Date: April 13, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett
We’re officially on a new night now and that means things should be getting all the more interesting. This is also coming off of Takeover: Stand & Deliver and we have quite a few changes to deal with tonight. The good thing is Raw left a pretty low bar for this show to clear. Let’s get to it.
Here are Karrion Kross and Scarlett to interrupt. Kross says time comes for everyone and promised to get the title back. Finn Balor went on a tear as NXT Champion but he couldn’t control Kross and Kross controls everything. He is going to hold this title until he says otherwise because no one is going to out train or out wrestle him. It doesn’t matter what you have done before or how many zeroes are on the end of your check, because everyone pays the toll. They went with the straightforward push here and it worked pretty well.
We get a video on Takeover (which starts with Michael Cole sounding like he is talking about Wrestlemania so we might have seen a bit of a production botch there).
Tag Team Titles: MSK vs. Killian Dain/Drake Maverick
MSK is defending. Dain takes Wes Lee down to start and it’s quickly off to Maverick for a missile dropkick. Lee gets Maverick into the corner without too much trouble though and it’s Carter coming in with a Bronco Buster. Carter is sent outside though and we take a break. Back with Carter German suplexing Maverick but it’s quickly back to Dain, meaning the double teaming begins.
The champs manage to knock Dain down and the Final Flash gives Lee two. Carter comes back in and tries a sunset flip, but Dain picks up Lee and Falcon Arrows him while also sitting on Carter’s chest. Dain tries to powerbomb Maverick onto Nash but only hits the mat, allowing Carter to come back with a springboard twisting cutter. Dain is sent outside, leaving Maverick to take a Hart Attack with a Blockbuster. Carter dives onto Dain (while almost leaving it short and barely clearing the apron) as Lee pins Maverick to retain at 10:25.
Rating: C. Completely fine match here and a good way to check off MSK’s first title defense. It played to the formula of Dain being the (mostly) unstoppable monster so MSK went after Maverick in a smart move. They could hold the titles for a nice reign and have the exciting matches they are capable of, which will work out rather well for a lot of teams.
Post match MSK leaves and here is Imperium (minus Walter) to lay out Dain.
Robert Stone (in his bedazzled gloves) is trying to get a Women’s Tag Team Title shot for Aaliyah and Jessi Kamea but Mercedes Martinez comes in, demanding her money. She grabs Aaliyah by the throat but Kamea comes in to issue the challenge for tonight.
Long video on the ridiculously long Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole Takeover main event.
We get some post match footage of the two of them being taken away on stretchers, with Cole shouting at O’Reilly as they were wheeled away. William Regal shakes his head as they are taken towards the ambulance.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Jessi Kamea
The rest of the Robert Stone Brand is here with Kamea, who jumps Martinez to start. The forearms to the back and choking on the ropes don’t do much to Martinez, who is right back with a jumping knee to the face. The Air Raid Crash finishes Kamea at 1:52.
Post match Martinez grabs Stone and chokes him against the barricade, where he finally pays her off from a few weeks back. Martinez goes to the announcers’ table and says she’s coming for Raquel Gonzalez. That’s good enough to make my eyebrows go up.
The Way still thinks William Regal have it out for him but they are ready for their eight person tag. Indi Hartwell wants to take care of some, ahem, business with Dexter Lumis. Everyone puts their hands in for THE WAY….and then Austin Theory walks the wrong way.
Isaiah Scott is in his studio and doesn’t think much of Leon Ruff. It is time for him to move on but he can’t do that. Tonight, they are done.
Here is Legado del Fantasma for a chat. Santos Escobar talks about how the team came together a year ago and the cruiserweights have become must see as a result. His father was a champion, he is a champion and his son will be a champion, so tonight it is an open challenge for a title shot.
Cruiserweight Title: Kushida vs. Santos Escobar
Escobar, with Legado del Fantasma, is defending. Kushida, now in trunks instead of jeans, dropkicks Escobar to the floor before the bell. Back in and Kushida knocks him to the floor again but the threat of a dive has Escobar backing up. Instead, Kushida poses as we take a break. Back with Kushida in trouble on the floor and being sent into the steps for his efforts. Escobar gets creative by putting on a Liontamer on the steps, with Kushida almost grabbing the post to hang on.
They get back in with some Kawada kicks giving Escobar two and the armbar goes on. Escobar switches to a double arm crank but Kushida fights up and strikes his way to freedom. The hiptoss into the basement dropkick gets two and Kushida kicks him in the arm. Escobar is sat on top for a running kick to the arm and a butterfly superplex brings him back down.
Another suplex gives Kushida two but Escobar blocks the Hoverboard Lock. They trade kicks to the head and they’re both down again. Back up and Escobar grabs a Backstabber but they go into a pinfall reversal sequence with Kushida getting a rollup for the pin and the title at 11:04.
Rating: B-. They surprised the heck out of me here and it was quite the good match to get us there. I’ve been a big Kushida fan for a good while now but I haven’t been thrilled with how he has done in NXT. At some point he needed to win something and that is what he did here. I’m not sure how much of a future he has as champion, but winning and losing it fast is better than nothing.
Tommaso Ciampa says he and Timothy Thatcher didn’t win every fight in the Dusty Classic but they won every battle. Thatcher likes the new challenges and says they’re coming. Ciampa throws down his chair and leaves.
William Regal congratulates Kushida on his win but here is Jordan Devlin to say that was a nice win over Escobar….but all Escobar did was climb a ladder. Devlin is still the best wrestler around here and would take the title if he wasn’t heading back to the UK. He’ll be back though, and Kushida says anytime.
Here is Dakota Kai to introduce new Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez. Raquel talks about how she has been working harder and training more than ever before. Kai noticed that and gave her chance, which is why she debuted in Portland and went on to win the title. Io Shirai was a great champion, but the Raquel Gonzalez has begun.
The lights go out and here is the debuting Franky Monet, complete with dog, to interrupt. She introduces herself as La Reina Loca and says this place is now shinier, bougier and a whole lot better. Gonzalez says if Monet ever interrupts her again, she’s shove the dog up Monet’s something in Spanish (I think you can figure it out). Monet calls her something in Spanish and promises to see Gonzalez every Tuesday.
That’s enough for Monet….and here’s Rhea Ripley for a surprise. She comes to the ring, stares at Gonzalez, and clinks the titles together. We get the big congratulatory hug but now it’s Bianca Belair coming in as well as I feel like I’m writing some fan fiction. They pose together and we see a photo of the three of them in NXT as they all pose with their new titles. This was really, really cool and a special moment.
Pete Dunne says he had a classic at Takeover and if anyone wants to come at him, bring it on. For now though, it is time for him to go get a title.
Video on Sarray, who is coming to the women’s division. She debuts next week.
William Regal is happy Sarray is coming but has to go into his office to talk to Roderick Strong and Strong’s wife Marina Shafir. Strong hands him an envelope, which seems to be his resignation. Strong says he’s done and Regal says he is welcome back anytime.
Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah Scott
Ruff starts fast and sends him to the floor where he snaps Scott’s arm to make it worse. Back in and Scott’s arm is fine enough for a slam and a middle rope elbow to a seated Ruff’s back gets two. Ruff is back up with some running shots to the face and a stomp….mostly misses but it was close enough to be passed off as a running knee.
Scott catches him with a middle rope Russian legsweep though and Ruff heads outside. A kick to the face from the apron drops Ruff and we take a break. Back with Scott chopping away but Ruff fights up and gets to the top for the cutter. Scott bails to the floor but Ruff is right there with the big flip dive (and sticks the landing). They go back to the apron and then up top with Ruff snapping off a heck of a super hurricanrana.
Scott is back up with a fireman’s carry but Ruff turns it into a headscissors into the corner. Another hurricanrana gets a VERY close two on Scott but another super hurricanrana is countered into a face first drop onto the top turnbuckle. A flipping slam (kind of a half nelson flipped forward, kind of like a smaller One Winged Angel) finishes Ruff at 11:07.
Rating: C+. I had a lot of fun with this one and it was really just some of the botches that held it back. The thing that keeps catching my attention here is how much Leon Ruff has gotten out of this run. He basically stumbled into the whole thing and while he is not going to be some big star or a main eventer, he is getting every single thing he can out of this chance. Good for him for going from nothing to something, as not everyone gets to do that. Scott winning is a good sign for his future, and I’m curious to see where he goes next.
Zoey Stark is proud of her win over Toni Storm but Mercedes Martinez comes in and asks why we’re talking about a rookie. Tensions are teased.
Walter narrates a video about Imperium, promising that the group will expand and continue to dominate, because the mat is sacred.
Isaiah Scott implies that it is over with Leon Ruff….who jumps him from behind and sends Scott head first into the lockers. Ruff rolls an anvil case at Scott’s head and says that it isn’t over until he decides it is. Well that was out of nowhere.
Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon/Dexter Lumis/Bronson Reed vs. The Way
The Way has some issues figuring out their posing before the bell. Theory drives Lumis into the corner to start but Lumis hits a Thesz press into some right hands. That’s enough for Theory to bring in LeRae so Blackheart joins her. LeRae gets taken down and it’s off to Moon so Gargano comes in….and gets knocked down by the women. Lumis comes in and stares at Hartwell but LeRae breaks that up as we take a break.
Back with Reed running Theory and Gargano over, setting up a double splash in the corner. The double Samoan drop gets two and all four women come in for the brawl. Hartwell spinebusters Moon and LeRae superkicks Blackheart. For some reason, LeRae dives at Reed, who literally brushes her off after she crashes to the mat. Theory dropkicks Reed and the women start hitting some dives onto the men. Blackheart has Reed throw her onto the pile at ringside for the big crash.
Back in and Lumis Silences Gargano, with Hartwell not breaking it up. Instead she drops down next to Lumis, who checks on her, allowing Theory to hit Lumis in the head. Hartwell throws Theory outside and drops down in front of Lumis again, so Lumis carries her off, with Hartwell smiling at the camera and giving a thumbs up.
Reed punches Theory in the face and Moon climbs onto Reed’s shoulders for the Eclipse on Theory. LeRae sends Moon to the floor though and Gargano crotches Reed on top. Reed drops Gargano onto Theory so LeRae goes up and loads up a superplex on Reed. After LeRae winds up hanging out of the air, Blackheart breaks it up, leaving the Tsunami to finish Theory at 11:04.
Rating: C+. This was one of the most against the grain matches in recent memory and I think I liked it. They kept things moving, they did about half a dozen different things throughout, and the action never got that ridiculous. It really wasn’t like most NXT matches but it kept me interested and the Hartwell thing was so over the top that it worked in the end. Certainly not a great match, but it was fun and that is what they were trying for here.
Reed poses with the women while the Way is in shambles to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. I don’t know if it was Raw being so bad or this show being that much better, but I had a blast with this one. It felt like stuff happened and they hit the ground running, but above all else, this show came off like someone (or likely a few people) had a plan and executed it. You do not get that on Raw most of the time and they could absolutely learn a few lessons from NXT. This show was all kinds of fun, and the trio of new champions posing with their titles was a genuine feel good moment. This is how you follow up a big show and it made me want to watch more going forward.
MSK b. Killian Dain/Drake Maverick – Spinebuster/Blockbuster combination to Maverick
Mercedes Martinez b. Jessi Kamea – Air Raid Crash
Kushida b. Santos Escobar – Rollup
Isaiah Scott b. Leon Ruff – Flipping slam
Bronson Reed/Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon/Dexter Lumis b. The Way – Tsunami to Theory
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