It was held for wrestlers from the promotion's NXT brand division. The event took place on May 28, 2023, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was the first Battleground held since 2017, as well as the first to livestream on Peacock.
|Date||May 28, 2023|
|WWE Network event chronology|
Six matches were contested at the event. In the main event, Carmelo Hayes defeated Bron Breakker to retain the NXT Championship. In other prominent matches, Tiffany Stratton defeated Lyra Valkyria in a tournament final to win the vacant NXT Women's Championship, Ilja Dragunov defeated Dijak in a Last Man Standing match, and in the opening bout, Wes Lee defeated Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy in a triple threat match to retain the NXT North American Championship.
Battleground was held on the same day as Double or Nothing, a pay-per-view event produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and specifically AEW's flagship event. This marked the first time since April 1989 that two major promotions produced major events head-to-head, after WWE's WrestleMania V and World Championship Wrestling's Clash of the Champions VI. The event received highly positive reviews from critics, with the Last Man Standing match being singled out for praise for its brutality, story, and the performances of Dragunov and Dijak, and has been labeled a match of the year contender for WWE. The North American Championship triple threat and the NXT Women's Championship match also received praise.
Battleground was an annual July pay-per-view (PPV) event established by WWE in 2013, although the original event was held in October. Battleground continued until its final event in July 2017, which was held exclusively for wrestlers from the promotion's SmackDown brand division, following the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016 where WWE split the roster between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform. A Raw-exclusive Battleground was expected to be held in 2018, but it was taken off of WWE's PPV lineup as following WrestleMania 34 that year, WWE discontinued brand-exclusive PPVs, resulting in the promotion reducing the yearly amount of PPVs produced. However, on March 30, 2023, WWE revived the event for its developmental territory, NXT, and it was scheduled to take place on May 28, 2023, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. The event was livestreamed on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network in most international markets, in turn marking the first Battleground to air on Peacock due to the American version of the WWE Network merging under Peacock in March 2021—unlike previous Battlegrounds, the 2023 event did not air on PPV as beginning with the 2022 calendar year, NXT's major events are only available via WWE's livestreaming platforms. Tickets went on sale on April 1.
The event went head-to-head with Double or Nothing, a PPV event produced by All Elite Wrestling (AEW), which is AEW's flagship event. This marked the first time since 1989 that two major promotions produced major events head-to-head, after WWE's WrestleMania V (airing on PPV) and World Championship Wrestling's Clash of the Champions VI (airing on TBS). According to WWE executive Shawn Michaels, the scheduling was not intended for WWE to go head-to-head with AEW, but that it was just due to the holiday (Memorial Day weekend) as he said WWE events had always done well on holidays.
The card included matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the NXT brand, while storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television program, NXT, and the supplementary online streaming show, Level Up.
At Stand & Deliver, Carmelo Hayes defeated Bron Breakker to win the NXT Championship, ending Breakker's reign at 362 days. On the following episode of NXT, Breakker embraced Hayes and Trick Williams, but turned on them. At Spring Breakin' after Hayes' successful title defense, Hayes challenged Breakker to a title match at Battleground, only for Breakker to lay out Hayes and Williams. The following week, Breakker accepted the challenge.
During the 2023 WWE Draft, NXT Women's Champion Indi Hartwell was drafted to the main roster on Raw. She had also recently injured her leg. On the May 2 episode of NXT, Hartwell announced that she would be vacating the title and that a tournament to crown a new champion would begin the following week with the final at Battleground. The tournament participants were revealed on May 8.
In April 2023, after months of inactivity following the closure of NXT UK, reigning NXT Heritage Cup Champion Noam Dar made his debut for NXT. On the May 16 episode of NXT, Dar hosted his first United States installment of "Supernova Sessions" and had Dragon Lee as his guest. Dar bragged about his Heritage Cup and lorded it over Lee, much to Lee's annoyance. Lee urged Dar to defend his championship but Dar resisted until Nathan Frazer interrupted and addressed Dar's constant dodging of title defenses. Provoked by this, Dar accepted Lee's challenge for the Heritage Cup at Battleground, marking the first defense of the Heritage Cup on the NXT brand and subsequently its first defense in the United States.
On the May 2 episode of NXT, Wes Lee successfully retained the NXT North American Championship after interference from Tyler Bate. The following week, Bate (accompanied by Lee) won his match after interference from Joe Gacy. On the May 16 episode Bate and Lee were attacked backstage by Gacy and the other members of The Schism. Lee went to the ring to call out Gacy for the attack to which Gacy responded that Lee shouldn't trust Bate. Despite suffering an arm injury during the attack Bate came out to address Gacy's claims but in the process also admitted he was eyeing Lee's championship. Lee then said he would be willing to defend the title against both men at Battleground.
Since April, Dijak and Ilja Dragunov had been feuding with each other. At Spring Breakin', Dijak viciously attacked Dragunov backstage. On May 17, after more weeks of feuding, a Last Man Standing match between the two was scheduled for Battleground.
At Stand & Deliver, Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (with Joe Coffey) retained the NXT Tag Team Championship in a triple threat tag team match involving The Creed Brothers (Julius Creed and Brutus Creed). The Creed Brothers got a championship rematch on the April 18 episode of NXT where Gallus retained. On the May 16 episode, after The Creed Brothers won their match, they called out Gallus to another title match at Battleground, which was confirmed the following week.
|Spanish commentators||Marcelo Rodríguez|
|Ring announcer||Alicia Taylor|
|Pre-show panel||Megan Morant|
The event began with Wes Lee defending the NXT North American Championship against Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy (accompanied by Ava) in a triple threat match. In the opening stages, Bate delivered a suplex and a standing shooting star press to Lee, but Gacy broke up the pin. Lee then delivered two Cardiac Kicks simultaneously to both Gacy and Bate for a two count. Bate then delivered the Tyler Driver '97, but Lee broke it up. Lee then delivered a Meteora, but Gacy broke it up. As Gacy was sitting on the top turnbuckle, Lee delivered a tope suicida to Bate on the outside. As Gacy attempted the Upside Down, Lee dodged it and hit the Cardiac Kick to retain the title.
The next bout was a British Rounds Rules match for the NXT Heritage Cup, contested between defending champion Noam Dar and Dragon Lee (with Nathan Frazer). In the first 5 minutes of the first round, Dar kicked Lee off the apron and started messing with Lee's mask. As the first round came to an end, Oro Mensah came out to be Dar's cornerman. In the second round, Lee delivered a headscissors takedown and a diving springboard dropkick for a two count. Dar then rolled up Lee to score the first fall (Noam 1: Lee 0). In the third round, Lee delivered a suicide dive to Dar and a diving knee strike for another two count. Dar then delivered a back elbow to Lee as the third round ended. In the penultimate round, Dar attempted a Kneebar, but Lee escaped. Lee then delivered a Pele kick and a Texas Cloverleaf, but Mensah helped Dar to reach the ropes. Mensah then pushed Frazer into the steel steps. Lee then delivered a headscissors driver to score his first fall (Noam 1: Lee 1). In the final round, Lee delivered a knee strike, a german suplex, and a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. As Lee signaled his finishing move, Jakara Jackson came down to the ring and distracted the referee, allowing Lash Legend to hit Lee with a bucket. Dar then delivered the Nova Roller to win the match and retain the title (Noam 2: Lee 1).
The next match was a Last Man Standing match contested between Ilja Dragunov and Dijak. In the closing stages, Dragunov hit the steel steps on Dijak, then put the steps on Dijak and delivered a Coast-to-Coast, but Dijak was able to get to his feet. Dijak then started choking Dragunov with a steel chair. Dragunov then delivered the Torpedo Moscow and an elbow strike to Dijak's head. Dijak was not able to get to his feet before the referee's count of 10, thus Dragunov won the match.
Next, Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey, with Joe Coffey) defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed, with Ivy Nile). In the closing stages, Brutus delivered the Brutus Ball to both Wolfgang and Mark. Julius then delivered belly-to-back suplexes and a shooting star press to both Mark and Wolfgang for a two count. As Joe was distracting the referee, Nile pushed him, allowing Julius to deliver a clothesline to Joe on the outside. Ava then came out and pushed Nile into the ring post. Gallus then delivered the Gallus Gate to Julius to retain the titles.
In the penultimate match, Lyra Valkyria faced Tiffany Stratton in a tournament final for the vacant NXT Women's Championship. In the opening stages, Valkyria delivered a missile dropkick, two Northern Lights suplexes, an enzeguiri, and a crucifix powerbomb for a two count. Valkyria then delivered a release German suplex. As Valkyria attempted a spinning leg lariat, her knee tweaked, allowing Stratton to deliver a powerslam. As Stratton attempted a Moonsault, Valkyria moved out of the way and delivered the spinning leg lariat, but Stratton's feet reached the ropes. As Valkyria attempted a top rope powerbomb, Stratton countered it into a hurricana and then delivered a Death Valley Driver and the Prettiest Moonsault Ever to become the new NXT Women's Champion.
In the main event, Carmelo Hayes (with Trick Williams) defended the NXT Championship against Bron Breakker. In the opening stages, Breakker delivered a spinebuster and a belly-to-back suplex. Hayes then delivered the Fadeaway leg drop. Breakker then delivered a top rope frankensteiner for a two count. As Breakker attempted a military press powerslam, Hayes countered into a DDT. Hayes then delivered a pump kick and a springboard forearm, but Breakker prevented the referee from counting. As Breakker attempted the Steiner Recliner, Hayes escaped and hit a pump kick. As Hayes attempted a springboard clothesline, Breakker countered into a mid-air spear for a two count. Hayes then delivered a series of superkicks, a tornado DDT, and the Nothing But Net to retain the title.
Dave Meltzer rated the last man standing match 4.75 stars, which was the highest rated of the night. The lowest rated matches would be the NXT Heritage Cup and the NXT Tag Team Championship matches both receiving 3.25 stars each. The opening triple threat received 3.5 stars, the same as Tiffany vs Lyra. Finally the main event received 4 stars.
|1||Wes Lee (c) defeated Tyler Bate and Joe Gacy (with Ava) by pinfall||Triple threat match for the NXT North American Championship||11:59|
|2||Noam Dar (c) (with Oro Mensah) defeated Dragon Lee (with Nathan Frazer) 2–1||British Rounds Rules match for the NXT Heritage Cup||14:22|
|3||Ilja Dragunov defeated Dijak||Last Man Standing match||15:54|
|4||Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (with Joe Coffey) (c) defeated The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed) (with Ivy Nile) by pinfall||Tag team match for the NXT Tag Team Championship||9:33|
|5||Tiffany Stratton defeated Lyra Valkyria by pinfall||Tournament final for the vacant NXT Women's Championship||16:01|
|6||Carmelo Hayes (c) (with Trick Williams) defeated Bron Breakker by pinfall||Singles match for the NXT Championship||14:14|
(May 9–16, 2023)
(May 23, 2023)
(May 28, 2023)