up for the save. Balor retreated as he looked at the World Heavyweight Title on the floor. The fans were chanting for Trick Williams. Seth’s music played as Seth stared at Balor, who was on the floor. End show.

Analysis: It was an effective way to get some more heat on Balor going into his Money in the Bank match against Rollins in less than two weeks. I love how they have the logo on the screen in the bottom corner and then there’s an attack to keep it running a few more minutes. That’s because NXT goes past two hours unlike Raw, which stops right at two hours.

Here is Seth talking to the fans after the show.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Bron Breakker
  3. Wes Lee


The Scoreboard

This week: 8 out of 10

Last week: 7

2023 Average: 6.97


Final Thoughts

I liked the show a lot this week. It was probably one of the better NXT episodes this year (I rated it the highest of any NXT episode this year). Having multiple title matches helps. The Seth Rollins-Bron Breakker match was outstanding. Getting a long championship match like that in the main event is a treat. We know Rollins is among the best in the world and Bron keeps getting better, especially as a heel. That was one of the best TV matches on NXT this year and maybe the best of the last week too, but NXT doesn’t get the respect or the audience of other shows. I’m just saying if you missed it, check out this match. Seth and Bron did an awesome job. Plus, Finn Balor attacking Rollins after the match was really cheap and adds more to that rivalry going into Money in the Bank too.

It was interesting to see Gable Steveson make his debut in a backstage segment. He’s going to help train Eddy Thorpe for a Raw Underground fight against Damon Kemp, who is Gable’s brother although I’m not sure if NXT will acknowledge that. Anyway, I’m intrigued to see what Gable does. I know he wants to be in the Summer Olympics next summer to go for another Gold Medal, so it will be interesting to see how he does in WWE.

The Carmelo Hayes-Baron Corbin segment was really effective in terms of building their NXT Title match next week. This is the best version of Corbin in a long time while Melo is so likable. Wes Lee and Tyler Bate had an entertaining opening match that was marred a bit by Mustafa Ali’s questionable refereeing, so that is probably leading to Ali going heel. I liked the triple threat tag team match a lot too. They also did a nice job of building to next week’s show too.


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

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport