NXT – May 11, 2021

NXT
Date: May 11, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix

It’s another double title night as we have two titles on the line. As a bonus, one of the matches, in this case Kushida defending the Cruiserweight Title against Santos Escobar, will be two out of three falls. That’s nice enough, but will it be nicer than Raquel Gonzalez defending the Women’s Title against Mercedes Martinez? Well yeah it probably will but that’s beside the point. Let’s get to it.

Opening recap/preview.

Karrion Kross vs. Austin Theory

Non-title and Scarlett/Johnny Gargano are here. Theory is rather worried to come in but Gargano talks him into it, meaning the stalking can start fast. A clothesline doesn’t do much to Kross but his clothesline takes Theory’s head off. Kross looks annoyed at Theory and tosses him with a Doomsday Saito. Gargano offers a distraction though and Theory rakes the eyes to take things outside.

A DDT on the floor drops Kross but Theory breaks the count at nine for some reason. Kross gets posted and Theory hits a rolling clothesline as we hear the Bronson Reed gets a North American Title shot against Gargano next week. Kross comes right back with another Doomsday Saito and Theory is out, even as Kross hammers away at the back of the head. The Krossjacket choke finishes Theory at 6:03 as Kross stares at Gargano.

Rating: C. I would have bet on total destruction here but Kross got in enough offense to make it work. Theory is someone who could be a star if he was given the right kind of presentation as the talent is certainly there. That being said, there was no reason for Kross to break a serious sweat here and that did not take place, so they did it the right way.

Post match Finn Balor pops up behind Karrion Kross to say he doesn’t wait in lone. The match is on at some point in the future.

Earlier today, Leon Ruff asked William Regal for a match tonight but was turned down because of the beating he took last week. Ruff wrecked Regal’s desk but Angry Daddy Regal got serious and told him to get out.

Breezango vs. MSK

Non-title. Lee and Breeze start things off with Breeze taking him down and strutting a bit. Back up and Lee drops him with a shoulder before flipping over Breeze to show off as well. Their stereo superkicks connect with each other’s feet and we get the wincing standoff. Lee comes in and takes Breeze down, setting up some dancing. Fandango comes in and runs the ropes to go over both of them before colliding with Breeze.

Back up and Breeze runs the ropes as well, with the referee dropping down and then leapfrogging over him, allowing Carter to hit a dropkick. Back from a break with Fandango dragging Lee over to the corner, where Breeze slingshots him….into Fandango. That’s enough for the hot tag to Carter and the push moonsault gets two.

Fandango makes the save and it’s time for the four way slugout. Breezango gets the better of things but Carter catches Fandango on top. A running knee puts Fandango on the floor and Carter hits a middle rope moonsault to take out both of them. Back in and a running dropkick in the corner sets up the spinebuster/Blockbuster combination to finish Breeze at 10:49.

Rating: C+. The match was pretty good but e pluribus gads Breezango is one of the least interesting things NXT has had in a long time. The interest goes away as soon as they are shown doing almost anything and that has been the case for a long time. MSK is very good at what they do, but my goodness they are not an interesting team to watch. I’m not sure how to fix that, but being a bit more serious would be a good start.

Post match Breezango teases turning on MSK but shake hands in peace.

Johnny Gargano goes into William Regal’s office and wants to know why he made the match against Bronson Reed. Of course Regal doesn’t hate him, because Gargano is the North American Champion and has his own headband! Gargano doesn’t seem convinced and storms off.

Commentary talks about Takeover: In Your House II when Ever-Rise pops up behind them. Those guys have grown on me so much.

Here is Pete Dunne, with Oney Lorcan, to talk about Finn Balor getting the next shot at Karrion Kross. Dunne can’t blame him because Kross knows how tough Dunne really is. The open challenge is on and here is Leon Ruff to jump Dunne from behind.

Pete Dunne vs. Leon Ruff

Oney Lorcan is here with Dunne. Ruff starts fast and hammers away but Dunne counters a jump out of the corner. Dunne starts working on the hand but Ruff snaps off a hurricanrana. One heck of a clothesline cuts Ruff off though and it’s right back to the hand cranking. A big stomp on the arm makes Ruff scream and it’s time to bend the arm around the rope.

Ruff manages an enziguri out of the corner and a missile dropkick to put Dunne down. Dunne pops back up with a dropkick and then knocks the middle rope twisting cutter out of the air. A Figure Four necklock with some elbows to the head have Ruff knocked silly and the referee stops it at 3:03.

Rating: C+. I continue to marvel at how much Ruff has gotten out of this run and jobbing to Dunne after getting in a few shots is not a bad role to have. That being said, Dunne looks primed to become the next big thing around here and is starting to feel more like his NXT UK version. That is a great thing for everyone around, because that Dunne is one of the best in the world.

Post match, Dunne breaks the fingers for a bonus.

Legado del Fantasma promises to get the Cruiserweight Title back tonight.

Frankie Monet debuts in two weeks.

Also in two weeks: Kross vs. Balor II for the title.

Women’s Title: Mercedes Martinez vs. Raquel Gonzalez

Gonzalez, with Dakota Kai, is defending and gets knocked down to the floor to start. Martinez scares Kai over the barricade and dives off the apron to take Gonzalez down. We take a break and come back with Gonzalez hitting a heck of a clothesline for two. The chinlock goes on but Martinez punches her in the face for the break. Well that works. Something like ground and pound has Gonzalez in trouble and it’s off to a sleeper.

Gonzalez rams her into the corner for the break but gets forearmed hard in the face. The hanging DDT (or maybe a fisherman’s buster) out of the corner gives Martinez two and they head to the apron, with Martinez hitting a spear. Back in and Gonzalez flips her throat first onto the top, which puts Martinez on the floor again.

This time Gonzalez posts her but Martinez comes back in with some forearms to the face. A clothesline cuts Martinez down for two and a backbreaker is good for the same. The lifting powerbomb is countered though and Martinez hits a running knee to the face. There’s the fisherman’s buster for two on Gonzalez, followed by some knees to the face. Gonzalez is right back with a big boot (because knees to the face can be shrugged off) into the lifting powerbomb to retain at 11:58.

Rating: B. This was about two strong, hard hitting women hitting each other in the face over and over again and that’s what they did. I’m not sure if there was any real drama over a possible title change here, but Gonzalez getting a nice win and making the powerbomb look good in the process is smart. Good stuff here, limited selling of shots to the face aside.

The Way seems to have attacked Bronson Reed.

Here is Isaiah Scott, who introduces his new group, which seems to be called Hit Roh (pronounced Row), featuring AJ Francis, Ashante Adonis and Briana Brandy. The three of them put a chair in the ring for Scott, who talks about the mistakes he has made in NXT. He has been thinking that he is a dangerous man, and now it is time to have some people who think like him.

First up is Francis, now known as Top Dollar. He is the top in everything and raps a bit about how great he is. Brandy dubs herself B Fab and talks about how she is the mind of the team. She put money on Leon Ruff’s head so Dollar dropped him. Scott dubs the team as NXT’s new problem. If it gives Scott something to do, that is some awesome news.

We go to an auction for a house, with Cameron Grimes showing up and bidding eight million dollars. Ted DiBiase pops up and bids TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS, sending Grimes into hysterics all over again. These things continue to be gold.

Zoey Stark used to be a fan of Toni Storm but then she went all nuts. Storm doesn’t like her because Stark lives in the gym and works hard to be here.

Oney Lorcan vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Pete Dunne is here with Lorcan. This is fallout from earlier when Lorcan said O’Reilly couldn’t beat anyone, which had O’Reilly thinking Lorcan had been in the sun too long. Kyle dives for the leg to start but gets caught in a front facelock. O’Reilly escapes a headscissors so Lorcan takes his head off with a clothesline. The triangle choke over the rope has Lorcan in trouble until O’Reilly has to go after Dunne. Lorcan gets in a cheap shot from behind and we take a break.

Back with Lorcan hammering away, including some shots in the corner. O’Reilly hits a running knee to the knee though and some more knees to the chest have Lorcan in trouble. A belly to back suplex sets up a quickly broken kneebar, so O’Reilly hits the brainbuster. The top rope knee to the back finishes Lorcan at 8:58.

Rating: B-. Lorcan is one of those guys who can go out there and have a fine match with anyone, meaning it felt like O’Reilly had to do something to win here. That’s what you need in a match like this, as you can pencil in O’Reilly vs. Dunne for Takeover. Good match, with that top rope knee getting turned into a pretty serious finisher.

Post match Pete Dunne comes in for the big beatdown but Bobby Fish returns for the save. O’Reilly is glad to see him but they agree to go their own ways because they have their own things going on. That’s good, as there is absolutely nothing left for them to accomplish as a team.

We get a superhero movie trailer style vignette for the Way.

Bronson Reed is sick of the Way so next week, the title match against Johnny Gargano is inside a cage.

Cruiserweight Title: Santos Escobar vs. Kushida

Escobar is challenging and this is 2/3 falls. The brawl starts in a hurry and Kushida is sent outside, where Legado del Fantasma tries to jump him. Cue MSK immediately to take them out though and all four are ejected. Kushida hits a big flip dive from the top to drop Escobar and we take an early break.

Back with Escobar working on a half crab before putting Kushida on top. A fireman’s carry drop puts Kushida ribs first into the turnbuckle and we hit most of a Boston crab on the steps, with Kushida’s throat going into the post. Back in and the surfboard has Kushida in trouble, followed by a reverse chinlock to work on the back even more. Escobar stomps in the corner but a superplex is countered into a sunset flip for two. Back up and Escobar grabs the Phantom Driver for the pin and the first fall at 10:57. Commentary says we’re going to a break but hang on as Kushida grabs a cross armbreaker to even things up at 11:23.

Now we take the break and come back with Escobar snapping Kushida’s arm across the top and hitting his signature suicide dive tot he floor. Back in and Kushida counters the double underhook gutbuster and takes Escobar down for a breather. Kushida kicks him to the floor and takes Escobar down by the arm, only to miss the running kick to the arm back inside. Escobar rolls him up for two and counters the Hoverboard Lock into a small package for two more.

They go into the pinfall reversal sequence, with Kushida’s cradle (that he used to win the title in the first place) getting two. A double clothesline puts them both down though and we need a breather. Back up and Escobar takes him to the top, only to get pulled into the Hoverboard Lock. Kushida rolls it into the middle of the ring but Escobar makes the rope anyway. A suplex sends Escobar into the corner and a bridging northern lights suplex retains the title at 22:14.

Rating: B+. These guys work very well together and it is nice to see Kushida get a win after a big match like this. That being said, the ending was rather abrupt and I was almost expecting some kind of shenanigans. I’ll take Kushida retaining the title clean though, as it makes his title reign feel that much more established. I’m not sure what is next for Escobar, but having the goons with him should keep him fine for a long time. Good wrestling match here, and sometimes that is what you need, especially if it makes the Cruiserweight Title look important for a change.

Overall Rating: A-. This was almost Takeover-esque with some of the matches working very well. Granted this show did start off a little bit slowly, but once it got on a roll, it was on a roll in a big way. I liked this one a lot and they made me care about things I likely wouldn’t care about otherwise. Very good show here, and a nice example of what NXT can do when they are focusing well, including setting up stuff for the next few weeks. That’s quite a use of two hours.

Results

Karrion Kross b. Austin Theory – Krossjacket choke

MSK b. Breezango – Spinebuster/Blockbuster combination to Breeze

Pete Dunne b. Leon Ruff via referee stoppage

Raquel Gonzalez b. Mercedes Martinez – Lifting powerbomb

Kyle O’Reilly b. Oney Lorcan – Top rope knee to the back

Kushida b. Santos Escobar 2-1

 

 

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