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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: NXT Stand & Deliver 2023

Well this is a bold choice by WWE. Having your NXT show take place just prior to Wrestlemania? Yes there is a couple of hours in between to relax and have a breather but still, about 6 or 7 hours of wrestling content in a single day is a lot to ask of one company. One of the biggest criticisms of Wrestlemania 33 through till 35 was the sheer ridiculous length of them both. We'll see how that effects the first night of Wrestlemania. This is the first NXT show I've watched since TakeOver 36, I stopped watching during the NXT 2.0 era and never really looked back. Since Triple H took over creative I've kept a side eye on the goings on. It seems like NXT is slowly clawing its way back to what it was renowned for, but there was a lot of Vince McMahon damage to undo. I'm very much looking forward to Dragon Lee's debut for NXT, looking at the card I'm intrigued by all of the matches listed. Similar to the Impact/NJPW show, a lot of multi-person matches which I think could be a detriment but I'm sure we're still in for an excellent show. Let's stand, let's deliver, let's review.

April 1st 2023- NXT Stand & Deliver

-Vic Joseph & Hall of Famer Booker T are on commentary for the show.

(Pre-show) Chase University (Andre Chase, Duke Hudson & Thea Hail) & Tyler Bate vs Schism (Joe Gacy, Jagger Reid, Rip Fowler & Ava)

The winning team will gain control over Chase University. Chase U began as a heel stable just over a year ago but gradually turned face getting over with the NXT crowd. Joe Gacy was a mainstay in CZW for over 10 years. His first NXT gimmick with a "safe space" character had potential but honestly it was naff wasn't it? He's found his calling as the leader of Schism, alongside The Dyad (FKA Grizzled Young Veterans) and Ava Raine, the daughter of Dwayne 'The Dwayne' Dwayneson. This is her first official match.

Chase & Fowler start things and Chase brings the fight to him. Reid comes in, Hudson tags himself in which his team don't like. Hail then comes in and demands Ava to fight her. Ava tags out to Gacy immediately to boos. Gacy controls Chase with stomps, mocking the Chase U chant. Andre catches him at 'S' and counter attacks. Hail gets back in, to face off with Ava. A decent exchange as Ava overpowers her, but Hail fights back with a springboard backsplash, so Fowler makes the save to face Big Strong Boy, Tyler Bate. Bate fights against the odds to nail a suplex on Fowler and tag in Chase. Hudson at this point is furious he's been left out of the action but is also reluctant to get involved to help his side. The match breaks down, including a ridiculous looking fight on the mat between Hail & Ava, those punches looked stupid! Hudson finally comes in to make the save. Bate hits bop and bang but eats an accidental big boot from Hudson. Gacy nails a handspring lariat but Chase breaks the pin. Schism dominate over Chase U and stands above them. Hudson stands against them, but he is offered a shirt. Gacy whispers in his ear, Hudson nods. He rips off his Chase U shirt and puts on a Schism shirt to a chorus of boos and dismay of his team. Schism prepare to attack, until SWERVE! It was all a ruse! Hudson rips the shirt and attacks Gacy. They all hit bops and bangs to Schism members. Bate & Hail hit dives to the outside and Chase pins Fowler with a Fratliner to win and keep his school in tact.

The Hudson heel turn and fake out was amazing storytelling. This was a solid tag match, Chase U were over and got a nice win. Duke Hudson was the star of this match. Ava Raine looked decent in her first outing. She's obviously still pretty green and they're going to keep her protected for the time being. We will see how her career goes in the future.

Chase University & Tyler Bate win via pinfall (11:13)


-The opening package hypes the upcoming matches, as well as comments from the hosts for the show Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson)

Roxanne Perez (c) vs Zoey Stark vs Gigi Dolin vs Tiffany Stratton vs Lyra Valkyria vs Indi Hartwell Ladder match for the NXT Women's Championship

Perez won the women's title from Mandy Rose prior to the Toxic Attraction leader's release in December of '22. Perez is only 21 years old, which makes me feel older than your nan. She made a name for herself being the inaugural ROH Women's Champion at the age of 19. Perez seemed to be injured after her title defense against Meiko Satomura but she recently returned confirming she'll be defending her title. Stark recently became a heel turning on Nikkita Lyons during their attempt to win the women's tag titles. Gigi Dolin did excellent work prior to WWE as Priscilla Kelly. She was a part of Toxic Attraction with Mandy Rose & Jacy Jayne, who dominated NXT together for over a year. After Rose's firing, Gigi & Jacy's friendship was unstable, culminating with Jacy turning on Gigi. Gigi, now as a face, would defeat Jacy Jayne at Roadblock. Tiffany Stratton is a former gymnast, a homegrown WWE talent with a rich girl persona. Very little is known about Lyra Valkyria, she used to perform for a few British or Irish promotions like OTT before being signed to NXT: UK. Indi Hartwell is a crowd favourite who gained popularity as a part of The Way, especially her romance story with Dexter Lumis, but was lost in the shuffle under Vince's NXT 2.0.

A fast paced start as Perez takes down both Stark and Stratton. She then takes out Valkyria and sends Stark to the floor, followed by a dive out to Hartwell. Perez goes for a ladder but a baseball slide knocks her down. Dolin goes for a ladder, same thing happens to her. Perez & Valkyria fight over a ladder, Valkyria pins her in the corner. Valkyria kicks Dolin before suplexing her in the corner. Valkyria tries to climb but no success. Hartwell whacks Stark in the head with a few kicks before making a climb, stopped by Perez. Perez & Stratton trade blows on the ladder, Hartwell pushes it over and they fall. Dolin helicopter spins with a ladder on her shoulders, knocking everyone down. Dolin sends Valkyria into a ladder in the corner. A big boy ladder is brought in, Perez goes to climb but Stratton cuts her off and they both crash down. Hartwell with a spinebuster to Stratton on the ladder. A ladder is bridged from the ladder to the corner turnbuckle. Perez hurricanrana's Stratton to the floor, going for the title but Dolin stops her. Dolin continues to dominate, hitting an abdominal stretch bomb to Perez, also knocking off Valkyria to almost claim the title. However, Jacy Jayne appears and murks Gigi Dolin by pushing her down on the bridged ladder. The boos rain down. Good segment. The referees get Jayne out, Stratton looks to take advantage of the situation but Hartwell tips the ladder and she crashes to the outside, taking out the rest of the competition. Indi is alone and tries to climb but she's too hurt. Here's Dexter Lumis! He lifts her on his shoulders and makes the climb, she pulls down the title to win her first singles championship.

This was a good match. The spots were clean and not too overbooked. Gigi, Perez & Hartwell are the stars of this match but the other 3 put in a solid show too. The Lumis reunion was sweet, it makes sense as Indi was hurt but it tarnishes her victory a little that she needed his help. They may turn that into a storyline though so we'll see. A good first match on the main card.

Indi Hartwell wins the NXT Women's Champion (17:02)


Gallus (Wolfgang & Mark Coffey) (c) vs The Creed Brothers (Brutus & Julius Creed) vs The D'Angelo Family (Tony D'Angelo & Channing 'Stacks' Lorenzo) for NXT Tag Team Championships.

Scottish lads Gallus won the tag belts at Vengeance Day from the New Day, returning from a suspension last year. The Creed Brothers are a part of Diamond Mine, Roderick Strong's stable but Strong hasn't been seen on TV in a long time. Julius Creed was scouted after his impressive amateur wrestling performances, he urged his brother got a try out too. D'Angelo is an Italian-American mobster, 'Stacks' is his henchmen. In story, D'Angelo has actually killed one of his henchmen. Yep. They wrote off a released performer by having D'Angelo have him "swimming with the fishes".

Yes, they finally do a triple threat tag match correctly. 1 man from each team start in the ring with a partner on the apron. It makes so much more sense to me. Julius, D'Angelo & Coffey start. Julius runs them both down. Stacks gets in and gets slammed immediately. The match breaks down as everyone brawls, the Creed bros are in control. Ooh look, Daniel Cormier in the crowd. I love how they announce him as a UFC commentator, not as a decorated MMA legend. Coffey decks both Brutus and D'Angelo, tagging in Wolfgang. Wolfgang and D'Angelo slug it out, Brutus tags in Julius and they have a suplex party followed by kip-ups. Stacks comes in to attack but is sent to the outside. Mark gets Stacks on his shoulders, Julius lifts both on his shoulders! Crazy strength feat, yeah they held balance on the ropes but it was still a cool spot. Brutus brutally butchers the spot with a weak ass jump and punch and they all tumble. D'Angelo clotheslines Wolfgang out, double spinebuster to Mark for a nearfall, as Joe Coffey is here! His first appearance since last year's suspension. Gallus nail a TKO-big boot combo to win.

This was okay. It was kept short but the in-ring work was solid. Some of the spots didn't land, like the 3 man stack, and the rest was pretty standard triple tag formula. Not bad, but nothing great.

Gallus retains via pinfall (8:12)


-Pretty Deadly want to interview Bron Breakker, but decide against it.

-Hype package for the North American Championship match. Wes Lee requested four challengers and he picked the very best.

Wes Lee (c) vs Dragon Lee vs JD McDonagh vs Ilja Dragunov vs Axiom for NXT North American Championship

Wes won the vacant title at Halloween Havoc last year. I'm happy he's continuing to succeed, he was a phenomenal talent for the Rascalz/MSK. Unfortunate that his partner was a bit of a cockwomble. This is Dragon Lee's first match since signing for WWE. Check out his previous matches in New Japan, PWG, ROH and his one classic in AEW. JD McDonagh (FKA Jordan Devlin) is the Irish Ace and has been feuding with one of my favourite wrestlers, Ilja Dragunov. I have met both JD & Ilja at Progress show. They were both very nice. Axiom was firmly known as A-Kid, a Spanish star who was the inaugural NXT UK Heritage cup winner. Wes Lee wanted to face the best for the gold. Ask, and you shall receive.

Wes wants them all to fight each other. Ilja & McDonagh scrap and go outside. Wes sends out Dragon Lee and takes down Axiom. JD & Ilja are back in exchanging chops, Dragunov chopping faster than a 'Slap Chop'. Dragon takes them both out with running dropkicks. Dragon and Axiom square off, Dragon knocks him outside and follows with a big plancha. Wes goes for Dragon, a big basement dropkick to the back of his head. Dragunov goes for Wes, JD goes after them both but is knocked to the apron. McDonagh hits a moonsault to Dragunov & Axiom on the outside. JD has Wes down with a Devil Inside but Dragunov catches the referees arm before the 3 and shouts in his face. Nice spot. All but Wes knock down JD and they all take each other down. They all slowly get up but Dragunov goes from mumbo to wumbo and goes ape. He cleans house, hits a Constantine special to Axiom, clotheslines Wes and death valley driver's him into Dragon Lee sat in the corner. He's got a cut on his head which just adds to his look. Axiom sends Dragunov out and hits a moonsault onto him and McDonagh. Dragon has Wes trapped for a top rope double stomp to smash him to pieces. Axiom takes on JD & Ilja on his own until Dragon Lee gets involved. There's a spot here where McDonagh & Axiom both lock submissions on Dragunov. Ilja, refuses to quit and exchanges headbutts with him whilst Axiom watches on shaking his head like "what the fuck is going on". Great spot. Dragunov powerbombs Axiom on to the other 2 and pins all 3 but Wes dives on top to break the pin. Axiom kicks Wes out and Dragunov knees Dragon out. Wes hits a big moonsault to Dragunov. McDonagh hits a uranage to Axiom, Axiom responds with a beautiful springboard moonsault DDT. Axiom sends JD crashing into Wes on the outside. Dragunov hits an impressive superplex to Axiom from outside to inside. He fights off Wes & Dragon, nailing the latter with a torpedo but Wes clocks Jim with a Cardiac Kick to win (19:17)

This was fantastic. A spot fest sure but there was good storytelling throughout. McDonagh and Dragunov continue to tear each other apart. Dragon Lee showcasing his ability in his debut. The match was nonstop action, all 5 of them put on a fantastic performance. Ilja Dragunov especially was the MVP on this match. He looked like a beast.

Wes Lee retains via pinfall. (19:17)


-Pretty Deadly have had a costume change, now looking for an interview with Carmelo Hayes. Before they decide what type of knock to use, Trick Williams comes out and tells them to do one.

-Recap for the Gargano/Waller feud. Waller has been an arrogant dick recently, challenging Shawn Michaels to a match. Shawn brought Gargano back to face him instead.

Johnny Gargano vs Grayson Waller in a Unsanctioned Match

Johnny Wrestling returned after a 9 month hiatus to appear on Raw but hasn't really done much of note. He's had a feud with Theory as well as help Dexter Lumis in his feud with The Miz. He was a part of the US Championship Elimination Chamber match. It's good to see him back in NXT even if it's only temporary. Grayson Waller has been a success story during Vince's NXT takeover. Waller has been dominant since his debut and has established himself as a potential future NXT champion for sure.

Gargano jump Waller before the bell and it spills outside. Gargano grabs a trash can and uses it on Waller. He goes for a suicide dive but Waller catches him with a MEAN shot to the head with a trash can lid. Waller sets up a row of chairs on the outside. Waller hits Gargano with a buckle bomb. He tries to put Gargano threw the chairs, but Johnny reverses into a crazy suplex out of the ring onto the chairs! Table time. Waller teases sweet chin music but Gargano knocks him out. Waller drives him into the apron, followed by a dolling stunner. They exchange blows, including some kendo stick shots from Waller. Gargano's wife Candice LeRae is ringside with their child. Waller approaches them and taunts. Gargano fires up and fights back. LeRae hands her baby over to, I want to say her friend? Babysitter? Some lady. Anyways, LeRae hops over the barricade and helps Johnny kick Wallers ass with a kendo. Back in the ring, Johnny hits One Final Beat for a nearfall. Waller hits an impressive Van Terminator from Waller has Gargano down for a 2. Waller puts him through the announce table. He takes his sweet time climbing to the top rope, allowing Johnny to YEET a chair at him and go on the offence. Waller hits another rolling stunner for a nearfall. He shouts angrily, Gargano low blows him. Numerous chair shots by Gargano followed by Gargano Escape for a submission victory. Post match, Dexter Lumis & Indi Hartwell come out for a brief The Way reunion. A nice moment.

Another great match. Assuming this is a one and done, it's a nice way to tie up and close the chapter on Johnny Gargano's NXT story. Gargano a great storyteller as usual, but Waller deserves credit too. This match fit the intensity of the rivalry. Well deserved victory for Johnny Wrestling.

Johnny Gargano wins via submission (18:14)


-Stacks is upset about their loss but D'Angelo says its alright. Pretty Deadly come and mock their loss, leading to a brawl. Is this the only reason they were made hosts? This is the most they've done all night.

Fallon Henley & Kiana James (c) vs Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn for NXT Women's Tag Championships

Henley worked for Shine and even had a match in AEW Dark before signing to WWE. James was trained by Shawn Spears & Tyler Breeze at their school. She too made a single AEW Dark appearance before signing for WWE. James & Henley were feuding last year over a bar. The feud ended and now they are champions together after defeating Carter & Chance at Vengeance Day. It's a classic clash of personalities. Henley wants to do things the right way, James wants to cheat. Fyre & Dawn are too very talented Scottish ladies, they had a brief feud but Fyre turned heel and aligned with Dawn. Fyre, under her Kay Lee Ray moniker, was the longest reigning NXT UK Women's Champion at 649 days.

Henley & James are accompanied by Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs, who were the last ever NXT UK Tag Champions. Fun fact, Jensen is the son of Bull Buchanan. He's already 100x better than Bull ever was. The match begins as a brawl on the outside. The heels take advantage, Fyre with a nice superkick to Henley. Henley recovers and tags in James. A nice belly-to-belly then Henley tags back in but is choked by Isla Dawn. James tries to break it but it ends up going on for longer. Henley breaks out and hits a blockbuster. All 4 women go back to fighting as the ref loses control of the action. A nice powerbomb and dropkick combo for a nearfall on Fyre. Fyre hits back with a gourdbuster to James, followed by a double superkick with Dawn's help for a close 2 count. Everyone is down, so James demands her purse to help cheat to win. Briggs refuses, the distraction is enough for the heels to take advantage, hitting a backstabber + Swanton combination for the victory.

A solid match by these 4. A tough spot following two MOTN candidates and just before the main event but it was serviceable. I like Fyre & Dawn so I'm happy for them to get the titles. A very short reign for James & Henley though, I assume this will reignite their feud again to continue over the year.

Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn wins the championships via pinfall (8:42)


-Recap for our main event. Breakker has been unstoppable, but so has Melo. This is billed as a dream match, the two very best in NXT today.

Bron Breakker (c) vs Carmelo Hayes for NXT Championship

The son of the Pitbull Rick Steiner, Bron has been unstoppable since winning the title for a second time. GUNTHER, Gacy, McDonagh, Grimes, Bate, Dragunov to name a few of those who have failed. He is 3 days shy from a full calendar year as champion. Carmelo Hayes, similarly, has been on a near unstoppable tear. He was the last ever Cruiserweight champion, unifying it with the North American title. After he was done with the NA title, they teased for weeks Melo vs Bron before it was officially announced.

Carmelo Hayes gets a great entrance introduction by Trick Williams, he looks like the real deal. "The fans need to stand so that he can deliver" was a great line. LA Lakers themed entrance just to get Melo even more over. Epic introductions before the bell. Breakker overpowers Hayes in the feel out process, shrugging off a springboard attempt. Breakker gets a front face lock, lifting up Melo but he goes to the corner to break. Hayes stomps at Bron and hits a springboard clothesline. Melo keeps Bron down with a Fujiwara armbar, Bron powers out of it. He hits a shoulder tackle followed by a torture rack, Trick Williams saves Melo by getting him to the ropes. The referee ejects Trick from ringside. Bron does a plancha onto them both. Hayes hits a pump kick into a smooth springboard suplex. Hayes goes up top but Breakker meets him with a frankensteiner. They get back to their feet and exchange sluggers. Bron goes for the Steiner Recliner but Hayes blocks and turns it into a Crossface. Breakker breaks free and hits a spear but clears the referee by accident too. Trick Williams returns to hit Bron with the belt for a close 2 count. Hayes reverses a gorilla press into a codebreaker. Hayes nails Nothing But Net for the pin AND NEWWWWW NXT Champion. Post match, Bron Breakker hands the title to Hayes out of respect.

This was a good main event. Melo was over as rover. These two have good chemistry and told a simple but effective story. Hayes will be a great NXT champion. I imagine we will see Bron Breakker move up to the main roster sooner rather than later. I don't think he has much left to do unless they keep him around for a third reign.

Carmelo Hayes wins the championship via pinfall (16:14)


Overall- 68.4%

A very enjoyable show. A lot of great wrestling with a good variety. I would have liked some more from the men's tag match but everything on the show was solid, with 2 bangers in the middle of the card. WWE's first show of Wrestlemania weekend kicks off the day in a good way.

MOTN: Wes Lee vs Dragon Lee vs JD McDonagh vs Ilja Dragunov vs Axiom

Thank you for reading, what did you think of NXT Stand & Deliver? Lemme know your thoughts. Until next time, see ya!


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