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Winfree’s WWE NXT No Mercy Review 9.30.23

September 30, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE NXT No Mercy - Ilja Dragunov Image Credit: WWE, TNT Sports
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Winfree’s WWE NXT No Mercy Review 9.30.23  

Hello everyone, Winfree here to cover all the WWE NXT No Mercy action. Tonight we’ve got title matches, such as a rematch between Tiffany Stratton and Becky Lynch for the women’s title but in an Extreme Rules match and a fatal four-way tag team title match. So that’ll be fun. The Heritage Cup will be up for grabs between Noam Dar and Butch, Bron Breakker battles Baron Corbin, and our presumptive main event will feature NXT champion Carmelo Hayes will put his title up for grabs against Ilja Dragunov. That’s not everything but it’s a pretty good chunk of what’s on offer tonight. So that’s the preamble, let’s get to the action.

Minor note on the pre-show, Blair Davenport defeated Kelani James then Gigi Dolan attacked Davenport only to be chased off by refs.

The opening video package copies the old intro from the N64 No Mercy game, which is fun.

Bron dove onto Corbin before the bell sounded, and then they fought into the crowd. Corbin lands some punches as they brawl through the crowd, and people cheering Corbin just feels wrong on so many levels. Eventually, they head back to the ringside area where Bron punches out some security goons then Corbin clotheslines Bron back over the barricade. Back ringside and Corbin sets Bron on the announce table, then tries a senton but Bron moves and the table refuses to break. They get into the ring eventually.

Match #1: Bron Breakker vs. Baron Corbin

Bron is in control immediately and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Corbin fights back with a boot out of the corner and a diving clothesline. Body blows from Corbin then a suplex for a 2 count. Bron just bounces up and gets clotheslined down. Bron fights back and slams Corbin then starts landing elbows to the back of the head on the mat. Running knee from Bron in the corner. Bron sets Corbin on the top rope and climbs up with him but Corbin shoves him off only for Bron to run up and hit a super Frankensteiner, sort of as there was a timing issue, then he follows with a gorilla press into a powerslam for a 2 count. Corbin calls on Bron, and Bron is happy to attack him in the corner for a bit before Corbin starts fighting back with rights then a Death Valley Driver for 2. Bron avoids a half nelson suplex and tries a Steiner Recliner but Corbin scrambles to the ropes to break that attempt. Corbin catches a running Bron with a Deep Six but again only 2. They start trading punches again, Bron’s punches aren’t very nice looking, then Corbin lands a leg kick and Bron responds with a knee to the face. Bron avoids End of Days and cradles Corbin for a 2 count right near the ropes, that was awkward. Clothesline from Bron and he hits another one, then a third to send Corbin out of the ring. Bron heads out of the ring and runs into a chokeslam from Corbin that puts Bron through the announce table. Naturally, Bron just sits up no selling, and fires up, then Spears the heck out of Corbin on the floor. Back in the ring, Bron takes the straps down, but here’s Mr. Stone to get caught and thrown into a pile of goons but all that allows Corbin to hit an End of Days and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Baron Corbin won in 9:33

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Decent brawl but for all of Bron’s physical attributes there’s a lack of punch to his offense that doesn’t quite connect. Corbin is Corbin, and the screwy finish didn’t help much. Add another 90 seconds or so if you want to start this at the opening brawl, my clock only went bell to bell.

We get a replay of a kickoff interview with Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams, both men feel good and expect to win their matches.

Match #2 – NXT North American Title Match with special guest referee Dragon Lee: (c) Dominik Mysterio vs. Trick Williams

Dom with a dropkick at the bell but only 2 and then he whines at Lee. Williams with a schoolboy for 2, and again Dom whines to the ref. Williams with more attacks then a misdirection shoulder block, and dropkick, and then Dom takes a powder. Dom gets his belt and decides to walk away, but Williams intercepts him with a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring Williams with a scoop slam then some strikes as the crowd chants for Mami rather than either wrestler. Dom powders again but again Williams follows him and sends him back into the ring but takes time getting back in so Dom kicks the middle rope into his crotch and sends him back to the floor. Dom lands a chop and then sends Williams back into the ring. High knee from Dom, that’s barely a 2 count then he grabs a rest hold. Williams tries to fight free but Dom clubs him down. Dom avoids a Stinger Splash and snaps Williams over the top rope then messes with the crowd to set up a hilo for a 2 count. Some mounted punches from Dom, then he misses an elbow drop. Williams lands a boot and then starts landing rights to the body and head. High side kick from Williams then a dropkick and a 2 count. Backslide from Dom gets 2 then we get a double down on a double clothesline.

Dom hits a 619 to the back of the head, then tries a superkick but misses Williams and hits Lee by accident. Lee is down on the outside now. Williams avoids a corner charge and hits a neckbreaker but by the time another ref gets down, he can’t get a 3 count. Some corner chops from Williams then a flapjack. Tornado kick from Williams gets another 2 count, Dom not really letting those 2 counts stretch thus far. They bang heads out of the corner and both men are down again. Dom then runs into the replacement ref, for no reason, and crossbodies Williams out of the ring. Dom posts Williams then tosses him into the ring, he climbs the ropes for a Frog Splash but Williams avoids it and covers for another visual win but no ref. Williams goes to check on Lee, Dom gets the belt though and misses a swing, Williams then with a flying knee to to send the belt into Dom’s face and picks up the pin and title.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Trick Williams won the title in 9:28

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: This lacked physical cohesion and relied on the smoke and mirrors of the refs a bit too much for my taste, but NXT has helped Dom’s mechanics and presentation in the ring quite a bit. This also pretty easily sets up Dom and Dragon Lee for main roster action going forward.

We get a recap of Joe Gacy claiming all hope is gone and declaring the death of the Schism. And nothing of value was lost.

Match #3 – Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Title Match: (c) The Family (Tony D’Angelo and Channing Lorenzo) vs. The Creed Brothers (Julius and Brutus) w/ Ivy Nile vs. OTM (Lucien Price and Bronco Nima) w/ Scrypts vs. Humberto Carillo and Angel Garza

Only two men in at a time here but tags are free for all. Angel and Julius start, they trade chops then we get shoving between everyone, and suddenly everything breaks down into a brawl between everyone. Julius dives onto a pile of bodies on the floor. Brutus fights Price and Nima alone, which goes poorly. Hook kick from Price then he tags in Nima and Brutus takes a tandem attack. Humberto tags himself in, and Brutus rolls over to tag in Lorenzo. Lorenzo with some aerial moves before Lorenzo hits a Manhattan Drop and some stomps. Tony tags in and Humberto takes some offense. Angel gets in the ring illegally so Tony and Lorenzo double-team them for a bit including Tony tossing Lorenzo into both men in the corner. Humberto tags in Angel, Tony tries to lift them both but he drops holding his right leg. Things break down for a second as medical checks on Tony. Lorenzo uppercuts Humberto but then gets tripped up into the ropes and Angel knees him in the face. High-low attack from Angel and Humberto with the hands instead of legs and they’re in control now. Tony has been taken out of frame. Angel hoists Lorenzo into a Gory Special, and Humberto comes in with a flipping facebuster. Nima tags in and starts unloading on Lorenzo. Price with a cheap shot and then he stalks Lorenzo and clotheslines him in the corner. Chin lock from Price, but Lorenzo fights free though he can’t tag out. Scrypts pulls at Julius so Ivy kicks him into next week and Brutus tags in. Brutus runs wild for a bit then Ankle Lock to Angel but Humberto breaks that up. Julius with suplexes to everyone while Brutus cranks the Ankle Lock on Angel, and Julius with a double Northern Lights suplex to both Price and Nima. Brutus still has the Ankle Lock and finally, Humberto breaks it up. Nima and Price run wild for a bit and hold Lorenzo up for Humberto who superkicks him.

Tony begins his typical comeback and limps to the ring, he clotheslines down Humberto on the entrance ramp. Tony attacks Nima and Price then hits Humberto with a spinebuster. The heels all wind up on the top rope and we get a four corners superplex spot that leaves everyone down. The crowd thinks this is awesome. Ultimately that leaves the Creeds and Family in the ring to brawl for a bit, that goes for Brutus and Julius but now everyone gets a turn to take out another team. Assisted slam from Price and Nima to Tony but only a 2 count. Julius knees down Price then hoists Nima on his shoulders but it’s Humberto who hits the Doomsday dropkick. Angel with an assisted dropkick to Julius, then Brutus sends both Angel and Humberto out of the ring and then hits an absurd springboard cannonball onto a pile of bodies. Lorenzo kicks Price, then he and Tony with a double-back suplex to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: The Family retained the titles in 12:06

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: A spot fest kind of match given all the people involved, but not a bad one. The Creed brothers always find ways to stand out even in these large multi-man matches.

In the back, Trick Williams shows up in a locker room to celebrate his win with Carmelo Hayes. They take a moment to enjoy being at the top of the mountain together.

Elsewhere in the back, Becky Lynch has a shopping cart that she’s filling with various forms of plunder.

Match #4 – Heritage Cup Match: (c) Noam Dar w/ Oro Mensah, Lash Legend, and Jakara Jackson vs. Butch w/ Tyler Bate

Butch is unimpressed with Dar, they tie up to start the first round. Dar grabs at a front facelock but Butch counters into an arm attack. Dar misses a head kick and Butch grabs a front headlock, then both men miss kicks. Dar tries to stomp the hands of Dar but Dar avoids that and whines. Butch unloads a chop but Dar responds with a couple of kicks. Side headlock from Dar, then some rope running, and Butch levels Dar with a clothesline. Butch goes for the fingers of Dar and stomps on them as well. More fingerwork from Butch as the round ends, then Dar hits a back elbow after the bell.

Dar comes out hot to start the second round and lands a throw then a sliding elbow for a 2 count. Butch to the apron, and Dar kicks him in the face back in the ring for a 2 count. A few elbows from Dar but Butch catches the arm and hits an arm breaker but Dar lands kicks only for Butch to drop him with an elbow. Gamen giri attacks from Butch then a knee drop to the arm of Dar. Shining Wizard from Butch and Dar rolls to the apron. Butch goes Bodhran Beating for a count of 15 or so. The ref gets distracted and Mensah kicks Butch in the face, allowing Dar to follow up with another kick, and that gets the first fall.

Round 3 starts and Butch lands a knee but runs into a kick. Bit of a double crossbody and both men are down. Butch flips out of a German suplex then lands a kick to the head. Dar to the floor, and Butch happily moonsaults onto him. The flunkies get in Butch’s face to slow things up. Butch with a superkick in the ring, then tries a second rope moonsault but Dar intercepts him with a kick. Elbow from Butch, then a Bitter End to pick up a pin and even things at one fall each.

Round 4 has Butch start hot with strikes. Mounted elbows from Butch, Dar is fading but he’s not knocked out. Dar tries a kneebar but Butch grabs an Ankle Lock, then Dar counters into a rear naked choke. Butch gets free but Dar with an armbar, Butch rolls through and grabs his own armbar. Another escape, Dar rolls into a triangle choke but Butch violently stomps on his hand to break the old then a rolling release suplex for a 2 count. Butch with some chops, but Dar kicks his leg on the ropes and follows with a Fisherman’s Buster for a near fall. Dar starts working the leg of Butch but jumps into a triangle choke. Butch locks down the choke but there are only 10 seconds in the round and Dar will see the end of the round.

Round 5 and Dar slowly regains consciousness after being choked out. They start trading strikes now and Butch gets the better of things then tries a Bitter End but Dar escapes with a couple of knee strikes. Spinning back elbow from Dar but only a near fall. Dar goes up top but Butch kicks him in the face up there. Butch climbs up with Dar and hits a butterfly suplex off the top for a 2 count. Dar rolls to the apron, Butch meets him there but Dar kicks him in the head then hits a brainbuster on the apron but it takes him a bit too long to cover and Butch is able to kick out at 2. Butch grabs a finger and stomps it just as the bell rings for the round.

Round 6, the last round, and Dar complains that his finger is broken after what Butch did. They trade elbows for a bit but Butch is still the better striker at this point and unloads but Dar hits a couple of back elbows only to get caught with a rebound German suplex. Butch stomps the fingers, but Mensah with a kick to the head of Butch that the ref has to pretend he didn’t see. That sets up Dar hitting a Nova Roller, but only a near fall. Bate has had enough of this and wipes out Mensah as Butch hits a Tiger Driver for 2. Dar avoids a Bitter End and grabs a kneebar, 90 seconds left. Butch rolls through and grabs the fingers of Dar, snaps them, hits a Bitter End, and only a 2 count. Armbar from Butch, one minute left. Gallus attacks Bate to ruin a perfectly fine match, and Butch dives onto them. More distractions allow a discus lariat from a Gallus member to wipe out Butch and Dar pins to retain the Cup.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Noam Dar retained the cup in 18:52

Rating: 3.5 stars
Thoughts: I dig this format in general, but the overbooking and especially that ending knocked down what should have been a better match. That second kick from Mensah was also horribly, and I mean horribly, blocked out visually as there was 0 reason the ref couldn’t have seen him do it. Please don’t make the refs have to look that stupid, they’ve got a hard enough job so just check your visual lines you goof. Gallus continues to just make everything worse in general.

Match #5 – NXT Title Match: (c) Carmelo Hayes vs. Ilja Dragunov

Dragunov immediately lands a boot and unloads with a chop. Corner offense from Dragunov, the man is all intensity as he stomps on Hayes. Another chop from Dragunov drops Hayes. More stomps and chops from Dragunov then Hayes avoids a German suplex but Dragunov chops him in the back of the neck and tosses him to the apron so he can boot him to the floor then talk trash from the ring. Hayes comes back in and hits a double leg then fires punches. Strikes from Hayes now then some corner work. Dragunov avoids a springboard move and then clobbers Hayes with a lariat. Senton from Dragunov then a running boot to the back of the head in the ropes. Bit of an anaconda choke from Dragunov then a knee to the head. More strikes from Dragunov, he’s just not letting Hayes find momentum at all right now. Dragunov with stomps as he tells Hayes to “bring more” over and over, eventually Hayes lands strikes to that call but Dragunov drops him with a spinning chop to the neck. Another knee from Dragunov and more chops. Dragunov lands some elbows and chops to the back of the neck and again tells Hayes to bring more. Kobashi chops in the corner from Dragunov, but Hayes catches a spinning chop and starts unloading on Dragunov with his own chops. Chops and stomps from Hayes, then Dragunov lands a headbutt to cut him off. More strikes from Dragunov, and then Hayes hits a palm strike and both men are down.

They trade some kicks on the mat, then Hayes lands an elbow. More strikes on the mat, these two are selling wonderfully the mentality and physicality of this. They trade strikes on the feet now, Dragunov lands an enziguri, and then Hayes comes off the ropes and hits one of his own. Springboard bulldog from Hayes gets a 2 count, Dragunov barely rolled the shoulder up there. Hayes tries a running move but Dragunov blocks and hits a German suplex, he holds on though, and hits a second but Hayes blocks a third one, Dragunov with some elbows to the back but Hayes comes off the ropes and hits the La Mistica DDT for a great near fall. Hayes with some stomps to the head of Dragunov, but when he tries a pump kick Dragunov catches it and unloads with knees to the body to drop Hayes, then a running knee strike to follow up. Release powerbomb from Dragunov but no cover and both men are down. Dragunov climbs the ropes, he wants coast to coast but Hayes intercepts trying a Codebreaker but Dragunov counters, hoists Hayes up and then kills him with a Death Valley Driver into the corner. Once again Dragunov climbs the ropes for a Coast to Coast dropkick, this time it hits and he covers for a near fall.

Dragunov puts Hayes on the top rope, but Hayes hits him then lands a headbutt. Another headbutt from Hayes drops Dragunov and he climbs up but Dragunov slaps him down to the apron. Dragunov now wants a superplex, and good grief he hits it hauling Hayes up from the first rope and into the ring. Hayes counters a Torpedo Mosco with a Codebreaker but Dragunov comes off the ropes with an H Bomb for a near fall. Dragunov is bleeding, and Jon Moxley approves I assume. Stomp from Dragunov then he climbs the ropes and hits an avalanche H Bomb for only a near fall. Dragunov is losing his mind, and he sets for the Torpedo Moscow because it’s all he’s got left, but Hayes intercepts with a superkick and a near fall. Both men pull themselves to the apron where Dragunov lands a kick, which Hayes returns. They trade slaps and Dragunov calls on Hayes for more as they beat the crap out of each other. Hayes pulls Dragunov up and wants a suplex, which winds up being basically a gordbuster to the floor and both men are down and hurting. Hayes was trying for a Black Crush-style move but it didn’t quite work, still a sick spot. They head back into the ring and Hayes goes up top, but Dragunov counters Nothing But Net with a lariat and Hayes is down again. Dragunov, selling his arm after that lariat, climbs the ropes for a top rope H Bomb which connects and gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Ilja Dragunov won the title in 21:04

Rating: 5 stars
Thoughts: These two kept a crazy pace from the get-go, Dragunov is one of the masters of physical-looking wrestling and Hayes kept up with him in the fight department. The chemistry between these two was again on full display, and Dragunov is one of the best guys between the ropes right now. Both men brought the fight, Dragunov was just more used to the physicality and more comfortable dropping bombs whereas Hayes fought ably but this kind of match wasn’t in his wheelhouse and it caught up to him in the end.

Post match Dragunov offers a hand to Hayes, then pulls him into an intense hug. Hayes returns the handshake eventually and Dragunov then celebrates with the belt.

Match #6 – NXT Women’s Title Extreme Rules Match: (c) Becky Lynch vs. Tiffany Stratton

Becky brings a shopping cart of plunder to the ring, and Stratton has brass knuckles that she’s holding backwards. I hope that was intentional on her part. Becky with kendo stick shots, then uses a hard hat to land headbutts. More kendo stick shots from Becky as she chases Stratton into the crowd but there’s no escape from Becky. Becky bounces Stratton into the guard rail a few times then Stratton fights back with a right but Becky gets a plastic gold necklace from a plant in the crowd and whips Stratton with it. They fight all the way up the steps, and then Becky hits her back down, looks like Stratton is bleeding hard way after she slipped taking one of those guardrail shots on the way up. Eventually, they fight back to the ringside area, but Stratton catches a jumping Becky with a kendo stick shot then slams her into the ring steps. Stratton gets the ring steps and hits Becky with them then hits a suplex on the floor. In the ring and Stratton with a hip attack then a running double stomp for a 2 count as the crowd wants tables. Stratton goes under the ring but we get replays so I don’t know what she found, if anything. Back under the ring and Stratton finds a toolbox, then hits Becky with it before opening it up.

In the box, Stratton finds a crescent wrench and hits Becky in the body with it. Now a crowbar and Stratton hits Becky with that too. Back into the box, Stratton finds the chain and punches Becky with it. Now a ball peen hammer from Stratton, but Beck avoids the shot, and the hammer winds up out of the ring before Becky gets caught in a side slam for 2. The crowd still wants tables, but Stratton has a chair instead which they seem to accept and Stratton whacks Becky with the chair before wedging it in the corner. Becky fights back with strikes but Stratton rolls through a cross body, only for Becky to toss her into the chair. Bexploder from Becky then she heads up top for a dropkick. Stratton rolls out of the ring, and they mistime a baseball slide from Becky so she has to stop and then start again to hit it. Becky just hits Stratton with the shopping cart, that had to suck, then bundles her into the cart and drives the cart into the ring steps. Well, Becky has a bag of some kind and gets into the ring with it. No idea what’s in the bag, oh it’s dismembered Barbie doll parts and Becky hits a reverse DDT onto them but only a 2 count. Stratton rolls out of the ring and Becky throws doll parts at her, but Stratton gets a trashcan lid as a shield but then cracks Becky in the head with it.

Stratton finds a trashcan under the ring and tosses it into the ring, Becky catches her on the apron though with some strikes then she gets the can and puts it on Stratton’s head before hitting a guillotine leg drop. Becky is up top again but misses her flying nothing and Stratton hits Becky with the can a few times before dropping Becky onto it with a spinebuster for a 2 count. Stratton goes back out of the ring and sends a number of chairs into the ring. Back in the ring, Stratton tries a powerbomb but Becky counters with a hip toss into the chairs then Becky grabs an armbar. Stratton rolls under the ropes and picks Becky up for a powerbomb onto the bottom half of some ring steps. Into the ring again Stratton gets a 2 count. Stratton wants her Prettiest Moonsault Ever but Becky catches her on the top rope. They fight on the ropes but Stratton knocks Becky to the floor then follows her, but Becky catches Stratton with an exploder suplex into the barricade. Becky obliges the crowd finally and gets a table from under the ring. Stratton comes in with a kendo stick shot to break that up, but she decides to finish setting up the table on the floor. Becky has disappeared, she’s under the ring though and we get the fire extinguisher spot, and Becky has a barbed wire baseball bat but Stratton avoids a shot and hits a Finlay roll. Hurricanrana from Stratton then a discus clothesline, then a handspring back elbow through the barricade by the timekeeper. Becky fights back by tossing Stratton into the post then setting her on the announce table. Come on, that poor table’s been broken once already tonight. Becky and Stratton fight on the table, Stratton avoids a Manhandle Slam and sets Becky in a chair then hits a senton onto her. Stratton sets Becky on the regular table, then she goes up top and hits a Swanton Bomb onto Becky, the table kind of breaks, only “I am” but missed “the table”. Back in the ring another Swanton Bomb from Stratton only gets a near fall.

On the floor, Stratton tries a moonsault, but Becky avoids it and hits a Manhandle Slam on the floor then gets Stratton back in the ring but can only get a 2 count. Becky wants the Disarm-her but Stratton rolls through, then hits a Finlay Roll onto the pile of chairs but Becky avoids the Prettiest Moonsault Ever then hits the Manhandle Slam onto the pile of chairs to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Becky Lynch retained the title in 20:20

Rating: 4 stars
Thoughts: I give credit to both women here, they made this feel like a hardcore match and that’s a feeling that a lot of these matches wind up missing. Stratton persevering through a less-than-pleasant hard way cut and pulling out plenty of physical stops was nice. Becky breaking the plastic barbed wire bat around the ringpost was kind of funny. I approve of the physicality, they sold the violence, and Stratton looked on equal footing with Becky.

Post-match Becky poses with the belt and stares down Tegan Nox who’s in the crowd.

In the back Williams has his belt, here comes Hayes to apologize for losing but Williams pumps him back up by saying he fought like a champion and has nothing to be ashamed of. That general tease for the future of those two ends the show.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This event gained momentum throughout, which I consider a good thing. I struggled a bit to get into the first half of the card, it wasn't bad but it didn't really click until the latter half of things. Noam Dar and Butch were creeping up from 4 star territory in their match before the ending that just took all the air out the sails and really hurt everything. Still, Dar and Butch are talented wrestlers and knew how to work the Heritage Cup format extremely well, take away the overbooking and Gallus and that match might be 5 stars. Speaking of 5 stars, to the shock of no one Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov turned in another tremendous bout. Dragunov is a great wrestler and I'm excited for his future. Hayes is very good and NXT has done him a world of good, what he and Trick Williams will do going forward is interesting from a character and story standpoint. Ilja and Hayes was so good that the really good Becky Lynch and Tiffany Stratton bout was a step down, and those two turned in a very good hardcore match. I think the big thing missing from Stratton and Lynch was physical narrative, it was a lot of spots but none of it really seemed to build on itself. It's a minor gripe, and that became as much about Stratton just hanging with the physical toughness of Becky as anything else. The event closed very strong and NXT might be find footing again coming out of the 2.0 era.

article topics :

NXT No Mercy, WWE, Robert Winfree