NXT GREAT AMERICAN BASH HITS & MISSES: Hayes vs. Dragunov, Hail vs. Stratton, D. Mysterio vs. W. Lee vs. Ali, Gallus vs. D’Angelo & Stacks, Davenport vs. Perez, Steveson’s debut match, more.

By: Nate Lindberg - PWTorch Contributor



Will Gallus answer for planting evidence on the Don and causing him to find himself in the clink? Tonight’s opening match looked to answer that question, as Stacks and D’Angelo challenged for Gallus’s NXT Championship.

Joe Coffey was ringside for his Gallus brothers, and kept inserting himself in the match to distract Stacks and D’Angelo – surprisingly not getting himself ejected in the process. This was all to build to Joe Coffee pulling a small bat out of his pocket and attempt to give it to Wolfgang while he distracted the ref. The D’Angelo Family was able to overcome this distraction and D’Angelo used a crowbar of his own to let he and Stack’s pick up the win.

The Don and the Underboss are the new Champions, though I still think Stacks was the rat all along. I see Stacks turning on D’Angelo at some point in the near future.

Verdict: HIT


What happened to calling it a good old fashioned Hardcore match??

…Probably the Adult industry, Nate. Probably the Adult industry.

Perez and Davenport brought their feud to Texas in a no-DQ match with various wrestling weapons surrounding the ring, like chairs, aluminum trash cans and kendo sticks to name a few. Oh, and a branding iron and cowbell, because Texas.

Davenport was on the offense from the get-go, attacking Perez during her entrance. The momentum was in her favor for the majority of the match, foreshadowing the comeback for the Texas-native, Roxanne Perez.

Predictably, Perez was able to turn the momentum around and pick up the win after letting “a new side of Perez” add more of an edge to her offense. This new edge probably wouldn’t have been super noticable without Booker T and Vic Joseph pointing it out on commentary. She seemed like she kicked into high gear, but I wouldn’t say she was showing a new side to herself.

Perez needed this win. After forfeiting the NXT Women’s Title, she’s felt somewhat weak. She never got her rematch, and it’s almost seemed like the Perez character was okay with it. Seeing her get a decisive win over someone as dastardly as Davenport should help to raise her stock once again, and perhaps we’ll see her in title contention once again before long.

Verdict: HIT


Close to two years after signing with the WWE, Gable Steveson made his debut match here at the Great American Bash against Baron Corbin. Credit to the WWE for putting him against Corbin as his first opponent, Corbin is one of the best and consistent workers in the WWE who can give anyone a great match. Steveson wasn’t performing as well as the WWE hoped over the last couple years, which is why he’s been off TV. If you’ve got a green worker, putting them with someone of the caliber of Corbin is a perfect pairing.

Unfortunately, this match was relatively cold. Corbin just challenged Steveson to this match a week prior, not really giving time for the feud to build and allow people to get invested in it. The crowd was pretty quiet for the match overall chanting for the heel, Corbin over the debuting gold medalist.

The match came to an unsatisfying conclusion when they both were counted out while brawling outside the ring. Chants of “Bullshit!” and choruses of boos for Steveson could be heard, while all of Corbin’s offense was cheered during the post-match brawl. They tried making this look like it was impossible to pull Corbin and Steveson apart, yet the officials were just standing around yelling “No! Don’t!” rather than physically trying to stop them for the most part.

Steveson put Corbin through the barricade to end the segment, and this just gave me early Roman Reigns vibes all over again. Someone the crowd was clearly rejecting, yet they tried to make him look like a hero. I’ll be very curious to see how the crowd takes Steveson going forward and if they accept him as a babyface, or if he’s going to struggle to get the crowd to care about him period.

Verdict: MISS


Wes Lee lost his North American title to Dirty Dom two weeks ago during a feud with Mustafa Ali, who looked like he may become the next champion. Dom defended his title in triple threat action with Rhea at his side.

Dom winning the title was probably the best thing that could have happened to that title. Wes Lee and Carmelo Hayes elevated it and made it mean more than it possibly ever has, let’s not discredit that. But, Wes Lee held the title for a very long time. Now, one of the hottest heels in the company holds that title and there are so many different stories that could be told with him as champion. That is, if he held on to the title after this matchup.

Lee & Ali started the match on the same page, double teaming the champion. But before long, ego’s got the better of them and the two focused on each other and gave Dom time to recuperate on the outside. Lee & Ali would still show signs of trying to work together occasionally, but it was clear as the match went on that this was a free-for-all.

Rhea Ripley made her presence known by putting Lee through the announce table, since Triple Threats are no DQ. Even after the announce table spot and getting hit with the Womens WHC Title, Lee still wouldn’t stay down. Dom managed to retain after hitting a frog splash on Lee immediately after Ali hit a 450 splash. Ali was pulled out of the ring by Ripley, allowing Dom to hit the splash for the win. I’m all for it, lets see how crazy the North American division can get.

Verdict: HIT


And the match I was looking forward to the most coming into tonight, Thea Hail’s rematch for the Women’s title!

Hail had a shot at the title on NXT TV a few weeks ago, and managed to make Stratton tap out during the match – unfortunately for Hail, out of eyeshot for the ref. But where she managed to get the visual win, she was able to get a rematch for the title here at the GAB.

Stratton and Hail put on a decent matchup that was unfortunately hindered by the submission stipulation. Submission wins just aren’t quite as exciting for most people as a pinfall. Each submission move that was locked in during the match was met with crickets from the crowd.

While it wasn’t a bad match, there were some mistimed spots that looked to my untrained eye to be caused by Hail. She’s an incredible charismatic talent and her in-ring work is improving, but she has a long way to go between the ropes before she’ll be able to pull off a flawless matchup.

What an anticlimactic finish though. Stratton had Hail in a Boston Crab and Hail wouldn’t quit. Chase threw in the towel, literally, on behalf of Hail allowing Stratton to retain.

I don’t honestly remember the last time I was this disappointed in a match outcome. No, I didn’t expect to see Hail win. But I was hoping to at least see a relatively clean loss. Not someone giving up on behalf of the challenger.

The match gets a hit. The finish, however, a big fat miss.

Verdict: Match – HIT. Finish – MISS


What. A. Match.

Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov came into this match with a somewhat cold feud, only really being heated up during the go-home NXT TV. But for what this lacked in a long term story, they gave us between the ropes. As most of Dragunov’s matches do, the match started somewhat slow and methodical. But once it kicked into gear, it kicked into freaking gear.

Both of these men are two of the most polished competitors in NXT and this match showcased that fact. Now, I fully admit that this match probably isn’t for everybody. There was a lot of technical wrestling and submission holds, which for me is a great time. But a lot of fans would rather see fast paced and high flying action. The match certainly had its fair share of both, but the technical wrestling and submissions may skew the perception of some on how great this match was.

Melo picked up the win after Dragunov missed a Torpedo Moscow on Melo and hit Trick Williams instead. Melo was able to capitalize and retain moments later.

I didn’t see Dragunov taking the title off of Melo, though I wouldn’t have been disappointed if it did happen. It seemed too early in Melo’s reign to take the belt off of him, this was probably the best outcome for Melo.

But what does this mean for Dragunov? He’s now going to enter a feud with Trick Williams, a downgrade from the champion. He’s also lost every major feud he’s had since debuting. It feels like Dragunov needs a handful of meaningful wins in order to get some credibility back.

Verdict: HIT

1 Comment on NXT GREAT AMERICAN BASH HITS & MISSES: Hayes vs. Dragunov, Hail vs. Stratton, D. Mysterio vs. W. Lee vs. Ali, Gallus vs. D’Angelo & Stacks, Davenport vs. Perez, Steveson’s debut match, more.

  1. If whoever posted this doesn’t get the signifigance of the bullrope during the Perez/Davenport match, “probably because they’re in Texas” you have no business posting anything here. This is is Great American Bash. Think about it, dum-dum.

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