WWE NXT Review: Carmelo Hayes Is HIM

WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida 

Vic Joseph welcomed everyone to NXT. Joseph introduced Byron Saxton who joined him for commentary. 

Carmelo Hayes Promo

The music played as Carmelo Hayes came out receiving thunderous boos from the crowd. Hayes carried a chair to the ring. The crowd chanted something which was bleeped. The crowd booed as Hayes was about to speak. Hayes said “not yet.” Hayes grabbed his chair and left the ring. The crowd booed. 

Amin’s Thoughts — The heat for this segment was awesome. Hayes was great making the fans wait before giving his explanation. 

We saw an NXT Vengeance Day highlight package. 

Baron Corbin and Bron Breakker were shown ringside with the Dusty Cup. Breakker stopped Corbin from giving the introduction. Breakker asked ring announcer Alicia Taylor to announce him and Corbin as the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Corbin said Sunday was off the charts. Corbin said nobody can stop them. Corbin said only the top rope can stop Breakker. Breakker said it happens when you run so fast. Breakker congratulated Corbin on his first dive. Breakker took credit for launching Corbin on the dive. Corbin said he and Breakker get a chance to challenge for NXT Tag Team Titles. Breakker and Corbin called out NXT Tag Team Champion Tony D’Angelo and Stacks. Axiom and Nathan Frazer came out instead for the opening match. 

Amin’s Thoughts — Breakker and Corbin are quickly becoming one of my favourite acts on NXT. Corbin just seems to be having a blast teaming with Breakker. I wouldn’t mind at all if Breakker and Corbin come up together to the WWE main roster as a team. 

Axiom & Nathan Frazer vs. Malik Blade & Edris Enofe 

Axiom shined early catching Enofe with a dropkick for a near fall. Blade and Frazer delivered stereo dives to Axiom and Enofe on the floor. Blade caught Frazer with a flying clothesline. They went to break. Frazer caught Enofe with a Snap DDT as they returned from break. Axiom nailed Enofe with a sliding lariat for two. Frazer planted Enofe with a twisting suplex for two. Frazer connected with a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Enofe responded catching Axiom with a rising knee strike. Blade ran wild sending Frazer flying with a fallaway slam. Blade planted Axiom with a Powerbomb for two. Blade followed hitting a Sit-Out Powerbomb for two. Enofe connected with a flying elbow drop but Frazer made the save. Axiom caught Blade with an Avalanche Spanish Fly. Frazer followed hitting a Phoenix Splash onto Enofe but Blade made the save. They went to commercial break. Frazer caught Blade with a leaping Superplex as they returned from break. Axiom and Frazer delivered a Brainbuster/Superkick combo to Blade for two. NXT chants. Axiom went for a dive but Blade got his knees up. Blade and Enofe delivered a Double Spinning Slam to Axiom but Frazer made the save. Frazer shoved Blade to the floor. Frazer connected with a Phoenix Splash to Enofe. Axiom nailed Enofe with Golden Ratio for the win. 

WINNERS: Axiom & Nathan Frazer 

Amin’s Thoughts — This was a great action packed tag team match. This was so fun to watch getting to see both teams go out and have a high flying fast paced match. The NXT tag team division had been hitting on all cylinders since the start of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This was another great showcase match for the tag team division. 

Breakker and Corbin attacked Axiom and Frazer after the match. The crowd chanted “Wolf Dogs!” NXT Tag Team Champions Tony D’Angelo & Stacks came out with Adrianna Rizzo. Corbin off mic issued the challenge for the titles. Stacks accepted the match. 

Amin’s Thoughts — Tony D’Angelo and Stacks have had a really good run as champions. Breakker and Corbin have so much momentum right now as a team. I would like to Breakker and Corbin win the NXT Tag Team Titles next week. 

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov was making his way to the WWE Performance Center. Kelly Kincaid wanted Dragunov’s thoughts on NXT Vengeance Day. Dragunov said he’s going to the ring to get answers from Carmelo Hayes. 

Vic Joseph hyped the WWE WrestleMania Kickoff Press Event for Thursday. You can hear fans chanting “We Want Cody!” 

Ilja Dragunov & Dijak Promo Segment 

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov came out next. Dragunov said he and Trick Williams went to war on Sunday. Dragunov said he likes Trick but couldn’t allow him to slay the Mad Dragon. Dragunov said Trick would be a worth champion. Dragunov said as NXT Champion it’s his duty to call out one person. Dragunov called Carmelo Hayes to the ring. Dragunov said we can all see Hayes true colours. Dragunov said the fans gave it Hayes verbally. Dragunov said he’s now going to break Hayes. Dragunov called Hayes a traitorous SOB. Dragunov said he would go to the back and find Hayes. 

Dijak came out. Dijak told Dragunov to stay inside the ring. Dijak told the fans to shut up. Dijak told Dragunov he shouldn’t be obsessed with Trick and Melo. Dijak said Dragunov must have saw what he did to Joe Gacy. Dragunov told Dijak this isn’t the time. Dijak said Dragunov is feeling regular after his broken nose. The fans chanted “Shut up T-Bar!” That was funny. Dijak said he found out how to break Gacy. Dijak said he found a way to break a man who’s unbreakable. 

Dragunov told Dijak to stay out of his way. They showed Joe Gacy’s signature mask on the NXT Logo. Dragunov said his business is with Hayes. Dragunov said when his paths cross with Dijak again. Dragunov told Dijak he will know why he’s Unbesiegbar. Dijak nailed Dragunov with a cheap shot. A brawl broke out. NXT security pulled Dijak and Dragunov away. The fans chanted “Let Them Fight!” 

Amin’s Thoughts — A strong promo from Dragunov showing great fire. They are setting up Dragunov and Hayes title match likely for the Roadblock special. Good to see Dijak come out after getting a strong win at the NXT Vengeance Day show. A good segment to set up a match between Dijak and Dragunov which should be great. 

Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail were backstage celebrating the success of Women of Chase U calendar success at NX Vengeance Day and WWE Shop. Hail was excited Riley Osborne wanted her to be his Valentine. Hail said she should go watch Osborne’s match. Jayne told Hail she shouldn’t come off to desperate. 

They aired a nice and funny Von Vagner and Mr. Stone vignette.Vagner was upset about losing to Noam Dar. Mr. Stone noted Dar has been more Heritage Cup matches. Mr. Stone and Vagner weren’t happy with what Meta Four said about his kids Cash and Carter. Mr. Stone and Vagner spoke about how great the kids are. Vagner calls them Cash and Carter “The Bash Brothers!” Cash and Carter.appeared from behind the couch hearing the conversation. Cash and Carter wanted to see Mr. Stone and Vagner team up together. Mr. Stone said he’s not a competitor. Vagner, Cash and Carter wanted to see Mr. Stone compete. Mr. Stone agreed to one match. 

Lexis King vs. Riley Osborne (w/Andre Chase & Duke Hudson) 

King and Osborne began exchanging chops. Osborne shined early hitting a nice looking Fosbury Flop to the floor. King responded launching Osborne onto the announcer’s table. They announced Dragunov will face Dijak in the main event. King rocked Osborne with a sliding forearm for two. Osborne battled back catching King with a running clothesline. Osborne rocked King with a leg lariat for two. Osborne went to climb the ropes. Osborne looked into the crowd. This gave King the opening to rock Osborne with a superkick. King connected with the Coronation for the win. 

WINNER: Lexis King 

Amin’s Thoughts — This was a solid match. Osborne has tons of charisma and looked better than King inside the ring. Osborne is someone who’s ready to breakout but feels in a hold being part of Chase-U. King is still working an old-school heel match so his ring work doesn’t really stand out. King’s overall character work has been good. King being in NXT will get him more reps inside the ring. 

Carmelo Hayes was walking inside the NXT Parking Lot. 

We saw a Kelani Jordan vignette. Jordan spoke about facing adversity. Jordan said NXT has the best Women’s division. Jordan said she’s not afraid of competition. Jordan said she refuses to settle for anything less. Jordan said what’s meant for her will be hers. 

Kiana James and Izzy Dame entered the NXT Women’s locker room. They mocked the Jordan vignette. Jordan mocked everyone for being happy to be here. Brinley Reece appeared. Reece said Jordan was so cute. Dame told James that she could use a drink. James agreed. Dame told Reece to hand James the drink. Reece refused. Dame told Reece she wasn’t asking. James appeared and took the drink. James said she didn’t like coffee. James dumped the coffee into the trash can. Reece looked upset. 

Carmelo Hayes Explains His Actions

The lights in the arena were dimmed. There was a spotlight on Carmelo Hayes as he was sitting inside the ring. The fans chanted “You’re not him.” Hayes said the villain is always the villain when the hero is telling the story. Hayes asked why nobody wants to hear his side. Hayes said he’s not jealous of Trick’s success. Hayes said he allowed Trick to succeed. Hayes said wanted Trick to achieve the highlights of highs in this business. Hayes said he had to take it away when Trick got close enough. Hayes said he had to remind Trick of his place. 

Hayes said Trick crossed him first. Hayes said Trick was going to go after the NXT North American Title. Hayes said he was going to go after the NXT Title. Hayes said he let the people get in his head. Hayes said he and Trick aren’t on the same level. Hayes said Trick went after the NXT Title. Hayes said he had to go after Trick. Hayes admitted to being the one behind the attack on Trick. The fans booed. 

Trick Williams music played. The fans chanted “Whoop That Trick!” Hayes mocked Trick’s chant inside the ring. Hayes started laughing. Hayes said Trick isn’t coming back. Hayes said Trick is on the hospital bed next to Booker T chanting that stupid ass song. Hayes said he’s a 2x NXT North American Champion. Hayes said Trick is a two-day North American Champion. Hayes said noting on this brand gets past him. Hayes said Trick tried to act like him. Hayes said Trick was just a Trick. Hayes said Trick was just his hype man. Hayes said that’s all Trick will be. 

Amin’s Thoughts — Carmelo Hayes was awesome here. Hayes was great just feeding off the crowd’s reactions towards him. Hayes facial reaction to him playing along to Trick’s music was just fantastic stuff. Hayes just showed everyone how great he can be playing heel. 

We saw a vignette next.  The vignette said ” Man has three faces…One the world sees…One his family sees…And the real one no one sees, But reflects the evil he truly possesses…”

Amin’s Thoughts — I would love to see Kazuchika Okada come to WWE. I’m hoping that vignette is a teaser that Kazuchika Okada is going to sign with WWE and comes to NXT. 

We saw highlights of Roxanne Perez and Lola Vice brawling backstage at NXT Vengeance Day. 

We saw an NXT North American Champion Oba Femi vignette. Femi said he’s stands above the rest. Femi said he’s the Giant of NXT. 

Riley Osborne was walking backstage. Osborne saw Jacy Jayne and Thea Hail backstage. Jayne asked Osborne how the match went? Osborne said he lost the match. Osborne said he couldn’t find Hail in the crowd. Hail said she had grown ass women’s things to hand which Osborne wouldn’t understand. Osborne asked Hail if they are still having their Valentine’s Day date? Hail excitedly said yes. Osborne was excited as well. Osborne left. Hail was excited. Jayne told Hail to relax. Jayne said she would give Hail all the advice she needs for her Valentine’s Day date.

Roxanne Perez vs. Lola Vice 

Roxanne took control early mounting Vice with strikes. Roxanne caught Vice with a tope on the floor. Roxanne connected with a flying crossbody for a near fall. Vice battled back rocking Roxanne with combination kicks. Vice connected with a running hip attack for two. Roxanne battled back rocking Vice with a running uppercut. Roxanne went to climb the ropes. Vice delivered a high kick sending Roxanne to the floor. Roxanne made a comeback nailing Vice with a basement dropkick. Roxanne connected with a beautiful Springboard Moonsault for two. Roxanne caught Vice with a wheelbarrow face buster for two. Vice caught Roxanne in a sleeper hold. Roxanne broke free. Roxanne called for Pop Rock but Vice broke free. Vice nailed Roxanne with a spinning back fist for two. Tatum Paxley ran down holding the NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament contract. Vice nailed Paxley with a spin kick. Roxanne caught Vice with Pop Rocks for the win. 

WINNER: Roxanne Perez 

Amin’s Thoughts — This was a good match. This was the kind of match and performance Vice needed after not winning the NXT Women’s Title. A solid showing from Vice getting to work a competitive match with Roxanne. I think Vice not winning the NXT Women’s Title will actually help her in the long run. Roxanne was awesome here showing the right amount of aggression after Vice added herself to her title match. A good win for Roxanne to build her back up for her NXT Women’s Title match with Lyra Valkyria. Paxley’s interference was interesting as she costed Vice the match. Roxanne feels like she’s going heel showing a more vicious side. I’m wondering if Paxley turns on Valkyria helping Roxanne win back the NXT Women’s Title. 

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Meta Four backstage. Lash Legend notes she isn’t concerned with Wren Sinclair. Jakara Jackson claimed Legend will end Sinclair. Kincaid asks Noam Dar about Von Vagner and Mr. Stone challenge. Dar notes he and Ora Mensah are the Dream Team. No Quarter Catch Crew appeared. They aren’t happy Dar accepted Vagner and Mr. Stone’s challenge instead. Legend heard their theme playing as they left. 

Meta-Four (Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson) (w/Noam Dar & Ora Mensah) vs. Fallon Henley & Wren Sinclair 

Sinclair went for a dive but Legend caught her. Henley dropkicked Sinclair onto Legend for a near fall. Jackson nailed Henley with a cheap shot. Jackson connected with an assisted splash to Sinclair. Legend connected with a standing splash to Sinclair for two. Jackson and Legend stomped away at Sinclair in the corner. Sinclair got Henley the hot tag. Henley ran wild planting Jackson with a reverse Slingblade for two. Henley and Legend had a tug-of—war over Jackson. This led to Henley getting sent into the ropes. Sinclair tagged into the match. Legend caught Sinclair with a Catch Powerbomb for the win. 

WINNERS: Lash Legend & Jakara Jackson 

Amin’s Thoughts — This was a fine match. The focus here was giving Legend a showcase win. Legend has tons of charisma and presents herself like a star. Legend has shown great improvement inside the ring as she’s come along way from when she started in NXT 2.0. 

Josh Briggs was speaking to someone backstage. Brooks Jensen appeared. Briggs asked Jensen how’s he’s doing? Jensen said never better. Jensen asked Briggs if he saw Henley’s match. Briggs said you win some and lose some. Briggs said Henley was doing her own thing which is awesome. Jensen told Briggs just like him. Briggs said he had to go. Jensen said he’s been lost without them. Briggs placed his hand around Jensen. Briggs told Jensen he’s not a kid anymore. Briggs shoved Jensen against the locker. Briggs told Jensen to learn from Henley. Briggs told Jensen to stop living in the past. Briggs told Jensen to stand on his own two feet. Briggs said there’s talent in the WWE Performance Center who are ready to take his spot. Briggs said Jensen can cry about it. Briggs said or Jensen can grow some damn balls. 

Amin’s Thoughts — Briggs was awesome showing Jensen some tough love because he wants to see his friend become great on his own. 

Jaida Parker was inside Ava’s office. The fans were chanting for Ava which was nice. Parker said she wants a match with Adrianna Rizzo. Ava said Tony and Stacks won’t’ be ringside for the match because they have a tag team title match. Ava told Parker that OTM can’t be ringside either. Parker agreed. Ridge Holland appeared. Holland wanted a 3-on-1 match with Gallus. Ava said the match wasn’t fair to Holland. Ava said Holland can face Gallus one by one. Ava said if Holland loses it’s done. Holland accepted. 

Amin’s Thoughts Ava’s been coming along well playing the NXT GM role. Ava recently shut down her X (Twitter) account. The people online saying mean stuff to Ava about what’s happening with The Rock and Cody Rhodes is completely uncalled for.

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak — Non-Title Match 

Dijak and Dragunov began exchanging huge strikes. Dragunov caught Dijak with a pair of German Suplex. Dijak responded punching Dragunov right in the nose. Dragunov responded rocking Dijak with a rising knee strike. Dijak stopped Dragunov from climbing the ropes. Somebody grabbed at Dijak’s leg from underneath the ring. Dijak went for Feast Your Eyes but Dragunov blocked. Dijak and Dragunov had a great strike exchange. Dijak rocked Dragunov with a Cyclone Boot. NXT chants. Dragunov responded catching Dijak wth an enzuigiri. Dragunov lifted Dijak on his shoulders delivering a running Death Valley Driver into the turnbuckles. Dragunov was bleeding from the side of the face. Dragunov connected with a flying senton splash for two. Dragunov rocked Dijak with rapid fire chops. Dijak responded catching Dragunov with High Justice for two. The fans chanted This Is Awesome and Thank You Ava. Dijak and Dragunov grabbed each other by the neck. Dragunov called for Consenting Special but Dijak intercepted with a lariat. Dijak connected with a springboard lariat. Dijak was selling his elbow from his match with Gacy at NXT Vengeance Day. Gacy appeared from underneath the ring. Gacy nailed Dijak with a Boxing Glove on a stick. Gacy began laughing. Dragunov rocked Dijak with an H-Bomb for the win. 

WINNER: Ilja Dragunov 

Amin’s Thoughts — This was a really good back and forth hard hitting match. A great showing from both Dijak and Dragunov as they worked a really good match. I didn’t mind the finish as they protected Dijak with Gacy costing him the match. Gacy smiling after the match with Dijak at Vengeance Day did open the door for a rematch. Dragunov needed the win to keep him strong for the match they are building with Hayes. A really strong main event between Dijak and Dragunov. 

Carmelo Hayes Attacks Ilja Dragunov 

Ilja Dragunov held up the NXT Championship. Carmelo Hayes appeared giving Dragunov a chop block. The same thing Hayes did to Trick Williams. The crowd booed. Hayes rocked Dragunov with mounted strikes. Hayes rocked Dragunov with the NXT Title. The crowd booed. The fans chanted “Melo, Trick’s coming for you.” Hayes posed with the NXT Championship. The show ended. 

Amin’s Thoughts — A strong post-match angle. Hayes attacking Dragunov the same way he did to Trick was nicely done. This should set up Hayes challenging Dragunov for the NXT Title at Roadblock. I could see Hayes winning the NXT Title at Roadblock. That leads to Trick coming back and beating Hayes for the NXT Championship at Stand & Deliver. I could also see Trick costing Hayes the NXT Title match. This reminds me of Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa as they had the NXT TakeOver main event without the NXT Title. The question is who does Ilja Dragunov face? They aired the same “Three Faces” vignette in which was in Japanese proverb. I’m hoping that Kazuchika Okada will sign with WWE. Kazuchika Okada will come to NXT and face Dragunov. 


This was a pretty enjoyable episode of NXT. The opening and main event were both great matches. I also enjoyed the Roxanne and Vice match. They set up a big NXT Tag Team Title match for next week’s show. This show was all about establishing Carmelo Hayes as the top heel on the brand. This sets up Trick Williams to return as a bigger babyface star. Overall, a very good episode of NXT. They wasted no time showing you the direction they have laid out for Roadblock which should set the stage for Stand & Deliver.