NXT Deadline (2023)

NXT Deadline Kick Off Show

I honestly cant stand how they do a pre show about fake wrestling. They have a panel of people analyzing something that isn’t actually real, it just seems so forced. We could have a couple of matches, you know? They spent 40 minutes faffing about talking about all these matches when we could have got a NXT Tag Title Defence, perhaps a Thea Hail/Jacy Jane Tag Match against Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez, something interesting like that!

December 9th, 2023

Total Mortgage Arena

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Singles Match

Axiom vs. Nathan Frazer


These two had a conversation backstage 2 weeks ago where Nathan was giving one of his ‘hard hitting home truths’ about Baron Corbin and Ilja Dragunov, where his big dumb mouth got him in trouble with Ilja. Nathan blamed Axiom for not giving him the heads up that Ilja was behind him, which lead to a match this past week on NXT that went to a no contest thanks to the Women from the Iron Survivor Challenge brawling through the building and interrupting the match. The rematch takes place here on the NXT Deadline Kick Off show.

The Match:

You know, I don’t get what they are trying to achieve with Axiom’s entrance, but that’s cool. It’s a typical stalemate to start off between these two. Vic Joseph questions Nathan Frazer having a bit of an attitude lately, it’s not an attitude problem he’s got, it’s a personality problem. He’s got a big mouth and he’s annoying. He is not misunderstood, he’s just got foot in mouth disease. His problem is he needs to shutup.

The match isn’t so bad, but Nathan is definitely slowly turning heel here as he’s got a heat going on Axiom, they turned him heel because he is 100% unlikeable. Frazer seemed to have a hard time putting Axiom away, and the frustration was obvious. Nathan hits a superplex into a suplex neckbreaker and got a 2 count. The crowd chanted this is awesome whilst sitting down. If the Cruiserweight title was still around then this match could really mean something. I think Axiom could have won with the Spanish Fly off the top instead of having to hit a kick to the head afterward which he calls the ‘Golden Ratio’. 


Axiom wins which really made my day. I have no idea where they go from here.

Winner: Axiom in 10:49.

NXT Deadline

Shawn Michaels opens the show! You know, I would love for Shawn to correct that wrong from Saudi Arabia, I know he probably can’t now but imagine he came back for one last match for WrestleMania 40? 

CM Punk makes an entrance and and he and Shawn goof off a little bit, and apparently forget what they were supposed to say, but Punk kids around that maybe he will sign with NXT. That segment was a tad awkward but honestly I think they actually forgot what they were supposed to say!

WWE NXT North American Title Match

Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley) (c) vs. Dragon Lee (w/Rey Mysterio)


Some months ago, Dominik Mysterio became the NXT North American Champion in a random occurance and he had a lot of people targeting him because of it, including the likes of Wes Lee, Mustafa Ali, Trick Williams, and Dragon Lee.

As they were building to a big match with Dragon and Dominik, suddenly Dragon Lee got brought up to the Main Roster, and their feud never concluded. Wes Lee returned from a hiatus to challenge Dominik again after he beat Cameron Grimes, Bronson Reed and Johnny Gargano in a 4 way match 2 weeks ago, but he then announced last week he needed back surgery and would be out for over a year!

Rey Mysterio then popped up on the screen and announced Dragon Lee would be coming back to NXT to face Dominik at last for the North American Championsip.

The Match:

Rey Mysterio made an entrance to kind of introduce Dragon Lee, and this is an important match for him because I’m sensing we’re getting a new champion here and Dragon Lee will be winning his first Championship under the WWE banner.

I guess his brother RUSH was right to stay in AEW and be lost in the shuffle as usual hey? Happy to hear Rey on Guest Commentary too! Dragon Lee straight away impresses with his high flying ability, he surely is going to be the next Rey Mysterio.

Jesus Christ early on Dragon Lee cops it sweet off the top rope, then a DDT off the apron that was super dangerous and it looks like his mouth is bleeding! Booker T totally siding with Dom, and badgering Rey on commentary is hilarious, and Vic is incredulous over Booker’s BS.

I wonder if this will all lead to Dragon and Rey Vs Dom and Santos at WrestleMania, Hair Vs Mask. Dragon Lee DOUBLE STOMPS Dom to the outside and he flies off the ring apron. Dragon Lee had a lot of momentum and Dom managed to dropkick him out of no where.

Dominik has improved a lot and his selling is really good. So much suspense for this match, Dragon hit a huge Liger bomb for a 2 count, then Dragon Lee hit a specki move and won!


Dragon Lee becomes the new NXT North American Champion and looks to be back in NXT for a stint and I would assume Dom will finally got back to focusing on the Main Roster stuff with the Judgment Day.

Winner: NEW NXT North American Champion, Dragon Lee in 10:34.

We see Ilja arrive at the building earlier in the day, as well as Baron Corbin. E for Effort!

WWE NXT Women’s Title #1 Contendership Iron Survivor Challenge Match

Blair Davenport vs. Fallon Henley vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Lash Legend vs. Kelani Jordan


These 5 Women qualified for this match over the last few weeks, and the winner of this match challenges Lyra Valkyria in future. The objective of the Iron Survivor Challenge is to earn the most points before the time expires. Points are earned by scoring a pinfall, submission, or being the victim of a disqualification. There’s a 25 minute time limit, and if you cop a pinfall you have to go to a Penalty Box for 90 seconds.

The Match:

This match is pretty much a mix between an Ironman Match and a King of the Mountain Match. I really like the concept of this match, it’s good to see something different.

Fallon Henley is out first, and I definitely won’t be skipping these entrances. Blair comes in next, hello. Blair dominated Fallon early. Fallon fought back and was in charge before Tiffany Stratton was in next! My girl! I typed that sentence before her theme hit and I was correct. All you can hear is Tiffanys annoying yet beautiful voice talking trash the whole time as the heat is on Fallon with Blair and Tiffy worked together.

Tiffy then turned on Blair soon after. Gosh Tiffany looked impressive! Holy shit, Tiffany did a cartwheel into picking Fallon up for an Alabama Slam! Blair took advantage and pinned Fallon to get the first point. Kilani Jordan was in next, the Rookie of the Year as far as I’m concerned. Kelani impresses the moment she gets in there. I’m telling you when you have somebody like Kilani, they don’t need Naomi back.

Fallon leaves the penalty box and went after Tiffy! Shining Wizard by Fallon on Tiffy and she gets a point. Lash Legend is in next and she gets involved straight away and ruins a potential Tower of Doom. She then hit a double superplex on Fallon and Kilani, then chokeslamed Stratton, then ChokePowerbombed Fallon, and pinned both Tiffy and Fallon to get 2 points. Lash has REALLY improved over the last few months!

Kilani hit an Asai Moonsault on Lash and SLAMMED against the announce table. Meta Four then come out and block the Penalty Box door from opening! Fallon tried to climb out the roof and Tiffany knocked her off the Penalty Box through a table! Then Tiffany did a sommersault onto the other ladies! Jesus Christ this match is terrific.

Kilani got caught by Lash who went for a powerbomb, and Kilani went for a sunset flip and Tiffy hit a stomp on Lash and then Kilani for a 2 count! Blair then laid Kilani out to get her 2nd point. A ‘THIS IS AWESOME’ chant broke out which was actually warranted. We get down to the wire and Tiffy gets a point after hitting the Prettiest Moonsault Ever on Lash. Holy shit Kilani hit a 450 splash! This match is amazing dude.

Kilani gets German Suplex’d off the top rope, Blair pinned Fallon and got her 3rd point and Blair wins! Blair cuts a promo and says she will see Lyra at New Years Evil, and Lyra come out, with her hair down. Cora Jade then attacks Lyra from behind and grabs the belt, holy hell what is going on here!


The right choice was made here! Blair definitely needed to be pushed upward toward a title program with Lyra Valkyria and to get some more focus, although it will be interesting to see what happens with the feud with Nikkita Lyons taking place at the same time, as well as Cora Jade inserting herself into the mix. 

Winner: Blair Davenport in 25:00.

Carmelo and Trick are both seen getting ready next, and they’re both locked in, apparently. Trick is still suspicious of Melo and his antics with Lexis King.

Singles Match

Carmelo Hayes vs. Lexis King


Lexis King has been meddling in Carmelo and Trick Williams’ affairs over the last few weeks, and it was revealed that Lexis could have been the one to attack Trick Williams and initially cost him his shot at being NXT Champion #1 Contender. It was then revealed through CCTV footage that King may be in cahoots with Carmelo Hayes. Carmelo challenged King to this match to prove to Trick he isn’t lying about not being involved in the attack.

The Match:

This should be interesting. This has been a very slow burn for this story with Hayes and Trick, with Lexis getting involved. Lexis has already done more in NXT in a couple months than the whole time in AEW. This is a guy Lexis needs to work with to really get into the mix.

Carmelo Koala came out of the gate very aggressive. King dominated early and has to come up with a game plan to get in Melo’s head. King ends up in control and you know what? I don’t care about the name change. The top turnbuckle pad fell off and I don’t know if that was by design.

They both tumbled off the top rope at one stage to the outside which was really rough. This is exactly what Brian Pillman Jr. needed in AEW, but they didn’t have the infrastructure there, plus too many people on the roster, for Lexis to get anything decent. Nothing But Net by Hayes and he wins!


They had a real hard fought battle and that should tell Trick he’s innocent and silence those that accuse him. After the match Lexis gets on the mic. He admitted it wasn’t him who attacked Trick Williams, and thanked him for the PLE Spotlight.

Winner: Carmelo Hayes in 11:13.

A Nikkita Lyons vignette airs. As well as a vignette for The Family!

Cora Jade Interview with Kelly Kincaid

Cora with a lot of sass and she’s smoking hot. She’s starting to really grow up as a character. Kelly didn’t get a word in and that was fun. 

We see Trick owe Carmelo an apology in the locker room. Trick was pumped that Melo won and Melo says for him to whoop that trick.

WWE NXT Title #1 Contendership Iron Survivor Challenge Match

Tyler Bate vs. Dijak vs. Josh Briggs vs. Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams


These 5 Men qualified for this match over the last few weeks, and the winner of this match challenges the winner of Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin in the future. The objective of the Iron Survivor Challenge is to earn the most points before the time expires. Like the women’s match earlier, points are earned by scoring a pinfall, submission, or being the victim of a disqualification. There’s a 25 minute time limit, and if you cop a pinfall you have to go to a Penalty Box for 90 seconds. Dijak actually took a headscissors takedown from Josh Briggs. 

The Match:

Gosh, it’s always tough when there’s a long match for both genders, like the War Games, the Chamber, the Rumble. I had a hard time believing the Men would beat what the Women did earlier.

Dijak and Josh Briggs start the proceedings off. It’s a bit of a stalemate between the two big boys early on. Dijak with a sitdown chokeslam and Josh kicked out, that’s a finisher. Dijak got a pin at the 5 minute mark to get his first point.

Tyler Bate is out next and I hate him. He ended Dabba-Kato’s career and I’ll never forgive him. Big clothesline from Briggs to pin Dijak. Briggs gets his first point. Dijak interrupted a Tiger Driver 97 and is sent BACK into the penalty box after a roll up.

Trick Williams is next and the fans are into it. They were supremely behind him. Tyler Bate spins Trick right round baby right round, slammed him and it was a 2 count. Tyler Bate gets another pin to be in the lead.

Bron Breakker is in last and he spears Briggs and gets a pin, he pinned Tyler Bate, AND Dijak shortly after with spears too and he’s already in the lead. I never seen anyone move as quickly as Bron, and the Steiner Recliner is locked in on Trick who gets to the ropes. Trick hit a crossbody to the outside on a group of people! Dijak boots Trick to get his 2nd point.

Bate catches a Frankensteiner into a Tyler Diver for his 3rd fall. Shades of Kronik with Dijak and Briggs hitting a double chokeslam on Bate. They hit a double moonsault, and Dijak and Briggs get another point. Briggs, like Lash Legend, maximized his minutes.

Bron puts Trick through a barricade, who still has 0 points, then Bron gets chokeslammed through the announce table, Trick pins Briggs for his first point. Dijak nails Trick and Eddy Thorpe stops the referee from counting, Trick rolls Dijak up for his second point, then he reverses a Tyler Driver on Bate, and gets his 3rd point, then he hits the big knee on Bron and gets his 4th point in the dying seconds, and Trick Williams wins!


Trick Williams challenges the winner of Ilja Dragunov and Baron Corbin at New Years Evil. 

Winner: Trick Williams in 25:00.

Rey Mysterio presents the North American Championship to Dragon Lee.

Josh Briggs is upset backstage as Brooks Jensen wishes him some congratulations despite losing. Meta Four end up talking smack to them, and Fallon SMACKS Oro Mensah and they all started brawling!

They play a big entrance video for Kiana James…

Steel Cage Match

Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James


These two have been at eachothers throats for months now and honestly it’s just a cut and paste job on all of Roxanne’s feuds. Roxanne gets into a tiff with somebody, then she’s constantly fighting them and attacking them backstage or in public like some unhinged mental person, it’s really made Roxanne come across like a psycho. Kiana is just a stuck up cow, but she’s great with the character and I dig her style. This is a feud ending match I would assume, with it being a Cage Match.

The Match:

Kiana goes after Roxanne with her handbag and who would have thought 6 months ago Kiana would be in a Cage Match? Talk about upping the ante on this PLE. If Kiana loses, I riot. She NEEDS this.

Roxanne has won her last 3 or 4 feuds. Solid heat from Kiana but damn, sometimes a Women’s Cage Match can be hard because they’re so small.

Roxanne’s plight makes me have a hard time getting into the suspense being built off her being a babyface. I think a Cage Match warrants blood, otherwise the effect is off. Roxanne climbs to the top of the cage even though escaping the Cage doesn’t get you a win. This is a bit of a dud of a Cage Match to be honest.

Kiana brings in a chair after almost being out, I swear if Roxanne wins… Izzy Dame gets involved to help Kiana who nobody really knows. But at least Kiana wins!


Kiana wins the Cage Match which was necessary but the finish was flat because nobody really know who Izzi was. 

Winner: Kiana James in 11:27. 

WWE NXT Title Match

Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Baron Corbin


Baron had been alluding to wanting a title shot for some time, and eventually attacked Ilja Dragunov Backstage after one of his more recent title defences.

Since then Baron had been trying to get in Ilja’s head over the differences in their lifestyle and how Ilja left his family back in Europe to chase his dream. Ilja made it seem like Baron was driving him insane, but it was revealed on the latest edition of NXT that Ilja was just playing possum and now HE is inside Barons head. Its great stuff!

The Match:

Here we go, here’s Barons big test to face off against this one of a kind performer. They chain to start off the match. Half the crowd are behind Baron which is crazy to imagine. Baron takes charge early by front suplexing Ilja onto the announce table, and Ilja’s ribs will be the issue for him going forward. Baron just kept on Ilja like fat on an American.

Baron is in charge and hugs Ilja and hits a Uranage. Baron was dominating bro. Dragunov got in charge and hit a senton off the top rope and he hurt the ribs more. Deep Six from Corbin, anybody thinking that was it was crazy.

HUGE powerbomb from Ilja. Ilja went Coast to Coast! Ilja reverses the End of Days into a DDT and he hits 3 H-Bombs. Ilja hugs Baron and hits the Torpedo Moscow, Ilja wins decisively. Trick Williams comes out to taunt Ilja!

This feud is over and Trick is the next challenger for Ilja at New Years Evil and I bet you anything it builds towards Melo and Trick breaking up as we head to Stand and Deliver 2024. 

Winner: STILL NXT CHAMPION, Ilja Dragunov in 20:53.

Final Thoughts: This was the best NXT PLE since they started doing them. Can’t wait for TNA!

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Karlifornia is a Freelance Journalist for RealProWrestling.Com and TheRockpit.Net and Host on the Insiders Edge Podcast through his YouTube channel, the WZWA Network. He has been a die hard Pro Wrestling fan since 1998, and his favorite time period in wrestling is the Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars.

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