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NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 17, 2023
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT THE CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS (@spookymilk), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T
Ring Announcer: Alicia Taylor
Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell
Tonight after the show, join Nate Lindberg, Bruce Hazelwood & me to break down the show with calls and emails.
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-New Year’s Evil recaps ran through every major match from last week, giving special attention to the Gigi Dolin-Jacy Jayne situation, the return of Gallus, and the bizarre ending to Bron Breakker-Grayson Waller. The moment Shawn Michaels announced a replay for Vengeance Day was also shown.
(1) APOLLO CREWS & AXIOM vs. CARMELO HAYES & TRICK WILLIAMS
The heels entered to their usual strong heel reaction peppered with some cheers. Very good reaction for Axiom and decent pops for Crews. Axiom and Williams opened. They traded arm wringers to start, and Axiom escaped and hit a quick dropkick. Both missed shots and Williams hit a big block on a charging Axiom. Williams yanked him up for another block, then laid him out once more with a big right. Hayes tagged in and the heels tried something but Axiom got the better of them both with a huracanrana. Axiom made the tag. Crews and Hayes ran the length of the ring a few times before Crews finally hit a dropkick. Williams got involved and Crews hit arm drags on both. Hayes exploded off the ropes with a pump kick, then hit a twisting DDT Crews for two. Action spilled outside and Crews tossed Axiom on top of the heels as the match went to split-screen. [c]
Axiom hit an inside cradle on Hayes for two. A double-clothesline laid out both men. Axiom crawled for a tag and Hayes cut him off. Crews cut off an interfering Williams and the faces hit stereo suplexes on the heels twice, then rolled through an attempt by the heels. Hayes used Axiom’s foot to superkick Crews and the announcers acted like there was some possibility that it was intentional. Oh, please. Hayes grounded Axiom with a chinlock. Hayes drove Axiom to the heel corner, where he dropkicked Williams off the apron. Axiom made the hot tag. Crews demolished the heels and fired up. Corner splash, then another, from Crews to Hayes. Standing moonsault got two, broken up by Williams. Axiom laid Williams out and took him to the outside. Hayes tried Nothing But Net but Crews caught and trapped Hayes for the flash pin.
WINNERS: Apollo Crews & Axiom at 10:34.
(Wells’s Analysis: Fun opener as expected, that continues to have me believing Hayes isn’t long for the brand. He’s a clear option to move up in the Royal Rumble match or, barring that, a few months from now after Mania. We went abruptly away from the match to the next scene, so this is likely the end of the two feuds that made up the tag match)
-Tony D’Angelo and Stacks were out at the bridge where Two Dimes was tossed in the water. D said things begin and end here. Stacks said he was loyal to the end, and D could do what he had to do. D told Stacks his days as a soldier were over, and…it’s time for him to be the underboss. He gave Stacks a jacket with the family crest on it and Stacks was overcome with appreciation.
-Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne walked backstage, ahead of them addressing their upcoming Women’s Championship match. [c]
-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed a prickly Tiffany Stratton. Mitchell threw to a video of Stratton “not being received well” by the roster. The scene had Stratton trying to get into “her” locker room, but Indi Hartwell answered the door and said Stratton called all of them pigs, and this was now the NXT Women’s locker room. Stratton said she supposed Mitchell liked that.
-Toxic Attraction hit the ring. Jayne said they weren’t the type to say they told you so, but they told you so. Dolin said they said Alicia Taylor would be announcing them as winners, and she did. It seemed like one of them forgot a line for a second. The two of them put the duo over and got a little awkward when they acknowledged the other had tried to eliminate them. Dolin said the Toxic Attraction revenge tour was in full effect. Jayne said Roxanne Perez would regret the day she became NXT Champion.
Lyra Valkyria hit the ramp and said all she heard was a couple of crows. She said she didn’t see a champion in either of them. Toxic Attraction ran her down and told her to go to the back of the line. Valkyria said the two of them knew they couldn’t beat Roxanne Perez alone, so they had to do it together. TA beat down Valkyria, and Roxanne Perez made the save and the heels ran off.
-Diamond Mine were in their training room. Ivy Nile said when the Creeds were locked in, they were the world’s best tag team. She commented on the accolades of Indus Sher and Jinder Mahal and begged them to become the Creed Brothers again – not whatever the hell this is. After Nile and Tatum Paxley left the scene, Brutus said she had a point. Nile isn’t about to nab an Emmy or anything, but this scene was a massive step forward for her on the mic.
-Alba Fyre entered ahead of her match with Sol Ruca. [c]
-It’s your favorite streamer, Stevie Turner. She’s got reactions to the 20-Woman Battle Royal. She covered the Cora Jade-Lyra Valkyria situation, Sol Ruca’s athleticism, and spots featuring Elektra Lopez, Wendy Choo, Valentina Feroz and more. She said if she would’ve been in it, she’d have won it, but that time will come.
(2) ALBA FYRE vs. SOL RUCA
Fyre took Ruca to a corner, where Ruca escaped. Waistlock takedown and a rollup by Fyre for two. Ruca hit a high cross-body after a few reversals for a one count. Backslide by Ruca got two. Reset. The two shook hands. More quick reversals led to a sit-out slam by Ruca. Fyre yanked Ruca to the mat and stomped her for a moment. A corner graphic promoted a women’s tag match for the main event tonight after the events of the Toxic Attraction segment.
Fyre hit a superkick and battered Ruca from the blind side in a corner. Isla Dawn was laughing from the perch and Fyre was distracted long enough for Ruca to hit her super cool finisher.
WINNER: Sol Ruca at 3:16.
(Wells’s Analysis: Ruca’s improvement has been very rapid, and now she has a win on NXT to go with the several on Level Up. It was a distraction win, but it’s a start.)
-Tonight, more on the situation between Grayson Waller and Bron Breakker. [c]
-In a backstage segment, Dijak said Tony D’Angelo already felt the pain, and Wes Lee was up next. He said he’d offer a plea bargain where Lee can just give him the North American Championship, but he’s too stupid to take it. He said Vengeance Day will be Lee’s Judgment Day.
-Earlier today, Vic interviewed Grayson Waller. Waller said in the match, Breakker was exactly what he thought – big, strong, mean, and stupid. He said the blame for him not being champion lied on the ring falling apart. Vic said when Waller hit the hard knee, he thought it was over. Waller smiled at that, but it was the precursor to the second rope break that ended in his countout. He said he didn’t feel like a loser because Bron was laid out in the ring. Waller said he felt like a champion, and he produced an NXT Championship replica. Vic talked about the steel cage match ahead for the two of them. He said it wouldn’t matter if the rope or the ring breaks, he’ll pin Bron Breakker to become the new champion. Very strong segment on the way to the rematch. Breakker plateaued in talent some time ago and Waller is really hitting all the right notes as a heel. I figure this is where they pull the trigger.
-Gallus and Briggs & Jensen & Henley (separately) walked and hyped their match, up next. [c]
-Alba Fyre had a referee pinned down with her bat. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance intervened and tried to get her to chill. Fyre wasn’t having it and said that “NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre” sounded good to her. Chance said she didn’t have a partner. Fyre said she didn’t need one.
-Tyler Bate is back for new challenges. He said this time, he’s staying.
(3) JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN (w/Fallon Henley) vs. GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang)
Brawl to open. Coffey and Briggs spilled outside as the others were legal. Wolfgang got in some shots on Jensen and tagged Coffey, who continued with rights. Jensen got a few rights in and hit a shoulderblock along with Briggs after a tag. Briggs covered for two. Another face tag, and Wolfgang hit a knee from the outside on Jensen. Wolfgang tagged in and peppered Jensen with rights. Coffey tagged in again and kept up the heat segment on Jensen. Jensen, on rubber legs, threw some rights but Coffey maintained the advantage and made the tag. Wolfgang put a knee to Jensen. Briggs tagged in and splashed Wolfgang in the corner and laid him out with a boot. Briggs ran the ropes and Coffey yanked him to the outside and suplexed him on the apron. Things broke down and Gallus exposed the hard floor from under a mat. Coffey tried to suplex Briggs on the concrete, but Briggs reversed to hit a suplex instead as the match went to split-screen. [c]
Coffey had Briggs in a front chancery. Briggs managed a back body-drop and made the tag. Jensent hit a suplex on Coffey, but another failed as he sold the work on his back. Wolfgang tagged in and hit a flying elbow. He slowed it down and leaned on Jensen, then chucked him into the post in the heel corner. Coffey tagged in and laid out Jensen and covered for two. Jensen tried to fight from underneath and Coffey kept him grounded, still working the lower back. Gallus made a couple more quick tags and Coffey worked a front chancery. Jensen reached for a tag and Coffey kicked Briggs’ hand away, but Jensen managed to escape and make the tag. Action spilled to the ramp again and with the heat segment on Jensen leading to a brawl outside, it’s like we’ve seen the same four-minute match twice. Jensen got slammed on the hard exposed area outside. Fallon Henley called for help as Briggs tried to focus on the match. Kiana James also came out to try to pump up Jensen.
Coffey and Briggs exchanged rights. The numbers caught up and the heels hit their team finisher.
WINNERS: Gallus at 11:57.
(Wells’s Analysis: Decent action. They didn’t totally seem to mesh at first, but it became a perfectly acceptable old school tag match. They didn’t hit us over the head with the Kiana James business, which was a nice touch)
-Duke Hudson hyped up Thea Hail ahead of a match tonight. She said she was ready…to throw up. Andre Chase came into frame and took issue with some of Hudson’s outside interests. Hudson quickly redirected the focus to Thea Hail and said it’s all about her right now. They headed out of frame. [c]
-A trainer checked on Brooks Jensen while Josh Briggs stood by. Fallon Henley charged in and asked what the hell Kiana James was doing there. Jensen took issue with Henley thinking James doesn’t actually like her and is just using her. Henley said when James breaks Jensen’s heart, she won’t be there to pick up the pieces.
(4) THEA HAIL (w/Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) vs. VALENTINA FEROZ
Headlock into an arm wringer by Hail. Feroz grounded Hail briefly and the two exchanged grapples and quick covers. Arm drags from both. Feroz hit a dropkick for another quick count. Elektra Lopez walked down the ramp about 2/3 of the way to survey the scene. Feroz trapped Hail briefly for two. Hail hit a standing moonsault for two. Feroz threw a knee. Feroz hit a cross-body that looked like it really robbed the breath of both women as they collided hard. Lopez gave Feroz a pair of brass knuckles. Feroz rejected them and tossed them to the ref. Hail hit her finisher and she’s the second women’s wrestler to gain her first singles victory on the brand tonight.
WINNER: Thea Hail at 3:25.
(Wells’s Analysis: It seemed like the match never really got out of the feeling-out process, but they did alright. Seeing Hail gain a victory was fun, as her joy is so infectious)
-Apollo Crews ran down Trick & Melo outside the building. Crews said he was going to go celebrate.
-Vic and Booker were looking solemn. Vic said that they had just been given the tragic news that Jay Briscoe had passed away. Whoa. Per Meltzer, Briscoe and another person died in a car accident earlier today in Laurel, Maryland.
-Elektra Lopez and Valentina Feroz talked by the lockers. Lopez said she stood with men before and learned she has to land on her own. She told Feroz to watch her match with Wendy Choo next week. I mentioned this before, but the improvement of Lopez on the mic between her TV stints is almost immeasurable.
-New Day hit the ring. They said they were happy to be done with Pretty Deadly, and instead they’ll be facing off at Vengeance Day with the winners of the gauntlet match, Gallus. Pretty Deadly hit the ramp and said they’ve been jumping through hoops for a month and it wasn’t fair. Gallus hit the ramp also and Mark Coffey asked if he heard right, that Pretty Deadly think they’re the rightful #1 contenders. Gallus said now that they’ve put everybody to bed, New Day are next. Coffey said he’s all about turnin’ up, kickin’ off, and taking away everyone’s good time. X said nobody understands anything they just said. A pier six brawl ensued. Pretty Deadly got tossed to the outside and the others tried to brawl, but refs held them apart.
-McKenzie interviewed Roxanne Perez and Lyra Valkyria. Lyra said she usually flies alone, but she’s glad to be there for Perez tonight. Javier Bernal stormed into frame and asked the women if he could serenade them. They said no and he said “tough crowd” and walked off. One guy in the audience let out a loud fake laugh. [c]
-Also earlier today, Vic sat down with Bron Breakker. Breakker said nobody wanted the match to end the way it did, including him. He didn’t get to show that he was the better man. Breakker put over the knee “heard ’round the world.” They transitioned to the steel cage and Breakker said there will be nowhere to hide.
(5) TYLER BATE vs. JAVIER BERNAL
Bate faked a handshanke, then tickled Bernal into a corner in a goofy spot. Quick rollups and grapples by Bate. Headlock exchange. Rope run and a dropkick by Bate into a wristlock to ground Bernal. Bernal got up and yanked Bate’s hair, took him to a rope, and thumbed his eye away from the ref’s sight. Bernal mounted Bate for some punches. He threw rights to keep Bate down. Bate tossed Bernal, then hit a chop and some strikes. Leaping uppercut by Bate. Bernal whipped Bate to a corner but Bate hit a turnbuckle from the second buckle. Exploder and a standing shooting star press by Bate. Bop-and-bang by Bate, then another. Lariat and a Tyler Driver by Bate finished. Bernal didn’t seem to know how to take the finisher and Bate had to repeat it, and the second time didn’t look great either. [c]
WINNER: Tyler Bate at 3:48.
(Wells’s Analysis: A shame Bate’s return had this disappointing finishing sequence. A decent squash otherwise)
-Chase U celebrated Thea’s win tonight, and they went through the frame. Behind them, Briggs & Jensen sat and one said “At least someone won tonight.” Henley stepped into frame and apologized for earlier. She said she made a tag team match for next week, and her partner is…Kiana James. She said she did it for Jensen, who was overjoyed. They agreed to head to the bar for drinks.
(6) ROXANNE P EREZ & LYRA VALKYRIA vs. GIGI DOLIN & JACY JAYNE
The bell rang in the exact minute of the overrun, which is about the latest main event start ever. Jayne and Perez started and the others got involved quickly and brawled. Perez hit a tope on Jayne. Dolin got into her face and Valkyria dropkicked her. Back inside, Perez rolled up Jayne for two. Valkyria tagged in and threw strikes and fists. Another quick tag and Perez hit a basement dropkick for two. Another rollup for one. Valkyria tagged in and stomped Jayne’s arm from the top. Dolin tagged in and Valkyria hiptossed her. Perez tagged in and ran the ropes and hit an uppercut on Dolin for two. Jayne made a blind tag and hit a neckbreaker on Perez as she tried to cover Dolin.
Jayne hit a hip attack on Perez in the heel corner. Dolin tagged in and the heels took turns with impact corner moves. Dolin rolled up Perez for two. Jayne tagged in and hit a senton on Perez for two. Perez crawled for the tag but Jayne cut it off. Dolin tagged in and hit a back elbow and covered for two. Yet another heel tag and Jayne hit a cheap shot on Valkyria, then went back to Perez. The two laid each other out. Dolin tagged in and Valkyria made the hot tag and dominated Dolin. Enzuigiri for an interfering Jayne. Valkyria went up and Cora Jade pushed Valkyria off the top, unseen until now. Valkyria managed a tag and Perez did some ground & pound. Outside, Valkyria brawled to the back with Jade. Perez was left alone with TA. Jayne accidentally laid out Dolin. Perez took out Jayne and dumped her, then hit Pop Rox on Dolin for the win.
WINNERS: Roxanne Perez & Lyra Valkyria at 6:46.
(Wells’s Analysis: Pretty short for an NXT main event, but they accomplished a lot from a story standpoint. Valkyria and Jade moved their feud forward, and TA continued to sew seeds of dissension as they work toward a triple threat match for the NXT Women’s Championship. Good work in general, though the breakneck pace at the beginning made it obvious they weren’t going long, even if I hadn’t already noticed that the match didn’t start until the hour mark)
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was on the lighter side for wrestling minutes tonight, as the segments were plentiful. Coming out of a semi-major show, NXT is getting a lot of new feuds ready and adding sizzle to existing ones. The women’s division seems to be a real priority, as new faces are being brought to the forefront, and we even had Sol Ruca and Thea Hail winning their first matches on the brand. In a division that’s been long on people but short on those ready for prime time, it’s nice to see real progress being made and different women stepping up. Putting a damper on all wrestling discourse today is the fact that Jay Briscoe, still a fairly young man, died suddenly in a crash just a few hours ago with a lot of tag team dream matches still likely ahead of him.
Tonight it’s a full house for PWT Talks NXT, so join us on the show or stream tomorrow. Cheers.