Date: April 27, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett
The Tuesday escapades continues with the return of Adam Cole for the first time since his loss at Takeover. That could be interesting, though if nothing else it is kind of a relief that he is not heading up to the main roster. Other than that, we have a pretty big six man tag to fill out the wrestling side of things. Let’s get to it.
Dakota Kai vs. Mercedes Martinez
Raquel Gonzalez is here with Kai. Martinez gets taken to the mat to start but bounces out of a headscissors and slaps her in the face. Back up and Martinez hits a spinning spinebuster (it seems like we get three of those per show these days) for two but Kai grabs a Rock Bottom backbreaker for the same. The running boot in the corner misses though and Martinez hammers away.
Something like a Razor’s Edge Dominator out of the corner gets two but Martinez gets drop toeholded into the corner. The running boot sends Martinez outside and we take a break. Back with Kai sending her outside again and hitting a kick to the ribs on the way back in. A Codebreaker through the ropes drops Martinez again but she is back up with a running shot in the corner.
Martinez takes her down with a delayed butterfly suplex and cranks Kai down by the arm. Kai rolls outside so Martinez throws her back in, where Kai grabs the referee’s leg. That lets Gonzalez take a swing but Martinez knocks her down instead. Back in and Martinez puts Kai in a fireman’s carry but Gonzalez comes in for the DQ at 12:28.
Rating: C+. This was a fine way to set up Gonzalez vs. Martinez down the line as Martinez beat up Gonzalez’s friend. That should make for a fine big time TV match as Martinez can have a good enough match with anyone. She certainly did here too as the power was a good way to keep Kai from running around with all of her kicks. The wrestling was fine but the storytelling was more important, and better.
Post match the beatdown is on with Martinez being laid out.
Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon have to worry about the Robert Stone Brand tonight and then they can deal with the Way. Hold on though as here is a delivery woman with some flowers for both of them. Frankie Monet comes up and introduces herself before reading the card, which says they’re from Dexter Lumis. Moon and Blackheart try to give each other the flowers.
Earlier today, Cameron Grimes went to look at a ring (as in jewelry) for a special someone (Grimes: “ME!”). The jeweler says he has something special for him….and we’ll see it later.
Here are the Grizzled Young Veterans for a chat. They accuse MSK of ducking them in a regular tag match because the Veterans need the titles. Cue Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa to interrupt, with Ciampa says they’re grizzled and veterans. After dubbing himself Toothless Timmy, Thatcher mocks the IF YOU HATE GIBSON SHOES OFF chant and the fight is on, with the Veterans being cleared out.
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain are ready for their match tonight against Imperium, but Maverick is convinced that Dain is turning on him to join Imperium. Dain says you gotta have faith, and Maverick is stunned at the George Michael reference.
Quick Tian Sha vignette.
Shane Strickland says if Leon Ruff wants to play this game, they can play it for his life.
Toni Storm vs. Zayda Ramier
Before the match, Toni talks about how Zoey Stark is going to be a footnote in her legendary career. Tonight, every time she slaps this rookie, she is going to imagine that it’s Stark. Storm throws her around by the hair to start and Ramier is in early trouble. There’s a backbreaker with Ramier being bent over the knee, followed by a German suplex to make it even worse.
Cue Stark for a distraction though, allowing Ramier to get in a quick knockdown. A shooting star press (which lands perfectly despite Storm being in the middle of the ring, to the point where I though Ramier was going to leave it two feet short) finishes Storm for the huge upset at 3:27.
Rating: C-. This was a squash until Storm slipped on a banana peel at the end. Storm isn’t going to be hurt by a dirty loss and the angry promos on Stark should be good. It isn’t likely to lead to Ramier becoming a bigger star, though stranger things have happened in NXT. I’m not sure if she should try the shooting star from that distance again, but it worked out in the end.
Bronson Reed runs into Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae on the way to the ring. Austin Theory pops up and asks why they’re standing in the dark.
LA Knight saw a twinkle in the eye of Indi Hartwell and knows that means she had a twinkle in her loins. He has references and after Dexter Lumis lets her down, come talk to him, because that is just a fact of life. Knight leaves and Ever-Rise comes up to ask if the interviewer has a question about their social media event. She doesn’t.
Austin Theory vs. Bronson Reed
If Reed wins, he gets another North American Title shot. The rest of the Way is here and Indi Hartwell is completely not in this. Barrett: “Don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts.” As commentary is astounded at the Billie Jean reference, Theory gets knocked to the floor with straight power. Back in and Theory’s jumping shoulder is swatted out of the air, followed by another shoulder to leave Theory hanging from the bottom rope by his feet.
Theory crashes to the floor as Reed goes after Johnny Gargano, allowing Theory to come back with a dropkick inside. Reed is knocked outside this time so Theory fakes an injury, leaving Gargano to add a superkick. One heck of a dive takes Reed down and a missed charge sends him into the steps.
We take a break and come back with Reed caught in a chinlock. That’s broken up in a hurry and Reed tosses him around again, setting up the splash in the corner. Theory is back with a neckbreaker for two as commentary points out Hartwell not being interested in the match. For some reason Theory tries a Samoan drop, which goes as well as you would expect. Reed’s version gets two but Theory manages a TKO for two of his own.
They’re both down so here is Dexter Lumis, with Hartwell walking away (because of the flowers to Blackheart and Moon). Lumis ges on the apron with Hartwell saying he talks too much. Lumis shoves Hartwell out of the way of a charge and takes the shot himself. Reed knocks Theory over and hits the Tsunami for the pin and the title shot at 12:24.
Rating: C. There was a lot going on here but what matters the most is Reed getting another shot. I was surprised when he lost the first time so giving him the title in the rematch could make up for things. That Tsunami looks great (and Barrett’s call makes it even better) and it should be enough to carry him to the title as it isn’t like Gargano needs the thing anymore. As much as I’d love to see Theory get a push of his own, he works well as the clueless moron who happens to be crazy athletic.
Johnny Gargano is nervous.
MSK thanks Kushida for his help and tonight they’re taking out Legado del Fantasma.
The Way blames Dexter Lumis, Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon for the loss. Indi Hartwell gets rather annoyed and storms off, with the team thinking she is going to deal with this.
Finn Balor is back next week after recharging in Mexico.
Imperium vs. Killian Dain/Drake Maverick
Alexander Wolfe is here with the team. Drake refuses to walk in front of Dain out of the possibility of pain and agony. Dain starts fast with a clothesline to send Barthel outside. Back in and Maverick hits some dropkicks to Barthel’s leg but Maverick gets sent into the wrong corner. With Dain being held out of the corner, some double teaming puts Maverick down and we take a break.
Back with Maverick still in trouble as Barthel sneers down at him. Maverick kicks him in the leg but Aichner comes in to swing him around by the jeans. A shot into the corner gives Maverick a chance but Barthel pulls Dain off the apron, meaning there is no one for the tag. Maverick looks crushed and a kick to the back of the head makes it even worse. Dain comes in and starts wrecking things but gets knocked outside….where Wolfe won’t hit him with a chair.
Barthel doesn’t like the indecision but here’s Maverick to hit a dive. Dain throws Maverick at Aichner but Wolfe won’t let Dain send Barthel into the post. Instead Dain gets sent into the steps as Maverick hits a high crossbody on Aichner….who rolls through, setting up the European Bomb for the pin at 12:16.
Rating: C. Imperium as a whole is a great concept and something that works well. Imperium without Walter is a team that is good at everything they do but the interest and spark aren’t there. It has shown badly every time they are out there without him, including here as it just wasn’t that engaging of a match. They are more than fine with everything else, but it was hard to care at all about what they were doing.
Pete Dunne says no one is talking about him because he has everyone shaken. Kushida stepped to him and got taken out. If he wanted to be Cruiserweight Champion, it wouldn’t take long. Or maybe he gets on a plane and goes back to the UK to take his title back from Walter. The North American Title could be interesting too, and then there is Karrion Kross. Dunne isn’t scared of Kross because he doesn’t need smoke and mirrors to get the job done. Everyone should fear him. Rather awesome promo here, as Dunne can bring the intensity.
Back at the jewelry store, Cameron Grimes buys a watch, but it isn’t ticking (Grimes: “Karrion Kross would hate this!”). He’ll take it anyway, but here is someone with the same watch. That would be…..TED DIBIASE, who laughs at Grimes and leaves, causing Grimes to scream a lot. Yep that was great.
Jessi Kamea/Aliyah vs. Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon
Non-title and non-match as we get some more flowers and cupcakes delivered to the champs…so here is the Way to jump them from behind. The beatdown is on and Robert Stone holds up the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
We get a sitdown interview with Adam Cole talking to a Sports Illustrated reporter. After being told that the interviewer is waiting on Cole to get off the phone, Cole talks about how he has been better, like during his 403 day reign as NXT Champion. It wasn’t him who forgot what the Undisputed Era was about but people will remember him. Kyle O’Reilly was back not long after Takeover and wrestled in the main even that night, which Cole finds interesting.
O’Reilly has been here for four years and people are just now starting to notice him. As for the NXT Title picture, Karrion Kross is good, but is he great? He got injured during his first title win. Was that a freak accident or is he just not ready? Kross hasn’t had to deal with Cole yet and when he does, that title is coming home. Cole berates the interviewer for making him sit outside in the heat and making him wait before leaving. We see Kyle O’Reilly watching on a monitor and shaking his head.
We see what looks like a UFC style training montage for something called the Diamond Mine.
Next week: the Way challenges Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart for the Women’s Tag Team Titles in a street fight and Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah Scott in a falls count anywhere match.
MSK/Kushida vs. Legado del Fantasma
Joaquin Wilde takes Kushida down to start but stops to dance, allowing Kushida to grab him by the arm. Lee comes in and gets taken down for a double basement dropkick as Legado takes over. Back up and Lee manages a dropkick of his own, allowing the tag to Carter to take over on Mendoza. MSK cleans house with Escobar being knocked outside as we take a break. Back in and some double teaming into a basement dropkick hits Wilde, setting up the handspring kick to the face to send him outside.
We take a break and come back with Carter in trouble for a change, including being taken down to the mat by the arm. Carter gets kicked down into the corner and a snap suplex gets two. A belly to back suplex is escaped though and Kushida comes in to clean house, including a basement dropkick to Wilde. Everything breaks down and the push moonsault gets two on Wilde as Mendoza makes the save.
Kushida holds the ropes so MSK can hit stereo dives but Escobar sends Kushida into the steps. A powerbomb puts him through the announcers’ table and a whip sends Carter into the steps. That leaves Lee on his own and the triple teaming is on in a hurry. A moonsault gives Wilde two but Lee manages to avoid a dropkick and send Wilde and Mendoza outside.
Escobar misses a frog splash as the medics check on Kushida. Lee kicks all three down as Carter is back up on the apron for the hot tag. Carter is knocked down and it’s Kushida coming back in and getting dropped with the Phantom Driver. The Russian legsweep/running boot combination finishes Carter at 13:27.
Rating: B. This started slowly but got a lot better in the end to make it a heck of a main event. I’m surprised that they actually went with it as the big finale to the show, but it isn’t like there was anything bigger going on. That’s a good sign for everyone and you have two more title matches set up immediately. They cranked up the violence and intensity here, which was more than I would have expected from this match. Nice job with this one and it did what it needed to do.
Post match Legado holds up the titles to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The main event picked this one up a little bit, but what matters most here is the fact that they did this without most of their main event stars. Cole had an interview and O’Reilly just nodded after said interview ended, meaning this was mainly a show built around the lower level stories. That is not a bad thing whatsoever and it is a great sign to see these people manage to make the show work so well.
Mercedes Martinez b. Dakota Kai via DQ when Raquel Gonzalez interfered
Zayda Ramier b. Toni Storm – Shooting star press
Bronson Reed b. Austin Theory – Tsunami
Imperium b. Killian Dain/Drake Maverick – European Bomb to Maverick
Legado del Fantasma b. MSK/Kushida – Russian legsweep/Running boot combination to Carter
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