The John Report: WWE NXT 06/22/21 Review

The John Report: WWE NXT 06/22/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. The next big NXT event is the Great American Bash episode of NXT on Tuesday, July 6. It’s not a Takeover, but it will have some big matches.

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 showed a recap of last week with Samoa Joe returning to NXT as something of an enforcer for NXT General Manager William Regal. They also plugged the matches coming up.

The crowd at the CWC was ready to go. Adam Cole was up first in the opening match. The NXT announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were on hand to call the action as always.

Cole did a promo saying last week, Regal decided that he had to fight Kyle O’Reilly at the Great American Bash. Cole said that Samoa Joe also attacked him and this week he gets to pick his own opponent. Cole said no way is he going to pick his own opponent. Cole reminded Joe that there’s a new king of this brand and you’re looking at him. Cole said after he embarrassed O’Reilly at the Great American Bash, the entire world will look at him as the greatest NXT Superstar of all time. Cole said this match isn’t happening.

Carmelo Hayes stepped up to confront Cole in the ring with Carmelo letting Cole know his name. Hayes said he’ll change Cole’s mind and Cole asked him to enlighten him. Hayes said there’s a famous phrase that goes like this: “Ruthless Aggression.” Hayes slapped Cole.

Analysis: Nice throwback to John Cena challenging Kurt Angle on Smackdown in 2002 with the “Ruthless Aggression” line. Good spot for Hayes to step up and show that he’s a confident “rookie” in NXT by getting in Cole’s face.

Adam Cole vs. Carmelo Hayes

Hayes hit a springboard clothesline, Cole to the floor and Hayes jumped over the top onto Cole on the floor. Back in the ring, Cole kicked Hayes out of the ring. Cole stomped on Hayes against the turnbuckle followed by Cole hitting a suplex. Cole hit a neckbreaker. Cole with a kick to the knee, Hayes with a slam off the shoulder into the knee and Hayes hit a clothesline. Hayes worked over Cole with punches, but then Cole sent Hayes into the middle turnbuckle. Hayes sat on the top rope and then Cole shoved him off the ropes to the floor. Cole tossed Hayes into the barricade and then he threw Hayes into the barricade again.

(Commercial)

Cole was in control with a headlock, Hayes got up and Cole hit a running back elbow. Cole with a hard whip into the turnbuckle leading to Hayes bumping to the floor. Cole reminded Hayes that he was nobody and slapped him hard in the face. They exchanged forearms, Hayes leaped over Cole and hit a pump kick. Cole with a jumping kick to the head, but then Hayes hit a suplex looking into something like a Cutter for two. Hayes with an enziguri kick and double knees for a two count. Hayes with a chop, Cole avoided a slam and Cole hit a backstabber for two. Cole jumped off the middle rope, Hayes with a kick to the chest and Cole hit a superkick to stop a springboard attack. Cole hit the Panama Sunrise for the pinfall win.

Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole

Analysis: ***1/2 This was an entertaining match because Hayes was given a lot of offense to show that he belonged in there with Cole, but it was Cole who found a way to get the win. They did a lot of cool things with counters throughout the match, Hayes hit some big moves and it looked as though Hayes might get the win. I think maybe they could have had more nearfalls for Hayes or moments where Cole was in danger. Cole stopped a springboard move with a superkick and then it was over from there with the Panama Sunrise to win. Nice finish because the Panama Sunrise (Destroyer) should be a finisher and not a move where people kick out at two constantly.

Adam Cole vs. Carmelo Hayes: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

There was a backstage scene with Franky Monet, Jessi Kamea and Aliyah with Robert Stone showing up to talk to them. Monet said that the girls should be called The Winner’s Circle before Stone was there. Then Stone showed up and Monet left soon after.

Zoey Stark was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Stark talked about saving Io Shirai because Shirai faced her in Stark’s debut match. Shirai showed up saying she respects Stark and they left for their tag team match.

(Commercial)

There was a video showing LA Knight hanging out by a pool with the Million Dollar Title. It looks like the same pool that Adam Cole was interviewed at a while ago, so I wonder who owns it. Anyway, Knight mocked Cameron Grimes for caring about Ted Dibiase and he called him a moron idiot. Knight had a drink saying it is LA Knight’s game.

Let’s Hear from The Way

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory from The Way made their entrance for a promo. Gargano talked about how there are exciting times because there’s new management in town, which means we need a new NXT Champion and face of this brand. Gargano said that they don’t need the doomsday guy (Karrion Kross), they need a headband-wearing, respectable family man like himself. Gargano said that the 57 days he was NXT Champion was when NXT was at his best. Gargano said he proved Karrion Kross was not at his level. Gargano said he can outwrestle that man on his worst day.

Pete Dunne showed up with his buddy Oney Lorcan. Dunne looks like he has worked on his tan. Just saying. Dunne said that Johnny must be mad if he thinks he’s number one contender over Dunne and he told Theory to shut up. Gargano said that they are trying to start chaos. Gargano said that they don’t partake in that anymore. Gargano told “Peter” there are rules for a reason and if you are going to fight, you won’t get it from them. Gargano and Theory left the ring. Theory told Dunne he is watching Dunne, so Dunne twisted the fingers of Theory, who sold it.

Analysis: It’s an interesting rivalry to start up since they are both heels. It could lead to Dunne being more of a face, but I’m not sure.

Cameron Grimes was shown driving up to the building and he gave some money to guys at the building. Some guy trashed Dibiase saying he was at a nursing home, so Grimes punched him.

Adam Cole was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Cole said what he did to Hayes is what he’ll do to Kyle O’Reilly at Great American Bash. William Regal, the NXT GM, walked up to Cole. Regal said Samoa Joe defended himself because Cole put his hands on Joe. Cole ripped on Regal for not reprimanding Joe. Cole said he’ll do everybody a favor and get out of there. Cole left.

(Commercial)

There was a graphic of a charger at 31%. It’s likely for Diamond Mine.

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory walked into William Regal’s office with Theory having some protection on his finger. Gargano asked Regal what he’s going to do about what happened out there. Regal said Gargano/Theory would face Dunne/Lorcan this week.

Jessi Kamea & Aliyah (w/Robert Stone) vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark

Shirai with a flapjack and a running dropkick. Shirai with a kick against the turnbuckle. Aliyah with a headscissors, Stark landed on her feet and hit a clothesline. Kamea and Stark exchanged rollups leading to Stark hitting a double stomp to the back. Kamea jumped over the top with an elbow drop. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell entered wearing their NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. The announcers mocked Robert Stone’s stupid suit. Aliyah got some offense on Stark with a dropkick for two.

(Commercial)

The heels were still in control with Kamea slamming Aliyah onto Stark. Impressive strength by Stark countering Aliyah into a body slam. Shirai got the hot tag against Kamea with a flatliner, then the 619 kick against the ropes and Shirai hit a springboard missile dropkick off the top for two. Kamea with a kick to Shirai’s arm and Aliyah hit a Northern Light’s Suplex for two. Stark got the tag with a missile dropkick on both opponents. Stark with a half nelson suplex on Kamea. Shirai got the tag hit the Moon Over Moonsault off the top for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark

Analysis: ** It was a decent tag team match that went a bit longer than I thought. I figured the faces would win in in about five minutes. There’s nothing wrong with booking Kamea/Aliyah in a stronger way, but I’m just used to them losing quicker matches. Shirai is awesome as usual while Stark continues to impress.

After the match, Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai showed up at ringside. Kai said that those tag team titles are for them. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart showed up on the stage as well. Moon and Blackheart said that they were the number one contenders. Blackheart said that they should kick their ass.

The six women that were not the champions got into a brawl. Samoa Joe walked out there calling for security tog get out there. Joe made Security break up the fight between the six women.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Title contenders brawl: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

Analysis: They are doing a good job of creating teams for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles to make the fans care about the matches when they take place. That’s something that WWE isn’t doing well on Raw/Smackdown due to the lack of women’s tag teams. They fired a lot of them. That’s not good.

Kushida spoke about the match against Kyle O’Reilly later in the show. Kushida spoke in Japanese with captions on the screen.

(Commercial)

There was a replay shown of the awesome main event from last week when Tommaso Ciampa/Timothy Thatcher beating Grizzled Young Veterans in a Tornado Tag Team Match.

A big match was announced for NXT Great American Bash on July 6 with MSK defending the NXT Tag Team Titles against Ciampa/Thatcher.

Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan vs. The Way – Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory

Theory had some of his fingers on his left hand were in bandaged up after Dunne attacked the fingers. Dunne and Gargano battled for a bit. Theory tagged in while favoring his injured left hand, and then Dunne hit a running clothesline. Dunne stomped on the left arm of Theory. Dunne stretched the fingers of Theory while taking off the bandages. Lorcan tagged in with a hard chop. Theory took down Lorcan leading to a double foot stomp and a suplex. Gargano/Theory hit a double team elbow on Lorcan. Gargano with an atomic drop, then Theory tagged in and hit a roll through into a dropkick for two. Dunne came back with kicks to the left leg. Dunne pulled back on the arms of Theory. Dunne with a knee drop on the left arm of Theory. Dunne kicked the left arm of Theory as well. Theory came back with a dropkick and a clothesline sent Lorcan out of the ring. Dunne came back with a clothesline on Theory on the floor. Dunne and Lorcan did a double team slam on Theory on the edge of the ring apron.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Lorcan hitting a DDT on Theory. They did a spot where Theory nearly tagged out and then he did, so Johnny got the tag. Gargano hit a bulldog/clothesline combo as fans chanted for him. Gargano with a slingshot spear on Lorcan and a suicide dive onto Dunne on the floor. Lorcan was set up top and Theory hit an impressive springboard seated Spanish Fly for two as Dunne broke up the pin. Gargano with a clothesline on Dunne. The fans were chanting “NXT” to support the match. Lorcan hit a Blockbuster neckbreaker on Theory. Dunne pulled back on Theory’s arms and then Gargano kicked Lorcan onto Dunne, who may have tweaked his knee. Gargano chops, Dunne with a German Suplex and a stomp on the hands. Gargano came back with a rising kick. Dunne avoided a Spear and sent Johnny into the mat. Lorcan and Dunne hit a double team Powerbomb like move for two as Theory made the save. Dunne with an enziguri on Theory, then Lorcan with an uppercut and Gargano tagged in with a superkick. Gargano sent Dunne out of the ring leading to a suicide dive DDT on the floor! Gargano back into the ring with the One Final Beat DDT on Lorcan for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Way –  Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a very good tag team match as expected from these guys that are all very talented. It was a weird dynamic with two heels teams, but it felt like the team of Gargano/Theory were the faces since Austin was the face in peril leading to Gargano’s hot tag. Gargano was on fire, the fans were cheering him and it felt like Johnny was back to his babyface ways. Anyway, I enjoyed the match. It made sense for Lorcan to take the pin since Dunne is pushed more than him.

After the match, Karrion Kross knocked down Gargano outside the ring. Kross just left up the ramp towards Scarlett. Theory checked on Gargano.

The Way vs. Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

Analysis: It looks like Gargano might be headed down that babyface road again since Kross is a heel champion. I don’t mind that as a title feud.

A video aired about Franky Monet, who has her second NXT match after a break.

(Commercial)

The charging graphic was at 41%.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett were shown walking backstage where Samoa Joe walked up to them. Kross told Joe to remember “unless provoked.” Joe let Kross and Scarlett walk by, so Kross and Scarlett walked out a door. Pete Dunne showed up to stare at Joe. They didn’t say a word.

Next week on NXT:

* Women’s Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart. The winners will challenge LeRae/Hartwell for NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles at NXT Great American Bash in two weeks.

Franky Monet vs. Elektra Lopez

Lopez is a recent signing. Money got some offense with a chop against the turnbuckle. Lopez came back with kicks, body slam and two elbow drops. Monet with kicks to the body followed by a STO trip. Money with punches while she was on top of Lopez. Monet with a hair toss across the ring. Monet with a running back elbow against the turnbuckle and then Lopez moved to avoid a charge. Lopez with a jumping back elbow. Monet with a forearm that rocked Lopez. Monet hit the Glam Slam for the pinfall win after about four minutes. I like her pinning style. Just saying.

Winner by pinfall: Franky Monet

Analysis: *1/2 A short match to put over Monet as a future star in NXT. She is very good in the ring, she has an interesting persona and it’s easy to see why she has a bright future.

Franky Monet vs. Elektra Lopez: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

They showed replays with Beth Phoenix saying that Monet said she watched Beth since she was a kid. This is just a joke since Beth is only a few years older than her.

Bronson Reed, the NXT North American Champion, was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Reed talked about how he has destroyed Santos Escobar and he doesn’t know what Santos Escobar wants by coming after him all the time. The Hit Row group got in his face, specifically big man Top Dolla, and they are in action next.

(Commercial)

There was an earlier today video with Ever-Rise about to spray paint Top Dolla’s truck, but Top Dolla was there, so they ran away.

Ever-Rise (Matt Martel & Chase Parker) vs. Hit Row (Ashante Thee Adonis & Top Dolla) w/Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & B-Fab

Dolla ran over Martel with a shoulder tackle and knocked Parker off the apron. Dolla punched Martel. Adonis hit an impressive dropkick on Parker. He gets a lot of height on that. Dolla was back in, Martel tagged in and Ever-Rise sent Dolla over the top to the floor. Dolla punched Parker and threw him into the barricade. Dolla splashed Martel and Adonis hit a superkick. Dolla and Adonis hit a double team Powerbomb/neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Hit Row (Ashante Thee Adonis & Top Dolla)

Analysis: ** A dominant win to put over Hit Row as a team. I like Hit Row a lot as a group. They are on the rise for sure. I like Ever-Rise a lot as a team, but they are in the role as enhancement talent for the most part and I hope that changes for them soon.

Post match, Scott hit a jumping kick to Parker’s head after the match. Hit Row posed.

Mercedes Martinez was informed by Mckenzie Mitchell that she is in a mixed tag team match next week. Xia Li attacked Martinez from behind. Boa showed up talk trash, so Jake Atlas kicked Boa and that’s who will team up next week.

Kyle O’Reilly was featured in a video talking about how he was excited to face Kushida. They called it a “dream match” all show long and that’s up next.

(Commercial)

The charging graphic was at 51% now.

Next week on NXT:

* Jake Atlas & Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li & Boa

* Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher have a face to face with MSK.

* Women’s Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart. The winners will challenge LeRae/Hartwell for NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles at NXT Great American Bash in two weeks.

It was main event time with NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida making his entrance. Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance as the opponent with Kyle picking Kushida as his opponent since Kyle likes and respects him a lot.

Kushida vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Kushida’s NXT Cruiserweight Title is not on the line here.

They did some mat wrestling as they battled over takedowns on the mat. Kushida went for an armbar, but Kyle got out of it. Kyle went for a triangle choke submission, but Kushida got to the ropes. Kushida went for a handspring attack and Kyle was waiting for him with an armbar. Kushida got out of that with a hiptoss leading to a dropkick. Kushida put his feet around the arm of Kyle and twisted his feet. Kushida with a kick to the left arm. Kyle grabbed the foot, Kushida got out of that grabbing the foot and then they did a collision spot as they battled over moves.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Kushida getting a kick to the left arm. Kyle with a judo throw takedown leading to a body scissors around the ribs. Kyle with strikes, a knee to the chest and Kushida with a clothesline. Kushida with a hiptoss into an armbreaker. Kyle with an armbreaker on the left arm. They kept on battling over submissions and Kushida delivered several kicks to the left arm. Kushida with a jumping knee and a double underhook bridging suplex for two with Kyle getting his foot on the bottom rope. Kushida went for a jumping attack to the arm, Kyle moved and Kyle tied up Kushida, who managed to get a bridging pin attempt. Each guy hit a knee to the face, Kushida with a kick to the head and Kyle bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. Kyle with a brainbuster for two. Kyle went up top and Kushida hit a jumping kick to knock him down. Kushida with a running armbreaker into the turnbuckle. Kushida and Kyle battled on the apron with Kushida suplexing Kyle onto the ring apron. Big spot there with both guys bumping to the floor. Back in the ring, Kushida with a kick to the arm. Kyle with a knee to the jaw, kick to the head and then Kushida hit a forearm. Kushida went for a Hoverboard Lock submission again. Kushida rolled into the center of the ring and Kyle countered it by hooking the legs and sitting on top of Kushida for the pinfall win after 15 minutes. Kushida kicked out right after the three count.

Winner by pinfall: Kyle O’Reilly

Analysis: ***1/2 This was an awesome match as expected. I’m not surprised by that. I thought I’d be rating this match at four stars or higher, but it’s not like I can say I’m disappointed when it’s a terrific main event.  Kushida came close to winning a lot more than Kyle did and then Kyle was the one to find a way to win with a counter hold for the pinfall win. Kyle is a main event level guy, so it made sense for him to get the win to continue to build him up for his match with Adam Cole in two weeks. I didn’t expect Kushida to win, which is also why it was a non-title match.

Post match, Kushida and Kyle hugged eachother as a sign of respect.

Kushida vs. Kyle O’Reilly – Non-Title Match: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

Adam Cole showed up at ringside even though he said earlier in the show that he was leaving (#HEELSLIE). Kyle went after him on the floor and they ended up tumbling over the announce table. Cole and Kyle exchanged punches. Security ran down to ringside to try to break it up. They were taken out of the back part of the arena with Samoa Joe telling security to take care of it.

Analysis: Good way to continue building the Cole/O’Reilly story leading into their match in two weeks.

There were some guys in hooded outfits that went into the ring and they were beating up  Kushida. One of the guys lifted up Kushida into a huge slam. It was Roderick Strong, who delivered a knee to the head. Strong was joined by Tyler Rust with manager Malcolm Bivens and wrestler Hideki Suzuki.

Bivens said: “This is Diamond Mine.” The Diamond Mine logo appeared on the screen and they had Diamond Mine NXT jackets. They stood over a fallen Kushida as the show came to an end there.

Analysis: I didn’t know what to expect with the Diamond Mine group, but it looks like a trio of talented wrestlers with Bivens as the manager. The last time we saw Strong, he “left” NXT and now he’s back likely as the leader of this Diamond Mine group. It seems like their focus will be on the Cruiserweight Title, so it should set up Kushida vs. Strong and I would assume that Strong wins that title at some point in the future. NXT has a few other stables, so I don’t think it’s a problem adding another stable. Plus, I really think Bivens has been underutilized, so if this shines a bigger spotlight on him as a manager then that’s a wonderful thing too.

Cole brawls with O’Reilly, Diamond Mine takes out Kushida: WWE NXT, June 22, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kyle O’Reilly/Kushida
  2. Adam Cole/Carmelo Hayes
  3. Johnny Gargano/Austin Theory

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 7.25 out of 10

Last week: 8.25

2021 Average: 7.54

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good wrestling show as usual. I think last week was a notch above because in addition to the matches, the promos and non-wrestling segments were so strong. I still like how they utilized Samoa Joe as an enforcer this week, but last week was more impactful for sure. It was cool to see the Diamond Mine group make an impact at the end of the show with three wrestlers led by Roderick Strong and a manager in Malcolm Bivens, who I really like a lot. NXT doesn’t have that many groups, but the ones they do have are generally booked well.

Best matches this week were the Cole/Hayes match that opened with a bit of an Angle/Cena “Ruthless Aggression” tribute. I like how Hayes got a lot of moves in, but Cole managed to put him away. The O’Reilly/Kushida main event was terrific for most of it although I had higher expectations for it. Maybe that’s on me expecting an even greater match. It was still fun to watch. Maybe a few more minutes would have helped them, though. I also liked the Gargano/Theory tag match against Dunne/Lorcan. Johnny was back wrestling as a face and got attacked by heel NXT Champion Karrion Kross, so maybe Gargano is back to being a babyface soon. I don’t know for sure. Another highlight of the show? The way Franky Monet pinned her opponent. That was…fun.

This wasn’t the kind of episode that’s going to blow anybody away, but it was an example of how consistent NXT is week after week. I enjoy the brand a lot.

The lineup for NXT Great American Bash on July 6 so far looks like this:

Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly

NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK vs. Tommaso Ciampa (c) & Timothy Thatcher

We also know Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell are defending the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles against the winners of the triple threat match next week.

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