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

Watch: Peacock

MEET YOUR REVIEWER:

Suit Williams: Suit has zero interest in watching this show, and just as little interest in reviewing it. 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.

This show took place in the UFC Apex, with it dressed up to look exactly like the WWE Performance Center where NXT usually takes place. This supports a theory I’ve had for some time that those two buildings will be consolidated within the next few years. There’s a column to be written about the complete waste of space the Performance Center has been for the last decade, with the number of actual projectable stars made by it being a handful with fingers left over, but this isn’t the time.

The host of the show was rapper Sexyy Red, who appeared throughout the show to pop ass like she would with Drake with some of the wrestlers.

WWE NXT WOMEN’S NORTH AMERICAN TITLE LADDER MATCH
KELANI JORDAN DEF. MICHIN, FALLON HENLEY, LASH LEGEND, SOL RUCA, & JAIDA PARKER

This was a bunch of women I don’t care about doing a bunch of spots I won’t remember by the end of this show. I spoke about it in the preview for this show, but there are way too many multi-person ladder matches in all of wrestling nowadays for any of them to be memorable. I feel bad for the wrestlers because the effort put into these matches is always admirable, but almost never worth the diminishing returns. There’s no throughline, there’s never any effort to make the winner look any more impressive than anybody else. It’s just stuff happening before someone pulls the belt down.

Kelani Jordan won, which is as good a call as any. She’s a good athlete and a solid prospect for the future. **1/2

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

The Bright Lights were on to an extent for Anderson and Gallows, as they put in an effort here with the champs. However, it is still Anderson and Gallows, so that peak isn’t exactly 6/9/95. This was a tag title match with a bit more juice than you would expect. Frazer hit a Phoenix Splash for the win, as the champs retain in this solid midcard bout. ***1/2

NXT UNDERGROUND MATCH
LOLA VICE (5-1) DEF. SHAYNA BASZLER (15-12)

I have a fleeting interest in MMA. I’ll check it out when a big star like McGregor catches fire, but it’s never been a major sport of interest for me. I have zero interest in worked MMA. This match didn’t even try to be anything resembling a legit fight. These two came out in their gi’s with gloves on, and within 30 seconds, they were rolling to the floor and throwing each other into barricades. They did spots into the not-lumberjacks on the outside and fought on top of the announce table. They threw these crappy worked strikes. I don’t know who this was for, but it especially wasn’t for me.

Shayna started fighting people at ringside for no reason. After a few minutes, Vice shoved Baszler, and she tripped over a person at ringside before falling into the stairs. Vice hit a backfist to knock her out. I could understand this if it was at all like an MMA fight, but I can’t see this connecting with MMA fans at all. This was just a bad match with some MMA dressings and a shitty finish. This is a deep cut, but it reminded me of the MMA Rules match at TNA No Surrender 2008 between AJ Styles and Frank Trigg. At least they kept the ropes up in that one. 1/2*

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

Someone is going to have to tell me what Gallus is around for. Even if the guys in the group are solid, the unit is absolute death.

I’ll tell you who isn’t death, and that’s Oba Femi. They’ve kept it simple with this guy. He’s a big, strong mofo who wins because he’s bigger and stronger than everybody. He’s gotten over by showcasing how much bigger and how much stronger he is than everybody else. Femi’s not doing cruiserweight spots at 70% speed, as impressive as that would be. He’s just throwing dudes around and looking like the most confident guy in the room as he does it. If there is one compliment I can hand to NXT, they’re getting it right with this guy.

This was a typical three-way match with one guy no one cared about. The other Gallus shitters showed up and took out Femi for a Coffey flurry, but Femi quickly came back to win with a powerbomb on Coffey. I saw this match getting buzz on the night, but this was a garden variety WWE triple threat match. ***

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

They made a big deal out of Grace being on a WWE Premium Live Event, but she was in front of about as many people as she would be at a TNA taping.

From the reaction I’ve seen, this may be the most overrated match of the year. These two had a solid TV main event here. Grace was good, Perez was her normal self. The crowd wasn’t particularly into this, as they started doing Joe Hendry’s “We Believe” chant to entertain themselves at a point. It was a solid 3.5 star level match. But because this is an NXT/TNA crossover, the odds of the finish being fucking stupid were incredibly high.

NXT undercarder Tatum Paxley came out of the crowd to steal the Knockouts Title, but Ash By Elegance – FKA Dana Brooke – came to…stop her? Steal it herself? Grace knocked both of them out with the belt before Perez hit Pop Rox to retain. This was nothing special. ***

So what is TNA getting out of this deal, exactly? None of the NXT viewers tuned into Impact since Grace’s debut, they had their Women’s Champion beaten by the third-string women’s champion in WWE, and they’ll get back…Tatum Paxley? Maybe Brooks Jensen, whose been doing some weird worked-shoot angle on Twitter? Some build for a DANA BROOKE match? The benefit to TNA is getting people who barely get booked on NXT for Twitter buzz that will result in zero dollars drawn?

New Japan’s partnership with AEW netted them Jon Moxley winning the IWGP Title in front of one of the biggest US houses New Japan has ever drawn. CMLL’s partnership with AEW got them Bryan Danielson selling out Arena Mexico two weeks in a row earlier this year. Meanwhile, at least from the looks of it, TNA is getting hosed here. Hell, when TMZ wrote a story on Grace getting her earring ripped out during this match, they listed her as a WWE superstar. TNA can’t even get a pithy TMZ bump. Then again, maybe TMZ just knows how this story ends.

WWE NXT TITLE MATCH
TRICK WILLIAMS (C) DEF. ETHAN PAGE

For anyone wondering, Ethan Page is still Ethan Page. He’s still a guy that looks and acts the part, but just doesn’t have that main event level to his work. He’ll fit in fine in WWE, where acts like Austin Theory, LA Knight, and the other Austin Theory – the Australian one – get nice little runs on TV. But if you’ve seen him in AEW, if you watched him in the indies, if you’ve seen him anywhere, you got the gist here.

They kept this one simple, as Trick isn’t at the level of having big-time main events yet. They’re all about 10-15 minutes long and use whatever shortcuts necessary to make it feel like a main event. I don’t say that as an insult, to be clear. They’ve built Williams into a marquee, ratings-moving star for them, and they shouldn’t put him in positions to hurt that star power. But what that results in are main events that are simple and fairly underwhelming.

Page put Williams through a table, but Williams kicked out of the Ego’s Edge. Page kept stomping on Williams in the corner, but after the ref pulled him out and took his attention, Williams hit the Trick Shot knee strike for the win. It was what it needed to be, a first defense for Trick. Trick partied with Sexxy Red to end the show, and end another forgettable NXT event. **1/2