Vengeance Day is this Sunday, which may as well be considered the Trick Williams show. Not only will he headline against Ilja Dragunov for the NXT Championship – he’ll also team with Carmelo Hayes in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

The tournament has revived tag team wrestling in NXT, and tonight’s semifinals match was no exception. It was however the standout wrestling match in an episode abnormally highlighted by segments in preparation for Vengeance Day.

Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes vs LWO – Semifinals Match

“Whoop that trick” chants take over – just like they did on Smackdown last week. While Williams and Hayes’ relationship teeters, Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde have become a very legit, experienced tag team. The latter runs wild – no pun intended – with picturesque dives, and Wilde assimilates as the best non-Latino luchador around. Williams makes the comeback after picture-in-picture with leg lariats and a double Bookend, but LWO recuperates with a double Coast-to-Coast on Hayes. They have a feisty back-and-forth, and Williams secures the victory with a running knee, heading to Vengeance Day for double duty.

Winners: Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes


North American Champion Oba Femi blindsides LWO until faction affiliate Dragon Lee attempts to make the save. Femi demolishes them all, looking like the strongest NXT prospect in ages.

Lexis King interrupts General Manager Ava’s meeting with Ridge Holland with a gift basket of signed memorabilia. In return, King is saddled with a match against Holland tonight and a regift. 

Roxanne Perez vs Tatum Paxley

Footage from earlier catches NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria trying to reason with her stalker Paxley like a bad soap opera. She joins commentary, and the match begins in picture-in-picture to show how important it is. Eventually, Perez wins with Pop Rox and stops herself from hitting Valkyria after the champion halts Paxley’s attack.

Winner: Roxanne Perez


Arianna Grace chats with Wren Sinclair about southern drawls and ranch fragrances until Fallon Henley coincidentally walks in. “She’s right behind me, isn’t she?” is a cliche that NXT loves.

Elektra Lopez vs Lola Vice

With Elektra Lopez abruptly called up to Smackdown, this feud climaxes just as abruptly. The match is a sprint from the beginning, and a spinning heel kick from Vice puts it away. Sorry for the loss, Lopez, and welcome back to Legado Del Fantasma.

Winner: Lola Vice


Dijak and Joe Gacy have a cinematic exchange like discount Batman and Joker. They brawl uncontrollably as the video cuts, and some say they’re still brawling.

Ridge Holland vs Lexis King

King’s Dominican beard is gone and so is his one specialty. Holland dominates through picture-in-picture, and while King recuperates, Booker T says his t-shirt is “selling like hotcakes.” King’s offense is distractingly weak, and so is the audience reaction to the match. Gallus interferes, letting King capitalize with the Coronation for three before The Coffey Brothers and Wolfgang commit a three-on-one assault with a Pillmanization of sorts on Holland.

Winner: Lexis King


Carmelo Hayes insists that Ilja Dragunov is playing mind games with Trick Williams. “You’re gonna see that I’ve had your back from the very beginning,” says Hayes.

Andre Chase, Duke Hudson and Riley Osborne are in-ring to put Chase University to rest. They present a heartfelt commemoration and a sappy montage video before Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail interrupt. “If you want something done, ask a woman,” says the former; she announces the 2024 Ladies of Chase U calendar to save the university from debt and more. The Chase cinematic universe is alive and well!

A vignette for The D’Angelo Family puts over Adriana Rizzo as the third piece against OTM; The gang war culminates at Vengeance Day.

Lexis King interrupts Chase University’s celebration backstage, asking for a signed calendar. Riley Osborne steps up, Thea Hail admits she likes him, and Dijak and Gacy are indeed still brawling.

Fallon Henley vs Ariana Grace

Before the break, Brooks Jensen attempted to reconnect with Henley, but she was preoccupied with Wren Sinclair – who takes her corner in this match. That Journey song really does fit Jensen. Deep into the match, Jakara Jackson provides a distraction for Lash Legend to big boot Henley, and Grace capitalizes for the victory to her own surprise.

Winner: Ariana Grace


A vignette from OTM shows that Jaida Parker is the missing piece – and maybe the entire piece. 

Jackson and Legend dust themselves off for Meta-Four’s great entrance before cameras cut to Dijak and Gacy atop the production truck. Despite yelling that “it’s too high,” Gacy is tossed into a dumpster; there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Royal Rumble standout Bron Breakker is hyped up by partner Baron Corbin, who admits that they’re called “The Wolf Dogs.” They’ve coexisted all the way to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals at Vengeance Day.

Von Wagner vs Noam Dar (c) – Heritage Cup Championship 

Mr. Stone’s kids, Wagner’s young coaches, are ringside like the final scenes of a feel-good sports movie. Wagner continues pummeling Dar past the first round, so maybe he didn’t understand Heritage rules to begin with. “Main Man” Oro Mensah sacrifices himself for Dar to gain the first fall in round two before picture-in-picture, where the champion targets Wagner’s right knee. Fallon Henley and Wren Sinclair return to even the odds preceding round four, but Dar secures a tight pinfall to retain his championship – which he can hold forever, because he continuously proves that he’s a stud. Mensah eats a famous Wagner table powerbomb, so he wins in defeat anyway.

Winner: Noam Dar


Gacy reappears from the dumpster 15 minutes later to accept Dijak’s request to Ava: a no-disqualifications match at Vengeance Day.

Trick Williams wastes no time inviting NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov to the ring and refuses the latter’s handshake. In a verbal back-and-forth, it’s the foreigner that speaks with gusto while inserting Carmelo Hayes’ name into the equation. “On Sunday, you will write history – just not the history that you want,” says Dragunov before forcing a hug. The Wolf Dogs attack them both before Hayes makes the save, and officials separate the Dusty Cup finalists. Does Hayes finally turn at Vengeance Day? Will Williams finally defeat his longest nemesis?


NXT 1/30/24

Orlando, FL

Every Dusty Cup match has been phenomenal and restores faith in NXT wrestling until the rest of the card happens. The dramatic segments were actually the highlights of the show, which says a lot considering this brand’s style of production.