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NXT recap & reactions (May 2, 2023): Bron’s heel run already needs help

Bron Breakker confuses, JD McDonagh & Dragon Lee amaze, and Indi Heartwell gets real on her last episode of NXT.

Did Ya Say That?

Bron Breakker’s promo confused me. I thought it was just me but those in the Cageside offices also had question marks floating around their heads.

But let’s back up a bit. Trick Williams hit the ring on behalf of his best friend. He called Melo a fighter, acknowledged he’s banged up right now, but he still wants Bron at Battleground. And more importantly for a reference that warms my heart, Trick pulled out the Kobe and Shaq analogy; Melo don’t miss but when he does, the big man grabs the rebound. And Bron Breakker is that rebound.

All that makes sense. Best friend avenging his fallen comrade and taking it to the bad guy.

But then then bad guy came out with a mic in his hand and everything went sideways for me. Besides sounding stiff saying lines like “I speared you and it hurt you. But I speared Melo through that stage and hurt him worse,” we got weird logic. Bron doesn’t want the championship because he the last thing he wants to do is represent the fans ever again. But he also doesn’t want Melo to hold the title. But he also wants to embarrass Melo in his hometown.

Combine that with Bron holding up the championship in the video package and we have a little mixed messaging.

I don’t fault Bron for that either. Seems like NXT can’t figure out what to do for a championship rematch in which the challenger cares little about the championship. Making it a grudge match makes sense on paper but maybe a championship match moves more tickets. I’m not in WWE’s books so I can’t say for sure. But if Bron doesn’t want a title but just wants to murder Melo all of a sudden—remember he took aim at Andre Chase and Duke Hudson before going back to Melo—then just put them in a violent match without a championship.

I’m looking forward to Trick vs. Bron next week but I hope they figure out a better narrative for Melo vs. Bron II. And I really hope they figure out a direction for Bron. I liked his heel turn, love the new look, and love the attitude. But the minute they put him back with Melo, everything started contradicting and not making any sense.



Yes, NXT ended with the women’s division warring with each other over the newly vacated NXT Women’s championship. Yes, a tournament starts next week that culminates at Battleground.

But the lasting image for me this week is Dexter Lumis carrying Indi Hartwell into the locker room.

Indi got on the mic during NXT’s closing minutes and got real. She talked about her career to this point, the high ankle sprain she suffered last week, and her connection with the fans. While she looks forward to the future, she will never forget her time in NXT and becoming champion.

She left the belt in the ring, tried exiting the ring on crutches, and then saw her deranged husband waiting for her.

That, combined with her last match, provided the perfect send off for Indi Hartwell. Indi’s love story with Dexter is one of the best things the territory ever did, so making it a part of her last moments there fits perfectly into her larger story.

But then there’s that pesky logic eating at the back of my head that washes away all the warm fuzzies: Indi vacated the title while the tag champs did not.

I don’t understand that and I wish someone explained it to me. Is it because Indi’s injured and the tag champs aren’t? Sure, I might buy that. But the fact still remains that NXT needs a women’s tag championship. Right? With Alba & Isla headed to Friday nights, how do they defend those titles? If these rosters are hardened in stone as Triple H suggests, then it’s hard imagining Alba & Isla jetting back to Orlando every Tuesday from wherever they are on Fridays.

I also wonder if there are enough women tag teams left in NXT at the moment. Toxic Attraction split, Kayden & Katana now reside on Mondays, and all the other women have the big championship on their mind.

This is a lot of words to simply say I wish WWE explained their logic better or at all rather than asking us to fill in the blanks with our own logic.

Still Can’t Stop the Reign

Tyler Bate certainly made a difference during Wes Lee’s match against Drew Gulak.

Charlie Dempsey poked his nose grown folks’ business and Tyler made him regret it. And from there, Wes took care of business.

It wasn’t the longest opening match and I’m surprised these two didn’t go longer. But it was a fun opening bout that cemented Tyler & Wes as a tandem.

Westside Tyler?

Bloody Money

Another grudge match between Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin. But this one ended with Jacy covered in blood with Gigi’s brother in the audience.

Outside of Jacy’s crimson mask and the extra punishment she gave Gigi, there’s not much here. At least not yet. This match, along with their previous encounters, serve as precursors to a larger fight. I hope that happens at Battleground because they run the risk in stringing it out too long and making people not care.


I dug this match between SCRYPTS and Axiom. SCRYPTS found the perfect partner in Axiom and he looked dominant in various spots. He carried himself well on offense (never a problem) and sold Axiom’s offense.

But I’m buying the lede here: Axiom unmasked SCRYPTS! One of NXT’s worst kept secrets is finally out in the open: Reggie is SCRYPTS.

Reggie refused to shake Axiom’s hand and got a little aggressive with him. That forced Axiom’s hand. As a result, Reggie did his best Jim Carrey impression and offed that mask.

The SCRYPTS thing wasn’t working as a persona, so getting rid of it works best for everyone. Let Reggie sink or swim unmasked because saddling him with someone who did a legitimate Batman impression on the last edition of NXT is a bad look. The next step for him is longer matches that highlight his unique offense but show he’s more than the wrestling equivalent of a gadget running back.

Devil’s Night

Look...JD McDonagh and Dragon Lee did the damn thing. I’m not even giving you any semblance of a recap or thoughts. Just watch the match when you can and know JD walked out of the territory with a W with a big assist from Noam Dar.

While I disagree with JD getting the W since he’s leaving, they made it work well enough where I’m okay with it in this context.

A Nightmare on My Street

Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey continued this week’s trend of really short matches. The show’s pacing is break neck, with only one match really getting breathing room. I argue that match benefited from the time while the rest of the card suffered. But here we are.

The match didn’t leave an impression on me in anyway, but I do like Joe getting the W that rewards the Dyad with a championship match against Gallus. Specifically, I liked how: Ava fronted like Joe hit her. While the ref and Joe turned their back on Gacy, the Schism leader hit the Upside Down and that was that.

Clever finish that underlined how much this match meant to Gacy, and how much Gacy means to Ava. Maybe now we find out what glory she wants Gacy to chase.

We also got some set up for an Ivy Nile vs. Ava match. Diamond Mine watched the match from their gym and Ivy almost flipped a table at the fact Ava involved herself in a match yet again.

85 (Billy Dee Interlude)

Dani Palmer looked impressive in her NXT debut! Seriously, I liked what I saw. She has Sol’s innovative offense but also knows mat wrestling and sells a little better at this point. While it does suck that Tatum Paxley seems like a forgotten stepchild at this point, she made Dani look great.

Dani’s Frog Splash looked beautiful too. Props to her and hope we see more of her.


Andre Chase? Missing. Duke Hudson? Plotting a takeover. With Chase U’s leader out of commission thanks to the Man in Black, Duke jumped through the window and led the class. While I think he might have an issue calling it “Duke University,” I’m glad we’re finally getting to this breaking point. I just hope they don’t backtrack next week or the week after.

Last Dayz

I’m still unsure how I feel about a tag team championship match between two teams on their way out the door. While the idea makes me roll my eyes, the match itself delivered because Alba Fyre, Isla Dawn, Kayden Carter, and Katana Chance know what they’re doing in the ring.

My favorite moment came when both teams hit their signature tandem finishers only for a member of the opposite team to break it up. It built off their previous matches while also telling us to expect the unexpected.

Alba & Isla walked out on top after pinning Katana with yet another wicked looking tandem move.

What does it mean? No clue. How does it affect Kayden & Katana? Who knows. It represented a fun farewell for the audience but raises so many questions about the NXT Women’s tag championships. I just hope WWE has a larger plan here because nothing makes sense at the moment.

I’m very mixed on this episode. On the one hand, JD & Dragon Lee. And also that tag match. And of course InDex. But everything else just moved way too quickly. The show never let anything breathe and was on to the next thing before the first thing even made an impression.

Obviously there’s a lot going on this week in WWE, so it bears keeping that in mind. But very few matches felt like they got the time or attention they deserved for a truly memorable night of television.

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