The John Report: WWE NXT 07/25/23 Review

wwe nxt july 25

This week’s WWE NXT saw Rhea Ripley in action against Lyra Valkyria, Carmelo Hayes & Ilja Dragunov on the same team, Gable Steveson makes a decision and plenty more.

It’s the last NXT episode before The Great American Premium Live Event this Sunday, July 30th.

I will use a summary style for most of the review 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/X @johnreport. My WWE NXT Review archive is here. Let’s get to it.

There was a lengthy video package showing Dominik Mysterio winning the NXT North America Title on NXT last week followed by successful (and cheap) title defenses on Smackdown and Raw.

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

Let’s Hear from Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley

Rhea Ripley, the Women’s World Champion, said they run all of WWE while recapping everything involving The Judgment Day. Dominik Mysterio was booed heavily as he held up the NXT North American Title. Dominik said he finally made the Mysterio name relevant. The fans were chanting at Dominik to cut the mullet and Ripley said the mullet is great. Ripley had a message for Lyra Valkyria wanting to challenge her to a match.

Wes Lee, the former NXT North American Champion, walked out to the ring saying he hates seeing that title in Dominik’s hands. Wes said for 269 days, that title represented hard work and opportunity. Wes said he put his heart and soul into that title while saying he wants a rematch. Ripley said Dominik is what NXT needed. Wes said we need a new champion tonight.

Mustafa Ali joined the promo party saying he has love and respect for Wes. Ali told Dominik he has no love or respect. Ali said Dominik steals things like his dad’s 619 and the other dad’s Frog Splash. Ali complained about “this clown” Wes dropping the ball and losing the title. The fans were chanting “triple threat” for it. Ali said he was in line for a title shot and he said it was Wes Lee’s fault for taking the match. Ali said that Wes was too stupid to listen to him.

Dominik said he didn’t care who it is at the Bash and Mami said he could fight both of them. Dominik shoved Ali, who went for a strike, then Dominik ducked and Ali struck Wes. That led to Wes and Ali fighting a bit before they stopped while Dominik/Ripley left.

Analysis: It did a nice job of setting up a triple threat match between the three wrestlers. Dominik Mysterio is the champion, Wes Lee has a legit complaint since Dominik won cheap and Mustafa Ali was already announced as a title challenger for the Great American Bash, so they all had logical points.

Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell about how they are going to win the Tag Team Titles at the Great American Bash. Tony and Stacks were interrupted by Bronco Nima & Lucien Price. The two teams agreed to a match.

Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams entered for tag team action while Schism was already in the ring.

A commercial aired for Smackdown this Friday as the Jey Uso-Roman Reigns story continues and Rey Mysterio faces Santos Escobar for a US Title shot.


They showed Lyra Valkyria challenging Rhea Ripley to a match backstage at Raw, which was shown as a WWE Digital video.

Lyra Valkyria was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Lyra saying she needs to know where she stands because Ripley is the measuring stick in WWE. Lyra said she’s not going to wait in the shadows like Jacy Jayne because tonight is about her and she’ll show the world who she is.

Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams & Ilja Dragunov vs. Schism – Joe Gacy, Rip Fowler & Jagger Reid (w/Ava)

The NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes will defend the NXT Title against Ilja Dragunov at the Great American Bash this Sunday. I’ll go play-by-play here.

Melo showed off his athleticism with a leapfrog and dropkick on Gacy. Trick hit an impressive dropkick, but Gacy stopped him with a punch to the jaw. Trick with a body slam on Fowler followed by an uppercut strike. Dragunov chopped Fowler along with a senton splash. Dragunov hit a jumping knee on Fowler along with a knee drop. Fowler drove Dragunov to the corner, Reid tagged in and Dragunov took control with two German Suplexes on Reid. Dragunov spun around the ropes with a clothesline. Trick tagged in with punches, Reid hit an elbow smash and a clothesline. Reid attacked Melo on the apron, so Trick and Melo each hit cross body blocks to knock The Dyad guys down. That led to a break.


Melo was in the heel corner, but he fought his way out of that while Trick tagged in against Gacy. Trick hit a dropkick followed by a flapjack along with a kip up back to his feet. Trick clotheslined Gacy out of the ring while Dragunov tagged himself in. Dragunov charged at Gacy with an uppercut, but Gacy moved and Dragunov hit Trick into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Gacy went for the move off the ropes, but Dragunov elbowed him. Gacy hit a suplex for two. Gacy was bleeding from the mouth. Reid tagged with punches and a clothesline on Dragunov. Fowler was back in, Dragunov fought back against The Dyad and hit a jumping kick to Reid. Fowler kicked Dragunov in the head leading to a double team knee attack by Dragunov. Two guys in yellow masks tripped up Fowler & Reid on the apron (likely The Creed Brothers). Dragunov avoided a Gacy splash attempt. Melo tagged in and jumped off the top to hit a Nothing But Net leg drop to the head of Gacy for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams & Ilja Dragunov

Analysis: *** A good match with plenty of stories involved since Dragunov accidentally hit his partner Trick and Melo didn’t like that, but Melo was able to get the win to keep him strong. The other story was about the two random guys in yellow masks tripping up Reid & Fowler, which meant Gacy had no help. As I said it was probably The Creed Brothers as we’ll find out in the coming weeks. I thought it was structured well and an entertaining match overall.

After the match, Trick was mad about Dragunov while Melo was trying to keep Trick from going after Dragunov, who was trying to say it was an accident.

Von Wagner was up next against Javier Bernal.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam on Saturday, August 5th in Detroit.


There was a video about NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton talking about how great she is at 24 years old that is nowhere near her prime and she looks better than everybody else. Stratton said she wasn’t going to have her title taken away by a 19-year-old brat (Thea Hail). Stratton said that Hail had energy, but it would be catastrophic for Hail to be champion. Stratton claimed she didn’t tap out because the referee never saw it. Stratton complained more about Hail while saying that after the Great American Bash, the universe will still revolve around her. Toodles.

Analysis: I like Tiffany and think she’ll retain at the Great American Bash. She’s really young, as is Hail, so they both have bright futures.

It was announced that Dominik Mysterio will defend the NXT North American Title at Great American Bash against Wes Lee and Mustafa Ali.

Von Wagner vs. Javier Bernal

Wagner was dominant from the moment the bell rang. Wagner picked up Bernal and hit a powerslam/spinebuster like move for the pinfall win. It went under one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Von Wagner

Analysis: Squash city. That was quick.

After the match, Von Wagner gave Bernal a Powerbomb through the commentary table because Von likes getting cheered now.

Bron Breakker arrived out of nowhere and hit a Spear on Wagner. Breakker grabbed a chair, but Wagner avoided it. Referees came out to stop Bron from doing more damage.

Analysis: That’s a new rivalry for Bron Breakker. Since losing the NXT Title, Bron has been more aggressive, but he has also lost rivalries to Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov. Maybe Wagner will beat Bron too as NXT continues to try to push Wagner as a face.

Gable Steveson was shown walking backstage for his announcement up next.


Ilja Dragunov and Carmelo Hayes were shown talking backstage with Melo saying it was a good W. Trick Williams walked in shoving Dragunov, who told Melo to calm Trick down. Dragunov warned Trick. Melo said he’s got Dragunov at the Bash and Trick said this is about himself, not Melo. Trick said he’ll call out Dragunov later.

Let’s Hear from Gable Steveson

Gable Steveson made his entrance in all black attire with some “Gable” chants for the Olympic Gold Medallist. Gable said thank you to everything in NXT. Gable introduced himself leading to “USA” chants from the crowd because Gable is the 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist (the games were in 2021). Gable said that next in the 2024 Olympics, he could be America’s first time two-time Olympic Gold Medallist or go back to college to become a three-time NCAA Heavyweight Champion. Gable said he could also make his decision right now.

Baron Corbin interrupted saying that what he says next could impact his entire future. Corbin said Gable should go back to college or go to be a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist. Corbin told Gable not to come to NXT. Corbin told Gable he’ll make him fail. Corbin said that this mat will humble you. Corbin said for eight years he’s done what the company wants, but he no longer cares. Corbin told Gable he is swimming with sharks and he’s staring at a great white shark that is starving and he smells blood. Gable said Corbin made his decision that much easier. Gable suggested he face Corbin in his first match at the Great American Bash! Gable hit a German Suplex and an impressive belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Corbin left the ring, so security stopped him from trying to attack.

Analysis: There was no clear decision made by Gable, but having his first match at the Great American Bash is a great idea. It will be interesting to see how Gable does in a WWE ring because the way he throws suplexes makes him look like such a natural, but obviously, you have to do more than that. I’m just saying he makes it look easy similar to a Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar as two other amazing freestyle wrestlers. I also think it’s certainly possible that Steveson goes for Olympic Gold in the Paris Summer Olympics next year, but he can wrestle in WWE for the rest of this year and still get ready for that.

They showed Dana Brooke with Kelani Jordan and Cora Jade walking backstage separately ahead of their match.


Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley were talking backstage with Dominik asking if it was smart for him to take the triple threat match at Great American Bash. Ripley said that she’s always right and always on top. Ripley left.

Kendo Stick Match: Dana Brooke (w/Kelani Jordan) vs. Cora Jade

There were multiple kendo sticks surrounding the ring. They left the ring with Brooke sending Jade into the steel steps and tossing Jade over the commentary table. Booker T even bumped out of his chair to the floor! Jade tripped up Brooke on the commentary table. Jade got some offense going with multiple kendo stick shots to the body. Jade set up a stack of kendo sticks and Jade body slammed Brooke on the sticks. Jade hit a running knee to the face. Brooke made a comeback with clotheslines and a handspring elbow. Jade hit a double arm DDT for just two. Jade put Brooke on a chair, Jordan went on the apron and Brooke did a drop toe hold putting Jade onto the chair. Brooke hit Jade with a chair to the back. Jordan handed Brooke a pink kendo stick, so Brooke beat up Jade with repeated kendo stick shots to the body. Brooke suplexed Jade onto a pile of sticks/steel chair. Brooke hit a Swanton Bomb off the top for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dana Brooke

Analysis: **3/4 A big victory for Dana Brooke. I liked it as a physical match with both women doing a lot of kendo stick shots throughout the match. Jade was in control for most of the first half and Brooke came back to get the win. I thought Jade might win with that DDT since she’s won with that in the past, but Brooke kicked out. I thought Jade might win this although having Brooke win here does give her some more credibility in NXT and perhaps they’ll have her get a title shot soon. Also, I’m happy for Dana getting more chances in NXT. She’s been in the company for so long and they need to use her a bit more like this.

Ilja Dragunov was in the locker room with Carmelo Hayes warning Dragunov that Trick Williams isn’t happy about what happened. Dragunov told Melo that if Trick sticks to his challenge then Dragunov will break him tonight. Dragunov told Melo that on Sunday, he will break Melo too.

Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo entered to cheers.


Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey were shown having a training session. Damon Kemp walked up to them saying he was looking for some guys that can push him as training partners, so Drew & Charlie agreed to it.

Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Bronco Nima & Lucien Price

Scrypts was on commentary with Booker calling him Reggie. The big man Nima dropped Stacks with a back elbow. Tony tagged in with a running knee on Price. After Nima distracted Tony, Price hit a back kick to the face. Nima tagged in with a jumping stomp onto the shoulder. Stacks got some momentum with corner attacks on both opponents. Price hit a running clothesline on Stacks, who was the face in peril. Axiom showed up at ringside with a dropkick on Scrypts. Axiom hit a suicide dive on him. Tony tagged in with impressive two belly-to-belly suplexes and a spinebuster on Price. Stacks knocked Nima out of the ring. Tony and Stacks hit a double team spinebuster called Bada Bing for the pinfall win after five minutes.

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

Analysis: ** It was a solid match for the time given. I’m impressed by Nima & Price, but I don’t think they should be losing so soon after they made their debut. Another team should have been in that spot. The result made sense with Tony & Stacks getting momentum going into their Tag Team Title match at The Great American Bash.

The Gallus boys appeared with some words for their opponents Tony & Stacks. Joe Coffey said it’s always and forever “Gallus boys on top.”

A video aired featuring Dijak talking about how one win for Eddy Thorpe does not make him a title contender. Dijak said in the ring, he’s the law and Eddie cannot beat him.

A look at Roxanne Perez and Blair Davenport having a fight was up next.


It’s official: Gable Steveson faces Baron Corbin at The Great American Bash this Sunday.

A video was shown from Monday Night with Blair Davenport talking trash about Roxanne Perez on her phone doing a livestream, but then Perez showed up for a fight. They were in a grocery store of some kind, but not a major one or anything like that. They had multiple cameras filming it including the “owner” filming on his cell phone. Perez got the upper hand as police sirens were present to end it after about two minutes. Perez said this is just a taste of the Roxanne Perez you’ll get at the Great American Bash.

At The Great American Bash, Roxanne Perez will face Blair Davenport in a Weapons Wild Match.

Analysis: It was a bit of a recreation of the classic Steve Austin-Booker T fight from over 20 years ago, but it’s not going to be as legendary as that. It’s a way to show to that it has become a very personal rivalry.

Let’s Hear from Meta-Four with Supernova Sessions

The Meta-Four group consisting of Noam Dar in a wheelchair, Oro Mensah, Jakara Jackson & Lash Legend were in the ring for a promo. Dar was unresponsive. When Legend presented Dar wit the Heritage Cup, Dar woke up from his comatose state and Dar hugged the trophy.

Nathan Frazer walked out with the actual Heritage Cup trophy with Dragon Lee by his side. Dar said this is what a real champion looks like. Frazer said Dar is a massive fraud like that Cup he was holding.

The tag team of Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon attacked Jackson and Leon. Frazer and Lee hit superkicks to knock the guys out of the ring. Frazer & Dragon hit suicide dives onto the guys on the floor.

Analysis: That was a bit rough in terms of going on too long with some cheesy acting, but they got through it. This was done to set up a Kickoff Show match at the GAB show.

They showed Chase U with Andre Chase & Duke Hudson training their buddy Thea Hail ahead of her NXT Women’s Title match at the Great American Bash on Sunday. Duke said that Hail started wrestling at 16 years old and signed with Chase U after high school. Duke said he’s the MVP. They put over Hail using the Kimura Lock submission. Hail said she knows she can win to become the youngest NXT Women’s Champion in history.

Analysis: A fun profile video about Hail, who is very likable as a young babyface with a bright future. I think she overdoes it by being hyper too much times, but as a talent she has been impressive.

Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Women’s World Champion with NXT North American Champion “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio by her side.


They showed a video of the NXT parking lot last week when Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo argued. Humberto said he’s not doing this anymore. Garza was frustrated.

Analysis: That could be the end of the cousins Garza and Carrillo as a team. I’d be fine with that if that’s the case because I think Garza has a lot of potential as a singles star while Carrillo could be pretty good too. It could also be a case of them becoming more focused as a team, but this felt like a split too.

Rhea Ripley (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. Lyra Valkyria

This was not for Ripley’s Women’s World Title. I’ll go play-by-play here. Ripley knocked down Lyra with a shoulder tackle. Lyra hit a cross body block to the knee and then she stepped on Ripley’s back. Lyra got a pin attempt sitting on top of Ripley for a two count. Ripley with shoulder tackles. Lyra came back with a headscissors takedown. Ripley countered a Lyra move into a German Suplex followed by a dropkick that sent Lyra out of the ring.


Ripley was in control with forearms to the back. Ripley drove Lyra’s head into her knee followed by Ripley hitting slam sending Lyra front-first into the mat. Lyra countered a Riptide attempt with a sleeper attempt, but Ripley broke free and hit a headbutt. Ripley took way too long going to the top rope, she even did a Latino Heat shake and Lyra knocked Ripley to the apron and floor. Dominik pushed Ripley out of the way so Lyra dropkicked him. Lyra hit a hurricanrana on Ripley on the floor. Back in the ring, Lyra jumped off the top, Ripley caught her and Lyra hit a DDT. Lyra went up top and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” leading to Lyra hitting kicks to the body and a dropkick to the knee. Lyra went for a springboard cross body block, but Ripley was there with a kick. Ripley hit the Riptide slam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: ***1/4 I liked the match. They worked hard and it was competitive even though we knew there was no way Ripley was going to lose. It’s smart for WWE to book Ripley strong because she’s one of the best champions in the company right now. They could have had a five-minute match with Ripley looking more dominant, but I think it’s good for Lyra to compete in a match like this and show her potential. You can tell how skilled Lyra is, so it’s just a matter of giving her more meaningful matches to watch her rise in NXT.

After the match, Rhea Ripley told Lyra to beat Jacy Jayne. Lyra said she will.

Trick Williams was shown walking backstage to call out Ilja Dragunov in the last segment on the show.


There was a rundown of The Great American Bash lineup for this Sunday, July 30th.

* KICKOFF SHOW: Nathan Frazer, Dragon Lee, Valentina Feroz & Yulisa León vs. The Meta-Four (Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, Jakara Jackson & Lash Legend)

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

* NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Wes Lee

* NXT Tag Team Titles: Gallus (c) vs. Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

* Gable Steveson vs. Baron Corbin

* Weapons Wild Match: Blair Davenport vs. Roxanne Perez

* NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov

It’s weird not to have a Bron Breakker match on an NXT PLE event, but it’s a solid card overall.

Trick Williams Calls Out Ilja Dragunov

Trick Williams walked out doing a promo saying that Carmelo Hayes will take care of Ilja Dragunov at The Great American Bash, but tonight is all about this fight, so he wanted Dragunov to bring his ass out here.

Ilja Dragunov walked out there in street clothes. Trick brought the fight with him with punches to the body. Trick bodyslammed Dragunov on the floor. Trick threw Dragunov into the steel steps. When Trick tried a leaping attack, Dragunov came back with a jumping kick to the body. Dragunov delivered a German Suplex on the floor. They went back into the ring with Dragunov delivering about ten hard chops to the chest. Dragunov mounted Trick and hit him with a forearm to the head. Dragunov jumped onto Trick with another forearm smash to the head. Dragunov set up Trick against the turnbuckle. Dragunov charged, Carmelo Hayes was in the ring and Dragunov hit a running uppercut on the NXT Champion. Hayes sold it like it was the most devastating uppercut in the history of the universe because Hayes was down.

Dragunov held the NXT Title while doing a promo saying that Hayes was a man of honor. Dragunov told Hayes to hang on to his friendship with Trick because that’s all Hayes will have left after Dragunov takes the NXT Championship. Dragunov held the NXT Championship over Melo, who was still down selling one uppercut. End show.

Analysis: There are some fights in WWE that get broken up within ten seconds and this fight got go for about five minutes. There’s no “rule” about breaking up fights, but it would be nice if there was some consistency sometimes. I get why this lasted five minutes to put over Dragunov and set up the ending. Anyway, it was a way to take out Trick Williams for the Hayes-Dragunov match at The Great American Bash, assuming that’s the plan. I think it makes Dragunov look more vicious, more devasting and harder to beat. When you have a babyface vs. babyface title match like Melo-Dragunov, you can’t build it with a traditional story, so going for something like this works because it makes Dragunov look like a threat.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Rhea Ripley
  2. Ilja Dragunov, Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams
  3. Lyra Valkyria


The Scoreboard

This week: 7 out of 10

Last week: 6.75

2023 Average: 6.99


Final Thoughts

They did a nice job of building the seven matches at The Great American Bash on Sunday. Gable Steveson having his first WWE match at the Bash against Baron Corbin is an interesting choice, but I think Gable is ready and he’ll impress a lot of people. Gable was a bit nervous when he was out there by himself. When Corbin got out there, Gable did look more comfortable and those suplexes were impressive. The match and segments building the Carmelo Hayes/Ilja Dragunov match were effective. It’s tough when it’s a title match between two faces. I think they did a nice job of making Dragunov look like a threat.

Rhea Ripley had a very good match with Lyra Valkyria. Perhaps Ripley could have won in a quicker match, but I believe it was booked the right way with Lyra coming close to winning a few times even though we know Ripley was going to win. Dana Brooke beating Cora Jade in the Kendo Stick Match was solid too. They used the weapons well. The results of the matches all made sense.

I think the build for The Great American Bash has been good. It’s missing Bron Breakker, but other than that most of the top NXT stars are on the show. I’ll have a preview later in the week and write a review live on Sunday night most likely.

The next NXT Premium Live Event is The Great American Bash on July 30th. Here’s the lineup:

* NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov

* NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Wes Lee

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

* NXT Tag Team Titles: Gallus (c) vs. Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

* Gable Steveson vs. Baron Corbin

* Weapons Wild Match: Blair Davenport vs. Roxanne Perez

* KICKOFF SHOW: Nathan Frazer, Dragon Lee, Valentina Feroz & Yulisa León vs. The Meta-Four (Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, Jakara Jackson & Lash Legend)

You can watch NXT Great American Bash streaming live on Peacock at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and on WWE Network everywhere else.


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

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport