The WWE NXT brand held its final premium live event of 2023 on Saturday, December 9th titled NXT Deadline. The show featured the inaugural men’s and women’s Iron Survivor Challenge matches to crown new #1 contenders for the NXT Championship and NXT Women’s Championship respectively.
Trick Williams Shocks the NXT Universe in Men’s Iron Survivor Challenge
The men’s Iron Survivor Challenge featured five competitors battling for the right to challenge Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship. The unique match format involved elimination whenever a wrestler was pinned or submitted, while also imposing a time limit on the bout. The superstar who scored the most falls before expiration would be declared the winner.
The combatants taking part in this first-time-ever contest were:
- Carmelo Hayes
- Grayson Waller
- JD McDonagh
- Joe Gacy
In a stunning turn of events, none of these five men would go on to win the match. Despite Carmelo Hayes scoring the most eliminations and looking destined to emerge victorious, he was caught off guard by returning star Tyler Bate. This allowed Bate to pin Hayes and insert himself into the Iron Survivor Challenge as a surprise sixth entrant.
While Bate would also score eliminations over both Gacy and JD McDonagh, the eventual winner turned out to be the cunning Trick Williams. After spending most of the bout outside the ring, Trick opportunistically pinned the worn down Bate to pick up the victory.
Iron Survivor Challenge Results
|Final Fall Victim
Trick Williams now has a guaranteed NXT Championship opportunity against Breakker in 2023. His victory represents one of the biggest upsets in NXT history, showcasing Williams’ opportunistic nature.
Blair Davenport Overcomes the Odds for Emotional Women’s Title Shot
The women’s Iron Survivor Challenge resulted in another shock winner, with Blair Davenport able to outlast her four opponents to become the new #1 contender. Joining Davenport in the bout were:
- Zoey Stark
- Indi Hartwell
- Cora Jade
- Roxanne Perez
The odds seemed stacked against Davenport, as she entered with the least experience of any woman in the field. However, Davenport displayed incredible resilience – kicking out of Jade’s Diving Senton Bomb finisher late in the match before pinning her for the final elimination.
Women’s Iron Survivor Challenge Results
|Final Fall Victim
The victory represented a career defining moment for Davenport, who broke into tears realizing the magnitude of what she had accomplished. She will now prepare to challenge Mandy Rose’s near 2-year reign as NXT Women’s Champion.
Ilja Dragunov Retains NXT Championship in Classic Against Baron Corbin
The marquee singles championship clash of Deadline saw Ilja Dragunov defend his NXT Title against former WWE main roster star Baron Corbin.
The matchup started out as an intense brawl, with strikes and steel chairs coming into play. Dragunov’s never-say-die attitude was on full display as he absorbed wicked punishment from Corbin but continually fought back with his explosive, unconventional offense.
Ultimately, it was Dragunov once again showcasing his toughness and connecting with his trademark Torpedo Moscow finisher to put down Corbin and retain his championship. The bout fulfilled expectations as an instant classic NXT Title clash.
Other Key Match Results
While the Iron Survivor Challenges and Ilja Dragunov vs. Baron Corbin were the headliners, several other important bouts took place at NXT Deadline with title ramifications.
Roxanne Perez Loses Steel Cage Match Due to Turncoat Friend
Roxanne Perez sought vengeance against her former friend turned enemy Kiana James inside a steel cage. The stipulation was that if James lost, she would be unable to challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship again as long as Perez held the title.
The cage match turned into an intense brawl with both women attempting to escape over the top of the structure. Perez seemed poised to attain payback, only for James’ ally Fallon Henley to enter the cage and slam the door against Perez from behind. This allowed a recovering James to casually walk out of the door and secure victory.
As a result:
- Kiana James escaped the steel cage to defeat Roxanne Perez
- James is still eligible to challenge for the NXT Women’s Women’s Championship if she wins a #1 contender’s match
Wes Lee Overcomes Stalker Grayson Waller in Cage Match
NXT North American Champion Wes Lee stepped into a steel cage for another grudge match against his ominous stalker, Grayson Waller. After Waller had tormented Lee for months, a cage match was scheduled to finally settle the score between the rivals.
In contrast to the women’s cage match, this bout took place mostly atop the cage itself. Wes Lee displayed his breathtaking aerial skills by hitting a mind-blowing Spanish Fly from the top of the enclosure. Lee eventually climbed over the cage wall for the win, keeping his North American Championship reign intact.
- Wes Lee defeated Grayson Waller in a steel cage match
- Lee is still NXT North American Champion
- His feud with Waller appears settled after the decisive cage match win
Toxic Attraction Implodes in Women’s Tag Title Loss
NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Katana Chance and Kayden Carter put their gold on the line in a four-way elimination match at Deadline. Their challengers were the makeshift duo of Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark, as well as Toxic Attraction members Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne.
In the climax, Stark pinned Dolin to eliminate Toxic Attraction, causing Jayne to snap and viciously attack her own partner. Lyons then seized the opportunity to hit her split-leg moonsault on Dolin to score the win and crown new Women’s Tag Champions.
- Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark won the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles
- Toxic Attraction imploded after the loss with Jacy Jayne attacking Gigi Dolin
What This Means for NXT Going Forward
NXT Deadline shook up the status quo of the brand in several ways that will shape storylines moving into 2023.
New Championship Contenders Emerge
The most obvious effect is the creation of two new #1 contenders from the Iron Survivor Challenge winners. Both Trick Williams and Blair Davenport scored the biggest wins in their respective careers. They now have monumental title matches ahead against Bron Breakker and Mandy Rose.
While Davenport is the definite underdog challenger, Williams also enters his title match as an unlikely threat to Breakker’s dominant reign. His cunning personality could help him devise a gameplan to shock the world again.
Toxic Attraction’s Breakup Sets Stage for Feud
Meanwhile, former Women’s Tag Champions Toxic Attraction reached their breaking point at NXT Deadline. With Jacy Jayne’s riotous attack on Gigi Dolin after their loss, the top female faction in NXT has ruptured.
This sets the stage for an intense rivalry between the former friends that could unfold over the coming year. Their impending feud will have major ramifications for the NXT women’s division.
Wes Lee Moves On After Vanquishing His Tormentor
By defeating Grayson Waller inside a steel cage, Wes Lee earned the right to move on from this haunting chapter. The NXT North American Champion overcame Waller’s relentless stalking mind games and now has his sights set on new contenders in 2023.
With Waller no longer occupying a spot inside Lee’s head, the high flyer can focus on putting together another impressive run with his mid-card title.
NXT Deadline was an eventful and history making show for WWE’s third brand. New challengers emerged in the form of Trick Williams and Blair Davenport while the card delivered excellent in-ring action. The landscape of NXT continues evolving at a rapid pace heading into next year.
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