5/9 NXT REPORT: Hazelwood’s live report on Women’s NXT Championship tourney, Breakker vs. Williams, Gallus defends against The Dyad, more



MAY 9, 2023

NXT Commentators: Vic Joseph, Booker T

Ring Announcer: Alicia Taylor

Backstage Correspondent(s): McKenzie Mitchell

Tonight after the show, join the PWT Talks NXT self-proclaimed “gang of idiots” (including me) to break down the show with calls and emails.

•CALL: (515) 605-9345

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-The show began with a recap video of Indi Hartwell relinquishing the Women’s NXT Championship last week after being drafted and being injured, leading to tonight’s start to the title tourney that culminates in Battleground. It ended by showing the brawl to end last week’s show, though only eight women were announced for the tourney (about 11 or so were in the brawl).

-All eight women were standing at the entrance area, lines of four. Stratton’s music hit as she – at the front of her line – entered the ring. A pre-recorded promo played and it was what you’d expect. Gigi Dolin was next, spending her promo time calling out Jacy Jayne, nearly overlooking Stratton before switching to saying she’ll beat Stratton.

(1) TIFFANY STRATTON vs. GIGI DOLIN – Women’s Championship Tournament quarterfinal match

They locked up, Dolin getting the advantage in a corner. Stratton matrixed back from a kick, but Dolin kicked out her arm then hit an arm-trapped cradle pin of some sort. She hit a Bronco Buster in the corner, but missed the second. Stratton then hit a running double stomp to a seated Dolin for a pin attempt. Stratton kicked out the leg and then began attacking the left arm, hitting a few seated hip attacks to the arm. Dolin reversed Stratton and rolled her up for a two-count, then another pin. Thus far, it seems like what Kelly Wells and Brad in Florida said holds true: it looks like Dolin is moving a tad behind.

Dolin hit some Muy Thai plumb knee strikes that showed too much light, but hit a strike combo including a pump kick to the chest. However, Stratton hit a Codebreaker on the arm, then a handspring splash in the corner. Dolin dodged a pin and hit a big STO. She went for the Gigi Driver, but Stratton went back to the left arm. She then hit her You Can’t Escape-PME (Prettiest Moonsault Ever) for the win.

WINNER: Tiffany Stratton at 4:30 (PME) to advance to the semi-finals of the Women’s Championship Tournament

-Joe Gacy spoke to The Dyad and said he sacrificed himself to get them the opportunity and has no doubts they’ll return gold to Schism. Gacy turned to Ava as they left and said he took her advice, but will not be accompanying them to the ring. He asked her to guide them like he would. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Dolin just seemed a step behind for most of the match. Her counters and offense just looked like they were going at .75 speed or something. Stratton vs. Perez should have been the final, but instead, we should get that matchup in the semi-finals I assume in two weeks. One of these two should be the champion, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go with Cora Jade since it’s really just her on the other side of the bracket.)

-They returned with Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams in the barber shop as they discussed Williams taking on Breakker. Hayes said medical hasn’t cleared him yet after the spear, but he appreciates Williams for having his back. Williams said he has to take on Breakker tonight, that he’s going to whoop his ass tonight. He said he’s going to prove that he is everything that he’s ever said he is, that his biggest test is tonight. He got up and left after dapping up Hayes and a little kid who was there with his dad.

-The Dyad and Ava were already in the ring. Gallus entered next.

(2) GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang w/Joe Coffey) vs. THE DYAD (Rip Fowler & Jagger Reed w/Ava) – Men’s NXT Tag Team Championship match

Joe got in Ava’s face, which drew a punch from one of They Dyad. The ring cleared and the ref called for the bell as Mark Coffey (hereafter as just Coffey) and Jagger Reed began the match. Coffey took the early advantage with a side headlock and a shoulder tackle, using his power. Wolfgang tagged in and attempted a pin after a double team, then grabbed the left arm. Tony D’Angelo and Stacks were at their own table by the elevated concourse area. Fowler tagged in and applied a rear chin lock, then a stiff shot to the face. The former Zack Gibson took a more methodical pace, but couldn’t lift the big man for a suplex, suffering one himself. Coffey then tagged in and worked the left arm, hitting a short-arm shoulder tackle and holding on, but Fowler took out Wolfgang and tagged in Reed, who hit double teams to both men, drawing a near fall on Coffey. [c]

Fowler had Coffey in control, then tagged in Reed. Coffey fought back, but ate a superkick and throat chop to prevent making the tag. They showed The Creed Brothers show up while Ivy Nile was watching the match in blue masks. She excoriated them and left. Fowler had Coffey in a front face lock for a long time. Coffey finally lifted and threw Reed, tagging in Wolfgang after. Wolfgang took it to both men, fresh compared to the other three men. He hit a top rope double axe handle to Reed, then a bodyslam. He hit his running senton and tagged in Coffey. They hit a double uranage, but Fowler kicked out. Wolfgang tagged back in and they set for the finisher, but Fowler grabbed Coffey. Ava then prevented Coffey from making an attack. Then, as Fowler set for something, Nile stormed Ava, the distraction allowing Gallus to hit their finisher.

WINNER: Gallus at 11:02 (Sick Kick-flapjack) to retain the Men’s NXT Tag Team Championship

-They showed Thea Hail with some other Chase U students from an earlier today video. “Big Body” Javier Bernal approached and asked if they taught classes on how to enter the tournament, which got her worked up. Duke Hudson walked in with his trophy and told Hail she got either an A or an 88, I couldn’t tell. Bernal said he knows what Hudson is doing. Hudson said “you don’t even go here” and that this isn’t going to go that way. He said how dare Bernal insult the name of Duke- Chase U. Bernal caught the slip. Hudson said he would go make the match official and then give Bernal an “Andre Chase University sized ass whooping.” [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I mean, we know The Dyad want out and will leave in September or October, so a token title run seemed unlikely, making this match lacking that extra something. The Nile intervention was not only telegraphed with her interfering the last time they had a match, but the inset they showed during the match. They weren’t really being subtle with that one. The match itself was fine, but one would hope to see better than fine with these two teams.)

-A video played as they returned with an iridescent overlay of the Nikkita Lyons, Wendy Choo, and Sol Ruca attacks with a hooded figure watching. I’ve been predicting for months now that it’s Tatum Paxley and I hope I’m right just so I can gloat even more after I was one of the few who told y’all Cody Rhodes was losing at WrestleMania. Hudson entered next.

(3) DUKE HUDSON (w/Thea Hail) vs. “BIG BODY” JAVIER BERNAL – Singles match

This is the third match to start before the show is 40 minutes old. Bernal tried playing the arrogant heel to the bigger Hudson, only to get pushed down. Bernal fled like a chased dog only to sucker Hudson in with stomps back inside the ring. He then did some corner work, pounding away at the bigger wrestler. He mocked the Chase U pose, which gave him a big shoulder tackle and bodyslam in return. He tried to beg off, but suckered in Hudson with a dropkick to the knee, DDT, and running lariat for a one-count. He cinched in a rear chin lock, only his arm was across the mouth instead of the throat. Hudson began to power out of the hold, then threw Bernal off of him. Hudson then began “Dukeing” up, then hit some big blows to Bernal, ending with a sidewalk slam. Hudson then hit his standing punches, kick, and senton. Hudson then hit his slingshot German suplex and finally, a Razor’s Edge.

WINNER: Duke Hudson at 3:58 (Razor’s Edge)

-They showed Mr. Stone and Von Wagner walking in the back. Stone and Wagner did some rapid fire stuff, only on food. Stone then brought up the picture. Some guy made a joke about getting ahead – the woman he was with left and said it was rude – and Wagner accosted the guy. The guy fled calling him a freak. Wagner just said “pistachio” to Stone’s comment about favorite ice cream flavor.

-Eddy Thorpe entered for the fourth match of the night. [c]

-They showed Gallus singing as they hit the kitchen area. The Creed Brothers and Nile were walking through as well and Joe told them to stay out of their business. Julius said he didn’t understand what they said, but they need to mind their own business. Gallus left without instigating the fight. Julius said only they can mess with Nile, and she laughed.

-Kemp was making his entrance as they hit the ring.

(4) EDDY THORPE vs. DAMON KEMP – Singles match

Kemp had on a singlet that had “DK” in the middle almost like a Superman logo. They went at with technical stuff early, Thorpe hitting an early arm drag and Kemp using his power to hit slams and then use his fantastic mat wrestling to force Thorpe into the ropes. Thorpe grabbed a side headlock, then hit a side headlock takedown. Kemp worked to his feet, reversed position, and hit a takedown of his own, but Thorpe hit a big leaping splash to a running Kemp. He then chopped Kemp, but Kemp prevented a suplex. Kemp hit the throat, then an uppercut, then a rope-assisted jackhammer for a two-count. Kemp mounted and hit a few straight punches to the head. He mocked Thorpe and applied a rear chin lock.

He shifted to an arm lock, then hit a rolling Death Valley Driver for a two-count (haven’t seen that since a certain wrestler who won’t be named did that in NXT regularly). Thorpe, favoring his midsection, kicked out and then dodged attacks to land his own. Rapid fire strikes gained him the advantage, including a running boot in the corner and a German were Kemp sandbagged him. Thorpe went for a crab, then to a single leg, but Kemp grabbed the apron. Thorpe, this time, hit a better German and then a running, leaping elbow drop off of a rope run. Kemp was complaining to the ref he was putting the apron back.

WINNER: Eddy Thorpe at 4:57 (leaping elbow drop)

-McKenzie Mitchell was with Kiana James in the back. James said she gets it, she has the hardest first round opponent. However, she said the last year and past five to six months speaks volumes about her. All she’s missing is the Women’s NXT Championship.

-Ilja Dragunov made his entrance for his grudge match with Dijak. [c]

-They returned with Breakker getting ready in the locker room. Mitchell approached and asked about the change in character. He said he didn’t change, he just stopped caring. He said if Mitchell or anyone else doesn’t like his attitude, the door’s right there since he didn’t ask for the interview. He said you know what – he looked at the camera – and said he would put Williams in the same hospital he put Hayes.


-Dijak made his entrance.

(5) ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. DIJAK – Singles grudge match

They immediately went at it with Dragunov catching a kick and hitting a pump knee. He hit a chop that resounded throughout the arena, then another and another. Dijak responded with a stiff slap to the chest that Dragunov just shook off, hitting a series of chops that forced Dijak across the ring into a corner and then about 20 rapid fire ones. He hit a second rope knee drop to stop the New Japan style chop fest. He went for another middle rope maneuver, but Dijak tossed him outside. Dijak rolled Draugnov back in for a two-count, then hit a series of mounted punches. He followed with a rear waist lock. Dragunov powered out and then the two traded blows. Dragunov went for the deadlift German, but Dijak prevented that and then went for a chokeslam, but Dragunov prevent that. It looked like Dragunov went for Constantin Special, but hit the rope neck-first instead, so he just landed a lariat after.

This time, Dijak used the ropes to prevent the German, then hit a side headlock throw. He followed with a discus boot for a two-count that was oh so close to three. Dijak went for a chair outside, throwing aside the timekeeper. The ref grabbed the chair as Dijak entered. Dijak threw the ref using the chair. The ref called for the bell as Dijak bent the chair over the back of Dragunov.

WINNER: Ilja Dragnov at 4:27 by DQ (chair shots and ref bump)

-Dijak continued the attack on the outside. He forced Dragunov back-first into the post and then gave him a chokeslam on the apron. Dijak then took both sets of stairs, still connected, and laid them on the side. He kicked Dragunov over and then went to dump the steps on Dragunov. He trapped him in the triangle area and stood on top, yelling at Dragunov as Dragunov acted like he was having his breath cut short. Dijak leaped off as the refs came out, Dragunov himself bench pressing the steps off of him.

-They showed Tyler Bate in a smoke-filled locker room, meditating. Wes Lee walked in said he hadn’t seen that much smoke since he hung out with Riddle. He thanked Bate and then told him he’d be out there for his match. Bate didn’t react until the very end when Lee said his name. Bate opened his eyes and said he was far away on another plane of existence. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was four minutes of stiff shots. Dijak’s chest was very red. I’m not a fan of the DQ, but this feud also seems like one that was never going to end with just a straight singles match. I’m expecting some kind of street fight between these two, probably at Battleground, but it could also serve as a TV main.)

-They returned with Vic Joseph discussing how WWE 2K23 is 25 percent off; I popped the platinum trophy on this one last week I think (also in WWE 2K22)

-A Twitter video aired showing Dani Palmer training with Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen, Hank Walker, and Tank Ledger. Hank & Tank asked for reps against Briggs & Jensen, who agreed for a match. This was over the weekend.

-Charlie Dempsey made his entrance with Drew Gulak. Bate and Lee entered next.

(6) TYLER BATE (w/Wes Lee) vs. CHARLIE DEMPSEY (w/Drew Gulak) – Singles match

Dempsey immediately hit a series of uppercuts, which Bate responded with some of his own. They then added rope runs to the trade of uppercuts. Bate ended with by meeting Dempsey and hitting an exploder and standing Shooting Star Press for a two-count. Dempsey blocked an Airplane Spin, then hit a Butterfly Suplex with a bridge for a two-count. Dempsey and Bate then went into a series of pin and submission reversals and there was no way I was going to hit every one, so just know it was fun. They then had a meeting of the heads.

They then went back to trading uppercuts, but Dempsey cut it off with a knee to the arm and then locked in a standing octopus stretch. Bate was able to get loose and lift Dempsey for the Airplane Spin into an FU, I mean Attitude Adjustment. Joe Gacy made his way to Lee, then Gulak came and accosted Lee. Lee left as Bate took out both heels with a tope. Bate reentered the ring and hit Bop and Bang. Gulak distracted the ref, allowing Gacy to punch Bate as he went for the rebound lariat. Dempsey then hit a bridging Dragon Suplex!

WINNER: Charlie Dempsey at 3:26 (Dragon Suplex)

-They showed a Twitter video from the official NXT account showing Hayes watching the Breakker promo and leaving to join Williams.

-Briggs and Jensen, with Fallon Henley, entered for their tag match. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Dempsey hit a picture-perfect bridging Dragon Suplex for the win after the textbook Butterfly Suplex earlier in the match. I need a moment.)

-Mitchell was in the back with Dragon Lee, asking about Noam Dar. Lee said Dar sees him as a threat, which is why Dar wanted JD McDonagh to beat him last week. Suddenly, the screen came on with a vignette from Dar himself, highlighting him being a two-time Heritage Cup champion. He said he was giving Lee a “prestigious opportunity” and “chose” Lee to be his first guest for a relaunch of Supernova Sessions. He was very smug, well done. Lee simply told Mitchell, “I will be there.”

(7) JOSH BRIGGS & BROOKS JENSEN (w/Fallon Henley) vs. HANK WALKER & TANK LEDGER – Tag team match

Hank & Tank, we called this as soon as we saw them on screen together and it works. Briggs began with an immediate running boot to Ledger ad Jensen and Walker fought outside. Walker made a sneaky tag and hit a big running shoulder tackle to Briggs. Briggs and Walker then traded stiff shots before Briggs hit a belly-to-back. Jensen tagged in with a white headband on like he’s in an 80s action movie and they hit some double team offense. Jensen hit some chops and shots in the corner, a lot more physical and aggressive than ever before. Walker exploded out of a corner with a lariat, then tagged in Ledger as Joseph wondered why all the matches tonight have been so hard-hitting. A big bodyslam for Ledger led to a two-count, but he ate knee and then Briggs tagged in to hit a running boot after a Jensen inverted atomic drop. Ledger spit out a toot and put it in his singlet; the hell haha. Jensen made a sneaky tag, then Briggs hit a huge running lariat as Jensen held Ledger. They shook hands after the match in a show of respect.

WINNER: Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen at 2:39 (running lariat)

-A Lyra Valkyria vignette aired where she said you evolve or get left behind. She said this place and skyline doesn’t resemble the place that made her, but she’s evolving and she’s not the same person who crossed the Atlantic last year. She said three women have been marked on her route to the title, James being the first. [c]

-They returned with some Hard Hitting Home Truths with Nathan Frazer. He was behind a broadcast desk like a news set, talking about 17 people from NXT being drafted, opening up spots, but for who? He brought up how the NXT roster has a whole bunch of countries represented and slipped with Chase U, but turned it into Hudson being from Australia. This was actually kind of a funny spot. He brought up Supernova Sessions since it was his first ever WWE TV appearance on January 7, 2021. He went in on Dar and then rolled a clip of Dar trying to attack Lee last week only to get superkicked. He laughed and said you love to see it, then rolled another clip where Dar kissed the trophy as Frazer said it’s his literal baby. Frazer said in the near future, Dar won’t have his baby anymore and his world will come crashing down.

-James was making her entrance as they hit the ring. Valkyria made her entrance next.

(8) LYRA VALKYRIA vs. KIANA JAMES – Women’s Championship Tournament quarterfinal match

A quick rollup from Valkyria resulted in a two-count, but James used a gut knee and mat slam to gain the advantage. James blocked a hip toss, but then the two traded different leverage pins. Valkyria ended up in an electric chair position and used it to hit an arm drag. James caught Valkyria and slingshotted her into the middle rope while Valkyria was hanging off of the apron. James then threw Valkyria back-first into the post. [c]

I didn’t get the split-screen for this match using the online player. They returned with James in control of Valkyria. Valkyria countered with a Monkey Flip and inside cradle, but the shoulders weren’t down. James then hit a belly-to-back gutbuster, lifting her and then bring her forward onto her knee. James hit a running shoulder in the corner, but Valkyria blocked the next one and hit a middle rope dropkick, but favored the ribs. Valkyria gained control with some stiff kicks and strikes, including a leaping axe kick. James was sent outside and Valkyria hit her running dropkick through the second rope, using the ropes to catch herself. She rolled James back inside and went for a top rope double stomp, but James moved. Valkyria hit a step-up enziguri that showed light, then a bridging Northern Lights for a two-count. Valkyria climbed to the top, but James put up her knees. James landed a gutwrench powerbomb pin for a near-fall. James stayed on the ribs with knees, Shinsuke Nakamura like. She went for another belly-to-back, but Valkyria flipped out and hit a spin kick for the win. Valkyria will face the winner of Jade-Henley.

WINNER: Lyra Valkyria at 8:53 (spin kick) to advance to the semi-finals of the Women’s Championship Tournament

-They showed Gallus in the pub, having a pint. They drank to another successful title defense. D’Angelo and Stacks walked in and congratulated them. Joe angrily asked what’s their business here. Stacks said if Coffey wasn’t involved at Stand & Deliver, Gallus wouldn’t even be champion. D’Angelo said they’re not trying to get things out of hand and just wanted to say they have the next title shot. Joe pulled out a club and said they should leave. D’Angelo said they’ll leave, but Joe doesn’t want to go down that road since they’re stateside now. Everyone at the pub circled the two, so they quietly left, but D’Angelo said they would get their title match.

-Trick Williams entered, looking to be in fantastic shape. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was better than the first match, but some of Valkyria’s offense still looks to be a bit slow, like she’s measuring it and making sure it lands. It almost seems like she’s thinking too much instead of just flowing. However, that aside, it was another hard-hitting match that allowed both women to shine at time. I do think James still has more potential than she’s been given recently as the fall woman in almost every match, but right now, it’s clear the focus is on other women. She might hit Raw or Smackdown before seeing any real singles success in NXT.)

-They returned with a rundown for next week, including Perez vs. Jayne and Jade vs. Henley, and Supernova Sessions with Dragon Lee.

-Breakker made his entrance.

(9) BRON BREAKKER vs. TRICK WILLIAMS – Singles match

They immediately locked up, then again, but Breakker used his wrestling to gain the advantage. Still, Williams fought out and hit some great dropkicks. He then took it to Breakker in the corner, then lifted him and put him back in the corner for some more work. Williams then hit a pump kick and then a running kick to send Breakker outside. Williams followed and beat on Breakker on the announce table. He told the timekeeper to “move your ass,” but that allowed Breakker to hit an overhead suplex on Williams onto the announce table.


Breakker mounted and beat away on Williams back in the ring. He then hit the same overhead suplex he did on the outside. He hit a German suplex and just took his time going back on the attack. He taunted Williams, then hit a quick suplex as the crowd sung “Bron Breakker sucks.” He pinned Williams only to pull of and do some pushups. He locked in a seated arm lock with the other trapped between his left leg. Williams fought back, but Breakker caught him and slammed him to the mat. Breakker then heelishly kicked away at Williams like he was a piece of trash. He hit a running shoulder tackle, but Williams kicked him on the second one and hit his running, snapping neckbreaker. Williams landed punches and then another dropkick. He hit a flying clothesline and yelled out. He spun and lifted Breakker into an uranage for a two-count, really a Rock Bottom. He went for a discus, but Breakker caught him with the military press slam. Williams used some grounded kicks to create space from Breakker, but Breakker hit a spear as Williams went for the discus. He then locked in the Steiner Recliner, wrenching about as much as John Cena does on the STF.

WINNER: Bron Breakker at 6:39 by submission (Steiner Recliner)

-After the match, Breakker put Williams back in the Recliner. Hayes’ music hit and he rushed out and immediately attacked Breakker. Breakker went for his springboard lariat, but Breakker caught him in midair with a sickening spear. Hayes’ bump on that one was like Jeff Hardy taking the spear from Edge while hanging from the Tag Team Championship. The crowd was chanting about Breakker still sucking so loud I couldn’t hear what he yelled to Hayes.

(Hazelwood’s Take: We say it every time, but Williams does indeed improve each time he’s in a match. Tonight, in arguably not just his biggest kayfabe test, but his biggest test in reality, he absolutely shined. He showed no lack of confidence, no hesitancy, and continues to show his solid physical skills. I believe he has a boxing background, so one thing I keep saying is to watch the footwork, an underappreciated aspect of professional wrestling in my opinion. Breakker gave a lot of offense, but I think it works in that Breakker was basically overlooking Williams only to be in a real fight. This version of Breakker is already so much more interesting than the champion we had for way too long.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Holy hell the pacing of this show! Nine matches is close to a record – I’m pretty sure there was a ten-match card at least once on NXT, but with a lot of squashes – and that Frazer segment couldn’t have come at a better time to break things up. Even the backstage segments before that were too quick, leaving you little time to digest what happened. On the other hand, a lot of stories were advanced tonight, some interrelated stories like Dar-Dragon Lee-Frazer, and the matches – the matches! – were about as hard-hitting as I’ve seen in NXT in a long time. From chop fests to uppercut fests, it was mostly a night of tough action, if not the smoothest.

Tune into PWT Talks NXT for more thoughts!

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