The John Report: WWE NXT The Great American Bash 2023 Review

wwe nxt great american bash review 2023 tjrwrestling

This is WWE NXT The Great American Bash with Carmelo Hayes-Ilja Dragunov for the NXT Title and three more title matches as well.

It’s the fourth WWE NXT PLE of 2023 using the classic Great American Bash name.

There was a Kickoff Show match that was a mixed tag. Dragon Lee, Nathan Frazer, Yulisa León, and Valentina Feroz defeated The Meta-Four (Noam Dar, Oro Mensah, Jakara Jackson, and Lash Legend). Dragon pinned Mensah for the win.

NXT The Great American Bash
From the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park (Austin), Texas
July 30, 2023

The opening video package was narrated by Cody Rhodes as he paid tribute to his WWE Hall of Fame father Dusty Rhodes, who came up with the Great American Bash concept. They also insert clips of the feuds leading to the matches on this show.

It was a good crowd full of energy with “NXT” chants to start the show. Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo were up first as the challengers.

The commentary team of Vic Joseph and Booker T were on hand to call the action from ringside. The Gallus boys were next as the Tag Team Champions.

NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus (Wolfgang & Mark Coffey) (w/Joe Coffey) vs. Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

Wolfgang tossed Stacks across the ring. Mark tagged in with an elbow knocking Stacks down. Stacks came back with a dropkick. Tony hit a clothesline followed by a tackle leading to stomps to the body. Tony gave Stacks a hiptoss onto Mark for a two count for Stacks. Joey grabbed Stacks’ leg, but Stacks came back with a headlock. Tony went after Joe on the floor, so Wolfgang hit a clothesline on Tony on the floor. Wolfgang tagged in with a stun gun on Stacks into the top rope. Cheap shot by Joe with a punch on Stacks. Mark hit a shoulder tackle on Stacks for a two count. Mark worked over Stacks with punches. Stacks finally broke free to bring in Tony with punches and clotheslines. Tony hit two overhead suplexes on Mark along with a spinebuster. Tony and Stacks each hit punches to the ribs of their opponents. Stacks tagged in, Tony hit a superplex on Mark and Stacks hit a headbutt off the top for two because Wolfgang made the save. Tony and Wolfgang did a double clothesline on eachother. Wolfgang was legal and hit a slam on Stacks. Wolfgang sent Mark over the top for a dive onto Tony for a two count. Wolfgang hit a splash off the ropes for a two count. Joe tried to introduce a club, but the referee stopped it. That led to a two on one situation with a kick/spinning slam, but Tony broke up the pin. Tony sent Wolfgang out of the ring. Tony gave Mark a powerslam onto Wolfgang. Joe was in the ring, so Tony hit him with a crowbar while the referee was looking at Gallus on the floor. Tony tossed Stacks onto Gallus on the floor. Back in the ring, Tony is legal for a double team spinebuster move for the pinfall win as Tony pinned Wolfgang for the win. It went 8:43.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo

Analysis: **3/4 It was the culmination of a long storyline with Tony & Stacks looking for revenge, so it made sense for them to get the win and the titles. That was my prediction. Tony prevented Joe from interfering and while Gallus had a nearfall where it looked like they might win, I’m glad that Tony & Stacks got the win in this match. They deserved that.

Tony D’Angelo and Stacks celebrated as the champions. The fans were cheering for it.

A commercial aired for WrestleMania 40 with tickets on sale in August.

There was a Cora Jade video.

They showed videos of Ilja Dragunov and Carmelo Hayes with Trick Williams arriving earlier in the day.

A video package aired for the Roxanne Perez-Blair Davenport match.

Weapons Wild Match: Blair Davenport vs. Roxanne Perez

I missed the first few minutes of the match. It’s anything goes for a match like this. There were weapons all around the ring. Perez went for a suicide dive on the floor, but Blair blocked that with a trash can. Blair was in control with a chair to the back while Perez was on the ground. Perez’s mom and little sister were watching at ringside as Blair hit Perez in the back. Blair put a trash can on Perez and Blair used a branding iron to hit the trash can that was on Perez. Blair set up chairs against three different turnbuckles. Blair tossed Perez into a chair, then Perez came back by tossing a chair at Blair and Perez dropkicked Blair out of the ring. Blair used a leather belt to hit Perez in the back and Blair taunted Roxanne’s family at ringside. Blair sent Perez into the barricade. Roxanne’s little sister was literally crying. Perez found a cowbell that she used to hit Blair in the back. Perez used a belt to beat down Blair on the floor. Perez sent Blair into the barricade a few times. Perez brought out a table, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Perez rammed Blair’s back against the ring apron a few times. Perez went up top, but Blair knocked her down. Blair set up a pile of chairs in the ring. Perez sent Blair into a chair against the turnbuckle. Blair countered a Pop Rox move leading to Blair hitting a sitout suplex on a trash can for a two count. Perez went for a move, but Blair sent her into the ropes. Blair missed a move off the ropes and Perez hit a Russian legsweep on the apron. They battled on the apron near the table with Blair knocking Perez off the apron. Perez hit a running knee on Blair against the steel steps. Perez put Blair on the table on the floor. Perez went up top and hit a splash to drive Blair through the table on the floor. Back in the ring, Perez hit a spin kick and Pop Rox on a pile of chairs in the ring for the pinfall win at 11:49.

Winner by pinfall: Roxanne Perez

Analysis: ***1/4 They worked hard and had a physical match full of weapons being used. It was mostly the usual weapons that we see in WWE matches with chairs and Perez putting Davenport through the table as the biggest spot of the match. Blair got a lot of offense early in the match with Perez making the big comeback in the last few minutes. Perez winning with Pop Rox on the pile of chairs also looked good, so it works as a finisher. Perhaps we’ll see Perez get back into the NXT Women’s Title picture soon.

Roxanne Perez celebrated the win while her family was happy at ringside.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam this Saturday, August 5th in Detroit.

There was a video about NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes.

They showed Thea Hail preparing for her match while Tiffany Stratton was also shown getting ready for her match.

Baron Corbin made his entrance for singles action. They had a Gable Steveson video that aired showing some of the brief action in his WWE career. Steveson was wrestling in a USA singlet and wearing his Olympic Gold Medal as well.

Baron Corbin vs. Gable Steveson

Corbin with an elbow and Gable came back with a forearm to the head. Gable leaped over Corbin leading to punches. Gable picked the leg of Corbin leading to an Ankle Lock, but Corbin bailed to the floor. Gable hit a German Suplex on Corbin on the floor. Corbin drove Gable back first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Corbin sent Gable shoulder-first into the ring post. Some fans were chanting “Baron Corbin” as Corbin choked Gable across the rope. Corbin caught Gable on his shoulders leading to a Death Valley Driver for two. Corbin sent Gable face first into the top rope followed by a clothesline. Gable came back by sending Corbin into the top rope. Corbin came back with stomps leading to cheers from the crowd. Gable came back with punches that didn’t look great, but they were okay. Gable hit three straight overhead suplexes and a clothesline over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Gable clotheslined Corbin out of the ring. Some fans were booing Gable as Corbin drove Gable back-first into the ring apron again. Gable tossed Corbin over the commentary table. Corbin jumped onto Gable on the floor. They were throwing punches and the referee reached ten, so it was a double countout. It went 6:34. The fans chanted “bullshit” in reaction to that ending.

Match result: Double countout

Analysis: ** That’s an odd finish to book for Gable Steveson’s first match. I’d call it a below average match with Corbin working hard and Gable was set up for key spots, but I’m a bit surprised that they would end it how they did. That was a flat finish. I thought Gable would win and maybe you have Corbin attack after the match to keep the rivalry going. A double countout is a strange booking choice for this match.

Post match, Corbin went after Gable in the ring. They exchanged more punches. Gable hit suplexes on security guys. Corbin sent Gable out of the ring and Corbin sent Gable into the ring post. Gable suplexed Corbin into the barricade, which broke. Gable stood tall in the ring with some fans booing him.

Analysis: That was better than the actual match. I liked it as a brawl that should lead to more matches.

A video aired about Tyler Bate. There was also a video about Bron Breakker.

A backstage fight between Jacy Jayne and Lyra Valkyria was shown. Rhea Ripley walked by smiling about it and Dominik Mysterio was with Ripley as well.

NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Wes Lee

A reminder that there are no disqualifications and no countouts in a triple threat match in WWE.

There was a lot of fast paced action early. Ali and Wes were on the top so Dominik knocked them down. Dominik did Three Amigos supelexes, then the two opponents countered and hit a double Three Amigos suplex. Wes hit a double knee attack on Dominik while Ali was on the floor. Ali got some offense sending Dominik out of the ring. Ali hit an incredible Tornado DDT off the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Dominik charged, Ali avoided it and Ali hit a jumping kick to the head. Ali applied a Boston Crab/Camel Clutch submission on both guys on the same time. Dominik bit Ali’s hand followed by a dropkick. Ali hit superkicks for two both guys. Wes and Dominik were both laying on their backs on the apron. Ali went for a 450 Splash on both guys on the apron, but they moved and Ali hit the apron. Dominik got a rollup on Wes for a two count. Wes kicked Dominik out of the ring followed by a suicide dive by Wes. Ripley charged at Wes, avoided her and Wes went into the ring. Ripley was on the apron yelling at Wes, then she looked down at Dominik on the floor and Wes hit a somersault dive over the top onto Dominik on the floor. Wes tried to get away from Ripley but Ripley grabbed him and Ripley gave Wes a Riptide through the commentary table. It’s all legal in a triple threat. Back in the ring, Dominik got a two count on Wes for a two count. The referee took the North American Title from Dominik trying to cheat, Ripley handed the Women’s Title to Dominik and Dominik hit Wes with the title for just a two count. Ali was back into it with a dropkick on Dominik, who was on the turnbuckle. Ali jumped off the top with a 450 Splash on Wes for a two count because Ripley pulled Ali out of the ring. Dominik was back up and hit a Frog Splash on Wes for the pinfall win at 12:04.

Winner by pinfall: Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a lot of fun with Ripley as a major factor in why Dominik won. The Riptide through the table was awesome. Since there are no disqualifications and no countouts in a triple threat match, it’s a smart move to have Ripley interfere so much and get heat for it because the fans hated her involvement in the match. Ripley was tremendous with her reactions for the various spots in the match. The result didn’t surprise me because Dominik retaining is what most of us expected while watching this. Ali came close to winning as did Lee, but Dominik keeping the title made a lot of sense.

Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley celebrated the win. Dominik said they are taking over.

There was a Gigi Dolin video. That was followed by a Schism video as well.

A video aired about Ilja Dragunov.

Trick Williams was interviewed backstage by Mckenzie Mitchell. Trick said that Melo will show Dragunov why he is “him” meaning the NXT Champion.

There was a video package about the Tiffany Stratton/Thea Hail match for the NXT Women’s Title. Stratton is a cocky champion while Hail is a likable underdog babyface.

Thea Hail got a good crowd reaction while she was joined by Andre Chase and Duke Hudson. There were a lot of Chase U signs in the crowd. Tiffany Stratton was up next looking good as usual with a sparkly cowboy hat on her head.

NXT Women’s Championship Submission Match: Tiffany Stratton (w/Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) vs. Thea Hail

It’s a Submission Match meaning you must win by submission. Stratton is 24 years old while Hail is just 19 years old, so they are both very young and early in their WWE careers.

Stratton with a shoulder tackle knockdown. Stratton grabbed the foot of Hail and locked her into a surfboard submission. Hail went for an armbar, Stratton got of out and Hail hit some arm drags. Hail hit a dropkick that sent Stratton out of the ring. Hail went for a suicide dive on the floor, but Stratton countered it into with a body slam on the floor. Stratton sent Hail back-first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Stratton hit a suplex. They charged at eachother, Stratton caught Hail and hit a backbreaker. Stratton did a handspring corner splash on Hail against the turnbuckle. Stratton applied a backbreaker submission on across her back, but Hail got out of that and hit a back body drop to break free. Hail with an arm drag followed by forearms to the head. Hail hit an overhead suplex. When Hail went for a springboard attack, Stratton used her legs to trap Hail on the mat with a leg scissors around the waist. Hail got back up with a bulldog followed by a kick sending Stratton out of the ring. Hail hit a suicide dive on the floor. Hail with a forearm on the floor. Hail sent Stratton’s shoulder into the ring post. Back in the ring, Hail went up top with a cross body block, but Stratton rolled through. Stratton hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Stratton went for the moonsault off the turnbuckle, but Hail blocked that. Hail hit an Exploder Suplex off the top rope. That was really well done. Hail applied an armbar that was almost like a Kimura Lock, but it wasn’t applied like how Hail usually does it. Stratton went to the ropes and there is no rope break. Stratton left the ring, Hail followed and Stratton slammed Hail into the barricade. Stratton sent Hail into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Stratton hit the Prettiest Moonsault Ever off the top. Stratton applied a Boston Crab submission with Stratton sitting back on it. Stratton wasn’t applying the hold very well, so she re-applied the Boston Crab submission. Stratton let go of the submission again and then Stratton turned it into a half crab submission. Andre Chase threw in a red towel to give up for Hail, who did not tap out. It went 11:45.

Winner by submission: Tiffany Stratton

Analysis: *** It was a good match with Stratton winning because of Chase throwing in the towel rather than Hail tapping out. My main issue with the finish is that Stratton didn’t apply the Boston Crab submission in a way that made it look like a devastating move. The technique was poor. If that was done better then maybe I’d rate it a bit higher. Stratton worked over Hail’s back for most of the match, so in that sense, it worked having a finisher like a Boston Crab, but when the execution of the move isn’t great then that hurts it a bit. I thought they should have had Hail go for more submission moves during the match. There was a lot of offense for Stratton and Hail didn’t get enough time for comebacks. As for the towel toss in by Chase, that could lead to issues within the group since Hail didn’t actually tap out. Anyway, I think Stratton will move on from facing Hail and have another challenger soon.

A commercial aired for Raw promoting the Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes and Logan Paul-Ricochet rivalries.

There was a video profiling Roxanne Perez. A video about Wes Lee followed that.

SummerSlam is coming this Saturday, August 5th.

Highlights were shown of the eight-person tag team match from the Kickoff Show.

The team of Nathan Frazer, Dragon Lee, Leon & Feroz were shown celebrating their win. Dragon Lee walked down a hallway where NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley walked up to him with Ripley calling him a “wannabe Rey Mysterio.” Dragon said that Rey is a legend. Dragon said he has his own story and Dominik knows who he is. Dominik said he made the Mysterio name relevant while his dad is a deadbeat that helps others who look like him, not an original like himself.

Analysis: They have been teasing a Dominik Mysterio-Dragon Lee match over the last week with Dragon also having a brief meeting with Rey Mysterio backstage.

The next NXT PLE is No Mercy on Saturday, September 30th.

A video aired featuring Schism complaining about two guys costing them the match. Ava said they will have an interrogation on NXT. Ava said they will make everybody remove their masks to find out who they are.

This Tuesday on NXT:

* Schism has an investigation (it’s the Creed Brothers)

* Lyra Valkyria vs. Jacy Jayne

* Eddy Thorpe vs. Dijak

It was main event time with Ilja Dragunov up first followed by the NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes, who had Trick Williams with him.

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

It was a slow pace to the start of the match. Ilja got some offense going with a German Suplex followed by a clothesline. Ilja with a kick to the head followed by the two men exchanging punches. After Melo got some strikes, Ilja came back with a hard slap to the face. Ilja hit two German Suplexes, Melo came back with an arm drag and Ilja hit a boot to the head followed by another German Suplex for two. Ilja hit a senton splash to the ribs. Ilja with another hard forearm to the jaw and a forearm to the back while Melo was against the ropes. Ilja delivered chops to the chest while Melo was against the turnbuckle. Melo came back with a punch, so Ilja delivered more rapid fire chops and another chop for two. A lot of chops in this match. Melo hit a superkick that sent Ilja into the ropes and Ilja bounced off the ropes with a Constantine Special clothesline for two as Melo took a flip bump to sell that. Ilja applied a body scissors on the mat while doing a choke hold on Melo as well. Melo got a pin attempt for two, Ilja broke free and hit a roundhouse kick to the head for two. Ilja with a short arm clothesline while maintaining wrist control and hitting another clothesline. Melo fought back with kicks to the body along with short kicks to the head. Ilja with a jumping head kick, but then Melo spun around Ilja’s body to slam Ilja’s body into the mat. That was a cool move as both guys were down selling and the fans were chanting “NXT” for them.

There were more strikes exchanged by both guys leading to Melo avoiding a chop, Melo drove Ilja’s head into the knee and Melo hit a clothesline. Ilja came back with repeated elbows to the head. Melo came back with his own elbows to the head. Ilja went for a move off the ropes, but Melo avoided it and Melo hit a springboard DDT for a two count. Great move! The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Melo worked over Ilja with punches. Melo went to the middle turnbuckle, so Ilja hit a jumping kick to knock him down. Ilja went up top and hit a Senton Bomb for a two count. Ilja went up top again and went for a coast to coast dropkick, but Melo met him in the air with a double knee attack! Great counter. Melo jumped off the top going for the leg drop, but Melo avoided it and caught him with a stiff Powerbomb. That looked like a nasty landing, but I think Melo was okay. Ilja hit a jumping forearm smash onto Melo for one…two…and no! Melo kicked out at the last moment for a two count. They went up top with Ilja going for a superplex, but Melo countered it with a Cutter for a two count! Awesome nearfall there. The fans were chanting “NXT” for them. Trick reminded Melo that this championship is what you do it for and encouraged Melo to dig deep. Both wrestlers were stumbling around delivering strikes to the body. Each guy connected with kicks, Ilja hit forearm smashes to the head and they each hit kicks to the head at the same time with both guys bumping to the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Ilja jumped off the steel steps for a move, Melo moved out of the way and Ilja jumped into Trick to knock him down. Trick had the NXT Title in his hands so maybe Ilja with the title. Back in the ring, Melo went up top and hit a Nothing But Net leg drop to the back of the head for the pinfall win at 24:04.

Winner by pinfall: Carmelo Hayes

Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding match! I loved it. I think that might be Melo’s best singles match in his career while Dragunov has had better matches, but this was certainly one of the best NXT matches this year. They had a very physical match with a lot of counters by both guys and big moves. I loved the counter of the coast to coast dropkick with Melo doing the knees to block it. Melo also hit a Cutter to counter a superplex. The finish of the match had some controversy since Dragunov jumped onto Trick and hit the NXT Title while he did it. Melo capitalized on that with a Nothing But Net leg drop off the top for the win. I had high expectations going into the match. I can say both guys met those expectations. It really was an incredible performance by both guys. Well done.

Carmelo Hayes celebrated the win with Trick Williams while Ilja Dragunov looked angry at ringside. During the replays, Vic Joseph mentioned that perhaps Ilja got hit by the NXT Title. Anyway, Hayes continued to celebrate and that was the end of the show.

Analysis: There will probably be a Trick Williams heel turn on Carmelo Hayes at some point in the coming months, but it hasn’t happened yet.

This event had a runtime of 2:24:47 on WWE Network.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Carmelo Hayes
  2. Ilja Dragunov
  3. Dominik Mysterio with Rhea Ripley
  4. Tony D’Angelo & Stacks
  5. Wes Lee/Mustafa Ali


Final Thoughts

I rate this show a 7 out of 10.

It was a good show overall, but I wouldn’t call it a great NXT PLE. Clearly, the Carmelo Hayes-Ilja Dragunov match stood out as one of the best NXT matches of the year and one of the best matches in all of WWE this year too. They had a match that was very physical, lots of nearfalls throughout the match and Dragunov jumping onto Trick Williams holding the NXT Title was a big mistake leading to Hayes capitalizing for the win. I’m glad they got a lot of time. It was fun to watch.

The Dominik Mysterio win over Wes Lee & Mustafa Lee was the second best match. Rhea Ripley played a major factor since there are no disqualifications in a triple threat. Ripley blatantly cheated throughout the match to keep that NXT North American Title on Dirty Dom and it worked. I liked seeing Tony D & Stacks win the Tag Team Titles. That was the only title change. I predicted it as I’m sure most people did because it made sense in the story. A lot of the results were predictable.

There were two matches involving the women’s division with Tiffany Stratton keeping her title as expected over Thea Hail. That was one of the worst Boston Crab’s I’ve ever seen, yet we are to believe it was enough to win. I like Tiffany, but that could have been applied better. Roxanne Perez got some momentum back with her win Weapons Wild match win too, so maybe she’ll be in the title picture soon.

I was disappointed by the booking of the Gable Steveson-Baron Corbin match. The fans hated Gable, so that was weird and then having a double countout finish? Strange call for Gable’s first match. The post-match fight they had was actually good.

Overall, I was entertained by the show. However, there really wasn’t anything that newsworthy or shocking. Hayes-Dragunov had an incredible match that I recommend. I’m just saying on an NXT PLE like this, they should try some sort of big angle or something that feels important.


Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport