WWE NXT Review: Heritage Cup Championship Match

WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida 

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov came out to start the show. Dragunov got a big babyface reaction. Dragunov called Carmelo Hayes a disgusting rogent. Dragunov said this is Stand & Deliver season. Dragunov pointed at the NXT Title saying that what Hayes wants. Dragunov told Hayes to come out so they can talk about it. 

The fans booed as Carmelo Hayes came out. Hayes said Dragunov is the NXT Champion for now. Hayes told Dragunov he’s the superstar that makes this brand go. A bunch of security guards stood in front of the ring. Hayes said they are his security. Hayes wondered if Dragunov is still pissed off because he used him in his story with Trick Williams. Hayes told Dragunov he makes his sick. 

Dragunov said Hayes is right. Hayes said he’s not stepping inside the ring with Dragunov until he sees as NXT Championship contract. Hayes said Dragunov’s biggest fear is losing the NXT Title. Dragunov told Hayes to get everything in order. Hayes told Dragunov he will give him to the end of the night. Dragunov took out some of the security guards. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Carmelo Hayes just continues to shine playing such a great heel. I’m a big fan of Dragunov’s promo as his delivery and his way of speaking stands out. Good stuff here to keep the viewers hooked for the main event segment. 

We saw NXT GM Ava telling someone that all NXT shows are going to be big heading into Stand & Deliver. Gigi Dolan appeared. Dolan wanted to speak to Ava about her NXT future. They both went to walk into Ava’s office. They saw Jaida Parker standing in Ava’s office. Parker also wanted to talk to Ava about her NXT future. Dolan told Parker her meeting is Ava first. Dolan and Parker began arguing with each other. Ava made a match between Dolan and Parker. 

Vic Joseph welcomed Booker T back to the NXT commentary team. 

Kiana James (w/Izzi Dame) def. Kelani Jordan: Good action early as Jordan shined catching James with a springboard head scissors. Jordan followed hitting a beautiful springboard Moonsault onto James and Dame on the floor. James and Jordan connected with stereo crossbody as they returned from break. Jordan rocked James with a spin kick for a two count. Jordan caught James with a handspring STO flatliner for a two count. James responded caught Jordan with a Spinebuster for two. Jordan responded catching James with an inside cradle for a two count. Dame yanked Jordan off the ropes with the referee distracted. James took advantage hitting the Deal Breaker for the win. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a good match. A good showing from Jordan as she just continues to improve with each match. You can see James has all the potential to become a big star on NXT. A nice showing from James as she looked good in the win. I’m usually not a fan of distraction and interference in matches. The interference from Dame was needed to show she’s an important act by helping James get the win. 

They showed a clip of Roxanne Perez going on a rant about her losing her chance at the NXT Women’s Title last week. Roxanne wondered if everyone was against her. Jakara Jackson appeared. Jackson told Roxanne that Lash Legend stays ready. Roxanne said Legend was in the right place unlike Jackson. Roxanne decked Jackson with a right hand. A brawl broke out. NXT Women’s locker room pulled Roxanne and Jackson apart. 

The OC (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) def. Malik Blade & Edris Enofe: Anderson and Gallows got a strong reaction. Blade and Enofe shined early rocking Anderson and Gallows with dropkicks. Enofe caught Anderson with a Hurricanrana. Blade leaped off Enofe delivering a senton splash to Anderson. Anderson responded running Blade into their corner. Gallows took control rocking Blade with combination strikes. Blade avoided Anderson getting Enofe the tag. Enofe ran wild planting Anderson with a reverse Slingblade. Enofe planed Anderson with a Jackhammer. The action broke down as Gallows ran Blade into the ring steps. Enofe went for a 450 Splash but Anderson moved out of the way. Anderson planted Enofe with an awesome Spinebuster. The fans chanted “Too Sweet Woot Woot!” Anderson and Gallows delivered the Magic Killer onto Enofe for the win. 

  • Andre Chase and Duke Hudson were sitting in the Chase U section. Chase said Anderson and Gallows interrupted their celebration last week. Duke said he and Chase backs aren’t turned this week. Chase was about to say Anderson and Gallows deserved a Chase U sized Ass-Whooping. Chase was interrupted by Axiom and Nathan Frazer. Frazer congratulated Chase and Duke for being Number 1 Contenders for the NXT Team Titles. Frazer told Chase that he and Axiom get the first chance at Anderson & Gallows. The camera panned as Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro were standing on the turnbuckles. Toro and Wilde rocked Anderson and Gallows with missile dropkicks. Anderson and Gallows left the ring. The other teams were standing tall inside the ring. NXT Tag Team Champions Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin were watching from a platform. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a good tag team match. A good showing from Blade and Enofe as they are really fun to watch as a team. Blade and Enofe have tons of talent and they will get their time to shine as a team. This was nice to see Anderson and Gallows back in action as a team. The NXT Tag Team Division has quickly become one of the best parts of the shows. The post-match angle was good setting up a multi team match to decide the next challengers for the NXT Tag Team Titles. 

Ava was sitting insider her office. NXT North American Champion Oba Femi appeared. Femi asked Ava about his next challenger. Ava said she’s figuring it out as there lots of challengers who want a title match. Femi said his challenges will regret those words. NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov appeared. Dragunov and Femi had a stare down. Femi left. Dragunov told Ava they need to talk. 

Roxanne Perez def. Jakara Jackson (w/Lash Legend): Roxanne came out to a very strong mixed reaction. Roxanne wasted no time rocking Jackson with mounted strikes. Roxanne went for a dive but Jackson moved. Legend stood in Roxanne’s way. Jackson took advantage nailing Roxanne with a spin kick. Roxanne battled back rocking Jackson with palm strikes. Roxanne connected with a Springboard Moonsault for a two count. Roxanne called for Pop Rocks. Legend grabbed hold onto Jackson’s hand. The referee sent Legend to the back. Roxanne and Jackson exchanged big slaps. Roxanne made a comeback rocking Jackson with a basement dropkick. Roxanne planted Jackson with a leg sweep. Roxanne transitioned placing Jackson in a Crossface for the submission win. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — The match itself was decent for the time given. A fine showing from Jackson working a basic heel style match. Jackson is part of Meta-Four which is a heel act on the show. Meanwhile, Roxanne has recently been showing more aggression in her matches. The backstage skits Roxanne has been very much leaning heel. I found the match pairing rather interesting. Roxanne winning once again with the Crossface was a good indication that’s she’s still going heel. I’m looking forward to seeing if Roxanne gets the fans to go against her. Roxanne was treated like a big star in this match. 

Thea Hail was chatting with Jacy Jayne and Jasmyn Nyx backstage. Hail said Riley Osborne put her in the friend zone because she’s not acting like how she used to be in Chase U. Jayne said the old Thea Hail was a loser. Hail brought up Fallon Henley’s name. Jayne called Henley a moron. Jayne took credit for making Hail into who she is. Hail asked Jayne about Andre Chase & Duke Hudson. Jayne called Chase and Duke losers as well. Jayne took credit for saving the Chase U. Kiana James and Izzi Dame appeared. James congratulated Jayne on the Chase U calendar success. They all made for Hail for taking advice from Henley. They all walked off. Hail looked sad. 

NXT Tag Team Champions Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin backstage. Breakker tried to convince Corbin to spray paint his jacket. Anderson and Gallows appeared. Corbin told Anderson and Gallows that the NXT Tag Division got some depth. Corbin spoke about NXT reinveragatiing his career. Anderson spoke about that Magic Killer ignited a spark in them. Anderson said Corbin doesn’t like The OC coming to NXT because they can come champions quickly. Corbin brought up how AJ Styles slapped Anderson on SmackDown. Breakker said he and Corbin make jokes and have fun. Breakker said they get serious when the bell rings. Gallows said The Good Brothers will be waiting if Breakker and Corbin can get past Chase U. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — Good stuff here starting the build between Breakker & Corbin vs. Anderson & Gallows at Stand & Deliver for the NXT Tag Team Titles. 

Dijak def. Luca Crusifino: Crusifino started quickly rocking Dijak with strikes. Crusifino connected with a baseball sliding as Dijak went flying over the announcers table. Crusifino connected with a corner cannonball. Dijak battled back rocking Crusifino with huge palm strikes. Dijak nailed Crusifino with a superkick. Dijak rocked Crusifino with a running clothesline. Crusifino responded planting Dijak with a backdrop suplex. Dijak stopped Crusifino with a Cyclone Boot. Dijak connected with Feast Your Eyes for the win. 

  • Joe Gacy came out after the match. Gacy released himself from the straitjacket. Crusifino took advantage whacking Dijak with a crowbar. Dijak and Gacy brawled the back. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a quick and fun action packed match. An impressive showing from Crusifino delivering his best performance to date on NXT TV. Another strong showing from Dijak as he looked great as always in the win. The post-match angle with Gacy was something different. I don’t know if it was good. It was different way to lead to a rematch with Dijak. I still like this version of Gacy more than what he was doing as the leader of The Dyad. Hopefully, Dijak can move onto something better in NXT after the rematch with Gacy happens. 

Tony D’Angelo Family were watching backstage. Tony told Stack to get Crusifino. Stacks asked Tony you him right now? Tony said he had bigger business to handle tonight. Tony told Stacks to get him after. 

Kelly Kincaid interviewed Noam Dar and Ora Mensah backstage. Kincaid asked Dar his thoughts about facing any member of the No Quarter Catch Crew? Dar said he’s ready for anybody. Dar said Jackson took Roxanne to the limit. Dar said Lash Legend had two matches last week. Dar said Legend almost won the NXT Women’s Title with zero preparation. Dar mocked all members of the No Quarter Catch Crew. Dar sent it back to Vic Joseph and Booker T.  

Lyra Valkyria Promo 

NXT Women’s Champion Lyra Valkyria came out to a big reaction. Valkyria’s entrance looks awesome. Valkyria said she wants to wish Shotzi a speedy recovery. The fans applauded. Valkyria said she’s owes Shotzi a title match when she comes back. Valkyria gave Lash Legend her flowers for stepping up last week. Valkyria said she’s still the NXT Women’s Champion. Valkyria saiid she keeps her promises. Valkyria said she was surprised Paxley didn’t come out last week. Valkyria called Paxley to the ring. 

Tatum Paxley came out from the road. Paxley said it was great to see Vakyira. Paxley spoke about being worried about Valkyria for possibly losing the NXT Women’s Title. Valkyria was happy Paxley didn’t get involved in the match. Paxley said she would do anything to show she was a woman of her word. Valkyria told Paxley her reward was they would be teaming together. Valkyria said they won’t be friends. Valkyria said they will have a common goal when they challenge Asuka and Kairi Sane for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at Roadblock. 

Ridge Holland came out. Holland said he was happy for Valkyria and Paxley. Holland wished Valkyria and Paxley luck in the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match at NXT Roadblock show. Holland asked both Valkryia and Paxley if he can have the ring. Valkyria and Paxley left. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — That’s a big title match taking place on the Roadblock special show. It’s gonna be cool seeing Asuka and Kairi Sane return to NXT. Paxley is doing a great job playing her onscreen role. This stuff between Valkyria and Paxley just isn’t working for me. I could see Roxanne’s heel turn come when she cost Valkyria the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. That leads to Roxanne challenge Valkyria for the NXT Women’s Title at Stand & Deliver. 

Shawn Spears Arrives In NXT

Holland said he’s a man of actions. Holland said his actions have gotten him into this predicament. Holland said he gets blame when he retaliates. Hollland said he wanted to apolitical for his action. Holland said he was fighting for his family. Holland said there was no malice behind his action.

The lights went out. We saw words on the video walls. We heard someone’s voice. “Truth will ultimately prevail, but there is pain. Bringing it to light.” There was a spotlight inside the ring. Someone wearing a hoody whacked Holland with a chair. The person removed his hoody. It was revealed as Shawn Spears who has returned to NXT. The crowd chanted “Holy S*it” which was censored. Spears got a big reaction. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — I was hoping the reveal behind the vignettes was leading to someone bigger. It was cool to see Shawn Spears return to NXT. Spears was a beloved babyface on NXT when he went under the Tye Dillinger name as the Perfect 10. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does going by Shawn Spears and playing the Chair Man gimmick. Spears is very talented and could become a huge star on NXT. I’m a fan of Ridge Holland. Holland is a talented wrestler and sounds confident on the mic. This current character Holland is playing isn’t clicking right now. 

Oba Femi was shown leaving the WWE Performance Center. Brooks Jensen appeared and challenged Femi to an NXT North American Title match. Femi asked Jensen if he was sure. Femi said Jensen looks like a confused man. Jensen said Josh Briggs gave him some advice. Jensen said he would bust Femi up. Femi said Jensen won’t be able to walk away when he’s done with him. 

Kelly Kincaid was standing outside Carmelo Hayes locker room. Kincaid asked the security if she can enter. She entered. Hayes told Kincaid to send Ava the message. No contract, no Melo. 

Von Vagner (w/Mr. Stone) def. Lexis King: Vagner took control early rocking King with a shoulder tackle. Vagner planted King with a stalling suplex. King moved as Vagner charged into the turnbuckle. King took control catching Vagner with a basement dropkick. King connected with a Dragon Screw. King planted Vagner with a knee breaker. Vagner battled back rocking King with a big boot. Mr. Stone taunted King on the floor. King shoved Vagner into Mr. Stone. King caught Vagner with a chop block. King followed rocking Vagner with a sliding lariat. Mr. Stone took on the ring apron. Vagner took advantage catching King with a rollup for the win. 

  • King attacked Vagner after the match. King planted Mr. Stone with The Coronation. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a fine match as both King and Vagner worked well together. I’m really not sure what they are doing with both King and Vagner at the moment. They gave Vagner the win after getting an assist from Mr. Stone. King got his heat right back laying out Mr. Stone. 

We saw a highlight package on the NXT Tag Team Champions Asuka and Kairi Sane

We saw Lyra Valkyria chatting with Tatum Paxley in the NXT Women’s locker room. Lyra tells Tatum they have their work cut out to them but could be the people to bring the Women’s Tag Titles back to NXT. Tatum says Lyra will be a double champion. Jaida says that they’re about to be embarrassed and it almost becomes a fight until Arianna Grace says that they need to be more civilized and are all champions in their mind. Jaida mocks Grace’s crown and goes to head to the ring. Lyra tells Grace this is NXT and they’re about fighting. 

Dijak was arguing with Ava backstage. We see a cameraman approaching Dijak and Ava. It’s Joe Gacy who attacks Dijak. NXT referee appeared to pull them apart. Ava said you can’t keep doing this. 

Jaida Parker def. Gigi Dolan: Jaida Parker came out with Bronco Nima, Lucian Price and Scrypts. They all went to the back. Dolan took control early yanking Parker to the mat. Dolan rocked Parker with a running hip attack. Dolan followed with a running dropkick for a near fall. Parker responded running Dolan into the turnbuckle. Parker took control hitting a springboard Bonzai Drop for a two count. Parker planted Dolan with a running Blockbuster for a two count. Dolan battled back rocking Parker with strikes. Arianna Grace made her way ringside. Dolan rocked Parker with a hook kick. Grace took the ring apron and grabbed Dolan’s hand. Dolan rocked Grace with a head butt. Parker  took advantage rocking Dolan with a sliding forearm for the win. 

  • Grace told Dolan to come together after the match. Dolan looked annoyed. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a solid match. A strong showing from Parker as she looked good inside the ring. Parker has lots of potential as she looks like a star. Dolan is very talented but it feels like she’s placed in the middle in a stacked NXT Women’s division. They protected Dolan with Grace getting involved. 

We saw a vignette of a camera on an empty beach. We saw the words “See You Soon” written in the sand. The vignette ended with a plug for NXT Roadblock. (Sol Ruka likely returning.) 

The No Quarter Catch Crew made their entrance. Vic Joseph said it was Catch Clause so Noam Dar will know his opponent at the introduction. Noam Dar and Oro Mensah came out. Alicia Taylor did the introduction. Charlie Dempsey took the match. 

Charlie Dempsey (w/Drew Gulak, Damon Kemp & Myles Bourne) def. Noam Dar [c] (w/Oro Mensah) to win the NXT Heritage Cup: [Round One] Dar and Dempsey began with a feeling out process as they were both evenly matched. Dar caught Dempsey with a rollup for a near fall. Dempsey caught Dar with a backslide. Dempsey transitioned catching Dar in a European Bridge to get the first pinfall. Dempsey leads 1-0. Damon Kemp gave Dar a cheap shot after the round. [Round 2] The second round mostly took place during the PIP break. Dar and Dempsey exchanged strikes as they returned from break. [Round 3] Dar and Dempsey began exchanging strikes. Dar went for a rear-naked choke but Dempsey broke free. Dempsey went for an arm bar but Dar broke free. Dempsey went for an ankle lock but Dar broke free. Dempsey planted Dar with a Butterfly Suplex. Dempsey went for a Butterfly Lock but Dar broke free. Dar battled back applying an arm bar but Dempsey grabbed the ropes. Dempsey planted Dar with a German Suplex. Dar responded catching Dempsey with a Judas Effect. The round ended. [Round Four] Dar planted Dempsey with a T-Bone Suplex. Dar rocked Dempsey with a spinning back fist. Dar connected with the Nova Roller to tie the match. Dar and Dempsey tied 1-1. [Round 5] Dar rocked Dempsey with a flying forearm for a two count. Myles Bourne stood on the ring apron. Mensah yanked Bourne off the ring apron. Bourne rammed Mensah into the ring post. Dar rocked Dempsey with a spinning elbow. Damon Kemp stood the ring apron. Gulak shoved Dempsey out of the way. Dar rocked Gulak with a running boot. Dempsey caught Dar with a bridging Dragon Suplex to win the NXT Heritage Cup. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was a really fun action packed match. I really like watching the Heritage Cup matches because they add a sense of urgency that you don’t see in other matches. Dar is really good wrestler and he’s done great making the Heritage Cup feel special. It was time to see a switch. Dar’s continuous way of winning via help from the Meta-Four got tiresome. Dempsey’s a very good wrestler and it was cool seeing him win the NXT Heritage Cup. I’m wondering if they are going to continue the Catch Clause so all members of the No Quarter Catch Crew get a chance to defend the NXT Heritage Cup. 

We saw Shawn Spears leaving the WWE Performance Center. Spears said he likes Ridge Holland. Spears said Holland has been lying to himself for way too long. Spears said a jilted pain has been coursing through his body. Spears said the truth can bring you to your knees. Spears said we will see you at Roadblock. Spears left. We saw Roxanne Perez looking pissed as she left without answering any questions.

Carmelo Hayes & Ilja Dragunov Contract Signing 

NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov was pacing back and forth inside the ring. Carmelo Hayes made his entrance to loud boos. Security guards were surrounding the ring. Dragunov and Hayes sat on opposite sides. Ava sat in the middle. Hayes said he brought the security for his protection. Hayes wanted to quickly wrap things up so he can get his NXT Title match. Dragunov said Hayes was willing to discard anything for the championship. Hayes said absolutely. Hayes brought up how Dragunov wanted to take his soul. Hayes just said he’s a lot colder about how he does things. 

Tony D’Angelo came out with Stacks and Adrianna Rizzo. Tony said when you talk big business, he needs to be in the discussion. Hayes told Tony to not say anything or he will send his security guards. Tony told Hayes there’s only one Don. Tony snapped his fingers as the security went to the back. Dragunov looked impressed. Ava told Tony to take a seat.

Tony brought up how the Dragunov, Hayes and Trick Williams saga has been going on for months. Tony said he’s the only man who can flip this saga on its head. Hayes tried to speak. Tony told Hayes to not interrupt him. Tony spoke about Hayes wanting the NXT Title for months. Tony spoke about how Dragunov is a bit too flashy for his liking. Tony said he wants to take the NXT Title from Dragunov and not Hayes. Tony said he got everything he earned and wanted to earn a NXT Title match. 

Tony proposed facing Hayes next week in a Number 1 Contender’s match and the winner gets the title match. Ava said she has a contract but it’s Dragunov’s decision what he wants. Dragunov said he wants to see Hayes earn something. Dragunov approved of the Hayes and Tony match. Dragunov asked Tony to “Whoop That Melo!” Hayes said respects Tony. Hayes said you go to Tony if you want to take out the trash or bookkeep. Hayes said he’s the Don when it comes to the NXT Title. 

Dragunov tried to hold Tony back. Hayes shoved Tony who accidentally hit Dragunov. Hayes delivered a back suplex sending Tony crashing through the contract table. Hayes signed the contract. Hayes held the NXT Championship. Hayes dropped the NXT Title on Dragunov. The show ended. 

(Amin’s Thoughts) — This was an interesting twist adding Tony D’Angelo to the mix. Tony was awesome here as he came off like a star. My guess is Trick Williams will return next week and cost Hayes the match with Tony. They could have Hayes win next week and Trick return after the match. That sets up a possible three way between Dragunov/Hayes/Trick for the NXT Title. I would rather see Hayes and Trick have a single’s match at Stand & Deliver. I’m guessing they think Hayes and Trick Williams match feels special and it doesn’t need the NXT Championship. 


This was a pretty newsworthy episode of NXT. We got a big return with Shawn Spears. They’ve added a twist adding Tony D’Angelo into the NXT Title picture. We got a new NXT Heritage Cup Champion in Charley Dempsey. The wrestling matches on the show weren’t all that great. The focus was to mostly build the NXT Roadblock special. They did a good job in that. Overall, a solid episode of NXT.