NXT – August 3, 2021

Date: August 3, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix.

We are less than three weeks away from Takeover and after last week, we have a new main event for the show as Samoa Joe will challenge Karrion Kross for the NXT Title. Granted Kross might not mean as much after how things have gone on Monday Night Raw, I’m not sure how much that is going to be worth. Other than that, more things will be happening. Let’s get to it.

Opening recap.

Legado del Fantasma vs. Hit Row

Santos Escobar and the rest of Hit Row is at ringside. It’s a brawl to start with Legado being knocked outside until Mendoza and Adonis slug it out inside. A whip into the corner takes Mendoza down and a neckbreaker makes it worse. Top Dolla comes in to throw people around, including running both of them over. Hold on though as Escobar gets up for a distraction, allowing Mendoza to low bridge Adonis to the floor.

We take a break and come back with Adonis getting planted with a double spinebuster into a chinlock. Back up and some running clotheslines in the corner set up a moonsault for two. Mendoza’s chinlock doesn’t last long either as Adonis gets up for a dropkick. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Dolla to clean house. Legado is rocked but Escobar hits Dolla in the back with a chair for the DQ at 10:52.

Rating: C+. It was nice while it lasted but they were smart to not have a definitive ending here. This is all but guaranteed to have some kind of a big match at Takeover (or maybe even two of them) so there was zero reason to have a clean fall here. Hit Row shouldn’t be losing, but you also don’t want Legado taking another loss until it’s on a big stage. The ending might be annoying, but it was the right call.

Post match the beatdown is on with Escobar stealing Swerve’s grill. The Pillmanizing of the neck is broken up though and Dolla sends Legado running. Escobar still has the grill.

William Regal tells Samoa Joe to not get physical until Takeover.

We look back at the return of Ridge Holland last week to wreck Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher.

Dexter Lumis is drawing INDEX over and over.

Ridge Holland vs. Ikemen Jiro

Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan are here too. An uppercut drops Jiro in a hurry and we’re already off to a chinlock. Jiro fights up but gets knocked outside in a hurry. The big tackle sends Jiro hard into the barricade, allowing Holland to take off the jacket, which is high treason against Jiro. A headbutt into Northern Grit finishes Jiro at 3:12.

Rating: C. This was all it needed to be as Holland destroyed someone with a minor name. Holland is going to need ring time after being gone for so long (and not being around that long before he was put on the shelf). Holland is a monster who can wreck people for a good while while he develops and that should work fine for the time being.

Post match Pete Dunne says they’re ready to destroy Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa, because Holland is a real man.

Frankie Monet blames Robert Stone for her loss last week. The Robert Stone Brand is used to losing but that is not what she does. Stone seems to accept responsibility as Monet and Jessi Kamea leave.

Video on Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish.

Video on Trey Baxter, who is All Heart.

Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish

The rest of the Diamond Mine is here too. They go technical to start with Fish grabbing a headlock into a suplex to take Strong down. The grappling on the mat goes to Strong until he lands a kick to the chest. Fish is fine enough to take him into the corner as Malcolm Bivens is looking worried on the floor. Strong gets knocked to the apron and we take a break.

Back with Strong taking him down for another chinlock but Fish fights up again. A fish hook gives Fish a breather and it’s time to strike away at Strong. Some chops stagger Fish and a belly to back faceplant puts him down again. Fish is back with a rollup for two but Strong knees him in the face. End of Heartache finishes Fish at 12:45.

Rating: C+. Only way this one could have gone as Fish isn’t going to win any important match right now. Strong seems to be on the rise and a Cruiserweight Title match against Kushida at Takeover would make sense. You almost have to get the Fish match out of the way though and it gives Strong a nice win on the way there.

Cameron Grimes is ready for the tag match tonight but LA Knight wants him to be more serious. Grimes promises to be there for him and Knight will have his back too. For now though, Grimes has a boot to polish.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Cameron Grimes/LA Knight

Grimes is still in his tuxedo. Before the match, the Veterans say they don’t like Grimes and Knight and want them out of their way. Grimes and Gibson start things off but it’s quickly off to Knight, who gets caught with a clothesline. Drake comes in to forearm away but a neckbreaker gets Knight out of trouble. It’s back to Grimes, who gets distracted by Knight and taken into the wrong corner.

Grimes manages to backdrop his way out of trouble but Knight walks off, saying Grimes can do this on his own. That’s fine with Grimes, who takes off the gloves and sends the Veterans into each other. A double hurricanrana puts the Veterans on the floor and Grimes snaps off the flipping powerslam for two on Drake. Gibson comes back in though and it’s the Ticket To Mayhem for the pin at 4:42.

Rating: C. This was angle advancement and that’s fine. The big blowoff match is coming at Takeover and that is the right way to go for Grimes and Knight. Grimes needs to get the big win and probably will, which will be even better now that they have put in the effort like this. The Veterans even got to win something for a bonus too!

Post match Ted DiBiase comes out to say that Grimes is a man of his word, but he needs to find a way out of this.

Video on Samoa Joe.

We look back at Dakota Kai turning on Raquel Gonzalez last week.

Dakota Kai talks about how she found Raquel Gonzalez and helped bring her up. They were friends and partners, but it was all Kai’s doing. Then Io Shirai gave Gonzalez the Women’s Title shot at Takeover: Stand & Deliver and won the title. That should have been Kai’s, because she plucked Gonzalez out of security. Kai is more than Gonzalez’s sidekick and the only opportunity should be hers. How does it feel knowing that the person standing next to you is about to kick your head off? Kai brought her into this world and now she is going to take her out of it by winning the Women’s Title. Logical explanation.

Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae are sick of Dexter Lumis messing with the Way. Tonight, Gargano is ending InDex for good.

Joe Gacy won’t be controlled until he wins the Breakout Tournament. After that, sure why not.

Adam Cole has a neck injury after last week’s attack at the hands of Kyle O’Reilly. We look at the attack again.

Breakout Tournament First Round: Trey Baxter vs. Joe Gacy

The smaller Baxter tries a waistlock to start but gets thrown into the corner for his efforts. A dropkick puts Gacy on the floor but he catches a dive by sending Baxter into the ropes. That lets Gacy knock Baxter silly again and we hit the neck crank back inside. Baxter reverses into a quickly broken choke and Gacy suplexes him down for two. The neck crank is on again but Baxter escapes just as quickly.

A missile dropkick sends Gacy outside and this time the suicide dive works. Back in and a slingshot splash gets two but Gacy sends him into the corner for a Cannonball. Gacy takes him up but Baxter slips off and sends him into the ropes. Baxter hits a quick middle rope 450 stomp (or maybe he just didn’t rotate properly) for the pin at 5:11.

Rating: C+. I liked what we got here but Baxter needs to either pick a 450 or a stomp because it was messy enough that I couldn’t really tell what he was trying. At the same time, Gacy winning would have been nice as the roster could use someone built like him rather than another cruiserweight style guy. Baxter was good though and will be fine as an appetizer for Odyssey Jones in the semifinals.

Zoey Stark and Io Shirai get sushi and Stark is rather confused/disgusted. Food is thrown away when Shirai isn’t looking and Stark gets stuck with the bill. Shirai hugs the waitress, who says they don’t know each other but speak the same language. The two of them leave and Stark is somewhere between annoyed and disgusted by the food.

Indi Hartwell wishes the Way would give Dexter Lumis a chance because he isn’t a bad guy. Tonight, we’ll see how much he cares.

Commentary talks about Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis but Karrion Kross interrupts to stand on the announcers’ table and call out Samoa Joe. Cue Joe, who fights through security and chokes one of them out but Kross has escaped. Joe shouts a lot.

We get the Prime Target video on Ilja Dragunov vs. Walter II. They beat each other so horribly in the first match and everyone is talking about it. Dragunov talks about how angry and aggressive he has been since the first match because he knows something was missing. The rematch will take place at Takeover, and Walter says he is unbeatable on his best day. Dragunov says he has the stamina and mental toughness, which is why he can take the title. We see clips from the press conference with Dragunov getting in Walter’s head as he’s smarter this time around. This is going to be awesome.

Kushida says of course Roderick Strong can have a Cruiserweight Title shot.

Dexter Lumis vs. Johnny Gargano

Love Her Or Leave Her, which technically means the winner gets Indi Hartwell. Gargano shouts about how Lumis has to go through him to get her and starts in on the arm. Lumis is back up with a dropkick but gets sent outside as Hartwell comes out. The distraction lets Lumis get in a Thesz press back inside to hammer away and slowly stalk Gargano in the corner. Gargano is back up to knock Lumis outside, with Lumis going under the ring. Hartwell goes after him so here is Candice LeRae to help pull her out….with her hands interlocked with Lumis’.

We take a break and come back with Gargano winning a slugout but getting caught in a spinebuster. The Silence is broken up with Lumis being elbowed to the floor. Gargano hits his suicide dive and yells at Beth Phoenix, with the distraction allowing Lumis to block the slingshot spear. A slingshot Falcon Arrow gives Lumis two but Gargano’s superkick gets the same. Lumis runs him over again but misses the springboard elbow. The Gargano Escape goes on until Lumis reaches out to Hartwell/the rope for the break. Lumis’ rollup gets two and the kickout sends him into Hartwell. One Final Beat finishes Lumis at 12:53.

Rating: C. I was getting into the love conquers all story and you know this isn’t going to be the end of the thing. It’s a fine enough story, but Lumis is still not doing anything for me for the most part. This isn’t exactly the most thrilling stuff, but Beth being so into the romance thing and Hartwell in general are making it work well enough. Just…please find something to make Lumis more interesting somehow.

Post match Hartwell goes to leave with the Way but then runs back and dives on Lumis for the big kiss as Beth Phoenix screams about InDex to end the show. Makes enough sense (while not doing much for the stipulation), as Hartwell never said she was leaving anyone.

Overall Rating: C+. Nothing really jumped off the page here but it was an easy to swallow use of two hours. The good thing is you can see almost all of (if not all of) Takeover from here. NXT knows how to set up a card and then make it come into reality. That’s what they did a lot of here, making it more efficient/important than good.

It’s also nice to see how logical things are around here. There might be some things that don’t make a ton of sense at first, but NXT knows how to tie them together. It is such a jarring change of pace from Raw, where things seem like they are happening at random and if they can be made somewhat coherent later, so be it then. NXT feels like they have this planned out and that can make all kinds of difference.

Hit Row b. Legado del Fantasma via DQ when Santos Escobar interfered
Ridge Holland b. Ikemen Jiro – Northern Grit
Roderick Strong b. Bobby Fish – End of Heartache
Grizzled Young Veterans b. Cameron Grimes/LA Knight – Ticket to Mayhem to Grimes
Trey Baxter b. Joe Gacy – Middle rope 450 stomp
Johnny Gargano b. Dexter Lumis – One Final Beat



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