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NXT recap & reactions (May 30, 2023): A bum ass walks into NXT

Carmelo Hayes finds a new challenger, Tiffany Stratton lays down the gauntlet, and a fan favorite makes a surprise appearance on this week’s NXT.

Apostle’s Warning

Carmelo Hayes hit the ring celebrating his win over Bron Breakker at Battleground. Cool, I can get with that. He and Trick Williams did their usual thing and Melo explained the challenge and how he overcame said challenge. Also cool.

But then Noam Dar hit the ring with his entourage in tow and my brain froze. Why is Noam, fresh off a (tainted) W over Dragon Lee, and with a new stable, challenging the NXT Champion at this moment? Then they actually made a match and my confusion remained. I knew Noam vs. Melo sounded like a one night only thing, even as a championship match. I even understood the story logic that Melo got goaded into a match against his better judgment.

The main event started and I still wondered about the endgame. After Battleground, I noted the importance of Melo’s post-Bron feud. Noam, as cool as he is, isn’t it. Especially while establishing his new stable. To that point, I liked the interaction between Oro Mensah, Lash Legend, and Jakara Jackson. Trick put them all over for different reasons that explain their value and roles within this group. Lo and behold, he fell for their chicanery during the main event and got ejected.

At that point, it’s Melo vs four people. Even with the odds against him, I never picked against the champ. My spider-sense went crazy though because I felt something big happening with Melo all by his lonesome.

Nathan Frazer and Dragon Lee made an appearance too. They evened those odds and resumed their beef against Noam. After he cheated during the Heritage Cup match, of course that’s not over yet.

That distraction and disruption gave Melo his second wind and helped him get the W. That’s it, right? Melo celebrates the fact he did it without Trick, shows some respect to Nathan & Dragon, while Noam turns his attention right back to his main enemies.

NAH AH, as Steve Austin might say.

While Melo walked to the locker room and turned his back towards the entrance, a bum ass man accosted him from behind.

Baron Corbin is back in NXT.

I love this move. It puts Melo against a dangerous veteran, a true heel, a big man, and presents different challenges than his previous opponents. To say nothing of the fact it’s easy believing Baron might defeat Melo and take that championship.

NXT showed the beauty of WWE’s free agent designation tonight. Putting Baron in this spot as opposed to the other WWE vet who showed up in Florida makes so much sense. Baron will hopefully do for Melo what Dolph Ziggler did for Bron. If he does, everybody wins.


How About Some Hardcore

Props to Jacy Jayne for starting this match appropriately. I hate when wrestlers start blood feud matches just like any other match in which they compete. She attacked Gigi during Gigi’s entrance and made her choice early. What choice is that?


And they delivered on that choice throughout the match. Baseball bats wrapped in rose thorns, cannonballs into trash cans, chains, tigers, bears, oh my! Fittingly, Toxic Attraction ended their partnership, officially, in the most toxic way possible.

Shoutout to both women for putting their bodies on the line and laying it in to each other. Gigi got the win—the right call—thanks to choke slamming Jacy off the cage into a table.

The one thing that annoyed me about the match? Booker T! Book started the match concerned. He said as much to Vic Joseph. But as soon as Jacy attacked Gigi, that concern went out the window quicker than PM Dawn getting thrown off that stage back in the day. Book’s commentary felt inconsistent the whole time.

Guess that’s what happens when your diet consist of no bread, no water, and just meat.


I wondered what of Mustafa Ali after his impressive showing against GUNTHER at Night of Champions.

Well, now we know.

Ali showed up at the Performance Center during the impromptu tag match between The Dyad and Wes Lee & Tyler Bate. Yes, Tyler & Wes are back on the same page after Tyler proved he still has his friend’s back. Aw, that warms my heart.

But the real story is Ali. After the very solid tag match, in which Tyler got the W for his team, Joe Gacy showed his face and attacked Wes.

Guess who made the save? Mustafa Ali!

He either wants Wes’ championship or he has beef with Joe. My money is on the former but seeing as how Joe Gacy is, well, Joe Gacy, I got no issue with the latter either.

Ali in NXT sounds brilliant through and I hope he shines.

The Promise

Tiffany Stratton’s celebration promo lacked something. Calling it rough is an understatement. While I like Tiffany’s work in the ring and adore her character work, she rarely cuts the live promo by herself in the middle of the ring. She’s awesome playing off someone but still jagged around the edges on the solo tip. Which is fine, she’ll get there.

While promising that she might retire as NXT Women’s Champion since she sees herself as a forever champion, she announced a battle royal next week for a number one contender spot. Of course, this announcement put a bullseye on her back because all the women surrounding the ring almost beat each other just to put hands on Tiffany.

I like them constantly reminding us that the locker room hates her guts. That means beating her isn’t just about the championship but also about shutting her mouth. After that promo, maybe that’s not such a bad idea.

Okay that was mean but I saw the easy shot and took it. I apologize.


I swore Gallus admitted they snitched on Tony D’Angelo. This week, they made it seem like that’s not the case when Stacks confronted them. NXT might have a mystery on their hands. While the Don sits in a holding cell, Stacks took on Joe Coffey out of anger and thirsting for revenge.

It was okay but not only did I want something longer, but I preferred a non-finish actually. Stacks believes Joe put his friend in jail. He said “snitches get stitches.” Therefore, this feels like something that ends in a no contest because inflicting pain, not getting the W, is his goal.

To that end, however, one might argue Stacks caused himself the W when he tried getting too violent and let his emotions get the better of him. That’s a problem for anyone but certainly someone facing Joe Coffy.

Obviously this isn’t over but I disagree with this first installment in a however long saga.

As I Come Back

While I’m sure some of you know this already since spoiled it, but Blair Davenport is back in town.

NXT’s masked woman is masked no more as she attacked Dani Palmer and put the roster on notice.

When U Hear The

Cora Jade and Ivy Nile battled but the story is Ava, once again, interfering. She cost Ivy the match and finally, finally we get a match between these two next week. I’m amazed it took this long, honestly, but glad it’s happening.

I’m rather lukewarm on this episode. I loved the beginning and the ending, but the middle parts felt inconsistent. I appreciate forward progress and the news that came from the show, but some backstage segments left me wanting and some live segments didn’t quite hit. But it’s also a table setting episode because next week looks impressive on paper.

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