NXT Battleground 2023 predictions: Melo beats Bron again


This Memorial Day weekend is a loaded one for professional wrestling fans, and WWE‘s developmental brand will join in on the fun with NXT Battleground 2023.

Airing on May 28 from the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass., the show will go head-to-head with All Elite Wrestling’s signature pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, the show likely won’t put much of a dent in the competition’s buyrate — Battleground will broadcast on Peacock will be available to watch in the archives — but the six-match card should entertain those who choose to tune in.

So, let’s look at these bouts and predict who will walk out of Massachusetts victorious.

Dijak vs. Ilja Dragunov- Last Man Standing Match

Given how WWE has promoted this match, it would be disappointing to see these two have a typical WWE Last Man Standing affair. That said, these two are talented and smart enough to avoid the repetitive “hit a move and stand around for nine seconds” format.

You could make good cases for either man getting the win. If Dragunov is set for a call-up, then it makes sense for him to put Dijak over on his way out of the territory, so to speak. Plus, a Dijak win could propel him to the top of the NXT Championship contender’s list.

If Dragunov stays, however, he should get his revenge on Dijak for the numerous attacks the vigilante has doled out over the last month.

Eh, let’s play it safe and pick the babyface. Prediction: Ilja Dragunov beats Dijak

Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (c) vs. The Creed Brothers- NXT Tag Team Championship

Even though Gallus is a bit too generic (and too filled with wrestlers named in Speaking Out), WWE seems to appreciate the stabilizing presence they bring to the tag division, which benefits developing duos like The Creed Brothers.

It seems like WWE wants to do Gallus vs. Tony D’Angelo and “Stacks” in the near future, so that doesn’t speak well for the Creeds’ chances here. That said, it’s hard to imagine the challengers falling short in another title match.

Either way, the match should be fun. We’ll probably see D’Angelo and “Stacks” interfere to set up their eventual match with Gallus (and a Creeds/D’Angelo and “Stacks” match) and the chaos will allow the champs to retain. Prediction: Gallus retains the NXT Tag Team Championship (Mark Coffey pins Julius Creed)

Noam Dar (c) vs. Dragon Lee- British Rounds Match, NXT Heritage Cup

Man, WWE sure like stashing away the alleged creeps on its roster only to bring them out once it feels the heat has died down. Nevertheless, this one should be interesting. Noam Dar and Dragon Lee could probably have a great match under normal rules, so we’ll see what they have to offer with the British Rounds format.

As silly as it would be to hand Dragon Lee another PPV loss, the creative team has made this Heratige Cup an integral part of Dar’s personality, so he likely won’t lose it anytime soon. The champ will find a heelish way to get the win. Prediction: Noam Dar wins 2-1 and retains the NXT Heritage Cup

Wes Lee (c) vs. Joe Gacy vs. Tyler Bate- NXT North American Championship

Can Wes Lee trust his friend, Tyler Bate? Well, it doesn’t matter in this match since it’s every man for himself. Aside from continuing Lee’s arc as a fighting champion, WWE added the element of dissension between him and Bate. Given that Bate and Lee only started hanging out a couple of weeks ago, it feels like a contrivance to build tension and position Joe Gacy as this mastermind.

You see, this company still thinks Gacy can pull off this “left-wing” cult leader gimmick despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

In the ring, however, Gacy can bring it, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him tear it up with Bate and Lee. Don’t expect him to win the North American Championship, though, unless WWE pulls off one of those “the belt will get him over” title changes. There’s no reason to dethrone Lee, so that’s where the championship will stay. Prediction: Wes Lee pins Joe Gacy and retains the NXT North American Championship

Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria- NXT Women’s Championship Tournament Final

WWE booked this tournament in a fascinating way. When it announced the names for the eight-woman field, Tiffany Stratton and Roxanne Perez meeting in the finals seemed like a lock…until we saw them on the same side of the bracket.

Instead, WWE used the other side to spotlight Lyra Valkyria, which is fine for two reasons: it gives the division another babyface to count on at the top of the card besides Perez and Valkyria is more than talented enough to fill that role.

Unfortunately, the “injury” Valkyria suffered makes the result of this match a foregone conclusion. Plus, WWE clearly wants to anoint the promising Stratton as the top heel in the NXT women’s division, and putting the title on her is the quickest way to achieve that. Prediction: Tiffany Stratton pins Lyra Valkyria and wins the NXT Women’s Championship

Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Bron Breakker- NXT Championship

There was a time when fans would worry about a WWE wrestler having a big match in their hometown. In the past, the company has seen this as a great opportunity to put HEEEEEEAAAAAT on a heel, but Carmelo Hayes might have nothing to worry about.

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Hayes just won the title, so unless WWE wants him to chase the belt as a full-fledged babyface, it wouldn’t make much sense to take it off of him. Plus, fans just saw Bron Breakker reign as NXT Champion for over a year (albeit as a babyface), so going right back to him as a heel titleholder would likely exasperate the fans further. So, let’s go with Hayes retaining in a match that, hopefully, isn’t as underwhelming as his outing with Breakker was at Stand and DeliverPrediction: Carmelo Hayes pins Bron Breakker and retains the NXT Championship