“You still suck” chants were directed towards Bron Breakker at the finale of tonight’s episode – laying out NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes with an insane mid-air spear, but the newly turned heel has never looked better. He’s filling the position of top villain in NXT following the WWE Draft as 18 wrestlers left the white-and-gold brand, including NXT Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell.

An NXT Women’s Championship tournament started tonight with the winner being decided at NXT Battleground. The eight competitors opened the show onstage: Tiffany Stratton, Gigi Dolin, Lyra Valkyria, Kiana James, Cora Jade, Fallon Henley, Jacy Jayne, and Roxanne Perez.

Tiffany Stratton vs Gigi Dolin 

Promos from both competitors play before tonight’s opening match, a first-round bout in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament. Stratton targets Dolin’s injured left shoulder, but the latter’s offense is plodding and uninspired regardless. Stratton advances with the top-rope moonsault, a potential favorite in the bracket.

Winner: Tiffany Stratton 


Joe Gacy endorses The Dyad before their upcoming match but tells Ava Raine he won’t be ringside. “Guide them as I would,” says Gacy, whose attention will be elsewhere.

Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are in the barbershop, and their crew hypes them up. The segments are always authentic and personality-driven, which is a rare case of NXT using location pieces for the better.

The Dyad vs Gallus (c) – NXT Tag Team Championships 

The teams scuffle immediately in an NXT UK throwback, but their trajectories have evidently been starkly different. Meanwhile, Tony D’Angelo and “Stacks” are spectating on the ringside podium as The Dyad sends a statement with intense offense preceding picture-in-picture. Diamond Mine fools around backstage mocking Schism with blue masks as the tag team ensemble builds, and Gallus makes a comeback until Ava Raine creates a distraction. Ivy Nile tackles her ringside as Gallus gains the pinfall victory in an impressive showing for both teams – despite The Dyad’s sympathetically lifeless eyes.

Winners: Gallus


“Big Body” Javier Bernal disses Thea Hail before substitute professor Duke Hudson steps in. “You don’t even go here,” Hudson hits the notorious line, deflecting Bernal’s suspicions and challenging him to a match. Chase University’s inevitable implosion nears, but Hudson has excelled in every segment leading to it.

A mysterious hooded figure reviews footage of every injured women wrestler getting attacked, and it’s a familiar image and gimmick that has repeatedly ended in failure.

Javier Bernal vs Duke Hudson

Hudson has been an NXT dark horse, along with Chase University in whole, as “MVP” chants echo towards the substitute professor. He hulks up with a hilarious “U” point, followed by the “final grade” Razor’s Edge for the win.

Winner: Duke Hudson


Von Wagner and Mr. Stone talk about their favorite foods to elicit some personality before the latter brings up that uncomfortable baby photo. A bystander makes a rude remark before Wagner chokes him, ultimately letting him go as he’s called a “freak.”

Eddy Thorpe vs Damon Kemp

Gallus runs into Diamond Mine backstage, and the former duo smugly retreats to the pub before the following match. Speaking of Diamond Mine, it’s Kemp’s first notable match of memory since leaving the faction, which is becoming a questionable choice in retrospect. Kemp displays solid offense, slamming Thorpe so hard he almost knocks himself out of the ring, but the latter comes back with a unique style of movement. Thorpe wins with a running elbow, although Kemp complains about the ring apron causing the loss.

Winner: Eddy Thorpe


Kiana James is interviewed backstage, focusing on the NXT Women’s Championships after months of involvement with the Brooks Jensen, Josh Briggs, and Fallon Henley saga – which played out entertainingly. 

Bron Breakker is approached in the locker room about his “change in attitude.” He delivers a grounded answer about carrying NXT before vowing to put Trick Williams in the hospital, proving that heel Breakker suits him perfectly.

Ilja Dragunov vs Dijak

The competitors immediately go chop-for-chop in an anticipated banger, and a strike exchange follows. Dijak’s effortlessly vicious boots precede an attempted chair attack, taking out the referee in the process before the bell rings in disqualification. He chokeslams Dragunov onto the apron as obnoxious piped-in boos play over the post-match attack, standing over his opponent under the weight of steel stairs.

Winner: N/A


Wes Lee walks in on a meditating Tyler Bate in a smoke-filled room for… reasons. Bate awakens from his “higher plane of existence” before his match.

In a Twitter video from Dani Palmer, Hank Walker and Tank Ledger issue a challenge to Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen – utilizing social media in a creative way, for sure.

Charlie Dempsey vs Tyler Bate

The Brits trade strong-style strikes as Drew Gulak and Wes Lee take respective corners in a technical showcase. Joe Gacy appears ringside before Bate delivers an awesome outside dive, but with distraction from Gulak, Dempsey’s suplex leads to victory.

Winner: Charlie Dempsey


NXT Twitter posts a video of Carmelo Hayes leaving the barbershop after watching Bron Breakker’s promo, sticking up for Trick Williams later tonight. After, Noam Dar somehow hacks the monitors during a Dragon Lee interview, choosing him to guest star on the Supernova Sessions. 

Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs Hank Walker and Tank Ledger

The presumed friendly competition instantly turns into an angry hossfight, where every strike and maneuver looks vicious and snug. “Lot of testosterone,” explains Booker T on commentary, as Ledger legitimately spits out a tooth after a big boot. A scary clothesline from Briggs puts an absolutely devastating match away, but the teams exchange respect with a handshake. Why this exhibition turned surprisingly violent is unexplainable besides maybe for the fun of it.  

Winners: Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen 


“Hard Hitting Home Truths” with Nathan Frazer is NXT’s recurring news segment for the young talent who delivers with confidence and character. He gives a John Oliver-esque package towards Noam Dar, which will undoubtedly lead to an exciting Heritage Cup match.

Kiana James vs Lyra Valkyria

Valkyria has a cinematic vignette before tonight’s second first-round match in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament. She’s a favorite against James in the predictable right side of the bracket, and a match against rival Cora Jade is likely next. “She’s a boss, and for the fellas out there, she’s single!” yells out Booker T on commentary following James’ split from Brooks Jensen. Valkyria is on top after picture-in-picture and kicks out of a close powerbomb, ultimately winning with a spinning heel kick.

Winner: Lyra Valkyria


Tony D’Angelo and “Stacks” meet Gallus at the pub, and Joe Coffey threatens them with a bat. Others at the bar outnumber The Family, but D’Angelo will remember it. Despite the phony movie style of segment, the character building is great.

Trick Williams vs Bron Breakker

Assuming tonight’s main event isn’t a blowout, it’s Williams biggest test yet, known for his gift of gab but definitely not of jab. He brings massive spastic energy, taking it to Breakker before tides turn with more calculated suplexes. Williams’ short-lived comeback brings a connected audience to its feet, but a spear and Steiner Recliner from Breakker brings the tap-out victory. 

Winner: Bron Breakker


Breakker reapplies the Steiner Recliner until NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes runs in – also obliterated by an insane midair spear. “You still suck” chants are directed towards Breakker, who has in reality never looked better.


NXT 5/9/23

Orlando, FL

It was an action-packed episode of short but exciting matches, although cramming so much is disengaging. But majority of the competitors’ personalities and characters are shining through, and it’s great to see.