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NXT recap & reactions (Oct. 3, 2023): Too cool for school

The Women’s Breakout Tournament begins, Trick Williams’ reign ends, and Carmelo Hayes drops a bomb on this week’s NXT.


Let’s get this out the way: NXT is going head to head with AEW next week and they’re going...all out.

Asuka. Cody Rhodes—rude—and Paul Heyman. Oh, and John Cena. Yes, John is coming to NXT where he and Paul will stand on opposite sides. John in Carmelo Hayes’ corner and Paul in Bron Breakker’s corner. That’s not only huge for the most obvious reason, but it’s a big rub for both men.

And that’s what I want to talk about: Melo & Bron don’t belong here anymore.

Ilja Dragunov hit the ring with the NXT championship on his shoulder. He gave Melo his props but looked forward. Shockingly, for me at least, Trick Williams’ music hit. But he didn’t disrespect the current champion or even defend his best friend; Trick thanked Ilja. He referenced their Heatwave match and said that unlocked this new Trick Willy.

I saw the wheels turning and figured this meant bad things for Trick Melo Gang.

Then Melo’s music hit and my spider sense went into overdrive.

After Melo reminded his boy that he always had his back and always believed in him, they teased more tension between the two. Ilja instigated, of course, but Melo had a point: Winning the championship is one thing but defending it is another. And rather than Trick looking at the gold around Ilja’s shoulder, he needs to focus on the man in front of him: Dirty Dom. Not because Trick can’t defeat Dom but because Trick can’t defeat Judgment Day by himself. Read more to find out how that went.

After Trick told Melo he didn’t need him, Melo ran into the one man who knows how he feels: Bron. Bron played the devil on Melo’s shoulder. Told him to use that anger and rage against everyone. And start with Trick. Melo said “nah.” What looked like seeds for a Melo heel turn—and it might still happen—turned into a Stand & Deliver rematch next week with added stakes in Johnny and Paul E.

And yes, all that looks great and sounds fantastic. But these two really have nothing to do. So much so that they’re circling back to each other. Even when they met backstage, they looked like college freshmen or sophomores revisiting their high school. They’re too big for the territory now. Before they announced the match, it looked like Bron’s current role is facilitating a heel turn for his arch rival. Which is possibly fun but just speaks to the fact that creative doesn’t know what to do with him right now.

And Melo? I stated weeks ago that his end game is putting over Trick as he walks out the door if that must happen. I prefer they stay friends forever and ever but if there’s one thing Shawn Michaels loves, it’s the “good friends, better enemies” story. Plus, in all fairness, this one writes itself. But considering Trick’s current in-ring level when compared to Melo, I’m not sure the match rocks the world as much as it should if it happens any time soon. Which means possibly keeping the former A Champ in Florida longer than necessary.

This is a lot of words to say that I think Bron & Melo succeeded in NXT with flying colors. Both great champions with great matches, and made compelling television. There’s nothing for them to learn there anymore. In a perfect world. this match next week with the Prototype & Dangerously in their respective corners finishes their NXT stories. They came in together as the two chosen ones and they walk out in the biggest way possible.

Everything that has a beginning has an end.



Melo warned Trick. He told him Judgment Day rolls deep and you never know when they all may strike. But Dom got in Trick’s head quickly, telling him that he’s still in Melo’s shadow. And just like that, Trick lost his championship before he even stepped in the ring.

Dom came out with Rhea Ripley. But the longer the match went on, the more Judgment Day members popped up like gophers on a golf course. My only experience with golf comes from Caddyshack so if that’s not what really happens, my bad.

Trick soon found himself extremely outnumbered. Damian Priest & Finn Balor lurked ringside, and even JD McDonagh showed up because of course he did.

Dom & Trick put on a fine affair. Nothing to write home about but also a bit anticlimactic since I saw the ending coming from two country miles away. Trick withstood as much as possible, including a DDT on Rhea’s belt. But Judgment Day used that sleight of hand distraction they’re so good at. Someone gets the ref’s attention while someone else strikes the opponent. With Trick laid out, Dom’s Frog Splash felt like insult to injury. But he is a hardened criminal with game.

Trick’s insecurity cost him here. Yes, Judgment Day cheated but he saw that coming. His best friend warned him. Judgment Day warned him on Raw! That said, it does a lot for his character that he went down by himself on his own terms and on his own two feet. But I wonder how he recovers from this.


Brawlin’ Brutes + Tyler Bate = A big strong team.

Really fun tag team match with Tyler & Butch vs. Gallus. And based on how the show truly started, a great way at maintaining that momentum. They set the stakes on commentary: Gallus wants back in the tag team championship conversation so they figure going through Tyler & Butch does that. I don’t quite buy that seeing as how they attacked them during a singles match for the Heritage Cup no less. The obvious answer is Joe Coffey wanted revenge since Brutus defeated him for the shot at the cup.

Nevertheless, the whole point here was setting up Ridge Holland’s return. After Tyler & Brutus got the W thanks to their continued tandem efforts, Gallus boys did what they do best: fight.

Ridge came down and evened the odds till everything got even.

My only hope is they let them fight in an actual fight. A barroom brawl. A falls count anywhere match. Something violent.


Two women fighting for a championship they never loss. One upstart looking for her first shot at gold. That’s the setup for the triple threat match between Roxanne Perez, Lyra Valkyria, and a returning Indi Hartwell. The winner gets a shot at Becky Lynch’s championship. The loser? Well, I’m not exactly sure what they get.

Steak knives?

Roxanne continued her recent aggressive streak. She wrestled but she also fought. A lot. I really dig this addition for her. It’s necessary for her development and hitting that next level. Speaking of next level, seeing Indi back in NXT is a bit jarring. But I think it speaks to the fact that there’s nothing for her on the main roster right now. She looked good here minus one small hitch but I like her a lot. Just wish she did more than show up and take a pin. Especially since she’s the one who graduated from the Performance Center.

As for Lyra? Well, she’s getting the title shot. Not entirely on her own, mind you, but she gets it. And she looked good in the win also. Lyra’s high flying style, along with her high impact kicks, look great for the most part. And she’s a natural face, too. How can you not root for that woman?

But how did she get the win? Roxanne hit Indi with the Pop Rox and then went for the pin. Kiana James came out of nowhere and broke up the pin, then laid out Roxanne. Becky, sitting ringside, knocked out Kiana for interfering, while Lyra took advantage and got the pin on Indi after coming off the top rope.

Lyra’s match against Rhea rocked my world so I expect nothing less from her and Becky at Halloween Havoc night one.

As for Roxanne? She’s going to kill Kiana and I can’t wait. Kiana stated the only way that happens is if Roxanne beats her next opponent: Asuka. So, yeah, easy night of work for Ms. Perez.


Gigi Dolin and Blair Davenport isn’t over. Blair said as much after losing in a fluke fashion. Grant it, she did it to herself though. Both women almost flirted with going too far at different points. They seemed more interested in beating each other with a chair than winning the match. And I don’t mind that. These two hate each other and something like that adds a human element that I need in my wrestling. Gigi even snuck in the ring and attacked Blair before the match started. More of that!

This is another feud that might benefit from less rules and more violence. They didn’t get a lot of time, so that alone signals more to come.


Kelani Jordan advances in the Breakout Tourney and she looked really good in the process. Kelani plays the vulnerable face really well and they played to that strength. She’s resilient and keeps coming no matter what someone throws at her. Izzi Dame, her opponent, looked on point also. Izzi showed her raw power, sometimes flinging Kelani around the ring or just tossing her on her shoulders like an adult does a child. And given Kelvin’s strengths, an opponent like that suits her very well.

Kelani isn’t my pick to win the tournament (Jakarta Jackson) but she should go far based on the fact she’s one of few women in the division who got some story and character development.

Zig Zag Zig

You know who I thought looked good this week? Jacy Jayne. I’m normally not a fan but she impressed me during the tag match with her and Thea Hail teaming against Elektra Lopez & Lola Vice. The only reason we got here is because Elektra & Lola insulted Thea’s “grown ass woman” look. More interesting, Andre Chase & Duke Hudson accompanied the ladies to the ring after Jacy got in the Chase U spirit. In her own way, of course.

Thea got the victory for her team thanks to a submission. Quick match that gave each woman some time while moving this whole Chase U saga forward.

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