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NXT recap & reactions (May 9, 2023): Whoop that, Trick

Trick Williams gets his big test, two women advance in the championship tournament, and someone loses a tooth. Just another day in NXT.

I’m Bout It

Trick Williams had one major job for his match with Bron Breakker: hold his own.

Thankfully he did, but we’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s talk about a few puzzle pieces going into this week’s main event that I found interesting.

Carmelo Hayes is back but Trick wanted Bron one-on-one. I like that he mentioned fighting for his best friend but also for himself. We all know Trick as Melo’s guy but this actually established his own wants and desires independent of the NXT champ. That’s a big deal and goes a long way towards his development. Apollo Crews showed him a lot of love last week in a backstage segment, so it's fitting that continues.

Secondly, they’re finally honing in on Bron Breakker’s heel character even if it’s still a bit disjointed. Bron is in his feelings that the NXT crowds chose Melo over him. He carried the title and the brand for a year and has nothing to show for it.

I can get with that. It’s believable and it’s exactly what happened. Bron put the brand on his broad shoulders, he slapped hands, he smiled, he fished, and he probably even kissed some babies. He handled every lame feud thrown his way as the babyface champion and did his best with the material. But the people chose the other guy. It’s standard material for a heel turn but some things are standard for a reason.

But here’s the disjointed part: Now he wants the championship after dumping on it for weeks. As I said last week, it’s hard selling a championship match when the challenger doesn’t want the belt, so I understand the corner NXT painted themselves into with this match.

But making story pieces logically fit together is also their job. One of the first things Bron says after his heel turn is that he’s glad he doesn’t have the championship anymore. Then that changes into he doesn’t want it but he also can’t stand the fact Melo has the belt. Now he wants the belt?

If Bron said he wants the belt now as a slight against the fans who can’t stand him, I can work with that. Almost like Mr. McMahon back in the day saying since he has a problem with the people, he has a problem with the People’s Champion; Bron going after Melo and taking what Melo loves as a form of revenge on the audience is delightfully evil.

However, Bron holding the belt at the end of the night and saying Melo has something that “belongs” to him makes it pretty clear Bron just wants the belt because he wants the belt.

As for the match itself, Trick really held it down. He came with the babyface fire against the stronger heel, he looked vulnerable when necessary, and had the crowd fully on his side with every move. Yes, he tapped to the Steiner Recliner, but there’s no shame there. He held on as long as possible and gave Bron a fight until he finally relented.

Melo made the save when Bron tried post-match shenanigans, which resulted in a gorgeous mid-air spear from Bron. My words don’t do it justice so just watch the clip above these words.

Dope, right?

There’s a little more fuel on the fire now headed towards Battleground. We have an injured champion not quite ready for primetime as he nurses hurt ribs, and a challenger who hates his guts. Throw in the fact that the challenger just beat up the champ’s surrogate brother, who valiantly put up the fight of his life, and baby you got yourself a stew.

Bring it on.


Queen B*tch

Tiffany Stratton and Gigi Dolin didn’t get a ton of time for their opening match this week. It wasn’t the smoothest affair either, but it was violent. And I do like violence.

Tiffany worked Gigi’s injured shoulder on her way to victory, while the match established that if not for that shoulder, maybe Gigi advances to the NXT Women’s championship tournament’s next round.

That gives Gigi an out while keeping her focus squarely on Jacy Jayne. Even her pre-match promo focused on Jacy. That’s not saying we got a distracted Gigi either. Just saying Tiffany moving on was the right move.

Let Me Fly

Kiana James vs. Lyra Valkyria was noticeably less polished than Tiffany vs. Gigi. Not the roughest match ever but definitely sloppy in spots. Particularly when Kiana obviously moved herself in position for Lyra’s top rope maneuver. What made it egregious is the fact she was so out of position that she looked extra silly positioning her body because humans don’t thrive in pain that way.

I highlight that as an example of the timing just not working for this match. But Lyra advanced, so the tournament continues.

Drink Away the Pain

It’s a little weird watching Dyad compete for the tag team championships knowing that behind the scenes they want out of WWE. And by weird I mean it’s hard suspending disbelief for even a minute and thinking they have a shot at winning.

That said, they put on a solid match with Gallus and almost won. Dyad is a good team saddled with some ridiculous creative at the moment. Even now, there’s some mystery stuff happening with Joe Gacy that kept Schism’s leader in the locker room while Ava accompanied Dyad. Ava became the reason they almost won when she distracted Gallus just long enough for her boys to gain an advantage. But then all hell broke loose.

Diamond Mine showed up and Ivy Nile tackled Ava while The Family waited in the NXT crow’s nest.

Everything felt overbooked in the end with Gallus, Dyad, Diamond Mine, and Tony D’Angelo & Stacks all present in some form or fashion. I’m genuinely more interested in whatever Ivy has cooking with Ava, along with a Gallus vs. The Family fight, or Gallus vs. the Bros. Creed.

Case of the P.T.A.

Gotta love Javer Bernal. Big Body popped trash in front of Duke Hudson. Actually, he just said what we’re all thinking: This is part of Duke’s long con and he wants Chase U all for himself.

Duke doth protest too much which is why he scheduled a match between the two. Duke then handled Big Body pretty easily while reppin’ for Duke Chase U.

But again, the other shoe will drop. It’s a matter of when and how, not if.

Life’s on the Line

Nobody likes Von Wagner. You know how I know? Because he’s a “free agent” who still hangs around NXT. Think about that. WWE said free agents can come and go as they please on whatever show; it’s their call. And Von Wagner decides to stick around NXT paling around with a manager who already kicked him to the curb once.

I like the fact they’re still doing something with him, and Mr. Stone trying to draw some emotion out of him through one of Von’s baby pictures can work. But it's hard getting into someone when their storyline is that nobody is into them and no one cares who they are.


Ilja Dragunov and Dijk never really got into a wrestling match. It started as a fight and pretty much ended the same way. Dijak doesn’t want to defeat Ilja; he wants his head on a pike. Dijak went for a chair midway through the match, threw the referee to the mat, and immediately went to work on his opponent. The ref rang the bell and then the assault got serious.

I like showing Dijak’s violent, semi-psychotic side. That he’s doing it against Ilja makes him look even better since we know Ilja gets busy with the best of them. Dijak’s tough guy routine works a lot better for me when he’s showing and not telling.

Putting him behind a microphone or in some backstage segment with the fog machine blaring in the background just makes him look corny and like he’s trying too hard. He speaks better with his fists, feet, and apparently steel steps.

How High

Wes Lee is rude as hell. Let’s start there. He walked in on Tyler Bate meditating and started talking! He fully understood the situation yet kept carrying on a convo. That’s just bad form. That’s like a kid talking to their parent while said parent is on the phone. Wes, you’re better than that. Act like you have some home training.

But I digress. Wes accompanied Tyler Bate during his match with Charlie Dempsey. It was smooth, it was crisp, and physical. What’s not to love?

Then Joe Gacy showed up and everything got a little more interesting. Joe got in Wes’ face, which got Drew Gulak’s attention. Then that got Tyler’s attention. Long story short, Joe sucker punched Tyler and helped Charlie get a big W over a big strong boy.

Does Gacy want Tyler? Does he want Wes? Is he putting Tyler out of commission to clear his path to Wes? We’ll see.

Sparring Minds

Hank Walker & Tank Ledger wanted some reps. Who did they choose? Briggs & Jensen.No, why am I talking about any of this?

TANK LEDGER SPIT OUT A TOOTH. Yes, that’s the takeaway here. During this tag match, Tank got nailed so hard that it knocked a tooth out his mouth. He put it in his tank and kept going.

Briggs & Jensen rocked a new attitude with a little more aggression and less colorful duds. They looked impressive.

But not as impressive as a man who spit out a tooth, smiled, and kept going.

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