The John Report: WWE NXT 04/13/21 Review

The John Report: WWE NXT 04/13/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. This week’s show is a follow-up to last week’s NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver two-night event from last Wednesday and Thursday. Check out my detailed review of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver here in case you haven’t seen it yet.

It’s time for the first episode of WWE NXT on Tuesday night. I’ll use the regular review format of play-by-play for the whole show rather than a summary version. I did a summary version when it was on the same night as AEW Dynamite because I wanted to cut back on how much I was writing all in one day, but now that they are on separate nights I can go back to doing the full reviews.

The show began with NXT Champion Karrion Kross making his entrance with lovely girlfriend Scarlett by his side. Kross was in street clothes including a black leather jacket and he had the title on his shoulder.

Let’s Hear from Karrion Kross

Kross said he told us saying that time always comes full circle and it was only a matter of time until he was standing in the ring with his title as the NXT Champion. Kross said that without a shadow of a doubt, Finn Balor is one of the greatest to ever step into this ring. Kross said that everywhere Balor has gone, championships have followed. Kross said that Balor went on a tear with this belt, but he didn’t understand that Kross controls everything. Kross said that now he is in command of NXT until he says so. Kross said that when you’re at the top, there’s nowhere else to go except down, but he assures that is a total lie. Kross said that nobody will outwrestle him and NXT has the hungriest guys/girls on the planet on this brand. Kross said that he is starving, he is insatiable and said that if you want this, you can try to step up to face him. Kross didn’t care who it is. The fans were chanting “Karrion” for him. Kross said that in the end, everybody pays the toll.

Analysis: The promo was solid as a bit of a “mission statement” from Kross. It’s not clear if he’s a face or heel or a tweener, but that’s okay. I think it was more about showing that Kross is going to be a strong champion that won’t back down from anybody.

The announce team Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were at ringside to call the action. They said Takeover Stand & Deliver was the most-watched Takeover ever.

There was a video package that aired showing highlights of the two-night Takeover Stand & Deliver event from last week.

The new NXT Tag Team Champions are the duo of Wes Lee and Nash Carter better known as MSK. Their title match is after a break.

(Commercial)

Killian Dain and Drake Maverick as the partners that don’t always get along with the cheesy theme music. They earned this match with a win on the pre-show at Takeover.

NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick

Dain with a suplex on Carter. Maverick tagged in with a two count after an elbow drop by Dain. Lee tagged in and did a leapfrog on Maverick with a bit of a stumble in there. Maverick hit a dropkick and Maverick jumped off the top with a twisting attack for a two count. Lee with a kick, Carter tagged in and Carter hit the Bronco Buster in the corner. Maverick avoided a double team, Dain tagged in and hit a uranage slam. Lee went for a suicide dive, Dain caught him and sent Lee into the side of the ring. Dain hit a running cross body block on the floor.

(Commercial)

The show returned with Carter getting the tag with forearms, a jumping knee on Maverick and a rising knee against the turnbuckle. Carter with a sliding kick. Carter hit a German Suplex on Maverick as well. Carter did his standing Shooting Star Press where Lee shoved him on top of Maverick for two. Dain made the save and pulled Maverick to the corner so Dain could tag in. MSK worked together to take down Dain with Carter hitting a double stomp to the back. Lee and Carter hit kicks at the same time on Dain. Lee was up top and hit a twisting splash for a two count. Carter went for a sunset flip, Dain knocked down Lee and sat on Carter for two. Maverick was back in with a DDT on Lee. Dain and Maverick each hit kicks at the same time. Dain with a Powerbomb on Lee. Dain tried a Powerbomb on Maverick on Lee, but Carter saved his partner, so Maverick hit the mat. Carter with a Cutter on Dain and Lee with a running kick on Dain to knock him out for the ring. Maverick got an inside cradle for two. Carter held Maverick and Lee jumped off the ropes with a blockbuster for a double team move known as End Transmission, I guess. Carter hit a suicide dive on Dain. Lee pinned Maverick to win. It went about 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good tag team match here. MSK is always going to have above-average matches as long as they get the time and I like the dynamic of Dain/Maverick whether they are being serious or doing comedy spots. The turning point was when Dain’s Powerbomb on Maverick that is supposed to be an offensive move ended up hurting the team. MSK got the win soon after. I expect MSK to be champions for a few months at least and maybe even much longer than that.

MSK vs. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick – NXT Tag Team Championship Match: WWE NXT, April 13, 2021

After the match was over, Alexander Wolfe of Imperium went into the ring to talk to Killian Dain. That led to Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel attacked Dain from behind. They hit a spinebuster followed by a running kick on Dain. Wolfe led the Imperium trio in a pose in the ring. While Wolfe left the ring, Barthel and Aichner looked at eachother as if they were unsure about this.

Analysis: It set up a new tag team rivalry that isn’t a title match. Perhaps it will lead to issues with Imperium as well since Barthel and Aichner had that look of uncertainty on their faces.

There was a backstage scene from Earlier Today with Mercedes Martinez asking Robert Stone where her money is. Martinez choked Aliyah for a few moments and then Jessi Kamea stepped up to Martinez, so Martinez said they’ll have a match tonight.

A closer look at Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole is up next.

There was a video of NXT superstars talking about getting vaccinated.

(Commercial)

They showed Roderick Strong arriving earlier with his wife Marina Shafir.

A video package aired about the Unsanctioned Match between Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole. They had a very physical 40-minute main event match with a lot of weapons. In the end, Kyle was the winner and Cole left on a stretcher. They showed some extra footage showing Kyle was taken away on a stretcher too. They were wheeled side by side on the stretcher with Cole talking shit about how he’s going to finish Kyle and William Regal was walking with them shaking his head.

Analysis: I don’t think the feud is over. That’s fine with me. It seems like they are doing Takeover shows every two months, so if the next one is in June then we’ll probably see O’Reilly vs. Cole on that card again.

Mercedes Martinez vs. Jessi Kamea (w/Robert Stone & Aliyah)

Kamea hit a running dropkick and stomped on Martinez. Kamea did a hiptoss across the ring and a forearm while Martinez was against the turnbuckle. Kamea with a springboard elbow on Martinez for two. Kamea jumped off the middle ropes and Martinez came back with a jumping knee to the face. Martinez had Kamea on her back with an Air Raid Crash slam for the pinfall win in under two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mercedes Martinez

Analysis: 1/2* Easy win by Martinez. Kamea isn’t used much, so it was a predictable result.

After the match, Martinez pushed Stone against the barricade and he gave her the money that he owed her. Martinez yelled towards the announcers saying she was coming after new NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez.

Johnny Gargano was backstage with his The Way group including Austin Theory, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. They talked about how they are going to handle their business. Gargano said that they are the most dominant four person intergender group in NXT history. That was funny.

Santos Escobar and friends were shown walking backstage because he’s up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott talking about his star-making performance at Takeover Stand & Deliver where he proved that he was a star. Scott said it’s time to move on and he can’t do that without getting rid of Leon Ruff. Scott said he is so sick of this. Scott said that after tonight, he’s done with Leon Ruff.

The NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar made his entrance with Legado del Fantasma members Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza by his side. Escobar said that one year ago, this was a title of a forgotten division. Escobar said it’s not like that anymore because what was the sideshow was primetime. Escobar said that he stole the show at Stand & Deliver and now he’s the undisputed Cruiserweight Champion. Escobar said just like his father was and just like his son will be. Escobar said that they are warriors that never back down, they always fight and that’s why he will have an open challenge.

The challenge has been accepted by Kushida, who was wrestling in trunks instead of jeans. I think trunks are a better look for him. Kushida lost to Pete Dunne at Takeover in what was a very good match. Both guys are coming off impressive showings. Kushida hit a dropkick to knock Escobar out of the ring before the bell. Escobar sent the Legado guys to the back.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar vs. Kushida

Kushida was going for the armbar right away and then he twisted his feet against the left arm of Escobar. When Escobar was on the floor, Kushida did a cartwheel into the ropes and did a Jushin Liger pose to pay tribute to the WWE Hall of Famer. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Escobar was in control with a corner clothesline, Kushida to the floor and Escobar swung Kushida into the steel steps. Escobar did a Boston Crab style submission on the steel steps against the ring post for about five seconds until he had to break. Escobar grounded Kushida with an armbar on the right arm along with kicks to the chest. Escobar with a running double knee on Kushida and a hurricanrana off the top for two. Kushida pulled back on the arms of Kushida, who came back with chops and Escobar hit a running kick to the face. Kushida came back with an atomic drop, a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick. Kushida with a running kick to the left arm. Kushida with a running palm strike and a kick to the right arm while Escobar was on the top rope. Kushida with a suplex off the top while holding the arm. Kushida with a double underhook suplex while holding the arm for a two count because Escobar got his foot on the bottom rope. Escobar with an enziguri kick and Kushida came back with a Pele Kick! That was a great sequence. The fans were getting into it as the wrestlers were kicking eachother in the ribs. Kushida went for a handspring back elbow, but Escobar stopped him with a backstabber to the back. Kushida countered a Phantom Driver attempt into a pin attempt, Escobar countered for two and Kushida pushed forward pin the shoulders of Escobar while holding the legs for the pinfall win! New champion! It went 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Cruiserweight Champion: Kushida

Analysis: ***1/2 This was very good, which was no surprise considering they are two of the best wrestlers in NXT. Even without a story, it was easy to get into the match because the title was on the line and each guy was going for pinfall attempts to try to get the win. I like how even it was especially towards the finish with Kushida on top, then Escobar and then another counter of Kushida was enough to get the win. Kushida didn’t go for the armbar submissions as much as usual in part because Escobar had counters to it a lot as well. I liked this a lot.

Santos Escobar vs. Kushida – NXT Cruiserweight Champion Match: WWE NXT, April 13, 2021

Kushida celebrated with the NXT Cruiserweight Championship as fans chanted for him. Escobar was mad with the referee, but there was nothing shady about the pinfall. Kushida was really about the win, which is the right reaction for a guy that won his first title in NXT.

Analysis: This title change felt like a big deal because of how dominant Escobar was as champion and it’s coming off the great ladder match that Escobar had against Devlin at Takeover last week. Escobar made the title feel valuable. Plus, it tells the audience that an open challenge can lead to a title change, so we shouldn’t assume the champion is going to win every time.

Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher talked about how they may not win every fight, but they pass every test. Ciampa said that they are stronger as a unit. Thatcher talked about how they finish what they start. Ciampa called out MSK to let them know they were coming while Thatcher smiled about it.

Raquel Gonzalez was shown walking backstage with Dakota Kai.

(Commercial)

There was a video shown of Kushida with the Cruiserweight Title and William Regal was there to congratulate him. Jordan Devlin appeared saying that Kushida was a six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and now the Cruiserweight Champion. Devlin said that he’s going home for a little while, but he’ll be back and he told Kushida to hold onto that title. Devlin left while Kushida told Regal “any time.”

Let’s Hear from Raquel Gonzalez

Dakota Kai was in the ring and she introduced her friend Raquel Gonzalez as the new NXT Women’s Champion. Gonzalez won the title in the main event of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver on night one. Gonzalez carried the title on her right shoulder. The fans greeted Raquel with “you deserve it” chants.

Gonzalez said that a year and a half ago was the biggest night in NXT history when they went live on USA Network. Gonzalez said that she was supposed to have her big debut, but she wasn’t ready and she went home and swore that would never happen again. Gonzalez said she busted her ass to move faster, train harder and lift heavier, so now a year and a half later she’s the NXT Women’s Champion. Gonzalez said that the one person that recognized her dedication is Dakota Kai. Gonzalez recapped all of what they did together over the last year and said she wouldn’t be there as the NXT Women’s Champion. Kai said that for 14 months they dominated the best women’s division in the world. Gonzalez said that Io Shirai was a great champion, but the Raquel Gonzalez Era has officially begun.

Analysis: Nice promo from Raquel. She hasn’t done many long promos in her career, but they are giving her more to say over the last few months of her push and you can tell she’s getting a lot more comfortable. I’ve seen her in interviews. She handles herself well. Remember that NXT is a developmental brand for a lot of the wrestlers and you can see how much Raquel has improved over the last year.

The lights went out in the building and Franky Monet made her NXT debut with her cute dog in her hand. Franky is the former Taya Valkyrie, who signed with WWE a few months ago and now she’s here.

Monet congratulated Gonzalez and said that she was there to formally introduce herself to the world as “La Wera Loca” Franky Monet. Monet said that the division got shinier, boogier, and a whole lot better. Monet said since Gonzalez is at the top of Franky’s division, you will be seeing a whole lot more of her.

Gonzalez told Monet she’s lucky that Raquel is in a good mood tonight because if she wasn’t she would shove the dog straight up her…Spanish word for a certain body part. Monet told Gonzalez that she will see her every single Tuesday…champ. Monet left.

Analysis: I’m happy to see Franky Monet there. I think they could have kept the Taya Valkyrie name for her, but like with LA Knight a few months ago, WWE wanted a different name for a new wrestler that they brought in. Franky is married to WWE’s John Morrison, so I wonder how long she might be in NXT.

Gonzalez was still in the ring with Kai when Rhea Ripley made a surprise entrance as the Raw Women’s Championship. Big reaction for Ripley as she got the smoke-filled entrance that made her look like an even bigger star. Ripley got in the ring with Gonzalez, who beat Ripley in Ripley’s last NXT match.

Ripley and Gonzalez touched their two titles together and they hugged eachother.

Bianca Belair also made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. It was a championship party! Belair won her title in the main event of WrestleMania 37 on night one.

Bianca Belair joined Ripley and Gonzalez in the ring. Belair stood in between them with her Smackdown Women’s Title. There was an image shown on a video screen of the three women from earlier in their carers when they were in NXT. Belair held up her title beside Ripley and Gonzalez and they all did a “cheers” gesture by touching the titles together. The crowd loved it as the three women held their titles up in the air. The three women hugged and held their titles up again while the fans chanted “NXT” for them.

Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair surprise Gonzalez with a champions’ salute: WWE NXT, April 13, 2021

Analysis: That was a cool moment. I didn’t expect that and it showed how far they have all come as superstars from when they were in NXT over the last few years to where they are now. This also made it feel like maybe Raquel will be portrayed as a babyface since she paid respect to Shirai while also having this moment with Belair and Ripley. It could just be NXT’s way of being proud of these three women, so we’ll see if Raquel is still a heel moving forward. I assume Raquel will remain a heel, but I could be wrong on that. I feel like long term there’s going to be a Raquel/Dakota split leading to a title feud between them.

Pete Dunne said that at Takeover Stand & Deliver he beat Kushida to prove he’s the best technical wrestler in WWE. Dunne said it was time to focus on winning championship gold.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Sarray signing with NXT with William Regal talking about how they signed her. Regal said that she will take it to another level. Regal noted the success of Asuka, Kairi Sane and Io Shirai and the women’s division will only get better with the arrival of Sarray, who will make her debut next week.

William Regal, the NXT GM, was interviewed backstage by Mckenzie Mitchell. Regal said he was so glad that Sarray will make her debut next week while noting it took a bit of time to sign her, but they are so glad to have her.

When Regal walked into his office, Roderick Strong was in there with his wife Marina Shafir. Strong gave Regal an envelope saying he was done and Regal asked if he was sure. Regal called Strong the ultimate professional and he’s welcome in NXT at any time.

Analysis: That means Strong has quit NXT. I’m not sure if that means he will be on Raw or Smackdown, but it would make sense for that to be the next move. The concern is that I don’t know if he would get a push on either of those shows. I would make him a tag team wrestler because he’s so skilled in the ring. I’m just saying in terms of personality, I don’t see him making a big impact on either of the other main WWE shows.

Leon Ruff entered for his match with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott as the opponent. This has been building for a few months with Scott turning heel because he was jealous of Ruff’s success.

Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Ruff with punches, Scott slammed Ruff and then Ruff tripped up Scott for a landing on his shoulder. Scott was on the floor with Ruff hitting a double knee attack on the right shoulder. Scott with a hard chop while Ruff was on the apron. Scott hit an elbow drove into the lower back of Ruff. Ruff countered a slam attempt with a dropkick, Ruff with forearms and Ruff stomped on the right shoulder. Scott sent Ruff to the apron, then Ruff did some great counters, but Scott was able to catch him with a Russian legsweep off the middle ropes. With Ruff on the floor, Scott kicked him in the head and that led to a break.

(Commercial)

Scott was in control with hard chops to the chest followed by some trash talking. Ruff came back with forearms, then two running clotheslines and Ruff went for a diving attack off the ropes, but Scott tried an armbar. Ruff got out of it with a stomp on the arm followed by springboard Cutter by Ruff. Scott was on the floor, so Ruff hit a dive off the top onto Scott on the floor. Back in the ring, Ruff hit a missile dropkick off the top for a two count. Ruff with a kick to the arm and then Ruff hit an impressive top rope hurricanrana for two. Great nearfall there. They exchanged chops, Scott with a forearm and Ruff did a headscissors into the turnbuckle. Scott with a huge clothesline with Ruff doing a flip bump. Scott went for a big slam, but Ruff countered with a hurricanrana for just two with Scott kicking out at the last possible moment. They were on the turnbuckle with Scott lifting up Ruff with a Powerbomb where he sent Ruff into the top turnbuckle. Scott lifted up Ruff and hit him with a sitout front slam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with a fast pace for most of it. They did a nice job of building this up as a match between two guys that were even in terms of past matchups, but then the heel Scott found a way to get the big win. Some of the high spots that Ruff does are incredible and he makes it all look so easy. What I would like is after some of the big moves, they need to slow down a bit and treat them as nearfalls. For example, when Ruff hits the Cutter off the turnbuckle, that should be treated like a finisher, yet Scott rolled to the floor to set up another spot. More nearfalls for moves like that would add to the drama. I can see Scott going after Kushida for the Cruiserweight Title soon.

Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott: WWE NXT, April 13, 2021

Zoey Stark was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Zoey talked about how four months ago, she was living in Las Vegas and working hard to make it. Stark talked about how she had the biggest match of her career at Takeover against Toni Storm and now her sights are set on the NXT Women’s Championship. Mercedes Martinez walked into the scene saying she’s next in line, not some rookie. Stark said we’ll see about that.

The 8-person mixed tag team match is next.

(Commercial)

There was a video about NXT UK Champion WALTER talking about how they proved that they are the most dominant force in professional wrestling. WALTER said that for two years he has been a dominant champion and Tommaso Ciampa was one of the biggest challenges yet, but nothing changed because Walter is still the champion. Walter said that Imperium will grow, they will expand and they are here to stay. Walter said that all of NXT will understand when they say the mat is sacred.

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell, but then Ruff showed up with punches and shoved an equipment cart into Scott. Ruff said that it’s not over until he says it’s over. Ruff left.

Analysis: I guess the feud isn’t over after all. There will probably be a grudge match with a stipulation in the near future.

It was main event time with Dexter Lumis already in the ring with Bronson Reed joining him. The NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon entered on Shotzi’s tank.

The Way foursome of NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano, his wife Candice LeRae, Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell were up next as the heel team in the match. Candice pulled Indi away from Lumis since Indi has a crush on him.

The Way (Johnny Gargano, Austin Theory, Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) vs. Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed, Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon

The rules are men against the men and women against the women. The men can’t really hit the women, but the women can hit the men.

Lumis took down Theory with a Thesz Press followed by punches. LeRae tagged in, so that meant Moon went in with a dropkick and Blackheart hit an elbow drop on LeRae. Moon was back in for a move on LeRae, but Gargano helped out his wife and the girls decked Johnny with a forearm to the face. Lumis got the tag, he launched Johnny up and hit an uppercut. Lumis stared at Hartwell, who has a crush on him, so Lumis stared at her and LeRae pulled Indi off the apron. Gargano kicked Lumis to take control.

(Commercial)

Lumis with a belly-to-back suplex on Theory. Reed tagged in with a running body attack on Theory to knock him down. Reed ran at Gargano to knock him down. Reed with a corner splash on both guys. Reed had Theory and Gargano on his shoulders and he hit a Samoan Drop on both guys with the girls breaking up the pin. Moon and Blackheart went after the women with Hartwell hitting a spinebuster on Moon. Blackheart with a DDT on Hartwell. Candice kicked Blackheart, but then Reed stood in the ring. Candice jumped onto Reed, who didn’t even bump and Candice hit the mat. Theory back in with a dropkick on Reed and then Lumis hit a spinebuster on Theory. Gargano tripped up Lumis and hit a forearm. Moon hit a suicide dive on Gargano. Candice with a suicide dive onto Lumis and she hit a DDT on Lumis on the floor. Reed punched Theory. Reed picked up Blackheart and tossed her onto the pile of wrestlers on the floor including some of their teammates. Back in the ring, Gargano with a superkick on Reed and Lumis applied the Silence submission on Gargano. They were not the two legal men. Hartwell didn’t save Gargano. Instead, she laid on the mat by Lumis to get his attention. Theory kicked Lumis from behind. Hartwell tossed her teammate Theory over the top to the floor. Lumis saw Hartwell laying on the apron, the fans chanted “yes” and Lumis carried Hartwell to the back. Hopefully Dexter’s wife didn’t see that. Anyway, it was pretty funny as Hartwell looked back to give a thumbs up to the camera.

Back to the match, Reed was battling Theory with Reed hitting a huge forearm to the face. Moon jumped off of Reed’s shoulders and hit the Eclipse on Theory. That was great. LeRae tossed Moon out of the ring. Reed was up top, Gargano tripped him up and Reed was seated on the top turnbuckle. Reed suplexed Gargano onto Theory. LeRae tried to suplex Reed, which was never going to happen and Blackheart slammed Candice onto Theory. That led to Reed hitting the Tsunami splash off the top onto Theory for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed, Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon

Analysis: *** That was chaotic with some comedy spots thrown in, but overall a fun main event match. I’m critical about other companies where the matches fall apart and the referees ignore the rules, so I have to mention it here as well because they definitely broke the tag team wrestling rules a lot in this match. There were many spots where there was no counting when wrestlers were outside the ring and stuff like that. The Lumis/Hartwell spot worked for comedy purposes since it has been building for months.  Reed getting the win gives him some momentum back after losing the NXT North American Title match against Gargano. It made sense for the faces to win.

They showed replays of the match with Indi Hartwell’s thumbs up towards the camera. Beth said that “Index” is happening so that’s the couple name for Indi and Dexter. Reed lifted up Moon and Blackheart on his shoulders. Next week on NXT, Kyle O’Reilly will be there. They replayed the Tsunami from Reed again. The faces continued to celebrate in the ring while The Way was angry on the stage. The show ended there at about five minutes past the top of the hour.

Analysis: Even though they aren’t against AEW Dynamite anymore, they still ended the show about five minutes past the top of the hour.

Blackheart, Moon, Reed & Lumis vs. The Way – Eight-Person Mixed Tag Match: WWE NXT, April 13, 2021

As a bonus, here’s a post show video with Triple H along with Raquel Gonzalez, Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair for some photos and comments.

Belair, Ripley & Gonzalez reflect on special week: WWE Network Exclusive, April 13, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kushida
  2. Santos Escobar
  3. MSK/Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.5 out of 10

Last week: 8.75

2021 Average: 7.50

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a very good show for the most part with a nice mix of in-ring action, promos and some fun moments. It was cool that they used the championship celebration of Raquel Gonzalez to debut Franky Monet (the former Taya Valkyrie) and also have Rhea Ripley & Bianca Belair show up with their titles. Then there was a photo of the three women that showed how much growth Gonzalez, Ripley and Belair have had in the last few years to where they are now. It was well done and felt like a big deal.

I was so happy to see Kushida win the Cruiserweight Title from Santos Escobar. While I’ll miss Santos as a champion, I think he can do other things outside of that division. Kushida always has good matches, but doesn’t get wins at Takeover, so now they put a title on him that he has earned with consistent performances. Swerve Scott beating Leon Ruff was cool and then there was a backstage attack, so there’s a grudge match coming for them. MSK was impressive in their title defense. The main event 8-person mixed-tag team main event was a fun mix of comedy and good action as well.

I was a little surprised that nobody interrupted Karrion Kross during his promo, but his “mission statement” of sorts was done well. Overall, I thought it was a nice follow up to Takeover Stand & Deliver and a strong Tuesday debut. It was a bit of a reset for the brand since it was the first show after Takeover and that’s fine with me. If the next Takeover is in June (assuming they do six per year) then there’s plenty of time to set things up for that.

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John Canton

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