The John Report: WWE NXT Vengeance Day 2024 Review

wwe nxt vengeance day 2024 review tjrwrestling

This is WWE NXT Vengeance Day featuring Ilja Dragunov-Trick Williams for the NXT Title, Lyra Valkyria-Roxanne Perez for NXT Women’s Title, Dusty Cup Finals, and more.

So, wonderful readers of TJRWrestling, what do you want to talk about? There are a lot of things happening in WWE on TV, behind the scenes, and even involving people no longer in the company, but for now, I’m here to review NXT.

It’s the first WWE NXT PLE of 2024 using the Vengeance Day name. It’s the fourth straight year that NXT has used the Vengeance Day name.

There is no Booker T on commentary tonight because he tweeted that he had a medical procedure and he’ll be off TV for a couple of weeks. Best wishes to Booker. Wade Barrett is filling in, which is fine with me because he used to be great on NXT and works well with Vic Joseph too. Let’s get to it.

NXT Vengeance Day
From F&M Bank Arena in Clarksville, Tennessee
February 4, 2024

There was a video to start the show.

Vic Joseph was on commentary with Wade Barrett. They were standing beside the Dusty Cup trophy because the Finals of that tournament was up first.

Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes made their entrance with their remixed theme song. Barrett was saying things during Trick’s song like Booker does. The “Wolf Dogs” duo of Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker were up next. Corbin and Breakker arrived on choppers that they rode in on.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams

The winners of this match with the Dusty Cup tournament and get an NXT Tag Team Title shot.

Bron and Melo started the match while the fans chanted “Whoop That Trick” for Williams. Bron knocked down Melo with a shoulder tackle, so Trick Willy tagged in. Bron ran the ropes leading to a shoulder tackle on Trick. Trick came back with a dropkick, Corbin tagged in and Trick hit another dropkick. All four guys went into the ring leading to a brawl. Melo & Trick cleared the ring. Back in the ring, Trick hit a neckbreaker on Corbin for two. Corbin kicked Trick, so Melo tagged in and Melo got some strikes on Corbin. Melo avoided a charging Corbin and Melo superkicked Bron. Melo hit a fadeaway leg drop on the back of Corbin’s neck. Trick went in illegally and punched Bron. Corbin slammed Trick. Melo dropped Corbin with a suplex and Bron launched Melo into the air followed by a Cutter. I didn’t see Bron make a tag, but I guess he was legal. Bron with a shoulder tackle on Melo, Corbin made the tag and Corbin hit a clothesline while Melo did a great flip bump. Corbin whipped Melo into the turnbuckle. Bron was back in, Melo with chops and Bron ran the ropes leading to a clothesline. While Bron was running the ropes, he hit his head against the top rope, but Bron was able to hit the clothesline. Bron hit a floatover suplex followed by some push-ups like uncle Scott Steiner and Corbin was back in. Melo got a sunset flip for two, but Corbin was back up with an elbow smash. Bron back in with an assisted powerslam because Corbin launched Melo into Bron’s arms. Bron kept Melo from tagging out, but then Melo landed on his feet to counter a move.

Trick got the tag against Corbin with Trick delivering some punches along with a leaping clothesline on Bron. Trick hit a flatliner on Corbin. Trick hit a Book End for two. Melo was back in with a senton splash and a springboard moonsault onto Corbin for two. Bron was back in, Melo sent him into the turnbuckle and Melo sent Corbin out of the ring. Trick dove onto Corbin on the floor and Melo hit the First 48 (Codebreaker) on Bron for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for the good action. Trick got the tag, Bron launched Melo onto Trick and Bron suplexed both guys across the ring. That was awesome! Corbin tagged in and Bron launched Corbin over the top onto the two opponents over the year. Corbin going over the top is rare! Back in the ring, Corbin got a two count on Trick because Melo broke it up. Corbin hit a Deep Six slam on Melo and Corbin hit a Deep Six slam on Trick for two as usual for that move. Trick was bleeding from the mouth. Bron was cut a bit above the eye, but it wasn’t bleeding much. Bron sent both opponents out of the ring. Bron jumped off the top with a somersault dive onto both guys. Bron doesn’t need to do that sort of thing, but it just shows how talented he is. All four guys were in the ring ignoring tag team rules. Williams punched Corbin to knock him off the turnbuckle. Melo suplexed Bron down to the mat. Melo jumped off the top, Corbin saved Bron and Trick hit a neckbreaker on Corbin. Bron went for a Spear on Trick, but Melo got in the way and Bron hit Melo with the Spear. Bron pinned legal man Melo while Trick was too slow to make the save. It went 14:27.

Winners by pinfall: Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match. Corbin & Bron were my picks to win because they have a lot of chemistry and I thought Bron really stood out in the match. The key spot was the finish when Melo pushed Trick out of the way so that Melo could take the Spear instead of Trick and that knocked Trick out of the ring so Trick couldn’t make the save. There really weren’t any issues between Melo & Trick during the match. Trick did briefly sell a left knee injury, but then he didn’t sell it after. I think they did too much illegal offense in the match. It was way more than what we usually see in WWE. I get why it’s done to create excitement and double team spots, but too much of it hurts the match. Anyway, I liked how it was booked and I think the right team won.

The “Wolf Dogs” team of Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker held up the Dusty Cup trophy. They also pointed at the WrestleMania 40 sign although I don’t know if that means anything.

Analysis: I know Bron Breakker is going to be on the main roster soon and he should be, but I think Bron might be staying on NXT as well with Corbin as NXT Tag Team Champions. I think they’ll win the titles when they get a title match.

A commercial aired for WWE Elimination Chamber PLE on February 24th.

There was a video about NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov. A Gigi Dolin video aired after that.

A video aired about WrestleMania 40 taking place in Philadelphia in 62 days. I’ll see ya there.

The video package aired for the Lyra Valkyria-Roxanne Perez match for the NXT Women’s Title. That match is later.

It was time for a No DQ Match with Dijak up first followed by crazy Joe Gacy. They have spent weeks fighting all around the building and even outside the building, so it’s a No DQ Match for them.

No Disqualification Match: Joe Gacy vs. Dijak

Dijak had a nightstick to start while Gacy had a club of some kind too. They dropped the weapons so the fight could begin as Dijak hit a stiff clothesline. Dijak did a suplex into a slam. Gacy sent Dijak out of the ring followed by a suicide dive. Gacy threw some weapons into the ring. Dijak threw Gacy into the steel steps. Gacy worked over Dijak with chops followed by a cannonball dive onto a seated Dijak on the floor. Gacy pulled out a table from under the ring, so the fans cheered that. Gacy set up a table on the floor. Gacy also had a crate full of toys and cars and put them on the table. Dijak avoided a slam onto the table followed by Dijak hitting a spinning kick to the head. Dijak worked over Gacy with punches along with a Death Valley Driver slam for just one. Dijak put a trash can on Gacy’s upper body followed by kicks to the can, so Gacy kept sitting up. Dijak gave an elbow drop to the trash can that was on Gacy. Dijak ran the ropes, but Gacy leaned forward with the trash can to hit Dijak to knock Dijak down. Gacy hit a uranage slam. Dijak tried to fight back with some move from the apron, but Gacy shoved him and Dijak went crashing through the table on the floor with Dijak’s arms breaking the table. Back in the ring, Dijak was able to come back with a Chokeslam onto a steel chair in the ring. That was not a lot of selling after the table bump, but it’s a way to show how tough Dijak is. Dijak put the trash can on Gacy’s upper body again and Dijak climbed up top, but Gacy stopped him with a forearm to the back. Gacy went up to Dijak on the top rope and hit a German Suplex leading to Dijak taking a moonsault bump while missing the trash can. That got a two count for Gacy. Gacy grabbed some grey duct tape that he put around Dijak’s head to cover his eyes. Gacy beat on Dijak with multiple kendo stick shots to the body. Dijak was able to avoid a move even with duct tape over his eyes and Dijak hit a Feast Your Eyes knee to the head. Dijak couldn’t see to make a cover, but Dijak managed to get the tape off at that point.

Gacy was hanging upside down against the turnbuckle. Gacy hit a DDT onto the chair or at least close to the chair. Gacy went up top and top with a Superfly Splash onto Dijak, who was on the chair. That got a two count. Good nearfall as Dijak got his left shoulder up. Gacy bounced off the rope, but Dijak hit Gacy with the nightstick to the ribs. Dijak hit the Feast Your Eyes knee to the head for the pinfall win at 11:58.

Winner by pinfall: Dijak

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a fun match. I’m glad that Dijak got the win because he’s a guy that has lost far too many matches in NXT and I think he really needed a win like this. Doing a No DQ Match was a great idea because it gives it a different feel compared to everything else on the show. Gacy hit some impressive moves, took some big bumps and it felt like a fight for most of the match. They weren’t there to grab headlocks. It was a fight between two guys with an issue. I liked it.

After the pinfall, Gacy had a smile on his face. Dijak looked down at him and was stunned by Gacy smiling after the match.

Analysis: This is probably going to turn Gacy into a popular babyface due to how crazy he is and how willing he is to take punishment.

There were some commercials.

There was a backstage scene with Jacy Jayne & Thea Hail signing Chase U calendars. Kelly Kincaid was there for an interview while Jayne claimed they were almost sold out. Jacy said tomorrow the calendars will be on WWE Shop and Fanatics. The other girls there called Jacy a genius for coming up with the calendar idea.

Oba Femi, the NXT North American Champion, was shown getting ready for his match.

A video aired about Tony D & The Family’s feud with OTM leading to a six-person tag team match.

The D’Angelo Family – Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo & Adrianna Rizzo vs. OTM – Brono Nima, Lucien Price & Jaida Parker (w/Scrypts)

Tony D & Stacks are the NXT Tag Team Champions, but those titles aren’t on the line in a six-person mixed tag. The women can only hit the women in this match.

The trio of Tony, Stacks & Rizzo attacked their opponents from behind in the ring. The guys fought on the floor while Parker nailed Rizzo with a chop and punch in the ribs. Rizzo tacked Parker with punches, so the guys tagged in leading to Price knocking down Tony while Bronco stomped on Tony. Stacks tagged in for a double team slam onto Bronco on the floor. Tony D and Stacks did some punches to the ribs while Rizzo also did punches to Parker at the same time. Stacks hit a cannonball on Price. Tony launched Rizzo onto Parker against the turnbuckle. Tony also hit a cannonball. Bronco headbutted Stacks in the chest and Stacks came back with a punch. Scrypts with a distraction, so Parker sent Stacks into the ring post to knock Stacks down on the floor. Price nailed Stacks with a forearm to knock him down. Bronco & Price hit double forearms on Stacks. Bronco picked up Stacks for a power slam. OTM kept making quick tags as they worked over Stacks in their corner. OTM hit a double neckbreaker on Stacks. There was another double team move leading to Price hitting a powerslam on Stacks for two. Tony D finally got the hot tag with some overhead suplexes. Tony didn’t hit it perfectly on Price so I hope Price is okay. Tony D with a big spinebuster. Parker went into the ring to slap Tony, so Rizzo went into the ring to go after Parker. Tony clotheslined Bronco out of the ring. Tony launched Stacks over the top onto the two OTM guys on the floor. Rizzo went up top and she jumped onto the OTM trio on the floor. Tony D punched Scrypts on the floor. Back in the ring, Tony hit a spinebuster on Price. Tony hit a cradle Fisherman’s suplex on Price for the pinfall win at 10:11

Winners by pinfall: The D’Angelo Family – Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo & Adrianna Rizzo

Analysis: **3/4 It was okay. This was a traditional tag team match with OTM isolating Stacks for most of the match. Tony D got the hot tag and they dominated the rest of the match. Stacks & Rizzo hit some nice dives out of the ring. I thought OTM could have had a few more moments where it looked like they might win. My prediction here was for OTM to win to set up a future title match, but instead, they lost, so that’s probably it for this rivalry. Tony D & Stacks should be facing Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker soon.

There was a commercial for NXT merchandise on WWE Shop. A video aired about NXT Heritage Cup Champion Noam Dar. A Bron Breakker video aired about the former NXT Champion.

There was a video featuring Kiana James and Izzi Dame talking about their strategy for the future. James talked about going after whoever the champion is. They talked about taking out Kelani Jordan, so James told Dame to keep an eye on Jordan. They drank some champagne and that was it.

Analysis: I like Kiana James and seeing her getting into the NXT Women’s Title scene would be a good thing.

Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes were shown talking in the WWE Medical room. Trick asked why Melo took the Spear for him. Melo said that Trick needs to be ready for his NXT Title match. Melo told Trick he has to slay the Mad Dragon and take the NXT Championship. Trick said it means everything to him. Trick said when he wins that NXT Championship, he needs Melo right there. Melo said he’ll be there. They shook hands.

Analysis: I smell trouble in the main event.

A commercial aired for NXT Stand & Deliver taking place on Saturday, April 6 in Philadelphia during WrestleMania 40 weekend.

There were pre-match comments from NXT Champion Lyra Valkyria saying she needs to beat Roxanne Perez. That match is next.

NXT Women’s Championship: Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez

It’s a matchup between two babyfaces. Perez and Lyra exchanged pin attempts with each woman getting multiple two counts. They did some mat wrestling with a bunch of counters where neither woman got the advantage. Perz swung around Lyra’s body leading to a headscissors. Perez tried a dive on the floor, but Lyra did a forearm smash. Lyra hit a dropkick on Perez on the floor. Back in the ring, Lyra tried a cross body block, but Perez moved. Perez sent Lyra into the turnbuckle. Perez did a legsweep followed by a springboard moonsault off the middle ropes for two. Perez nailed Lyra with a forearm. Lyra got the boots up for the charging Perez. Lyra hit a running vertical suplex for two. Perez countered a move into an inside cradle for two. Lyra blocked a kick leading to a German Suplex where Perez landed hard on the head/neck. Lyra went to the turnbuckle, Perez went after her and Perez hit a top rope hurricanrana. Perez hit Pop Rox. Lola Vice’s music hit as she walked out with the Breakout Tournament contract. Vice kicked Tatum Paxley down on the floor.

Vice cashed in her contract, so it was announced as a triple threat match.

NXT Women’s Championship: Lyra Valkyria vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Lola Vice

Lola Vice hit a spin kick on Lyra to knock her out of the ring. Vice applied a submission choke on Perez, but Perez got out of it. Vice applied a triangle choke on Perez, but Lyra was there with a top rope splash onto Vice to break it up. Lyra worked over Perez with kicks including an enziguri kick. Vice delivered a plethora of kicks on Lyra. Vice kicked Perez repeatedly. Vice hit a running hip attack on Perez and a running hip attack on Lyra as well. Perez came back with a knee smash on Vice. Perez hit a legsweep/DDT combo on both women. Perez hit a suicide dive onto Vice on the floor. Perez hit a suicide dive on Lyra on the floor on the other side of the ring. The fans were chanting “Roxie” for Perez. Roxanne jumped off the top, Lyra caught her and Lyra hit a Nightwish slam for two because Vice broke it up. Lyra broke up Vice’s pin attempt right after that. Vice picked up Lyra leading to a move attempt, but Lyra got out of it and Vice hit a spinning back fist for two. Lyra was back up with a spin kick on Vice. Perez rolled up Lyra for two. Perez hit Pop Rox on Lyra, but Tatum Paxley tackled Perez out of the ring. There are no disqualifications in a triple threat match. Lyra avoided a spin kick by Vice and Lyra hit Nightwish on Vice for the pinfall win. The whole thing went 13:32 and the triple threat match went 6 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lyra Valkyria

Analysis: ***1/4 That rating is for the whole thing. It was a very entertaining triple threat match with Vice looking like she was going to win a few times, but Lyra managed to find a way to win thanks in part to her crazy fan Paxley. Since there are no disqualifications in a triple threat match, you can do that sort of thing where there’s interference and it protects Perez, who can say that she had the match won if not for Paxley interfering. As for Lola Vice, she looks a bit silly by doing a cash in attempt during a match instead of waiting until after the match or another time. Hopefully, that leads to an interesting story for Vice in the future. I’m fine with Lyra as champion, but she needs a heel challenger.

A video aired about the Love & WWE show featuring married couple Bianca Belair & Montez Ford. All the episodes are on Hulu now.

There was a video package about Tony D’Angelo and The Family. A Carmelo Hayes video aired after that.

They showed Chase U signing calendars for fans. Riley Osborne of Chase U went up to Thea Hail asking if she would be his valentine. Hail said yes. They are an awkward duo.

A video package aired about some mystery person. There were just words and no images shown. I don’t know who it is. It may be for Dante Chen & Boa since they have been in the background with masks on in the past.

The announcers were shown with Vic announcing that NXT Battleground is on Sunday, May 26th in Savannah, GA and NXT Roadblock is an NXT TV special on March 5th.

Dragon Lee entered as the challenger for the NXT North American Championship followed by the champion Oba Femi. This is Femi’s WWE PLE debut.

NXT North American Championship: Oba Femi vs. Dragon Lee

Femi won the title when he cashed in his NXT Breakout contract on Lee, so here’s the rematch. Femi appeared to be heelish in recent weeks, but it hasn’t been pushed heavily. Lee is clearly the face here.

Lee attacked Femi right away, but Femi came back with his power game. When they got back in the ring, Lee dropkicked Femi into the turnbuckle. Lee hit a double foot stomp on Femi. The big man Femi used his power to take control. Femi hit a vertical suplex for two. Femi tossed Lee across the ring. Vic mentioned that Femi won the North American Title in his fifth match. Femi grabbed Lee around the throat and tossed him over the top to the floor. Femi hit three straight backbreakers for two. Dragon jumped on Femi’s back while pulling on his arms, so Femi walked over to the ropes and used his teeth to bite the top rope to break the hold. Lee came back with a superkick, an enziguri kick and a tornado DDT off the ropes. Lee hit a running knee to the jaw for two. Lee hit three straight dropkicks for a two count. Lee kicked Femi in the head followed by a running sitout Powerbomb for two. Femi to the apron, Lee hit him with a knee and Femi hit a hard chop to the chest. Femi cleared off the commentary table. Lee managed to counter Femi with a DDT on the floor. Femi gave Lee a Chokeslam onto Barrett’s leather chair. Back in the ring, Femi lifted Lee up and Lee countered a move into a hurricanrana for two. Femi decked Lee with a clothesline. Femi picked up Lee and tossed him across the ring. Femi hit the Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall win at 10:54.

Winner by pinfall: Oba Femi

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match that was a bit better than I thought it was going to be. I thought Femi looking dominant and winning was the obvious result here. The crowd barely reacted to Lee’s nearfalls because they knew Femi was going to win. Lee was there to put over the big guy. Since Lee is already on Smackdown, this might have been Lee’s last NXT match. Femi is going to be a big deal in NXT and he’s still very early in his career. Considering Oba Femi has had less than ten televised matches in his career, he has impressed me a lot so far.

There was a commercial promoting Raw on Monday.

Lexis King was shown trying to hit on the Chase U ladies, but Riley Osborne got in his face. King fought with Osborne, so security arrived to break it up.

Ava, the NXT GM, was interviewed by Kelly Kincaid. Ava talked about how great of a show it was. Ava mentioned NXT Roadblock on March 5th and said Stand & Deliver tickets are ahead of where they were last year. They spoke about NXT Battleground on May 26th and Ava is so proud of this brand.

A graphic was shown for the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event on Thursday in Las Vegas. I think there was some booing from the crowd.

They showed Edris Enofe & Malik Blade talking to the excitable Brinley Reece, who has tried to preach positivity to them. This is from last Tuesday. Blade spoke about Likes and Dislikes from their last match. Nathan Frazer & Axiom walked in with Frazer mocking them for doing this. Brinley suggested a match between them and she was excited about it.

Analysis: A wacky NXT segment to set up a match. It’s a weird show sometimes.

This Tuesday on NXT:

* Nathan Frazer & Axiom vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade

* Lexis King vs. Riley Osborne

* Bron Breakker & Baron Corbin will have a Dusty Cup celebration.

There was a backstage scene where Roxanne Perez was fighting Lola Vice. It was broken up within ten seconds.

A video package aired for the NXT Championship match between Ilja Dragunov and challenger Trick Williams, who earned the match by winning the Iron Survivor Challenge two months ago.

Trick Williams made his entrance with the whole crowd chanting “WHOOP THAT TRICK” For him while Carmelo Hayes walked out to the ring with Trick. Vic Joseph said that when Kofi Kingston beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 35 in 2019, that’s when Trick decided he wanted to be a WWE superstar. The fans loved Trick.

Analysis: That was an interesting story from Vic about Trick being influenced so much by Kofi’s KofiMania win. That’s cool.

Ilja Dragunov made his entrance as the NXT Champion. The fans like him too, but they were strongly behind Trick based on entrances. Ring announcer Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions.

NXT Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams (w/Carmelo Hayes)

It’s another match between two babyfaces like the NXT Women’s Title match was.

Trick started with punches. You could see Trick had a busted bottom lip from earlier in the night. Trick with a body slam. Ilja avoided a dropkick by Trick and Trick came back with a dropkick. Ilja hit a jumping kick to the head followed by a swing around the ropes leading to a clothesline. Ilja had a bloody nose after taking some move early in the match. Ilja delivered some hard chops to the chest. Ilja delivered a running boot to Trick’s face as Trick’s busted lip was bleeding. Ilja shouted that nobody was going to push him off his throne and the fans booed Ilja even though he’s a babyface. Ilja hit a spinning chop. Ilja delivered multiple German Suplexes. Trick had a bloody mouth as he pulled Ilja’s leg to knock Ilja down. Ilja came back with a running kick that knocked Trick out of the ring. Ilja gave Trick a German Suplex on the floor right in front of Melo on the floor. Ilja gave Trick a Death Valley Driver on the apron right in front of Melo. Trick hugged Melo on the floor as Melo tried to help his friend get going and Ilja jumped off the top with a missile dropkick for two. Ilja hit a running clothesline on Trick. Ilja with some knees to the body, so Trick slapped Ilja in the face. Ilja slapped Trick a few times. Ilja hit a forearm smash to the head. Trick went for a spin kick, but Ilja caught him and hit a Powerbomb. I could hear Trick say “catch it” referring to the kick, which Ilja did. Ilja charged, Trick delivered a kick along with the First 48 double knees like Melo does.

Ilja and Trick got into a slugfest as they exchanged blows. Trick hit two leg lariats. Trick nailed a flatliner as the fans chanted “Whoop That Trick” for him. Ilja came back with a kick to the jaw. Ilja hit a jumping kick to the head and Trick bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. Trick worked over Ilja with punches. Trick hit an uppercut punch to knock Ilja over the top to the floor near Melo on the floor. Ilja tackled Trick into the ring apron. They battle on the apron with Trick hitting a Rock Bottom/Book End on Ilja on the floor. Ilja blocked a move and sent Trick into the apron. Melo got in Ilja’s face. Ilja avoided a move, Melo tried an attack, but Melo stopped himself and Ilja hit Melo with a forearm leading to Melo crashing into the back of Trick’s left knee. They went back into the ring with Trick hitting a neckbreaker. Trick with a forearm to the face similar to how Ilja does it. There were “NXT” chants. Trick charged, but then he stumbled to sell the knee injury. Ilja hit a Jackknife Powerbomb. Ilja hit an H-Bomb forearm on Trick. Ilja went to the middle turnbuckle and hit another H-Bomb forearm to the face for the one…two…and no!! Trick popped his right shoulder up for the kickout. I thought that was it. The fans popped huge for that. Ilja charged, Trick avoided a move and Trick hit a spinning kick to the head for one…two…and no! Dragunov got his right shoulder up. Melo was on the apron yelling at the referee, so Trick went for a move but Trick hit the referee by accident to knock Melo down on the floor. Trick hit a running knee on Ilja. The fans were counting the pin, but there was no referee. Another referee went down to the ring and counted one….two…no! Ilja delivered a kick followed by another H-Bomb forearm. Ilja went up top and jumped off, but Trick got the knees up to block. They both ran at eachother with Trick going for a knee, but Ilja hit a running uppercut called Torpedo Moscow for the pinfall win at 17:55. The fans were sad about that.

Winner by pinfall: Ilja Dragunov

Analysis: **** That turned into a great match that I’m going four stars (out of five) for. It might be the best singles match that Trick Williams has had. He keeps getting better and he showed he could hang with the awesome Dragunov, who always has the best matches on the NXT brand. They did a terrific job with the false finishes, the second referee coming in and the fans really thought that Trick was going to do it. I’m all about the false finishes because they just build the drama and the excitement until the finish happens. These guys worked very well together. It was definitely the best match on the show. I think the styles of Trick & Ilja work so well. Ilja brings the best out of Trick, but I think Trick is an ideal opponent for Dragunov too.

After the match, they showed replays of how Ilja Dragunov won. Dragunov was shown holding the NXT Title by the entrance. The NXT signature graphic was shown on the bottom of the screen, but wait there’s more.

Carmelo Hayes told Trick Williams that he was so close and Melo said that Trick was his boy. When Trick turned his back, Melo nailed him with a chop block to the left knee. The fans booed that big time. There was loud booing. Melo brought a steel chair into the ring. Melo used the steel chair to hit Trick in the left knee repeatedly. Nobody was attempting to stop it. Melo sat on the chair and put a “TMG” (Trick Melo Gang) shirt on Trick. Melo sat on the chair and stuck his hands out. The fans were chanting “f**k you Melo” and “Melo sucks” at Hayes. As Hayes was about to leave, some referees finally checked on Trick in the ring.

Carmelo Hayes left the ring saying that it was the fans’ fault. Melo said that the fans made him like this. Trick was shown holding his left knee as he was writhing in pain on the mat.

Analysis: There’s the Carmelo Hayes heel turn that a lot of us expected at this show. Yes, it was very predictable, but that doesn’t make it bad. The fans were genuinely angry about it with some aggressive chants toward Carmelo, who will do well in a heel role again like he was in for most of his NXT career. Trick has that babyface momentum and now Melo can reveal that he attacked Trick back in October too. It should be an intense rivalry between two guys who were best friends for two and a half years in NXT. I assume that will lead to a match at Stand & Deliver where Trick will probably get the win. I think Melo will be on the main roster after WrestleMania and if WWE does a draft in May then Melo will probably be drafted to the main roster at that point. This means that Trick should win that match at Stand & Deliver in two months.

This show had a runtime of about 2 hours, 33 minutes on WWE Network. That is 23 minutes shorter than NXT Deadline.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Trick Williams – I know he lost twice, but two great matches is impressive.
  2. Ilja Dragunov
  3. Carmelo Hayes
  4. Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker
  5. Dijak


Final Thoughts

I’m going 7.5 out of 10.

A good show. I wouldn’t call it great, but the main event between Ilja Dragunov and Trick Williams was excellent. It’s a Dragunov match, so you know it will be excellent. Trick put on a good performance as well. I nailed my predictions for the two Trick Williams matches on the show since he lost both of them and Carmelo Hayes turned on him as well. I think any regular NXT viewer could see that coming. That should set up Melo against Trick at Stand & Deliver in two months. Trick will sell the left knee injury while Melo will be built up again as a heel.

The other match that stood out to me was the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals with Bron Beakker & Baron Corbin beating Trick & Melo in the opener. That was a lot of fun. At one point Bron slipped and ran into the ropes, but the guy is such an athletic freak that it did not affect him. Bron was amazing in that match with some of the moves he did. That was a very entertaining match.

Everything else on the card was okay and mostly predictable. Dijak had a fun brawl with crazy Joe Gacy. The NXT Women’s Title match turned into a three-way. Lots of fast-paced action there. Nice job by Lyra, Roxanne and Lyra. The six-person mixed tag was just average. Oba Femi continues to impress with less than ten TV matches at this point, yet he’s good enough to keep up with a talented, quicker guy like Dragon Lee. Oba is going to be a force in NXT. I think the show was lacking great heel vs. face rivalries. NXT has too many “I respect you” babyface matches. Lots of stories for sure, but I want to see some bigger storylines for the champions of the brand.


Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport