This week’s WWE NXT featured a four-way main event with Wes Lee, Johnny Gargano, Bronson Reed and Cameron Grimes.
We are on the road to NXT Deadline on December 9 meaning there is this week’s show and next week’s show to build it up. I will do the summary style review for most of the show and play-by-play for one or two matches.
The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo
It’s a title match, so I’ll go play-by-play here. There was a pre-match attack by the champions and then Stacks hit a dive over the top on the challengers. Tony and Stacks hit a Powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. Stacks tripped up Carrillo into the ropes and Tony tagged in with a belly-to-belly slam two times in a row. Tony did some punches to the ribs of both opponents and Carrillo hit a springboard kick on Tony while Tony was dealing with Angel. Tony D fought out of a double team attack leading to Stacks tagging back in with dropkicks. Stacks charged, Carrillo avoided a charging attack and Garza chopped Stacks along with a dropkick to the back. Angel & Carrillo did a double team slam to Stacks followed by a double superkick. Tony tagged in leading to an uppercut/suplex combo. Tony D wanted a superplex, but Carrillo turned it around with a Powerbomb while the challenger did a double team slam on Stacks off the top rope.
Stacks fought out of the heel corner and brought in Tony D with clotheslines on Carrillo along with an overhead belly-to-belly suplexes. Tony D hit a German Suplex along with a T-Bone Suplex. Garza tagged in with a running knee on Stacks, who was legal for his team. Stacks rolled up Garza for two. Stacks hit a running uppercut on Garza. Carrillo tagged in with a Powerbomb/Missile Dropkick combo for a two count. Tony D went into the ring with a spinebuster, Stacks hit a DDT and a knee to the face of Angel for a two count. Carrillo distracted the referee, Garza hit a low blow and Garza hit a double underhook sitout piledriver (you don’t see that in WWE very much) for two. When Stacks kicked out, he used his arm like he gave Angel a low blow. Tony D tagged in and tossed Carrillo out of the ring. Tony and Stacks hit the Bada Big Bada Boom move leading to Tony tossing Stacks over the top onto Carrillo. Tony covered Angel for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good with the champions finding a way to retain against talented heels. The key spot was Angel nearly winning after a low blow, so Stacks came back with his own low blow and the champions were able to retain after that. There are rumors of Angel & Carrillo going to the main roster again in the near future (to align with Santos Escobar), so I don’t think they’ll become the champions in NXT.
There was a video from earlier in the day showing some NXT guys talking about the Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin story. Dragunov walked in with his NXT Title to argue with Nathan Frazer, who preferred to have Corbin’s lifestyle over Dragunov’s lifestyle since Corbin had a lot of money, a big house, and his family is with him while Dragunov’s family is away. That argument led to a match being made for later in the show.
Jerry Lawler was at home announcing the Iron Survivor Challenge Qualifying Matches: Bron Breakker vs. Eddy Thorpe and Kelani Jordan vs. Kiana James.
Kelani Jordan entered for singles action.
There was a video about Johnny Gargano’s history as the NXT North American Champion.
Josh Briggs was backstage with Brooks Jensen & Fallon Henley. Briggs talked about beating Carmelo Hayes last week to qualify in the Iron Survivor Challenge qualifying match. Lexis King walked in saying that Briggs won because of him. King trashed Jensen and nobody picked him. Briggs said that Brooks could face Lexis later in the show to show why they should have picked Brooks.
Nikkita Lyons was shown in the crowd because she’s almost back in action after missing most of the year with a knee injury.
Women’s NXT Iron Survivor Challenge Qualifying Match: Kelani Jordan vs. Kiana James
Jordan hit a dropkick early in the match. James ran over Jordan with a shoulder tackle, but Jordan hit an impressive an arm drag. Jordan hit a headscissors on the floor. They went to the other side of the floor with James sending Jordan onto the hood of the commentary table.
Jordan was in control again with a spinning leg drop. James came back with a spinebuster for two. Jordan hit a move using her leg against the neck for a two count. James came back with a shot to the throat along with a 401k flatliner. Roxanne Perez was ringside hitting the ring bell, so that distracted James. Jordan hit a kick to the head and split-legged moonsault for the pinfall win. Vic said that Jordan was showing she was “one of a kind” as an RVD reference since that moonsault is an RVD move. It went about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kiana James
Analysis: **1/2 A few of these qualifying matches have had distraction finishes, so that’s what happened in this match as well. It’s a way to give somebody a meaningful win while continuing another rivalry. The James/Perez story continues while Jordan picks up one of the biggest wins of her career.
This win by Kelani Jordan means that she joins the Iron Survivor Challenge match with Tiffany Stratton, Lash Legend, Blair Davenport and one more woman.
A video aired about Cameron Grimes winning the NXT North American Title at Stand & Deliver in April 2022. Grimes is in action later.
Alpha Academy was backstage for a promo with Chad Gable talking about how close he was to winning the NXT Heritage Cup. Otis, Akira Tozawa and Maxxine Dupri were with Gable, who called Meta-Four savages and idiots. Gable challenged Meta-Four to a six-person mixed tag team match. Thank you!
Andre Chase breaks his silence up next.
There was an NXT Anonymous video showing Lexis King following Trick Williams on October 17th when Trick was mysteriously attacked.
Andre Chase of Chase University had a fake press conference with Duke Hudson, Thea Hail and Jacy Jayne standing by. Chase addressed the investigation on going about Chase University. Chase spoke about suspicious activity like gambling and the misuse of funds. Chase said that it was all true while saying he takes full responsibility for the university being in debt. Chase was asked how much money he owes and who does he owe? He said it’s a significant amount of money. Chase apologized to the student body while saying is irresponsibility caused this.
Analysis: It’s not that interesting of a storyline, but I guess NXT writers wanted to do some sort of scandal story.
Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge Qualifying Match: Bron Breakker vs. Eddy Thorpe
Thorpe had taped ribs for this match to sell the attack he suffered last week. They exchanged some holds leading to Thorpe dropkicking Bron out of the ring. Bron caught a leaping Thorpe with a powerslam. Thorpe got some offense with a cross body block, but Bron came back with a double gutbuster using the knees to the ribs.
Bron was in full control with a German Suplex along with Bron sending Thorpe into the turnbuckle a few times. Thorpe got some offense going with a high-angle belly-to-back suplex and a German Suplex. Thorpe was selling the rib injury and limping around, so Bron hit him with a Spear for the pinfall win.
Winner by pinfall: Bron Breakker
Analysis: **3/4 I thought this match might be hurt by interference with Von Wagner distracting Breakker, but instead Bron got the win in a competitive matchup. I liked the story because Thorpe was selling the rib injury well and Bron came back one Spear to pick up the win.
This win by Bron Breakker means that she joins the Iron Survivor Challenge match with Trick Williams, Dijak, Josh Briggs and one more woman.
Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes were in the locker room talking about Lexis King being seen in that NXT Anonymous video. Melo wanted to take out King tonight. Trick said he had to be smart about this since he’s in the Iron Survivor Challenge match. Melo said that Lexis took his spot in the match. Trick told Melo that they are past that.
Roxanne Perez was backstage in the women’s locker room with Ava saying she heard there’s a Last Chance match for people who failed in the Iron Survivor Challenge qualifying matches. Kiana James walked into brawl with Perez and other women got involved too.
The NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov entered for singles action.
A video aired about Bronson Reed’s time as the NXT North American Champion.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Nathan Frazer
Ilja hit a running kick to start followed by a barrage of chops while Ilja was very intense as usual. Ilja hit multiple German Suplexes. Frazer got some offense with a hurricanrana and a knee to the jaw. Frazer hit a leaping superkick for two. Frazer connected with a missile dropkick off the top rope. Frazer avoided a move leading to a springboard into a reverse DDT. Ilja avoided a Phoenix Splash and hit a jumping kick along with a Powerbomb. Ilja with an H-Bomb forearm twice and a running H-Bomb for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ilja Dragunov
Analysis: **3/4 I enjoyed that for what it was. This could have been a great 15-minute match with Frazer getting a bunch of nearfalls, but I don’t mind how this match was done with Dragunov dominating the match while winning in a decisive way. It put Ilja over in a big way as the NXT Champion.
After the match, Baron Corbin appeared on the video screen saying he was talking through a screen because Ilja is used to doing that because that’s how Ilja talks to his family. Corbin said that he does have more money and more things than Dragunov, but he’s going to take that NXT Title so that Dragunov can go back to Germany. Corbin mentioned they will go face to face next week.
Lyra Valkyria, the NXT Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Lyra talked about how the Iron Survivor Challenge match. Fallon Henley walked in saying she’s going to make the most of her Last Chance match next week. There was another woman hiding behind a curtain saying Lyra would just beat Fallon if they had a match.
A video aired about Karmen Petrovic about being a successful martial artist who’s a third-degree black belt in karate while trashing Arianna Grace for never shutting up.
Meta-Four’s Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson were backstage with Dar’s NXT Heritage Cup. Dar talked about surviving Chad Gable’s ankle lock. Dar accepted the Alpha Academy six-person mixed tag team match for next week.
A video was shown of Moments Ago showing that Joe Gacy was hiding under the ring. Gacy said that being beneath you is where he wants to be. There was some more rambling to it.
Arianna Grace vs. Karmen Petrovic
It a slow pace early on with Petrovic working over the arm a bit. Grace got some offense with a splash, but Petrovic came back with a nearfall. Joe Gacy was under the ring. He ran out to ringside, took the ring bell and ran to the back.
Grace spent about a minute holding Petrovic in a chinlock. Petrovic knocked down Grace with a spinning kick to the back. Grace did a blatant eye gouge while the referee was trying to separate the win. Grace put Petrovic on her shoulders and slammed Petrovic to the mat for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Arianna Grace
Analysis: ** They are still early in their careers and it shows. Grace is good at character work. Grace is a natural heel. Petrovic looks like a fighter and is improving every time I see her. Grace cheated to win with the eye gouge leading to her finisher.
After the match, Joe Gacy was in the crowd with the ring bell and was ringing the bell repeatedly.
Wes Lee was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell, who asked about his main event. Lee talked about the challenge tonight against three tough opponents. Mitchell wished him good luck and Lee said it’s not about luck, it’s about desire.
Brooks Jensen (w/Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley) vs. Lexis King
Jensen hit a spinning kick to the head to knock King out of the ring. Jensen hit a cross body block on King on the floor.
King was in control with a knee to the ribs along with a kick to the back. King grabbed a headlock leading to Jensen breaking free and a belly-to-back suplex connected by Jensen. Brooks hit an atomic drop followed by a superkick. Jensen hit a missile dropkick for two. Jensen hit a back body drop. Carmelo Hayes showed up at ringside, so Briggs got a hold of him. King gave Jensen with a shot to the face followed by a corkscrew neckbreaker called the Coronation for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lexis King
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match. I thought Jensen was more impressive than King, but when it comes to being a character, King is doing a nice job as a crafty heel that found a way wot win.
After the match, Carmelo Hayes was being held back by referees. I assume they are going with Carmelo Hayes against Lexis King at Deadline too.
A video aired about the Iron Survivor Challenge matches at NXT Deadline.
Next week on NXT:
* Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge Last Chance Qualifier: Carmelo Hayes vs. Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey vs. Eddy Thorpe.
* Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge Last Chance Qualifier: Roxanne Perez vs. Thea Hail vs. Fallon Henley vs. Kiana James.
* Alpha Academy vs. Meta-Four in a six-person mixed tag team match.
Wes Lee made his entrance for the main event. The NXT North American Champion “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio was on commentary for this match. Bronson Reed from Raw was next. Cameron Grimes from Smackdown was third in this match. Johnny Gargano from Raw was the last man to enter the match.
Wes Lee vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes
If Wes Lee wins this match, then he gets to challenge Dominik Mysterio for the NXT North American Title at Deadline. I’ll go play-by-play here.
The fans chanted “welcome back” to the three main roster guys. Reed ran over Lee with a running body attack. Reed with a double clothesline on Grimes & Gargano. Reed launched Lee off the top rope leading to Lee hitting a kick on the other two guys.
Reed hit a delayed vertical suplex on Gargano. Reed lifted up Grimes, but Lee was back up with a kick. The three smaller guys all hit strikes on Reed with running elbows, kicks and a Lee dropkick that sent Reed out of the ring. Lee and Gargano dropkicked Grimes out of the ring. Lee shook hands with Gargano as they each tried moves, but they kept avoiding each other. Reed gave Lee a uranage onto Gargano. Reed hit a spinebuster on Grimes. They did a combo spot where Gargano did a catapult that sent Grimes into Reed’s groin. Ouch. Lee gave Reed a hurricanrana out of the ring. Grimes kicked down Lee and kicked Gargano as well. Grimes hit a running kick on Gargano. Grimes hit a double hurricanrana on Gargano & Lee at the same time. Lee hit a running suicide dive onto Reed on the floor. Grimes kicked Lee to knock him down. Gargano hit a suicide dive onto Reed on the floor and a Gargano suicide dive on Lee on the floor too. Gargano also hit a suicide dive on Grimes on the floor. Back in the ring, Gargano hit a slingshot Spear on Grimes for two but Lee made the save. Lee hit a jumping double knee attack on Grimes for two. Lee went for double knees on Reed, but Reed caught him and Reed hit a Death Valley Driver for two. Grimes hit an enziguri kick along with a superkick. Grimes hit a cross body block on Reed off the top for two. Reed got back into it by lifting up Gargano and Grimes in his arms. Lee was on the top, so Reed grabbed him too leading to a Samoan Drop slam on all three guys. Ouch. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that as Reed got a two count on Grimes.
Reed battled Grimes by the turnbuckle leading to Grimes, Lee and Gargano working together to hit a Powerbomb on Reed! Another “holy shit” chant from the crowd. The trio of Lee, Gargano & Grimes took turns delivering strikes. Lee hit a cross body block on Grimes. That looked like a bit of a mixup as a spot. Lee with a superkick. Lee ran the ropes leading to Grimes doing his flipping cross body block on Lee for two. That’s what they were going for. Gargano with a kick on Grimes. Gargano hit a slam on Grimes leading to the Gargano Escape submission, but Lee broke that up. Reed gave Lee a Buckle Bomb along with Reed hitting two senton splashes. Lee avoided a charging Reed, who went to the turnbuckle. Reed tossed Lee from the turnbuckle onto the two opponents. Reed went up top where Ivar showed out of nowhere to brawl with Reed since they are rivals on Raw. Reed hit a running shoulder tackle on Ivar. They were out on the floor with Ivar hitting a spin kick. Reed sent Ivar into the barricade. Ivar and Reed went fighting to the back. Lee got a couple of nearfalls on his two opponents. Gargano with a running kick, Grimes with a kick, Gargano with a kick and Grimes hit a Cave In on Grimes. Lee hit the Cardiac Kick on Grimes for the pinfall win. That went 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Wes Lee
Analysis: **** That was an outstanding match. It was given a lot of time with high stakes and they delivered a very exciting four-way match that is not easy to do. I think if the stipulation was that whoever wins the match gets the NXT North American Title match at Deadline it would have been better. The way they had this stipulation with Wes needing to win to get the title shot against Dominik made it too obvious that Wes was going to win. If they did it the way I suggested then maybe some of the nearfalls for the other guys would have worked better. I thought Reed really stood out in the match as the power guy who was different from the other three men, so everything he was doing really made him look dominant. Gargano is always awesome while Grimes was terrific as well. That ending with Ivar taking out Reed saves Reed a bit since he wasn’t pinned here. It also led to that exciting finish with Lee finding a way to get the win thanks to that Cardiac Kick on Grimes while Gargano was too far away to break it up. The right man won here obviously.
After the match, Wes Lee and Dominik Mysterio had a staredown since that match is official for NXT Deadline.
Analysis: I think Wes could get the title back, but I’m fine with Dominik as champion too.
There was a parking lot fight between Roxanne Perez and Kiana James. They were fighting by a car. They kept on brawling as security arrived to try to break it up. End show.
Analysis: The NXT parking lot is a dangerous place. We know that.
Three Stars of the Show
- Wes Lee
- Ilja Dragunov
- Cameron Grimes, Bronson Reed & Johnny Gargano
This week: 7.75 out of 10
Last week: 6.25
2023 Average: 7.09
Final Thoughts on WWE NXT
I thought it was an excellent episode of NXT thanks in part to the exciting four-way main event match between Wes Lee, Johnny Gargano, Cameron Grimes and Bronson Reed. They absolutely crushed it and had one of the better NXT TV matches this year. Lee winning was obvious based on the stipulation, but I thought they really nailed it in terms of putting on an exciting, fast-paced match that the fans loved. We want to see great matches, but it’s important to have matches with stakes too, so having Wes earn a title shot at Dominik Mysterio’s NXT North American Title makes the win mean even more.
There were some matches with cheap endings to further stories. I thought the Tag Team Title match to open the show was really well done. Nice use of low blows leading into the finish. Ilja Dragunov destroyed Nathan Frazer in their match. As I wrote in the review, they could have had a great match that went a lot longer, but I think having the NXT Champion Dragunov win in a dominant manner is the right way to book him.
The card for NXT Deadline is coming together nicely. I’m glad Bron Breakker is in the Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge match. Next week has high stakes with the two Iron Survivor Challenge qualifying matches.
The next WWE NXT Premium Live Event is Deadline on Saturday, December 9th with these matches set so far.
* NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Baron Corbin
* Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge: Trick Williams vs. Dijak vs. Josh Briggs vs. Bron Breakker and one more wrestler.
* NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Wes Lee
* Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge: Tiffany Stratton vs. Lash Legend vs. Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan and one more wrestler.
That’s all we know so far.
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