The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 07.13.21

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 07.13.21

Live from the Capital Wrestling Center. I don’t know if they’ve announced anything yet but they’ve GOTTA get out of this cave and go back to somewhere with actual lighting. It’s just killing the NXT shows I’ve watched lately. Much like the Thunderdome, it was fine for the Covid era, but they need to get back to an actual arena or even just Full Sail.

Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett & Beth Phoenix

Hey, Sportsnet 360 has now been added to my standard cable package, so I can start doing this show on a regular basis. Too bad it’s basically at the lowest level of interest for me that it’s ever been and I’m barely even paying attention to the recaps at this point.  Maybe I’m just watching it wrong, who knows.

Dakota Kai v. Ember Moon

Ember and Dakota trade wristlocks to start and Ember takes her down with an armbar, but Kai runs her into the corner and follows with a running boot for two. Moon rolls her up for two, but Kai puts her down with a pump kick for two and goes to a chinlock. Ember escapes and takes her down with a rollup for two, so Kai bails and Ember follows with a dive that drives Dakota awkwardly into the barricade. Ouch. Dakota fights back, so Ember dropkicks her off the apron and we take a break. Back with Kai in control via various shenanigans during the break, and she hits a snap suplex that Ember no-sells and pops up. Moon comes back with her own kicks and a butterfly suplex, and a springboard into a crossbody (after having to stop and think about it) gets two. Kai trips her up in the corner and follows with the running boot, and then a neckbreaker of some kind gets two. Kai goes up and Moon brings her down with a top rope rana for two, giving us SHOCKED TWO COUNT FACE. Ember goes to the apron for something, but Kai hauls her in and finishes with Go To Kick at 12:31. This brings out Xia Li to challenge Raquel as I guess we’re just forgetting about Tegan Nox after they spent a couple of months building up her return last week. Well that’s life with Vince. Match was a decent opener with some shaky stuff but hard work. ***

Meanwhile, the Diamond Mine is all about open challenges, and Bobby Fish wants to accept that challenge and take on Roddy, but first he has to go through Tyler Rust. I don’t feel like NXT needed yet another heel faction running around.

Meanwhile, Ikemen Jiro is ready to win the NXT Breakout Tournament.

Earlier today, LA Knight is chilling by the pool and meets his new butler, Cameron Grimes. So he forces Grimes to get a haircut and shave, and Cameron is right into the tuxedo and new haircut in a funny punchline.

Tyler Rust v. Bobby Fish

Wait, so if Rust makes the main roster and starts teaming up with Xavier Woods, would that make them the Rusty Trombones? And then Roderick can stay in NXT and team with Fish as the Fishing Rods. See, they should totally hire me to come up with hilarious tag team combinations, I’m delightful! Rust beats on Fish with kicks and Fish fires back with his own, but Fish stops to talk with Strong for some reason and Rust clips him and pins him at 2:38. Sucks to be Bobby Fish right now. * A beatdown by the Diamond Mind seems imminent, but Kushida makes the save.

Meanwhile, Samoa Joe stops by to go over the rules with Karrion Kross. Kross doesn’t appreciate it.

WWE Live is coming home! And the good news is that there’s lots of tickets available because they’re not selling worth s--- right now!

Earlier today, The Way arrives and Beth spills the tea with Indi Hartwell.

Gigi Dolin v. Sarray

I don’t know what Gigi’s gimmick is supposed to be exactly, there’s a lot going on there. It’s like goth Katy Perry, I guess? Sarray flips into a headlock to take Dolin down, but Mandy Rose comes out and both of them get distracted before Sarray gets a rollup for two. I’m gonna be honest, I wouldn’t have known who that was without the announcers telling me, they’ve got a lot of interchangeable blonde women. Sarray with a Muta Lock that goes nowhere and she hits Gigi with kicks, but Gigi gets pair of cradles for two. STO gets two. Sarray fights back with a running kick and finishes with a uranage at 3:32. I have no reason to care about anything here but it was fine. **

Meanwhile, Legado del Fantasma buries Hit Row. They can’t even dance to their terrible music!

Meanwhile, Duke Hudson is also going to win the Breakout Tournament by punching Jiro in the face, despite the great jacket. I dunno, it’s a pretty great jacket.

Dexter Lumis v. Santos Escobar

Santos attacks and Lumis no-sells him and pops up for a Thesz Press, which sends Escobar to the floor. He sends his guys after Lumis, but Dexter disappears under the ring and pops up on the other side to scare them as we take a break. Back with Escobar throwing chops in the corner and a rana gets two. Escobar with corner clotheslines, but Lumis slugs back and gets his submission hold. But then the goons pull him to the ropes to break, get a cheapshot on him outside, and Escobar finishes with the Phantom Driver at 8:52. This was a style clash to say the least. *1/2 This sets up a showdown with Hit Row in a battle of heel factions, but I’m assuming Hit Row is turning babyface right away. Given we already have The Way, The Diamond Mine, Legado del Fantasma, and the Robert Stone Brand to name four, it’s high time that someone turned babyface.

Meanwhile, Kyle O’Reilly sits down with Wade. He lost last week to Adam Cole, so now he needs to get his groove back and make some changes. Didn’t he already overhaul his whole gimmick and become Kool Kyle? Anyway, we are apparently going to get another match with Adam Cole and LIKE IT.

Meanwhile, Cameron the Butler has to mow LA Knight’s giant yard with a push mower, and he’s more than happy to do that as well!

During the break, Indi Hartwell tries to carry Dexter back to the dressing room, but Candace breaks it up to foil true love. I cannot express how little I care about Dexter Lumis and his love life.

NXT Breakout tournament: Duke Hudson v. Ikemen Jiro

Apparently competing on 205 Live is living the dream for Jiro. I’m so sorry for him. Jiro evades Hudson with his awesome jacket, but Hudson lays him out with a clothesline and beats him down in the corner. Duke blocks a sunset flip but Jiro fires away with punches and ties him up with a Tarantula in the corner. He tries a springboard and Hudson catches him for an overhead suplex and slugs him down for two. Duke tries a running Razor’s Edge, but Jiro reverses to a rana for two and chases Hudson to the floor. He follows with a quebrada, but Hudson catches him with a Bossman slam to finish at 4:53. Why am I not surprised that they put over the big generic guy in black tights? **1/2 Also if he was already on the main roster as Brendan Vink, why would you change his name and pretend it’s a new person? It’s not like he’s being repackaged with a totally different character, he’s still just “big dude from Australia” with the same gear. And why “Duke Hudson”? What does that have to do with his character?

Meanwhile you can sum up Jiro’s whole deal in one sentence: “Trained by Tajiri, wrestles in a jacket” and instantly everyone remembers him.

Meanwhile, Pete Dunne is doing a promo and gets into a brawl with Ciampa & Thatcher.

Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter v. Aliyah & Jessi Camea

Kacy gets double-teamed in the heel corner to start and the crowd is pretty dead, but Kacy fights over and makes a hot tag to Carter. Aliyah cuts her off but Robert Stone loses his shoe and Carter superkicks Aliyah and Kacy finishes with the 450 at 3:25. Nothing to this one. *1/4 And then Aliyah turns on Stone and beats him up and that actually goes on for a long time, which is weird because there’s been a million segments on this show and most have been in and out in five seconds. Is this something they’ve been building towards? No idea. And then Frankie Monet comes out and takes Jessi away with her and I don’t particularly understand what’s happening there either but whatever.

Meanwhile, Joe visits the Way and also wants to explain the rules, but they’re also dicks about it.

Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes has delegated his butler duties to a kid because he’s STILL a millionaire, but LA Knight stiffs him out of his $500 payday and the kid kicks him in the shin and he falls into the pool. This butler deal is going badly for LA Knight.

Adam Cole joins us to say “I told you so” about beating Kool Kyle last week and now he’s onto Samoa Joe. But that brings out Bronson Reed to lay out a challenge, and he blocks a superkick from Cole and chases him to the back. This actually sets up a rare slip from WWE as they leave in a plug for Peacock here in Canada, which of course we can’t get because Rogers would rather extort cable companies for the WWE Network at $15 a month instead. They’re usually pretty good about catching that stuff.

Meanwhile, Mandy Rose bumps into Frankie and the crowd goes “Oooooh” for some reason.

NXT championship: Karrion Kross v. Johnny Gargano

I’ve finally deciphered Kross’s theme song, as “Fall and Pray” is referring to NXT’s ratings over the course of his title reign. Samoa Joe is of course the special referee for this match between two heels. Like, what has Gargano done to earn a title shot besides losing every major match? Johnny attacks before the bell and puts the puts to him in the corner, but Kross hits him with a throw out of there and stomps him down. Snap suplex and he goes for the german, but Johnny dropkicks him to the floor and hits him with a diving senton off the apron. Kross no-sells that and boots Gargano down, however. They fight on the floor and Kross slams him onto the table and we take a break. Back with Kross in control with a chinlock, but Johnny slingshots in with a spear for two. Kross bails and Gargano dives and sends him into the barricade, but Kross blocks the slingshot DDT and puts him down with a suplex for two. Gargano fights back with a swinging DDT for two, but Kross chokeslams him. Johnny tries the Gargano Escape and Kross easily powers out and into the choke, but Johnny makes the ropes. Kross has words with Joe about his refereeing job as a result and takes Johnny to the floor and beats on him there, but Joe gets in his business again and stops him from using the stairs. Gorilla Monsoon is rolling over in his grave at this terrible refereeing. Back in, Gargano hits One Final Beat for two. Kross pops up and powerbombs him NOT ONCE NOT TWICE BUT THRICE and into the Saito suplex, and then nails him with a forearm to the head and pins him at 13:00. Sticking with the sinking ship until ratings drop below 500K, I see. ***

And then Kross really lets Joe know what he thinks of the refereeing job by choking him out, and we’re out. Joe might be the least effective tough guy enforcer I’ve ever seen.

Probably best if I leave NXT with Tommy, this is really not my thing at the moment.