Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. The next Takeover event is taking place on Sunday, August 22 using the name NXT Takeover 36. It’s the night after SummerSlam, so that’s a big weekend for WWE. This week’s episode and next week’s show were taped last Wednesday. Both of those episodes are airing on Syfy instead of USA Network because of coverage of the Summer Olympics. For those of you in the US, the next live episode on USA Network will be on Tuesday, August 10.
My apologies for this review being shorter than usual. We are going through some big changes at TJRWrestling this week as we continue to do our best to grow the site even more. I’ll have more to say about it on a post on the site likely on Friday.
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.
There was a shot of the crowd behind the barricades chanting “NXT” as the show began. The announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were shown at ringside to welcome us to the show.
Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher defeated Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
This was a good tag team match that was very physical with both sides getting plenty of offense and then the cheap finish with the return of Ridge Holland helping Dunne get the win on Ciampa. I didn’t expect Holland here, so it was a nice spot for a surprise return. Holland suffered a brutal leg injury last year, so he’s back and probably going to get a decent push as a powerful heel. Rating: ***1/4
They did the segment with Samoa Joe quitting as William Regal’s enforcer, then he signed a new contract as a wrestler in NXT and then Joe will challenge Karrion Kross for the NXT Title at Takeover 36 on August 22. That’s good. I think there might be a title change.
They did some comedy skits with LA Knight golfing with butler Cameron Grimes. I like Grimes in these segments. He’s funny. Knight is a bit over the top.
NXT Breakout Tournament: Carmelo Hayes defeated Josh Briggs
Hayes is a talented guy with plenty of experience and a lot of potential. We have seen in him NXT a few times. Briggs also has a bright future as a bigger guy (he’s about 6’8”) that did some power moves. Hayes got the win with a leg drop off the top. I think Hayes could definitely win the tournament. Rating: **1/4
There was another Knight/Grimes comedy vignette. Ted Dibiase showed up and gave Grimes some encouraging words.
Dakota Kai turns on Raquel Gonzalez
They did a segment where Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai talked about how Raquel has dominated the NXT Women’s Division as the champion. After about a year and a half together, Kai turned on Gonzalez with a running kick to the head. Kai held up the title. The fans cheered for Kai’s turn as a big moment even though Gonzalez is likely the face in the scenario.
Analysis: Dakota was great here. They have been slowly teasing issues between them, but never in a big way. It’s just smaller stuff like Kai staring at the title when they’re doing promos or walking to the ring. I figured the split had to happen at some point. Gonzalez will probably be the face while Kai will be the heel. I can see either woman moving to Raw or Smackdown in the fall too, but I don’t know if that’s the plan for either of them.
They had a segment with Zoey Stark trying to get along with Io Shirai since they are Women’s Tag team Champions. Io was hesitant about it. I guess that will lead to more comedy segments? Sure. I prefer Shirai matches.
There was a backstage shot of Mandy Rose talking to a couple of female wrestlers. Mandy looked tremendous as usual, but sadly wasn’t on camera very long as she told the camera to leave.
Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro defeated Franky Monet & Jessi Kamea (w/Robert Stone)
It was a short match with Kacy hitting an impressive 450 Splash on Monet to win the match. I don’t get why they had Monet lose the match. I realize that she lost because Robert Stone tried to help her, but failed miserably. I just think it would be better for Franky to win matches since she was undefeated in singles action. Stone remains a goofy manager that causes his teams to lose. Shoutout Kacy for that awesome 450 Splash. She’s a great athlete. Rating: *3/4
They did a sitdown interview with Roderick Strong and Malcolm Bivens talking to Wade Barrett. It was good in terms of giving some background information to the Diamond Mine group. Strong faces Bobby Fish next week. Fish usually loses.
Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) defeated Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante Thee Adonis)
This was just an average match. I didn’t love the booking since Hit Row are now fully positioned as faces, so they got screwed out of the win by the Legado del Fantasma guys. If you recall when “Swerve” Scott won the North American Title from Bronson Reed, he won because his guys cheated to beat Reed and now they are faces without really doing anything to turn them face. Anyway, it was a cheap win for the Imperium guys. Most NXT tag team matches are better than this. They didn’t really click and the finish hurt. Rating: **
There was a segment with Johnny Gargano’s crew to set up a match for next week where Johnny Gargano faces Dexter Lumis. If Johnny wins, then no more Dexter (who wants to join The Way), but if Dexter wins then he gets to hang out with Indi. It’s a Love Her or Lose Her Match. Indi had a funny tweet about it.
Same energy pic.twitter.com/blmIETc3AQ
— Indi Wrestling (@indi_hartwell) July 28, 2021
LA Knight had another golfing segment with Grizzled Young Veterans out there too. That led to Grimes accidentally getting a hole in one (with a gold ball) while golfing. This came after Grimes hit Drake with a golf club to the groin before he hit the ball. Oh, there’s that WWE “comedy” again.
Adam Cole defeated Bronson Reed
I liked this match. It was the best of the night although at around 12 minutes it’s not like they got that much time to have. Reed is one of the biggest guys in NXT, yet he’s able to be at his best against a smaller guy (or normal-sized guy) like Cole, who as we all know is one of the best wrestlers in all of WWE. The finish saw Reed hit a Powerbomb and then when he went for the Tsunami Splash, it missed, so Cole hit the Last Shot knee for the knee. Either guy could have won and it would have been fine, but it feels like Reed has one foot out the door in NXT since he’s had tryouts on Raw/Smackdown in recent weeks. I just think they’re going to have Reed put people over until he’s on Raw or Smackdown perhaps after SummerSlam or around that point. Anyway, Cole winning builds momentum for another match with Kyle O’Reilly likely at Takeover 37. Rating: ***1/2
The reason I mentioned Kyle is because after the match was over, Kyle showed up with a steel chair and hit Cole in the back. Kyle had ripped jeans on. Kyle suplexed (or maybe it was a brainbuster) Cole onto the bottom half of the steel steps and the show ended there. That’s payback for Cole doing that to Kyle earlier in the year. It should set up their Takeover match.
Three Stars of the Show
- Adam Cole
- Bronson Reed
- Dakota Kai
This week: 6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2021 Average: 7.43
The show was good for the most part, but also a bit uneventful like last week. I don’t know if it was because it was a taped show where I knew the results going in or simply a lack of an interesting card. The main event with Adam Cole beating Bronson Reed was the best match although I wouldn’t say it was anything out of the ordinary in a main event match.
They are setting things up nicely for Takeover 36 with big matches like Karrion Kross vs. Samoa Joe, WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov, I assume Raquel Gonzalez defending the NXT Women’s Title vs. Dakota Kai after Dakota’s turn. Plus, round three of Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly seems likely too.
Anyway, I still like NXT a lot. I just think they’re in a bit of a lull and hopefully things pick up over the next month. Next week’s taped show has a decent card, but not that strong. They should load up the week after that.
Here’s the lineup for NXT Takeover 36 on Sunday, August 22nd so far.
NXT Championship: Karrion Kross (c) vs. Samoa Joe
NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
You can watch NXT TakeOver 36 at 8 ET/5 PT on Sunday, Aug. 22, streaming exclusively on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.
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