Names like JD McDonagh and Grayson Waller look to be in good hands on RAW and Smackdown, but the mass exodus of the WWE Draft leaves NXT hurting. Although with an NXT Women’s Championship tournament rebuilding the division and Carmelo Hayes and Bron Breakker anchoring the banner, NXT Battleground has strong potential to become an excellent card.
Cora Jade vs Fallon Henley
Tonight’s opener resumes the quarterfinals of the NXT Women’s Championship tournament, where it’s only logical for Jade to advance towards rival Lyra Valkyria. She works down Henley’s left leg, foils the comeback attempt, and eventually wins with a double-underhook DDT before standing off with her aforementioned nemesis in front of the belt podium.
Winner: Cora Jade
The women’s locker room spectates backstage, and Thea Hail bickers with Kiana James before challenging her to a match. After, Schism attacks Wes Lee and Tyler Bate in a not-so-subtle room of smoke, which puts the latter’s upcoming match in jeopardy.
“Talk about passing the airport test,” says Booker T on commentary as Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams arrive in style. Instead of the called-out Bron Breakker is Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey, who felt disrespected for being brushed past. “Willy Wonka” chants are hilariously thrown at purple-clad Dempsey, whose trick is whooped proceeding a challenge made for tonight.
Ilja Dragunov approaches Dijak in NXT’s specialty of cooperated, cinema-style confrontation, which extends a feud that’s only necessary build is the match itself.
Footage plays of Dani Palmer getting attacked at a live event by a hooded figure. Rumors point to Blair Davenport, who is presumably the perpetrator of every women’s roster injury.
The Creed Brothers vs The Dyad
Both teams are coincidentally killing time in NXT, except their destinations are completely different. Julius showcases why he’s a main roster prospect, while The Dyad gain control in their soulless manner preceding picture-in-picture. Brutus makes the comeback before Julius and Jagger Reed hit simultaneous 450s that bring Orlando to its feet. Ringside, Ivy Niles reverses Ava Raine’s attempted cheap shot while Julius hits the finishing lariat for the victory, leading to continual wading in developmental.
Winners: The Creed Brothers
Headless authorities take Tony D’Angelo in for questioning, leaving Channing Lorenzo flustered. Before long, The Creed Brothers challenge Gallus for the NXT Tag Team Championships since D’Angelo, the previous challenger, is in… jail?
It’s the stateside debut of Supernova Sessions with Noam Dar, who’s decked out in full Burberry – which won’t go unnoticed on Twitter. He mocks special guest Dragon Lee with a Spanish book, although he speaks solid English, and skates around accepting a match for the Heritage Cup. Out comes Nathan Frazer to back Lee up, leading to a match at NXT Battleground at show’s end, but the debut episode doesn’t hold a candle to the lost Grayson Waller Effect.
Back to the unrealistic confrontation between Dijak and Ilja Dragunov, the latter is held hostage and battered with a baton – with no comment or concern from anyone. Later, Jacy Jayne shows confident personality in a backstage interview – more than most in the NXT women’s locker room, still tangled with Gigi Dolin despite the tournament.
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams vs Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey
The teams utilize their technical prowess until a cheapshot gives Gulak and Gene Wilder the advantage. The NXT Champion makes the comeback with his spectacular springboard lariat, ultimately hitting the top-rope leg drop on Dempsey for three before calling out Bron Breakker.
Winners: Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams
Breakker appears on-screen, ominously centered in Hayes and Williams’ community barbershop. Evidently, no barbers were attacked in the process, and Breakker was merely there for a crisp fade with no worries.
Talk-show host Noam Dar runs into Miss Jackson and Lash Legend, who takes offense for having competition with Lashing Out with Lash Legend – arguably the better show so far.
Thea Hail vs Kiana James
Duke Hudson reluctantly joins ringside, not paying attention, but “stepping up” regardless as Booker T commends. James sidesteps a crossbody to gain control with uninspiring offense, Hail makes a fiery comeback, but the 401K gives the former the pinfall win.
Winner: Kiana James
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen meet with Hank Walker and Tank Ledger, who legitimately lost a tooth in their last encounter. The latter team takes advice from their opponents, setting up a “bonding experience” match for next week.
A vignette for Dabba-Kato sets sights on championship gold, but the hunt has gone awry, mostly forgotten about until sporadically appearing again – much like his entire WWE run. Miscellaneous babyfaces react to the vignette, and Axiom isn’t backing down.
With Tyler Bate injured in the trainer’s room, North American Champion Wes Lee storms the ring with a message for Schism. Joe Gacy appears on the podium alongside Ava Raine to drive a wedge between the two friends, coming into fruition when Bate comes out to challenge him at Battleground. “I’ll take you both on,” says Lee, previewing a potentially great triple threat.
Von Wagner holds up Luca Crucifino, sticking up for Mr. Stone. “I know there is a superstar inside of you, Von. So are you ready to talk about this picture?” asks Stone, prolonging the scarred baby story.
Jacy Jayne vs Roxanne Perez
A promo package for Perez played earlier in the night, milking the overdone Cinderella story that has kept the former champion a one-dimensional competitor. Her other characteristic is being trained by Booker T, who calls opponent Jayne a “rockstar, man” with gusto. Jayne controls through picture-in-picture and halts Perez’ comeback, proving herself the unexpected better of the Toxic Attraction duo, but the latter’s Pop Rox gains the pinfall victory. Perez advances to the semifinals to face Tiffany Stratton for an interesting final four.
Winner: Roxanne Perez
Gigi Dolin blindsides Jayne, showing more enthusiasm here than her own matches. The pull-apart brawl is interrupted by Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams, who await Bron Breakker before the final break. Meanwhile, Ilja Dragunov is “still standing,” after a tied-down beating from Dijak who apparently shows mercy.
Breakker finally appears with a line of nine security guards and microphone in-hand. Hayes says, “You thought you were untouchable until you got touched, and at NXT Battleground, you are not taking my NXT Championship.” Breakker responds smoothly, demonstrating that the heel persona is undeniably his bag, before Hayes dives onto the security line and low-blows Breakker. They’re simultaneously laid out as the lower-third appears, and Battleground edges closer.
Such a talented roster is bogged down by hokey segments and messy storytelling, like Dragunov being held hostage and D’Angelo being sent to jail – although NXT is usually the best with continuity. NXT Battleground is looking to be a stacked card, but the in-ring tonight was nowhere close.