WWE NXT Great American Bash 2023 Results: Winners, Live Grades, Reaction, Highlights
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Ilja Dragunov staked his claim to the NXT Championship, but will he be able to take it from Carmelo Hayes at Great American Bash?Credit: WWE.com.
WWE NXT is starting the "biggest party of the summer" early with Great American Bash 2023, emanating from H-E-B Center at Cedar Park in Cedar Park, Texas.
Carmelo Hayes faced the toughest challenge of his NXT Championship reign to date, Ilja Dragunov. Could he conquer The Czar, or would Dragunov make his promise a reality?
Chase University declared Thea Hail the uncrowned champion after making Tiffany Stratton tap out. Would she prove her university right, or was The Center of the Universe still too big for her to conquer?
With Judgment Day's help, Dominik Mysterio stole the NXT North American Championship from Wes Lee ahead of his match with Mustafa Ali at Great American Bash. All three fought to crown the true and fair champion.
Tony D'Angelo went to jail because of Gallus. After some clever acting from Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo, The Underboss earned The Don his freedom and an NXT Tag Team Championships match. Would they capture long-awaited gold?
Roxanne Perez looked to prove her mettle and get revenge against the dangerous Blair Davenport in a Weapons Wild match. Gable Steveson debuted against Baron Corbin.
Great American Bash was stacked with talent and potential, ready to deliver a show that would do the NXT brand proud.
Kickoff: Meta-Four vs. Dragon Lee, Nathan Frazer, Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon
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Meta-Four used cheap tactics to stay in the action, but Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon refused to lose their premium live event debut. They took out Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson, leaving Dragon Lee to win with a running tilt-a-whirl reverse DDT on Oro Mensah.
This was a fun opener for the show as everyone brought everyone they could to this contest. Nathan Frazer and Noam Dar did not interact as much as expected, but that just saves room for their approaching Heritage Cup clash.
It was clear that Leon and Feroz, who continue to improve, wanted to make the most of this. Hopefully, NXT will give them a shot at Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville soon.
Dragon needs a bigger spotlight soon. He may have won, but he was still somewhat overshadowed by his peers. In particular, we need more singles matches from the luchador.
Dragon, Frazer, Leon and Feroz def. Meta-Four by pinfall.
- Leon launched Feroz into the air onto Meta-Four outside before Frazer helped her dive into the crowd as well.
- In interviews with McKenzie Mitchell, Rhea Ripley promised that Judgment Day had a plan, and Baron Corbin refused to give Gable Steveson credit.
- The show would open with a Cody Rhodes-narrated video about Great American Bash, highlighting the show as Dusty Rhodes' legacy.
- During the main show, Dragon stepped away from his friends and ran into Dominik Mysterio, teasing that the two would soon fight for NXT gold.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus (c) vs. The Family
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Gallus could not find a way to keep control of this match, even with multiple tricks up their sleeve. Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo dived onto Mark Coffey and Wolfgang then pulled in Wolfgang to set up Bada Boom, Bada Bing for the win.
The match was good fun. No one did anything unbelievable, but over nine minutes, these men kept the speed of the action high. Joe Coffey got involved in timely ways that never distracted from the central action.
Gallus had a good run with the tag team titles, but it was time to move on. The Family has come together as a tag team and got the crowd behind them. After two months without The Don in a wrestling ring, there needed to be a payoff to finally give him gold.
NXT set up four men as the future of the company several years ago. Bron Breakker and Carmelo Hayes got NXT Championship reigns. Grayson Waller got a fast call-up to the main roster. It is finally The Don's time to shine as well.
D'Angelo and Stacks def. Wolfgang and Mark by pinfall to become the new NXT tag team champions.
- Both teams got unique entrance videos. The Family showed rats running away before they came out, and Joe talked up his boys like a coach.
- The Don came out in prison orange while Gallus wore striped green gear.
- Wolfgang accidentally caught Mark with a running senton then The Family grabbed their rivals from a combination superplex/diving headbutt for a nearfall.
- Joe distracted the referee by pulling out a weapon, setting up Gallus to hit The Gallus Gate. The Don just barely broke up the pinfall.
- Joe tried to take a cheap shot but ran into a crowbar from D'Angelo.
Weapons Wild: Roxanne Perez vs. Blair Davenport
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Roxanne Perez would not be denied in her hometown with her family watching. She battered Blair Davenport with weapons and faced the same in return. However, the "killer instinct" kicked in for The Prodigy, who sealed the win with Pop Rox on steel chairs.
Round two was significantly better than round one for these two rivals. The pace was stronger. The action was more memorable. The right woman won in the right moment for the Texas crowd.
This was what The Prodigy needed to finally get back on track. She got to show that she can compete at a high level with a degree of toughness she had not showcased before.
It would not be surprising if this led to Perez fighting Tiffany Stratton at No Mercy. It could even lead to The Prodigy getting the title reign she should have gotten the first time.
Perez def. Davenport by pinfall.
- NXT showed a video of Davenport and Perez brawled yesterday at Dream Con.
- Perez hugged her family before the match, only to be attacked by Davenport in a hoodie from the crowd.
- Davenport choked out The Prodigy with a belt in front of her family until her sister was crying. This set off Perez, who battered her with a cowbell.
- Perez went for a Pop Rox onto a pile of steel chairs, but her rival reversed it into a spinning neckbreaker on a garbage can for a nearfall.
- The Prodigy hit a running knee into the steel steps on Davenport then splashed her through a table at ringside.
Gable Steveson vs. Baron Corbin
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Gable Steveson and Baron Corbin were more focused on hurting each other than winning the match. That played out as they were counted out outside by the referee. The two kept brawling after the bell until The Olympic Gold Medalist stood tall.
This was a forgettable brawl that amounted to a non-finish. While Steveson did not look bad, he also did not impress. He looked like an NXT Superstar that had a long way to go to put it all together.
It did not help that Steveson was thrown in front of a hostile crowd that was clearly not impressed with him after all the hype. This probably should have happened on an episode of NXT instead with a controlled Performance Center crowd.
The post-match was better than the match, and it would have been better to have that pace from the opening bell. Maybe the rematch will work better.
Steveson vs. Corbin goes to a double count-out.
- Corbin had a new (surprisingly good) theme as well an odd titantron of a burning ship.
- The crowd often cheered more for Corbin than Steveson and chanted "You're not Angle!". The crowd was completely against the non-finish ending.
- The best spot of the match was after the bell when Steveson suplexed Corbin through the ringside barricade.
NXT North American Championship: Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Wes Lee vs. Mustafa Ali
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Wes Lee fought with all his heart against Dominik Mysterio, even with the interference of Rhea Ripley. However, after Mustafa Ali hit Lee with the 450 splash, Mami pulled Ali outside and set up Dirty Dom to steal it with a frog splash.
Before losing his title, Lee was stealing the show at every premium live event, and he did it again. This was a fantastic triple threat that was several steps above the field that preceded it. It was Dirty Dom's best performance to date in the ring.
It helps when you are working with two men who are motivated and competing at their absolute best as well. Lee has carried the North American Championship scene for a long time, and his 2023 may be one of the best of any WWE Superstar.
Keeping the title on Mysterio will keep everyone talking about NXT. While Ali lost out on a big opportunity with Dirty Dom taking the gold, he could be an even bigger star coming out of this, especially since he can work all three brands.
Mysterio def. Lee and Ali by pinfall to retain the NXT North American Championship.
- Jacy Jayne attacked Lyra Valkyria backstage, leading to a brawl that Ripley enjoyed as she and Dirty Dom headed to the ring.
- Mysterio got the loudest reaction of the night with poor boos on his way to the ring.
- The match started with Lee and Ali agreeing to beat up Dirty Dom, and even Ripley could not save him. However, the team-up did not last long.
- Mysterio went for the Three Amigos on Lee, but when Ali got involved, Dirty Dom tried to double suplex both. Instead, Ali and Lee hit him a version of Three Amigos together.
- Ali caught Mysterio and Lee in a combination Camel Clutch and Boston crab. When Dirty Dom broke out, Ali superkicked both and went for a 450 splash on the apron but missed. This took the veteran out of the action for a while.
- Lee jumped over Ripley to take out Dirty Dom, but Mami made him pay for it with Riptide through the announce table. Somehow, Lee kicked out. He also kicked out after taking the Women's World Championship to the face.
NXT Women's Championship - Submission: Tiffany Stratton (c) vs. Thea Hail
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Tiffany Stratton brought a wide array of submission holds to this match, and it paid off. After escaping multiple Kimura Locks, she hit the Prettiest Moonsault Ever then locked in a Boston crab that Thea Hail could not break.
Andre Chase threw in the towel when Hail would not quit. Duke Hudson looked frustrated with Chase's lack of trust in his student.
This was not the prettiest technical match, but it kept the crowd constantly invested throughout. Both women fought hard and have a good deal of chemistry together.
Stratton worked hard throughout, but she leaves this match clearly demonstrating submissions are not her specialty. The Boston crab should not have been the finish as she could not lock it in.
That was the only blemish on a match that was better than the sum of its parts. These are two talented Superstars with the crowd behind them. They will only get better.
The decision was obvious as Hail is not ready. However, she had looked more ready in the past month than ever before. Her time will come.
Stratton def. Hail to retain the NXT Women's Championship after Chase threw in the towel on behalf of his student.
- The Buff Barbie came out in full cowgirl Barbie-inspired gear for this match.
- Stratton went for an early surfboard lock that Hail reversed into an armbar, teasing a Kimura Lock, but the champion escaped.
- Hudson kept a hold of his MVP trophy, but he was clearly invested in the action, trying to keep Hail hyped up.
- Stratton caught Hail on a diving crossbody and powered up to her feet. The challenger tried to lock in a Kimura, but the champion suplexed her into the bottom turnbuckle.
- The challenger finally locked in the Kimura after a superplex. Stratton pulled herself outside. Hail followed to lock in the Kimura but was sent into the barricade and steel steps.
NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
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This physical war was everything it promised to be. Ilja Dragunov turned the chest of Carmelo Hayes red early and did not stop chopping. When it looked like neither could go further, Trick Williams found his friend to hype him up.
The Czar dived into the champion at ringside but ran into Trick and the NXT Championship instead. This set up The A Champion to hit Nothin' But Net in the ring to win.
While Melo has always been good, he has not quite reached that "great" level until this match. His previous matches had missed that top gear, but the final three minutes reached it.
This was incredible from both men. Add another match from NXT onto the WWE match-of-the-year list.
Either man could have won this and deserved it, but clearly NXT sees a little bit more right now in The A Champion. With a somewhat dubious finish, there could be a rematch, and it could be even better.
Hopefully, we will get see more of Melo challenging himself in physical matches, raising his game to that top level. If he does, he will quickly become a champion on the main roster too.
Melo def. Dragunov by pinfall to retain the NXT Championship.
- The Czar came out with red contacts, which prompted a later comment from Vic Joseph about Dragunov "seeing red".
- A Dusty Rhodes quote was played to hype up Melo before he appeared: "Get a dream; hold onto it; and shoot for the sky.".
- Melo superkicked Dragunov into the ropes, who rebounded with the Constantine Special. He followed up with forearm smashes and a hammerlock submission that nearly forced a tap out.
- The A Champion went for Nothin' But Net, but Dragunov caught him for a powerbomb followed by a running low forearm smash for a shocking near-fall.
- Melo caught Dragunov with a top-rope cutter for a big near-fall.
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Great American Bash was another solid premium live event from the NXT brand. It was certainly elevated by its unforgettable main event between Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov.
However, it was also a card that delivered more than what was promised coming in. The talent worked hard. Multiple matches were career highlights for the competitors.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Wes Lee vs. Mustafa Ali was a very strong number two for the night. Roxanne Perez vs. Blair Davenport gave fans fresh hardcore action during a night of workhorse action.
Tiffany Stratton vs. Thea Hail was a showcase of the future of the women's division. The Family winning the NXT Tag Team Championships off Gallus set the stage for a new-look tag team division.
The one thing missing was lasting moments beyond the action. With most titles retained and a lack of drama with most of those defenses, NXT still needs to do a better job creating suspense with future title challengers.
Take the Gable Steveson debut off this card as it probably should have been, and this was one of NXT's most solid top-down events in recent years.
Overall Grade: B