A new NXT Champion was crowned during WrestleMania weekend in a main-event match 18 months in the making. Carmelo Hayes ushered in the “Him Era” against longtime face of the brand Bron Breakker, but at the conclusion of tonight’s episode, a naturally progressed double turn flipped the composition of NXT going forward.
Opening the show, A Stand & Deliver highlight package proceeded a miscut opening signature, but new NXT Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell followed for her celebratory in-ring promo. She granted Roxanne Perez the first title shot before Zoey Stark interrupted, aptly comparing the new reign to pigs flying. Hartwell ultimately accepted Stark’s challenge made for tonight in a chance to prove her victory was more than right place, right time.
Plus, another championship match was spontaneously made at luggage pickup via NXT Twitter: North American Champion Wes Lee defends against Axiom later on. Even NXT Twitter is a nuisance for wrestlers at the airport.
Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs Pretty Deadly
The Family is hot in Orlando as the discount Corleone schtick is viewed as endearing. The core virtue of loyalty makes “Stacks” the relatable underdog, and D’Angelo eventually makes the comeback with his underrated amateur background. But Pretty Deadly deviously enact a modified version of twin magic before Elton Prince sends D’Angelo into the exposed turnbuckle for the victory.
Winners: Pretty Deadly
A promo package from Jacy Jayne recaps costing Gigi Dolin the NXT Women’s Championship. To her credit, Jayne has a very hateable personality, deliberate or not.
Dijak vs Odyssey Jones
Big meaty men are slapping meat with sneaky athleticism, and Dijak especially amazes with a high superkick, a huge driver, and a moonsault for the quick pinfall victory. Dijak is too incredible to have been so underwhelming in every iteration of his WWE career.
NXT Tag Team Champion Gallus “remain on top,” and in a backstage interview, Joe Coffey states that NXT is their “kingdom.”
Nathan Frazer vs Dragon Lee
Lee’s nameplate mentions his prior championship victories in CMLL and NJPW, but before the match begins, NXT UK Heritage Cup holder Noam Dar makes an appearance of his own to scout potential opponents. Neck-and-neck agility sends them into picture-in-picture, where Frazer gains the upper hand – equally if not more impressive than the newcomer. Some exciting nearfalls gets Orlando standing on its feet, and Lee finishes it with a running knee for his first NXT victory.
Winner: Dragon Lee
Andre Chase sends recognition to honorary Chase U member Tyler Bate, but Duke Hudson pats his own back leading to the MVP Trophy ceremony next week. Hudson in retrospect really has taken this institution to the next level.
The NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships are finally held by a formidable duo in Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn, who curse the roster in a dark promo package. After, North American Champion Wes Lee is interviewed backstage, crediting Axiom for a great showing at Stand & Deliver.
Zoey Stark vs Indi Hartwell (c) – NXT Women’s Championship
Hartwell has the opportunity to back her entrance slogan, “impressive,” and argue that her victory wasn’t a fluke after years of riding the chopping block. Stark has unmatched crispness and controls throughout picture-in-picture while the champion has short moments of offense. The challenger hits C360 knocking Hartwell outside, which allows the latter time to recuperate for a crucifix pinfall victory. Fighting from underneath, Hartwell is at least a much more believable underdog than the previous champion.
Winner: Indi Hartwell
Out comes Tiffany Stratton from the entrance stage, but from behind attacks the returning Cora Jade. “That title is mine,” Jade tells Stratton. Evidently the question is already about who will dethrone Hartwell, not even a week removed from her victory.
Kiana James blames Brooks Jensen for not cheating at Stand & Deliver and somehow diverts Fallon Henley’s claim of cheating on him. Next week, the duo faces the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn.
Ivy Nile vs Tatum Paxley
Nile enters before commercial, which begins with a short memorial graphic for Bushwhacker Butch. Diamond Mine numbers continue to fall, and Nile attempts aggression towards the traitor and eventually cinches the Dragon Sleeper for the tap-out victory.
Winner: Ivy Nile
Ilja Dragunov is interviewed backstage with signature gusto before Von Wagner interrupts and Mr. Stone backs him off. “If you don’t win, we are done,” Stone says.
Axiom vs Wes Lee (c) – North American Championship
The 5-way match at Stand & Deliver exemplified how solid the NXT midcard division has become, and Lee has headed it with poise. Tonight’s bout is an extension of that, where Axion retains majority control against an exhausted-looking champion as commentary ponders when his “Cinderella story” will end. After multiple big reversals, Axiom gets knees up on a Spiral Tap but misses the Golden Ratio allowing Lee to connect with the Cardiac Kick for three. “That was the shucky ducky quack quack moment of the night!” applauds Booker T.
Winner: Wes Lee
Scrypts controls the PA for a cryptic message towards Axiom, who catches the villain with an insane mid-air superkick worth going viral. Is Scrypts still a thing? After, Nathan Frazer is interviewed in the locker room, who delivers a convincing message of positivity and enlightenment in defeat.
The moment of night at last arrives as new NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams enter to a standing ovation. 18 months in the making, Hayes earned his way to the top, ushering in the “Him Era” before calling out former champion Bron Breakker in a show of respect. Breakker accepts passing the torch amidst an unknown future, shakes the champion’s hand, but ultimately lays him out with a spear. With an even greater intensity than ever before, a changed Breakker stands over a beaten Hayes and Williams to close the show.
NXT is outputting some great in-ring action and allowing its competitors to shine. There’s finally movement in the main event scene, and while the “Him Era” will be phenomenal, a heel Bron Breakker will be just as interesting.