Vengeance Day recap & reactions: Melo vs. Bron is finally upon us

It’s February so you know what that means! Well, it means my birthday is exactly a week from now as of this writing. But besides that, it means NXT is on the road to Stand & Deliver. What’s that road look like? Who tumbled? Who sped ahead?

Claire has you covered with the best play-by-play blog around and I’ve got the color commentary.

Let’s talk Vengeance Day!

Who Got Next?

We talked a lot about Bron Breakker’s weaknesses going into his match with Grayson Waller. By “weaknesses” I really mean just one: his emotions. We didn’t talk about Waller’s obvious deficiency though. Sure, he lacked the strength, speed, and raw ability when compared to Bron, but those are a given. Grayson himself acknowledged those shortcomings. Waller’s achilles heel, however, is his obsession with going viral. He’s the living embodiment of “pictures or it didn’t happen” and ensures he has a big moment during big matches. As Booker T rightly questioned, is Waller more interested in going viral than winning?

Vengeance Day provided the answer: yes.

Waller is a great villain and, like I said before, Bron’s perfect foil. He attacked the champ as soon as he got close to the cage, looking for any possible advantage. Bron responded in kind and put the match back into the ring. Once the bell rang, Bron showcased his power with a hellacious shoulder tackle, a spinebuster, and a bulldog off the middle rope. But Waller recovered because, despite all the chicanery, he’s good at his job. That’s what makes his character so frustrating.

If he just focused on wrestling and winning rather than embarrassing his opponents on that bird app or creating shareable moments, he might get somewhere. Every time Waller had Bron dead to rights, he showboated or preened. He mocked Bron with push-ups and imitated his mannerisms. Once he hit his diving elbow on the champ and only getting a two count, he tied Bron between the ropes. This was less about beating Bron and more about proving a point while clowning the champ into oblivion.

But after absorbing several blows, Bron broke free. Waller absorbed Bron’s flurry then nailed the champ with a Stunner. And when that didn’t get the job done, he thought about going viral. Waller climbed the cage but wasted way too much time thinking about getting there. Bron shot up, caught Waller, and eventually put him in a Superplex. Waller went from the tippy top of the cage to the mat in record time.

But then something interesting happened as Bron put the finishing touches on yet another championship defense. After hitting Waller with a mean lariat, Bron approached his nearly lifeless opponent. By this point, Waller had nothing left and couldn’t stand. Bron raised Waller’s head, talked his own trash and asked if Waller felt like talking now.

Waller showed defiance!

Not the kind of defiance villains normally show when in this position either. Waller showed some actual guts, ready for whatever Bron threw his way and even egged him on to finish it. Bron happily took his orders and walked away with the W. The celebration ended almost immediately as Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes showed up, with Melo pointing directly at the champ.

The next chapter awaits.



Dijak is powerful but he’s also stupid. I’m not sure if lying down for your opponent is the oldest trick in the book, but it comes with its fair share of gray hairs. The intent? Illustrate Wes Lee’s smarts. But it made Dijak look rather dumb like the 1980s action movie villain which he masquerades.

With that out of my system, this match turned into a very pleasant surprise. After Lee’s aforementioned hustle, he tried matching Dijak’s strength. Lee followed every quick strike with a German Suplex attempt. Emphasis on attempt. On his Lee’s first two attempts, Dijak said “nah” and used that opening to dominate. This is the best match in Dijon’s NXT career and the Lee’s best championship match. Dijak looked great handing out stiff punches, stiffer kicks, and truly flexing his power.

If there’s a story here, it’s that Dijak dominated and Lee continued his cardiac kid ways. Seeing the champ go for that German Suplex two more times and finally nail it on the fourth go truly felt like a moment. Not a huge moment, mind you, but still a big one in context and huge for Lee. That gigantic nugget on his shoulder said he wasn’t strong enough or powerful enough. He needed that suplex for him and to earn Dijak’s respect. Well, at least some of it.

The match flipped the script at that point, becoming more evenly matched. And that’s when it truly hit another gear in terms of speed, excellence, and tension. And I loved every second. Both men refused to go down and Dijak became frustrated. Once the drama spilled to the outside (for the last time), Dijak trapped Lee in a chair with a broom. He kicked the defenseless North American champ, positioned the chair, and hit the top rope. Lord only knows what he planned but we never saw it since, for some reason, Tony D’Angelo and Stacks saved Lee! They pushed him out the way, took Dijak’s moonsault, and provided the opening for Lee, who finally put the very big man away.

Great opener that showed how dope both men are when given time to do their thing. Any match that starts with a Notorious B.I.G. reference (shoutout to Vic Joseph) must deliver. This one did that and more.

Oh, and please put some love on Dijak’s finger. IYKYK.


I’m shocked. It happened hours ago by the time you read this and trust, I’m still shocked. Fallon Henley & Kiana James are your new NXT Women’s tag champs. They got the surprise not just because they defeated a seasoned tag team, but the match framed it as a surprise as well. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance dominated this match for the most part. They were the actual better team. One exhaled and the other inhaled.

They hit their tandem moves early and often, with the best being the moment outside the ring where Carter launched Chance at their opponents. the amount of strength that took from Carter combined with Chance’s hops? Beautiful.

Furthering that point, the tag champs prepped their tandem finisher and it looked like night night for Henley. But James appeared out of nowhere and pushed Chance off the top rope. That threw Carter off her game if only for a little bit, and she found herself on the wrong end of a Gedo Clutch…and her feet firmly in James’ hands. By hook or by crook, right?

We got new champs who literally stole the victory. I do believe Carter’s feet were under the ropes though. That, combined with the blatant cheating, gives the former champs an out and maybe an instant rematch on NXT television.

Also? Weird we never got any more on whatever beef cooked up between Fallon & Kiana the last time NXT emanated from Orlando. Wasn’t James hiding something from her partner? I thought that might spill over into this match but nah, never happened. Maybe someone called an audible or maybe it’s for down the line.

Eye Exam

Apollo Crews need his eyes checked. He saw his muscle showing up and neutralizing Trick Williams. But he didn’t see the L coming his way, didn’t see said L in the form of a 2-0 sweep, nor did he see his muscle turning on him! Time to journal, Mr. Crews.

Jokes aside, I didn’t see this sweep coming. They played up Apollo hurting Carmelo Hayes’ ribs early, and Melo nursed those ribs most of the match, which felt like an opening for Crews picking up the first fall. Instead, it just showed that even with hurt ribs, he’s better than Apollo. Hayes not only made his opponent tap to the Crossface for the first fall, but he didn’t even benefit from Trick’s interference!

As the match wound down and Trick got nervous, he removed the turnbuckle padding and got Melo’s attention. Melo noticed, smiled, but ultimately fell victim to said chicanery as Crews reversed an Irish Whip and added tons of power.

The next time Trick threw his weight around, the artist formerly known as Commander Azeez stopped him in his tracks. None of it mattered because Hayes walked away with a sweep that looks better in context. He beat Crews with battered ribs, made him tap, got the final fall with his finisher, and did it all cleanly.

Dabba Kate turned on his former partner post match, setting up Apollo’s next rivalry as this chapter between he and Hayes finished its last sentence.


The 4-Way dance between Gallus, Chase U, Pretty Deadly, and New Day for the NXT tag team championships had it all. Mat wrestling when it started, traditional tags, and the normal wrestling back and forth. Then it evolved into an all-out brawl for most of its runtime. And it was glorious. Controlled chaos, organized confusion, whatever you want to call it, this match had it. I’m not getting into even a mini blow-by-blow because the bodies flew too fast and furiously for me.

BUT, I will point out a few moments that sparked my brain. I loved Pretty Deadly putting the commentary table back together and apologizing to Vic and Booker T. That’s a great character moment for them and drew heat from the crowd.

The other moment came in the match’s final moments. New Day emerged after disappearing for several minutes during the match. Kofi Kingston emerged and looked primed for a New Day comeback victory. But then Pretty Deadly threw that plan out the window when they nailed Kofi with Spilt Milk outside the ring. That left Xavier all by himself with the Gallus boys, who did what they do best and walked away with the NXT tag team championships.

Pinning any member of New Day is a big deal, so props to everyone involved for picking the champs to take the fall rather than using another team as the scapegoat. Secondly, there’s something poetic in separating Kofi & Xavier and giving the young teams big moments in their own right. Great match with the right ending. Gallus provides a different flavor as champs and a nice change of pace after New Day.

The Champ Stay the Champ

If one wants a story for the NXT Women’s championship triple threat match, it’s Toxic Attraction slowly breaking apart, dissolving, and then finding their way back to each other. But it was too little too late.

Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne started on the same page. Anytime Roxanne Perez attacked one of them, the other stopped her momentum. But then Roxanne slid out of a possible double team, and Jacy almost kicked off Gigi’s head. Accidents happen. Then once outside the ring, Jacy went for an attack off the apron.

Once again, Roxanne moved but this time, Jacy couldn’t stop herself. After wiping Gigi out, Jacy went to work on Roxanne herself. A furious Gigi came to and had words for her partner. They shook hands and supposedly got on the same page, but Gigi pulled Jacy right into Roxanne’s way as the champ went for sliding kick.

The gloves flew off at that point, signaling Toxic Attraction’s demise and the start of an actual triple threat match. This was a fun one, especially seeing how far Jacy and Gigi went against each other. They still saved their most vicious moves for Perez, but they didn’t go soft on each other.

One very brutal moment saw them knock out Perez then hit each other with headbutts. The thud echoed around the ring and yeah, no bueno. Both women landed on Perez, who barely kicked out before three.

After that, the former tag champs tried getting back on the same page. Gigi called for a table, Jacy obliged, and it looked bad for the champ. Fortunately for Roxanne, Toxic Attraction just wasn’t smart enough. Perez blocked Jacy’s Superplex attempt with vicious forearms, and set her up for a gigantic Pop Rox. Gigi tried helping, but Roxanne kicked her off the ring apron and onto the table. With Gigi naturalized, Jacy fell victim to that gigantic Pop Rox.

Thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Vengeance Day showed its hand early with a great opening match and really never let its foot off the proverbial gas.

Grade: A+

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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