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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 3.21.23

March 21, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE NXT 3-21-23 Bron Breakker Carmelo Hayes Image Credit: WWE
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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 3.21.23  

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Hello, everyone and welcome to our live WWE NXT coverage right here on 411! I’m Jeremy Thomas, and we’re racing fast into Stand & Deliver in just 11 days. Tonight we’ll see two qualifying matches for the NXT Women’s Championship ladder match that will take place at Stand & Deliver as Tiffany Stratton takes on Indi Hartwell and Lyra Valkyria battles Ivy Nile. In addition, Ilja Dragunov and JD McDonagh will face off in what’s sure to be a barn burner, while the Schism debates Chase U. Plus we’ll likely have more from Grayson Waller as he looks ahead to his S&D match with Johnny Gargano, Bron Breakker and Carmelo Hayes shenanigans and more.

Here at Thomas Central, I had a somewhat lighter week of movie watching as we keep moving closer to the busy weekend of WrestleMania. I watched the Netflix documentary Money Shot: The Pornhub Story, which was perfectly fine though it brushed past certain things in delving into the site’s history, followed by the perfectly solid Boston Strangler on Hulu. I managed to catch the sci-fi action drama 65, which had strong performances from Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt but leaned to hard on its video game-like escort quest plot to really be much fun. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is exactly as awful as you might expect but not in a fun way. Finally, I did a rewatch of the David Fincher classic Zodiac which remains fantastic.

Ads for my RuPaul’s Drag Race watch project, I’m not partway through season 10 and still digging the hell out of it.

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 Johnny Gargano’s appearance last week and his promo talking about how he was missing a piece of himself after Grayson Waller attacked him during his NXT farewell, and Waller showing up at his house which led to their confrontation that Waller won.

* We’re LIVE in the Capitol Wrestling Center and here comes Pretty Deadly! They’re looking snazzy as they make their way to the ring. They call for attention and quiet and remind us they’re the hosts for Stand & Deliver. Kit says in their first official act as hosts, they are wiping last week’s footage from the NXT archives where Gallus cheated to win against them. And we won’t see Bron and Carmelo jump them from behind and put them through a table.

Elton says if it wasn’t for the fact that they were hosts, Melo and Bron wouldn’t even make it to S&D. Kit says it’s time to talk outfits for the PPV, and Elton asks if Kit saw the horrid ensembles Bron and Melo were wearing last week —

And here comes Melo and Trick! Trick says he told PD to mind their business last week and they didn’t which is why they got table service. Melo says he was dripped out and PD were sitting there with Melo’s name in their mouth. Elton says he didn’t say Melo’s name; it was Kit. Trick tells them to mind their business and says Melo is the future NXT Champion. He says they talk their talk, and PD should walk their walk.

Elton says there might have been a breakdown of communication because they only spoeak the King’s English, but if they want a match and are willing to risk the main event of S&D, they’ll comply. Trick says it will be PD vs. Melo and…Bron Breaker! Melo is surprise and PD attack them — and here comes Bron! He layes out Elton and Gorilla press slams Kit over the ropes onto Elton! Bron helps Melo up and says he doesn’t want anything to heppen to Melo between now and Stand & Deliver. Melo doesn’t look happy, and he and Trick leave.

* Indie Hartwell WALKS backstage, as does Tiffany Stratton. Their match is next.

* Melo and Trick are backstage and Melo isn’t happy with teaming with Bron, he doesn’t want to do that “Can they co-exist?” thing. Trick says he’s looking out for Melo and says he can get a close-up look at Bron and scout him out tonight.

NXT Women’s Title Match Qualifying Match
Tiffany Stratton vs. Indie Hartwell

Lockup to start and Indie with a headlock, she is shot into the ropes and runs over Tiffany for a one-count. Wristlock by Indie, Tiffany into the corner and Indie charges into a big boot. Clothesline by Tiffany for a one-count. Indie with a couple of short arm clothyeslines, but Tiff kicks her in the cut and hits a suplex for two.

Stratton now stomping on Indie and picks her up for a whip into the corner. Stratton talks shit and goes to whip her out of the corner, but Indi blocks it and hits a couple forearms before beind sent into the corner. Handspring elbow splash from Tiffany but Indie fights back a bit before Tiffany ends up on the outside and tanks Indie hard out of the ring as we go to break.

We’re back and Tiffany has Indi in a headlock, but she powers out and hits a jawbreaker. She charges but Tiff hangs her in the ropes; she comes off the ropes for a hip attack and cover for two. Tiffany tries for a bodyslam, Indi slides down but Tiff escapes and double stomps her for another two-count.

Tiffany goes into the corner and goes up and over, but Indie catches her with a back suplex. Both women slow to get up, they trade shots on their knees and get to their feet to continue. Indie takes over and knocks Tiff down, she gets her on the apron and hits a Euro uppercut and kick to the head for two.

Tiff ducks a big boot and hits a powerslam, cover for a nearfall. Tiffany is getting frustrated, she goes for a slingshot senton but Indi moves and hits a spinebuster for two-plus. Tiffany backs Indie into the corner but eats a back elbow, Indie on the second rope but gets pulled off. Somersault slam and a double jump moonsault finishes it.

Winner: Tiffany Stratton (9:17)
Rating: ** 1/2
Thoughts: Perfectly solid match between these two. They got the time they needed and worked pretty well. Obvious winner is obvious, but it was a decent road to get there..

* Gallus are in the bar talking about how PD are behidn them. They go to play pool and in walk the Creed Brothers. Wolfgang asks if they fancy a game and order beer for them, suggest milk for the Creeds. Brutus says he’ll have what they’re having.

Gallus wins the pool game easily, and Julius says 8-ball isn’t their game but darts is. The Creeds win two games to none. Brutus says they practice hard but play harder. Julius suggests a tie-breaker at Stand & Deliver. Gallus says they’ll see them in LA, and they ahake hands. But as they exit, Tony D and Stacks are there and say they have business to talk with Gallus: Stand & Deliver business. Brutus says it’s gonna be a long night.

* Wes Lee WALKS backstage.

* Lyra Valkyria is RUNNING through an abandoned building for her workout, crashing through windows and such. She says get ready to soar at Stand & Deliver.

* McKenzie is backstage with Gigi and asks her about the field. She says it’s too early to judge right now and says it sucks for Jacy being injured but oh well. She says she won her last ladder match and is willing to do what it takes.

Tiffany walks up and says that everyone’s chances went from possible to screwed now. Her epiphany is that she’s going to win by climbing the lader to the Tiffy Top.

* Wes Lee is in the ring and says he’s constantly asked why he’s doing the Open Challenges for the NA Title. He doesn’t want to be a hypcrite and says he won the NXT NA Title in his first shot and knew he had to give everything he had. And now as champion he vows to give everyone the shot he had. He says he also has a chip on his shoulder has has to prove to the world and himself that he can compete with the best in the world and deserves to be your North American Champion.

He notes we all know Wes has four shots to give for the title match, and — HERE COMES DRAGON FUCKING LEE! Dragon Lee says it’s nice to meet Wes and he came to NXT for the same reason as Lee — to face the best. Right now Wes is the best, and he loves the chaos. At Stand & Deliver, he wants to be part of the Open Challenge against Wes. Wes says this is what he loves, and he’s followed Lee’s career from Mexico to Japan. He thought it would be six to eight months before they faced off, but he’s happy to make it official.

Here comes JD McDonah now. He says it’s Wes Lee and Dragon Lee, the Lees putting each other over. He says he’ll give Dragon a pass this week but tells him to sit in the front row and see him dismantle Ilja. He then asks Wes what his excuse is, and Wes asks what will be JD’s excuse when Ilja rips him apart. JD gets in the ring and says if he had his eyes on the NA Title, Wes wouldn’t be standing her at all.

HERE COMES ILJA! Dragunov is in the ring and it’s going to be that match after the break.

* NXT Anonymous records Indi Hartwell losing her shit over her loss. Zoey Stark laughs at her and Indi asks what she’s looking at? Zoey: “Definitely not the next NXT Women’s Champion.”

* Kiana is backstage and Fallon comes up to her, saying she knows all about Sebastian. Kiana asks how she got past security and Fallon shows her video. Kiana tries to explain and Fallon says she’s telling Brooks, walking off.

Ilja Dragunov vs. JD McDonagh

Ilja and JD start brawling to start and they trade shots sending each other into the ropes. Big boot and a leaping kick by Ilja, followed by knees to the side. Big hammer blow to the back of the neck of JD, followed by another one. Whip into the corner, Ilja leaps but JD moves out of the ropes, kicks Ilja and hits a slingshot spinning senton.

Chop by JD in the corner and a choke against the ropes. JD knees Ilja and hits a suplex, float over for one. Wristlock by JD, Ilja takes him down but JD dodges a punch. They trade shots and both go down. Both men up, they’re slapping the shit out of each other. Ilja ducks a slap and huts a German suplex, then a second one. He’s still held on and goes for one more, JD breaks it but Ilja spins through the ropes for a lariat. Cover for two.

Ilja back up and he charges at JD in the corner for a high knee. Kneedrop off the middle rope, and he’s right back up to the top. JD with punches and he climbs up, but Ilja knocks him down. JD back up and grabs Ilja, throwing him by the hair to the mat. JD throws Ilja face-first into the bottom rope as we go to PIP break.

McDonagh has been in control during the break, and we come back with him stretching Ilja’s neck with his leg. Ilja traps the leg though into a laying Stretch muffler until JD gets to the ropes. JD with a big kick to Ilja, followed by a sweries of kicks to the head and a slap. Ilja fires right back with an enzuigiri, but JD ducks and goes back into the kicks followed by a couple headbutts — enzuigiri connects this time!

Ilja goes apeshit with elbows to JD, then throws him in the corner. Big chop, JD ends up in another corner and eating another chop. JD dodges a third chop and hits an elbow, but Ilja comes back and chops JD across the ring before unloading rapid-fire chops in the corner. Big pick-up T-Bone slam for two.

Ilja has a waistlock, but JD runs into the ropes and hits Ilja throat-first on them. Power bomb gets two. JD with a German suplax and another, but Ilja is right back up until. Third German but Ilja answers with a roundhouse kick to the head.

Ilja charges for the XXXX but JD catches him and goes to lock in the Twister, but Ilja blocks it. Ilja reins down the punches but gets shoved off — he charges in for a diving punch! Both men out of the ring now, Ilja moves in and they start slapping each other. Thet grab hold of each other and go barreling into Dragon Lee. JD nails Lee, Ilja charges but hits Lee and it turns into a brawl.

Winner: No Contest (14:38)
Rating: *** 3/4
Thoughts: Great match with a sketchy ending. I get the point, but I don’t think it executed as well as they wanted and it was a downer after they killed it (and each other) until that point.

Wes Lee dives onto Ilja and JD, and it becomes a four-person brawl! Officials come out to separate them.

* Bron Breakker is backstage when Melo and Trick come up. Melo says he doesn’t need Bron saving him and doesn’t wanna do that “Can they get along?” thing. Bron says he doesn’t want to do it either, and doesn’t want two clowns — PD or them — to screw it up. He says Trick is always up to something, and they part ways.

* McKenzie asks Wes Lee about what happened, and Lee says JD and Ilja will never be tired of each other and JD has the second spot, while Ilja has the third. As to the final spot, Axiom walks up and asks if he’s got room for one more. Lee says Axiom wants it and has been close, but so have others. And a battle royal for the final spot is next week.

* Johnny Gargano’s music plays — but Big Body Javi is out instead. Javi mocks Gargano’s mannerisms and comes into the ring. Javi says when the music hit, we thought Gargano was coming out but they were wrong. Just like Javi thought he was going to S&D, but he was wrong because Gargano took his spot. He says Gargano’s been out for 12 months while Javi’s been the soul of NXT and has been fighting for seven years — uh, seven months. He’ll take Big Body Javi over Johnny Wrestling because how may Christmas albums has Johnny sold?

And here comes Gargano! Johnny steps in the ring and attacks Javi! He tosses Javi from the ring and throws him into the guardrail repeatedly, then steps into the ring. Johnny tells Waller that he’s around here somewhere and listening. You wanna make this personal and raise the stakes? Let’s raise the stakes. In his hand is a contract for a match type he knows well. April 1st, Gargano vs. Waller in an Unsanctioned Match. No rules, anything goes, no one is liable for what he does.

Waller appears on the Tron and says Gargano is upset about last week. But an Unsanctioned Match, does Gargano want to embarass himself? He’s not going to come down there. Hand the paper to his best buddy and he’ll sign it. But Gargano can’t be in the building or he isn’t signing it. Gargano says it’s a deal, and hands the contract to Vic, telling him to give it to Waller next week. He turns around and superkicks Javi for good measure.

* We get a vignette of Native American motifs. We get Eddy Thorpe (aka Karl Fredericks) talking about his heritage and how he has the responsibility of progression. He will lead his people forward, as he walks to a DJ table. Eddy Thorpe arrives next week.

* McKenzie asks Ivy about Tatum walking out on her and she says it took her a long time to let her guard down, and she got burnt. They let Tatum do her own thing because she was out there, but it hurts she says they were never their own team. Ivy says it’s not about that tonight as she fights to get a spot at Stand & Deliver.

* We get a vignette showing Hank Walker’s journey through NXT thus far. He says he’s been an athlete his whole life, but nothing prepped him for NXT. It’s been a wild ride thus far, including Drew Gulak taking him on and turning on him. He says guys like Gulak and Charlie Dempsey can’t see, they say he’s not cut out for this and he’s going to prove them wrong. He’s not changing who he is; he’s evolving and that’s what NXT is all about.

* Gulak and Dempsey are watching, and Gulak says that’s cute. Dempsey says that’s one way to look at it. Gulak says the mentor can open the door but you have to walk through, and that’s why Walker will always be just another guy.

NXT Women’s Title Match Qualifying Match
Ivy Nile vs. Lyra Valkyria

Circle and lockup to start, Lyra puts Nile on the mat and rolls her into a pinning combo for two. Nile goes into some counterwrestling and pins Lyra for two, she takes Lyra down and Lyra escapes, the follows suit but Ivy goes for an armbar. It’s blocked so she kicks Lyra. Lyra back up and fires off with kicks to the chest, she tells Ivy to do it and they start trading chest kicks. Double kick takes them both down.

Tatum watches in the back as Lyra goes for a crucifix, but Ivy counters with a gutwrench suplex for two. Lyra with a big kick and she hits a spin kick and more strikes. Goes for the Northern Lights Suplex, Nile blocks it for a snapp suplex. Nile charges in for a leaping kick in the corner and a dragon sleeper, but Lyra is able to get up and over and hit a German suplex. Roundhouse kick, cover for three.

Winner: Lyra Valkyria (2:54)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: Squash match. I would like to see these two get more time, what we got was promising.

* Fallon walks backstage and gets attacked by Alba and Isla. They beat her down and mock her until Kiana comes to the rescue. Officials come out to break it up. Kiana asks if Fallon’s okay, and says Fallon can’t tell Brooks; it has to come from her. Fallon agrees.

* Wes is asked backstage who will win the battle royal and he doesn’t know, but he says he’ll be excited to watch. Jinder Mahal and Dijak seperately come up and say they’ll see him at Stand & Deliver. Dabba-Kato says no one will stop him in the battle royal.

* It’s time for the Great Debate with Black Howard moderating. The Schism are debating Chase U. The first two debators are Reid Fowler and Duke Hudson. Blake asks how they approach includion, and Reid says togetherness is a founding principle of Schism. He says Ava presented Duke with a gift and will welcome him with open arms. Duke says Ava did give him a mask, and says he doesn’t know — the univesity has passion? Sense of belonging? It’s nice to feel included, he guesses? Chase asks what the fuck is that?

Ava and Thea are next and are asked how the group makes them feel safe. Ava says that she feels safe under the Schism’s tree and Chase U pretends to be safe, but the Schism has a wall against negativity. Thea speaks really quickly but gives a good speech. Chase asks about where that came from; Thea says she blacked out.

Now it’s Chase and Gacy. They’re asked about how prepared their other members are. Gacy interrupts Chase and says that he has a doubter and a wind-up toy. He tells Black to tally the scores, and Tyler Bate wants to throw his hat in the ring.

Blake asks how they sum up their group. Jagger says four roots; one tree. Bate says it takes a lot to succeed in NXT including a big, strong, open mind and Chase U is a place for people to thrive. The growth of Chase U is the growth of NXT, and that’s something the Schiss hasn’t and won’t succeed. This of course leads to Schism vs. Chase U and Tyler Bate at Stand & Deliver. Gacy says no, they’re too superior to Chase U and there’s nothing left to gain.

Duke says they’ll put up the school. Everyone including Chase is shocked, but Schism agrees.

* Gallus, Tony D & Stacks, and The Creeds are kind of wasted in the trashed bar. Tony and Stacks say they have to ho, and Gallus asks why they have to stop. The Creeds say they got what they wanted, and Gallus suggests it be a triple threat match. They agree. Gallus leaves and says to tip the bartender.

* Vic runs down the Stand & Deliver card.

Pretty Deadly vs. Bron Breakker & Carmelo Hayes

ELton dives at Melo to start and Kit knocks him down, but they’re back up and go into the ropes — Melo with a dropkick, and then an armdrag into a wristlock. They end up in the PD corner and Elton tags in, then splashes Melo. Euro uppercut to Melo, who rolls to the outside. PD team up on him and Bron runs around to warn Pretty Deadly off.

Back in the ring, Kit covers for two. Melo with a kick to Kit but Kit with picks Melo up and drops him. PD go to come off the ropes, and Bron enters the ring to stand off with them. Bron throws Melo into Elton and Bron takes out Kit. They back into each other but share a moment as we go to PIP break.

We’re back and Kit is in control of Bron, kicking at him and then going into a bow and arrow submission. Bron powers out but gets kneed in the back. Elton tries to pull a turnbuckle of f but gets kicked by Melo. Bron makes the hot tag, Melo runs over Elton and hits a springboard elbow. Superkick to Elton and he suplexes Kit into the ring ON Elton, cover for two.

Melo goes into the ropes and gets hit with a bulldog from Kit, Elton covers for two. Melo is backed into the corner and stomped down by Elton, who strikes a pose. Melo kicks at Elton but Kit tags in and they send him into the ropes for a double body block and legdrop/splash. Kit decks Melo and splashes him in the corner, then knocks him to the mat and pulls him into a power bomb for two.

Kit locks in a chinlock, and Melo gets to his feet. He fights back but gets clotheslined down and Elton tags in to stomp at Melo. ELbowdrop and cover for two. Melo goes for the tag but Elton pulls him back. Melo into the ropes but hits a sunset flip for two and Elton clotheslines him for another nearfall.

Melo is fighting his way out and goes for the tag, Elton grabs him. Enzuigiri misses, but Melo gets free and Bron makes the hot tag! German to Kit! German to Elton! Kit sends Bron into the ropes and he runs right through Kit. Bron with a release German suplex and the straps are down. Bron goes up top for a bulldog, cover and Elton breaks it up.

Melo in now and lays into Elton, Bron goes to spear Kit but almost hits Melo. They stop, Melo with a kick and Bron with the Spear. Top rope Rocker dropper wins it.

Winner: Bron Breakker & Carmelo Hayes (12:05)
Rating: ***
Thoughts: Very good match as expected. They teased dissension between the opponents-to-be but didn’t get there, and I appreciate that.

Melo hands Bron the title after the match. Bron holds it up between them and they stare off.

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

The final score: review Good
The 411
NXT has largely been on a role the last several weeks, and this was no different. We had mostly good matches with only one being more or less a throwaway, and the focus has been entirely on building for NXT Stand & Deliver which is good. They're making most of these feuds interesting or at least something that feels somewhat fresh in how they're being approached and the Stand & Deliver card is shaping up nicely.

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WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas