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Opinion

Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: NXT: The Great American Bash

NXT’s version of The Great American Bash was well received by many. What are Bodeen’s Top 5 moments?

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NXT once again came to us this week from the Capital Wrestling Center as the black and yellow brand continued to deliver a great two hours of wrestling as we sew Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly make another chapter in their long history and more, but what stood out on the show this week? Let’s find it as we take a look at the top 5 moments from The Great American Bash edition of NXT

5. Johnny Gargano and Karrion Kross is made official for next week as Samoa Joe is made the special guest referee   

After weeks of tension ever since NXT: TakeOver In Your House, NXT Champion, Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano would have a face to face confrontation in the ring as Samoa Joe and William Regal watched on. Gargano would continue to infuriate Kross as he mocked the NXT Champion, telling Kross that he was living rent-free inside his head even telling Kross that he was afraid of Gargano as William Regal made the title match between the two men official for next week.

Kross would then call out Gargano, telling that in reality people like Gargano get beat up by people like Kross. Kross would then make things personal, referencing Johnny’s wife, Candice LeRae stating it looked like he put on his wife’s jeans. As tension built between both men, Regal then stated that Samoa Joe would be the special guest referee in the match. Gargano would be the one to get the last word in, telling Kross that he could not tie up his wife’s boots, causing Samoa Joe to hold back Kross against a cocky Gargano.

Later in the night, Joe would talk about the match next week, stating that things will remain fair and impartial unless he is provoked. This was a simple but effective storyline that helped the build towards the NXT Title match between Kross and Gargano next week. This segment also did another effective job into building towards a potential match between a returning  Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross as tension continues to build between the two men.

4. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark take on Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae as Tegan Nox returns 

Late in the night Io Shirai and Zoey Stark would take on the woman’s NXT Tag Team Champions, Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae in a great match that also featured a huge return.  Shirai would get the upper hand of Indi Hartwell early in the match with Hartwell turning the tides after she dropped  Shirai face-first onto the turnbuckle, allowing LeRae to tag in and get the upper hand for her team.

Both teams would continue to go back and forth throughout the match with neither team getting the upper hand for too long. Late in the match, Hartwell would get tagged in as the lights went out. The Titantron would then show the battery that has been changing for weeks on NXT, with the battery finally reaching 100% as Tegan Nox made her return after a knee injury. The distraction would allow Stark to pin Hartwell for the win as Io Shirai and Zoey Stark became the new woman’s NXT Tag Team Champions. After the match Nox would attack LeRae chasing her off as Stark and Shirai celebrated their win.

Later it was revealed that Dexter Lumis carried Indi Hartwell out of the ring, advancing their romance. Despite just being used as a tag team the duo of Shirai and Stark has great potential especially given the experience of Shirai combined with the raw potential of Stark.

3. MSK defend their Tag Team Titles against Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher 

The Great American Bash would open with a huge clash of styles for the NXT Tag Team Titles as the high-flying duo of MSK took on the hard-hitting duo of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Ciampa as both teams pushed each other to the limit in a great opening match. Tommaso Ciampa and Nash Carter would open things for their team with neither man being able to get a big advantage over the other, causing both men to tag in their partner. After more back and forth, Ciampa and Thatcher would get the upper hand as they unloaded strikes on Wes Lee and Nash Carter. Ciampa and Thatcher would continue to have the upper hand, unleashing submission holds and strikes onto Lee, until Lee hit Ciampa with a dropkick giving him the opportunity to tag in Nash Carter who turned the tide towards his team with the hot tag.

MSK would then showcase their high-flying ability as Nash Carter tried to hit a moonsault on Ciampa outside the ring, causing Timothy Thatcher to sacrifice himself, pushing Ciampa out of the way, allowing Ciampa to clothesline Carter back inside the ring as the match continued to go back and forth. Both teams would continue to push each other to their limit as Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher seemed to have the win after Ciampa hit Project Ciampa onto Wes Lee, only for Lee to somehow kick out to the surprise of Ciampa and Thatcher. Ciampa tried to put the nail in the coffin getting Wes Lee in position for a Fairytale Ending but Lee would reverse, allowing Carter to hit a Swanton onto Ciampa with Lee following up with a corkscrew, with Ciampa being saved from being pinned after Thatcher dragged Lee out of the ring.

A leap from the steel steps from Carter would be met with an uppercut from Thatcher as Thatcher and Ciampa had the win in hand as they hit Lee with the Fairytale Ending followed up with an Ankle Lock from Thatcher, however, things would go downhill for Thatcher and Ciampa as Ciampa tried to hit the hanging DDT onto Carter, allowing Carter to push Ciampa onto Thatcher to break up the submission hold. In the confusion, Lee would roll up Thatcher for the win, as MSK barely retained the titles against their opponents. This was a great match that not only made MSK look strong as Champions, but was another great showing for Thatcher and Ciampa who looked strong despite losing to MSK.

2. LA Knight and Cameron Grimes go to war for the Million-Dollar Championship

While on paper this was one of the weaker matches on the card, as LA Knight and Cameron Grimes are two performers who are generally more known for their promo work rather then in-ring work both men put on a strong match and to some degree exceeded fans expectations, especially after both men had the tough job of following the NXT Tag Title match. Grimes would start the match off strong against Knight sending him to the outside, followed up by a kick from the ring apron. Grimes would continue his assault on Knight with a crossbody to get a close nearfall early in the match. Despite some offence in from Knight, Grimes continued to dominate Knight throughout the early part of the match with Grimes hit a standing moonsault on Knight for another close near-fall.

Things would soon change, however, as Knight hit Grimes with a powerslam to get back into the match. After some back and forth between the two men, Knight would hit Grimes with an inverted TKO for a near-fall with Grimes still staying in the match even after LA Knight hit Grimes with a superplex. A furious Knight would grab the Million Dollar Title and bring it into the ring causing an argument between the referee and Knight, this would allow Grimes to roll up Knight with Knight reversing with a roll-up of his own which still wasn’t enough to win. Knight would once again try to use the Million Dollar Title, but would accidentally push it outside the ring, giving Grimes the opportunity to hit a poisonrana on Knight for another near-fall.

Both men would take the fight outside the ring with Knight hitting a DDT on Grimes right on the Million Dollar Title without the referee knowing. Despite getting back into the ring before the referee’s 10-count, Grimes would lose to Knight after Knight hit him with the BFT for the win sending Grimes to the broom, with Grimes now being forced to become LA Knight’s personal butler in what was a great match that made Grimes look like a top babyface. While their feud is far from finished Grimes being Knight’s new personal butler as the chance to have some entertaining segments as both men have such great charisma and chemistry working with each other.

1. Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole make another chapter in their history

After both men went to war with each at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly would remove the bells and whistles as they went one on one in a traditional wrestling match. Despite being a standard wrestling match both men would show the same level of aggression that did in their unsanctioned match at TakeOver as both men put on an amazing main event and arguably had the best match on a card that was stacked from top to bottom. Early in the match, neither men would be able to get the upper hand as both men traded several counters as they escaped each other’s submission attempts and dodged strikes, however, Cole would be the first to get the upper hand after Kyle tried to hit a running knee on Cole from the apron only for Cole to move and hit a running neckbreaker on Kyle outside the ring.

Both men would trade holds and strikes throughout the match with Kyle targeting Cole’s injured knee, however, the roles would be reversed after Cole slammed O’Reilly’s knee into the ring post multiple times with both men now having one bad knee. Late in the match, Cole hit O’Reilly with a Panama Sunrise outside the ring, rolling his former Undisputed Era partner in the ring only for O’Reilly to get his bottom foot on the rope to avoid getting pinned. Cole then tried hitting the Last Shot on Kyle, but Kyle reversed it, allowing him to do a brainbuster on Cole. Kyle tried to finish of Adam with the diving knee from the top rope but Cole reversed, hitting Kyle with the last show, only for Kyle to somehow kick out at 2 to the shock of Cole.

Cole attempted in the Panama Sunrise once again in the match with O’Reilly kicking Cole in midair. However, the kick would cause O’Reilly’s injured knee to give out once again, giving Cole the perfect opportunity to hit the Panama Sunrise on Cole followed up by the Last Show, giving Adam the win in a great rematch and an amazing main event. Cole winning due to outsmarting Kyle is a natural way to set up for their eventual third match which will most likely be at the next TakeOver event.

These were my top 5 moments from The Great American Bash edition of NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and did you think the rematch with Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly was better then their match and NXT: TakeOver: Stand and Deliver? Let us know in the comment section down below.


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Opinion

Booking The Territory: Greg DeMarco’s WWE NXT Stand & Deliver 2023

It’s WrestleMania season, and that means it’s the 2023 Stand & Deliver season for WWE NXT! Greg DeMarco builds the card for this now annual tradition!

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Bron Breakker Carmelo Hayes WWE NXT Stand & Deliver

It’s WrestleMania season, and that means it’s the 2023 Stand & Deliver season for WWE NXT! Greg DeMarco builds the card for this now annual tradition!

With Vengeance Day in the rearview mirror, WWE NXT makes its march toward Stand & Deliver, their WrestleMania Weekend Premium Live Event! What’s going to be on the card? I have no clue (well, I have some clues–they ARE telling two major stories right under our noses), but it’s going to be damn fun to get there.

Several matches were set up at WWE NXT Vengeance Day this past Saturday night, and more match-ups will come to light.

NXT Championship: Bron Breakker (c) defends vs. Carmelo Hayes (with Trick Williams)

Let’s go with obvious match #1: Melo challenging Bron. Vengeance Day ended with Bron Breakker standing tall, atop the steel cage, after defeating Grayson Waller. And who walks out? That’s right–Carmelo Hayes. Melo has been can’t miss since his debut as a babyface against Adam Cole, but Breakker has taken the top spot in NXT and held it for over a year now.

According to Cage Match, Breakker and Carmelo have crossed paths four times in NXT, one of them being on the same War Games team, and the rest being, at minimum, 2-on-2 tag team matches.

This is a money match, and Shawn Michaels knows it. It will be tempting to do so, but there is no reason to slap an unnecessary stipulation upon this showdown. Just book it, and let them do the rest.

Hollywood Backlot Brawl (or Hollywood Street Fight): Gigi Dolin vs. Jacy Jayne

It’s time for Toxic Attraction to fully implode, and what better way to do this than a Street Fight at NXT’s version of WrestleMania. Since we’re in Hollywood, bringing back the ol’ Backlot Brawl works for me, but that’s just a Street Fight under a different name,

But that type of match also works well for Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin, who are very underrated brawlers (although, don’t expect Gigi to repeat any prior viral moments in this one).

Six-Man Tag Team Match: Indus Sher & Jinder Mahal vs. The Creed Brothers & Roderick Strong

Given the set-up, this HAS to be where Roddy Strong returns, right?

RIGHT?

While the man who took Roderick out–Damon Kemp–is currently just finding his way back onto NXT television, Brutus & Julius Creed find themselves outnumbered in this feud. It’s the perfect scenario for Roderick Strong to come back–and Diamond Mine would be stronger than ever.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship: Fallon Henley & Kiana James (c) vs. Ivy Nile & Tatum Paxley vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance

Nile and Paxley could find their way here by winning the Dusty Classic, which will probably start-up here soon. Carter & Chance also makes sense in this spot–and it could be their swan song before heading to the main roster (as a team).

This is also the perfect time to blow the roof off the Kiana James/Fallon Henley/Brooks Jensen/Josh Briggs story. That likely leads to the victory for Nile & Paxley, who both capture their first championships in NXT.

NXT Women’s Championship: Roxanne Perez (c) defends vs. Zoey Stark

Shawn Michaels loves him some Zoey Stark. She can go in the ring, but she’s not electric in any way. And for the love of God, keep the microphone out of her hands. but Roxanne Perez has the Midas Touch, turning everything to gold. This would be a fantastic match, one that would see both women excel.

Ladder Match for the NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee (c) vs. Axiom vs. Nathan Frazier vs. Charlie Dempsey vs. Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Apollo Crews

It seems like a Ladder Match is tradition on these shows, and this one works quite well for me. You can also mix in a little Tyler Bate, or possibly Tony D’Angelo and DIJAK. If you don’t go the Jinder/Indus Sher vs. Creeds/Roddy route, you could put Julius in here.

Why Stacks? Because I assume Tony D will be busy with DIJAK in some shape or fashion.

Why Apollo? Obviously the Dabba-Kato program is happening, but I don’t think that’s a Stand & Deliver match. That can happen on go home show, where Apollo wins his way into this Ladder Match

What’s Missing?

Six matches does seem like the limit, but that leaves out a few important things:

  • Someone is going to win the Dusty Classic and the right to challenge Gallus for the NXT Tag Team Championships, and that makes sense to be at Stand & Deliver.
  • Grayson Waller is definitely going to be a focus, and since HBK ain’t wrestling anymore, he’s going to need an opponent (unless he’s moving up to the main roster before WrestleMania, which seems odd).
  • Andre Chase vs. Duke Hudson is going to happen sometime soon, and a WrestleMania Weekend crowd would be going nuts for Mr. Chase.
  • Tiffany Stratton is going to gain more and more spotlight time, and this seems like a card you want her to be on.

What are your thoughts on these proposed matches for WWE NXT Stand & Deliver 2023? Let me know in the comments or on social media @GregDeMarco44!


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Coverage

Greg DeMarco’s Results, Reaction, & Analysis: WWE NXT Vengeance Day 2023

The latest WWE NXT premium live event, Vengeance Day 2023, is history, and Greg DeMarco has all of your reactions and analysis!

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WWE NXT Vengeance Day 2023 Roxanne Perez Jacy Jayne Gigi Dolin

The latest WWE NXT premium live event, Vengeance Day 2023, is history, and Greg DeMarco has all of your reactions and analysis!

For the first time since 2020’s Takeover: Portland, the Black–err, White and Gold express that is WWE NXT made their way on the road for a stand-alone Premium Live Event: Vengeance Day 2023!

(I assume NXT Stand & Deliver doesn’t count since it’s not “stand-alone,” but accompanies a larger WWE event.)

(Another aside: the above-referenced 2020 Takeover event happened to fall on my birthday in 2020–look it up and don’t forget to wish me a happy birthday!)

Ticket Sales & Attendance

As far as the ticket sales, the always amazing WrestleTix Twitter account has us covered. Remember, sales and attendance are different things. Leave it at that–don’t get caught up in the Dave Meltzer/Conrad Thompson “inflated attendance” nonsense. Attendance is everyone in the building. Ticket sales are tickets purchased. It’s that simple.

A draw consisTent with many recent Raw and Smackdown tapings, which is a big win for the WWE’s developmental brand.

Set-Up

I am a big fan of when premium live events have a unique look and feel to them, so the “stage” here was a welcome sight to see.

WWE Photo

Let’s hope WWE keeps that trend going.

But those are sidebars, now let’s see what happened!

Wes Lee pinned DIJAK to retain the WWE NXT North American Championship

The last “stand alone” NXT premium live event, Takeover: Portland, was headlined by Adam Cole defending the NXT Championship against Tommaso Ciampa in a 33-minte banger of a match. The first match of their return to stand-alone events goes 17 minutes–great for an opener–and provided amazing action reminiscent of the Black and Gold Experience.

Wes Lee is an amazing performer. Even when MSK was a thing, I saw Lee as a potential Cruiserweight Champion. That is obviously not an option now, but him winning this championship and defending it the way he has is perfect. Booker T showing his career respect on commentary, including a nod to everywhere else ol’ Dez has worked, was a great touch. Booker T and Vic Joseph are really good fits for this brand.

WWE Photo

Wes showed immense strength in this contest, taking DIJAK over multiple times in spots where his opponent was nothing but dead weight. Extremely impressive for a guy legitimately giving up nearly 100 pounds.

But DIJAK also stood out, here. This is easily his best outing since he was formerly in NXT, and really showed what he can do. Much of his return has been character driven, but also “big man” style work. This match was reminiscent of his legendary battles with Keith Lee.

Too many kickouts? I wouldn’t say that–it all fit perfectly. This match was special, and in the modern day NXT, 17 minutes is great. You don’t need to go 30+ to thrill a crowd.

 

Fallon Henley & Kiana James beat Kayden Carter & Katana Chance to win the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships

While Carter and Chance had been champions for 186 days–a record for any iteration of Women’s Tag Team Championships in the modern era for WWE–they did not have the most memorable run. Much of it was overshadowed by controversy surrounding the WWE championship counterpart, along with a lack of competition.

Fallon Henley and Kiana James are outstanding solo performers, and the added element of Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen really drives the story home. If you watch closely, you can see Henley and Briggs holding everything together. Kiana James has tremendous upside, and is developing at a rapid pace.

WWE Photo

This story will obviously continue–and it should. James’ conversation with “Zach” last week on NXT will undoubtedly come up, and probably to lead a split between one or both tag teams. I assume “Zach” is her brother, and Henley is being overprotective. Can’t blame Brooks for latching on, the “King Of The Friendzone” is maximizing his shot, here.

Carmelo Hayes beat Apollo Crews In A 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match, 2-0

Many are saying this match underdelivered, and I think it might require a second watch from me to fully say either way. On the first viewing, this match was entertaining and very enjoyable.

The booking? That seemed odd.

I’m  not complaining about Carmelo going over in 2 straight falls–that’s fine. Although I was surprised at the crowd response after the first fall. Might have been better if this match opened the show, with the North American Championship going on third instead. But it’s easy to say that AFTER the show has happened.

WWE Photo

The questionable booking–to me–was the use of the former Commander Azeez, Dabba Kato. He prevented Trick Williams’ interference, fulfilling Apollo Crews’ vision, but didn’t help his former partner at all. He also didn’t hurt him. it was just kinda…there.

Had he helped him score a second fall, and then Melo wins in a third fall, I think it all makes more sense, and the turn makes more sense as well. I was also surprised that Vic Joseph didn’t make a bigger deal out of their prior association.

Vic Joseph, by the way, had one of the best lines of the night, mentioning both “Nation” and “Casanova” in true IYKYK style–proving he picked up a thing or two when cohosting After The Bell with the King Of IYKYK, Corey Graves.

For the record, I don’t think Vic would translate to Raw or Smackdown. But he fits perfect in NXT.

Overall, Carmelo Hayes is a damn star, Trick Williams is the perfect associate, and Apollo Crews seems to be struggling to find where he fits in all of WWE.

Gallus (Mark Coffey& Wolfgang) captured the NXT Tag Team Championships when Coffey pinned Xavier Woods to win a Fatal 4-Way Match that included defending champions The New Day (Woods & Kofi Kingston), Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince), and Chase U’s Andre Chase & Duke Hudson

The amount accomplished in this 16 minute affair is astounding. It was mostly a sprint, but never seemed spotty to a contrived level. The New Day are some of the best in-ring storytellers in all of WWE, and their presence here helped everyone.

A side story of this match was Andre Chase returning home to the arena he saw many a wrestling event. They even mentioned his tag team with his (Bravado) brother (who I don’t believe was shown on camera despite being there), and had the crowd solidly behind his team. Andre Chase did get his moment, the C-H-A-S-E-U Stomps, and it will likely go down as a career moment for him having nearly 6,000 people chanting that.

I do believe he’ll do that in front of 50k+ on the main roster someday, but this had to hit different being in his hometown.

The finish seemed right, Gallus is a great team, and the door is open for Joe Coffey to surprisingly return to help them retain at some point.

Xavier Woods taking the pin signifies, to me, that The New Day is done with NXT at this point. They could drop a rematch on Tuesday, but since they weren’t victims of the “champions don’t have to be pinned to lose their titles” rule, they don’t have to get a rematch. They did their job, and did it well.

Roxanne Perez pinned Jacy Jayne to retain the NXT Women’s Championship in a Triple Threat Match that also included Gigi Dolin

This match was the right mix of story and action. And for this one, you needed both.

Let’s start with Roxanne Perez. She’s a goddamned star. I can’t put my finger on why, but she’s electric. She’s the type of start that internet stans will talk about her on Twitter 5 years from now referring to her as “Carla” when someone says one bit of criticism about her–or tries to send the attention into another direction.

If I’m Matt Bloom, Shawn Michaels, William Regal, Triple H–whoever–I am sending someone to Reality Of Wrestling weekly to scout talent. Booker T is doing something (many things) right.

WWE PhotoThen we have the Toxic Attraction part of the match. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne are a fantastic combination, and they still work without Mandy Rose. It gives them a chance to spread their wings and fly. But I do think a feud between them is in order.

And allow me to fantasy book for a moment–here’s how you set it up: on Tuesday’s NXT, you start the show with an “earlier today” moment where Gigi & Jacy run into Fallon Henley and Kiana James (and Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs). They exchange pleasantries until Toxic Attraction points out Fallon & Kiana can never be as good as they are. The babyfaces (?) disagree, so a challenge is issued. Josh says they just found out they have the night off, and it’s time to party! Gigi and Jacy push harder, and of course it’s Brooks who accepts on behalf of their teammates.

The match itself sees a slight miscommunication between Jacy and Gigi, but it doesn’t factor into the finish. Kiana and Fallon win clean, and once they leave things finally boil over for Toxic Attraction. Full on brawl, all over the Performance Center, ending with both of them going off the infamous NXT perch and through some staging below. That’s how we end the show, and POOF!–we have our feud between them for Stand & Deliver.

Bron Breakker pins Grayson Waller to retain the NXT Championship in a Steel Cage Match

I get it–Bron is the centerpiece of the brand. And he should be. He’s got the charisma, he’s got the pedigree, and he just keeps getting better. Yet for the second straight big NXT event (NXT Deadline being the first), I felt like his match shouldn’t have closed the show.

WWE Photo

This was a good steel cage match. It was a great performance by Grayson Waller, and a damn good performance from Bron Breakker as well. but I think the guy is just too one-dimensional. He needs something more.

Carmelo Hayes coming out with Trick WIlliams in-tow to signify the next program for both men makes all the sense in the world. That should be the main event at NXT Stand & Deliver.

And this time around, Melo absolutely SHOULD. NOT. MISS.

I’d expect that the WrestleMania Weekend audience will be solidly behind Carmelo in this encounter. Use it. Push the envelope with it. Let Bron…wait for it…WAIT FOR IT…Embrace The Hate.

Let Bron snap. Attack the referee. Put his hands on Booker T. A plant in the crowd. On his way to the back he’s met by real life girlfriend Cora Jade. But she’s not talking in character, because this isn’t the Bron Breaker she knows.

AND SHE LIKES IT.

Lay the foundation for NXT’s new evil power couple, and turn Carmelo (and Trick) babyface in the process. Melo shoild still be Melo, now he just wants the love. He feeds off of it.

Now Bron has depth.


What did you think of NXT Vengeance Day? Sound off in the comments below, or hit me up on social media at @GregDeMarco44!


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