WWE NXT VENGEANCE DAY
FEBRUARY 4, 2024
F&M BANK ARENA
CLARKSVILLE, TN

Watch: Peacock

MEET YOUR REVIEWER:

Suit Williams: Voices of Wrestling’s WWE correspondent clocks in to take a look at NXT’s first big outing of the year. Follow him on social media @SuitWilliams, find his long-form reviews here at VOW, and his AEW Collision reviews at F4WOnline.com.

DUSTY RHODES TAG TEAM CLASSIC FINALS
BRON BREAKKER & BARON CORBIN DEF. CARMELO HAYES & TRICK WILLIAMS

The long-running story at the moment was the issue between Trick Williams, Carmelo Hayes, and Ilja Dragunov. Williams had been attacked months ago, taking him out of a #1 contender’s match. The finger was quickly pointed at Hayes, who won that contender’s match. The issues between the two simmered for a while after Williams won the Iron Survivor Match before getting to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Williams was set to wrestle Dragunov for the NXT Title at New Year’s Evil in January, but a (worked) injury to Dragunov caused by Ridge Holland forced the match to be postponed. In the meantime, Hayes entered himself and Williams in the Dusty Classic. In a bit straight out of Saved By The Bell, the Dragunov match was rescheduled for Vengeance Day, the same night as the Dusty Classic Finals. Trick decided to pull double duty and wrestle both the Dusty Classic Finals and the NXT Title match.

The first match of the night was the Dusty Classic Finals, as Trick and Hayes wrestled the odd couple team of Bron Breakker and Baron Corbin. Corbin, who wrestled in the first Dusty Classic NINE YEARS AGO, was here to do what he couldn’t do then and win the tournament. He would get it done, as Breakker pinned Hayes after a spear. This match was a trainwreck. Melo may not miss, but he did blow about half of his spots to start this thing. Breakker almost decapitated himself running the ropes, while Corbin couldn’t figure out how to take a neckbreaker. A bad night at the office, but at least Corbin finished his story™. **1/4

NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
DIJAK DEF. JOE GACY

Former cult leader Joe Gacy is now a wacky, crazy guy. He does things that are so random, guys. He hangs out in the trunk of cars! He pops out of bushes! He sat at the announce desk during the show, complete with slicked-over hair! He’s so random! Gacy got into a feud with Dijak for…some reason, and the key to the feud is that Dijak can’t keep Gacy down. He put Gacy through a paper mache wall that was supposed to be staging. He put Gacy through the announce table. And finally, he kicked Gacy off of a truck. Gacy kept getting up, so they both asked for a No DQ match on this show.

What we got was every playpen WWE hardcore match that I got sick of seeing years ago. Just a bunch of shit happening that the crowd didn’t care about. The crazy guy who likes pain was good when Mick Foley did it because Mick Foley is a top 1% wrestler of all time. When former CZW mainstay Joe Gacy does it, it makes me hit the ten-second skip button. A truly insufferable match that Dijak won with the Feast Your Eyes. The feud must continue though, as Gacy interfered in Dijak’s match on NXT TV on Tuesday to get revenge. *

MIXED TAG MATCH
THE FAMILY (ADRIANA RIZZO, CHANNING “STACKS” LORENZO & TONY D’ANGELO) DEFEAT OUT THE MUD (BRONCO NIMA, JAIDA PARKER & LUCIEN PRICE) (W/ SCRYPTS)

The four men in this match had a decent enough tag match on NXT TV a few weeks ago for the tag titles, where Stacks and D’Angelo retained. Why they chose the PPV PLE to add the two women to the mix, I’ll never know. Rizzo and Parker, who both barely have enough matches to qualify for a Cagematch profile, made that fact abundantly clear when they tagged in. Why the largest wrestling promotion in the world chooses to put barely trained women on their premier shows boggles my mind. They’ve done it dating back to the Diva Search, and after Stephanie McMahon showed the world that women could actually wrestle, they’ve gone right back to the old method. From Maxxine Dupri embarrassing herself at the Royal Rumble to these two sloppily running through the few spots they had, the future of women’s wrestling in this promotion looks grim if this is how NXT trains its talents for the future.

D’Angelo got the win over Nima with a swinging neckbreaker. *1/2

NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
LYRA VALKYRIA (C) DEF. LOLA VICE, ROXANNE PEREZ

This match was originally Valkyria vs. Perez, but Vice cashed in her title shot from winning the NXT Breakout Tournament mid-match.

Where to start? Valkyria and Perez did some perfunctory, low-level grappling for a few minutes to silence. This was middling NXT action at its most middling, and then the overbooking started. Perez blew her Code Red before Vice came out to cash in her contract. She unnecessarily brought out another referee before knocking out Tatum Paxley, who tried to stop the cash-in on behalf of Valkyria. (Paxley is doing a Mickie James/Single White Female deal with Valkyria.) Vice cashed in to make this match a three-way. In fairness, the match had a little more juice at this point as the action picked up. Perez hit the Code Red on Valkyria, but Paxley came back in to save the title for Valkyria. Valkyria then hit a Cradle Shock on Vice to retain.

A snoozer of a singles match that turned into an overbooked mess. This show fucking suuuuuuuuuucks. *1/2




NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
OBA FEMI (C) DEF. DRAGON LEE

I can’t take the big match intros anymore. This ring announcer is gonna blow the speakers out of my TV. Just say the fucking names!

This match was the match of the night so far, although that clearly isn’t saying much. It is David vs. Goliath, the easiest story to tell, with a talented David in Dragon Lee and an imposing Goliath in Femi. Lee bumped all around for Femi before making a bit of a comeback, rolling through the tossing powerbomb for a nearfall. Femi smacked the soul out of Lee with a chop before powerbombing him through Wade Barrett’s announce chair. Femi then hit his tossing powerbomb in the ring before finishing the job with a pop-up powerbomb to retain the title. Simple. Easy. ***

NXT CHAMPIONSHIP
ILJA DRAGUNOV (C) DEF. TRICK WILLIAMS (W/ CARMELO HAYES)

Coming into this main event, I was ready to mark this show down as the clubhouse leader for Worst Show of the Year for 2024. I was grumpy, annoyed, and dying to get to the end of this show. I was ready to bury NXT into the core of the Earth – which I’m still gonna do – and write off NXT for the rest of the year.

Thank god for Ilja Dragunov.

I’ve never been super high on Dragunov. I loved the matches against WALTER, but I felt a lot of Dragunov’s worst tendencies being amplified by the WWE system. He was a melodramatic ham in his wXw days and giving him to Shawn Michaels was like handing a drug addict an eight-ball. I was the low man on the acclaimed Dragunov/Dijak series from last year, as I found Dragunov’s theatrics to border ridiculous. However, this match was ugly, brutal, and violent. Both men were bloody, with Dragunov breaking his nose and Williams re-busting his lip. After two hours of corny horseshit, this felt like pro wrestling.

It still had its NXT moments. There was a camera basically dedicated to Hayes on the outside, as Williams asked him to be his corner man. Hayes got in Dragunov’s face, leading to Dragunov knocking him into Williams’ bad knee which got tweaked in the opener. Back in the ring, both men traded big moves as the largely dormant crowd finally got excited for something on this show. Williams fired up, hitting Dragunov with his own finish, the H-Bomb for a nearfall. We got a ref bump before Williams hit the Trick Knee for the visual pin. Dragunov came back with two H-Bombs, one off the top rope, but Williams kicked out to a nuclear pop from this crowd. They both squared up for their finishes, but it was Dragunov who scored with the Torpedo Moscow to score the win.

If someone wanted to say that Ilja Dragunov was one of the best wrestlers in the world, after this miraculous performance, I don’t know how hard I would argue with them. Williams was made with this match too, as the crowd who already felt like he was a big deal were living and dying with him by the end of this. A soul-restoring match after an absolutely draining two hours. ****1/4

The post-match set up the WrestleMania weekend main event, as Hayes finally turned on Williams to big boos from the crowd. He hammered his leg with the chair repeatedly as Fuck You, Melo chants rained down. This was as big of a home run as this angle could have been. On NXT TV, Hayes explained that Williams was always meant to be his sidekick and took the spotlight away from him. Hayes left Dragunov laying after the main event, setting up a probable three-way match for the title at Stand and Deliver.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Outside of the genuinely great main event, this was a putrid show that was exemplary of everything wrong with NXT. Overproduced, underdeveloped, nonsensical, and ice-cold. Watch the main event and avoid everything else like the plague.