NXT Recap: Carmelo Hayes Retains NXT Championship At NXT Heatwave 2023 (8/22/23)

A photo of Carmelo Hayes at NXT Heatwave 2023.

NXT Heatwave 2023 has come and gone, and it was quite the stacked event. Six matches took place at the event, with several other segments also being featured. This special episode served as the midpoint stop on the road to the next NXT PLE, No Mercy. NXT Heatwave effectively set up several match-ups that will take place over the next month but the major talking point of the show was the NXT championship main event.

Carmelo Hayes Remains At The Helm Of NXT

Carmelo Hayes successfully defended his NXT championship against Wes Lee in the main event of the evening. The match was slightly under 12 minutes long but it was an action-packed bout from start to finish. The pair also made history as this marked the first time that two black men main-evented NXT for the NXT championship, as commentator Vic Joseph confirmed as the two had their introductions done.

There were several moments where the two matched each other’s pace and proved to be on par with each other. It all came down to who would be able to subdue their adversary long enough to walk away with the gold, and it was really fair game for each of them. Hayes finally hit the Nothing But Net move to ultimately retain the gold, and his place at the helm of NXT.

Carmelo Hayes gets to celebrate his recent success but the challengers are piling up for the champion. Wes Lee could look for a second shot at the gold, perhaps adding in a stipulation that could favor him. The same could go for Ilja Dragunov, who managed to overcome the one obstacle he felt held him back from attaining gold – Trick Williams.

Before his bout with Lee, the champion was seen preparing backstage before being joined by his best friend, Williams, and it seems the gold could become a point of contention between the two of them too. By the looks of things, the gold makes Hayes a target for many but, for now, at least, he maintains the spot on the brand.

Third Time Is The Charm As Noam Dar Captures NXT Heritage Cup Again

The NXT Heritage Cup has a new holder as Noam Dar came out victorious in his British Rounds Rules match against Nathan Frazer, earning the championship for the third time. ‘Supernova 11’ managed to score the first pinfall and, with Frazer gaining the second pinfall, the match was anyone’s for the taking. The numbers game worked out for Dar as, with interference from the Meta-Four, he managed to reclaim the gold.

Dar did not have to wait long for further plans to be revealed as it was revealed in a backstage segment that the NXT Global Heritage Invitational will begin next week to determine the next title challenger, who will get their shot at gold at No Mercy.

Elsewhere on the NXT Heatwave card, Ilja Dragunov and Trick Williams put on a high-intensity opener of a match, with Dragunov coming out the victor. Schism’s Ava was unsuccessful in her in-ring debut against Ivy Nile but it seems their story is far from over. The NXT women’s championship scene is heating up as several wrestlers look to earn the right to be next in challenging for Tiffany Stratton‘s gold. The NXT tag team division scene is heating up and could be a source of great match-ups in the coming weeks.

Several stories were set up to take place over the next few weeks, with some promising to reach their culmination at the next major event. There is still well over a month until the NXT roster makes the trip to Bakersfield, California for the PLE, and several match-ups could be determined along the way to NXT No Mercy on Saturday, September 30.

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