NXT – February 10, 2021

NXT
Date: February 10, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett

It’s the go home show for Takeover: Vengeance Day and it’s still tournament time with three more Dusty Classic matches before we can finally wrap up the brackets for the time being. These things have dominated NXT TV for a few weeks now and I can’t wait for the them to wrap up so we don’t have to spend so much time on them every week. Let’s get to it.

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: MSK vs. Legado del Fantasma

Joaquin Wilde and Wes Lee start things off and go to the mat for some arm cranking. Wilde takes over on the leg but gets pulled into an armbar. That’s enough for the early tag to Nash Carter, who hits a Bronco Buster in the corner. Carter dropkicks Wilde into the corner and it’s off to Raul Mendoza to crank on the arm. Some double kicks have Mendoza in the corner and Lee stays in, only to get caught with a double suplex.

Wilde is hiptossed onto the ropes to set up a moonsault for two but Lee is over for the tag to Carter to pick up the pace again. Wilde isn’t having this though and knocks both of MSK outside as we take a break. Back with Lee cleaning house and kicking Mendoza out to the floor. A backdrop puts Wilde on the floor as well and it’s the push moonsault to take Legado out. Lee adds the big flip dive but he tries another one and gets kicked in the head.

Back in and Mendoza walks the rope for a missile dropkick, setting up Wilde’s reverse hurricanrana. Mendoza grabs a swinging suplex for two and puts Carter in a fireman’s carry. That lets Wilde use Carter’s back for a 450 but Lee small packages him in a hurry. Mendoza is smart enough to drop Carter onto the cover for two and MSK is in more trouble. The Russian legsweep/big boot is broken up though and the spinebuster/Blockbuster combination finishes Wilde at 12:58.

Rating: B-. There were good parts here but it didn’t have the best flow or chemistry throughout. The good thing is that MSK can wrestle the high flying style and hang in there just fine. MSK has looked good in the tournament so far and it’s nice to see someone getting a push right out of the blocks instead of having to go through a bunch of squash matches to get there first.

Mercedes Martinez talks about how it has taken twenty years to get here and now she is going to show the world what she can do.

Xia Li vs. Cora Jade

Boa is here with Li as well. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro come out to try and talk sense into Li, but she has a spinning kick to the face to give Jade for the pin at 46 seconds. Li’s entrance was about three times that long.

Post match Li beats on Jade some more, so Carter goes up to yell at Tian Sha for ruining Li. That sends Li up to throw Carter off the stage and then Sha chokes Boa. Li beats up Catanzaro as well. Having a little extra backstory has made this story work a good bit better.

William Regal is happy with the Dusty Classic but finds Scarlett in his office. She wants Santos Escobar’s time to be up next week. Regal agrees.

Here’s the Way, with Johnny Gargano in a wheelchair because of his broken arm. Gargano says this is the result of Kushida’s attack last week and we see a clip of Kushida kicking the arm. After Candice LeRae moves her hands from over Gargano’s eyes and the Way turns him back to the camera, Gargano says this is ruining his life. He is a known power walker but now he can’t swing his arms. And he hates wheels! Anyway, Gargano can’t defend the NXT Title on Sunday and Kushida should be suspended.

Cue William Regal to say Gargano was medically cleared yesterday but Gargano has an X-RAY showing the longest bone in his arm. The arm is broken horribly but Regal says that’s of a fight arm and Gargano’s left is in the sling. Also, if it’s that bad, Gargano would be in extreme pain.

Regal says Gargano has two options: he can either have Austin Theory as the surrogate to defend the title tonight or just forfeit the title outright. Gargano begs for more time but Regal says we can just ask Kushida, who is in the ring. Kushida cleans house, including superkicking Gargano who popped to his feet. That earns him a superkick back into the chair as Kushida clears the ring.

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: The Way vs. Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon

We’re joined in progress with Ember working on Candice’s arm and handing it off to Shotzi for a backsplash. The shoulders in the ribs keep Candice in trouble but she avoids a charge and brings in Hartwell. A side slam gets two on Blackheart and Candice comes back in to work on an armbar. It’s already back to Hartwell, who mocks Ember but manages to drag Shotzi back to the corner.

Candice elbows her down for two more and the armbar goes on again. This time Blackheart jawbreaks her way to freedom and it’s straight back to Moon to pick up the pace. Candice gets knocked into the corner so Blackheart kicks Hartwell for two more. Blackheart gets knocked to the floor though and Candice walks the ropes for a hurricanrana to send Moon into Blackheart outside.

We take a break and come back with Shotzi coming in off the hot tag and starting to clean house. The running reverse cannonball to the back gives Shotzi two and Moon is back in. Moon’s knees are laid up for a bulldog to Candice and another near fall as frustration sets in. This time it’s Ember getting caught in the wrong corner, with Hartwell holding Moon up for Candice’s Lionsault.

A shot to the face is enough for the hot tag back to Blackheart though and things pick up all over again. Everything breaks down but Candice drops Shotzi, setting up Hartwell’s top rope for her own two. That goes to Shotzi though, and it’s an Eclipse to Candice. Hartwell covers Candice for protection so Blackheart’s top rope backsplash hits both of them for the pin at 14:17.

Rating: C-. This gave us the right and fairly clear ending but they didn’t have a smooth match out there. It had multiple botches and both teams didn’t look all that great. Then again, it isn’t like they have much experience together so you can only expect so much. The ending made sense with Hartwell wanting to save Candice more than win, even if it might not appeal to Candice herself. Blackheart and Moon work well enough as a team, but this was none of the four’s best night.

Post match Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai come out for the staredown. William Regal comes in to say the winners will also get a future Women’s Tag Team Title shot. I thought they had said that before. Oh well.

Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa talk about the hard match they had last week. Tonight they have the Grizzled Young Veterans, which is a better name for them. They’re winning tonight and then doing the same on Sunday. Class dismissed, and Ciampa storms off, leaving Thatcher smiling a lot.

Santos Escobar isn’t worried about Karrion Kross. He isn’t apologizing either, even when a nervous Wilde and Mendoza come in. Escobar tells them to go pay Kross a visit.

Video on Finn Balor being untouchable as NXT Champion, which got Pete Dunne’s attention. The two have been going at it since, with Dunne even breaking Balor’s fingers. Now it’s time for the big showdown on Sunday.

Kushida vs. Austin Theory

No entrance for either of them and the slugout is on early. Johnny Gargano offers a quick distraction so Theory can take over, including a good looking dropkick. Kushida’s hiptoss is blocked so he throws Theory down and nails the basement dropkick. Theory gets taken down by the arm, which has Barrett fuming over Kushida’s hatred of all things arms. More kicks to the arm set up Kushida tying the arms around his legs and dropping backwards.

The arm is twisted around some more and then snapped down over Kushida’s shoulder, followed by a kick to the shoulder. Theory manages to knock him off the apron though and we take a break. Back with Kushida still in trouble and Theory sending him flying with a fall away slam. The referee checks on Kushida, which seems a little premature, especially since he grabs a rollup for two.

Kushida hits a springboard back elbow into a release German suplex. It’s time to work on the arm some more, this time with a Stunner of all things to send Theory outside. Kushida follows and gets run over but manages to slap on a cross armbreaker on the apron. That’s enough for Gargano to nail the superkick for the DQ at 11:57.

Rating: C. The ending was the right call as this was much more about setting up Takeover than the match itself. I could go for a lot more of Theory and Kushida, either on their own or against each other because they really are that good. Theory has all the tools you could hope for and you don’t get that kind of a talent very often. Go with what works, like Kushida vs. Gargano on Sunday.

Post match the beatdown is on with Gargano going to get a chair to break Kushida’s arm. As he goes around the ring though, someone pulls Theory underneath the ring. Gargano comes back and pulls out Dexter Lumis, who scares Gargano up the ramp. Theory is scared into the Hoverboard Lock from Kushida, who does the same thing to Gargano for a bonus. Lumis comes in to Silence Theory at the same time so Kushida can pose with the title.

Toni Storm talks about beating Io Shirai in the Mae Young Classic. She can do it again and after Sunday, it’s Toni Time.

We get an Imperium video, introducing everyone on the team.

Karrion Kross has taken out Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. Next week it’s Escobar’s turn.

Cameron Grimes is back, in a rather nice car. He pays security a lot of money to park it and then walks into the arena, where he hands some wrestlers some money as well. Grimes (now with glasses) gets in the ring and tells people to get up, promising a reward for anyone who does (Vic: “Sit down Barrett.”). Two months ago, Timothy Thatcher left him laying and injured so Grimes has been out of action.

While he has been hurt, he started playing a lot of video games and that meant trips to Game Stop. It was so great that he invested and now he has SO MUCH MONEY. Then he invested in Dogecoin and now he’s even MORE RICH. The clothes start to come off as Grimes rants about how William Regal can kiss his grits. I could absolutely go for this as it’s an angle that works every time and Grimes is perfect for the thing. Also, how often do we get something this topical?

Johnny Gargano says Kushida better be ready for Takeover because that’s Johnny’s world.

Io Shirai talks about winning the Women’s Title in a triple threat match and she can do it again. She is a different person than when she lost to Toni Storm and now this title reign will never end.

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Timothy Thatcher/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzled Young Veterans

Before the match, Zack Gibson says these two are as dumb as they look. When have either of them ever had a team end well? The Veterans are winning the trophy so they will be recognized as….whatever Gibson was going to say before Ciampa kicked James Drake in the face. It’s a big brawl on the floor before the bell with the Veterans beating them down and then switching places so the beating can continue.

They finally get inside for the opening bell with Gibson taking Thatcher down and bringing in Ciampa. The stomping ensues again so it’s back to Thatcher, who allows the tag off to Drake. Thatcher gets knocked into the corner and Gibson comes back in, allowing Drake to pull Ciampa to the floor. Ciampa is sent into the steps and then double teamed onto the apron as we take a break.

Back with Ciampa still down after being checked by the medics during the break. Gibson takes Thatcher down into a chinlock for a bit before loading up a Doomsday Device. That’s broken up though and Ciampa blasts Drake as Ciampa gets back on the apron. There’s the hot tag and house is cleaned, including a bunch of clotheslines. Some German suplexes have the Veterans down again and Ciampa gets two on Drake.

We settle back down with Drake having to power Ciampa into the corner to block the Fairy Tale Ending. Gibson and Ciampa slug it out with Gibson hitting him in the throat, setting up a swinging suplex. Drake comes in and uses Ciampa as a launchpad to take Thatcher down, followed by the Doomsday Device. Thatcher breaks that up as well but the Veterans put him down on the floor. Willow’s Bell is blocked and the Ticket To Mayhem hits Ciampa for the pin at 11:39.

Rating: C+. The ending helped but the injury spot felt pretty wedged in. Ciampa was right back up like nothing was wrong later and it’s not like the Veterans beating Ciampa and Thatcher is some huge upset. I’m not sure why they needed the injury deal when some simple cheating would have worked just fine, but it’s not like it ruined anything. The Veterans moving on makes sense and as long as that works, there isn’t much to complain about here.

Post match MSK and the Veterans glare at each other.

Commentary stands up and hypes Takeover, with everyone in each match coming to the stage for a staredown. Finn Balor and Pete Dunne stare each other down in the ring to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This show did a nice job of setting up Takeover, though I never need to think about the Dusty Classic again. Adding in the prize for the women helped, though it wasn’t exactly a groundbreaking change. The wrestling was good here and I’m glad Gargano vs. Kushida is back on, plus the Grimes stuff has me giddy with how fun it could be. Nice show here, but Takeover is the main course on Sunday.

Results

MSK b. Legado del Fantasma – Spinebuster/Blockbuster combination to Wilde

Xia Li b. Cora Jade – Spinning kick to the face

Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon b. The Way – Top rope backsplash to LeRae

Kushida b. Austin Theory via DQ when Johnny Gargano interfered

Grizzled Young Veterans b. Tommaso Ciampa/Timothy Thatcher – Ticket to Mayhem to Ciampa

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