2/28 NXT REPORT: Wells’s live report on Tyler Bate vs. Carmelo Hayes, Meiko Satamura vs. Zoey Stark, Gigi Dolin addresses Jacy Jayne, more

by Kelly Wells (@spookymilk), PWTorch Contributor


FEBRUARY 28, 2023

NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T

Ring Announcer: Alicia Taylor

Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell

Tonight after the show, join me, Nate Lindberg & Bruce Hazelwood to break down the show with calls and emails. NOTE: We are having some technical issues tonight and will be recording a show, but may not be able to go live

•CALL: (515) 605-9345

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-Back in the hallways, bevy of wrestlers were brawling, all wanting to answer the open challenge of Wes Lee. To sell the chaos, the camera was doing some nausea-inducing constant shakes. Several red herrings were offered in the form of Edris Enofe, Malik Blade, Dabba-Kato and Apollo Crews, but as the smoke cleared a returning Nathan Frazer was in the ring to a “welcome back” chant.

(1) WES LEE (c) vs. NATHAN FRAZER – NXT North American Championship match

Vic didn’t use Frazer’s time away to learn how to pronounce his last name. Oh well. Frazer controlled with a headlock on the mat early after a series of quick reversals. A dueling chant was probably 70% Lee or more, which continues to surprise as Lee was regularly booed as a member of MSK. Both guys had quick rollups for two. Lee missed a spinning kick as Frazer backed up and they reset. Frazer extended a hand and Booker didn’t like the gesture. Lee slapped the hand and they got back to it. Lee hit a brief headlock. Rope run and Lee hit a shoulder block and covered for two. Front chancery by Lee. Action went to the ropes and they broke clean, but Frazer quickly snapped on a headlock. Lee escaped and they reset again.

Jockeying at the apron ensued and Frazer dumped Lee on the ramp side. Frazer missed a moonsault but landed on his feet. Lee missed a plancha and landed on his feet. Lee finally got the better of it and dumped Frazer. “NXT” chant rang out as the match went to commercial, without the usual split-screen during a hot opener. [c]

Frazer threw off Lee from a headlock, but Lee managed an overhead kick and both guys sold on the mat. Frazer went high and missed a Phoenix Splash but landed on his feet. Both guys sold again after a mid-air cross-body collision. They got to their knees and exchanged shots. They made it to their feet and Frazer hit an enzuigiri, then a side slam for a long two. Frazer hit a superplex and held on for a twisting suplex and covered for two. Lee ended up on the apron and Frazer dropkicked him to the announce table. Frazer tried a splash from the top and Lee moved, slamming Frazer’s head into the table. Lee hit a plancha, then rolled Frazer inside and hit the Cardiac Kick for the win.

WINNER: Wes Lee at 13:35.

The two shook hands and shared a hug afterward.

(Wells’s Analysis: It was a welcome surprise to see Frazer make his return in a relatively big spot like this, and it was a nice touch to see everyone fighting for the chance to be in the match. High-octane stuff as expected, leaning heavily into spotfest territory)

-JD McDonagh, from an operating table, talked about his retinal tear and talked about taking out Ilja Dragunov permanently.

-Back by the lockers, Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs talked. Brooks was bummed because Kiana James hasn’t been the same since Valentine’s Day. Briggs tried to help by pointing out that men tend to be stupid in these situations and Jensen isn’t alone. He managed to psych up Jensen enough for the coming match with Indus Sher. [c]

-Brief Tyler Bate hype segment. He’s here to stay this time.

-McKenzie Mitchell talked to Hank Walker, who was covering his issues with Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey. Axiom stormed into the scene and asked what it was about earlier during the brawl and said Walker almost knocked him out. Walker said it was a kick meant for Drew, but the two had to be pulled apart as their hot heads took over.

(2) JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN vs. INDUS SHER (Veer & Sanga) (w/Jinder Mahal)

Veer and Jensen opened. A big kick by Veer put him in control and he tagged Sanga, who tried a slam but Jensen broke free. Jensen ran the ropes and took down Sanga and made the tag to Briggs, who put Sanga in a front chancery and tried to make a tag, but Jensen was distracted and didn’t notice. Briggs got closer and slapped Jensen to make the tag. Sanga dominated Jensen and Indus Sher made two quick tags to continue the beating on Jensen as the announcers kept putting over Jensen’s love troubles causing him to be less than present in the match. Sanga hit a big body slam, then missed an elbow drop. Jensen made the tag and Briggs threw rights at both Sanga and Veer out on the apron. Jensen tagged in again, this time accidentally, and he and Briggs argued briefly. Jensen went back in and got dominated by Indus Sher. They hit their finisher and Veer covered for the victory. Mahal took the mic and said the Creeds have never faced a threat like Indus Sher, and the beating they get next week at Roadblock will be ten times worse than any before.

WINNERS: Indus Sher at 3:30.

(Wells’s Analysis: They gave Briggs and Jensen an out for the loss, which isn’t really necessary against Indus Sher, but it serves the purpose of giving Indus Sher a dominant win while continuing the soap opera that is the days of Jensen’s life)

-Gigi Dolin strutted backstage ahead of her talk appearance. [c]

-During the break, McKenzie Mitchell talked casually with Nathan Frazer as a trainer checked on him. Katana Chance shot into frame and frantically asked the trainer to come outside where there was an incident. In the parking lot, Wendy Choo was laid out after an attack. Kayden Carter stood over her, checking on her.

-Gigi Dolin walked the ramp to the Toxic Attraction theme and said this was the last time everyone would have to hear this song. She said she’d try to be brief because she doesn’t love the sound of her own voice like Jacy Jayne. She said Jayne might really be like that, but Dolin herself used it as a way to work out her inner demons because she was happy to just survive. She spoke bluntly about how her mother used her as a personal punching bag for years and she knew she had to make it to WWE to prove to her brother she could change her situation. Gigi got riled as she made threats to Jayne and emotionally said this was nothing compared to what she’s been through. The audience ate it up and chanted “Gigi” as she got more and more intense. She said next week Jayne needs to bring everything she’s got, but it won’t be enough. A very strong segment from Dolin.

-In their classroom, Chase U held class. Duke Hudson apologized to Thea Hail for last week and Andre Chase was going to break it up when The Schism hacked into the big screen and spoke weirdly to Chase U. Chase said they were in for a Chase University-sized ass-whoopin’.

-Meiko Satamura entered ahead of the next match. [c]

-Dijak cut a previously-filmed promo to threaten Tony D’Angelo, who cost him the North American Championship…twice. He said by the time he was done with D’Angelo, Stacks wouldn’t recognize him. He said he’ll lock down D’Angelo for good next week in the Jailhouse Street Fight (no DQ, no countout – the only way to win is by forcing your opponent into the cage and slamming the door). This segued into a rundown of three matches next week – this one, Jacy Jayne vs. Gigi Dolin and the Women’s Championship where Roxanne Perez will defend.


Perez sat in on commentary. Perez put over Satamura as a trailblazer for women’s wrestling and said she made people take notice at a time women’s wrestling wasn’t respected. Satamura dominated with power stuff early and covered for two after double knees. Satamura worked a headlock and Stark failed to break a couple of times until she powered out and threw a right. Satamura struck with combo kicks and a European uppercut in the corner. Stark put Satamura on the mat and hit a basement lariat. Action spilled outside and Stark missed a shot so Satamura laid her out with a big boot on the floor. Satamura rolled Stark inside as the match went to split-screen. [c]

Stark controlled, but she used a springboard into the ring and Satamura took her down with a kick. The two sold on the mat.


Stark threw rights, then ran into a Satamura kick. DDT by Satamura, who went up and hit a flying splash for two. Satamura missed double knees as Stark rolled out of the way. Springboard splash by Stark got a long two. Satamura hit a backdrop for two. Both sold again. Stark hit some back kicks and a running kick for two. Stark missed something from the top but landed on her feet. Satamura kicked her to the mat, then hit Scorpio Rising for the win.

WINNER: Meiko Satamura at 11:26.

(Wells’s Analysis: Good hard-hitting match ahead of Satamura’s challenge for the title next week. I’m a touch surprised to see Stark doing a job when she’s been so protected lately, but few heels are around that would give Satamura a strong win going into Roadblock.)

-Next week, Shawn Michaels has agreed to show up on the Grayson Waller Effect.

-McKenzie Mitchell tried to update everyone on Wendy Choo’s injury and Tiffany Stratton stepped into frame and said nobody cares. Carter and Chance walked out from where Choo was rehabbing and said it wasn’t looking good. What, is Choo dying? Stratton said they probably did it and they also probably attacked Nikkita Lyons. Chance said she was going to request a match with Stratton and left the shot.

-Sol Ruca entered for her match and had a little staredown with Zoey Stark, who was passing through the opposite way.

-WrestleMania goes Hollywood! Bianca Belair and Montez Ford played Jack and Rose from Titanic. Ford wanted a selfie during the “I’m the king of the world” moment and dropped his phone in the water. [c]

-The Creeds walked through the back and talked about the threat of Indus Sher and Jinder Mahal next week. Damon Kemp showed up and they had an awkward moment where Kemp turned them down as a partner for their six-man. Bron Breakker stepped into frame and offered his services. The Creeds fired up and they all did Rick Steiner’s bark together.


Lopez controlled early, cutting off every Ruca escape until Ruca hit a sitout slam. Ruca went high and Lopez shoved her from the top to the floor. Lopez rolled Ruca inside and covered for two. “Let’s go Sol” chant. Ruca got to her feet but Lopez remained in control with a kick and a forearm to the back. Big backdrop by Lopez. Lopez worked a chinlock and put down Ruca and shoved a knee into her midsection. Valentina Feroz watched from the ramp. Ruca hit a back elbow and fired up and hit some dropkicks. Suplex by Ruca, who missed a corner splash right after. Lopez covered for two. Lopez saw that Feroz was holding the pair of brass knuckles that Lopez had hidden elsewhere. As Lopez took issue, Ruca hit the Sol Smasher for the win.

WINNER: Sol Ruca at 4:54.

After the match, Lopez went at Feroz, who responded by decking her with the brass knuckles.

(Wells’s Analysis: Lopez has shown incredible growth on the mic, so it’s disheartening to see that she’s showing so little improvement in the ring. Ruca had something of a banger with Zoey Stark just a few weeks ago, but she’s far from being able to carry an opponent like Lopez. This was slow and plodding as Lopez showed the labor going into setting up each move)

-Gallus played pool and fired each other up for the threat of Pretty Deadly. Wolfgang backed into a guy playing pool on the next table who was in his way, and he smashed a beer pitcher over the guy’s head and then beat him down to the approval of Mark Coffey.

-McKenzie Mitchell talked to Pretty Deadly and shared a tweet from Drew McIntyre that stated Pretty Deadly have a big receipt coming their way. Pretty Deadly downplayed the threat and said they’d have a civilized discussion next week ahead of their match (“a refreshing little chin-wag”). They offered McKenzie a high five and then yanked it away to laughs from the crowd. [c]


Stratton looked like a giant against Chance. Stratton controlled the early going until a springboard huracanrana by Chance. Inside cradle by Chance got two. After some evasions by both, Stratton put up Chance and threw her behind her and onto the ropes. Stratton threw down some kicks at a grounded Chance and then worked the arms while adding a knee to the back. Chance flipped through and hit a couple of quick strikes and another huracanrana. Stratton got draped over the second rope and Chance hit her with a double stomp from above, then covered for two. Chance went up, but Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre walked down the ramp and threatened Carter, taking Chance’s focus. The distraction was long enough for Stratton to set up and hit her moonsault finisher, that unfortunately landed squarely on Chance’s knees. Vic tried to cover for it. She said she’d been called a lot of things, but she wanted to be called NXT Women’s Champion. She said she doesn’t care who wins next week – she wants them afterward because the title belongs to her.

WINNER: Tiffany Stratton at 3:35.

(Wells’s Analysis: I wondered how long it would be before Stratton found herself in this position, as she’s the heel most likely to be a future champion unless she’s moving to the main roster soon, which I’d be in favor of if they have something for her creatively. Competent match to further the tag team issue)

-Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen talked in the back because we need this multiple times every week for some reason. Briggs said Jensen needed to sort out his issue between he, Kiana James and Fallon Henley. Briggs said he’d talk to Kiana for Jensen, and they hugged.

-Axiom entered ahead of his match with Hank Walker. [c]


Axiom hopped on Walker’s back and worked a headlock, then worked an armbar. Walker powered out and Axiom slapped him hard across the face to an “ooohhh” from the crowd. Axiom kipped up into a big boot from Walker. Walker face-slammed Axiom and covered for two. Chops and rights from Axiom, who hit a charging Walker with a dropkick. Step-up kick from Axiom, who went up and hit a cross-body for two. Walker got to his knees and Axiom kicked him hard in the chest, then did so again. The two exchanged shots and Axiom hit a lariat, then got turned inside out by abody block. Corner splash, then another in the opposite corner, by Walker. Axiom again with a great sell for Walker’s lariat. Axiom struck with a kick, then hit a rewind kick. Axiom hit the Golden Ratio to finish. Vic stated correctly that Walker showed off how much he’s grown in the ring.

WINNER: Axiom at 3:44.

As Walker sat on the apron after the match, Axiom walked up to him and said “Keep fighting like that. You’re special” and went to the back.

(Wells’s Analysis: Surprisingly entertaining match as Walker is clearly committed to improving in the ring. Axiom, as always, was fantastic. I’m not sure what to think of Walker’s ceiling, but it’s much higher than I thought it was even just a month ago)

-Grayson Waller talked down Shawn Michaels ahead of their meeting next week. Vic ran through the matches next week, adding Andre Chase vs. Joe Gacy as well as Bron Breakker & The Creed Brothers vs. Indus Sher & Jinder Mahal.

-Carmelo Hayes entered with Trick Williams ahead of the main event. [c]

(7) TYLER BATE vs. CARMELO HAYES (w/Trick Williams)

There has been zero hype for – as well as zero mention of – this match all night for some reason. Vic said “we’ve been waiting all night for this main event,” which rang hollow since it was never mentioned. Quick lockup and reset. “Melo” chant is unavoidable at this point despite him still (I think?) working heel. Bate worked a wristlock and held on as Melo tried to twist free. These two are so fluid. Bate ran with Melo as he tried to escape. Melo yanked Bate to the outside and Bate landed on his feet. Bate wanted a handshake but Melo wasn’t about it. The two exchanged quick rollups, mostly not getting a one count until Hayes nearly got three. Bate toyed with Hayes, suckering him closer until Hayes shook his head and walked away briefly. Backdrop and a head scissor takedown by Bate. Melo bailed and Bate hit a plancha heading to split-screen. These two make for arguably the best available match on the brand and three minutes in, they’re repeatedly showing why. [c]

Hayes had Bate’s arm trapped behind his back. Bate powered out and hit a knee lift and a flying European uppercut. Bate charged in the corner and Williams pulled Hayes out of the way, earning him a bop and bang. Standing shooting star press by Bate got two. Bop and bang was thwarted and Melo rolled up Bate for two. Pump kick by Hayes. Bate caught a charging Hayes and slammed him after an airplane spin for two. Bop and bang followed by a big lariat by Bate got two. Melo put Bate into the corner to get a quick breather. Forearm exchange. Bate controlled and beat Hayes with body shots, but Hayes caught Bate for a slam for two. Rollup by Hayes got two. Cutter got two also. Hayes sold frustration.

Hayes went up and Bate shot up as well, then hit a superplex. Trick messed with Bate and opened the door for Melo to hit a jawbreaker. Hayes went up and hit Nothing But Net to finish.

WINNER: Carmelo Hayes at 11:19.

No frills after the match; Hayes spoke into the camera and said nothing stood between him and just one more match he had to win at Stand & Deliver.

(Wells’s Analysis: The literal one and only flaw with this match is that it could have been about twenty minutes longer. Bate is another guy who I don’t love to see doing a job right now, but he’s likable enough to be teflon and it’s one of the best wins available to Hayes as he moves closer to his Stand & Deliver match with Bron Breakker. The bummer of it all is that Hayes has had great match after great match, and the one with Bron Breakker will likely be well short of the ones leading up to it, though I trust Breakker enough at this point that it should be better than passable.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: A few weeks ago I said NXT was on a hot streak, and just like that, they stopped it dead and had a couple of rougher weeks in a row. This felt like a step in the right direction with three enjoyable long-form matches and some decent filler, though the Ruca-Lopez match was a huge exception as Lopez still has surprisingly far to go if she’s going to be any credit to the division. I like the card for next week’s show, as they didn’t overload it and saved a lot of bullets in the chamber for Stand & Deliver.

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