Date: June 1, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
We have less than two weeks to go before Takeover and that means it is time to start setting up the card. One of the most important matches will be made tonight as we have a triple threat match between Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano to find out Karrion Kross’ next challenger. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the triple threat match, with all three participants getting to say why they can win.
Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Johnny Gargano
The winner gets the title shot against Karrion Kross at Takeover. They start fast with Gargano being sent outside, leaving Dunne to work on O’Reilly’s arm. Gargano comes back in to tie up O’Reilly’s leg at the same time, which is broken up in a hurry. The rather sore O’Reilly rolls outside, leaving Gargano to miss an armdrag on Dunne, who ties up the legs. O’Reilly comes back in to kick Dunne to the floor so O’Reilly can work on Gargano’s arm.
That’s fine with Dunne, who comes back in to crank on one of their arms at the same time. Dunne gets sent to the floor and Gargano drops O’Reilly for two as we take a break. Back with O’Reilly kicking away and throwing some suplexes. O’Reilly hits a running knee off the apron to drop Dunne but Gargano hits a suicide dive each. The slingshot spear gets two on O’Reilly but Dunne is back in for the X Plex for two on Gargano.
Dunne grabs an armbar on O’Reilly with Gargano making the save. Gargano sends Dunne to the floor and O’Reilly grabs a kneebar, leaving Dunne to come back in for the save. The Lawn Dart gives Gargano two on Dunne but O’Reilly gets back in, leaving everyone to knock each other down for a breather. O’Reilly chokes Gargano so Dunne chokes O’Reilly, who drops Gargano as a result.
Gargano breaks that up with the Gargano Escape on Dunne as O’Reilly is sent outside. Dunne manages to snap the fingers for the escape and hits the Bitter End, only to have O’Reilly make the save with the top rope knee. O’Reilly follows Dunne outside for a double clothesline….and here’s Adam Cole to chair both of them down. A livid William Regal comes out with security to get rid of him, though Cole throws in another low superkick to Cole as he leaves in a great move. We’ll say it’s a no contest at about 18:00.
Rating: B. This was all action and that’s what it needed to be, though the Cole ending is a little surprising. O’Reilly seemed to be the perfect choice to get the title shot at Kross here and I’m hoping that they don’t just do a rematch later on. A four way isn’t out of the question, though I’m not sure where that leaves Cole. Odds are we get something by the end of the show, but this was kind of a weird way to go.
Post break Regal ejects Cole from the building, with security dragging him out.
Ember Moon is in the ring and demands Raquel Gonzalez get out here right now. Cue Gonzalez and Moon superkicks her straight back out to the floor. Regal and security hold them apart but Dakota Kai runs in to take out Moon from behind. Regal checks on a downed Moon.
Santos Escobar gives Legado del Fantasma a pep talk before their Tag Team Title shot tonight. It’s going to be their coronation, because that is what they do.
Earlier today, Hit Row interrupted Drake Maverick and Ever Rise, the former of whom is called a clown. Killian Dain came in and a tag match seems to be set up.
LA Knight vs. Jake Atlas
The camera follows Knight from the back, with Knight talking about how he is going to drop Atlas and prove that he is the one worthy of the Million Dollar legacy. Atlas armdrags Knight down to start and grabs a springboard armdrag for two. The armbar keeps Knight down but he fights back up and nails a hot shot. Cue Ted DiBiase to watch as Atlas grabs a springboard sunset flip for two. Knight slams him down though and hits a fist to the face, followed by a slingshot shoulder.
We take a break (ok then) and come back with Atlas hitting a crossbody for two but getting sent over the top. Knight hammers away back inside but Atlas punches him out of the air (with Knight doing the front flip bump that DiBiase would do back in the day). Atlas strikes away as Cameron Grimes is out to say he deserves the Million Dollar legacy. Something like a Death Valley Driver into a standing moonsault gets two on Knight so Atlas goes back up. Knight runs the corner but Grimes offers a distraction, allowing Atlas to knock him back down. The cartwheel DDT finishes Knight at 12:35.
Rating: C-. This was a good bit longer than it needed to be, but the worse part was they gave away the ending with the break. There was little reason to have the match go longer other than some kind of a screwy finish. Atlas winning via interference isn’t some death knell for Knight, but this didn’t need to go that long for this kind of a finish.
Post match, DiBiase shakes his head at Knight and leaves.
Oney Lorcan chases the camera out of the trainer’s room. Lorcan says Adam Cole just cost Pete Dunne the title shot but here is Austin Theory to say that it’s Gargano’s shot. Shoving ensues.
Ted DiBiase talks about how important it is to have brains and brawn…..and Adam Cole walks by so let’s follow him to a break. You don’t get that kind of spontaneous stuff and it’s a nice feeling.
Post break Cole is in the ring to rant about how he just took out three main event stars in one night. That means he wants the NXT Title back because Karrion Kross is just some big musclehead. It’s no coincidence that Cole was NXT Champion for 403 days….and here are Karrion Kross and Scarlett to interrupt. Kross says Cole stopped being special as soon as he signed here, but entertain him anyway. Cole: “All right Mr. Overrated.”
Cole talks about how NXT has done everything they can to make Kross feel special but all they have to do with Cole is ring the bell. Kross isn’t special because he’s just a guy who has Cole’s property. Cue William Regal to say Cole’s plan isn’t going to work but Kross cuts him off. Kross wants…….EVERYONE in the match at once, including this kind of weasel. Regal: “Done. Done.” Cole gets on the announcers’ table to shout at Kross, who mocks him for just talking. With that not working, Cole throws a bottle of water at the two of them and leaves. It’s an interesting match, but I’m not big on making the triple threat a waste of time.
Candice LeRae is annoyed that Poppy is going to be back next week but even more annoyed that Indi Hartwell is listening to 80s power ballads on her headphones.
Video on Carmelo Hayes, formerly known as Christian Casanova. He is ready to prove himself tonight against Kushida. You’ll see a UFO before you see someone as good as him.
Tian Sha is watching Mercedes Martinez and seems to have a new target.
Dexter Lumis picks up Indi Hartwell’s headphones and seems to like what he hears.
Cruiserweight Title: Kushida vs. Carmelo Hayes
Hayes is challenging and gets a pretty big entrance. Feeling out process to start until Hayes snaps off some armdrags into a dropkick. Hayes kicks him in the back of the head for two and ties Kushida in the ropes. That means a springboard legdrop (with Hayes going backwards instead of forwards) for two on Kushida as we take a break.
Back with Kushida knocking Hayes off the apron and hard into the barricade. Hayes comes back in with a springboard….I guess we’ll say clothesline, as even commentary isn’t sure what to call it. Something close to La Mistica plants Kushida for two so Hayes tries it again, only to get taken down for a basement dropkick. The Hoverboard Lock is countered but Kushida punches Hayes out of the air. Now the Hoverboard Lock can retain the title at 10:58.
Rating: B-. Hayes lost but he looked like a star here as it is clear NXT wants to push him as something serious. He has a good look and the athleticism, but more importantly he has the presence to make something of himself. This was a heck of a surprise and they put on a good one, so well done on throwing this in.
Post match Kushida shakes Hayes’ hand and tells the fans to give him some applause. Hayes shakes the hand and gets a nice ovation.
MSK is ready to retain the Tag Team Titles.
Frankie Monet is rather pleased with the reviews of her debut. She is just getting started.
Zayda Ramier/Zoey Stark vs. The Way
Non-title. Hartwell slams Ramier down to start and it’s off to LeRae to take it into the corner. The neck crank/chinlock have Ramier in trouble and Hartwell kicks Ramier from a tag attempt. LeRae elbows Stark off the apron but the tag brings her in just a few seconds later. Stark comes in and drops LeRae in a hurry for two before wheelbarrow slamming Ramier onto her for the same. Everything breaks down and start gets sent over the top, with her face landing hard on the apron. Back in and the Wicked Stepsister sets up Pretty Savage (springboard elbow) to finish Ramier at 3:37.
Rating: C-. They did something interesting with Stark here as she was treated as someone to be feared. That’s a good way to help make someone feel like a big deal and it was an effective move. The match itself wasn’t anything great, but the Way does feel like a team instead of two women who have been thrown together. In other words, they’re ahead of most of the teams on the main roster.
Mercedes Martinez isn’t worried about being marked as Tian Sha because she has been a marked woman for her whole career. At Takeover, she’s running through her, assuming that is official.
Cameron Grimes vs. LA Knight is confirmed for Takeover.
The Diamond Mine is opening soon.
Ember Moon is tired of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. That’s why it’s Kai next week and Gonzalez at Takeover, where Moon is becoming a two time Women’s Champion.
Tag Team Titles: MSK vs. Legado del Fantasma
Legado, with Santos Escobar, is challenging. Wes Lee and Joaquin Wilde trade armdrags to start as Escobar has a seat at ringside. Wilde slams Lee down and runs Nash Carter over as well to put the champs in early trouble. Raul Mendoza comes in to drop Wilde onto Carter for two but Carter fights back up. Cue the Grizzled Young Veterans but Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa come out to fight them to the back. The champs hit a pair of moonsaults to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Mendoza getting two on Lee and handing it off to Wilde for an armbar. A hard elbow to the jaw sets up a slingshot splash into a Lionsault for two on Lee. Back up and Lee finally gets in a DDT, allowing for the hot tag to Carter. House is cleaned in a hurry and the push moonsault gets two on Wilde. It’s already back to Lee but Mendoza makes a blind tag behind Lee’s back. That lets him come in with a springboard missile dropkick and a swinging suplex gets two.
Carter gets knocked off the apron and some running clotheslines in the corner have Lee in more trouble. A super hurricanrana into a powerbomb gets two with Lee being tossed outside. Escobar sends Lee into the steps, setting up the running boot/Russian legsweep combination. Carter makes the save and Bronson Reed runs in to crush Escobar against the barricade (that came out of nowhere). The Blockbuster Hart Attack retains the title at 15:26.
Rating: B-. MSK continues to get to showcase their crazy athleticism and there was enough stuff going on here to make it that much more interesting. I wasn’t sure who was leaving with the titles here and that is always a nice feeling to have. Thatcher and Ciampa cutting off the Veterans helped and Reed crushing Escobar looked good. It’s a good main event and MSK could hold the titles for a pretty long time.
Reed and MSK have the staredown with Legado and pose to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. The main thing I liked about this show, or at least the first half of it, was that it felt spontaneous. So many times a wrestling show feels far too structured and rigid, with segments going from one point to another. This felt like things were happening on the fly, with things like DiBiase’s promo just being cut off because something else happened. The action was good as well, making this a rather fun use of two hours.
Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Johnny Gargano went to a no contest when Adam Cole interfered
Jake Atlas b. LA Knight – Cartwheel DDT
Kushida b. Carmelo Hayes – Hoverboard Lock
The Way b. Zayda Ramier/Zoey Stark – Pretty Savage to Ramier
MSK b. Legado del Fantasma – Blockbuster Hart Attack to Wilde
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