NXT – February 17, 2021

NXT
Date: February 17, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph

It’s the fallout show from Takeover: Vengeance Day, which was certainly a noteworthy show. Not only do we have two new Dusty Classic winners, but the big story came at the end, as the Undisputed Era seemed to split up. That might be long overdue, but you could also say it was too soon. Let’s get to it.

Long recap of Takeover, including Adam Cole turning on the Undisputed Era.

Commentary talks about the show but here’s Kyle O’Reilly to interrupt. He has watched the clip time after time and doesn’t understand. The Undisputed Era was supposed to be different but then Cole kicked him in the face. Kyle needs to know what is going on so Cole can come out here and tell him. Now yes Kyle will probably punch him in the face, but get out here.

Cue Roderick Strong, which doesn’t make Kyle very happy. Strong says Cole did everything based solely off of emotion and he knows Cole regrets….and Kyle doesn’t want to hear it. He wants Cole himself out here and doesn’t need Strong playing peacekeeper. Strong gets on the apron but Kyle keeps shouting for Cole to get out here.

Cue Finn Balor, which only makes Kyle even madder. Balor says O’Reilly may want Cole but he’ll have to get in line. Balor knew that he shouldn’t have accepted O’Reilly’s hand on Sunday but here are Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to jump Balor and Strong. Pete Dunne joins in and O’Reilly gets beaten down as well, with Balor grabbing his leg.

Earlier today, Santos Escobar said the Karrion Kross match wasn’t happening tonight because he doesn’t like being threatened.

William Regal isn’t happy and says Escobar can face Kross next week or be stripped of the Cruiserweight Title. Also tonight, Lorcan/Burch/Dunne vs. Balor/O’Reilly/Strong.

The Way vs. Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon

Johnny Gargano has missing posters for Austin Theory, who is still gone after being kidnapped by Dexter Lumis at Takeover. Johnny even sits in on commentary for a bonus. Candice LeRae gets taken into the corner and then knocked outside as we take a very early break. Back with the Way getting caught by stereo kicks to the face but Indi Hartwell finally kicks Ember in the face to take over.

The front facelock goes on but we cut to the parking lot where a white van pulls up. Back in the arena and Ember slips off of Hartwell’s shoulders but walks into a side slam for two. LeRae comes back in to crank on both arms and hands it back to Hartwell to forearm Moon in the face. Moon gets sent outside for a springboard dive from LeRae, but we cut back to the van again. That’s enough for Gargano to go check it out as we take a break. Back with Shotzi coming in off the hot tag to clean house but Hartwell drops her with a clothesline to put everyone down.

We cut back to the parking lot where Gargano can’t get in the van, which doesn’t seem to have anyone inside. LeRae hits a low superkick for two on Blackheart and everything breaks down. Hartwell hangs Moon in the ropes as Gargano is back with the still tied up (and in his underwear) Theory. LeRae goes to celebrate, leaving Moon to roll Hartwell up for the pin at 16:28.

Rating: D+. Well that was long and they had multiple parts of the match dedicated to the Lumis/Theory stuff, which is certainly going to continue because everything Lumis does has to go on forever. Moon and Blackheart get back on the winning track, as apparently they are continuing as a team. Maybe they could face the Women’s Tag Team Champions, assuming the titles come here, where they would make more sense.

Pat McAfee joins us from his plane, saying that he told us so about Adam Cole. Feel free to tweet him about how awesome and right he was.

Kushida says he is glad he faced Johnny Gargano and wants to do it again. Bronson Reed comes in and says he was impressed but he might need to beat Kushida to get his own title shot. That’s cool with Kushida and Reed leaves. Cue Malcolm Bivens, who suggests Kushida wrestle tonight.

Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah Scott

Ruff armdrags him down a few times but Scott grabs the rope to avoid another one. A dropkick sets up an armdrag into an armbar to have Scott down for a bit. That’s a short bit though as he’s back up with a running boot to the face and a powerbomb backbreaker. A hard running dropkick in the corner puts Ruff on the floor and Scott kicks him in the face again.

Back in and we hit the bodyscissors as Scott is getting rather cocky. Ruff fights up with some chops and an elbow to the face, followed by the spinning cutter out of the corner. Scott has to grab the rope for the save, which is a little closer than I would have expected. Some forearms rock Scott again and a double stomp to the back keeps him in trouble. The crucifix bomb gives Ruff the surprise pin at 5:25.

Rating: C. I’m hoping this is the kind of loss that is going to shake Scott up a bit because he has lost time after time around here. You would think that WWE would want to push him a bit based on his podcast alone but nothing has clicked so far. I do like that Ruff wasn’t just a goon who loses everything after his big story was over.

Post match Scott beats the heck out of Ruff, including a release Death Valley Driver into the corner. Scott says Ruff is handed everything while he has to scratch and claw for everything. This is Swerve’s time and Swerve’s house? Where is his North American Title shot opportunity?

Kacy Catanzaro/Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah/Jessi Kamea

During the entrances, we see Carter and Catanzaro getting beaten down by Xia Li last week. We also get a chat from the two of them, who want Li back but also want a win tonight. Catanzaro spins out of a fireman’s carry and armdrags Kamea into the corner. Stereo kicks to the head get two and it’s already back to Kacy for a flipping anklescissors for two.

Cue Boa for a distraction so Kamea can get in a forearm and it’s off to Aliyah to hammer away. A combination wheelbarrow faceplant/cutter gets two on Carter but she’s over for the tag to Catanzaro in a hurry. House is cleaned and a neckbreaker/top rope splash combination finishes Kamea at 2:34. Catanzaro continues to look more and more comfortable every week.

Post break, Kacy goes to talk to Xia Li, who grabs her hand and marks it, meaning they’re on for next week. Well so much for Catanzaro’s rise, as this is going to hurt.

Malcolm Bivens thinks Kushida should face Tyler Rust tonight.

Here’s Beth Phoenix in the ring to present the Dusty Classic trophy. After a video on both tournaments, here is MSK for the first presentation. The team is rather fired up and call out Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan for their title shot on March 3. They promise to win the titles but there is something else that needs to be done. Beth brings out Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to present them with….apparently the same trophy as we only have one.

They’re proud of their win but here are Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax to interrupt. MSK even holds the ropes for the, but Jax scares them off. Kai introduces Gonzalez to the champs, including saying that Shayna ran away after Rhea Ripley beat her up. Gonzalez brings up beating Ripley in the Last Woman Standing match but Baszler laughs at the idea of Kai being tough.

Kai offers to kick Baszler’s head off but Jax says she is here to honor Dusty Rhodes. They worked together in NXT and remembers him calling her a big bad*** b****. Gonzalez says Dusty never met her and gets in Jax’s face. Shayna says they’ll be back in two weeks for some humiliation. Gonzalez promises to put her boot so far up Jax’s hole that we’ll never find it. MSK found popcorn somewhere in there. This was kind of a mess, and the single trophy thing was a little amusing.

Balor and O’Reilly seem to argue in the parking lot but we can’t hear them.

We see the still amazing Cameron Grimes Is Rich music video.

Grimes has wrecked his car but who cares? He’ll just buy another one.

Toni Storm jumped Io Shirai during a photo shoot and kicked her in the face.

Kushida vs. Tyler Rust

Malcolm Bivens is here with Rust. Kushida goes for the arm to start but gets shoved into the corner. That means it’s time to go after the arm again, only to have Rust take him down by the arm as well. Back up and Kushida nails the handspring elbow, setting up a bridging rollup for two. That earns him a shot to the face from Rust but Kushida manages an enziguri from the apron.

Back in and Kushida gets pulled off the top rope for a crash and it’s time for more Rust arm cranking. Kushida is sent outside and we take a break. We come back with Kushida striking away but missing a running kick. He goes to Rust’s arm again though and some Kawada kicks put Rust right back in trouble. Rust doesn’t seem to mind and grabs a front facelock suplex into an ax kick for two.

Two more kicks to the head get two more and Bivens is annoyed at the kickout. Rust grabs a rear naked choke before switching to something like a bow and arrow. That’s countered into a rollup for two and Kushida kicks him in the arm again. Kushida has to elbow his way out of a fireman’s carry and the Hoverboard Lock goes on for the tap at 11:16.

Rating: C+. Good stuff here as Kushida manages to get back on track after a heck of a match on Sunday. I’m still not sure what they’re doing with Rust at the moment, but he is having some pretty good matches and keeping himself out there. The midcard is getting beefed up around here and that is always a good thing.

Video on Zoey Stark.

We look at LA Knight debuting at Takeover.

Knight knows that everyone thinks he’s already the best NXT star of all time. He’ll be the biggest star ever around here and that is just a fact of life. If he’s exactly the same thing as he was as Eli Drake, was there a point to the change other than owning the name?

Zoey Stark vs. Valentina Feroz

The bad name generator is back. Stark grabs a suplex and then drives her into the corner as the beatdown is on in a hurry. Feroz avoids a stomp though and judo throws her down for two but Stark is back with some knees to the ribs. A release hot shot in the corner sets up a kick to the face into a half nelson suplex to rock Feroz again. The running kick to the face into a flip over knee to the face (something like a belly to back suplex flipped into a GTS) for the pin at 2:40. Stark looked good enough but needs some more polish.

Scarlett says Santos Escobar is out of time and Karrion Kross says Escobar’s destiny has been decided. Even if Escobar doesn’t show up next week, Kross will catch up with him anyway. Tick tock.

Pete Dunne/Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch vs. Finn Balor/Roderick Strong/Kyle O’Reilly

Lorcan drives O’Reilly into the corner to start but he’s right back with some forearms to the face. Balor comes in to work on the arm, with O’Reilly coming back in to stay on said arm. It’s already back to Balor as Strong seems to be ignored on the apron. Lorcan finally drives Balor into the corner but Balor armbars Burch down without much trouble. Strong comes in to cut off the left out idea and armbars Burch as well.

It’s off to Dunne to work on the arm as well, only to have Strong hit a running kick to the face for two. Strong gets sent outside where Lorcan and Burch throw the steps around for no apparent reason. The distraction lets Dunne go after Strong but he snaps Dunne’s throat across the top. The tag brings in O’Reilly to strike away but Dunne blasts him with a forearm.

We take a break and come back with O’Reilly fighting out of a chinlock to dragon screw legwhip Dunne into the corner. Lorcan comes in but gets backslidden for two. O’Reilly manages a clothesline and, after bouncing off the rope, rolls over for the hot tag to Balor. House is cleaned in a hurry with Balor and Dunne being left in the ring. Dunne scores with an enziguri but Balor scores with the Sling Blade. Burch tries to bring in a title belt but the referee stops him only to get bumped.

Cue Adam Cole as the referee gets bumped again and there’s a bicycle kick to O’Reilly. A brainbuster onto the steps drops O’Reilly again but Strong cuts Lorcan off. Strong picks up the title. That earns him a Pele kick from Balor (who didn’t see who it was), allowing Dunne to hit the Bitter End on Balor for the pin at 12:03.

Rating: B-. Good stuff here and the important thing is they set up a few different angles. Odds are this sets up Cole vs. O’Reilly and Balor vs. Dunne II, both of which could be nice matches to counteract the power of Shaquille O’Neal on March 3. I’m not sure if they would do both of those on the same show, but the future is looking pretty bright, which is always nice to see.

Post match everyone else leaves so here’s Cole to superkick Balor and hold up the title to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. This was a show that set things going forward for the next few months after Takeover and there is nothing wrong with that. It also set up a few people into some slightly higher levels and hopefully that extends into the future. Throw in McAfee being back and this should be a fun way to go in the next few weeks. NXT is picking up a bit again and that’s worth a smile.

Results

Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart b. The Way – Rollup to Hartwell

Leon Ruff b. Isaiah Scott – Crucifix bomb

Kacy Catanzaro/Kayden Carter b. Aliyah/Jessi Kamea – Neckbreaker/top rope splash combination to Kamea

Kushida b. Tyler Rust – Hoverboard Lock

Zoey Stark b. Valentina Feroz – Flip into a knee to the face

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch/Pete Dunne b. Roderick Strong/Kyle O’Reilly/Finn Balor – Bitter End to Balor

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