The John Report: WWE NXT 03/24/21 Review

The John Report: WWE NXT 03/24/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. I’m doing the usual NXT format with summaries of the matches and I’ll go play by play for the main event.

This episode took place at NXT’s home called the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Check out my past WWE NXT reviews right here. Please follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.

They showed highlights of last week’s NXT main event when Karrion Kross attacked Finn Balor after Finn dropkicked Oney Lorcan into Scarlett. Kross decked Balor with a forearm to the back.

Adam Cole was shown arriving before the show with security guys accompanying him in the building.

They went straight to the action this week. The announce team of Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix and Wade Barrett were on hand to call the action. We found out a few days ago that Raquel Gonzalez will challenge Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title in two weeks in the main event of Takeover Stand & Deliver night one.

Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark

This was set up last week with NXT Women’s Champion Shirai teaming with newcomer Stark. Gonzalez was used her power to dominate, then Stark hit a running knee and then Gonzalez hit a clothesline. Kai with a slap, Stark slapped back and Shirai was in for her team. Shirai hit an impressive running dropkick on Kai. Shirai and Kai did a sequence of moves leading to multiple two counts for each woman. After Stark tagged in, Kai did a hair pull to take Stark down. Gonzalez was back in with some power moves including a slam off the shoulders right into a kick from Kai for a two count.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Shirai on fire including a 619 kick on Gonzalez followed by a missile dropkick. Stark hit an impressive springboard missile dropkick and then Stark took out Gonzalez with a dive. Stark avoided a charging Gonzalez and Gonzalez hit the ring post, so then Shirai hit a moonsault off the top on Gonzalez on the floor. Back in the ring. Gonzalez got a hold of Stark and hit a huge Powerbomb. Gonzalez kicked Shirai off the apron and hit another huge Powerbomb on Stark to get the pinfall win after around 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez

Analysis: **3/4 A dominant showing for Gonzalez, which is the norm for her in most of her matches. That’s the exact result I would have predicted with Gonzalez getting the win and beating Starks rather than Shirai. It was booked fine, but it was just an average tag team match.

Post match, Gonzalez and Shirai had a showdown, Kai tried a cheap attack, so Shirai knocked her out of the ring. That allowed Gonzalez to hit a running kick on Shirai. Outside the ring. Gonzalez with a Powerbomb onto the announce table. The table did not break.

Women’s Champion Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

Analysis: It was a message sent from Gonzalez to show how powerful she is and how easily she can handle Shirai. I think Gonzalez is the next champion. I have thought that since December when Gonzalez pinned Shira in the WarGames match.

They showed camera footage from Kyle O’Reilly at a Gracie training facility and Adam Cole showed up to attack him. Coley and Kyle exchanged strikes, but then they were separated.

Kyle O’Reilly was interviewed backstage with Roderick Strong walking up to him. Strong told Kyle he needed to kick Cole’s ass for us. Kyle said there is no us, this is between him and Cole. Strong told Kyle that him and Adam can go to hell.

LA Knight was shown walking down a hallway doing a promo about his match with Bronson Reed. Knight said that this is his game and that’s not an insult, it’s just a fact of life.

(Commercial)

There was a promo from NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin talking about his match with Kushida. Devlin told Kushida he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bronson Reed vs. LA Knight

Reed used his power early with a big shoulder tackle and back body drop. Knight jumped off the turnbuckle right into a powerslam by Reed. There was a hard chop to the test by Reed along with Reed slapping on a waist lock on the mat. Knight got some offense by sending Reed throat first into the top rope and then hitting a shoulder tackle. Knight worked over Reed with forearms as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Knight with a dropkick to the knee followed by a knee to the face. Knight continued the offense with punches, Reed charged into the corner, Knight moved and Reed hit the turnbuckle leading to Knight hitting a neckbreaker for two. Knight charged right into an elbow to the face. Reed began the comeback with a running body smash and a corner smash. Reed hit a spinning Chokeslam with no cover attempt. Reed went up top, he did a slow climb and Knight tripped him on the top. Reed ended up shoving Knight off the top and Reed hit a Tsunami splash on Knight for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

Analysis: *** A good match that was competitive with Knight getting plenty of offense, but the babyface Reed made the big comeback for the win. I thought Knight would get the win in cheap fashion because I figured he was getting a pretty big push as a newcomer in NXT. Instead, the big man Reed’s fired up babyface superman comeback was too much to overcome. Reed winning gives him some positive momentum although I think it’s possible we might see the match again soon.

Bronson Reed vs. LA Knight: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

The announcers talked about Danny Burch is out with a shoulder injury with Joseph noted it was an estimated six months out for Danny Burch. That means that Burch and Oney Lorcan are no longer NXT Tag Team Champions.

It was announced that the vacant NXT Tag Team Titles will be up for grabs on Night 1 (April 7) of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver. The three teams in the match will be MSK, Grizzled Young Veterans and Legado del Fantasma.

Analysis: A win for the babyface MSK team makes a lot of sense, but if they want to go with a heel team then Grizzled Young Veterans would be the best choice. If that happens then MSK can chase GYV for the titles over the next couple of months, which is fine with me too. They’re all good teams. No bad choice here.

(Commercial)

A video aired about the destruction caused by NXT UK Champion Walter. That man is awesome.

Karrion Kross made his intimidating “fall & prey” entrance with Scarlett. Kross challenges Finn Balor for the NXT Championship at Stand & Deliver. Kross is facing Lorcan here because Lorcan was mad that Kross injured Danny Burch. It was on a double suplex spot by Kross on Lorcan and Burch, but it was a fluky thing.

Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Oney Lorcan

Lorcan tried to attack aggressively, but Kross was ready and when they left the ring, Kross sent Lorcan into the barricade repeatedly. Kross suplexed Lorcan on the floor. Back in the ring, Lorcan hit a dropkick and corner splash, but then Kross hit an impressive clothesline.

(Commercial)

Kross remained in control with an armbar attempt, then a corner clothesline and a suplex across the ring. Kross told Lorcan he didn’t regret what happened to Burch and said that he loved it. Lorcan avoided a charging Kross and sent him into the ring post. Lorcan hit two impressive running uppercuts in a row. Kross avoided a charge and hit a boot to the face. Kross with a Saito Suplex followed by a forearm to the back of the head for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Karrion Kross

Analysis: **1/2 I thought it would be a shorter match with Kross winning in impressive fashion. It was still a strong win for Kross, but I didn’t think Lorcan would get as much offense as he got or that the match would go as long as it did.

Kross did a post match promo while in the ring with Scarlett. Kross claimed that Balor’s actions last week had malice. Kross said that last week he realized he was giving respect to a man that didn’t deserve it. Kross said when he held Balor’s neck in his hand, it felt just like everybody else’s neck. Kross said when the fuse is lit, there’s no stopping what is coming next.

Finn Balor made his entrance with the NXT Championship on his shoulder. Balor walked down to the bottom of the ramp to deliver a promo. Balor said that last week, Kross took his best shot and The Prince is still standing. Balor said that Kross showed Finn his weakness and Balor got into the ring. Balor said when a man is young, he fights with emotion. Balor said it wasn’t until he controlled his emotion and that’s when he became untouchable in this ring. Balor said that everything Kross does is a reaction and in those moments, Kross is vulnerable. Balor said he’ll push Kross to the point where Kross will master his emotions or his emotions will master Kross. Balor said that when they do master cross, he will drown Kross in the cold, deep, water. It’s a figure of speech. Anyway, Balor and Kross had a staredown to end it.

Finn Bálor confronts Karrion Kross: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

Analysis: I love the intensity shown by both men. That’s a strong suit for both guys. I think their match has been built up well already because of the cheap attack by Kross on Balor last week to show that Kross is the heel in the story. Balor is an extremely confident babyface that isn’t afraid of any challenge and everything he says comes across as very believable as well.

William Regal, the NXT General Manager, was shown in his office. There will be a 12-man Gauntlet Eliminator battle royal next week. The final six men will be in a Gauntlet Eliminator match and the winner of that will face NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano at NXT Stand & Deliver on Night 2.

The 12 men in the Gauntlet Eliminator battle royal were shown on the screen and they are: Kushida, Leon Ruff, Austin Theory, LA Knight, Tyler Rust, Jake Atlas, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, Cameron Grimes, Roderick Strong, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Pete Dunne. My pick to win? Dexter Lumis.

(Commercial)

Kushida did a promo speaking in Japanese with the words appearing on the screen. Kushida told Jordan Devlin he’ll find out what happens when you face the best technical wrestler in NXT.

Drake Maverick was in the ring. He got into a fight with Imperium members in the locker room on Tuesday and that led to this match being made. Walter is the UK Champion that doesn’t wrestle on regular NXT very often, but here he is. The title was not on the line. Walter was approaching 720 days as NXT UK Champion.

WALTER (w/Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) vs. Drake Maverick

Maverick charged with punches and Walter hit a body slam. Walter hit a huge Powerbomb followed by a single leg crab with the knee on the head and the referee called for the bell after 30 seconds. The referee stopped it because it looked like Maverick was knocked out after the Powerbomb.

Winner by referee stoppage: WALTER

Analysis: A squash win for Walter over a smaller man. Two moves and a submission. That was it.

Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance after Maverick was helped out of the ring while Walter was in the ring with his Imperium buddies. Ciampa said that Walter intrigues him, but he misspoke because he meant that the NXT UK Title intrigues him. Ciampa said that you know what he wants and they (the fans) know what he wants. Ciampa challenged Walter to a match at Takeover Stand & Deliver for that NXT UK Championship. Walter said no initially, so Ciampa chopped him and Barthel/Aichner attacked Ciampa with punches. Walter pulled off Ciampa’s necklace and Walter delivered a huge chop to the chest. Ciampa crawled over to his necklace. Walter knelt down to Ciampa and said: “I’ll see you at Takeover.” Walter left with his crew.

WALTER decimates Drake Maverick, accepts Tommaso Ciampa’s challenge: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

Analysis: That was good. Exactly what it needed to be. It was obvious they were going to set up that match and it’s going to be awesome. If Walter was on NXT or Raw/Smackdown every week he would be one of the biggest stars on any of those shows. The presence of Walter is incredible. Ciampa is one of the best NXT stars ever, so the match makes a lot of sense. I expect Walter to keep his title in what should be an outstanding match.

Pete Dunne did a cell phone promo saying he’ll dominate the battle royal and move one step closer to holding gold again. Dunne said that at Takeover Stand & Deliver, he’ll be the NXT North American Champion.

There was a video with Robert Stone asking Mercedes Martinez to team with Aliyah since Jesse Kamea was injured. Martinez was given an envelope of cash and Martinez said that’s only half because she wants the other half after the match. Their match is next.

(Commercial)

A video aired featuring Shotzi Blackheart talking about how incredible the last year was for her.

Johnny Gargano, the North American Champion, walked into William Regal’s office. Gargano complained about the situation with a battle royal next week, then Stand & Deliver Night 1 the final six guys will have a Gauntlet Eliminator and then Stand & Deliver Night 2, the winner will face Gargano for the NXT NA Title. Gargano: “With all due respect, are you coocoo bananas?” Gargano complained that he needs more time to study opponents. Regal told him to study all the competitors and Johnny complained that there are so many guys.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah (w/Robert Stone)

Martinez is replacing Jessie Kamea and she is not back on the Robert Stone Brand. The champs did a spot with Blackheart doing a headscissors while Moon did a punch. Blackheart did a Thesz Press off the top, Stone did a distraction and Martinez took over. Aliyah tagged in with a running neckbreaker. Martinez held up Blackheart leading to a bulldog by Aliyah. Moon got the hot tag with kicks and a step-up enziguri kick. Moon got a Powerbomb on Aliya for two with Martinez making the save. Blackheart hit a DDT on Martinez. Moon jumped off the top and hit the Eclipse on Aliyah, who sold it okay, but not great. It went about four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart

Analysis: **1/4 A decent match to give the champions a decisive win. I don’t mind having a title match that is shorter like this because sometimes you have to book the champions to win a shorter match to make them look strong.

There was a locker room scene with Roderick Strong in the locker room when the rich man Cameron Grimes talked about all the Intellectual Property that the Undisputed Era has. Grimes wanted to buy it, so then he kept rambling and Roddy said nothing, but Roddy decked Grimes with a punch. Grimes: “That’s not how you do business!” Grimes is great.

(Commercial)

Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart were shown backstage celebrating the win. Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae showed up for some trash talk. Blackheart laughed at Hartwell. Moon said that they’ll show them “the way” how to win. LeRae said that they will do it their way and on their time.

Analysis: That’s likely the NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles.

There was a rundown of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver matches. Night 1 on April 7 on USA Network/TV:

NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez – Night 1 Main Event

NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa

NXT Tag Team Championships (Titles Are Vacant): MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma – Night One

Gauntlet Elimination Match Where Winner Gets US Title Match – Night One

Night 2 on April 8 on Peacock/WWE Network:

NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Karrion Kross – Night 2 Main Event

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin

NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Winner of Gauntlet Eliminator Battle Royal – Night 2 (April 8)

Jordan Devlin entered with his version of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Kushida is the opponent.

Jordan Devlin vs. Kushida

I’ll go play by play since it’s the last match. Devlin with a uranage slam followed by a standing moonsault and a running back elbow. Kushida came back with a hiptoss followed by a dropkick to the head. Kushida used his legs to wrench on the left arm/shoulder of Devlin. Devlin with a jawbreaker, then to the apron, he avoided a Kushida charge and Devlin hit a moonsault off the middle ropes onto a standing Kushida. That was impressive as they went to break.

(Commercial)

Devlin was in control with a chinlock. Kushida came back with a jumping kick to the head. Kushida with a springboard back elbow, then a forearm and a running kick to the left arm. Kushida with a running armbar that sent Devlin’s arm into the mat. Kushida went for an armbar that Devlin turned into a pin for a two count. Devlin avoided a charging Kushida and Devlin jumped over the apron into a Cutter for two. Kushida went back to pulling the arm to cause more damage. Devlin and Kushida were on the turnbuckle as Santos Escobar and friends appeared on the stage. Kushida with a running kick followed by a superplex into a Falcon Arrow slam with an armbar on the left arm. Devlin got his right foot on the bottom rope. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza pulled Devlin out of the ring as Devlin faced off with Santos Escobar. Devlin got back into the ring, he sent Kushida into the Legado boys on the apron and then Devlin rolled up Kushida with a jackknife pin to win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jordan Devlin

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match here. A few more minutes would have been nice, but they made the most of the time given. Kushida is terrific in terms of focusing on the left arm and making it look believable as he applies submissions all the time. Devlin has a lot of skills as a guy that can take to the air when needed and wrestle more of a striking style at other times.

Post match, Kushida was pissed off about what happened, so he beat up Wilde and Mendoza. Kushida hit a running dive off the stage onto both guys.

Santos Escobar got into the ring with Jordan Devlin as both men were holding their version of the Cruiserweight Title. That led to WWE Hall of Famer and NXT creative team member Shawn Michaels making his entrance. Big ovation for good ol’ HBK! Shawn pulled a ladder from under the ring and he slid it into the ring. That was Shawn’s way of telling Santos and Jordan that it will be a Ladder Match at Seek & Destroy.

Shawn Michaels’ silent suggestion for Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

Analysis: Great idea. That match is going to be awesome. I’ve been saying about most of the matches at Stand & Deliver. It’s also fitting for Shawn Michaels to go out there to set it up since the famous WrestleMania 10 Ladder Match between Shawn and Razor Ramon was done because both men claimed they were the champion at the time.

Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole were shown in separate parts of the building since their segment is up next. Cole walked up to Michaels, who just stared at him and Shawn walked away.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and William Regal

Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly were sitting at the ends of a table with a contract in between them. There were six security guys on there. William Regal, the NXT GM, yelled at them for getting the police involved in their recent altercation and he will not let them embarrass this company that so many people have worked so hard to create. Regal said he had a solution – a contract for Kyle O’Reilly to face Adam Cole in the co-main event of the second night of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver (April 8). Regal said that Kyle is still not medically cleared. Regal said that they had to sign a contract to acknowledge that NXT isn’t held accountable for anything that happens to both of them.

Cole wanted Regal to imagine being born blind and then one day you wake up where you can see everything. Cole said that’s a revelation and he had one when he realized he didn’t need the Undisputed Era because UE was holding him back. Cole said it was Kyle that held him back. Cole said that UE was never about brotherhood. Cole watched Kyle challenge and fail twice to become the NXT Champion, so then Kyle tried to befriend Finn Balor and join the Undisputed Era. Cole wondered if Kyle lost his mind. Cole told Kyle he was a lapdog, a sidekick and somebody that is comfortable being on the sidelines. Cole said that is not him because he is the greatest NXT Champion there has ever been and he will never sit on the sidelines because he is nothing like Kyle. Cole told Kyle that he lost sight of what the Undisputed Era was. Cole said it was about being the best and Cole is the best. Cole wondered if Kyle could even make it to WWE without Cole and he is the one that led the charge. Cole is the one that main evented, had the legendary title run, he sold the t-shirts, Undisputed Era is nothing without him and Kyle is nothing. Cole said he can’t wait to face Kyle at Takeover because he already knows who wins, the entire world knows and the only one who doesn’t know is the pathetic lapdog sitting across this table. Cole signed the contract.

Analysis: Awesome promo from Adam Cole there. He said everything that needed to be said for his character that was the leader of the Undisputed Era and the longest-reigning NXT Champion. A lot of what Cole said was true, but he still betrayed his best friend Kyle out of jealousy over the fact that Kyle was getting his chances at the NXT Title. It’s not like Cole is going to say that what he did is wrong because as his character, he feels it was right.

Kyle had his turn to do a promo saying they have known eachother for a long time. Kyle said that they were four hungry pitbulls determined to take a spot at the top of the card where they belong. Kyle said that they were there to make a statement. Kyle talked about how they will always have heat with the General Manager along with a locker room full of guys. Kyle told Adam that he grew up, he took accountability for his actions, no more sneak attacks or 4 on  1 beatdowns. Kyle said that they have become better wrestlers, better fighters, they became champions and they became stars, but only one of them became a better human being. Kyle said that Cole was the same asshole (muted here) that walked into this place over three years ago. Kyle said that he’s forcing himself to believe that this group meant nothing. Kyle said that if any part of him thinks that maybe one day they can be cool again and go for a beer, he won’t do what is necessary to put him down for good. Kyle said he sold his soul for the Undisputed Era and he wants it back. Kyle called Cole an “insecure prick that used his best friends” and that is so, so cold and somehow he’s not surprised in the least. Kyle said that not one single person is going to be surprised after he beats Cole into a pulp. Kyle said for the first time in four years, he’ll sleep like a baby.

Analysis: Good job by Kyle as well. He made his points well saying that the group was a cohesive unit that worked so well together and dominated NXT until Cole turned on him. Kyle also had a great line when he called Cole an “insecure prick that used his best friends” because that’s exactly what happened since the Undisputed Era guys helped Cole win a lot of matches during his NXT Title run.

Cole told Kyle to sign the death warrant. Kyle signed the contract. After signing the contract, they shove the table and tried to fight, but the security guys held them back. That led to O’Reilly and Cole yelling at eachother to end the show.

Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole agree to Unsanctioned Match for TakeOver: WWE NXT, March 24, 2021

Analysis: The whole thing was well done. If you have followed the story over the last four years and in the last few months then you know that Kyle did nothing wrong while Cole was jealous of Kyle getting title shots, so that’s why we’re here now. I think Kyle is going to win their match. It could lead to Cole going to Raw or Smackdown after WrestleMania because there’s really nothing more for him to do in NXT and with no Undisputed Era, the timing is right to put Cole on Raw or Smackdown where he can do well as a new guy there.

Adam Cole decks William Regal: WWE Network Exclusive, March 24, 2021

They did a post-match angle where Kyle O’Reilly was in the ring calling out Adam Cole. That led to Cole showing up, he decked some of the security guys and even hit GM William Regal with a forearm to the face. Cole went on the apron, then he backed away and security walked Cole to the back. Regal got back up and stared at Cole.

Analysis: That’s probably going to lead to them saying Cole will be fined for hitting Regal or something like that.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Adam Cole

2. Kyle O’Reilly

3. Jordan Devlin/Kushida

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.25 out of 10

Last week: 8.5

2021 Average: 7.44

 

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty good episode of NXT. I think storyline-wise they are doing a tremendous job of building up the Takeover Stand & Deliver card. They are making use of their time by telling interesting stories about most of the matches on the card and the ones that weren’t focused on this week will probably be pushed more heavily next week. I really liked the main event promos from Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly to set up their Takeover match. The promos from Finn Balor and Karrion Kross were not as long, but they were also effective. Plus, they set up WALTER vs. Ciampa at Takeover. That’s amazing. I love when WALTER is a part of Takeover shows.

Most of the matches were solid although there wasn’t one match that really stood out as being spectacular. I was a bit surprised that LA Knight lost clean to Bronson Reed, but I feel like that’s the first in a series of matches between them. The Devlin/Kushida match was very good although I wish it went longer and the opening women’s match did a nice job of building up Raquel Gonzalez going into her NXT Women’s Title match against Io Shirai in two weeks.

I think NXT is in a very good spot right now. Good matches all the time and Stand & Deliver might be the best Takeover event ever. Since it’s two nights, that make it feel bigger too.

The next WWE NXT Takeover is called Stand & Deliver on April 7 & April 8. Here’s what we know so far:

NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez – Night 1 Main Event (April 7)

NXT Tag Team Championships (Titles Are Vacant): MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma – Night One (April 7)

NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa -Night One (April 7)

Six-Man Gauntlet Elimination Match Where Winner Gets US Title Match – Night One (April 7)

NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Karrion Kross – Night 2 Main Event (April 8)

Unsanctioned Match: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole – Night 2 C0-Main Event (April 8)

NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Winner of Gauntlet Eliminator Battle Royal – Night 2 (April 8)

Ladder Match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin – Night 2 (April 8)

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John Canton

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