NXT Vengeance Day set out to accomplish a few goals. It set up what is sure to spill out into NXT’s premier Stand & Deliver event during WrestleMania weekend. It also served as the perfect platform for future stars like Trick Williams, Camelo Hayes, Oba Femi and Roxanne Perez.
While the card was headlined by a guaranteed classic between NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov defending against Trick Williams, the rest of it was not absent of quality in the slightest.
The show was capped off with the dominant NXT Champion retaining his championship against what many deem to be the next big star in WWE. The match built to a symphony of physicality, violence and near falls. It also captured that big fight feel matches like these strive to be.
Oba Femi retained his NXT North American Championship over Dragon Lee in a traditional big man vs little man affair. Roxanne Perez came up short in her attempt to take Lyra Valkyria’s NXT Women’s Championship. Mid-match, Lola Vice attempted to copy the success her peer Oba Femi by cashing in her title contract.
Elsewhere on the card we saw Dijak and Joe Gacy inflict a fair amount of damage on one another in a highly entertaining No Disqualification Contest. Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker also won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic in a stellar opening contest against double-duty Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes. Lastly, The D’Angelo Family bested OTM in the most forgettable outing on the entire show.
Despite being a top-to-bottom solid card, as is the standard for NXT, it wasn’t without its share of winners and losers. The night left quite a few to break down following the PLE card:
Loser: Trick Williams
Losing both the opening and main event of the evening should be a bigger blow to the credibility of any superstar suffering this fate. But, we’ll make a special exception for Trick Williams…
In both of his outings, Trick looked like nothing short of a star. Consistently being put in spots to shine and consistently delivering on those promises. The connection he possesses with the crowd, his arsenal alongside his genuine passion in every match make him a natural. Not just for the industry, but one bred to be a main eventer no matter where he goes.
Williams’ loss tonight didn’t come to anyone he should be ashamed of. On one end, losing to both a multi-time champion on the main roster in Baron Corbin and a multi-time NXT Champion in Bron Breakker. On the other, the current NXT Champion and one of the best on the planet in Ilja Dragunov. Vengeance Day may not have been the crowning moment of Trick William’s career. But it was, however, the night he solidified him as the future.
Loser: Lola Vice
In all honesty, the entire women’s match should probably be on here. But nobody in that equation came out looking worse than Lola Vice.
Attempting to cash in her NXT Breakout Contract, this plan didn’t quite fall into place at all. Her inclusion did feel out of nowhere to a degree, and in a way that felt unearned. Not one that incited unpredictability… Leading up to that, the previously booked match wasn’t all that thrilling either. Something about the chemistry between these three felt off, and never found any kind of footing in the final stretch.
It is a shame that Lola Vice never possessed the same kind of presence a Breakout Contract winner would. But from here, she has an opportunity to rebuild her way back into the title picture.
Winner: Videogame Violence
For anyone who’s played a wrestling video game, Joe Gacy vs. Dijak was how all of us fought against our friends back in the day.
We saw them using a trash can as a battering ram, them diving through a table stacked with toys, and eyes taped shut. We also saw chokeslams onto steel chairs and a German suplex off the top rope. Overall, it was a chaotically good time for all 12 minutes it was showcased. It highlighted the creativity of both men, more specifically Gacy who let his unhinged character shine against a tried and tested NXT veteran.
Dijak is no stranger to rematches. Considering his previous track record, seeing him take on Gacy again feels inevitable.
Winner: Oba Femi
This match was the talk of the town over recent weeks. Oba Femi has only been doing this since 2021 when he was signed under the NXT banner to little attention. Since then, in a very short period, Oba has run through the competition in NXT and quickly ascended to become the North American Champion by quickly defeating Dragon Lee to kick off 2024.
Oba Femi’s rematch against the former champion didn’t set the world on fire. But what it did do was showcase the areas that Femi needs to grow in, while also showcasing how good his skills are so early into his career. Sunday night was the first in what should be multiple big moments for the young monster. We look forward to the journey.
Losers: The Family & OTM
Nothing about this match was outright bad or even terrible. The 6-man tag match between The Family and OTM just felt like the one match absent of any real energy on a night filled with it.
NXT has usually done a good job of making every match on every card feel as though it stands to some level of importance. This was one of the few occasions where this didn’t seem to be the case. This was an inoffensive showcase between two groups who in their own right are entertaining. All of this came across as something better suited to a weekly NXT episode.
Winner: Ilja Dragunov
There isn’t much to say here besides how absurdly good Ilja Dragunov. His physicality, facial expressions, war cries, murderous intent and ability to make all his matches feel like they’ll be his last, never ceases to elevate everything he ever does.
Vengeance Day was another addition to a long list of classics in the champion’s record book since his arrival under the NXT banner. We’re yet to see him miss in the ring after almost four years. Not being the fan favorite compared to Trick Williams, Dragunov embraced that role to deliver the most physical match of Williams’ young career. He showcased all the traits that make him such an underrated champion.
Tying his story in with Camelo Hayes at ringside made his victory all the more impactful. Whatever comes next for him, the bar is absurdly high to reach.
What was your favorite match of the night? Let us know in the comments.