NXT BATTLEGROUND
JUNE 9, 2024
UFC APEX
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Watch: Peacock

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Suit Williams: You can read Suit’s long-form previews and reviews of wrestling from around the world here at Voices of Wrestling. You can also find his weekly reviews of AEW Collision over at F4WOnline. Check out his brand-new wrestling blog Williams Watches Wrestling, where he’ll engage in watch projects like Williams Watches WrestleMania, where I…you know what, I’ll let you figure out what Williams Watches WrestleMania is all about. Follow Suit on all social media platforms @SuitWilliams.

NXT WOMEN’S NORTH AMERICAN TITLE SIX WAY LADDER MATCH
MICHIN VS. FALLON HENLEY VS. LASH LEGEND VS. SOL RUCA VS. JAIDA PARKER VS. KELANI JORDAN

It’s another bullshit ladder fuckfest, a true endemic in the professional wrestling world when promotions feel the need to spice up the midcard. What’s the last truly memorable ladder match in wrestling, the last one to make you sit up and take notice of how great it was? WWE runs so many of these that they all blend together, and AEW is also slipping into that trend. The most recent ladder match spot I can remember is Sammy Guevara hitting a cutter to Cody off a ladder in Cody’s last AEW match. Think of how many ladder matches there have been in the last two and a half years in US wrestling. They’re like candy, good in the moment with very little value.

This is to crown the first NXT Women’s North American Champion. Because when you think of a division in wrestling that requires a second champion, it is the NXT women’s division. It’s funny. NXT had a second women’s title in the Women’s Tag Team Titles, which they retired last year.

The manner in which these women were put into this match is as NXT as it gets. NXT held a COMBINE, much like there would be for a draft in the NFL or NBA. The women in NXT, as well as the women not getting pushed on Raw and Smackdown, participated in things like SLED PUSHING and LONG JUMPS. NXT General Manager Ava was the judge at this combine, which was hilarious considering that her paper mache knees would shred at the thought of doing any of these drills. These activities were to earn a spot, not in the ladder match, but in qualifying matches on TV. They held a combine to get into…regular matches.

As far as who wins, it truly doesn’t matter. Poor Michin is here solely to keep this thing on track while the other five flail around in an attempt to steal the show. Horse Girl Henley just turned heel, as she is now a MEAN barback. Lash Legend is going to end up paired on-screen with her real-life partner Trick Williams in a matter of time, so they may get the power couple push. That’s as solid of logic as any. Prediction: Lash Legend

NXT UNDERGROUND MATCH
SHAYNA BASZLER VS. LOLA VICE

These two former shoot fighters will come to this building dedicated to actual shoot fights to have a worked shoot fight. This all came about after Vice’s TV feud with Natalya extended to an NXT Underground match, NXT Underground being the final remnants of Shane McMahon’s legacy in professional wrestling.

Vice chose Baszler as her corner woman, while Nattie picked karate black belt Karmen Petrovic – who I will be affectionately referring to from here to eternity as the Fruit Ninja. Vice won with Baszler’s help on the outside, leading to a tag match where the blondes got their win back.

Afterward, Vice turned on Baszler by knocking her out and shaking her ass over Baszler’s dead body, which obviously had to lead to a stip match at the PPV. I would think you would have the hot Latina who loves to shake her ass be the babyface since everyone was cheering for her anyway, but Baszler is the aggrieved party and the main roster name. Vice will win as she’s getting the big push in NXT right now. Prediction: Lola Vice

NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
OBA FEMI (C) VS. JOE COFFEY VS. WES LEE

Wes Lee is back! 😊

So is Gallus! ☹

Lee returned after back surgery forced him out of action late last year. He wanted to challenge Oba Femi for the title, however Gallus returned from…wherever they went and jumped him alongside the other potential contenders to the title in Josh Briggs and Ivar the Viking. A double pin in a contender’s match led to this three-way match being booked.

Why this could just be Lee fighting the giant to get his title back confounds me, much like Gallus’s general existence. Femi retains and continues to reign as the unstoppable monster of the midcard. Prediction: Oba Femi

NXT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
AXIOM & NATHAN FRAZER (C) VS. THE OC (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS)

Anderson and Gallows have been hanging around NXT for months like the guys who graduated high school a couple years ago and still hang around the gym. It looked like they were going to feud with Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker, but Bron got the call-up so they’re now hovering over Axiom and Frazer. Those two have been a nice little team, but expecting anything exceptional out of the Good Brothers is a fool’s errand. Prediction: Axiom & Frazer

NXT WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH
ROXANNE PEREZ (C) VS. JORDYNNE GRACE

TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace challenges Roxanne Perez for the NXT Women’s Title on this show. It’s funny how a champion from a different promotion, one who has never been on WWE television outside of a Royal Rumble cameo – walked onto a WWE show to challenge for a championship at a major event, yet the shouts for video packages and explanations on who this mystery interloper is seem to be non-existent. The story of this match is that Grace wants to be the NXT Women’s Champion, and suddenly, that’s a sufficient enough story for a PPV title match. Funny how that works.

Another funny note is how Grace, having never spent more than ten minutes in the billion-dollar Planet Fitness known as the WWE Performance Center, looks as ready for the main roster than any of the homegrown talents that WWE has spent a decade trying to develop. A striking look, solid enough mic work, and in-ring that would put her in the top end of women in the entire promotion.

Despite that, expect the women’s champion of the fourth-biggest promotion in the US to do the job for the women’s champion of WWE’s C-show. Prediction: Roxanne Perez

NXT TITLE MATCH
TRICK WILLIAMS (C) VS. ETHAN PAGE

Trick Williams won the NXT Title on the Spring Breakin’ episode of NXT in April. The week after, it looked like he was going to feud with Noam Dar and Meta-Four, with the story being that Lash Legend had divided allegiances. However, out of seemingly nowhere, that story changed after Dar was attacked and taken out of action a few weeks later. While I assumed that this was a part of the Gallus return since they had attacked other people later in the night, as it turned out, Gallus weren’t the culprits.

The attacker revealed himself as “All Ego” Ethan Page, making the jump from AEW/ROH to NXT by attacking Williams and admitting to the attack on Dar. The attack on Williams was hilarious, as the easily pleased NXT crowd didn’t seem to know who Page was and felt genuinely confused. So now, Ethan Page has shot up the depth chart to challenge Williams for the title at Battleground. Once again, a guy from another company shows up out of the blue to challenge the NXT Champion, and the criticisms and complaints are few and far between. I guess the complaints only exist for promotions they haven’t made a part of their identity.

This all has done nothing to help Williams, who felt red-hot when he won the title. He still feels like a star in the NXT universe, but not having a strong follow-up to his title win can’t be helping him. In a way, I feel like a win over Dar would’ve helped him more than a win over Page, as Dar is over to the NXT crowd in a way that I can’t be sure Page is. Dar’s a better wrestler too, as Page is nothing more than a solid hand. Good for Page in getting the shot, but this all feels like an attempt at a surprise that is no better than the original plan. Prediction: Trick Williams