Welcome to the WWE NXT review. This is the last show before next week’s NXT “makeover” of sorts.
This episode is taking place at the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The show began with a shot of the Capitol Wrestling Center. The fans were behind the barricades as usual. This show was taped at some point two weeks ago. I did not see spoilers. The announcers were Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix.
Ember Moon vs. Kay Lee Ray
Moon hit an impressive jumping kick to the head for a two count early in the match. Ray managed to get some momentum going with an arm wringer on the left arm of Moon. Good comeback by Moon with some kicks, an athletic double knee attack and a Crossface submission. Ray sent Moon into the turnbuckle leading to a break.
KLR was relentless in attacking the left arm of Moon with an armbar takedown. Moon managed to trap Ray against the turnbuckle leading to Moon delivering a vicious kick to the head. Ray hit an impressive Tornado DDT off the ropes for two. Moon suplexed Ray out of the ring followed by a great suicide dive by Ember, but Ray came back with a senton off the top. Moon came back with an impressive sitout slam for two. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Shortly after that, Ray hit the KLR Bomb (Gory Bomb) for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kay Lee Ray
Analysis: ***1/4 A fun opening match that was very even throughout. It seemed like every time KLR got a nearfall, Moon came back with one of her own. Moon is one of my favorite women’s wrestlers in WWE because she sells so well and does a great job doing the babyface comeback. It got plenty of time, so that always helps. The result was what I expected because KLR is new to the NXT brand, so they are going to want to push her and give her wins in matches like this.
There was an interview with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch talking about their NXT Tag Team Title match with Ridge Holland and Pete Dunne with the challengers believing they will win the titles. Dunne wanted them to beat MSK and end MSK.
The brief commercial aired hyping the new NXT with bright colors coming next week.
There was a video showing Indi Hartwell’s Bachelor Party at a restaurant. Indi said her best friend came from Australia for this, but her friend told Kacy Catanzaro that she came for Disney World. Indi thanked Candice LeRae, who is pregnant and then Kacy/Kayden started Tik-Toking on their phone. Candice said she realizes that Dexter really loves Indi, so that’s all she could ask for. Candice said he’s a tough nut to crack and Indi said he’ll have to “crack his nut” so there’s a comedy line. Indi and Candice left to spy on the bachelor party.
The wedding of Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis is on NXT. Beth and Vic were excited about it, but Wade Barrett was not thrilled.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Santos Escobar (w/Raul Mendoza, Joaquin Wilde & Elektra Lopez)
Hays frustrated Escobar early with arm drags followed by a hurricanrana to send Escobar out of the ring. Escobar took control after a slam along with a DDT. Hayes showed off his athleticism with a flip landing on his feet leading into a superkick. Hayes with a pump kick into the jaw, but then Escobar knocked Hayes off the apron leading to a break.
Escobar was in full control working on the lower back of Hayes and Escobar hit a double knee attack. Escobar continued to work on the lower back for several more minutes. Hayes got some offense going with a kick followed by a springboard legdrop. Hayes got a two count after a lifting Cutter for two. When Hayes tried a springboard attack, Escobar countered with a jumping knee. Hays hit an impressive body attack where he slammed Escobar into the mat. When Hayes left the ring, the two Legado guys distracted the referee and Lopez gave Hayes a hard body slam on the floor. Right after that, Escobar hit the Phantom Driver for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Santos Escobar
Analysis: ***1/4 This was really good. Escobar picks up the win since he’s in the hunt for the North American Title. Hayes won the NXT Breakout Tournament after going on a winning streak, so this hurts a bit, but losing to a bigger name like Escobar is fine. I think Hayes will be just fine. It was smart to have Lopez play a factor in the finish since she is new in the group, so it tells the fans watching that she’s going to be a difference maker for the group.
There was a video featuring Diamond Mine’s Malcolm Bivens with the Creed Brothers saying they were going to make their NXT debut this week. Roderick Strong welcomed them to the team.
There was an interview with William Regal that let us know that next week there will be a Fatal 4-Way between Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, Kyle O’Reilly and LA Knight. The winner of that match gets a NXT Title match against Samoa Joe.
Analysis: Since Dunne vs. Joe has been teased in the past, perhaps Dunne gets the win here. However, they may save that match for the next Takeover show (I’m guessing that’s in October), so they could go with anybody depending on when the title match is.
Julius & Brutus Creed (w/Roderick Strong, Malcolm Bivens & Hachiman) vs. Chuckie Viola & Paxton Averill
Julius and Brutus are brothers wrestling in singlets. Julius is a bit taller than Brutus, who has a thicker upper body. Brutus with a huge uppercut and body slam over the top to the floor. Brutus hit an impressive belly to bely leading to the brothers slapping eachother in the face before a tag. Julius hit an impressive suplex across the ring. The Creed brothers ran both opponents into the eachother. Julius won after a running slam and stiff clothesline. It was just over two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Julius & Brutus Creed
Analysis: * A dominant win for The Creed Brothers as newcomers in the Diamond Mine group. The Creed Brothers hit really hard and look like badasses. This the right way to debut new talent as part of a group with an established guy like Strong. They fit in well.
The Women’s Tag Team Champions Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were backstage since they were up next.
Ember Moon was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell saying she has had a tough three months. Ember claimed Kay Lee Ray woke her up and she doesn’t want to feel like this anymore, so she knows what she has to do.
Analysis: That’s a tease for a character change, so maybe Ember will turn heel.
The Hit Row stable were in their recording studio. Swerve Scott said that Santos Escobar will not get the upper hand on him again. B-Fab threatened Elektra Lopez after Lopez attacked her recently. They ended it with their catchphrase: “If you didn’t know, now you know.”
The next match was the first of two tag team title matches on this week’s show.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
The crowd still loves Io Shirai, who is underused in NXT this year. Last year she was featured a lot more and wrestled more often. There was a cool sequence from Shirai and Carter early in the match and Io told Stark she didn’t need a tag. There wasn’t much happening for a few minutes. Shirai hit the first big move of the match with a double knee attack on Kacy leading to a break.
The pace picked up with Carter attacking both opponents with a forearm leading to a dropkick into a splash. Carter hit Stark with a superkick for two. Stark with a roundhouse spin kick on Carter. Shirai cleaned house with big moves including a missile dropkick for two. Shirai worked over Carter a bit, Kacy got the tag and got a splash for a two count, but then Shirai came back with a German Suplex. Stark tagged herself in leading to a roundhouse kick for two. Stark accidentally knocked Shirai off the apron, so Carter hit a flatliner with no cover. Kacy hit a splash off Carter’s shoulders, but Io broke it up with a missile dropkick. Stark flipped Kacy over leading to knee to the face and Shirai hit a moonsault off the top for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark
Analysis: **1/2 It felt like an average tag team match to me. I think a match between two babyfaces with no storyline hurt the match a bit, but they worked well together. The team of Shirai and Stark don’t get along, but they still find ways to win.
Post match, the trio of Mandy Rose (with a mask) Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne beat up Carter and Kacy on the ramp. It’s always good to see Mandy, even with a protective mask.
Kyle O’Reilly talked about his career noting that at Takeover 36 he turned a page in his career and life. Kyle doesn’t care what it takes, the endgame for him is the NXT Championship and Samoa Joe. Kyle said it’s about being the best. Kyle said next week in that Fatal 4 Way, a new obsession begins.
The Dexter Lumis bachelor party was up next.
There were highlights shown from the bachelor party of Dexter Lumis. They showed the guys in the limo with Lumis joined by Johnny Gargano, Cameron Grimes, Drake Maverick, Odyssey Jones and the zombie referee. Grimes and Lumis had a truce after they had a rivalry in the past. The idea was that rich guy Grimes was paying for it. The party went to a Go-Kart track with Indi and Candice spying on them. Gargano won the Go-Kart challenge. They went ax-throwing and Indi/Candice spied on them again. Lumis did very well at ax-throwing. Lumis gave Gargano some tips, so then Johnny did a good job and a thumbs up from Lumis. Maverick was on some trampolines, so then the big many Jones jumped beside him and Maverick went down. The guys did some laser tag game and beat the other team with Dexter doing wrestling holds like choking guys out. The referee said Dexter’s: “Not that bad, eh.” He’s Canadian. That’s true. Jones pushed Gargano’s hand into Dexter’s hand. Indi and Candice showed up with Indy saying: “You’ve cracked Johnny’s nut.” Gargano agreed they were on the same page and said: “Let’s go have a wedding.”
Analysis: It’s a way to build up to the wedding some more. Lumis did not speak as usual. They were going for comedy bits a lot and I wouldn’t say it worked that well, but there were some decent moments.
The Dexter Lumis-Indi Hartwell wedding is next week on NXT.
Boa told Mei Ying that it’s time.
Franky Monet was talking with Jessi Kamea and Robert Stone with Franky mocking the IN-DEX wedding. Stone informed Monet she gets a NXT Women’s Championship shot against Raquel Gonzalez. Franky was excited about it saying it was a big deal for the brand and said everybody will be talking about her as the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Mei Ying vs. Virginia Ferry
Ying applied a sleeper, Ferry broke free and Ying hit a kick followed by a thrust. Ying choked Ferry by the throat and pinned her for the win after about 48 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Mei Ying
Analysis: 1/4* Easy win for Ying in her debut. I really don’t think this Tian Sha stable with Mei Ying and Boa is working that well. I get that it’s mysterious and different, but I don’t think it’s that interesting.
LA Knight did a promo while driving his car and talking into a camera beside him. Knight said he’s going to beat three men to become the number one contender. Knight reminded us that it is “LA Knight’s game” and he’ll see them soon.
MSK was shown getting ready for their title defense.
Tommaso Ciampa did a promo in the backstage area. Ciampa said that a motivated Ciampa is a scary Ciampa. He said he had two goals so he called out Pete Dunne and said if you want to slay the dragon, you have to chop off his damn head. Ciampa said his second goal is…Goldie. That means winning back the NXT Championship.
Next week on NXT:
* Tommaso Ciampa vs. LA Knight vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne.
* Raquel Gonzalez defends the NXT Women’s Championship vs. Franky Monet.
* Dexter Lumis and Indi Hartwell get married.
It was main event time with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch entering as the former champions while Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland joined them at ringside. MSK were next as the NXT Tag Team Champions that have held the tiles for 140+ days according to a graphic.
MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan (w/Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland)
Carter started with Burch, who got a takedown with a side headlock. Carter with a dropkick to the leg and a low dropkick. Lorcan applied an armbar, then an uppercut and Lee tagged in leading to tag team kicks as well as a double foot stomp. Carter back in with a senton splash. Lorcan managed to send Carter into the heel corner, so Burch hit him with repeated uppercuts. Lorcan and Burch made some quick tags leading to move, but then Carter hit a springboard attack. Lee was back in, Carter with a dropkick and MSK knocked the heels out of the ring to celebrate in the ring.
Burch was in control of Carter with a side headlock, then Burch avoided a kick and hit a belly to back suplex. Lorcan unloaded on Carter with chops, Carter came back with punches, but then Lorcan hit a snap suplex. Carter broke free from the heels with a jumping knee to Burch and Lee got the hot tag against Lorcan. Lee was on fire with punches, kicks a headbutt to the ribs and an impressive dropkick. Lee with a running forearm on Lorcan, then a kick and a German Suplex for two. Lee with a spinning kick to the head. Carter back in with Lee shoving him into the moonsault pin for two as Burch made the save. Lee tossed Burch out of the ring and hit a dive. Carter with a moonsault off the middle rope onto Lorcan on the floor. Back in, Lorcan blocked a senton off the top by getting the knees up. Lorcan knocked Lee off the apron. Lorcan with an Ankle Lock on Carter and Burch with a Crossface on Lee. Carter sent Lorcan into Lee, so all four guys were down. The fans chanted “this is awesome for them.” All four guys connected with strikes, Lorcan hit a running elbow on Carter, but then Carter did a hiptoss into the turnbuckle. Carter with a superkick on Burch. Lee tagged in and hit a double team blockbuster neckbreaker for the pinfall win. It went 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: MSK
Analysis: ***1/2 A great tag team match by two of the better teams in NXT. It’s no surprise that it was a fun, entertaining match full of action. There was a basic tag team formula for a lot of it with Carter as the face in peril, then Lee got the hot tag and the pace really picked up from there. Great double team finish. I think the match was lacking excitement at times and I would have liked to see Burch/Lorcan get some more nearfalls towards the finish. Anyway, it was no surprise that MSK won.
MSK celebrated with their NXT Tag Team Titles on the stage.
Back in the ring, Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland beat up their former allies Burch & Lorcan with Holland hitting Burch with a headbutt. Dunne with a roundhouse kick on Lorcan. Holland hit a powerslam driver on Lorcan. The fans chanted “you suck” at Dunne and Holland in the ring. When Burch got up again, Holland hit him with a headbutt. Dunne and Holland left.
Analysis: I didn’t expect that foursome to break up like that. I guess the story is that Dunne/Holland didn’t like the fact that their buddies lost the match.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kay Lee Ray
- Santos Escobar/Carmelo Hayes
This week: 7.25 out of 10
Last week: 7
2021 Average: 7.37
A solid show from top to bottom with good matches throughout the show. I rated a bunch of matches at around the three star range, so that makes it enjoyable for me. With that said, it felt like they were just building to next week in some cases rather than trying to make this week feel special.
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