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NXT recap & reactions (Sep. 26, 2023): Whoop that Trick

The Family picks their opponent, Thea Hail debuts new music and new attire, and Trick Williams gets the biggest match of his career on the No Mercy go home show.

Mind Playing Tricks On Me

I wondered how Trick Williams might fit in this match with Tyler Bate, Dragon Lee, & Axiom. He’s not seasoned like his opponents, and on paper, his style doesn’t work with theirs.

But timeout. If you’re just tuning in, you probably have no idea how we even got there. How does Trick Williams go from wrestling Joe Gacy to being a part of a Fatal 4 Way with three guys who earned their stripes and all have their issues with Dirty Dom?

Well, there’s more info below but the bottomline is Trick approached Shawn Michaels and asked for the shot. Shawn, the benevolent leader he is, granted Trick’s request.

I want to talk more about Trick here because that’s the story. Yes, the original triple threat sounded great but this wrinkle added intrigue because of everything happening with Trick. He started the show with a quick victory over Joe Gacy. After the match, it dawned on him that he needs his own championship rather than just talking about Carmelo Hayes’. On one hand, this comes off as Trick competing with his best friend and possibly a little jealous. On the other, it goes back to Trick truly carving his own destiny and getting out of Melo’s large shadow.

They booked the match smartly as well. Axiom, Tyler, and Dragon discarded Trick. They treated him like an afterthought for most of the match. Possibly because they didn’t see him as a threat or because they focused so much on their competition amongst each other that they ignored the elephant in the room. Either way, it fits perfectly within the story and for his emerging character. The fact that his best friend shaded him not once but twice this week underlines that.

Trick didn’t dominate the match for the W. He didn’t assert his will over the competition. He simply showed up in the right place at the right time. Dragon Lee put Axiom down for the count. Trick broke up the count. Dragon hit him with a headbutt so mean that Dragon fell by the wayside. Trick bumped into Tyler, who hopped up on the apron, and the momentum from all that put him right on top of Axiom’s motionless body.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new number one contender. And not because he towered over everyone but because he needed it more and got lucky.

Will luck ride with Trick at No Mercy? With Dragon Lee as the special guest referee and Mami possibly not at ringside, my gut says yes. But there’s another angle too. Possibly a juicer one.

With Melo’s Freudian slip, the fissures between two best friends seem even more obvious. Is it possible Trick loses his match and messes up Melo’s night out of petty jealousy? Sigh, I don’t want it, but maybe.

Of course, we can still get the petty jealousy even with both men walking out of Cali with gold around their waists.


Second Round K,O.

Butch and Noam Dar for the Heritage Cup. It’s official now after Butch wrestled a fantastic match against Joe Coffey. The absolute best part for me came with the ending because it highlighted the different styles. Butch is wild but he’s methodical and technical. Joe is brute force and has little time for finesse. So with both men a bit frustrated with not putting the other away, Joe got desperate and paid the price.

When the action went out the ring, Joe launched at Butch like a battering ram. Butch, the quicker of the two, dodged the attack and Joe’s head bounced off the steel steps.

It became academic after that. I’m not sure who wins at No Mercy. It all depends on how devoted WWE is to expanding NXT outside of Tuesday nights. But if past is prologue, then Butch gets the W and carries the cup to the main roster.

Oops Upside Your Head

Trick Williams made very quick work of Joe Gacy. That’s a little surprising at this point given the amount of time they give Schism—or what’s left of Schism. But the real news came after the match. Trick bristled at getting asked about Melo’s No Mercy match immediately after he picked up a big W against the cult leader. I felt that. Who wouldn’t feel slighted by that?

Eventually he revealed that he’s not betting against his best friend, but now he wants his own championship.

With a triple threat match between Axiom, Dragon Lee, and Tyler Bate and on the docket, Trick inserted himself and made it a Fatal 4 Way. That explains the quick match then, doesn't it?

Burning Bridges

Baron Corbin defeated Josh Briggs pretty quickly. Again, another match I thought might go longer if only because Briggs & Jensen are a prominent team in NXT. Yes, Baron still needs the W going into his match with Bron Breakker, but I expected more.

Speaking of Bron, he showed up once Baron took the mic and talked his talk. They brawled and officials pulled them apart.

While the match with Briggs disappointed, I’m still interested in Bron & Baron if only for the violence. Bron sucker punching Baron later on backstage only solidifies that fact.

Trick wanted some support from his best friend but Melo, caught up in his own issues—understandable—seemed distracted. But Melo recognized his error after his best friend went to the ring for the biggest match of his career.

Out the Mud

The easiest song title ever. Thank Flee Lord for this.

Anyway, I dig this thing with Reggie, Bronco Lima, & Lucien Price. Besides the beautiful GTA font during their entrance, it feels authentic. An angle and team like this can come off as stereotypical. But they make it work. They handled Hank & Tank pretty quickly, which also makes sense given the attention paid to one team vs, the other. But it’a also another quick match on an episode filled with them.


First things first: It’s not over between Dijak and Eddy Thorpe. Not even close. They wrestled a brutal strap match, while Eddy’s family sitting ringside only added to the drama. Nothing like watching someone get whipped over and over while a child shrieks with every slap.

Eddy won the battle but Dijak’s thoughts focus on the war. After taking the L, Dijak tied Eddy in the top rope and continued hitting him and making sure his family saw every lash.

I came around on Dijak a while ago but I really dig his heel work. I still think the persona is corny, but all that goes away when he gets in the ring. And he’s only making Eddy a better babyface in the process.

Brand New Funk

The brand new Thea Hail debuted against Dani Palmer. New music, new wardrobe, and a Hanna Montana reference from Booker T. Yeah, this had it all.

Dani represented herself well but this truly came down to showcasing Thea. The move set is the same, and the submission finisher remains. I want to see more; give me different moves and fully embracing the new attitude. Although it seems like we’re getting into a battle for Thea’s soul as Chase U wrestles her away from Jacy Jayne’s clutches. Or at least they try. That devilish smile Jacy flashed as Andre Chase and Duke Hudson looked on after Thea’s victory says it all.

Creative Control

I’m not high on the final segment between Melo and Ilja. I didn’t dislike it, but I agree with something Melo said before they put pen to paper: There’s really no need for this. The biggest news came with Melo’s slip of the tongue. And I do dig more character development from Melo, who admits a crisis of confidence and wanting that championship for the kids who look like him, not just for his own ego. And no, it didn’t end in a fight because Bron and Baron’s brawl continued until the show faded to black.

Two things I didn’t mention: The Family invited the Creeds, Out the Mud, and Los Lotharios to dinner. Rather than pick one team to defend their championships against at No Mercy, they opted for a Fatal 4 Way. And two, Blair Davenport bum rushed Gigi Dolin in the locker room, turning up the heat on their beef pretty significantly. That’s how busy this show was where big moments like that felt afterthoughts to the whole. The big moments resulted in a solid show focused mostly on story and less on in-ring action.

The best NXT episodes balance both but they did a lot for a go home show. No Mercy is pretty stacked right now and they whetted my appetite. Also? No Becky Lynch or Tiffany Stratton. That was..odd.

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