This week’s WWE NXT featured a Carmelo Hayes-Baron Corbin NXT Title match, plus the Women’s, Tag Team Titles and Heritage Cup on the line.
I will use a summary style for most of the review and play-by-play for a few matches.
They showed Baron Corbin arriving earlier in the day in a $300,000 Porsche (that’s what Vic Joseph said it cost) and Carmelo Hayes was shown arriving with Trick Williams.
A video aired with highlights of last week’s Gold Rush show and also promoted the matches on this week’s show.
It was Vic Joseph and Booker T on commentary as usual.
NXT Women’s Championship: Tiffany Stratton vs. Thea Hail (w/Duke Hudson)
Stratton won the title recently while Hail earned a title shot by winning a battle royal. Hail is only 19 years old and has done fairly well, but this is her biggest match to date. The match started with Hail getting three nearfall attempts in a row and then she went for the Kimura Lock, so her “coaches” Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey showed up at ringside. Hail dropkicked Stratton out of the ring, but Stratton tripped up Hail on the apron. Stratton got a nearfall after a double foot stomp. Stratton hit a sitout spinebuster for two.
Hail was making the comeback with a running forearm and overhead suplex. Hail did the CHASE U stomp that Andre Chase does and she hit a back senton off the ropes for two. Hail applied a weak-looking Kimura Lock, then the referee was distracted by Gulak and Hail did a better Kimura Lock with Stratton tapping out. The referee never saw the tap out. Hail let go and Stratton did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win. It went about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tiffany Stratton
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match for the time given. Like a lot of NXT matches, they probably practiced most of it and you could tell by some of the moves they did. It was a lame ending with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! but it’s fitting for a heel like Stratton to escape like that. I thought Hail did well in the match while Stratton was on the defensive for most of the second half of the match.
Post match, Charlie Dempsey and Drew Gulak were yelling at Hail about not winning. When Duke Hudson got involved, Dempsey & Gulak attacked him. That led to Andre Chase making his return for the save. Chase and Hudson cleaned house.
Analysis: That should lead to a tag team match with Chase U facing Dempsey & Gulak.
A video aired about Ilja Dragunov talked about how he chooses to endure pain and conflict.
Gallus, the NXT Tag Team Champions, were shown walking backstage ahead of their title match. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade said nobody is going to stop them as they head into this big opportunity.
Edris Enofe & Malik Blade entered for the second title match of the night.
This Friday on Smackdown: Logan Paul on the Grayson Waller Effect talk show, Asuka defends the WWE Women’s Title against Charlotte Flair, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defend the WWE Tag Team Titles against Pretty Deadly and Roman Reigns returns for more of The Bloodline drama.
They showed a clip from last week when a trainer was telling Dana Brooke to ice her right knee. A young woman named Kelani Jordan said she just started here. Brooke and Jordan talked about being gymnasts with Brooke saying gymnastic skills usually pay off…most of the time. Jordan said that Brooke never gives up on anything and said she’s happy that Dana is in NXT. Dana said when her knee gets better she’d like to show her a thing or two.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus (Wolfgang & Mark Coffey) vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade
The team of Enofe and Blade used their speed early on as they tried to avoid being overpowered. Booker T said they were “running” from Gallus. Enofe and Blade hit double dropkicks on both guys. Enofe hit a knee on Mark, Blade made the tag and Blade hit a Frog Splash for two. Angel and Humberto were watching the match form the platform in the WWE PC.
The Gallus boys isolated Blade for a few minutes until Enofe got the tag. Enofe went for a move off of Coffey’s back to attack Gallus, but Enofe slipped. They improvised from there with Enofe hitting a spinebuster on Mark for a two count. Blade tagged in for a double team neckbeaker/Samoan Drop for two. Blade hit a top rope splash and legal man Enofe hit a top rope elbow on Mark for two as Wolfgang made the save. The referee was dealing with Wolfgang tied up in the ropes. Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo showed up, it looked like he went for an uppercut on Mark, but he hit Enofe instead. Stacks threw Enofe back into the ring to show it wasn’t an accident. Wolfgang and Mark hit their knee drop/spinning slam combo for the pinfall win. It’s still Gallus boys on top after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Gallus (Wolfgang & Mark Coffey)
Analysis: *** It was the second straight title match without a clean ending. Stacks actually helped Gallus win instead of costing them the titles, so that was a surprising ending. I liked the high energy offense of Enofe/Blade throughout the match, but they came up short yet again.
There’s a Schism family meeting coming up.
Noam Dar and his Meta Four group was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. They all got their nails done. Lash Legend said they should talk about her win with Jakara Jackson. Oro Mensah said they are the best in the game, united as one. Mitchell asked Dar about the Heritage Cup match, but Car was sad and said that Mitchell sucks.
Schism Family Meeting
The Schism group was in the ring sitting on stools: Joe Gacy, Ava, Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid. Ava said they needed to talk as a family. Reid claims they are losing with Gacy. Reid said his trust with Rip runs 18 years deep, but they are starting to lose trust in Joe. Gacy thanked Reid for his honesty. Gacy said that Reid could have never said those things before because Fowler never let Reid have a voice. Gacy said he rescued them from obscurity and gave them a new home.
Fowler admitted they were confused and they were lost. Fowler said that they are starting to realize who they really are. Gacy said that they preached exclusivity and that brought them Ava. Gacy spoke about how they are different now instead of all dressing the same. Gacy said that The Dyad are ready to take on the world, which was not the case one year ago.
The Creed Brothers with Ivy Nile showed up for a promo. Schism said this doesn’t have anything to do with The Creed Brothers. Julius said that Ava cost them a win. Julius said that they don’t want the Schism here. Gacy said that the Diamond Mine is a poison in NXT. Julius said that Schism is cancerous. Gacy said if you want another match then you will get it: Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad. Gacy said this time, the losers leave NXT. The Dyad didn’t seem to like it. Julius said he loved it and they had a deal.
Analysis: A Loser Leaves NXT match for next week. They already taped next week’s show (after this week) so I know the result of the match, so I’ll save myself from doing a prediction. I thought all of the promos were good in terms of giving us the perspective of the different characters involved.
A video aired about Lucien Price and Bronco Nima talking about their history together playing football together. They didn’t come to NXT to play – they came to dominate.
There was a backstage scene with Hank & Talk talking to Axiom & Scrypts. They were watching that video of the new team. Axiom said he’s not a tag team with Scrypts. Axiom wished his friend Nathan Frazer the best in his Heritage Cup match.
Carmelo Hayes, the NXT Champion, and Trick Williams were shown getting ready for Melo’s match. Rhea Ripley walked up with her Women’s World Title warning them about getting involved in The Judgment Day’s business like they did last week on NXT.
Heritage Cup Championship: Nathan Frazer vs. Dragon Lee
There are five three-minute rounds in this match with some unique rules. Frazer was accompanied by Yulisa Leon and Dragon was accompanied by Valentina Feroz. It’s 2 out of 3 falls.
Round 1: The first minute was spent with both guys just doing basic stuff without any big moves. Axiom and Scrypts walked out to watch the match. Frazer applied a long headlock. They did some quick reversals leading to nearfalls. Both guys avoided kicks to the head as well. Axiom and Scrypts already left. End of the first round.
Round 2: Frazer ran the ropes multiple times leading to a running dropkick. Dragon caught Frazer by the turnbuckle and did a leg whip. Dragon hit a Frankensteiner off the top, but Frazer countered it into a pinfall for a three count. That was about one minute into that round, so it was onto the next round.
Round 3 (Frazer leads 1-0): Frazer hit a headscissors, but Dragon landed on his feet and hit a dropkick sending Frazer out of the ring. Dragon hit a somersault dive over the top onto Frazer on the floor.
Round 4 (Frazer leads 1-0): Frazer sent Dragon out of the ring leading to Frazer hitting a suicide dive. Back in the ring, they exchanged strikes with Frazer landing on his feet after a suplex. Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb for the pinfall. It was 1-1 now.
Round 5: (Tied 1-1): This is the last round. Dragon charged at Frazer, who hit a superkick and Dragon sold it very well. When Frazer went up top, Dragon was back up (so much for selling a lot) and Dragon did a double foot stomp on Frazer’s chest while Frazer was upside down. Frazer hit an overhead suplex into the turnbuckle. Frazer came back with a superplex off the top and then Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Both guys were down selling with about one minute left. There were about 30 seconds left when Dragon got a great rollup for two. Frazer got his own pin attempt for two. Frazer countered a Powerbomb and then they exchanged pin attempts with Frazer sitting on top for the pinfall win with one second left.
Winner by pinfall: Nathan Frazer (2-1)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was fun. The last three minutes were very exciting and even with Frazer finding a way to beat Dragon. I think some of the earlier parts were a bit too slow, but it also makes sense that they can’t keep up a chaotic pace the whole way. Some of the selling was inconsistent because there’d be big moves and then a guy was back up doing a hurricanrana off the top. Even if Frazer didn’t get the pinfall at the end, he would have remained the Cup holder since you can’t lose it on a tie. By winning, Frazer is put over at least a bit more than if it was a tie ending.
Next week on NXT is an NXT Underground match between Damon Kemp and Eddy Thorpe, who has Gable Steveson training him. They showed clips of Underground on Raw in the past.
Eddy Thorpe was shown training with Gable Steveson, who said he has tracked Damon’s career for a long time. They showed Gable and Eddy training while also having comments about the match next week. Eddy thanked Gable and said it would be an honor if Gable was out there with him next week. Gable said he’d do it and will even wave to Damon’s parents.
Analysis: Gable and Damon are brothers, but clearly WWE is not acknowledging that even though Gable referenced it at the end there.
They showed NXT North American Champion Wes Lee talking to somebody and Mustafa Ali walked in, so the other guy left. Lee wasn’t happy about Ali’s referee skills last week. Tyler Bate walked in ripping on Ali for his refereeing work. Bate wanted a rematch against Lee, so Ali said he wanted a shot at Wes. There was an argument, so Wes left.
Mr. Stone walked up to Von Wagner somewhere in the backstage area. Von said the photos last week made him remember the trauma from his childhood and he left.
Kiana James vs. Gigi Dolin
Dolin was in control early in the match, which led to James bailing to the floor to regroup. Some of the strikes between the didn’t look great. They did a tumbling spot that saw them bump to the floor.
James nailed Dolin with a kick while they were on the floor, so James took over. There was a chinlock by James, but then Gigi made the comeback with clotheslines and a kick. James delivered a kick followed by a double clothesline. James tried to use her dreaded bag, but Dolin avoided it with a kick and a Crucifix Bomb for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Gigi Dolin
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match. The action before the break wasn’t very good at all, but then it got better later in the match. More nearfalls for each woman would have made it more interesting.
After the match, James hit Dolin in the back with the dreaded bag followed by a DDT. James opened her bag and poured cans of orange and blue paint on Dolin. The fans booed.
Analysis: I guess this feud will continue.
Tony D’Angelo was shown in prison with Joe Coffey of Gallus showing up to talk to him. Joe said things aren’t as they seem. When Tony said that Stacks handled things, Joe said that Stacks is going to handle it. Joe said that Stacks sold Tony out. Joe pulled out his phone and played it. This was Stacks talking to Joe saying he’s done being the underboss and there’s a new Don on the streets. Joe told Tony that things aren’t what they seem. Tony was stunned by it.
Analysis: The story is that Stacks took over Tony D’s spot as The Don of the family or at least that’s what he is trying to do. Tony has been in “jail” for a while now.
They showed a video of Roxanne Perez getting attacked by Blair Davenport earlier in the week. They have a match next week.
Baron Corbin was shown getting ready for his match. They also showed NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes walking backstage with Trick Williams.
Jacy Jayne was complaining Lyra Valkyria to a few women backstage. Tatum Paxley encouraged it. Lyra walked into the room and punched Jacy in the face. Lyra said she doesn’t play games. Rhea Ripley, the Women’s World Champion, walked up to Jacy to say that Lyra is a badass.
The Dyad was talking with Ava, who encouraged them there isn’t anything to worry about with the tag team match. Jagger Reid didn’t like that Joe Gacy accepted the match. Ava said that Joe has a plan. Fowler said he better have a plan and Reid said if he doesn’t have a plan then they will.
Next week on NXT:
* The Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad in a Loser Leaves NXT match.
* Mustafa Ali vs. Tyler Bate.
* Roxanne Perez vs. Blair Davenport.
* NXT Underground: Eddy Thorpe vs. Damon Kemp
Baron Corbin made his entrance for the main event. It was Corbin’s “Lone Wolf” version from his NXT days. The NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes was up next with Trick Williams by his side as usual.
NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (w/Trick Williams) vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin sent Melo into the turnbuckle leading to Corbin doing his slide back out and back in clothesline. Melo hit a double knee attack on Corbin, who bailed to the floor. Melo jumped off the top with a cross body block on Corbin on the floor.
The action spilled to the floor with Melo kicking Corbin, but Corbin tossed Melo over the small barricade. Hayes fought back, he tried jumping off the barricade and Corbin hit a big boot with Hayes doing a flip bump. What a great bump by Melo there. Back in the ring, Corbin grabbed a chinlock as the fans chanted “Let’s go Melo” for the champion. Melo came back with a dropkick and a jumping kick to the head followed by a springboard clothesline for two. Corbin caught a running Melo and hit a spinning backbreaker. Corbin told a little girl this is for him and Corbin hit Melo with a forearm. Back elbow by Corbin as he continued to dominate. Corbin hit a running clothesline for two. They battled by the turnbuckle, Melo knocked Corbin down and Melo jumped off the top with a Frog Splash with a slow cover for two. Melo hit the Fade Away leg drop off the ropes to the back of Corbin’s head/neck. Melo with a double knee attack and a springboard DDT for two. It wasn’t pretty, but Corbin sold it anyway. Corbin held onto Melo’s legs to try to prevent a climb to the top. Melo kicked Corbin to knock him down, Melo jumped off the top and Corbin moved. Melo countered a move into a pin attempt for two. Corbin had Melo on his shoulders leading to an Attitude Adjustment followed by a Chokeslam Backbreaker for two. They were out on the floor with Hayes trying to jump on Corbin, but Corbin caught him with a Powerbomb onto the hood of the commentary table. It didn’t break the table, but it sounded loud. Back in the ring, Corbin got a two count. Melo hit a running knee and then Melo countered Deep Six with another running knee. Melo charged, but Corbin caught him for the Deep Six slam for two, which is the usual for that move. The fans were chanting “NXT” for them. Melo countered a Corbin move by sending Corbin to the apron. Melo stunned Corbin using the top rope. Melo jumped over the top and hit a DDT on the apron. Melo sent Corbin back into the ring, Melo went up top and Melo hit the Nothing But Net leg drop to the back/neck of Corbin for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes
Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match in the main event for the second straight week. It was the right story with the dominant heel that’s bigger than the face that sold everything so well and kept on coming back. Melo was the perfect kind of opponent for Corbin. There were so many counter moves by Melo throughout the match, but Corbin also looked dominant with so many power moves in the match. That Powerbomb on the table was a great spot. Corbin also hit the Deep Six slam, but Melo was able to avoid the End of Days, which eventually led to Melo hitting the DDT on the apron and Nothing But Net to win. This was Corbin’s best singles match in a long time. He also rarely got that much time for a singles match on the WWE main roster.
Carmelo Hayes celebrated the NXT Title win while Vic promoted matches coming next week.
They showed the Shawn Michaels office with Bron Breakker screaming about how he’s beaten everybody (not true, he lost to Hayes multiple times) and said there’s nothing left. Bron said you can’t control him. Bron walked out of the room saying you will find out next week and he shoved a camera down. End show.
Analysis: An interesting cliffhanger to end the show. The show ended at around 10:15 p.m. ET so it was a long overrun this week. That may be because last week’s rating was really strong during the overrun, so WWE might have felt if they go a bit longer it would be similar this week too.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Carmelo Hayes
2. Baron Corbin
3. Nathan Frazer-Dragon Lee
This week: 7.25 out of 10
Last week: 8
2023 Average: 6.98
A good episode of NXT again, but last week was better overall. It was a bigger show than usual with three title matches and the Heritage Cup match. None of the titles changed hands, but they were competitive matches.
I thought the Carmelo Hayes-Baron Corbin match was great – just a notch below Seth-Bron last week. Corbin’s best singles match in a very long time. I really liked the Heritage Cup match with Frazer-Dragon Lee too. That was fun, especially at the end. Meanwhile, the Women’s and Tag Team Title matches had controversial endings with others getting involved.
As usual, they do a nice job of utilizing the entire NXT roster with matches and backstage segments. Next week’s show has already been taped since it falls on July 4th, so they want to give America’s birthday off to the roster. Makes sense to me. They are building week to week very well. I think the last two weeks of Gold Rush shows were great ideas even though there weren’t title changes. It puts over the importance of being a champion.
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