NXT Battleground (2023)

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NXT Battleground
PromotionWWE
Brand(s)NXT
DateMay 28, 2023
CityLowell, Massachusetts
VenueTsongas Center
Attendance3,482[1]
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The 2023 NXT Battleground was the sixth Battleground professional wrestling livestreaming event produced by WWE. It was held for wrestlers from the promotion's NXT brand division. The event took place on May 28, 2023, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was the first Battleground held since 2017, as well as the first to livestream on Peacock.

Six matches were contested at the event. In the main event, Carmelo Hayes defeated Bron Breakker to retain the NXT Championship. In other prominent matches, Tiffany Stratton defeated Lyra Valkyria in a tournament final to win the vacant NXT Women's Championship, Noam Dar defeated Dragon Lee to retain the NXT Heritage Cup, Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) defeated The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed) to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship, and in the opening bout, Wes Lee defeated Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy in a triple threat match to retain the NXT North American Championship.

Battleground was held on the same day as Double or Nothing, a pay-per-view event produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and specifically AEW's flagship event. This marked the first time since April 1989 that two major promotions produced major events head-to-head, after WWE's WrestleMania V and World Championship Wrestling's Clash of the Champions VI. The event received highly positive reviews from critics, with the Last Man Standing match being singled out for praise for its brutality, story, and the performances of Dragunov and Dijak, and has been labeled a match of the year contender for WWE. The North American Championship triple threat and the NXT Women's Championship match also received praise.

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

The event was held at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Battleground was previously an annual July pay-per-view (PPV) event established by WWE in 2013, although the original 2013 event was held in October.[2] Battleground continued until its final event in July 2017, which was held exclusively for wrestlers from the promotion's SmackDown brand division, following the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016 where WWE split the main roster between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform.[3] A Raw-exclusive Battleground was expected to be held in 2018, but it was taken off of WWE's PPV lineup as following WrestleMania 34 that year, WWE discontinued brand-exclusive PPVs, resulting in the promotion reducing the yearly amount of PPVs produced.[4]

On March 30, 2023, after five years, WWE revived Battleground for its developmental brand, NXT, and it was scheduled to take place on May 28, 2023, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.[5] The event was livestreamed on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network in most international markets, in turn marking the first Battleground to air on Peacock due to the American version of the WWE Network merging under Peacock in March 2021[6]—unlike previous Battlegrounds, the 2023 event did not air on PPV as beginning with the 2022 calendar year, NXT's major events are only available via WWE's livestreaming platforms. Tickets went on sale on April 1.[5]

The event went head-to-head with Double or Nothing, a PPV event produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW), which is AEW's flagship event. This marked the first time since 1989 that two major promotions produced major events head-to-head, after WWE's WrestleMania V (airing on PPV) and World Championship Wrestling's Clash of the Champions VI (airing on TBS). According to WWE executive Shawn Michaels, the scheduling was not intended for WWE to go head-to-head with AEW, but that it was just due to the holiday (Memorial Day weekend) as he said WWE events had always done well on holidays.[7]

Storylines[edit]

The card included matches that resulted from scripted storylines. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the NXT brand, while storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television program, NXT, and the supplementary online streaming show, Level Up.[8][9]

At Stand & Deliver, Carmelo Hayes defeated Bron Breakker to win the NXT Championship, ending Breakker's reign at 362 days.[10] On the following episode of NXT, Breakker embraced Hayes and Trick Williams, but turned on them.[11] At Spring Breakin' after Hayes' successful title defense, Hayes challenged Breakker to a title match at Battleground, only for Breakker to lay out Hayes and Williams.[12] The following week, Breakker accepted the challenge.[13]

During the 2023 WWE Draft, NXT Women's Champion Indi Hartwell was drafted to the main roster on Raw. She had also recently injured her leg.[14] On the May 2 episode of NXT, Hartwell announced that she would be vacating the title and that a tournament to crown a new champion would begin the following week with the final at Battleground.[13] The tournament participants were revealed on May 8.[15]

In April 2023, after months of inactivity following the closure of NXT UK, reigning NXT Heritage Cup Champion Noam Dar made his debut for NXT. On the May 16 episode of NXT, Dar hosted his first United States installment of "Supernova Sessions" and had Dragon Lee as his guest. Dar bragged about his Heritage Cup and lorded it over Lee, much to Lee's annoyance. Lee urged Dar to defend his championship but Dar resisted until Nathan Frazer interrupted and addressed Dar's constant dodging of title defenses. Provoked by this, Dar accepted Lee's challenge for the Heritage Cup at Battleground, marking the first defense of the Heritage Cup on the NXT brand and subsequently its first defense in the United States.[16]

On the May 2 episode of NXT, Wes Lee successfully retained the NXT North American Championship after interference from Tyler Bate.[13] The following week, Bate (accompanied by Lee) won his match after interference from Joe Gacy.[17] On the May 16 episode Bate and Lee were attacked backstage by Gacy and the other members of The Schism. Lee went to the ring to call out Gacy for the attack to which Gacy responded that Lee shouldn't trust Bate. Despite suffering an arm injury during the attack Bate came out to address Gacy's claims but in the process also admitted he was eyeing Lee's championship. Lee then said he would be willing to defend the title against both men at Battleground.[16]

Since April, Dijak and Ilja Dragunov had been feuding with each other.[18] At Spring Breakin', Dijak viciously attacked Dragunov backstage.[12] On May 17, after more weeks of feuding,[17][16] a Last Man Standing match between the two was scheduled for Battleground.[19]

At Stand & Deliver, Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (with Joe Coffey) retained the NXT Tag Team Championship in a triple threat tag team match involving The Creed Brothers (Julius Creed and Brutus Creed).[10] The Creed Brothers got a championship rematch on the April 18 episode of NXT where Gallus retained.[20] On the May 16 episode, after The Creed Brothers won their match, they called out Gallus to another title match at Battleground,[16] which was confirmed the following week.[21]

Event[edit]

Other on-screen personnel
Role: Name:
Commentators Vic Joseph
Booker T
Spanish commentators Marcelo Rodríguez
Jerry Soto
Ring announcer Alicia Taylor
Referees Adrian Butler
Chip Danning
Dallas Irvin
Derek Sanders
Joey Gonzalez
Interviewer McKenzie Mitchell
Pre-show panel Megan Morant
Matt Camp
Sam Roberts

Preliminary matches[edit]

The event began with Wes Lee defending the NXT North American Championship against Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy (accompanied by Ava) in a triple threat match. In the opening stages, Bate delivered a suplex and a standing shooting star press to Lee, but Gacy broke up the pin. Lee then delivered two Cardiac Kicks simultaneously to both Gacy and Bate for a two count. Bate then delivered the Tyler Driver '97, but Lee broke it up. Lee then delivered a Meteora, but Gacy broke it up. As Gacy was sitting on the top turnbuckle, Lee delivered a tope suicida to Bate on the outside. As Gacy attempted the Upside Down, Lee dodged it and hit the Cardiac Kick to retain the title.[22]

The next bout was a British Rounds Rules match for the NXT Heritage Cup, contested between defending champion Noam Dar and Dragon Lee (with Nathan Frazer). In the first 5 minutes of the first round, Dar kicked Lee off the apron and started messing with Lee's mask. As the first round came to an end, Oro Mensah came out to be Dar's cornerman. In the second round, Lee delivered a headscissors takedown and a diving springboard dropkick for a two count. Dar then rolled up Lee to score the first fall (Noam 1: Lee 0). In the third round, Lee delivered a suicide dive to Dar and a diving knee strike for another two count. Dar then delivered a back elbow to Lee as the third round ended. In the penultimate round, Dar attempted a Kneebar, but Lee escaped. Lee then delivered a Pele kick and a Texas Cloverleaf, but Mensah helped Dar to reach the ropes. Mensah then pushed Frazer into the steel steps. Lee then delivered a headscissors driver to score his first fall (Noam 1: Lee 1). In the final round, Lee delivered a knee strike, a german suplex, and a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. As Lee signaled his finishing move, Jakara Jackson came down to the ring and distracted the referee, allowing Lash Legend to hit Lee with a bucket. Dar then delivered the Nova Roller to win the match and retain the title (Noam 2: Lee 1).[22]

The next match was a Last Man Standing match contested between Ilja Dragunov and Dijak. In the closing stages, Dragunov hit the steel steps on Dijak, then put the steps on Dijak and delivered a Coast-to-Coast, but Dijak was able to get to his feet. Dijak then started choking Dragunov with a steel chair. Dragunov then delivered the Torpedo Moscow and an elbow strike to Dijak's head. Dijak was not able to get to his feet before the referee's count of 10, thus Dragunov won the match.[22]

Next, Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey, with Joe Coffey) defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed, with Ivy Nile). In the closing stages, Brutus delivered the Brutus Ball to both Wolfgang and Mark. Julius then delivered belly-to-back suplexes and a shooting star press to both Mark and Wolfgang for a two count. As Joe was distracting the referee, Nile pushed him, allowing Julius to deliver a clothesline to Joe on the outside. Ava then came out and pushed Nile into the ring post. Gallus then delivered the Gallus Gate to Julius to retain the titles.[22]

In the penultimate match, Lyra Valkyria faced Tiffany Stratton in a tournament final for the vacant NXT Women's Championship. In the opening stages, Valkyria delivered a missile dropkick, two Northern Lights suplexes, an enzeguiri, and a crucifix powerbomb for a two count. Valkyria then delivered a release German suplex. As Valkyria attempted a spinning leg lariat, her knee tweaked, allowing Stratton to deliver a powerslam. As Stratton attempted a Moonsault, Valkyria moved out of the way and delivered the spinning leg lariat, but Stratton's feet reached the ropes. As Valkyria attempted a top rope powerbomb, Stratton countered it into a hurricana and then delivered a Death Valley Driver and the Prettiest Moonsault Ever to become the new NXT Women's Champion.[22]

Main event[edit]

In the main event, Carmelo Hayes (with Trick Williams) defended the NXT Championship against Bron Breakker. In the opening stages, Breakker delivered a spinebuster and a belly-to-back suplex. Hayes then delivered the Fadeaway leg drop. Breakker then delivered a top rope frankensteiner for a two count. As Breakker attempted a military press powerslam, Hayes countered into a DDT. Hayes then delivered a pump kick and a springboard forearm, but Breakker prevented the referee from counting. As Breakker attempted the Steiner Recliner, Hayes escaped and hit a pump kick. As Hayes attempted a springboard clothesline, Breakker countered into a mid-air spear for a two count. Hayes then delivered a series of superkicks, a tornado DDT, and the Nothing But Net to retain the title.[22]

Reception[edit]

Dave Meltzer rated the last man standing match 4.75 stars, which was the highest rated of the night. The lowest rated matches would be the NXT Heritage Cup and the NXT Tag Team Championship matches both receiving 3.25 stars each. The opening triple threat received 3.5 stars, the same as Tiffany vs Lyra. Finally the main event received 4 stars.[23]

Results[edit]

No.ResultsStipulationsTimes[22]
1Wes Lee (c) defeated Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy (with Ava) by pinfallTriple threat match for the NXT North American Championship[24]11:59
2Noam Dar (c) (with Oro Mensah) defeated Dragon Lee (with Nathan Frazer) 2–1British Rounds Rules match for the NXT Heritage Cup[24]14:22
3Ilja Dragunov defeated DijakLast Man Standing match[24]15:54
4Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (with Joe Coffey) (c) defeated The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed) (with Ivy Nile) by pinfallTag team match for the NXT Tag Team Championship[24]9:33
5Tiffany Stratton defeated Lyra Valkyria by pinfallTournament final for the vacant NXT Women's Championship[24]16:01
6Carmelo Hayes (c) (with Trick Williams) defeated Bron Breakker by pinfallSingles match for the NXT Championship[24]14:14
(c) – the champion(s) heading into the match

NXT Women's Championship Tournament[edit]

First round
NXT
(May 9–16, 2023)
Semifinals
NXT
(May 23, 2023)
Final
NXT Battleground
(May 28, 2023)
         
Gigi Dolin 4:29[17]
Tiffany Stratton Pin
Tiffany Stratton Pin
Roxanne Perez 9:39[21]
Jacy Jayne 9:06[16]
Roxanne Perez Pin
Tiffany Stratton Pin
Lyra Valkyria 16:01[22]
Lyra Valkyria Pin
Kiana James 8:51[17]
Lyra Valkyria Pin
Cora Jade 3:41[21]
Fallon Henley 5:05[16]
Cora Jade Pin

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FINAL COUNT: WWE NXT BattleGround [Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA]". WrestleTix. May 30, 2023.(subscription required)
  2. ^ Salgado, Sebastian (July 30, 2013). "WWE officially announces the Battleground PPV". Super Luchas. Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  3. ^ WWE.com Staff (April 24, 2017). "WWE Battleground 2017 tickets available now". WWE. Archived from the original on April 21, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  4. ^ WWE.com Staff (February 17, 2018). "WWE pay-per-views just got bigger for 2018!". WWE. Archived from the original on February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Defelice, Robert (March 30, 2023). "Shawn Michaels Announces NXT Battleground 2023 Will Emanate From Lowell, Massachusetts". Fightful. Archived from the original on March 30, 2023. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  6. ^ WWE.com Staff (March 8, 2021). "WWE Network to launch on Peacock March 18". WWE. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  7. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (March 31, 2023). "Shawn Michaels Says NXT Battleground Running Same Day As AEW Double Or Nothing Was A Holiday Thing". Fightful. Archived from the original on March 31, 2023. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
  8. ^ Grabianowski, Ed (January 13, 2006). "How Pro Wrestling Works". HowStuffWorks. Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on November 29, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  9. ^ "Live & Televised Entertainment". WWE. Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  10. ^ a b McGuire, Colin (April 1, 2023). "NXT Stand & Deliver results: McGuire's live review of Bron Breakker vs. Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Title, Roxanne Perez vs. Zoey Stark vs. Gigi Dolin vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria vs. Indi Hartwell in a ladder match for the NXT Women's Title, Wes Lee vs. Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. Axiom for the NXT North American Title, Johnny Gargano vs. Grayson Waller". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 1, 2023. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  11. ^ Moore, John (April 4, 2023). "4/4 NXT TV results: Moore's review of the Stand & Deliver fallout edition with Dragon Lee vs. Nathan Frazer, Dijak vs. Odyssey Jones, "Pretty Deadly" Elton Prince and Kit Wilson vs. Tony D'Angelo and Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved April 4, 2023.
  12. ^ a b Moore, John (April 25, 2023). "4/25 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Carmelo Hayes vs. Grayson Waller for the NXT Title, Indi Hartwell vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Tiffany Stratton for the NXT Women's Title, Bron Breakker vs. Andre Chase, Josh Briggs and Fallon Henley vs. Brooks Jensen and Kiana James, Cora Jade vs. Lyra Valkyria, Tony D'Angelo and Stacks Lorenzo vs. Pretty Deadly in a Trunk Match, Oba Femi debuts". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 26, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c Moore, John (May 2, 2023). "5/2 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance for the NXT Women's Tag Team Titles, Wes Lee vs. Drew Gulak for the NXT North American Title, Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh, Gigi Dolin vs. Jacy Jayne, Joe Gacy vs. Joe Coffey, Axiom vs. Scrypts, Dani Palmer's debut". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on May 3, 2023. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  14. ^ Barnett, Jake (April 28, 2023). "4/28 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Barnett's review of the WWE Draft night one, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles, Zelina Vega vs. Sonya Deville". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 29, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  15. ^ Tessier, Colin (May 8, 2023). "Roxanne Perez, Cora Jade, Gigi Dolin, And More Set To Compete In NXT Women's Title Tournament". Fightful. Archived from the original on May 9, 2023. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Moore, John (May 16, 2023). "5/16 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Roxanne Perez vs. Jacy Jayne, and Fallon Henley vs. Cora Jade in NXT Women's Title tournament matches, Julius Creed and Brutus Creed vs. Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler, Supernova Sessions with Noam Dar and guest Dragon Lee". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  17. ^ a b c d Moore, John (May 9, 2023). "5/9 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Gigi Dolin vs. Tiffany Stratton, and Lyra Valkyria vs. Kiana James in NXT Women's Title tournament matches, Gallus vs. The Dyad for the NXT Tag Titles, Bron Breakker vs. Trick Williams, Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak, Duke Hudson vs. Javier Bernal, Tyler Bate vs. Charlie Dempsey, Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Tank Ledger and Hank Walker". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  18. ^ Moore, John (April 11, 2023). "4/11 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Dragon Lee vs. JD McDonagh vs. two others in a four-way for a shot at the NXT Championship, Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn vs. Kiana James and Fallon Henley for the NXT Women's Tag Team Titles, Ilja Dragunov vs. Von Wagner, Tiffany Stratton vs. Sol Ruca, Chase U's celebration for Duke Hudson". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 12, 2023. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  19. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (May 17, 2023). "Dijak To Face Ilja Dragunov In A Last Man Standing Bout At NXT Battleground". Fightful. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  20. ^ Moore, John (April 18, 2023). "4/18 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Wes Lee vs. Charlie Dempsey for the NXT North American Title, Mark Coffey and Wolfgang vs. Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed in a Triple Threat for the NXT Tag Team Titles, Roxanne Perez vs. Zoey Stark, Gigi Dolin vs. Cora Jade". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 19, 2023. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  21. ^ a b c Moore, John (May 23, 2023). "5/23 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Tiffany Stratton vs. Roxanne Perez and Lyra Valkyria vs. Cora Jade in NXT Women's Championship tournament semifinal matches, Noam Dar vs. Nathan Frazer, Hank Walker vs. Tank Ledger, Axiom vs. Dabba-Kato, Eddy Thorpe vs. Tyler Bate". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Moore, John (May 28, 2023). "NXT Battleground results: Moore's live review of Carmelo Hayes vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship, Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria for the vacant NXT Women's Title, Gallus vs. The Creeds for the NXT Tag Team Titles, Wes Lee vs. Tyler Bate vs. Joe Gacy in a Triple Threat for the NXT North American Title, Noam Dar vs. Dragon Lee for the NXT Heritage Cup". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  23. ^ Woodward, Hamish (June 2, 2023). "NXT Battleground 2023: Dave Meltzer's Star Ratings". Atletifo. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "NXT Battleground 2023: Carmelo Hayes is the hometown hero as he overcomes Bron Breakker at NXT Battleground". WWE. May 28, 2023. Retrieved May 29, 2023.

External links[edit]