The John Report: WWE NXT 12/05/23 Review

wwe nxt december 5

This week’s WWE NXT featured two Iron Survivor Challenge qualifying matches on the last NXT episode before Deadline.

It’s the last NXT episode before NXT Deadline on December 9th. I will do the summary style review for most of the show 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.

The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Booker T as usual.

Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge Qualifying Match: Roxanne Perez vs. Thea Hail (w/Jacy Jayne) vs. Kiana James vs. Fallon Henley

The winner gains a spot in the Iron Survivor Challenge match at NXT Deadline. There are no disqualifications and no countouts in a four-way match. There were a lot of nearfalls by all four women in the first couple of minutes. Perez took a big bump on the floor and that led to a break.


The match returned with James/Henley/Hail doing a Tower of Doom spot with James hitting the Powerbomb part of it. Perez hit an impressive cross body block on James. Perez knocked James off the apron to the floor and Perez cleared off the commentary table. James and Perez both went onto the barricade by the table, so then they punched eachother and bumped off the barricade through the commentary table at ringside. Hail went for a rollup, Henley kicked out of it to send Hail into the ropes and Henley hit a running knee to pin Hail to win. It went about 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Fallon Henley

Analysis: *** A fast-paced match that was exciting most of the way. I didn’t know who was going to win, so that made it exciting towards the end of the match. Henley hasn’t gotten a lot of big wins in the last two years, so I’m glad she’ll be in the Iron Survivor Challenge match at Deadline. She’s a good performer. As for the Perez/James spot, that continued their story and we learned more about that later in the show.

That means the Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge match is Tiffany Stratton vs. Lash Legend vs. Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan vs. Fallon Henley.

Analysis: I think my pick at this point is Blair Davenport to win, but maybe it’s time to push Fallon Henley. I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

Ilja Dragunov, the NXT Champion, was shown arriving ahead of his face off with Baron Corbin.

Lyra Valkyria was interviewed by Kelly Kincaid. Lyra said that she’s heading to Deadline to watch the Iron Survivor Challenge. Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez walked in with Lola to warn Lyra she could cash in her contract any time she wanted. Lopez suggested maybe it could be a Women’s Tag Team Title match. Tatum Paxley walked in as a Lyra admirer wondering if Lola was ready as she says she is.

Wes Lee was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.


A recap was shown of Wes Lee earning his NXT North American Title match last week.

Let’s Hear from Wes Lee

Wes Lee was in the ring in street clothes with a cane supporting his left leg. Lee said that he was hoping to win back the NXT North American Title, but unfortunately, it won’t happen like that. Lee talked about how Dominik Mysterio can’t handle his heart. Lee talked about how the fan support has made him believe in himself. Lee claimed that he had an injury that was going to require surgery and it was going to take time for him to come back. Lee said he doesn’t know when he can return. Lee said he’ll cement his legacy as one of the best to ever do this. Lee said that this is not a goodbye and he is far from being done. Lee said: “For now, I’ll see ya later.”

Dominik Mysterio walked out with the North American Title and he got into the ring with Lee. Dominik said that it looked like Wes can barely stand. Dominik asked Lee how his back felt after carrying WWE for the past two years. Dominik wanted Wes to watch what Dom was doing with the title. Dominik claimed he had the night off at Deadline and chill for the night with Mami (Rhea Ripley). Lee said that Dominik would not have the night off.

Rey Mysterio appeared on the video screen saying he’ll be at Deadline to see this man take the title from Dominik: Dragon Lee. Rey called Dragon the future of Lucha Libre.

Dragon Lee got into the ring with Dominik and Dragon hit a running double axhandle. Dragon tried to do a lifting move, but Dominik slipped out of it and left the ring.

(Note: Later in the show they said that Wes Lee had to have back surgery and he’s out for 8-12 months. Poor guy.)

Analysis: I hadn’t heard about an injury to Wes Lee, so I was watching this promo thinking it was just done to lure Dominik out there and to have Wes kick his ass. Instead, it appears it’s a legit injury, which sucks for Wes since he was in a title match at Deadline. I feel so sorry for Wes because he’s such a great worker that has grown a lot over the last year and to see him out for a long time is awful. Dragon Lee has feuded with Dominik in the past although Dragon is on Smackdown now, so I was hoping they would pick somebody that was on NXT instead. Anyway, it should be a great match.

There was a video from moments ago when Kiana James was in the trainer’s room where Roxanne Perez also was. They argued with each other and challenged each other to a match at Deadline while referees held them back. Ava walked in to say she’ll go see if she can make it official for Saturday at Deadline. That was it.


A video aired about the Men’s NXT Breakout tournament with these guys shown in the video: Riley Osborne, Keanu Carver, Tavion Heights, Dion Lennox, Luca Crusifino, Myles Borne, Trey Bearhill and Oba Femi.

Analysis: I don’t know much about this group, but I look forward to the matches to see who impresses and who wins.

Lola Vice (w/Elektra Lopez) vs. Tatum Paxley

Paxley did some unique offense by choking Vice against the bottom rope with Paxley pulling on the arms. Paxley hit a running cross body block. After a couple of minutes of Paxley offense, Vice got a trip leading to an ankle lock. Vice with some strikes to the body, then a back first and a kick to the ribs. Vice hit a running hip attack for two. After Paxley got a rollup for two, Vice got back up and Vice hit a spin kick to the head for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lola Vice

Analysis: ** The positive momentum continues for Lola Vice since she was the NXT Breakout Women’s tournament winner. Paxley hasn’t been featured much, but she is at least getting to portray a dark character that could lead to something good for her.

Nathan Frazer and Axiom were shown in a bathroom last week and agreed to have a match like they have done several times in the past.

Alpha Academy made their entrance for a six-person tag team match.


Baron Corbin was interviewed by Kelly Kincaid in the parking lot. Corbin said he’s got Ilja Dragunov out of his mind and out of control.

There was a video shown from NXT Anonymous on October 17 when Carmelo Hayes was shown talking to Trick Williams and then Trick left the room, which was when Trick was attacked.

The announcers were shown on camera where Joe Gacy was in the crowd telling Vic that they love him.

Alpha Academy – Chad Gable, Otis & Maxxine Dupri (w/Akira Tozawa) vs. Meta-Four – Noam Dar, Oro Mensah & Lash Legend (w/Jakara Jackson)

Gable applied an ankle lock on Dar, but Dar got to the ropes and brought in Oro. Gable avoided a kick and got an armdrag takedown. Lash tagged in so Massine had to go in for her team. Maxxine hit a hurricanrana for a two count. Otis tagged in leading to Oro and Dar going for a suplex, but Otis suplexed both of them at the same time. Gable was back in with a double clothesline.


Gable was in control of Dar with a German suplex leading to Dar taking a moonsault bump. Otis ran over Oro with a shoulder tackle and an elbow to the face. Oro tried to jump onto Otis and have Otis catch him, but Otis ended up slamming him instead. Otis hit his Caterpillar elbow. Lash tagged in, so Otis did his hip shaking and Otis ran into Lash, who hit Otis with a body slam! Huge pop for that and a “holy shit” chant too. Maxxine hit a suplex on Lash for two. They did a spot where Maxxine jumped off Gable’s shoulders and went over the top to dive onto Lash & Otis on the floor. Gable and Dar were legal as Dar went for the Nova Roller kick, but Gable caught him with the Ankle Lock and Dar tapped out! Thank you! It went 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Alpha Academy – Chad Gable, Otis & Maxxine Dupri

Analysis: **3/4 This was an entertaining match with some comedy spots that worked well. That spot with Lash Legend giving Otis a body slam was amazing! I loved it. The Gable-Dar match was great when they competed in singles, but this was all about having fun. Since Chad Gable got the win here, he will likely get a shot at Dar for the Heritage Cup again.

A video aired from earlier in the week featuring the three Gallus boys along with the Hank & Tank tag team. Hank & Tank wanted Gallus to teach them how to be a better team, so Hank & Tank wanted a match on NXT next week. Gallus agreed to it.

Ava was shown walking outside of Shawn Michaels’ office. Ava said that Roxanne Perez and Kiana James will settle their differences at Deadline in a Steel Cage Match.


Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge Summit

The five women in the Iron Survivor Challenge match at Deadline were seated in the ring: Tiffany Stratton, Lash Legend, Blair Davenport, Kelani Jordan & Fallon Henley. This summit was hosted by Byron Saxton. The winner of the match at Deadline gets an NXT Women’s Title match.

Stratton bragged about how she was the center of the universe and the favorite going into this match at Deadline. Stratton said that Charlotte Flair herself said that she is the future of the women’s division. Stratton mentioned she’s the only former NXT Women’s Champion and she’ll become Tiffy two-time champion.

Jordan mentioned that she’s the newest woman in the match, but none of these women were in last year’s match. Jordan touted her gymnastics background and said she knows how to go 25 minutes. Jordan said she’ll go at a pace that none of the women can keep up with her.

Lash spoke up saying that she thinks she is more athletic than Tiffany and said she didn’t look athletic when Becky Lynch took that championship. Lash said she knows about multiple pinfalls. Lash bragged about how she’s going to win while Jordan said she’ll send Lash to the penalty box in the match.

Blair said she didn’t like anybody in the ring right now and didn’t care about their opinions. Blair said they’ll all be on the shelf like Nikkita Lyons and Sol Ruca while she also took care of Gigi Dolin as well.

Henley said that she didn’t care about whose ass she had to kick to win this match. Henley talked trash about all of her opponents while saying that Jordan and her don’t have any problems, but they are both going after the same thing. Stratton said that Henley has a 0% chance of winning.

Henley started the fight with Stratton while the other women got involved as well. Referees ran in to try to break it up.

Analysis: All five women got to speak before it turned into a brawl. That’s typical for a segment like that where everybody gets to say “I am going to win because” and then the fight begins. I think Stratton is the best talker in that group, but I liked the confidence shown by Henley. I’m not sure who I am picking to win that match. I think I’ll make a choice when I do the preview on Friday.


Nathan Frazer vs. Axiom

They had a Best of Three series last year that Frazer won, so this is a match to renew the rivalry. They each did backflips to get out of moves and then a double kick to knock each other down. Axiom hit an incredible German Suplex while Frazer was going off the middle ropes. Frazer hit a superkick on a leaping Axiom. After Axiom knocked Frazer out of the ring, Frazer hit a moonsault off the top onto Frazer on the floor.

The five women from the Iron Survivor Challenge Match went into the ring so Axiom-Frazer left the ring. Their match was done. It went about three minutes.

Match Result: No Contest

Analysis: * It was a nice tease of a match that was used to further the women’s feud going into Deadline. We find out later in the night that Axiom and Frazer will compete on the Deadline Kickoff Show, so that’s a great match to start the show.

Nikkita Lyons showed up and kicked Blair Davenport because Lyons is back after missing most of the year with a knee injury. Four women were brawling in the ring as the segment ended.

Analysis: Welcome back to Nikkita after a long layoff. I think she’ll win the NXT Women’s Title in 2024. I thought it would have happened this year, but the injury prevented that.

Andre Chase Addresses Chase U

Andre Chase was addressing the Chase U students talking about the misuse of funds and illegal gambling usage. Andre admitted he was the one responsible for these issues. Chase said he was disappointed in himself. Chase said they were under academic probation so sanctions have been placed under academic probation. Thea Hail wanted to let them know how much he actually knows. Chase said he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus interest because he went through a third party. Chase said that he hasn’t been able to pay back an organization so the university and himself are in a compromising position. Chase claimed he’ll restore the university to its full glory. Duke Hudson asked if there was anything else they could do to help. People suggested a bake sale or car wash. Some British guy spoke and Thea Hail was staring at him. Chase ended it.

Analysis: It’s been two years of this Chase University thing. I think they should just move on from it, but it sounds like there’s some story planned for it. I can’t say it’s riveting television.

Trick Williams went up to Carmelo Hayes backstage about the NXT Anonymous video. Melo said he had to handle this Last Chance match. Trick wanted answers. Melo said he had to handle this and they could talk about it after.

Carmelo Hayes entered for the last chance match.


Lexis King was featured in a video saying he should have known the cameras would find him. King said that the fans are talking about Carmelo Hayes and he wouldn’t interfere in his friend’s match and cost him the match at Deadline. King said they will be on the same page very soon. King said that Melo knows that King doesn’t miss either. King wishes Melo good luck and said he loves it when a plan comes together.

Eddy Thorpe did a pre-match interview admitting his ribs are hurting, but he can still get into the Iron Survivor Challenge and get his hands on Dijak. Thorpe entered for the match.

Iron Survivor Challenge Last Chance Qualifying Match: Carmelo Hayes vs. Tyler Bate vs. Eddy Thorpe vs. Joe Coffey

The winner gets into the Iron Survivor Challenge match at Deadline. There are no countouts and no disqualifications in a four-way match. I’ll go play by play here.

Thorpe had his ribs taped. Thorpe hit a German Suplex on Joe and Melo got a rollup on Thorpe for two. Thorpe hit a belly-to-back suplex on Melo. Bate hit an uppercut off the middle turnbuckle on Thorpe. Joe was back in, so Bate did a spin to Joe as well leading to a slam for two as Thorpe hit an elbow drop on Joe. Melo went after Bate, who hit a dropkick. Joe did his own spinning move on Bate leading to a slam where Joe sat on top for two. Melo hit an impressive springboard clothesline on Thorpe. Melo and Bate tried a double team move, but Thorpe hit them with a cross body block. All four guys hit moves ending with Thorpe doing a spinebuster on Melo leading to all four guys down on the mat selling, which led to a break.


Joe decked Thorpe with an uppercut after Thorpe got a two count on Bate. Melo did a springboard attack off the ropes leading to a double DDT. Thorpe hit a dropkick to knock Melo down. Thorpe hit a cross body block on Joe and a German Suplex on Melo. Thorpe hit a brainbuster on Bate for two because Joe made the save. Thorpe knocked Joe out of the ring leading to Thorpe hitting suicide dives on Joe and Bate back to back. Thorpe hit a running kick on Melo on the floor. Joe gave Thorpe a spinebuster on the bottom half of the steel steps. The referee called for WWE Medical to help Thorpe, who has been dealing with a rib injury. Joe went up top and hit a missile dropkick to knock Melo & Bate down. Melo hit a sunset flip on Joe leading to a German Suplex on Bate. Joe hit a splash on Melo and Bate at the same time for two. Bate got his knees up to block a suplex on Joe. Melo hit a Lungblower on Bate for two and Joe made the save. Melo went for a springboard attack, so Joe hit a headbutt to the ribs. Joe fought with Bate, who hit an uppercut on Joe. Bate hit an uppercut on Melo. Bate with a clothesline on Joe followed by the Tiger Driver 97 on Joe for the pinfall win. Melo was unable to make the save. It went 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tyler Bate

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match that was fast paced and full of action. It really could have gone to any of the four guys and it would have been cool with me. Thorpe sold the rib injury well while continuing to fight back before Joe planted him on the steps with a spinebuster to take Thorpe out. It turned into a triple threat at that point when I thought that Melo might win, but instead it was Bate pinning Joe to earn the spot in the Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge match. If it got more time it could have been a more special match, but it was still really well done for the time given.

That means the Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge Match at Deadline is Trick Williams vs. Dijak vs. Josh Briggs vs. Bron Breakker vs. Tyler Bate.

Tyler Bate did a promo saying that the Iron Survivor Challenge Match is a match unlike any other. Bate said that those four men aren’t going to stand a chance…and here comes Dijak. Dijak said that Bate was delusional like this piece of trash Eddy Thorpe, so Dijak kicked Thorpe in the ribs. Dijak ripped on Bate thinking he has a chance at Deadline.

Bron Breakker joined the promo party by saying that they had no idea what they are in for on Saturday. Bron said that they better hope and pray that Bron is the last entrant in the match. Bron said if he’s not then they will go into the penalty box and that’s probably the safest place to be. Bron told them to save themselves.

Josh Briggs was next showing confidence saying he likes being underestimated. Briggs said he’s been waiting for this his entire life and he’s betting on himself. Briggs said at Deadline, he is shocking the world.

Trick Williams made his entrance with the fans cheering for him and singing “WHOOP THAT TRICK” for him as Trick said he was going to win. Trick got into the ring, Dijak mocked him and it turned into a five-way brawl with security breaking it up quickly.

Analysis: It was yet another brawl featuring Iron Survivor Challenge competitors. We saw it with the women earlier in the night and now it was the men’s turn. It certainly repetitive with the promos leading to the brawling. I get why it’s done, but I don’t think it’s that creative when we saw something similar earlier in the night.

The Ilja Dragunov-Baron Corbin face to face was up next.


Carmelo Hayes was shown backstage talking to Ava saying he knows she can get things done around here. Ava said consider it done and left. Trick Williams walked in wondering if Melo texted Lexis King to take him out. Melo said it wasn’t him. Melo said he would never work with King. Melo said he’s going to whoop King’s ass on Saturday and Ava’s going to make his match happen. Trick said that on Saturday, Melo opens the show and Trick closes the show.

Analysis: That’s another match added to Deadline with Carmelo Hayes facing Lexis King. That makes sense since they can’t leave Melo off of an NXT PLE show.

There was a rundown of the NXT Deadline lineup for this Saturday, December 9th.

* Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge: Trick Williams vs. Dijak vs. Josh Briggs vs. Bron Breakker vs. Tyler Bate

* Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge: Tiffany Stratton vs. Lash Legend vs. Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan vs. Fallon Henley

* Steel Cage Match: Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James

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

* Axiom vs. Nathan Frazer (KICKOFF SHOW)

* NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Baron Corbin

They didn’t mention Carmelo Hayes vs. Lexis King, but that’s expected to be on the show too.

Face To Face: Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin

Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin were seated in the ring together with a table. There was a black carpet in the ring. Ilja said that Corbin has turned this into more than just a title match. Ilja said that Corbin brought Ilja’s personal life into this. Ilja said that Corbin has crossed a line by mentioning Ilja’s son and the life that he wants to give his son.

Corbin said that Ilja could have brought his family here, he could have found a way, but instead Ilja got on a plane and he left. Corbin said that Ilja has made excuses while he sleeps in a cold apartment. Corbin said what Ilja is doing right now is what Ilja’s father did to him. Ilja was angry, so he threw off his jacket and his tie.

Ilja trashed Corbin for being a materialistic son of a bitch that brags about all of the expensive things in his life. Corbin said that this is about vindication for himself. Corbin said that Ilja has to win to justify to his son while he is here. Corbin said that the fans know that he has never stopped through brand stages, he has fought through COVID and been a prominent figure on TV for eight-plus years and he is taking what is his. Corbin said that Ilja’s son is missing him and Ilja misses his soon too. Corbin said that he never has to look over his shoulder and he understands why. Corbin wanted Ilja to do something right now. Corbin said he’s been through hell and back and he always finds a way. Corbin set up a table against the turnbuckle and told Ilja to do it right now for his family. Corbin said that on Saturday he’ll take Ilja’s only reason to be here. Corbin called Ilja a coward. Dragunov hugged Corbin as if he was going to slam him and then Ilja said that the only one that can slay the Dragon is the Dragon himself.

Analysis: I think Corbin has done a nice job of making it personal by talking about Ilja Dragunov’s family a lot and Dragunov has also shown confidence throughout the storyline. I don’t expect Dragunov to lose, but if he did lose, Corbin would do a nice job as a cocky heel champion.

The five men in the Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge Match arrived at ringside again and they kept on brawling like the women earlier in the night. Referees were trying to break it up, but the wrestlers kept on fighting in the ring. There were a lot of punches being thrown. Bron charged at Dijak, who moved and Bron gave Briggs & Trick a Spear through the table in the corner. Bate bounced off the ropes and hit a lariat on Dijak, so Bate was the last man standing. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It was yet another brawl to end the show. A lot of wild brawling on this show. I’m not surprised they ended it with something like that.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Wes Lee – We will miss him while he’s out.
  2. Tyler Bate
  3. Fallon Henley


The Scoreboard

This week: 7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.75

2023 Average: 7.09


Final Thoughts on WWE NXT

I thought it was a good show most of the way while doing a very nice job of building up the Deadline matches. The two four-way matches were the best matches. I’m happy for Fallon Henley winning that women’s match while Tyler Bate is a deserving winner for the men as well. They also had the women brawl and the men brawl in separate segments. It felt a bit repetitive, but I get why they did it to tease the chaos that’s coming in the Iron Survivor Challenge matches.

I’m sad for Wes Lee announcing his injury that requires surgery and a layoff that could take a full year. Wes has been one of NXT’s best performers in the last year and I’ll certainly miss him while he’s gone.

Lastly, a shoutout to Lash Legend for that body slam that she did to Otis. That was very impressive. Bring on NXT Deadline this Saturday night.

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 vs. Tyler Bate

* 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 vs. Fallon Henley

* Steel Cage Match: Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James

* Carmelo Hayes vs. Lexis King

* Axiom vs. Nathan Frazer (KICKOFF SHOW)

That’s likely the full card.


Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport