Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. Last week’s NXT show saw Karrion Kross retain the NXT Title against Johnny Gargano and then after the match, Kross attacked Samoa Joe with a Kross Jacket submission that led to Joe passing out. On Monday’s Raw, Kross lost to Jeff Hardy in less than two minutes since Jeff put his feet on the ropes. That booking decision was a bit strange, so I’m interested to see how they follow up.
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 focused on the Karrion Kross/Samoa Joe based on the end of last week. They used that “The End is Near” song too.
Samoa Joe made his entrance to begin the show with Joe dressed in a t-shirt and jeans along with his wrists/fists taped up. Joe mentioned tick-tock and wanting to smash the clock. William Regal said that Samoa Joe isn’t supposed to be calling out superstars. Joe said that he was provoked. Regal said that Kross put his hands on Joe the referee, not management. Joe said that Kross is out of control, he needs to be put down and he mentioned Karrion’s field trip to Raw last week (one day earlier). Joe said he was there to keep Kross under control. Regal said that Kross is on the way there, all hell will not break loose and they will settle things peacefully. Joe said that he guaranteed tonight will be the end of this, but he can’t guarantee it will end peacefully and he’ll guarantee that tonight, somebody is going to sleep. Joe left.
Analysis: This was an effective way of picking up where last week left off and teasing a big confrontation later in the night. They did it within a few minutes instead of rambling on for too long. I liked it. Good job by Joe and Regal in their roles.
The announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were shown on commentary welcomed us to the show.
There was a video showing Xia Li talking in Chinese (with captions on screen) saying this was the biggest match of her life and she’s going to be WWE NXT Champion. Li said she’ll make history as the first Chinese NXT Women’s Champion.
Diamond Mine’s Roderick Strong and Tyler Rust entered for a match against Kushida and Bobby Fish. Kushida and Fish attacked in the aisle before the bell. Kushida and Fish cleared house as they sent Strong over the top onto Rust.
Diamond Mine – Roderick Strong & Tyler Rust (w/Malcolm Bivens & Hachiman) vs. Kushida & Bobby Fish
Fish with a drop toe hold that sent Strong into the turnbuckle. Kushida, the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, tagged in with a double team kick to the body. Kushida wrenched on the left arm, Fish tagged in, Strong with a kick and Rust was back in with a forearm. Fish with a snapmare and then he jumped over the top onto Rust in the ring. Rust drove Kushida into the corner, Strong tagged in, Kushida with kicks to the arm and Strong came back with a backbreaker. Rust back in with a stomp to Kushida’s back followed by a bely to back suplex for two. Strong back in as he worked over Kushida with chops to the chest. Strong with a double underhook suplex. Rust was back in, Kushida with a double springboard back elbow and Fish was unleashing with kicks to the chest. Fish with a corner splash, Fish punched Strong off the apron and Fish with a sliding clothesline on Rust for two. Fish with knees to the body, Strong helped Rust by grabbing his hands and Rust hit Fish with a forearm to knock him out of the ring. Strong slammed Fish back first onto the edge of the ring apron for a break.
The heels were still in control with Strong hitting a running knee on Fish to keep him down. Rust tagged in with an axe kick for two. Rust worked over the left leg of Fish a bit. Strong was back in with a headlock on Fish. Strong with a trip while Fish was trying to break free. Rust tied up Fish with an abdominal stretch type move and Fish hit a spinebuster. There’s the hot tag for Kushida with the fans cheering big for it with Kushida hitting an atomic drop, hiptoss and a dropkick. Kushida with a kick to the head of Strong and that got a two count. Kushida with a running armbar on the left arm. Strong avoided a kick, Rust was back in and hit a gutwrench powerbomb. Kushida came back with an enziguri kick. Rust went for an ankle lock, Kushida broke free and Rust did a forward neckbreaker with Fish making the save on the pin. Fish tackled Strong out of the ring to the floor. Kushida with a knee off the top, a kick to the left arm and Kushida applied the Hoverboard Lock on the left arm. Rust tapped out quickly to give Kushida’s team the win after 16 minutes.
Winners by submission: Kushida & Bobby Fish
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good tag team match that was given a lot of time. It hurts Diamond Mine by not winning although I think the story makes sense with Kushida getting the win since he was attacked by Diamond Mine in the past. Kushida going for the armbar is how he usually attacks his opponent. Kushida is so great.
They showed an earlier today clip with Cameron Grimes the butler driving LA Knight to the building. Grimes got the bags out of the back of the car. Drake Maverick showed up to try to help Grimes, so Knight got in Drake’s face. Knight challenged Maverick to a match.
Analysis: I’m having Impact Wrestling memories watching those three guys together.
There was a video informing us about the next NXT Takeover on Sunday, August 22. It’s NXT Takeover 36, so they don’t have a theme name for it. It’s at the Capitol Wrestling Center rather than another venue.
Analysis: That’s also the night after SummerSlam, so there will be a lot of writing for me that weekend. I love that because SummerSlam and Takeover should both be outstanding. I was hoping this event would be at a different venue, but I guess WWE is content in staying at the CWC.
There was a video of Odyssey Jones in the NXT Breakout Tournament. He’s in a match later.
Samoa Joe was shown pacing around backstage in anticipation of Karrion Kross’ arrival.
Franky Monet (w/Jessi Kamea & Robert Stone) vs. Jacy Jayne
The bell rang and Stone showed up after the match, so I’m not sure if he’s with the girls legit or just budding in. That’s an ongoing story. Jayne got some offense going with a jumping kick and then she missed a cannonball. Monet hit a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Monet with a kick to the ribs followed by a chinlock, which led to the lovely Mandy Rose showing up at ringside. Mandy sat on the announcer table with her legs extended. Monet worked over Jayne with punches. Jayne with elbows followed by a hurricanrana and a pump kick to the head. Jayne with a running neckbreaker for two. Monet with a kick to the ribs and the Glam Slam finished it off for Monet after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Franky Monet
Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win for Monet, who remains undefeated. Jayne got some offense and looked good as she delivered some of those kicks, but this was about putting over Monet again.
Post match, Monet invited Kamea into the ring and Stone joined in as well. Mandy Rose left the announce table. Monet celebrated the win some more, but wasn’t interested in celebrating with Stone.
Analysis: I would have liked to see more of Rose here. Good thing she posts a lot of photos on her Instagram story all the time. I look at it…for research. It’s my job.
They showed an interview from earlier in the day with Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory. Kyle O’Reilly showed up, mentioned Theory trash talked Kyle and then Kyle challenged Theory to a match. Gargano told Theory he has to do it on his own like “Papa John” (Gargano) did last week.
The announcers talked about how next Tuesday they’ll be on Syfy for the next two weeks for those of you in the US. That’s because USA Network is showing the Summer Olympics. They didn’t say that part, but that’s the reason why.
Analysis: The ratings will suffer for sure not just being on a smaller network, but also going up against the Olympics, which always does big numbers on NBC.
Bronson Reed was interviewed by Wade Barrett earlier in the day. Reed said he had to fight harder than ever to get back. Reed said that people consider Adam Cole the best, so he wants to fight the best and he’ll face him next week. Reed said he’ll finish off Cole next week.
Analysis: When Reed lost the North American Title to Swerve Scott I thought that meant he was going to Raw or Smackdown very soon. It hasn’t happened yet.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Austin Theory
Theory with a waistlock takedown early on to show his size advantage. The fans were chanting for both guys as Kyle kicked the leg. Theory with a forearm, Kyle went for an armbar and Theory hit a suplex. Kyle with a leg trip going for the ankle, but Theory defended against it and Theory grabbed a headlock. Kyle with a knee to the ribs followed by the tease of a big move leading to a slap. Kyle sent Theory to the apron and kicked Theory in the back to send Theory to the floor.
Kyle was in control with kicks to the legs. Theory with a running attack leading to a neckbreaker for two. Theory to the apron and he went for a running dropkick, but Kyle caught the leg for a submission! That was so great, but Theory was able to roll to the bottom rope to break the hold. Theory jumped over the top with a stomp leading to a rolling Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count. Kyle with a running knee to the ribs. Kyle with a kicks, strikes and a sweep kick taking down Theory. Kyle with a running forearm, then an armbar and a knee. Kyle with a kick to the face and a flipping armbar into an ankle lock submission. Theory got to the bottom rope to break, so Kyle hit a knee drop to the left arm. Theory with a back elbow, Kyle with a forearm to the head and Theory avoided a charge leading to a punch to the back. Theory with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two and then a cradle suplex into the knee for a two count. Theory removed the top half of the steel steps, but then Kyle was fired up since he was injured on those steps and Kyle sent Theory into the steps. Back in the ring, Kyle with a trip followed by punches, then kicks and brutal forearm to the jaw. Kyle with a knee to the chest. Kyle went up top and hit a knee drop to the left knee. Kyle applied a heel hook submission on the left leg/ankle and Theory tapped out to give Kyle the win after 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Kyle O’Reilly
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good match that may have gone a few minutes too many. It likely went a bit longer to show that Theory could compete with Kyle although I don’t think anybody watching this thought that Kyle was going to lose. Theory has a bright future while Kyle is pretty much a main eventer in NXT these days. After Theory got a couple of nearfalls, Kyle snapped when he saw that he might get sent into the steel steps again and then Kyle was able to make the big comeback for the win after that.
Raquel Gonzalez, the NXT Women’s Champion, was interviewed with Dakota Kai by her side. Gonzalez did a cocky promo. Kai said after she beats Ember Moon last week, Xia Li stole the spotlight. Gonzalez said that Xia Li and her friends don’t scare her. Raquel said after she puts Xia down, there will be nobody left.
Analysis: I wonder when they pull the trigger on the split between Gonzalez and Kai. They are good together, but it seems likely that they are doing a split at some point soon. It hasn’t really been teased yet, though.
Legado del Fantasma was up next.
Mariachi Madness Musical with Legado del Fantasma
The Legado trio entered the ring with some masked Mariachi guys in the ring. Santos Escobar told the two masked guys he’s not going to need them tonight. Escobar was going to give us a taste of mariachi because it’s the best music in the world. Escobar said that he won’t lower himself to entertain us because you ain’t worth it. Escobar said he won’t do the Hit Row thing by embarrassing himself. Escobar asked if this is a battle of styles? Escobar said that his style is being the true champion. Escobar said that he’s going to take that North American Title and put it up there with blood, tradition, heritage and familia and here comes Hit Row.
Hit Row’s foursome of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott entered with B-Fab, Ashante Thee Adonis and Top Dolla. B-Fab said that their music is trash. Top Dolla said he’s like Pablo Escobar and did a rap on Legado. Dolla said that he was bigger than all three of them in sixth grade. Swerve said that it took the entire Legado from preventing Swerve from getting his title, so now he got his own group. Swerve said he’s going to make Santos his bitch and in ten years, the apple is not going to fall too far from the tree. Escobar said he’s going to take that title and bring it back to Mexico to him Adonis said they’ve got action.
Hit Row entered the ring with the Legado trio. Dolla punched Mendoza out of the ring while Adonis kicked Wilde out of the win. Swerve got into a brawl with Escobar, there was a guitar in the ring, B-Fab took it from Escobar and Swerve punched Escobar. Swerve got the guitar, so Escobar bailed from the ring. Wilde was left alone, Adonis hit a superkick and Swerve hit Wilde in the back with the guitar. Wilde rolled out of the ring by Escobar, who had a shocked look on his face. Hit Row’s music played to end it.
Analysis: I like both groups and Hit Row has definitely won me over as well as the crowd. I just think it’s too soon for Hit Row to turn babyface because the whole point of the group was to help Swerve win matches like they helped him win the North American Title. I understand why it was done because the fans like Hit Row’s raps and the characters are easy to like, but I just think they work better as heels. With that said, Scott and Escobar have had great matches in the past, so I think they can do that again whenever the title match happens.
The Way was in their dressing room with Johnny Gargano telling people to calm down. Candice LeRae summarized their losing lately. Indi Hartwell had a weird line about kissing Dexter. Theory tried to talk and do the pose with Johnny, but nobody paid attention to him, so Theory left.
Samoa Joe was shown pacing in a hallway. William Regal showed up to him saying Karrion Kross will show up and Joe needs to calm down. Joe said he respects Regal, but he’ll be the one to greet Kross when he arrives. Regal wanted him to do it peacefully.
NXT Breakout Tournament First Round: Andre Chase vs. Odyssey Jones
Jones is a big guy that’s a babyface that weighing about 400 pounds. Chase is a generic regular size guy. Jones lifted Chase over his head, but Chase broke free and hit some kicks, but Jones came back with a shoulder tackle. Jones with a clothesline over the top to the floor. They did a spot with Chase jumping over the top onto Jones, who was supposed to catch him, but then Chase hit the floor. That led to Jones slamming Chase onto the announce table. Chase came back with a shove into the ring post and that got a two count. Chase with a kick to the arm and a flipping Stunner. Chase went up top and hit a moonsault onto a standing Jones for a two count. Jones came back with running body attacks along with a cross body block. Jones with two corner splashes and he held Chase up in the air leading to a slam into the mat. They got about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Odyssey Jones
Analysis: *3/4 It’s smart to keep these matches short because these guys are new. Jones is a huge guy that stands out due to his size, so he’s obviously a favorite in the Breakout Tournament and as long as he keeps improving, he has a bright future. It’s good to be that big in WWE. Chase had good moves and obviously has a lot of talent. That spot they messed up on the floor was bad, but they got through it just fine.
The MSK tag team that are the NXT Tag Team Champions were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. MSK said that they will face any challengers. MSK were about to say what their name means, but then there was an Imperium promo from Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner. They ripped on other tag teams. When that ended, the MSK guys told Mckenzie that’s what MSK stands for. They left.
Analysis: Nice job of joking around about how fans don’t know what MSK stands for.
Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan were featured in an interview. Dunne said that last week Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher stepped up. They challenged them for a “scrap” next week.
Analysis: That should be a good tag team match. Lorcan will probably get pinned in it.
LA Knight made his entrance with the Million Dollar Championship and Cameron Grimes the butler joined him. Drake Maverick was already in the ring.
LA Knight (w/Cameron Grimes) vs. Drake Maverick
Maverick with a dropkick early on, but then Knight came back with a belly to back suplex. Knight wanted Grimes to hold up the Million Dollar Title in the air at ringside. Maverick jumped off the top with a cross body block. Maverick with a running attack, Knight caught him and Knight hit a fallaway slam across the ring. Knight was mad at the fans chanting for Grimes. Knight yelled at Grimes some more, so Maverick dropkicked Knight into the title (that Grimes was holding) and Maverick got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drake Maverick
Analysis: * This is a match where you might have expected an easy win for Knight, but Maverick got the upset win. I liked how they booked it as a fluky finish even though it was the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! once again.
Post match, Knight hit Maverick with a clothesline and punched Maverick. Knight told Grimes this was his fault. Grimes went into the ring, the fans wanted him to attack Knight, but Grimes just pulled Knight off after the match was over. Knight told Grimes that he’s going to hit Maverick. Grimes didn’t want to do that. Knight told Grimes to punch him or kick him. Knight held Maverick, so Grimes punched Maverick in the face and Grimes felt terrible about it. Knight loved it.
Analysis: Good drama here. This is definitely one of the best storylines in NXT right now. When Grimes turns on Knight likely in a few weeks, it’s going to draw a big pop from the crowd and add more heat to this rivalry. Plus, this post-match happening likely made people quickly forget that Maverick beat Knight like that.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai were shown warming up.
A video aired from last week showing Xia Li challenging Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Championship Match in the main event.
There was a car that was shown pulling up to the arena. There was a bald guy, Joe grabbed him asking where is he and the guy said that Karrion Kross went in another door in the building.
Next week on NXT:
* Adam Cole vs. Bronson Reed.
* Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher.
* Carmelo Hayes vs. Josh Briggs in the NXT Breakout Tournament.
Xia Li made her entrance alone without her allies. Raquel Gonzalez was up next as the NXT Women’s Champion with Dakota Kai. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions.
NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (w/Dakota Kai) vs. Xia Li
There was a big size difference here with Gonzalez being much taller. Gonzalez with a shoulder tackle, Li kipped up and kicked the leg. Gonzalez blocked a sunset flip attempt and sent Li into the turnbuckle. Gonzalez hit a running kick to the head. Gonzalez sent Lee shoulder first into the ring post. Gonzalez charged, Li moved and Li wrenched the left leg around the ring post. Gonzalez shoved Li back, but then Li shoved Gonzalez into the steel steps.
Li was aggressive with punches while Gonzalez was against the turnbuckle. Li with three dropkicks to the left knee while it was up against the rope. Li applied a half grab submission on the left leg, Gonzalez powered out of it and Gonzalez hit a fallaway slam. Gonzalez with a clothesline followed by a dropkick for two. Li with a knee to the head, then they messed up some pinning attempt spot and Li came back with a kick to the back. Li with a spinning kick to the back of Gonzalez for a two count. Gonzalez came back with a spinebuster. Gonzalez jumped off the middle rope with a twisting splash landing with a lot of weight on the ribs. Li was grabbing her ribs immediately as Gonzalez got a two count. Li rolled over, the referee checked on her and then WWE Medical checked on Li as well. Li was legitimately hurt with a rib injury or something like that, so the match stopped for a few minutes. Li must have told them that she was okay to finish because the referee talked to Gonzalez likely to put a finish to this. Gonzalez hit her huge Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Raquel Gonzalez
Analysis: **1/4 This was a below average match in part due to the injury scare at the end of the match. I don’t think they were on their way to having a great match anyway. Since neither woman is a babyface, I think that hurt the match. They also aren’t that experienced. Gonzalez is better against the pure babyfaces that are going to bump around for her power moves and get in some shots when needed. Gonzalez getting the win was the expected result.
Samoa Joe went out to the ring with a microphone. Joe: “Karrion Kross! Come out and play!” Joe told Karrion Kross that there will be a price to pay. Joe wanted Kross to get out there. Kross appeared on the screen saying he is the new beginning and the way of the future. Kross said that he can go wherever he wants, he can do whatever he wants and he can hurt anybody he wants. The camera panned down to show William Regal on the ground looking like he was attacked. Joe ran to the back. Kross asked Joe if he feels like he is in control. Kross got into a car and drove away. Joe ran out there, but he was too late. The final shot had Regal on the ground and Joe yelling about what happened. End show.
Analysis: Good stuff here to keep the feud hot. I assume they are going to do Kross vs. Joe at the next Takeover and we might see Joe win the title since Kross is probably going to be on Raw regularly. I don’t know if Joe is cleared to wrestle, but I assume he might be since they have put him in this storyline.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kyle O’Reilly
- Kushida/Bobby Fish
- Austin Theory
This week: 6 out of 10
Last week: 7
2021 Average: 7.47
This was a below average episode of NXT that was lacking the great matches and big moments that NXT usually delivers. This episode was more about building for the future. There were still two good matches over three stars, but in NXT the standards are higher than that. The tag with Kushida/Fish beating Strong/Rust was really good and I liked O’Reilly beating Theory as well. The NXT Women’s Title match with Raquel Gonzalez and Xia Li turned into a bit of a mess since Li was hurt during the match (she’s okay now), which led to Raquel winning in predictable fashion. That was a hard match to get into since they are both heels.
Some of the non-wrestling segments were pretty good. I think the LA Knight/Cameron Grimes feud remains one of the best things on NXT and when Grimes the butler fights back against Knight it’s going to be a big deal. I liked the Hit Row/Legado segment too, but I prefer Hit Row as heels. Then there was the Samoa Joe/Karrion Kross story with Kross taking out William Regal to end the night and driving off before Joe could get his hands on him. That’s the best story in NXT right now.
Next week’s lineup looks better although they are going to take a hit being on Syfy for two weeks due to the Summer Olympics. A lot of wrestling shows are going to take a hit due to the Summer Olympics, so people obsessed with wrestling ratings will probably freak out about that.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.