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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 3.14.23

March 14, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE NXT 3-14-23 Image Credit: WWE
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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 3.14.23  

Hello, everyone and welcome to our live WWE NXT coverage right here on 411! I’m Jeremy Thomas, and with Roadblock in the rearview, we’re heading right ahead toward Stand & Deliver. Tonight’s show will see Gallus defend their NXT Tag Team Championships against Pretty Deadly and Wes Lee’s latest NXT North American Championship Open Challenge. Plus Johnny Gargano will address his return last week to take out Grayson Waller, while Apollo Crews and Dabba-Kato meet in the ring. Plus we’ll have the first qualifying matches for the Stand & Deliver ladder match to determine the new NXT Women’s Champion after Roxanne Perez (possibly) has to vacate the title, and likely some build to Carmelo vs. Bron. Should be a fun show.

Here at Thomas HQ, I’m now about nine and a half seasons into RuPaul’s Drag Race and still enjoying it. My movie-watching is staying strong in 2023 as I saw several in the past week. Liam Neeson’s latest film Marlowe was an improvement over his 2022 efforts (but still not that good), while Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre benefited from a great cast (Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant) and slick direction. I did a rewatch of Scream 2022 before watching Scream VI on Friday evening, and I still adore 2022’s film and perhaps liked Scream VI even more than that.

I finished up the week with the merely “okay” Christopher Landon supernatural comedy We Have a Ghost on Netflix, and then the twisty Apple TV+ drama-thriller Sharper which needed just a touch of script and pacing work to really shine.

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 start off with a recap of the events during last week’s Roadblock including Bron vs. Carmelo being officially set, Gigi beating Jacy, Johnny Gargano’s return, and Roxy defending her title against Meiko Satomura before collapsing and being stretchered out.

* We’re LIVE in the Capitol Wrestling Center, and here comes Johnny Gargano! The “Johnny Wrestling” chant runs for a few and Gargano asks where we left off. The crowd chants “Welcome Home!” and Gargano says last time he was in the ring Waller jumped him, so he needs them to watch his back. He said last time he was here he said he’d teach his son to be the best man you can be, and you have to finish what you started. It’s WrestleMania season and there’s a lot of talk about finishing stories, and that’s why he’s here. His story ended on a cliffhanger and when he returned on Raw it felt like a piece of him was missing because he left off here on the table with Waller standing over him. He says Waller took closure from him and he hates to say this, but he kind of respects it. That’s why he gave Waller a gift — he waited. He wanted to see what Waller would do with it, because the last guy who took him out was Ciampa who went on to become one of the greatest NXT Champions ever.

And what did Waller do? He had two chances and he failed. Then what did he do? He whined, cried, complained, and blamed everyone else. He dissed the fans, the locker room, and most importantly he disrespected NXT. One thing that will never change: no matter what brand he’s on, NXT is his home. And you don’t screw with a man’s home. Seven years of blood, sweat and tears, and —

Vic Joseph shows up and says Waller is at his house! He shows him a phone where Waller is livestreaming, and Gargano runs off.

* Earlier Today: Wes Lee arrives and Axiom is there. Axiom says he’s following Wes everywhere because no one is taking his title. Lee says the match is eight hours away, and asks if he’s hungry. Axiom says he could eat.

* Johnny Gargano is running to the parking lot and driving off as McKenzie asks him questions. A camera man is following Johnny as he drives away.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Gallus vs. Pretty Deadly

Elton and Coffey lock up to start, Elton backed into the ropes and he slaps Coffey on the break. Elton lays into Mark, who locks in a headlock. Shot into the ropes, Mark runs Elton over and hits an armdrag into a shoulderlock. Elton to his feet and fights out, double reversal into the corner and Mark with a back elbow that sends Elton to the outside. He tags in Kit who hits a sunset flip for two and an inside cradle for another two.

Kit talks trash but gets armdragged to the mat. Wolfgang tags in and judo tosses Kit, then throws him across the ring. He goes for a splash but Elton pulls Kit to safety and Kit kicks away at Wolfgang before getting kicked off. He charges in and goes over to the apron, he tries to leap on Wolfgang and gets caught and dropped. Coffey tags in and they double toss Kit — Elton comes in and gets catapulted into a backdrop as we go to PIP.

We’re back and Pretty Deadly are in control as Elton Prince beats down Mark Coffey. He hits a legdrop and covers for two, then drives a couple knees into Coffey’s back before Kit tags in. They take out Coffey and cover for two again. Kit with knees to Coffey’s ribs, Elton tags in and dives into a held Coffey for an uppercut and another cover for two. Stomps on Mark in the corner, another cover for two.

Elton with a chinlock to Coffey, he gets to his feet but gets yanked down for another two-count. Kit tags in and decks Mark in the stomach. He lies in wait as Mark gets to his knees and kicks him in the head. Another head kick and Kit wrenches on the neck. Coffey to his feet and starts fighting back but gets kneed in the cut. Elton tags in but Mark with a bodydrop to him and Wolfgang tags in hot! He batters Elton and hits a big leg lariat off the ropes. Splash onto Elton, boot to Kit on the apron and a double axehandle off the top. Diving elbow to a seated Elton for a nearfall.

Mark tags back in, double chokeslam! Cover for two but Kit breaks it up. Kit attacks Wolfgang and Elton joins in, they send him over the ropes but he pulls them out of the ring — PD throw Wolfgang over the commentary table! Elton grabs the title but as the ref is distracted by that, Kit nails Mark from behind with the other title. Cover for two but he kicks out! Spilt milk, but Wolfgang pulls the ropes down. Back elbow by Wolfgang and Coffy in now, they finish off Kit for three.

Winner: Gallus (12:34)
Rating: *** 1/4
Thoughts: Great match by these two teams, to the surprise of no one. They’ve always had great chemistry, and Gallus retaining was the obvious choice but it played out well.

* Brigga and Fallon are at Kiana’s office, and Briggs has wilderness camo on. Fallon berates him for it, then goes to pick the lock. Briggs opens the door handle before she can do so. They rifle through the office and Fallon finds a paper with a Stand & Deliver logo. It’s a match contract for an NXT Women’s Championship qualifier for tonight.

They keep looking, and Briggs hopes they’re wrong about it. Fallon finds Kiana’s planner and finds a “Operation Boyfriend (Ongoing)” in the planner. There’s a lot about a guy named Sebastian, and Briggs says maybe it’s co-workers. They find the card for the flowers which is from Sebastian and is about a date where they spent the night together. They take the photo and leave.

* We get a recap of Shawn Michaels’ tweets about Roxy possibly having to crown a new NXT Women’s Champion and the qualifiers starting tonight.

* A sports doctor says that Roxy’s bloodwork came back reassuring and she had no brain abnormalities, nor any heart arrhythmia. She is stable but they can’t identify what made her collapse and he is recommending further tests, including psychological. No word on when she can come back.

NXT Women’s Championship Match Qualifier
Sol Ruca vs. Zoey Stark

Lockup to start, Sol backed into the ropes. They shove each other, Zoey sends Sol into the ropes ans Sol flips over, then hits a back bodydrop. Zoey escapes to the outside for a breather. Back in and she takes over, but Sol quickly reverses a slam into the turnbuckle. Whip into the corner, Zoey sends Sol to the apron and Sol leaps back in for a Codebreaker. Sol with the kipup dodge of a lariat, she nails Zoey who goes outside. Sol follows but gets superkicked. Back in the ring for a two-count.

Zoey beats on Sol and nails a knee to the jaw, then a clothesline for two. She goes right into the inverted chinlock and she wears Sol down on the mat, cover for two and then she lays in overhead fists to the chest. Back into the inverted chinlock to grind Sol down. Sol gets Zoey off ehr and they trade shots, Sol off the ropes a couple leaping tackles. Step-up enzuigiri and a handspring splash in the corner, powerslam and cover for two.

Sol clotheslines Zoey over the ropes and goes up top — moonsault and she sticks the landing. Zoey rolled in, Sol with a springboard but Zoey catches her with the flip GTS for three.

Winner: Zoey Stark (4:40)
Rating: ** 1/2
Thoughts: Very good for the time it got. Sol is developing well and Zoey always delivers.

* We get a new vignette for SCRYPTS talking about how his gaze is drawn to one man.

NXT Women’s Title Tag #1 Contender’s Match
ALba Fyre & Ilsa Dawn vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance vs. Tatum Paxley & Ivy Nile

Isla, Tatum, and Katana start off in the ring. Some jockeying for position before Katana hits a double takedown, but we get a couple of quick pin attempts. Isla goes after Chance but gets rana’d to the floor, Chance tags in Carter and they go after Paxley. We get a couple more pin attempts, Isla back in and she and Alba start beating on Kayden and Paxley. Alba gets a nailed by both Kayden and Paxley, Katana tags in and Paxley bodyslams her onto Alba, then covers for two.

Ivy tags in, double suplex to Alba and a cover but Katana breaks it up. Ivy ducks some offense and tosses Katana in the corner, charging into a boot. Katana with a crossbody, Ivy holds on and picks her up but Alba with a superkick. Isla tags in, Ivy with a kick to Isla and she goes for a tag from Tatum but Tatum drops off the apron and says they were never a team. The other two teams fight on the inside as Tatum nails Ivy and rolls her in — lungblower into a frog splash by Alba for the pin.

Winner: Isla Dawn & Ivy Nile (4:10)
Rating: ** 1/4
Thoughts: Chaotic, and not in the good way. This was obviously very rushed and they rolled with the punches, but this wasn’t enough time for a good match that included a heel turn.

* Tony and Stacks catch up with Bron and offer to take out Melo before tonight’s contract signing. Bron says no and instead suggests a whole bunch of Mafia schemes. Tony says they were gonna take him to the parking lot and do a little pipe to the knee. Bron says it’s appreciated, but he’s got this. Tony says that it’s time for them to get some gold. And he means tag team gold. Stacks has been stepping up and it’s time.

* Ilja Dragunov is here! He hits the ring and says his career in WWE has been life-changing for him, his son, his wife. They’ve had opportunities they never expected. But every success has had a blemish, because there’s always been JD McDonagh trying to cut his legs out. This could have been avoidable but there’s no choice now. To continue his ascension in NXT, he needs to get rid of JD once and for all.

Of course, that brings out JD who says it was never avoidable and they’re two sides of the same coin. Ilja says he’s wrong and his obsession with Ilja will lead to devastation. JD says Ilja is obsessed with him, and they always suffer. Ilja can’t quit him. Ilja says pain makes him feel alive, and pain makes the difference in his life. And he chooses that life.

JD says he figured that out about Ilja; Ilja thinks he chooses pain but he’s wrong. Ilja’s greatest strength is what he’s willing to put his body through, but it’s why he doesn’t have a title. Ilja wants to suffer, and JD will never stop thinking of ways to make JD suffer. Ilja says that this ends next week and there will be no more JD McDonagh next week because there will be nothing more than random body parts and fluids spelling out “Here lies the Irish Ace!”

JD enters the ring and they stare off. JD says he looks forward to their Symphony of Sadism, and it will be hair to watch. DJ goes for the headbutt but Ilja dodges and beats on JD. Clothesline over the top, JD nails Ilja and they continue to brawl to the back and outside.

* McKenzie asks PD about their loss and not going to Stand & Deliver. Elton and Kit are offended, and they say they can’t believe they lost. But Kit says they’re universally ignored. S&D needs Pretty Deadly. Why be on the show when they can be the show. They’ll host it! They head off to make their case.

* Wes Lee WALKS — and Ilja and JD are still fighting. Wes gets involved in it when JD shoves him but is separated out and goes to the ring.

* Thea Hail is doing practices with Tyler Bate when Andre Chase walks in and says he needs a moment with Duke. Duke says they need to worry about their win-loss record, and Chase says Chase U is more about the record books; it’s about feelings, and its about where he found his purpose in life. And the same for Duke, who was skating before. Chase leaves and Ava walks past, leaving a mask in front of Duke.

* Grayon Waller is at Gargano’s house streaming and talking about his house. He says Gargano isn’t around, but maybe Johnny left the door unlocked. He’d better go check.

* The NXT locker room battles for the chance to get to the ring for the open challenge against Wes Lee. Axiom gets in the ring — and SCRYPTS dives in and takes him out. McDonagh is now in the ring and takes Lee out, and Ilja battles with Lee. Wes is pissed, so he dives on everyone and goes right into the big brawl. …no match?

* McKenzie is with Dragon Lee, who is excited to be here. He says he came here to be a great example of the spirit of Lucha Libre, and says he’s going to love it here.

* We get a recap of the Apollo Crews and Dabba-Kato feud.

* McKenzie is with Jacy, whose arm is in a sling. Jacy says Gigi did nothing last week and isn’t 1/10th as good as her. McKenzie says that Gigi beat Jacy last week, and Gigi says to report real news. She says Gigi separated her shoulder a minute into the match because she takes shortcuts. If Gigi considers that a victory, she’s even more pathetic than Jacy thought she was. Jacy says she’s gonna be thinking of Gigi every second until she returns and then will break her heart and face.

Apollo Crews vs. Dabba-Kato

Crews attacks before the bell on the outside and beats on Dabba-Kato, sending him into the guardrail. Dabba shoves Crews off but Crews goes right back on the attack, sending Dabba staggering. Dabba is fighting back more and gets shoved into the ringpost, but Crews is put on the apron and smacked.

In the ring with both men and the bell rings. They go right back to the outside and fight each other, with Crews sent into the guardrail. Crews is back up and lays into Kato, Kato charges at Crews and Crews dodges, sending Kato into the ring steps. They finally get back in the ring and Dabba-Kato is fighting back, he hits a big boot to stomp Crews down as we go to PIP.

We’re back and Dabba has Crews in a backbreaker submission, but Crews knees his way out of it. Crews punching back and tries to pick up Dabba to no luck. Dabba does pick Crews up though, and drops him into a gutbuster. Dabba throws Crews into the ropes and hits a kidney shot, then chokes Crews against the bottom rope for four. Dabba jabs at Crews, who fights back. Throat thrust and a shot to the head, Daba nearly falls over but he levels Crews and then hits a clothesline to the back of the head. Legdrop off the ropes and Dabba manhandles Crews in the corner, bending him back over the ropes.

Crews to the apron as the ref warns Dabba off. Crews with an enzuigiri and a neck snap against the ropes — repeated pump kicks and a splash in the corner. ANGLE SLAM TO DABBA-KATO! Crews up top, frog splash and cover for a nearfall.

Dabba-Kato shoves Crews off of him and escapes to the outside. Crews leaps at him and is caught into a chokeslam on the steel steps. The ref starts the count, Crews gets in at 9.5. Dabba-Kato grabs Crews, choke bomb for three.

Winner: Dabba-Kato (8:47)
Rating: ** 1/2
Thoughts: Solid big man vs. Crews match. Dabba-Kato is a bit limited with what he can do but they played well to his strengths and Crews did what he made Dabba look like a star.

* Shawn Michaels tells Wes Lee that the open challenges are killing him in a video recorded by NXT_Anonymous. Lee wants to pay it forward and prove himself. Shawn says he doesn’t have to do that, and Wes says that he wants ten of the best men for Stand & Deliver. Shawn says he can’t do that but will make it four guys. Wes can choose the opponents.

* Jensen and Kiana are in the locker room with no word from Fallon or Briggs. Kiana has a match and Jensen offers to go with him, but she says she thinks she needs to be alone — for the match.

NXT Women’s Championship Match Qualifier
Kiana James vs. Gigi Dolin

Lockup to start, Gigi with a waistlock that turns into some counterwrestling. Gigi with a La Magistral for two, she snapmares Kina over but Kiana dodges a kick and rolls Kiana up for two. Snapmare for Gigi and she hits the kick this time for two.

Gigi charges at Kiana in the corner, who dodges to the outside and then lays into Gigi. Neckbreaker and a cover for two. Kiana locks in a crossface, but Gigi gets to the ropes and Kiana breaks it at four. Gigi with a shot to the gut, but Kiana is fighting back. Jawbreaker and a pump kick from Gigi, roundhouse kick and a spear for two.

Waistlock reversed bt Kiana into a rollup for two, Gigi with her finisher for the pin.

Winner: Gigi Dolin (2:42)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: RIP Kiana James.

After the match, Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre attack Kiana until Jensen comes out for the save.

* Johnny Gargano has arrived home and looks around, Waller attacks. Gargano and Waller brawl, Waller gets thrown into the bushes. Waller throws dirt in Johnny’s face and says he guesses it’s his house now. He picks up a garbage can but Gargano kicks him, then throws the can into Waller and beats him down on the steps. Candice appears at the door and Johnny tells her to go inside. Waller takes over and beats down Johnny, then starts going to the door saying, “Daddy’s home!”

Gargano grabs Waller and they fight some more, with Waller smacking Johnny’s head into the wall. He doubles Gargano over with a rake and Candice tells Waller to stop and that it’s enough. Waller grabs Gargano and stomps his face into the dirt, then grabs his head and mocks LeRae and Quill. Waller says Johnny ain’t the same no more and backs off.

* The contract signing is next!

* Brooks is checking on Kiana when Fallon and Briggs walk in. Kiana asks what he’s wearing, and Jensen is pissed that Briggs saw the Bear movie without him. Fallon questions why she didn’t know about Kiana’s NXT Women’s Title match qualifier, and Jensen mentions the NXT Women’s Tag Team Title match at Stand & Deliver.

* Contract signing time. Melo is out here with Trick, and now here comes Bron. They take a seat and the contract is on the table. They question whether someone is supposed to be here, and Bron says they don’t need it so let’s make it official. Melo says the sooner they sign, the sooner they can get to a new champion. Bron says that he didn’t think it was gonna be like every contract signing, but —

Here come Pretty Deadly! They’re presiding over the contract signing as NXT Stand & Deliver hosts. Melo says he meant no disrespect; Bron is great and deserves to be respected. But April 1st, you can feel the changing of the guard. Because he’s taking the title and making it more than Bron ever could, just like he did with the NA Title. So respectfully at Stand & Deliver, he’s coming in second.

Bron disagrees with that but agrees that Melo took the NA Title and made it great because he couldn’t get the NXT Title. But he wants to face the Melo that the fans get on their feet for, the one who beat Ricochet, the one who beat Crews. He says “Melo Don’t Miss” is fitting, because there’s a first time for everything.

PD make a few snide comments and Melo shuts them up. He says at S^D, he doesn’t want the fisherman Bron or the Bron in a tux inducting his uncles. He wants the Bron who busts through walls. When Bron’s that guy, he’s unstoppable. Which will make it all the sweeter when he brings that guy and it’s not good enough. Melo says he is him.

Bron believes that but says it has to mean something. If he does, they’ll get everything they want out of it. He continues but PD interrupts again, and Trick says “That’s two.” Bron says this is 18 months in the making and has the potential to be the match of NXT. They’ve both unified titles. Melo says this is the youngest main event in WM Weekend history and there’s a lot of eyes on this, but the truth is that’s nothing new to them. Melo says he’ll deliver; he just needs to know that Bron will do. Bron says something has to give, and Melo signs the contract saying he’s not giving an inch. Bron signs the contract and says “Neither am I.” They face off and go to part, but Pretty Deadly say that’s not enough and we need some drama. The shirts come off and they stare at each other — then put Pretty Deadly through the table! The title is raised, and the two face off.

And with that, we’re done for the night!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Tonight's WWE NXT was a big dropoff from last week's show. The only particularly good match was the opening bout, and everything else was built to an unconvincing home attack, the Kiana James mystery, Axiom trying to fight Wes Lee, or building the NXT Women's Title Ladder match with rushed, too-short matches. The final segment was pretty good, but other than that and the Tag Team Title match this was kind of a skippable episode.

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WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas