After watching the first four rounds of the 2023 WWE Draft on SmackDown – which, curiously enough, featured four acts selected in each round instead of one per brand – fans tuned in to the SmackDown LowDown on Saturday morning to see where the performers who weren't selected, about a dozen names, plus a few “select NXT Superstars” would be performing moving forward. One of those supplemental performers elevated from NXT was JD McDonagh, who just completed his program with Ilja Dragunov on NXT.
Taking to Twitter to celebrate the occasion, “The Irish Ace” decided not to leave NXT without a proper goodbye, and offered up an open challenge to whoever felt brave enough to be his final developmental opponent.
“So it’s official, and the word’s out now. Monday Night RAW’s drafted the ‘Irish Ace,’ JD McDonagh,” McDonagh said. “That makes next Tuesday night a very special night for me, cuz it’s my last in NXT. And I thought to myself, I can ride off into the sunset, but what better way to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that RAW just made the greatest acquisition of the 2023 draft than by tearing the house down at NXT one more time? So any member of the roster that’s man enough, if you wanna come face to face with ‘The Irish Ace,’ if you wanna test yourself against one of the best in the world, this is your last opportunity. So Tuesday night, you know where to find me.”
Fortunately for JD, he didn't have to wait long for a challenger, as about a third of the NXT roster offered up their services for the showcase match, with Dragon Lee ultimately earning the honor. With the brand split not taking effect until after Backlash, it looks like McDonagh and Lee are primed for one final barn-burner before the Dublin native is off to the Red Brand.
One more time. 🇮🇪♠️#WWENXT #WWEDraft pic.twitter.com/ZfcWSxXc5y
— JD McDonagh (@jd_mcdonagh) April 29, 2023