Hello, everyone and welcome to our live WWE NXT coverage on 411! I’m Jeremy Thomas, here as always, and 2023 continues to be a wild ride for professional wrestling. But that’s for the news cycle; tonight, NXT makes its way toward Vengeance Day on February 4th. Tonight’s show will see Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne address their both facing Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Championship, while Bron Breakker and Grayson Waller will speak about their steel cage NXT Championship match at the PPV. In the ring, Apollo Crews and Axiom will face Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams while Sol Ruca battles Alba Fyre. And Briggs & Jensen will seek revenge against Gallus for their attack last week. Sounds like a fun show.
Here at Thomas HQ, we’ve been busy! I counted down by top 20 worst films of the year, and you can read those here and here. I’ve also been keeping on pace with my watches for the year, some of which is still catch-up for potential inclusion for my Top 20 films of the year (coming soon!). I watched The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, a documentary on Netflix which falls short in explaining the wild story of Kai Lawrence, and then the COVID slasher Sick on Peacock which was a lot of fun (no surprise, it’s co-written by Kevin Williamson). Netflix released a new dog drama in Dog Gone, which is exactly what you would expect from a drama about a family searching for their missing dog. I hadn’t seen Addams Family Values in a while so I watched it on a lark; it’s still pretty close to perfect.
Saturday saw a trip to the movies and I saw The Whale, which is flawed but well worth it just for the performances. I also finally watched Avatar: The Way of Water, and it’s exactly what you would expect. I enjoyed it, the visuals were great, it was way too long, and parts of it lagged. All in all, a thorougly effective blockbuster though (and nothing more than that). Finally, I saw the new Gerard Butler film Plane which was modest fun and Triangle of Sadness, which starts off very strong and then loses a lot of steam in the back half.
Anyway, we’re gonna have a lot to cover tonight so let’s hop right in.
As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.
* We get a recap montage from New Year’s Evil including Jinder Mahal’s return, Dijak beating Tony D’Angelo, Toxic Attraction winning the battle royal, Gallus’ return in the tag team gauntlet match, and the “controversial” end to Bron Breakker vs. Grayson Waller leading to the rematch being set for Vengeance Day.
Trick and Axiom start off and lockup, Axiom escapes a wristlock and goes into one of his own. They do some counterwrestling, Axiom with a dropkick. Back into the lockup, Trick gets Axiom against the ropes, Axiom escapes but gets run over by Trick and decked. Axiom off the ropes, Trick pushes him up for an uppercut and Melo tags in, Axiom fights back and hits a tornado headscissors double takedown. He hits Melo with a dropkick and tags in Crews, who sends Melo into the ropes, reversed. They go to the ropes and Crews hits a dropkick, then one on Trick who comes in. Double armdrag to both men!
Hayes is able to take over though, he hits a spinning headscissors takedown. Crews fires back and sends Melo to the outside, Trick checks on him and Crews tosses Axiom onto both men as we go to PIP break.
We’re back as Axiom hits an inside cradle for two. Melo and Axiom go into the ropes and clothesline each other, and are both slow to get up. Melo blocks Axiom from making the tag, but he switches around and Crews comes in to grab a charging Trick — double German suplex! Melo and Trick turn it around for back suplexes, and Crews and Axiom slide down. A bit of chaos there but Hayes ends up in control of Axiom. Trick tages in and slams Axiom into the hostile corner. He stomps away at Axiom, then tags in Melo who delivers a shot to the ribs before snapmaring Axiom into a chinlock.
Back up and Melo whips Axiom into the hostile corner, but Axiom dropkicks Trick! Crews tags in and takes over on Melo, he hits a big splash in the corner and then sends Melo into the opposite corner for another splash. Enzuigiri, then a gorilla press drop and standing moonsault. Trick breaks up the count and Axiom sends Trick to the outside. Melo goes up top for his finisher but Crews catches him and rolls him up for three.
Winner: Apollo Crews & Axiom (10:35)
Thoughts: With these four, you have to expect a great match and they delivered to open the show well. Crews and Axiom winning extends the feud, which I’m not complaining too hard about because it gives them all something to do for now.
* Tony D and Stacks are walking along the bridge where Two Dimes was done away with. Stacks asks why they’re here, and Tony says the bridge represents the beginning and sometimes the end. He tosses a coin in the river and says rats get what they deserve. He says Stacks has proven himself over the past year and the Dijak thing didn’t turn out how they planned. Tony stares at Stacks, who says do what you gotta do. Tony says Stacks’ days of being a soldier are over — he’s now an underboss. Tony gives Stacks a jacket with a design that is the family crest. Tony says he’s proud of Stacks, and they walk off.
* We get a recap of the finish of the battle royal last week with Jacy ans Gigi both winning. They’re walking backstage to the ring.
* McKenzie is with Tiffany Stratton, and she interrupts McKenzie’s question before McKenzie shows a video from last night of Stratton being unable to get into her locker room. She bangs on the door and it’s Indi, who says it isn’t her locker room anymore. Tiffany says the footage is disturbing and alarming, and Indi could fit her entire wardrobe in a garbage bag. She’s going to show the women of NXT that there’s only one star in the division: her. Toodles!
* Here come Gigi and Jacy! They come out to the ring and get mics. Jacy says Gigi and her aren’t usually ones to say they told us so, BUUT…they told us so! Gigi says their prediction held true, and Jacy gives Alicia Taylor kudos for doing her job and announcing the co-winners. Jacy says the best part was watching our collective minds explode when it came down to the two of them. Everyone thought TA were going to explode, and for a hot second Jacy tried to eliminate Gigi and vice versa. But at the end of the day, they’re a team. They fight together, they even fall on the floor together. There’s no elephant in the room; there’s only them being on the same page. The Toxic Attraction Revenge Tour is rolling to Vengeance Day.
Here comes Lyra Valkyria! She says all she hears are a couple of toxic ravens crowing, and if it wasn’t for Cora she’d be heading to Vengeance Day. Jacy asks where Lyra came from, and say they’ve been champions longer than Lyra has had her wings. They tell Lyra to get to the back of the line and the back of the building.
Lyra says all she sees is two people who can’t beat Roxy alone, so they have to do it together. Jacy and Gigi attack, and here comes Roxy for the save! TA bail.
* The Creeds are working out in the back and arguing about who gets Jinder Mahal next. Ivy and Tatum walk in and Ivy says that when they were locked in they were the best tag team, and now they’re far off from where they need to be. Indus Sher has global accolades and Jinder is a former WWE Champion. She tells them to grow a set and get back to being the Creed Brothers. The ladies leave and Julius says she has a point.
* Stevie Turner appears in a segment and anaylzes last week’s battle royal.
Alba and Sol lock up and go into some counterwrestling, Alba takes Sol down for a two-count. Waistlock by Alba and Sol into the ropes, she goes up and over and hits Alba with a backslide for two.
Sol goes for a lockup but Alba tripes her up. Sol kips up, they go into some acrobatics and Sol with a facebuster for two. ALba back up and she slams Sol down by her hair, then stomps away at her. Shot to the head of Ruca and a front suplex drop. Kick to the chest of Sol, a second knocks her down. Alba goes for the Fyre Bomb, Sol escapes and sends ALba into the corner. She gets Alba up for a Razor’s Edge but Alba escapes, hits a superkick and beats on Sol.
Alba turns around and Isla Dawn is on the stage! Sol with the Sol Snatcher for three.
Winner: Sol Ruca (3:16)
Rating: ** 1/4
Thoughts: As good as you can get from a three-minute match. This was all about the character change in Fyre and her angle with Isla Dawn. Alba can take the loss, it does Sol some good so I won’t complain too much.
* Dijak says that Tony D’Angelo and Stacks learned what hard justice was the hard way, and Wes Lee is next. Hard justice awaits him at Vengeance Day. That match is officially announced for NXT Vengeance Day.
* Vic Joseph interview Grayson Waller and asks what’s been going through his mind. Waller says Bron has run through everyone in his path but couldn’t beat him. Bron was exactly what he thought — fast, strong, and stupid. The only reason he’s not champion is because of the ropes. He says he put Bron through it like it was nothing and a bunch of idiots failed to do their one job to fix the ring, and because of that he failed to do his job. He drove his knee straight into Bron’s forehead and isn’t sure how Bron kicked out, but he had a plan that went awry when the ropes snapped again. He says he feels as much like a champion as Bron did and has brought his own championship. He says he wants nothing more than to be stuck in a cage with that dog and he will be the decisive winner, pinning Bron in the cage. He calls Vengeance Day the most important NXT PLE and says he’ll take the title.
* Gallus are backstage walking and they say something that ends with Gallus Boys on top. Briggs and Jensen are also walking backstage.
* ALba Fyre is going apeshit when Katana and Kayden tell her to calm down and ask her what’s going on. Alba says she can’t win lately, and they say it took them a long time to win the tag titles. Alba says maybe she should go after them. Katana says she doesn’t have a partner, and she says she doesn’t need anyone before walking off.
* A vignette airs for Tyler Bate. He felt it was time for rest and reflection, but he’s back for new challenges and to settle some issues. He’s back and staying.
We start off with a brawl, and Wolfgang batters Jensen in the corner before Mark Coffey tags in and nails into him. Jensen fights back, whip into the ropes, tag to Briggs and they run over Mark. Double bodyslam, Briggs covers for two.
Jensen tags back in, whip into the ropes, Mark reverses and Wolfgang hits him from behind. Wolfgang tags in and beats on Brooks, kneedrop to the back of the head. Wolfgang takes Brooks into the corner, Mark tags in and hits a shot to Brooks’ back. Knee to the head, and another. Brooks fires back but gets nailed hard. Wolfgang tags back in, Irish whip, Jensen doesn’t quite make the leapfrog and slips. Tag to Briggs, who flattens Wolfgang in the corner and then knocks him down.
Into the ropes, Mark makes the tag behind Briggs’ back and grabs Briggs, pulling him out of the ring to beat on him. Wolfgang joins him in pulling back the ringside mats. Jensen comes over and takes out Wolfgang, Mark tries to suplex Briggs on the concrete but Briggs reverses as we go to PIP break.
We’re back and Jensen is in control, he takes out Coffey with a spinning heel kick. Jensen goes for a suplex but his back gives out. Coffey sends Brooks into the corner and hits a kneelift, Wolfgang tags in and hits an elbow drop from the second rope for two.
Wolfgang in control of Brooks, he sends Brooks shoulder-first into the ringpost and Brooks goes out of the ring. Coffey tags in and lays into him on the outside, bringing him back in for two. Repeated kicks by Coffey, Jensen fights back but is sent into the ropes for a kidney shot, cover for two.
Wolfgang back in, he lays into Brooks and Coffey tags in to kick Jensen. Jensen back up and tries for a tag, Coffey blocks it and Jensen almost makes it but gets stop. Briggs eventually gets the tag and sends both Gallus members to the outside, he goes onto the apron and hits an elbow drop off the apron! Gallus recovers and Jensen is whipped into a slam onto the concrete. Briggs back in the ring, he splashes Coffey and finally notices that Brooks is hurt. Fallon has called for help and medicals check on him.
Coffey takes advantage of the distraction for a cover but Briggs kicks out and gets taken down. Both men down in the ring as Kiana comes down to check on Brooks. Brooks demands to be gotten to his feet. In the ring, Briggs and Coffey are trading shots. Briggs takes out Wolfgang but gets leveled by Coffey. Superkick & Powerslam finishes it.
Winner: Gallus (11:57)
Rating: ** 3/4
Thoughts: There were a couple of sloppy moments (that leapfrog in particular), but this was a good, solid brawl with a solid storyline to it. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a lot of fun.
* Thea Hail is being pumped up by Duke Hudson. She says she’s nervous and ready to throw up when Andre Chase comes in and says his phone is blowing up. We see a video of the NXT Anonymous account where Duke was saying something casting doubt on Chase, but he says it was taken out of context. Hail asks that they deal with it later because she has a match.
* Jenson tells doctors he’s doing okay when Fallon comes in and asks what SHE was doing out there. Brooks says “she” has a name, and Kiana was out there to help. Fallon says she’s using him and Brooks asks what for? Fallon says when Kiana breaks his heart, she won’t be there to pick up the pieces.
Lockup to start and they do some counterwrestling. Hail with a wristlock, Feroz escapes and reverses it, putting Hail on the mat. Hail back up and reverses back, Feroez reverses again but gets kicked down, Feroez trips Hail for a cover and Hail does the same, both for less than one.
Front dropkick by Feroz for one, right into a straightjacket hold. Elektra Lopez comes out to watch as Hail gets to her feet and goes into the ropes, awkward Crucifix for two and a kick to the face, standing moonsault for two. Feroz grabs Hail and rolls her up for two, then kicks away at Hail. Whip into the ropes, Hail ducks, crossbody sends both women to the mat.
The ref’s attention is drawn to Chase U as Lopez hands Feroz some knockles. Feroz doesn’t use them and Hail drops her for the three count.
Winner: Thea Hail (3:24)
Thoughts: Nice to see Thea get the win, but that match was sloppy as shit.
* Melo and Trick are walking into the parking lot and Crews comes up to mock them. Melo says Crews is bragging about a tag team match win and that it was cheap. Crews says the win calls for a celebration and asks if they know a good barner. Trick: “He ain’t got no damned hair!”
* Vic mantions Jay Briscoe’s passing on air and sends condolences. Classy move.
* Elektra walks up to Valentina backstage and asks why she didn’t take her help. Valentina says she doesn’t cheat, and that Elektra and Sanga are the same. Elektra says to stop sulking over Sanga and watch her match against Wendy Choo next week.
* The New Day come out to the ring. Woods says its our boys, the New Day, and they look good. Kofi says they look so good right now because today’s a special occasion: they are done with Pretty Deadly, baby! Woods says if they’re not going up against Pretty Deadly at Vengeance Day, then who? Kofi says they’ll be going up against Gallus.
Here come Pretty Deadly, who say to stop this travesty. Elton says they’re talking nonsense, and Kip says they’re mocking PD. Do they think this is funny? Woods says it’s hilarious, and Kofi says it’s even funnier that they lost last week. Elton says they’ve been jumping through hoops for months and it isn’t fair. Kip says they’re the rightful #1 contenders and New Day know it, PD know it, everyone does.
Here comes Gallus! Coffey asks if they heard it right, and Wolfgang says they don’t deserve a chance at the titles. Kip says they weren’t supposed to be in the match and it’s a miscarriage of justice. Coffey says everyone’s chances of winning the titles are done, because Gallus is back on top and New Day are next. Coffey says those two like to talk about their records. Gallus is about turning up, kicking off and ruining everyone’s good time. Woods says no one understood what Gallus said but can tell from their body language that they want to fight. But Pretty Deadly are the ones who attack! The New Day and Gallus send Kip and Elton to the outside and then start brawling inside the ring as producers hold Pretty Deadly back.
* McKenzie is with Roxy and Lyra and asks how they’ll gel as a team. Roxy says they’re bonded by common enemies: TA this week, Cora last week. She says TA has tried to make their lives miserable and she won’t let them do it to Lyra. Lyra says that she normally flies alone and — here comes Javi with a guitar! He says his match is next and his album hit the top 40. He asks Roxy if she wants to hear a song, and she says no. He asks Lyra and she says to get out.
* Vic asks Bron about his match with Waller last week and says he was expecting after the knee to be calling Waller the new champion. Bron says it took him everything to get out of it. He says the big question was, what if ropes hadn’t broken he had hit the elbow? He says people have doubts now and that’s fine because all doubts will be answered at Vengeance Day. Vic asks him about the steel cage match at Vengeance Day and Bron says he couldn’t be more excited. He can’t think of a better scenario; there’s nowhere to run and it’s just him and Grayson. He won’t be climbing over the top, he’ll pin him. He calls Waller the Chael Sonnen of WWE and says he’d be an absolute disgrace as champion because he’s only in it for himself. Waller won’t be talking trash when he throws him up in the cage and he’ll leave Charlotte as NXT Champion.
* Javi is out here with his guitar and says in celebration of “Felice Javidad” hitting the top 40, he’s going to play a concert. He begins performing — and here comes Tyler Bate!
Bate offers a handshake, but then pulls back and…tickles Javi. Bate starts going around Havi and locks in a headlock, but Javi turns it around. Javi shot off into the ropes, dropkick to Javi and then an armdrag into a wristlock. Javi back up, he manages to back into the ropes and uses the ref calling for the break to hit a thumb to the eye. Bulldog and clothesline, cover for two.
Javi with mounted punches and then grinding his forearm into Bate’s face. Javi lays in shots but Bate gets up, fires back and Irish whips, reversed by Javi but he comes out with a clothesline and takes over. Bate runs over Javi, he gets sent into the corner but kicks Javi in the head, uppercut off the second rope and an Exploder suplex, standing SSP. Bate with shots to the jaw of Javi, clothesline off the ropes, SLOPPY as hell Tyler Driver for three.
Winner: Tyler Bate (3:45)
Rating: ** 1/4
Thoughts: Bate is much better than that finish, he fucked that up. The match was okay for a three-minute match beyond that.
* Chase U is having a big celebration for Thea as Brooks and Jenson are hanging. Fallon walks up and apologizes, says she just wants what’s best for him and she’ll try. She asked for a tag match, and her partner is Kiana. Brooks says they’re cool. They’re going to the bar.
Set For Next Week:
– NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles: Carter & Chance vs. Alba Fyre
– Tiffany Stratton vs. Indi Hartwell
– Thea Hail Award Ceremony
We’re already into the overrun, so don’t expect this to go long. Jacy and Roxy start off trading shots, and Gigi and Lyra come in so it’s a brawl. TA get sent to the outside, Roxy dives onto Jacy and Lyra with a dropkick through the ropes to Gigi. Roxy rolls Jacy in, cover for two and she goes right into a wristlock.
Lyra tags in and kicks Jacy in the arm, she knocks Jacy down and locks in a headlock. Roxy tags back in, she drops Jacy through a wheelbarrow roll into a dropckick and covers for two. Lyra tags in and comes off the top with a kick to the arm. Jacy turns it around though and nails Lyra, then tags in Gigi who gets hiptossed and covered for one.
Lyra tags in Roxy, who comes off the ropes with a diving back elbow, cover for two. Roxy with a waistlock but Gigi goes into the ropes, Jacy tags in and clotheslines Roxy for two. She grabs Roxy by the head and sends her into the corner, running in for a splash. Gigi with the Bronco Buster, Jacy with the cannonball, cover for two.
Gigi with repeated kicks to Roxy’s head and then tags in Jacy, senton for two. Jacy works Roxy over and sends her into a boot by Gigi, she covers for two-plus. Gigi pulls Roxy away from a possible tag and kicks her, Jacy tags in and runs over to nail Lyra. She goes for a suplex on Roxy but Roxy slides off, double diving facebuster and both women are down.
Gigi tags in, but Lyra with the hot tag. She kicks the hell out of Gigi and hits a standing enzuigiri onto Jacy, suplex to Gigi and she goes up top. Cora Jade comes out and throws her off the top! Jacy comes in but Lyra with a kick to the head, Roxy tags in and she leaps on Jacy for punches as Lyra lays into Jade on the outside. They brawl to the back, Roxy with a charing corner uppercut but Gigi with a superkick behind the ref’s back. Jacy goes for a kick but Roxy moves and Gigi gets nailed! Roxy takes out Jacy, Pop Rocks to Gigi for three!
Winner: Roxanne Perez & Lyra Valkyria (6:47)
Rating: ** 1/2
Thoughts: This was all about the angles and was too short to be great, but it advanced things nicely to set up more dissension between Gigi and Jacy. Not a great main event, but perfectly serviceable.
And with that, we’re done for the night!