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

wwe nxt december 12

This week’s WWE NXT featured more Carmelo Hayes-Trick Williams drama, a big women’s tag team match, the Dijak/Thorpe rivalry continued and more.

It was the follow up show after NXT Deadline last Saturday. I thought it was a pretty good NXT PLE, but I also think NXT had better ones this year too.

I’m going to do a condensed review this week. I’ll do a quick summary of the matches and promos along with my analysis right after. I’ve been dealing with a sickness since Monday night. I did a COVID test and it’s not that. It’s Wednesday morning now and I’m feeling a bit better, but I’m not normal yet. I watched this show while on the couch on Tuesday night, so now I’m writing about it in the morning. Normally I write while I watch. I just wasn’t able to do it last night.

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.

Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes were shown walking up to the building with fake media there. Trick talked about how great he was feeling while Melo went into the building.

A video package aired about NXT Deadline from last Saturday.

Carmelo Hayes was on the ground selling a left knee injury. Referees checked on Melo and Trick showed up wondering what happened.

Let’s Hear from Cora Jade

Cora Jade was in the ring doing a promo bragging about how she was back after four months. She certainly looks like a “bigger” star, that’s for sure. Jade bragged that everything is better when she is around.

Lyra Valkyria appeared with the NXT Women’s Title to remind us that Jade attacked Lyra from behind at Deadline. Blair Davenport showed up to brag about winning the Iron Survivor Challenge to set up her title match against Lyra at New Year’s Evil. Nikkita Lyons returned to tell Blair that she hadn’t forgotten what Blair did in the parking lot. It turned into a fight with the faces Lyra & Lyons clearing the ring.

Analysis: It set up an obvious tag team match for later in the show. Some of the dialogue is a bit cheesy at times, but they generally did a good job of getting their points across.

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

Dragon Lee, the new NXT North American Champion, said that he would be a fighting champion like Wes Lee was. Dragon has a match later.

Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen & Fallon Henley vs. Noam Dar, Oro Mensah & Lash Legend (w/Jakara Jackson)

There was a lot of fast-paced action and tags by both sides throughout the match. When Henley was out on the floor, Tiffany Stratton showed up to fight, so Henley fought with Stratton to the back. After Dar hit a running kick on Jensen, Briggs tagged in. Briggs hit a running boot on Dar followed by a Clothesline from Hell to win. It went 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen & Fallon Henley

Analysis: *** The push of Briggs continues since he was in the Iron Survivor Challenge and he got the pin here. Briggs pinning Dar here could lead to Briggs contending for the Heritage Cup, but maybe it means Briggs & Jensen will get a tag team push.

Carmelo Hayes was getting checked on by the WWE doctor, who said that Hayes was fine. Trick Williams was excited saying that Melo can still be on Smackdown. Hayes said he’s going to call out the guy that he thinks took him out.

The NXT Men’s Breakout Tournament competitors were introduced: Trey Bearhill, Dion Lennox, Luca Crusifino, Tavion Heights, Keanu Carver, Riley Osborne, Myles Borne and Oba Femi. After the introductions, Lexis King showed up and hit Bearhill in the back with a steel chair. Referees made King back away.

Analysis: That would set up an angle for later. A lot of these guys are former college athletes with a lot of potential.

Men’s NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinals: Oba Femi vs. Myles Borne

Femi is a big dude that used to be a shotputter. Borne got a good nearfall with a powerslam. Femi countered a move to slam Borne. Femi hit a Popup Powerbomb for the win after four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Oba Femi

Analysis: *3/4 I think Oba Femi might win the tournament. I don’t have an official prediction, but Oba has a great look and this could be a way to elevate him. It’s fine to keep the matches short in round one although in the later rounds, it would be nice if they got more time.

Nikkita Lyons and Lyra Valkyria had a chat in the locker room about their tag team match. They saw a picture on the door where Tatum Paxley’s head was edited onto Becky Lynch’s body in a photo of Lyra and Lynch.

Tiffany Stratton was interviewed backstage complaining about Fallon Henley. Stratton said that Henley will never come close to being like Stratton.

NXT North American Championship: Dragon Lee vs. Tyler Bate

Dragon put the title on the line against whoever stepped up for the opportunity. It was very fast-paced with a lot of cool moves from both guys. Lee countered Tyler Driver 97 with a hurricanrana for two. Bate went for a clothesline off the ropes, Lee slipped out of it and Lee hit the Operation Dragon spinning reverse DDT slam for the pinfall win. It went 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dragon Lee

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great match as expected by two of the best athletes in NXT. A lot of counters by both guys throughout the match. Dragon Lee is going to have a title reign similar to Wes Lee as a fighting babyface champion who can have great matches with anybody, so it’s a good thing for the title.

The trio of Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen & Fallon Henley talked about their win. Briggs said that he thinks he is next up to challenge for the Heritage Cup. Brooks thinks that is not Briggs’ style of match, but Briggs thinks he can do it. They supported Briggs going for it.

Analysis: I think it’s a case of Briggs wanting to do more singles matches, but Jensen wants to keep the team together so maybe it will lead to a split soon.

Lexis King was talking to Ava outside of Shawn Michaels’ office. Ava informed King that the others in the NXT Breakout tournament want King to be in it so they can kick his ass. This led to King officially being put in the tournament in Bearhill’s spot.

Analysis: It’s certainly possible that King wins the NXT Breakout Tournament. I’d rather see Oba Femi win it, so maybe King loses in the finals due to his issues with other people.

Eddy Thorpe made his entrance to face Dijak, but Dijak attacked Thorpe in the aisle. They were brawling outside the ring. Dijak sent Thorpe into the ring apron and commentary table, so Thorpe threw Dijak into the steel steps. They went into the ring to start the match.

Dijak vs. Eddy Thorpe

Dijak tackled Thorpe hard into the turnbuckle leading to the top turnbuckle coming loose. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Dijak used a steel buckle to hit Thorpe into the ribs repeatedly leading to the DQ. Dijak was bleeding by the side of his head.

Winner by disqualification: Eddy Thorpe

After the match, Dijak slammed Thorpe ribs-first onto the steel buckle. Thorpe was selling a rib injury.

Analysis: There was not much of a match there, so I’m not going to rate it. Just a fight to build to a match that will likely have a stipulation.

A Chase U video aired featuring Andre Chase talking to his class. They made a bit of money on a bake sale and car wash. Duke Hudson told Andre that he looks like shit. Thea Hail and Jacy Jayne left to watch Riley Osborne’s match in the Chase U section. Scrypts walked to Chase and gave him a briefcase. It ended there.

Cora Jade & Blair Davenport were shown talking in the locker room. They both bragged about being the next NXT Women’s Champion.

Men’s NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinals: Keanu Carver vs. Riley Osborne

Osborne is a UK guy representing Chase U, so Thea Hail and Jacy Jayne were in the Chase U section watching the match. Hail was acting like she had a crush on Riley. Carver had the size advantage, but Riley had a lot of speed. After Riley hit a running dropkick, he went off the ropes and Carver hitting a running Pounce that was impressive! Wow. Osborne kicked Carver down and Osborne hit a Shooting Star Press off the top rope. It went about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riley Osborne

Analysis: ** Great SSP by Osborne to win the match. I thought that Carver’s Pounce was the best move of the match, but then he lost after taking two moves right after that.

Dragon Lee was approached by Drew Gulak’s four man group backstage. They set up a title match with one of the four men facing Dragon next week.

Riley Osborne was shown backstage when Thea Hail walked up to him for a chat. It was Hail’s way of flirting awkwardly. Osborne left and said he would see Hail in Chase U class. Kiana James and Izzi Dame walked up trashing Hail, so that should set up a tag team match.

Lyra Valkyria & Nikkita Lyons vs. Cora Jade & Blair Davenport

Jade has good ring gear. I’m sure boyfriend Bron Breakker approves of it. Lyons was the face in peril for most of the match. Lyra hit an impressive Fisherman’s Buster on Blair. Lyra went to the top rope and she was distracted by her stalker friend Tatum Paxley in the crowd, which led to Lyra missing a cross body block. Blair got a two count on Lyra with a Falcon’s Arrow slam. Jade made a blind tag. Blair kneed Lyra in the face, Lyons pulled Blair out of the ring and Jade covered Lyra for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Cora Jade & Blair Davenport

Analysis: *** Jade got the big win by pinning the champion Valkyria even though it was a Blair move that put Lyra down. The finish wasn’t that great because the knee was just okay rather than looking like a devastating move. I think of the two women on the heel team, Cora Jade is more likely to be the next NXT Women’s Champion. It might be in a few months, but I think it will happen for Jade.

After the match, Tatum Paxley tossed Nikkita Lyons out of the ring and hugged Lyra, who was awkward about it.

The team of Hank & Tank talked to Gallus about their match next week. After Hank & Tank left, Joe Gacy was there with a cup of coffee (sometimes called a cup of Joe) and Joe told Joe Coffey that it take a Joe to know a Joe. Gacy said “so serious” and left.

Next week:

* NXT Men’s Breakout Tournament continues.

* Thea Hail & Jacy Jayne vs. Kiana James & Izzi Dame.

* Tiffany Stratton vs. Fallon Henley.

* NXT North American Championship: Dragon Lee (c) vs. Member of the No Quarter Catch Crew led by Drew Gulak.

At NXT New Year’s Evil on January 2nd:

* NXT Women’s Championship: Lyra Valkyria (c) vs. Blair Davenport

* NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams

Let’s Hear from Trick Williams

It’s time to “Whoop That Trick” with Trick Williams while Booker T did his comments as the song played. Trick said that he walked into Deadline with four of the best in NXT and he walked out of the match as the Men’s NXT Iron Survivor. NXT thought that Iron Survivor Challenge Match was a banger that was as good as any NXT match this year, so it should be up for the NXT Match of the Year award. Trick said that his opponents forgot that he’s been ballin’ his whole life. Trick said he’s clutch in the fourth while making some sports references and said “I’m Trick James, bitch.” That’s a Chappelle Show Rick James reference.

Ilja Dragunov, the NXT Champion, interrupted the promo. Dragunov recalled their past when they had issues and they settled it. Ilja said that he is proud of Trick. Ilja said that Trick is riding a wave of momentum and Ilja said “Whoop That Trick” so the fans chanted it as well. Ilja even did an impressive handshake. Ilja said with all due respect to Trick’s journey, it all comes to an end. Trick said that he is that guy now and he’s the man in NXT. Trick said in three weeks, he’ll beat the best that NXT has to offer and be the new NXT Champion. Ilja shouted that he’ll do whatever it takes to remain NXT Champion.

Carmelo Hayes interrupted the promo with a bit of a limp. Dragunov wanted to leave, but Melo told him not to go. Melo claimed that Ilja was the on had attacked Melo earlier in the night. Melo said that Ilja took Melo and Trick out. Dragunov said he had no part in what happened to them. Melo said that Ilja gains the most from separating them. Melo said if Ilja had to face one of them or both of them, he didn’t want to take that chance.

Ilja ripped on Melo for being delusional. Melo said that Ilja is more calculated than he looks. Melo said that Ilja knew that the whole world would point their finger at Melo. Ilja reiterated that he didn’t attack Melo…if you did get attacked. Trick did a Booker T line: “Tell me you didn’t say that.” Ilja said that he didn’t attack Trick. Melo said they are on the same page now. Melo shouted that Ilja didn’t deserve that championship like Trick did. Melo grabbed the title, Ilja pulled back and Melo accidentally hit Trick with the NXT Title. The fans chanted “Melo’s guilty” as the three guys stared at eachother. End show.

Analysis: The prediction here is that Carmelo Hayes will be the one who attacked Trick back in October out of jealousy due to Trick gaining momentum. I think it will be revealed when the New Year’s Evil takes place between Dragunov & Williams. I think Melo is going to cost Trick that match. It can lead to Melo & Trick having some matches and then settling it at Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania weekend. Trick will win there, Melo will go on to the main roster after WM and then Trick will get the NXT Title later in 2024. That’s how I see it all going.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Dragon Lee
  2. Trick Williams/Carmelo Hayes
  3. Cora Jade & Blair Davenport


The Scoreboard

This week: 7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.09


Final Thoughts on WWE NXT

It was a solid show all around. The match quality was okay with Dragon Lee/Tyler Bate having the best match. It was smart to keep the Men’s Breakout Tournament matches short. There was a lot of attention on the Trick Williams/Carmelo Hayes story with Ilja Dragunov also involved. It seems pretty obvious that Melo will turn heel on Trick to cost him the NXT Title against Dragunov and the Melo/Trick rivalry will kick off from there.

The women’s division was featured heavily as usual. They progressed on some stories like the Tiffany Stratton/Fallon Henley issues and Cora Jade & Blair Davenport got a big win over Lyra Valkyria & Nikkita Lyons. There are so many women on this show that are featured weekly, they have defined roles, they set up matches for next week so well and build long-term too.

The move of the night goes to Keanu Carver for that Pounce on Riley Osborne. Carver ended up losing moments later, but that Spear looked incredible.


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

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport