Before the stars of Raw and SmackDown get the spotlight on April 1 and 2, the NXT prospects get their chance to show out on the biggest stage of the year with NXT Stand and Deliver.
Taking place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, fans of WWE’s developmental brand will see seven matches on April Fool’s Day afternoon, five of them with championships on the line and one of them not technically sanctioned by WWE.
So, which wrestlers will walk out of NXT Stand and Deliver with a big win? Let’s make some predictions for this show.
Fallon Henley and Kiana James (c) vs. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn- NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship
It’s a shame that WWE has dragged the women’s tag belts into this melodramatic silliness. To be fair, plenty of fans are having fun with the storyline in a “so bad, it’s good” sort of way, but once you strip away the bad acting and story-breaking refusal to acknowledge the camera that films all of them on a weekly basis, all you get is another re-telling of the tired “can they co-exist” trope that has started to re-emerge on WWE television.
Between this story and the potential for SPOOKINESS with Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre, there’s a good chance that this match won’t live up to even its modest expectations. You never know, though. Kiana James and Fallon Henley, while still green, have made tangible strides in the ring and the challengers are as reliable as it gets in the NXT Women’s Division.
While it makes sense to pick the heels to win the titles (since they’re an actual team that gets along), this James/Henley/Brooks Jensen love triangle isn’t resolving itself anytime soon, so Henley and James will probably hold onto the straps until it does, even though they don’t need to. Prediction: Fallon Henley and Kiana James retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship (James pins Fyre)
Wes Lee (c) vs. Axiom vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. JD McDonagh vs. Dragon Lee- NXT North American Championship
One of several “let’s get as many people on the show as possible” matches on the pay-per-view, this one will likely open the proceedings to set the tone for the evening. Given who the participants are, it will probably steal the show.
As for who wins, it’s hard to argue for anything other than a Wes Lee title retention. Axiom is clearly defined as a good midcard hand (despite his youth) thanks to his weird math superhero gimmick. Ilja Dragunov feels like a better fit as a contender for the NXT Championship. JD McDonagh is a non-starter as a potential winner for a number of reasons. Dragon Lee winning would make for a good WWE debut; that’s the only other outcome that makes sense.
Unless Lee gets called up (and there’s no chatter about that), he should keep the gold. Prediction: Wes Lee pins Axiom, retains the NXT North American Championship
Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey) (c) vs. The Creed Brothers (Julius and Brutus) vs. The Family (Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo)- NXT Tag Team Championship
So, all you have to do to get a tag Title match in NXT is to play pool with Gallus in a bar that they either own or rent out. That should save teams the energy of having those pesky wrestling matches.
For the last few months, it’s felt like every titleholder has merely kept the belts warm for the Creed Brothers, who lost them last September, but who knows if WWE wants to move the belts back onto them right away or if they want to have them chase after Gallus or Tony D’Angelo and Stacks. Eh, let’s go with a babyface title change. Prediction: The Creed Brothers win the NXT Tag Team Championship (Julius Creed pins Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo)
Chase U (Andre Chase, Duke Hudson, and Thea Hail) and Tyler Bate vs. Schism (Joe Gacy, Jagger Reid, Rip Fowler, and Ava)- Winner gains control of Chase University
Joe Gacy’s bargain bin cult (that still panders to people who think The Babylon Bee is witty satire, albeit less so) is terrible enough on its own, but it would likely become unbearable if they made a bunch of classroom skits.
Besides, Chase U has become a popular gimmick in NXT (even if it lacks a broader appeal), so having them lose the rights to the university seems counterproductive. Perhaps they’ll lose after Duke Hudson finally turns on them (allowing Thea Hail to progress with a more main roster-friendly gimmick) and win it back later, but they can always do the Hudson betrayal another time. Plus, it would save us from CREEPY Schism U segments. Prediction: Chase U beats Schism (Tyler Bate pins Rip Fowler)
Johnny Gargano vs. Grayson Waller- Unsanctioned Match
So, these unsanctioned matches are WWE’s way of avoiding overusing the “street fight” label, apparently. It’s not like WWE makes a big deal about records (unless it benefits a certain story), so there’s no real difference between this match and a standard No Disqualification bout. To be fair, Johnny Gargano and Grayson Waller’s feud has lived up to the stipulation.
On one hand, Gargano could use a big win, even on the developmental show, to get his revenge on the man who drove him out of NXT, and Waller can get his heat back by saying that the match “didn’t count”. Conversely, Waller needs the win far more than Gargano does, especially with how light the brand is on top heels.
Let’s play it safe and go with the babyface. Prediction: Johnny Gargano pins Grayson Waller
Roxanne Perez (c) vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Indi Hartwell vs. Lyra Valkyria vs. Gigi Dolin vs. Zoey Stark- Ladder Match, NXT Women’s Championship
Another match of the night candidate, WWE found a good mix of young athletes and experienced workers for this one. It also establishes who sits at the top of the contender’s list for this title.
Following the angle they shot with Shawn Michaels and Roxanne Perez on the go-home edition of NXT, this seems set up for Perez to overcome the odds and retain. The only other person who stands out as a potential winner is Tiffany Stratton, but WWE may wait a little while to coronate her since we’re still not that far removed from a lengthy heel title run. Prediction: Roxanne Perez retains the NXT Women’s Championship
Bron Breakker (c) vs. Carmelo Hayes- NXT Championship
Given the talent pool that NXT has to work with, this was the biggest match the company could book for the brand for this PPV. Unfortunately, what seemed like an easy-to-book program fell below expectations thanks to the familiar plot devices (contract signings, “can they co-exist?” tag matches).
Briefly teaming Carmelo Hayes with Bron Breakker likely served to somewhat turn Hayes babyface knowing that he’ll likely get cheered over Breakker in LA (and to present both as equals), but ideas like the Prime Target video would’ve handled that just as effectively.
This could be Breakker’s swan song in NXT, but even if it isn’t, he should lose the title. Hayes checks almost every box on the WWE Main Event checklist, and it’s time for the company to figure out if that translates into commercial success. Prediction: Carmelo Hayes pins Bron Breakker, wins the NXT Championship