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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: NXT No Mercy 2023

WWE continue to revive PPV favourites from the past, with the re-resurrection of No Mercy. The first No Mercy event was held in Manchester, England in 1999, headlined by a Steve Austin vs Undertaker vs Triple H star-studded main event. They held another No Mercy event, this time in the US, only 5 months later where it became a yearly calendar tradition. When WWE went PG and rebranded their PPV schedule, No Mercy was cut with the last one being in 2008 until the shows first revival in 2016. After 2 events and the end of brand exclusive PPV's, the show was retired again. NXT has revived a few classic shows such as Halloween Havoc & In Your House and they've been good, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this show goes. NXT has been on a bit of a tear recently, developing some really entertaining stories and showcasing some great matches. The first No Mercy event in 6 years will also be the first WWE livestreaming event since the completion of the Endeavor purchase. I still haven't processed that a McMahon no longer solely controls the company. Let's begin a new era in WWE, the TKO era. Let's review.

September 30th 2023 - WWE NXT No Mercy 2023

-Vic Joseph & Booker T on commentary

Kick-off show

Blair Davenport vs Kelani Jordan

Jordan has been wrestling mostly in tag action, but commentary hype this as an opportunity for her to shine in a singles role. Davenport has been a force to be reckoned with since making her return to NXT, targeting any and all women that she can lay hands on. There isn't much storyline going on, most recently Blair attacked Gigi Dolin in the car park, where she attacks all her victims.

They lock up, Blair knocks her down and they run the ropes. Jordan with impressive arm drags and a headscissor. Blair dumps her outside with a chop and slams her into the barricade. Hip toss and a slam for a two. Modified camel clutch, Jordan tries to fight back but is caught into a Boston crab. Jordan breaks free, sending Blair into the corner. Chops & forearms by Jordan. a roll up for a near fall. Duelling forearms, won by Davenport. She stomps and talks trash, Jordan catches a boot and fires back with a rope-assisted cutter. Jordan mounts her comeback with a cartwheel lariat. A playmaker by Jordan for a near fall. Double stomp by Blair. A suplex reversed into a sleeper by Jordan, Blair breaks it. A split-legged moonsault but the knees are up, the moonsault was pretty poorly executed. Blair hits a driver for the win.

A fine pre-show match, Jordan showed some good moves but she looked pretty green in there. I'd like to see Davenport do more, I watched her in the Bea Priestley days and she was amazing.

Post-match, Gigi Dolin attacks Blair getting some revenge for last week. I am more than happy to see these two feud together. It should be excellent way to elevate both women.

Main Card

-The show begins with one of my favourite opening vignettes of the modern era. The promo pays homage to AEW Fight Forever - I mean - WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64. WWE have posted it on their YouTube, I recommend checking it out. A lovely touch was them using Eddie Guerrero's model for Dominik. A great package. We are live from Bakersfield, California.

Bron Breakker vs Baron Corbin

After Breakker crushed Von Wagner's skull with steel steps, Baron Corbin approached him and praised him for his actions. Bron does not seek or need Corbin's validation. After back and forth promos and intense brawling, a match was set up for this show. I'm not sure what the plan is for Bron, but hopefully they can get him into a long-term feud to keep his momentum going. It wouldn't shock me to see him on the main roster this time next year. I think we're at a point now where we can say Baron Corbin is underrated. He's good in the ring, he's a great heat magnet. His main roster shortcomings mainly come down to being strapped with difficult creative. His momentum was killed because he stood up to a doctor downplaying CTE effects. He get into that awful feud with Reigns over dog food. Constable Corbin was terrible go-away heat. Happy Corbin was stale after weeks of being introduced. I would have loved to have seen more from Sad Corbin when he lost everything. You could consider both these guys as heels, it'll be interesting who the crowd backs. Baron Corbin comes down riding his motorbike which is absolutely spewing smoke from the exhaust nearly gassing out Booker & Vic.

Bron dives out on to Baron before the bell even rings. Security try and stop it but they go out and brawl through the crowd. They return to ringside and Bron takes out the security. Corbin clotheslines Bron over the barricade. Corbin is the one getting cheered right now. Bron is laid on the announce table, Corbin goes for a senton but Breakker rolls away. They finally get in the ring and the bell rings. Big suplex by Bron, shoulder tackles in the corner. Corbin fires back from a top rope clothesline. No commentary right now, I think we lost their audio. Corbin works Bron with strikes in the corner followed with a suplex. Bron is up but runs into a clothesline. ground and pound by Corbin. Gutbuster by Breakker. A running knee to the seated Corbin. Bron has Baron on the top rope, Corbin fights back but Bron springs up for a Frankensteiner. A huge powerslam for a near fall. Both men continue to bait each other for more. Forearms wear Corbin down, but he comes back with his own punches. A Spicolli driver for a 2. Bron takes him down going for the Recliner but Baron gets to the ropes. Corbin hits a Deep Six with an extra spin, Vic calls it a Deep 12 and I like that. Strike exchange by both men, selling their tiredness. Running knee lift by Bron wins the exchange, Breakker counters End of Days into a roll up for a near fall. Big lariat by Breakker sends Corbin outside. Corbin counters a running attack into a chokeslam through the announce table! The commentary is gone again. Bron just sits up and screams! A big spear on Corbin. The straps are down, but Mr Stone (manager of Von Wagner) appears to jump at Bron. Breakker launches him outside, but the distraction allows an End of Days from Corbin for the win.

I liked this a lot, it was an even contest between two powerhouses. The finish wasn't very clean so there is room for a rematch down the line, as well as protecting Breakker from losing too decisively. I imagine we're building towards Breakker vs Wagner at the next show as well as maybe another singles push for Corbin. The crowd seemed behind him. The match got off to a hot start and it maintained the pace throughout with some big moments. A great way to start the night.

Baron Corbin wins via pinfall (9:33)


-Well I thought that the Trick-Melo alliance was over but they arrived together at the show, we will see how this impacts tonight's matches.

Dominik Mysterio (c) vs Trick Williams, NXT North American Championship

Mustafa Ali & Dragon Lee were arguing over who gets to face Dirty Dom for the title, so they had a match which Ali won after a fast count by special ref Dominik. Dragon Lee was given a special referee position for this match whereas Mustafa Ali would get the title shot...until the WWE budget cuts came along. After the Endeavor takeover was completed, many staff cuts were made with a few notable stars being released. It's never good to see people lose their jobs, but a lot of them made sense because we hadn't seen them on TV in a long time. Mustafa Ali being released was a real shock, because he had became a regular feature for NXT over the last month or so. I'm sure he requested his release a few months back, so maybe that's why they did it? Trick Williams won a fatal four-way match to become the new number 1 contender. It'll be good to see Trick get some solo screen time on a PLE now that he has ended his alliance with Carmelo. Dom Dom has been killing it as one of the best heels in the company, for someone only 26 years old with 4 years experience and INSANELY huge boots to fill considering his lineage, he's doing alright. He'll improve in-ring overtime.

I like how Dragon Lee's mask matches his referee attire, colour coordination on point. Trick Williams is over with the crowd and with Booker T who throws out ad libs during his entrance, hyping the man up. 'Dirty' Dom gets big heat as usual. Mysterio sporting a lovely looking black eye. Dom doesn't hand Dragon Lee the title, just drops it at his feet. A quick dropkick before the bell for the near fall. Dom demands Lee counts faster and they argue. Trick uses the opportunity to take control with shoulder tackles and a dropkick, Dom rolls out and tries to leave with his title. Trick clotheslines him and takes charge inside. "We want Mami" chants fill the arena. Dom rolls out again but Trick throws him back in. Hyping himself up gives Dom an opportunity to take charge, kicking the rope into Trick's meat and 2 veg. Dom punishes Trick with strikes and gets a rear naked choke. Trick powers back, the fans chant for him but Dom taunts the crowd. Dom continues to dislike Lee's count. Trick with big uppercuts and a dropkick. A roll up for a nearfall, a double down after a double clothesline. A 619 by Dom to Trick's back. A superkick is dodged and hits Dragon Lee instead! Neckbreaker by Trick, a new referee is out. Trick peppers Dom with chops, a flapjack and a Trouble in Paradise like move for a near fall. They butt heads for a double down. Dom knocks down the referee "inadvertently" and the wrestlers spill to the outside. Dom channels his inner Guerrero but misses a frog splash, no referee to count Trick's pin attempt. Lee should not be down this long after one superkick. He is finally up as Trick hits a knee strike for the win.

The match was okay, it was more about the story of Dom trying to remain champion at any cost and Trick almost being screwed out of the win. The wrestling was pretty basic if a little sloppy at times. Interesting to see a title change, I wonder if Mustafa Ali was set to be winning the NA title here then? A good moment for Trick, Dominik will probably remain on the main roster primarily after closing his feud with Dragon Lee to focus on the Judgement Day.

Trick Williams wins the gold via pinfall (9:28)


-Highlights of the sit down meal with all of the tag teams. This is a really fun segment. The Creed's favourite beverages is milk, how Olympic of you. Also, Joe Gacy & Ava Raine backstage as Gacy declares the Schism is dead and tells her to leave. Gacy needs to find her purpose.

The Family (Tony D'Angelo & Channing 'Stacks' Lorenzo) (c) vs OTM (Lucien Price & Bronco Nima) w/Scrypts vs The Creed Brothers (Brutus & Julius Creed) w/Ivy Nile vs Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza, NXT Tag Team Championships

At the Great American Bash show, the Family dethroned Gallus to win the tag titles. They have been scouting the tag division looking for suitable contenders. After a sit down meal with the 3 teams who wanted the opportunity, they decided a fatal four-way was the best solution. OTM stands for Out The Mud. Price & Nima are both young former footballers and Performance Centre graduates, being part of NXT for just over a year now. Cousins Carrillo & Garza are highly talented but unfortunately never made a big splash on the main roster, even though Garza had all of the tools to make it. Carrillo is talented but he lacked the mic skills to get over. OTM come down on 'SoCal' lowriders, bikes not cars.

Garza & Julius start the match exchanging strikes, within seconds all 8 superstars are in and brawl in and around the ring. A big diving senton by Julius on to everyone. OTM wipe out Brutus. Brutus & Nima are legal. Nima beats him down before tagging Carrillo in. Brutus tags Stacks, a nice exchange between the two legal men. The Family double team Carrillo & Garza starting a Hockey Fight. Carrillo drops the Don into the turnbuckle but the Don drops down with an injured knee. The ref calls the medics over, this might be legit but hopefully not. Stacks is in a 2-on-1 disadvantage to Carrillo & Garza, some good tandem offence. Garza with a Gory special, Carrillo into a leaping cutter off that looked cool. Nima beats down Stacks, as does Price. Price is poised and hits a running lariat. Stacks powers out of a choke and tries to tag a Creed brother. Ivy Nile wipes out Scrypts and in comes Brutus, who goes on a tear slamming all the heels. An ankle lock but Carrillo kicsk him off. Suplexes by Julius who keeps up after them all which pops the crowd. The ankle lock is back onn but it's broken up again. Stacks is targeted and punished by OTM & Carrillo/Garza. Out comes the Don! He reverses a springboard crossbody into a spinebuster, that was smooth. 4 superplexes in stereo by the faces, the impact knocks the referee off his feet which was funny. The Family & the Creeds now finally go head to head. Creeds drop them, but Carrillo & Garza drop them, then OTM drop them. Price with a big powerslam for a close near fall. Nima is up on Julius shoulders, a Garza dropkick triggers the electric chair. Springboard Brutus Bomb wipes out half of the competition. The Family take advantage, hitting Bada Boom Bada Bing on Price for the win.

This was a very exciting match. |It was a fast start and it slowed down when Stacks was getting beaten, but once he got the hot tag the action turned up and never turned down. Some great tag team offence and psychology as some teams were willing to work with others until they wanted to take advantage. All teams got the time to showcase their skills. I think the Creeds & Garza/Carrillo looked most impressive in-ring. The Don was taken out for most of the match, but him returning was meant to be returning the favour for Stacks helping him out a lot in the past. A very fun match.

The Family retain via pinfall (12:05)


-An unknown figure is skipping through historic moments of WWE/WCW past. I'm unsure if this was an ad or a vignette but it was very mysterious. Also Trick celebrates with Carmelo Hayes after his victory. Double also Becky Lynch has a trolley and is gathering weapons for tonight.

Noam Dar (c) w/Oro Mensah, Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson vs Butch w/Tyler Bate, NXT Heritage Cup

During a Meta-Four celebration when Noam Dar won back the NXT Heritage Cup from Nathan Frazer, Dar received a letter announcing the Global Heritage Invitational. This would be like a mini G1 tournament, 2 groups of 4 wrestlers taking part in round-robin matches with the group leaders facing off in the final. Group A featured Tyler Bate, Axiom, Charlie Dempsey & eventual winner Butch. Group B featured Akira Tozawa, Duke Hudson, Nathan Frazer & group winner Joe Coffey. Butch defeat Joe Coffey in the finals earlier in the week, booking his ticket for a match for the cup. I've been enjoying the Meta-Four in NXT, I'm just glad Noam Dar finally has been given something to sink his teeth into. This is the most relevant he has felt in years. Butch hasn't been featured much as a singles star on the main roster, which is a shame because during his first run in NXT he was one of the best workers they had. I'm happy to see him here, hopefully he will prove why he deserves more shine as a singles guy.

British round rules as usual. Six 3 minute rounds, 2-out-of-3 falls, a fall will end the round and a DQ or a KO will end the match. I don't know if I'm reading into this too much, but Bate looked disappointed hearing Brawling Brutes mentioned. British Strong Style is reunited for one night only, probably. They lock up, a back and forth technical fight as Butch targets the arm and fingers. Dar misses a kick and Butch regains control. They begin to exchange strikes, Dar drops him with a kick and taunts. They run the ropes and a big clothesline for Butch. The joint manipulation by Butch, stomping on the bent arm. It looks horrible every time. Butch is firmly in control punishing Dar until the round ends, Dar throws an elbow after the bell like a dick. Round 2 starts, Dar immediately goes to work with strikes. Apron hung kick by Dar. Dar tries a choke but Butch grabs the fingies again. Kicks by Dar, elbows by Butch, corner enziguiri and more arm offence. Shining wizard by Butch. 10 beats of the Bohdran, in honour of fellow Brute Sheamus. Mensah gets involved with a cheap shot while the referee was distracted, Dar hits a Super Nova for the first fall. Round 2 ends. Both men come out hot in round 3 with big knees and kicks. Butch flips out of a German suplex, a big kick and a moonsault to the outside. the Meta-Four distract Butch allowing a roll-up by Dar for a near fall. Dar kicks Butch mid-moonsault for a near fall. A Super Nova is reversed, Butch hits a Bitter End for the second fall. Round 4 begins with Butch unloading a barrage of elbows and hammerfists, looking for a KO. Dar goes for a kneebar, Butch counters but Dar counters into a sleeper. A suplex counter into an armbar, Butch reverses into an armbar of his own, Dar goes into a triangle choke. X-plex by Butch for a near fall. Killer chops by Butch, Dar targets the knee and hits a suplex. Dar is caught in a triangle choke but round 4 ends. Poor refereeing as Dar is clearly out before the bell but he doesn't call it. Round 5 starts, Dar is awake and they exchange strikes. Butch comes out on top, a bitter end is countered, a big spinning elbow for a great near fall. Dar goes up, Butch intercepts him and hits a big underhook suplex for a 2. They're on the apron, a brainbuster by Dar! Great near fall there. Butch traps the fingers and stomps him after the bell, a receipt for earlier in the match. The fingers are being sold, Dar's ladies wrap them up in tape. Round 6, a strike exchange again. Butch goes for a KO but Dar hits 2 rolling elbows. Butch goes for a move but Mensah kicks him, they say the referee didn't see but I really think he did. A Super Nova for a 1-2-NO! What a kick out. Tyler Driver '97 by Butch for a 1-2-NO! Butch breaks the fingers again. A second Bitter End, for the 1-2-NO! Holy shit! Armbar with finger manipulation, but Gallus appear and attack Tyler Bate. Butch wipes out Mark Coffey and Wolfgang, but Joe Coffey wipes out Butch. Dar pins him for the win. Vic Joseph bigs up how it took 7 people to put Butch down.

What an amazing match. What I love about these unique British Rounds matches is that the format provides many possibilities for storytelling. A great story told, complimented by amazing action. Dar stacked the deck against Butch, but the challenger is on another level and was able to survive and stay in control for a lot of it. It took even more insurmountable odds for Butch to be put down. They wrestled a great match, they both sold the exhaustion of the match perfectly. Dar retaining is probably the best call, I was disappointed but I'm a huge Butch/Pete Dunne fan. I'm looking forward to seeing Bate & Butch take on Gallus, may we see more appearances from the Brawling Brutes? We'll see.

Noam Dar retains via pinfall (15:53)


Carmelo Hayes (c) vs Ilja Dragunov, NXT Championship

This is a rematch from the Great American Bash. Both Wes Lee & Dragunov have tried and failed to dethrone 'HIM', but they got an opportunity to become the number 1 contender against each other. Dragunov won and got his rematch. Hayes wants to prove he didn't need Trick's involvement to win. Ilja has been NXT's MVP this year and one of the companies best performers for a few years now. I would love for him to take the title here and have a really dominant reign on top. The fans love him, the critics love him and by god I love him. I think the HIM era is probably going to continue but my heart wants the Mad Russian to rule. I gave their match at the GAB a 4.5 so the bar is very high.

A running big boot by Ilja immediately. he fires strikes in the corner and on the ground. Ilja just punishes Melo with big strikes and even knocks him out of the ring declaring the ring his. Melo is fired up and tackles him. big chops and clubs. A great counter by Dragunov into a huge lariat. Senton by Ilja. Corner machine-gun chops, a big boot to Melo's neck. A big knee in a sprawl by Ilja. A strike exchange, the crowd are behind the champ but I'm behind the Tsar. Stomps and knee strikes by Ilja, targeting the neck. More machine-gun chops by Ilja. Hayes catches a chop and fires back. A big right hand drops Ilja and Hayes falls down too. Duelling strikes, both men throwing their all at each other. A big enziguiri counter by Melo. A brutal springboard bulldog, he dunked Ilja like a basket. A good counter by Ilja into big trio of german suplexes. Hayes hits an around-the-world inverted DDT which looked awesome. Stomps to the head of Ilja, unrelenting offence by Melo. A pump kick is caught, a huge running knee into a powerbomb by Dragunov. Ilja blows a kiss ahead of a coast to coast, Melo counters with a codebreaker but Ilja counters with a catch and a running driver into the corner. Coast to coast lands for a near fall. Dragunov is amazing at selling his emotions, maybe more so than anyone else on the roster. Melo was thinkin about a finish but Ilja is on top of him. An awesome deadlift suplex, Ilja rolls on his feet, back and forth counters but Dragunov lands the big H-bomb strike for an excellent near fall. A diving H-bomb this time for the 1-2-NO! What a kick out, if only I didn't see Melo look at the referee. Dragunov is pissed. Torpedo Moscow is countered with a superkick for another great near fall. They exchange strikes on the apron, Melo hits a leaping cutter to the floor! Melo gets Ilja in the ring, he looks for Nothing but Net but caught with a clothesline. Dragunov goes up with a super H-bomb for the 1-2-3!! He did it! Dragunov wins!

I said earlier how they had a high bar to reach, but somehow these two managed to hit AND exceed it. What an absolute classic. I liked this match more than their first match. This was an absolute war, Dragunov was willing to do anything to win but Melo shows great resilience to fight through and kick out of A LOT of big moves. The finish is so simple, a diving forearm smash but Ilja makes the forearms look so damn devastating. Dragunov has had an amazing year and this moment is truly deserved. I'm clamouring at the thought of all the big match-up possibilities especially a Dragunov vs Bate.

Ilja Dragunov wins the title via pinfall (21:03)


-Hype package for the NXT Women's breakout tournament, I'm excited to see more from Karmen Petrovic. Kill Bill vibes. Tegan Nox is in the crowd, and will face tonight's winner for the title next. I actually would love to see Nox be the one to defeat Becky, but that's bias because I'm a huge fan of hers.

Becky Lynch (c) vs Tiffany Stratton Extreme Rules, NXT Women's Championship

This feud is built from a Tiffany Stratton promo and I can't tell if the mistake was intentional or not, but either way it's really well done. Stratton talked about former NXT Women's champions and accidentally mentioned Becky, who hadn't won the title. Stratton apologised to her in a bitchy way. This set up a challenge set by Lynch, which she won the finally become a Grand Slam champion. Lynch offered a rematch whenever Tiffany wanted. When Stratton attacked Becky after a match, the champ challenged her to a No Mercy match under extreme rules. Out of all of the recent newcomers in NXT over the past couple of years, I think Tiffany has the largest amount of potential. She has raised her game exponentially in such a short amount of time. She GETS wrestling and she will be a future World Champion I'm sure. This is the first time a woman's match has main evented an NXT event since April 2021 and the first woman's match to main event any WWE PLE since Wrestlemania 37. With two big title changes I'm unsure of Tiffy's chances of victory now.

Stratton has a cape with her name on, has her arms open wide as she poses, she is VERY reminiscent of Charlotte Flair. A nice little hype promo for Becky Lynch. Stratton has brass knuckles ready, Lynch leaves and returns with her trolley of goods. a Kendo stick shot and a trash can lid attack. Chair shots by Becky. Silly looking hard hat offence. More kendo stick shots. Tiff tries to escape through the crowd but they fight up the stairs. Lynch gets a chain necklace from a fan and uses it. I assume it was planted, but if not that's hilarious. (Later we're told it's Becky's stylist apparently) They fight back down to the ringside area. Stratton swings a kendo to take control. She hits her with the steps. Tiffany has blood on her head. We're in the ring, a nice double stomp. The fans ask for tables, and Tiffany gets a toolbox. She pulls out a wrench and wacks Becky with it. Then she uses a crowbar, then a chain-wrapped punch. Stratton reverses a crossbody but she's pushed into a corner-trapped chair. Exploder suplex by Lynch, missile dropkick. Lynch rams Stratton with the trolley and puts her in it. A mysterious bag, you know what that means. Thumbtacks? Nope. Broken barbie doll pieces. Haha, okay then. Lynch throws barbie bits at Stratton who uses a trash can lid to defend herself, finally using it to wack Lynch with. Tiffany is trapped in a trashcan and eats a leg drop. Stratton fires back with the trashcan and a spinebuster on it. Stratton gets plenty of chairs in the ring. Becky reverses a powerbomb, hip toss on the chairs into an armbar. They roll out, Stratton drops her on the steel steps. Stratton is dropped on the apron, the table finally comes out to satisfy the wood-hungry crowd. A kendo shot by Tiff, who sets up the table. She has lost Becky, and finds her under the ring with a fire extinguisher. Lynch has a barbed wire bat and wacks her with it! Stratton takes her down, a handspring elbow through the barricade. A senton on Becky. Lynch is put on the table, Tiffany hits a swanton bomb the table breaks halfway. A second swanton for a huge near fall. A big moonsault dodged, manhandle slam by Becky on the outside but Tiffany kicks out. That's how Becky won the title. Disarmer is countered, rolling senton but a moonsault is dodged, manhandle slam on the chairs for the win.

This was an awesome main event. There were some sloppy moments and awkward moments, especially early on but both of these women put in a tremendous effort. My main gripe is there was a significant lack of selling through a lot of it, it was just going from move to move and spot to spot. From Stratton it's forgivable since she's so new to it all but Lynch should know better. However, these criticism aren't enough for me to grade it low, because some of the spots did land. The barricade spot was cool, it's always cool to see a barbed wire bat even if it was used literally once. For Stratton to be able to take it to the limit with one of the best women's wrestlers in WWE history, she has more than proved she is a future star in the company. I see a Jade Cargill vs Tiffany Stratton main event in 5 years time.

Becky Lynch retains via pinfall (20:19)


-Melo apologises to Trick for losing, but Williams says he should be proud of himself for his performance. It is VERY subtle, but as he goes in for the huge, you can see Hayes eye up the North American title. The alliance won't be around for much longer I say.

Overall- 74.2%

NXT casually putting on one of their best shows in recent memory. This is a contender for show of the year, with 3 amazing matches back to back to back and a good undercard too. NXT is absolutely astounding now, huge props to Shawn Michaels for returning NXT to it's former glory. I actually think the new white & gold is better than our beloved black and gold. This era of NXT achieves what both NXT & NXT 2.0 set out. Putting on main roster quality matches, whilst developing and training up and coming talent. This show was a banger.

MOTN- Ilja Dragunov vs Carmelo Hayes

Thank you for reading my NXT No Mercy review, check out my other reviews, hit me up with shows you want me to check out, tune in every Friday for my new WCW series. Until next time, see ya!


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