Updated: Jun 2
Reverse Hipster's Reviews
Wes Lee Vs. Gacy Vs. Bate North American Title Match 8.1/10 B
In triple threat, you aren't usually gonna get a great story. It's about pure action, and these guys delivered. For the most part, each of them got their moments. Gacy, the biggest man in the match, did a suicide dive and caught both of his competitors in the ring of Saturn submission in succession. Tyler Bate had one of the craziest spots I've ever seen when he Airplaned Gacy over his shoulders while Giant-Swinging Wes Lee at the same time. It was unreal. Then Wes Lee arguably topped that move when he jumped over Gacy, who was sitting on the top rope and landed on Tyler, who was standing outside of the ring. Then Wes Lee out-backflipped Gacy, struck first with the cardiac kick, and retained his title. Once again, the North American title has a good showing on NXT PPV. It's basically a lock that this title will deliver a good match. It's more prestigious than the NXT title and has been for a while.
Noam Darr Vs. Dragon Lee Heritage Cup 8/10 B-
This was a very interesting match. Having rounds like a boxing match or an MMA match changed how I watched the fight. I like the way the rounds paced the match and made each three-minute burst matter. Noam Darr was the piper of this match. It was clear Dragon Lee was on defense playing Noam's game. Noam got the pin early, surprising Lee. From then on, Noam could pick his spots because Dragon Lee had to come to him. Dragon Lee hit most of the high spots in the match. He hopped over the top rope and threw Noam Darr off the ring apron with just his legs. He tried that again later in the match, and Noam power bombed him to the floor. I just gotta say that's absolutely insane. I don't even know why Dragon Lee would agree to take a spot like that; it's loco.
Ultimately, Darr stayed one step ahead when he enlisted the help of Jackson and Lash Legend to attack Lee and help him win the match. I love this because Noam needed this win to establish himself, and Lash and Jackson returning to NXT is a big deal.
Ilija Dragonuv Vs. Dijak Last man standing 8.7/10 B
This match was about two men trying to break each other's will, bodies, or both. They basically just threw each other into, against, and on top of the hardest objects they could find. It was a demolition derby. Dragonuv ran through a table to tackle Dijak, and he hit a coast-to-coast with steel steps. Dijak choke slammed Dragonuv on the hardest part of the ring and tortured Dragonuv in the corner, unprotected Kendo shot after unprotected Kendo shot, and then multiple chair shots. But Dragonuv never wavered. He dug deep down, and with his last bit of energy, he knocked out Dijak and got up before the ten count. This was the right result and a wonderful match.
Creed Brothers Vs. Gallus NXT Tag Championship 7.8/10 C+
This match was on the better end of decent. There were some exciting moments, like when Julius took everyone to suplex city or when Brutus did the cannonball, but this didn't make it to the PPV level. This could have easily been a good tv match, but it was average on a PPV stage.
Tiffany Stratton Vs. Lyra NXT Women's Championship 9/10 A-
This match did a great job playing with the fact that we, as an audience, didn't know who would win. The unpredictability of these two challengers led to some very convincing near falls and finishing sequences. My heart was racing the entire match.
Both women are excellent wrestlers, but they also told a good story as well. Lyra dominated Tiffany until she hurt her knee. Tiffany savagely attacked Lyra's knee, and Lyra still kept going and gave Tiffany a run for her money, almost winning the title multiple times. But that knee injury ultimately bridged the gap between Lyra and Tiffany. When Lyra had Tiffany dead to rights, she missed her kick when her knee buckled, giving Tiffany another chance. Then when Lyra finally did hit her move, she collapsed, allowing Tiffany to get closer to the ropes so she could get a rope break during the pin. In the end, Tiffany kept coming, and Lyra didn't have the stamina to match her on one leg. So Tiffany put her down with a Kenton and moonsault. Tiffany Stratton has finally become NXT Women's Champion. This was the right choice for NXT. Tuesday nights are about to get a lot better with Tiff on top.
Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo NXT Championship 8.3/10 B
Melo was being beaten up early by Bron despite attacking Bron right out of the gate. Eventually, Melo was able to turn the tide against Bron, but Bron was still a juggernaut, and it wasn't easy to put him away. But Carmelo kept grinding, and in front of his hometown crowd, Melo didn't miss. He hit Bron in the back of the head with the Nothing But Net move and then pinned Bron again. The Melo era can now begin.
Wes Lee vs. Joe Gacy vs. Tyler Bate (North American Championship)
The commentators drove home that a Wes Lee win would mean he had the most successful defenses of any North American Champion, and it made the stakes bigger. I didn’t really see Joe Gacy or Tyler Bate as a threat to Lee’s reign. It wasn’t as good as past North American Championship matches, but it was fast-paced and well-designed. Lee came out victorious, which was the correct booking until they build up a challenger or Lee is ready to move to the main roster.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee (Heritage Cup)
The Heritage Cup format was fun and unique to anything on the card. Dragon Lee works in a unique style that makes me think of the old NXT, which could be great for the whole roster. Noam Dar bounced off him well, and Dar brought his own heel antics to the match, ultimately cheating to win and retain the Heritage Cup. I’d be happy to see more of this on NXT.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak (Last Man Standing)
This isn’t necessarily my style of match, and I don’t think the format necessarily benefited these superstars, who are both good wrestlers. However, it benefitted both of their characters immensely. In Dijak’s new character, he has proven he is brutal and merciless. In Ilja Dragunov’s character, he has proven that his gutsiness extends to superhuman levels of pain. Dijak hit Dragunov with a kendo stick repeatedly, and Dragunov, who may be guilty of overacting, made it known that no opponent could match his will. Dragunov should be the next challenger for the NXT championship and on the shortlist to go to the main roster next.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Gallus vs. the Creed Brothers (NXT Tag Team Championships)
This match was a little rushed and not up to what I’ve come to expect from the Creed Brothers. If the goal was to get Gallus a credible win, then the goal was achieved. If the goal was anything else, this was a lowlight.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria (NXT Women’s Championship)
This is a match of two stars that you could argue are not quite ready to lead the women’s division in NXT. I think they worked their hardest to disprove that opinion. This was a long match, and I was happy NXT gave time to the Women’s Championship. In my view, I’m still not quite bought into Lyra Valkyria as a credible threat, so I would have preferred that Tuesday’s match between Stratton and Roxanne Perez be on this card. Regardless, I think they went with the right choice in Tiffany Stratton. I have been rooting for Stratton since she turned a throwaway feud with Wendy Choo into a feud of the year candidate. There are a lot of viable challengers that can make this a memorable reign among all of the great women in NXT history. It will be awesome to see her develop in that champion role.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker (NXT Championship)
For some reason, the long-awaited feud between the two biggest stars in NXT’s singles division has not worked out. I didn’t feel great chemistry in this match. Carmelo Hayes, who is usually a great striker, was missing some of his kicks and punches to Bron Breakker. Breakker is still growing in his heel character, and it didn’t quite land here. The result was just an okay match. At this point, it’s natural to want to pull the alarm and say NXT made a mistake in crowning Hayes as champion. However, I don’t think that is fair to the guy who was having match-of-the-night contenders for the last year. I’m hoping once he moves on to his next feud, everyone will see why Hayes is the A champion of NXT, regardless of which championship he is holding. Breakker should move on to the main roster- even if it's oversaturated, I believe in Breakker’s ability to get over there too.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Rob's Final Thoughts
NXT Battleground was the Memorial Day weekend show that I was least excited about, despite admittedly building the best stories for their card. I don’t think NXT has returned to Black and Gold levels of match quality, but you have to admit if you’re watching every week, that they’re headed in that direction. NXT is building some of the best stories in wrestling with some of the best-developed characters in wrestling. Match quality is starting to follow, and if it gets there, they are a threat to Impact, AEW, and WWE itself. For now, though, it’s just starting to get there.
Overall Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Reverse Hipster's NXT Battleground Final Grade 8.3/10 B
NXT Battleground delivered a very solid PPV. Everything pretty much went as you would expect. The Women's match was the night's match as expected, and everything else delivered on expectations.