The John Report: WWE NXT 08/22/23 Review

WWE NXT August 22

This week’s WWE NXT was the Heatwave special with Carmelo Hayes-Wes Lee for the NXT Title, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley teaming up and more.

I am going to do a condensed review this week. I’ve been dealing with some back pain for a couple of days. It’s not a regular thing, but sometimes we push our bodies too much at the gym or doing other exercises and some random pain comes up to remind you “hey pal, you’re in 40s.” Random pains happen. I’m getting better day by day. Back to the gym soon hopefully. I watched this on the couch late Tuesday night, so now I’m sitting up a day later to write some summary thoughts on it. Sorry for not writing as much as usual.

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.

A video aired featuring NXT Tag Team Champions Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were hanging out by a pool talking about the Heatwave card.

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

Ilja Dragunov defeated Trick Williams

It was hard-hitting like every Dragunov match. After they went to a break, Trick hitting a jumping kick knocking Dragunov down and the crowd chanted “NXT” for them. Trick’s best nearfall was for a flatliner followed by a jumping left knee smash that looked strong. Dragunov won with a forearm smash off the middle rope for the knockout and pinfall win after 14 minutes. I thought it was a great match that worked in terms of putting over how talented Trick is when he gets a chance to show it. We know Dragunov is amazing, but I’m just happy Trick is getting more chances. Rating: ***1/2 (out of five).

Nathan Frazer asked Tyler Bate if he would be in his corner for the Heritage Cup match and Bate said yes.

Mustafa Ali argued with Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio backstage and mocked them a bit before leaving.

Ivy Nile defeated Ava

Nile won with the Dragon Sleeper. I believe I was Ava’s first singles match NXT TV. She looks the part of the pro wrestling, but Ava is still very early in her career. Nile won with a Dragon Sleeper. Good idea to keep it short. Rating: 1/2*

After the match, Nile fought off Schism members and Ava was taken away by two other Schism people.

Ilja Dragunov talked to Wes Lee in the locker room. Wes said he’ll be the NXT Champion and Dragunov said he wants that title. Wes was very confident.

Noam Dar defeated Nathan Frazer to win the NXT Heritage Cup Championship

This is the match with five three-minute rounds and it’s two out of three falls. Dar got the first fall because Dabba-Kato showed up to attack Tyler Bate at ringside, Frazer was distracted and Dar capitalized to win. Frazer was pressing to get a pin in the third round, but ran out of time. Dar did a cheap shot elbow after the round ended. In round four, Frazer hit a superplex and Final Cut neckbreaker/slam for the pinfall win to tie it 1-1. There was no winner after round five, so they went into overtime. Frazer was on the top rope, Mensah was on the apron, so Frazer kicked him down and Dar hit a running knee for the pinfall win in the sixth round.

These guys are really good. The finish was cheap, but also protects Frazer and could lead to a rematch. Dar getting his precious Cup back makes him more entertaining as a character since he’s obsessed with the Cup. Rating: ***1/4

WWE Photo

Ava was outside somewhere daring Ivy Nile to come find her.

Let’s Hear from Tiffany Stratton And Other Women

The NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton was in the ring for a promo. Tiffany claimed she was a perfect champion. Tiffany said she’ll be a better champion than Bayley, Asuka, Becky Lynch (who was not NXT Champion) and even Charlotte Flair. Gigi Dolin interrupted, told Tiffany to shut up and Gigi reminded Tiffany that she tapped out in the past. Kiana James was next complaining about Gigi not deserving a title match while Kiana said she does. Blair Davenport was next claiming she was next in line. Roxanne Perez was next as the fifth woman in this promo party. Perez decked Stratton with a forearm and then the other four women got into a fight while Stratton left. This obviously sets up a match to determine a title contender. Normal kind of booking here.

Drew Gulak, Damon Kemp and Charlie Dempsey were training. Myles Borne walked up to Drew since he trains with them, so Dempsey choked out Borne, who tapped. Drew said don’t tap, keep on fighting. Okay then.

Ava was outside somewhere trash-talking about Ivy Nile again so Ivy showed up. The Schism guys in the masks were The Creed Brothers. They said if you want to see Ava again, they want a Steel Cage Match next week.

Noam Dar and Meta-Four celebrated Dar being NXT Heritage Cup Champion. Dar read a letter about how there’s an eight-man tournament to compete to face Dar for the Heritage Cup at No Mercy.

Dragon Lee & Lyra Valkyria defeated The Judgment Day – Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley

It’s guys against guys and girls against girls here. Dragon had the advantage over Dominik, so Rhea tagged in and used her power to take control over Lyra. They did a spot with Lyra hitting a cross body block on Dominik. Dragon and Lyra were in control going into a break.

Ripley was dominating Lyra after the break. Lyra did a great counter DDT on a suplex attempt. Dragon got a nearfall after sitout Powerbomb but Ripley broke up the pin. After Ripley send Lyra into the barricade, Raquel Rodriguez showed up to fight with Ripley to the back. Dragon hit a flipping neckbreaker on Dominik to win. Dragon getting the pin likely sets him up for another match against Dominik for the NXT North American Title. It was given a long time at around 15 minutes. The win was a bit cheap due to Raquel taking out Ripley, but it furthers the story with Dragon getting a big win. Rating: ***1/4

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams were talking in Melo’s locker room. Melo said he’s cool being out there on his own. Trick told Melo to do his thing and they did their handshake.

Tiffany Stratton was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Tiffany said she knows Becky Lynch was not NXT Women’s Champion and claimed she was irrelevant. Stratton said those four women will fight it out for a chance against her. Mitchell summed it up. Tiffany: “Good enough. Toodles.”

They showed Thea Hail angry about her loss last week against Jacy Jayne because of Andre Chase. Jacy said they’ve all been let down by somebody around here. Jacy said that people like them always get through it. Hail just nodded without saying anything.

Baron Corbin Brawls With Von Wagner

As Wagner was making his entrance, Corbin attacked from behind. There was no match because they fought around the ringside area. Wagner sent Corbin into the steel steps. Corbin came back with a belly-to-back suplex on the floor. Wagner hit a big boot to the head. Bron Breakker showed up to attack Wagner. Bron has a shirt that says: “Best Spear in the Business.” It is pretty good! This should lead to another Bron/Von match this time with Von getting the big win.

The Schism group was backstage with The Dyad saying they will agree to The Creed Brothers’ demands if they let Ava go. The Dyad said they would end this once and for all.

A video aired about Dijak warning Eddy Thorpe about their match next week.

Next week on NXT:

* Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James vs. Gigi Dolin vs. Blair Davenport

* The Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad in a Steel Cage Match

* NXT Global Heritage Invitational Starts

* Dijak vs. Eddy Thorpe

NXT Championships: Carmelo Hayes vs. Wes Lee

It was mentioned by Vic saying that it was the first time two African American males competed against eachother for the NXT Title. Booker said it was great to see that. It was pretty even in the first minute and then Wes hit a dropkick. They did a Spanish Fly clothesline spot leading into a picture-in-picture break.

The match returned with Melo hitting a jumping kick to the back of the head and the Fadeaway leg drop off the ropes. Melo had a flurry of offense leading to a superkick for a two count. Wes got his best nearfall with the Meteora double knees. Wes hit a Phoenix Splash off the top for two. Melo set up Wes on the commentary table, Wes was in a crouching position and Melo jumped off the ropes with a DDT through the commentary table! That was wild. Amazing move. Back in the ring, Wes avoided Nothing But Net and Wes hit the Cardiac Kick. No cover by Wes because Melo crawled out of the ring. Wes went for a suicide dive, Melo moved and Wes went head first into the barricade. Wes was staggering around on the floor and got back in before ten. Melo went up top and hit Nothing But Net with Lee doing a front flip to sell it. It went 12 minutes. Melo celebrated with the NXT Title to end the show.

I really liked the action after the break. It started slow. I thought it was a very good championship match A notch below truly being great, but still a lot of fun to watch and an impressive performance by two outstanding athletes. I enjoyed it. Rating: ***3/4


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Carmelo Hayes
  2. Wes Lee
  3. Ilja Dragunov


The Scoreboard

This week: 8 out of 10

Last week: 7

2023 Average: 7


Final Thoughts

This was one of the better episodes of NXT this year due to the strong match quality from top to bottom. Everything on the show was built up well and given plenty of time aside from one match. I really enjoyed that Carmelo Hayes-Wes Lee match. That innovative DDT spot on the commentary really made the match stand out. Dragunov/Trick was very competitive and it made Trick look like he belongs even in defeat. The mixed tag with Dragon & Lyra beating Dominik & Rhea was booked well. I liked Dar-Frazer a lot too.

That one match that was short was Ivy Nile-Ava, which was really done as a way to build to Creed Brothers vs. The Dyad in a Steel Cage match next week.

I think NXT has been really good since WrestleMania and they continue to put on an entertaining television product every week. I get that it’s developmental for a lot of people, but I think booking wise the team that’s running the show is doing a very nice job with this roster. A lot of people are on every week, they are put in rivalries and nothing is ever rushed. Sometimes things move too slowly, but that allows others to get their time too. Anyway, I enjoyed Heatwave quite a bit.


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

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport