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NXT recap & reactions (July 25, 2023): Carmelo gets tricked

Dirty Dom gets new challengers, Lyra takes Rhea the distance, and Carmelo Hayes lays it all on the line on the last NXT before The Great American Bash.

Accident Murderers

Is Trick Williams a liability? That’s the question on my mind after NXT’s go home show.

During the six-man tag between the aforementioned Trick, Carmelo Hayes, & Ilja Dragunov and The Schism ended controversial.

Ilja accidentally launched himself into Trick and almost severely injured him. Melo got in his feelings a bit but let it go because they got the W and because their upcoming match provides the opportunity for some payback. But Trick wanted his vengeance. He ignored Melo’s pleas for professionalism while Ilja told Melo “nah” when the champ indirectly asked him for a little mercy on this one.

But Ilja also commended Melo’s brotherhood with Trick. That, combined with Melo’s new perspective with that championship on his shoulder got me thinking that maybe these two aren’t reading the same sheet music anymore. Or maybe it’s not different music but different verses for the same song.

They underlined that fact before the show ended because Trick called out Ilja. He’s a man of his word.

Trick got the upperhand but it didn’t last long. Who expected anything less? Trick sold the beatdown pretty well and looked lifeless towards the end. He made Ilja look like a vicious killer who only knows one speed. It got pretty brutal after a while and even felt like overkill.

But right when I told them to end it, Ilja propped up Trick’s lifeless body in the corner. He went for the final blow but Melo emerged out of nowhere and sacrificed himself for his friend.

Ilja got on the mic and commended Melo for his loyalty and called him a good man. He once again spoke glowingly about Trick Melo gang but told Melo to hold on to that friendship because the championship is his.

Now, I don’t think loyalty makes their friendship a liability. But I do know that’s not how Melo planned entering the Bash. Whatever momentum he got from winning that tag match went away the second Ilja knocked him out cold. And the only reason he ate mat when the show went to black? Trick. Perhaps Melo begging his friend for professionalism had more to do with protecting Trick than anything else, but how long can one do that? How long can he keep stepping in front of shots meant for his friend? Melo isn’t the same cat who held that North American championship but Trick remains Trick.

If they don’t break up any time soon—and I hope they don't—we at least have seeds sown if they ever go that route. It’s also possible Trick complicates the upcoming championship match. If that happens, then the brown stuff hits the fan.


Show Me What You Got

Rhea Ripley likes Lyra Valkyria. And Rhea doesn’t like many people. She showed just how much Lyra disappointed her with a loss a few weeks ago, and the two finally wrestled this week in a match built around the master pushing the student. Rhea wanted proof she bet on the right horse.

Well, Lyra definitely showed her something. Lyra got in a remarkable amount of offense considering Rhea’s recent matches. That in itself proved Lyra’s worth.

There’s never shame losing to the champ, especially the way Lyra went down. She almost got the job done in a hellacious match. Lyra looked great here, although I imagine looking bad against Rhea is impossible right now.

We didn’t get a lot of great wrestling this week but this match proved the exception.

Danger Zone

They really don’t know what to do with Bron Breakker do they? After Von Wagner disrupted Big Body Javi’s existence rather quickly, Bron surprised the big man with an incredible Spear. So now it’s Bron vs. Von? Besides the fact that rhymes, I don’t see the point.

Just send Bron to the main roster already. He’s a dangerous man in NXT but it’s a pond for him when he deserves an ocean.

My Name Is

Hi, kids, do you like violence? Then watching Cora Jade & Dana Brooke pull splinters out each one of their eyelids is for you. I enjoyed this Kendo Stick match quite a bit. Who doesn’t enjoy a chaotic anything goes match?

Kelani Jordan added a wrinkle since she assisted Dana at several junctures. Together-ish, they took down NXT’s mean girl.

That makes me wonder if there’s something bigger for Dana or Kelani down the line.

Suckas Need Bodyguards

Bronco Lima & Lucien Price picked a fight with Tony D’Angelo & Stacks. They had a match but I’m not going there yet. I want to talk about this new angle for Reggie, who apparently hails from the streets now. Only people from the hood can call him “Scrypts,” which includes Booker T.

Now I have no issue with this idea in general, but with Reggie? The former sommelier? The guy who then dressed up like a superhero? And the guy who married Dana Brooke for five minutes? Le sigh.

I don’t buy it and will never get my wallet out my back pocket for this cause.

The match itself felt serviceable. Bronco & Lucien definitely work well together but I never thought they had a shot against The Family. Especially after Axiom came through and kicked Reggie into next Tuesday. The distraction got NXT’s newest tag team off their axis and they lost the match.

I don’t think booking this new team in this match makes sense. Tony & Stacks have a date with Gallus for tag team gold so losing made no sense for them. And even the finish made it more about Reggie than Bronco & Lucien.

I’m not down on them but I am down on the booking here.

Back Down

I didn’t like how they handled Roxanne Perez last week at all. They rectified that this week when she got extra violent against Blair Davenport. Public beatdowns can get a little silly but this one in some Florida convenience store worked for me. Mostly because we got at least two real-life reactions: The guy behind the counter recorded with his camera—part of their footage, and one woman bolted the minute the fists flew.

Roxanne bounced when the cops came but she sent a message and warned Blair. Good moves all around. And no, it’s not Booker T and Steve Austin but a nice homage nonetheless.

Oh No

Gabe Stevenson needs some work, people. Physically he looks fine and obviously does an incredible Suplex. But that mic work? Let’s hope he improves there. He’s certainly not natural.

Either way, we never found out his future plans because Baron Corbin interfered doing and saying Baron Corbin things. Gabe caught him in a Suplex and now the two have a match at the Bash.

The one thing I really didn’t dig into because it doesn’t require a shovel, is that the North American championship match at The Great American Bash is now a triple threat match. Mustafa Ali & Wes Lee got in each other’s way and Dirty Dom slid into the moonlight with Mami. It was that kinda night where a lot happened. We got vignettes for other matches, backstage segments featuring Los Lotharios, and a silly Supernova Sessions. Not to mention the Creed Bros.—still in disguise—finally made their move on The Dyad during that six-man tag. Just a lot happening.

Which brings me to my ultimate point that the show felt rushed and crammed this week. Just way too much for two-hours. Still a fine week in the NXT territory, but not one of their best from a wrestling and pacing standpoint.

Agree or disagree, Cagesiders?

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