Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. It’s a bigger than normal show because it’s the Great American Bash special.
This episode is taking place at the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Check out my WWE NXT review archive here. Let’s get to it.
The opening video package hyped up the matches coming up at the Great American Bash. They had some Dusty Rhodes clips welcoming us to the Great American Bash as well because the legendary American Dream is the one that came up with the show name in the 1980s.
They had a cool design as part of the set with the Statue of Liberty and American flags in place. There was a decent sized crowd at the Capitol Wrestling Center making a lot of noise. The announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix welcomed us to the show.
The NXT Tag Team Title match was up with champions MSK entering first and challengers Ciampa & Thatcher up next. They had red, white and blue ropes to go along with the Great American bash theme.
NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
The fans were chanting for both teams because they are both babyfaces. Ciampa decked Carter with a hard chop and Carter ran the ropes leading to a twisting cross body block off the middle rope. Thatcher and Lee were the legal men with Thatcher going for an armbar, then all four guys got in the ring and Thatcher/Ciampa delivered repeated forearms to the chest of the MSK guys. Thatcher delivered knees to the ribs of Lee and an elbow drop to the back. Ciampa back in with a hard chop on Lee followed by a running knee to the face for two. Ciampa with a shoulder tackle, but then Lee came back with an impressive dropkick. Lee hit a running forearm, Carter back in with an uppercut and an enziguri kick to the head. Carter with a rising knee, then a kick to the chest. Carter went for a moonsault off the ropes to the floor, but Thatcher moved Ciampa out of the way and then Ciampa connected with a running clothesline on Carter on the floor.
Ciampa was still the legal man with Carter, but Carter broke free and Lee tagged in with strikes. Lee hit a dropkick to the back of a seated Ciampa. Thatcher pulled the rope to send a running Lee to the floor. Ciampa with a knee to the ribs. Lee delivered kicks to legal man Thatcher, Carter was back in, Lee with an enziguri kick and Carter did an assisted moonsault after a shove from Lee. That’s such a great spot. Thatcher came back with a belly to belly suplex. Ciampa back in to work on Carter with forearms, but then Carter hit some punches to try to fight back. Ciampa with a jumping knee to the jaw of Carter. Ciampa and Carter got into a slugfest, Carter takedown leading to punches, Ciampa ran the ropes and a Carter hit a knee to the face. Lee was back in, Thatcher hit Ciampa by accident, Lee hit Thatcher in the face and Lee hit a 619 kick on Thatcher. Lee went for a handspring attack, but then Ciampa hit a dropkick. Ciampa lifted up Lee for a Powerbomb into the knees for Project Ciampa for a two count. That was a great nearfall. The fans thought that was it. Lee countered a pin attempt with Ciampa’s arm hooked and Lee got a two count. Thatcher back in, Lee kicked himself free and brought in Carter, who hit a knee to Thatcher. Ciampa back in with running clotheslines and Carter trapped Ciampa against the ropes with a superkick. Lee forearm, Carter with a dropkick on Ciampa and Carter hit a Senton Bomb on Ciampa. Lee hit a twisting splash off the top on Ciampa for a two count because Thatcher pulled Lee out of the ring. Carter went after Thatcher, but Timmy hit him with an uppercut. Thatcher was back in with Ciampa doing a Fairytale Ending and then Carter tackled Ciampa into Thatcher, who was going for an Ankle Lock. Lee with an inside cradle on Thatcher and Ciampa was on the apron on the other side of the ring, so he wasn’t able to make the save as Lee got the three count on Thatcher. This went about 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great tag team match with a lot of big moves for both sides. I thought Ciampa stood out the most with his performance because it gave me flashbacks of some of the amazing stuff he would do in the #DIY days. That’s taking nothing away from Thatcher, who did well as well, but Ciampa looks like he’s at his best right now. The MSK team are lightning quick with everything they do. The inside cradle finish is a way to show that Lee barely got the win on Thatcher and it was only because Carter took out Ciampa moments before that, so Ciampa was unable to make the save. I thought a title change was possible here, but I certainly don’t have a problem with MSK retaining and I think they have plenty of teams to feud with as well.
Still to come: LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes.
The battery charger was at 91% meaning that it was getting close to being full.
They showed Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly arriving at the building earlier in the day.
Let’s Hear from Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano
The NXT General Manager William Regal and enforcer Samoa Joe were in the ring. Regal demanded that NXT Champion Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano come down to the ring due to their issues in the last few weeks.
Johnny Gargano was out first followed by Karrion Kross, who was wearing the NXT Title around his waist. There was no Scarlett with Kross. There were security guys around ringside.
Gargano told Kross: “You suck.” The fans chanted that at Kross as well. Gargano said he’s been living rent-free in Karrion’s head for weeks. Gargano said that Kross is terrified to get in this ring with Gargano because Kross knows that Gargano will expose him. Regal said he cannot let this go on, so next week Kross will defend the NXT Title against Gargano.
Kross asked Gargano if he thinks that Kross is afraid of him. Kross said that Gargano almost got run over because he was in the way of Karrion’s car. Kross said that every morning he thinks about three things – how he will not lose the NXT Champion, he’ll main event WrestleMania and one day become WWE Champion. Kross ripped on Johnny for wearing his wife’s jeans. Kross said that people like Johnny spend their lives getting their asses kicked by people like him. Regal told the wrestlers that Samoa Joe will be the special guest referee. Gargano said it was interesting that Kross mentioned Johnny’s wife’s pants because Kross can’t lace Johnny’s wife’s (Candice LeRae) boots. Kross suggests not waiting until next week, but Samoa Joe stood in front of Kross and that ended things.
Analysis: It’s interesting that they are going with the NXT Title match next week. Since we know Karrion Kross has had tryouts in front of the main WWE bosses prior to Raw and Smackdown in recent weeks, it could mean that Gargano is going to win the NXT Title next week. In fact, I think that’s my prediction. It would be similar to Keith Lee losing the NXT Title last summer and then debuting on Raw shortly after. That way WWE can have Kross debut on Smackdown or Raw when the fans are back to make it feel like a big deal. Bronson Reed lost the NXT North American Title likely for a similar reason last week as well.
A video aired to set up the LA Knight match against Cameron Grimes. That match is next.
There was a video featuring NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida saying he was ready for the Diamond Mine guys coming after him. Kushida spoke in Japanese, but the captions appeared on the screen.
LA Knight entered as the Million Dollar Champion. This match is sponsored by Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade. Cameron Grimes got a nice ovation for his entrance since he’s a babyface now.
Million Dollar Championship: LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes
If Cameron Grimes loses then he might become LA Knight’s butler.
Grimes was on fire early on after Knight was on the floor and Grimes did a PK kick to the chest. Back in the ring, Grimes hit a cross body block for two. Grimes came back with a rising back elbow to the head. Grimes with a hard whip into the turnbuckle followed by Knight doing a neckbreaker against the top rope. Knight jumped over the top right into a forearm by Grimes. Grimes hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Knight sent Grimes face first into the top turnbuckle and Knight hit a spinning powerslam. They went to a picture in picture break.
Grimes hit a jawbreaker, Knight with a knee to the ribs and then they ran the ropes leading to a great spot where Grimes hit a cross body block leading to both guys flipping over. That’s such a cool spot. The crowd was solidly behind Grimes as the wrestlers exchanged chops. Knight grabbed Grimes’ hair, so then Grimes came back with punches and two running forearms. Grimes with a spinning side slam for two. Grimes with a corner clothesline, then he wanted Garman Suplex and Knight blocked that. Knight lifted up Grimes on his shoulders and hit a slam off the shoulders like a reverse DVD for a two count. Grimes got a backslide pin for two. Grimes with a kick to the head, Knight sent Grimes to the apron and when Grimes was up top, Knight delivered a superplex off the middle rope for two. Knight brought the Million Dollar Title into the ring, the referee took the title from him and the wrestlers battled over a pin attempt with Knight grabbing the tights for a two count. Grimes with a Poison Rana for a two count. Great nearfall for that reverse hurricanrana. Grimes went for an attack, but Knight bailed to the floor. Knight tripped up Grimes on the apron. Knight hit a DDT onto the Million Dollar Title that was on the floor, so the referee didn’t see that the DDT was right on the title. Grimes got back in right before the ten count. The fans chanted “To The Moon” for Grimes. Knight hit the BFT which is like a front-falling neckbreaker for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: LA Knight
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a really good match although their Ladder Match at the last Takeover was better. I thought the spot with the DDT on the title was really creative because it was done in a way where the referee couldn’t see it from where he was in the ring. That led to Grimes selling it as a big move and Knight capitalized to get the win shortly after. It’s really cool to see how much the fans are supporting Grimes and getting behind him on every nearfall. There were a few moments in the match where I thought Grimes might get the win. These two work well together.
The match result means that Grimes will be Knight’s butler.
LA Knight celebrated with the Million Dollar Title. Barrett said that this was great. Knight told Grimes that he has stuff for him to do.
Analysis: The butler thing should lead to some interesting skits between them. Grimes is funny in that environment while Knight is good at being a jerk.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Dakota complained about the other women tag teams with Dakota saying they put Shotzi Blackheart on the shelf before and Raquel said next time it will be for good.
NXT 2021 Breakout Tournament Announcement
There were eight men on the stage as participants for the NXT 2021 Breakout Tournament. They were introduced to us while they were on the stage. The names are: Trey Baxter, Carmelo Hayes, Andre Chase, Josh Briggs (big dude at 6’8” and 290 pounds), Ikemen Jiro (Japanese superstar), Joe Gacy, Odyssey Jones (biggest man in the tournament at 405 pounds) and Duke Hudson. Hudson used to be named Brendan Vink and is a bigger guy that has wrestled on Raw in the past. The tournament begins next week.
Next week in the first round of the NXT Breakout Tournament: Ikemen Jiro vs. Duke Hudson.
Analysis: I have been really impressed by Carmelo Hayes and Trey Baxter. I’ve seen Hudson plenty of times. Some of the others I have seen a bit, but not that much. I think the 2021 Breakout Tournament should be interesting. I think Hayes might win, but if they go with a bigger wrestler then Duke Hudson might be who they go with.
The introductions took place for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Title match for the third championship match of the night. The challengers Zoey Stark and the great Io Shirai were up first. The championship duo of Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell were representing The Way stable.
NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: The Way – Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark
Hartwell was wearing her Razor Ramon inspired gear. Shirai was aggressive early with a kick to Hartwell’s knee and then a dropkick to the body. Hartwell with a slam, LeRae tagged in for a pin attempt and Hartwell back in with Shirai kicking both women down. Shirai hit an impressive missile dropkick off the top on Hartwell for a two count. Stark tagged in for a double team suplex on Hartwell. Stark with a backslide pin for two, then a kick to the head and Hartwell stopped Stark with a back elbow. Hartwell with a suplex across the top rope leading to a break.
Hartwell was in control of Stark with an armbar, Stark broke free and hit a kick to the head. Shirai faced off against longtime rival LeRae. Shirai with a flapjack and a 619 kick followed by a springboard missile dropkick. Stark was back in and they did a double team backbreaker into a superkick for two. Stark hit a sliding kick to the head for two. Shirai went up for the moonsault, she jumped off and LeRae moved, so Shirai hit the mat. LeRae applied the Gargano Escape on Shirai while Hartwell applied The Silencer (Dexter Lumis’ finisher) on Stark at the same time and then Shirai countered LeRae, so Hartwell let go. Shirai with a palm strike. Shirai up top, Hartwell distraction and LeRae hit a German Suplex off the top. Hartwell with a boot to the face of Stark. Hartwell with a spinning slam on Shirai for a two count. LeRae back in with Shirai getting an inside cradle and then LeRae kicked Shirai. The lights went out in the building as the charging graphic displayed on the screen showing that it was at 100%. It was Tegan Nox back in action after a major knee injury. Candice was stunned by that. Shirai dropkicked Hartwell into LeRae, who went out of the ring. Stark flipped over Hartwell and hit a knee to the face (K360) for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark
Analysis: *** A good match here with a title change that was somewhat expected because NXT has shown that they don’t necessarily need long term Women’s Tag Team Champions. Shirai is as talented as any women’s wrestler anywhere while Stark has been impressive, so it’s a nice boost for Stark to win the first title of her career. Candice was the one that took out Nox in the storyline, so that’s why she was stunned to see Nox back and then Hartwell paid the price for that since Hartwell took the pin. I don’t really like finishes with the lights going out and a distraction like that, but I understand why they did it this way.
Nox chased after LeRae with Nox wearing a brace on her surgically repaired left knee. Nox attacked LeRae with punches while Hartwell was down in the ring. LeRae was able to escape and ran away through the crowd.
Analysis: The return of Nox also meant the end of the charging graphic. Good to see Nox brought back to TV in a big way. Nox is one of the most natural babyfaces they have. It’s cool to see her back in action and I hope she’s healthy for the rest of her career.
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were handed the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles and they celebrated in the ring.
The NXT North American Championship Cypher Celebration is up next.
Toni Storm was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. She claimed that Sarray is not on her level, so she said “no” to having a match against her.
There was a clip from moments ago during the break when Dexter Lumis carried Indi Hartwell to the backstage area. Beth Phoenix loved it.
The NXT North American Championship Cypher Celebration
The Hit Row group of NXT North American Champion Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab were on the stage celebrating Swerve’s title win last week. Adonis was the DJ. B-Fab did an impressive rap. Top Dolla also did a rap while shouting out some wrestlers in NXT as well. Swerve was up next for his own words. They joined together to sing the Hit Row theme song. It was nice to hear the whole thing and see how well the four of them work together.
Analysis: It’s hard to recap that, but I will say I’m a huge fan of hip-hop in general and it’s cool to see this group adding their unique style to the show. Hit Row is a cool act that’s fun to watch. Scott is also one of my favorite wrestlers in NXT, so I look forward to his reign as the NXT North American Champion. The Top Dolla/Adonis tag team is still early in their run, but I expect them to slowly get a solid push in the tag team division. I think Hit Row has been one of the best new acts in NXT this year.
There was a video package about Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly II. O’Reilly won their last match which was a wild brawl, so Cole has a chance at redemption. That main event match was up next.
The NXT GM William Regal and Samoa Joe were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Regal went over the show so far. Joe is the main event of Karrion Kross vs. Johnny Gargano next week. Joe said as long as he’s not provoked, everything should be okay. Joe said “let the best man win.”
Next week on NXT:
* Karrion Kross defends the NXT Championship vs. Johnny Gargano with Samoa Joe as the referee.
* The NXT 2021 Breakout Tournament begins. They announced the first match earlier: Ikemen Jiro vs. Duke Hudson
Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance for the main event against his former best friend that’s now his rival. Adam Cole was up next. I still miss the Undisputed Era theme song and this new generic song for Cole just isn’t as effective to me. Cole had some tape on the left knee to sell a previous attack from Kyle.
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
There was a lot of time left for this match. They started off with some technical wrestling as they battled over some holds and then Cole bailed to the floor to avoid a kick.
The match returned with Cole going for a sunset flip and then Kyle turning it into an armbar and then into an Ankle Lock. Cole broke the hold by getting to the rope, so Kyle delivered a knee to the ribs. Kyle with knee strikes to the body and then a running knee to the spine. Cole with a back elbow to the head, then he ran the ropes and Kyle kicked him in the arm. Cole went for a jumping kick, Kyle moved and Cole avoided a kick off the apron. Cole delivered a neckbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Cole with a more traditional neckbreaker. Cole with a hard whip into the turnbuckle with Kyle doing the sternum bump (like Bret Hart). Cole applied a leg scissors around the throat of Kyle while the fans were chanting for both guys. Kyle let go of that, he picked up Kyle, but Kyle delivered elbows and hit a knee to Cole’s ribs. Kyle with strikes, a kick to the chest and a sweep kick to take down Cole. Kyle with a running forearm, then he pulled on the arm and Kyle hit two double underhook suplexes followed by a DDT for a two count. Kyle with a kneebreaker, Cole missed a kick to the head, Kyle missed a kick because Cole moved and Cole hit a Backstabber for a two count. Cole trash talked Kyle and even mentioned his “stupid wife” so Kyle attacked him with punches along with forearms. Cole slipped out of the corner followed by a superkick to the left leg, so Kyle collapsed to the match. Cole swung Kyle’s left leg into the ring post repeatedly. They went to a picture in picture break.
The match returned with a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down. Cole and Kyle exchanged forearms, Cole with a pump kick and Cole stretched the left knee against the middle rope. Kyle got a hold of the left knee of Cole and wrenched it against the middle rope. Cole went for a suplex, Kyle got out of that and then they each delivered kicks to the knees. Cole with a chop block to the back of the left knee. Cole with a running knee to the face for two. Cole jumped off the middle rope, Kyle moved and Kyle managed to catch a superkick. Kyle hit a bridging German Suplex style move for a two count. That was an impressive move with a rough landing for Cole. Kyle was on top of Cole with punches and then Kyle went for an armbar. Cole went for a submission, but Kyle got an inside cradle for two. Kyle went for the heel hook submission, then Cole got out of that and Cole applied a Figure Four Leglock submission. Kyle tried to turn it around, Kyle kicked his way free and Kyle tied up Cole’s legs leading to an Ankle Lock-like submission. Cole nearly tapped out, but he was able to grab the bottom rope to break free. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Cole with an enziguri kick to the head, then Kyle with a knee to the jaw, kick to the back and a forearm to the head. Cole with another jumping kick and then Kyle hit a running kick leading to Kyle bumping to the floor after he delivered the move. Cole to the apron and jumped off with a Panama Sunrise (Destroyer) on the floor! That was crazy. It got a two count when they were back in the ring because Kyle got his right leg on the bottom rope. Kyle tripped up Cole, but then Cole broke free with a superkick. Kyle bounced off the ropes with a clothesline and a brainbuster. Kyle went up top, he jumped off with the knee drop, but Cole moved and Cole hit the Last Shot knee to the back for one…two…and no! Kyle kicked out. The fans popped big for that nearfall. Cole went for Panama Sunrise again, Kyle with an armdrag and then Cole hit multiple kicks to the knee. Cole jumped off the middle rope with Kyle using the injured left knee. Cole hit the Panama Sunrise off the middle rope for a two count. Cole hit the Last Shot knee for the one…two…and three for the win. It went 24 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole
Analysis: ****1/4 This was an outstanding wrestling match. They were given a lot of time, they know eachother so well, they have similar styles and they were able to tell an interesting story for over 20 minutes. They went for nearfalls throughout the match, they had submissions and I thought they could have had gone for even more submissions in the match. I liked the finish a lot because you had the story that even though Kyle hit a knee to the ribs, it was with the injured left knee and that hurt Kyle more than it helped him. That led to Cole hitting his second Panama Sunrise and his second Last Shot of the match to win. That’s how you tell a story within a match. I think getting nearly 25 minutes helped a lot because they were able to tell a story with big moves (like the Panama Sunrise on the floor) with a lot of long selling spots. Some people don’t like the long selling spots, but I really like when guys lay out to sell for a bit because that’s part of the story of a long match. The win by Cole didn’t surprise me that much because Kyle won the last match, so if they are going to make this a best of three series at least then Cole should have won here.
Cole celebrated the win while Kyle was down on the mat selling the knee injury. They went about eight minutes past the top of the hour for the overrun. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Cole and O’Reilly are now 1-1 in singles matches, so I assume it leads to a third match at the next Takeover in August. Kyle O’Reilly should probably win the feud. I also think Cole is likely to be on Raw or Smackdown soon, but that’s just guessing my part. That’s just why I think Kyle should win the feud.
Three Stars of the Show
- Adam Cole
- Kyle O’Reilly
- MSK and Ciampa/Thatcher
This week: 8.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
2021 Average: 7.54
It was a bigger episode of NXT because it was the Great American Bash and there was a heavy focus on in-ring action. I thought most of the matches were good while the main event of Cole beating O’Reilly was terrific. I don’t know where it rates on best TV matches of the year because we have had a lot of four-star level (or higher) main events this year, so add this to the list. I enjoyed it immensely.
I liked the NXT Tag Team Title match a lot. MSK and Ciampa/Thatcher have different styles, but it worked. The finish was smart with an inside cradle to show how close it was. The NXT Women’s Tag Team Title change was not a shock, but I was surprised by how they booked it. While I’m glad to see Tegan Nox back after a long absence due to injury (welcome back Tegan!), I don’t like seeing the lights go out during a match for a distraction. Anyway, Shirai and Stark are a fun team to watch, so I’m happy they won the titles. LA Knight beating Cameron Grimes should lead to some comedic skits with Grimes as Knight’s butler now.
They also set up a big match for next week with Karrion Kross defending the NXT Title against Johnny Gargano with Samoa Joe as the referee. Is there a title change coming since Kross might be headed to Raw or Smackdown soon? I assume that’s the plan. It’s similar to Keith Lee last summer losing the title and going to Raw shortly after. Anyway, we’ll find out next week.
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