The battleground of Lowell, Massachusetts’ Tsongas Center pitted Bron Breakker against hometown hero Carmelo Hayes, where the NXT Champion looked to prosper alongside Boston franchises such as the Celtics. The team’s resident broadcaster Sean Grande narrated the opening package to a strong proceeding card, concluded with a victorious Hayes and commentary line stating that “Melo’s dynasty is just beginning in NXT.”

Wes Lee (c) vs Tyler Bate vs Joe Gacy – North American Championship 

The longest-reigning North American Champion enters first to a loud Lowell fanbase, unquestionably solidifying himself as a singles standout. Gacy has Ava Raine ringside, and his Schism mindgames create dissension between Lee and Bate early. The latter validates his “Big Strong Boi” nickname with an Airplane Spin and Giant Swing combo, but Gacy takes over with his unanimous size advantage. The competitors go off with various handspring attacks, and a mid-air Cardiac Kick from Lee to Gacy results in title retention, opening Battleground with a fantastic triple threat.

Winner: Wes Lee


A vignette plays for Tiffany Stratton, who is so clearly primed for the NXT Women’s Championship later tonight as a talented rookie. After, Trick Wiliams and NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes enter the building and shake the hand of Boston Celtics broadcaster Sean Grande.

Dragon Lee vs Noam Dar (c) – Heritage Cup Championship

The Heritage Cup is defended for the first time on United States soil, where a winner is declared over six rounds of three minutes. Dar is saved by the bell, as Oro Mensah finally decides to accompany him, opposing Nathan Frazer as Lee’s chosen cornerman. Dar sneakily scores the first fall, complains about receiving “tap water” from his partner, and cheapshots an on-fire Lee after the third round. Mensah aids in a submission escape and takes out Frazer, but Lee evens the score before the cornermen erupt in a pull-apart brawl.

Supposedly competing alone, the champion reverses Lee’s Hurricanrana attempt into a scary outside powerbomb preceding a run-in from Miss Jackson and Lash Legend to hand Dar the victory. With Mensah returning for an apparently new faction of Supernova swagger, Dar imports the unique Heritage Cup match into NXT with a very intriguing introduction.

Winner: Noam Dar


Dijak vs Ilja Dragunov – Last Man Standing

Hometown guy Dijak tells his family that they “don’t need to see this” – an anticipatedly hard-hitting barnburner. Dragunov barges through a shielded table early on, but the match centers around the storyline set of steel steps – DDTing Dijak onto them and assisting in a Coast to Coast. “This is awesome” chants spur after Dragunov’s signature chop barrage, but he’s chokeslammed over the apron shortly after. Dijak connects with Feast Your Eyes and nastily swings a kendo stick at his screaming opponent with brutal force. But turning it around, Dragunov delivers the synonymous forearm off the steps to emerge victorious in this sadist work of art.

Winner: Ilja Dragunov


Weekend class is in-session at Chase University, where substitute professor and MVP of the academy Duke Hudson brings in special presenters Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey. They use Thea Hail’s loss as an example, but Hudson stands by her side. 

Heritage Cup Champion Noam Dar officially introduces his new crew – Miss Jackson, Lash Legend, and Oro Mensah, a mixing pot of personality that will make for entertaining television.

The Creed Brothers vs Gallus (c) – NXT Tag Team Champions

Tonight’s tag team match is the card’s weakest build, as the challengers are evidently a substitution for Channing Lorenzo and Tony D’Angelo – who was questioned and arrested on-screen mid-feud. Gallus takes control until Julius Creed makes a comeback, desperately asking the crowd to fire up with repeated suplexes and kip-ups. Joe Coffey eventually tries to interfere, foiled by Ivy Nile who is blindsided by Ava Raine ringside. Mark Coffey capitalizes on the distraction to retain the championships, continuing a weird stagnation period for the division.

Winners: Gallus


Another tired hacker gimmick reveals herself Tuesday on NXT, racking up numerous sidelined women’s roster victims. Lyra Valkyria is not one of them, and her cinematic vignette plays thereafter.

Lyra Valkyria vs Tiffany Stratton – NXT Women’s Championship 

Stratton’s appearance alone is Booker T’s “shucky ducky quack quack” moment of the night, which is hard to argue. He commends her prowess with less than two years experience, and her crowning as new NXT Women’s Champion is inevitable. Valkyria’s injured left knee is targeted throughout, and she eventually makes a comeback and fights through multiple near falls. The crowd stands for Stratton’s avoided moonsault attempt – just awaiting the coronation, and the proceeding successful aerial finisher pops big for “Tiffy Time.”

Winner: Tiffany Stratton 


Bron Breakker vs Carmelo Hayes (c) – NXT Champions 

Trick Williams introduces the NXT Champion alongside other Boston franchises, and the hometown hero enters to a standing ovation of “Melo” chants. He has a WrestleMania 25 moment taking a nosedive outside before Breakker turns the tide and slows the pace, where the “meaner than evil” challenger thrives in the boos. He halts opposing offense with strength and attitude, connects with a Frankensteiner, and attempts the Steiner Recliner until Hayes recuperates with Lowell on his side. They recreate their viral spear moment, decimating Hayes in mid-air, but the champion comes back with his Nothing But Net leg drop for the victory – overcoming Breakker once again in a rematch that topped the original.

Winner: Carmelo Hayes 


NXT Battleground 2023

Lowell, MA

NXT Battleground was a return to form for white-and-gold special events with hard-hitting, high-flying, action-packed matches. With Stratton now on top, the Heritage Cup introduced, and Hayes potentially moving forward, these events will probably get even better.