NXT – August 17, 2021

Date: August 17, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett

It’s the go home show for Takeover 36 and the card is completely set. That might not be the best thing though as the show could use a few upgrades. As has been the case for a long time, Takeover has not had the sparkiest of sparks, even if the shows wind up being pretty high qualify. Let’s get to it.

The Diamond Mine (with Tyler Rust missing with no explanation from the team) is in the ring to start things off. Kushida isn’t here tonight (due to not being cleared) to defend the Cruiserweight Title against Roderick Strong, so it’s open challenge time.

Roderick Strong vs. Ilja Dragunov

Strong grabs the arm to start but Dragunov kicks him away without much trouble. Back up and Strong chops him down, only to have Dragunov hit one of his own. Dragunov goes up top but has to bail out, leaving him to run Strong over again. Strong’s leg gets knocked out but he is fine enough to knock Dragunov outside. Dragunov is sent face first into the steps and there’s the Rock Bottom onto the steps as we take a break.

Back with Dragunov busted WAY open but being fine enough to fight out of an abdominal stretch. The German suplexes put Strong in trouble and an enziguri sets up a reverse t-bone suplex. Torpedo Moscow is broken up with a jumping knee but Dragunov pops back up for Torpedo Moscow and the pin at 12:09.

Rating: C+. I’d be curious to know if they went home a little earlier than expected because of the cut. I didn’t see when he got cut but there is something to be said about the added emotion that comes with seeing blood in a match. Dragunov winning here makes sense, though Strong losing is a little weird when he is scheduled for a title match whenever Kushida gets back. Still though, pretty good.

Post match, Dragunov calls out Walter but no one shows up.

It’s time for the Prime Target on Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly (which I believe we’ve had for another match between them). They have fought before and now it is time for the big Undisputed Finale to blow the whole thing off for good. Now they hate each other and have made it personal, but they have to finish this.

Here is Hit Row for a chat. They aren’t happy with Legado del Fantasma for taking the grill out of Isaiah Scott’s mouth. Santos Escobar pops up on screen with the grill and says he should give it back to him. He would be there in person, but he doesn’t trust Swerve’s crew. Come meet him in the parking lot, where he has no one waiting with him. That’s cool with Swerve, who heads to the back, where the rest of Legado pops up. Top Dolla runs in for the save but gets sent into a metal wall. B Fab makes the real save with a pipe and Legado is left laying.

LA Knight is working out in the gym with Cameron Grimes wiping him down. Knight isn’t happy with him though and brings in Josh Briggs to face Grimes tonight.

Imperium, with Walter, doesn’t like people like MSK and are here to get rid of people like them.

Josh Briggs vs. Cameron Grimes

Ted DiBiase and LA Knight are on commentary as Grimes, in his tuxedo, gets beaten down to start, including a heck of a big boot in the face. DiBiase throws out a $20,000 bet on Grimes winning as Briggs drops him with a release side slam. A splash gets two but Grimes gets a boot up in the corner. There’s a running forearm to drop Briggs and the running belly to belly gives Grimes two. The Cave In finishes Briggs at 2:07.

Post match DiBiase goes to collect on his bet but Knight punches him in the face. Grimes goes for the save and walks into Blunt Force Trauma on the floor.

Indi Hartwell brags to the Way about how much she has been seeing of Dexter Lumis. Candice LeRae: “They have a shirt now!” Indi: “We went hiking.” Gargano: “Ew.” Indi: “We went bicycling.” Gargano. “Ew.” Indi: “We went up in a hot air balloon.” Gargano: “Ok that’s pretty cool.” Dexter pops up and has the same gloves as Indi, which has Gargano and LeRae even more annoyed.

Zoey Stark and Io Shirai talk about trying to be friends but Shirai says just focus on being partners. Stark thinks this might take time.

Jessi Kamea/Robert Stone vs. Dexter Lumis/Indi Hartwell

Frankie Monet is here with Kamea and Stone. Hartwell copies Lumis’ intro and walk to the ring, though she does bump into him at one point. The fans wish Hartwell a happy birthday as Stone dives at Lumis’ leg to start. Everything breaks down in a hurry and Lumis and Hartwell hit stereo stomps in the corner. Monet grabs Lumis’ leg and gets dragged in, which is enough for an ejection as we take a break.

Back with Hartwell fighting out of trouble and bringing Lumis in to clean house. The spinebuster plants Stone for two and Lumis sends him outside. Back in and Kamea grabs a half crab on Hartwell, who makes it over to the ropes. Everything breaks down and Stone misses a slingshot dive, landing in front of a staring Lumis. Stereo Silencers give Hartwell and Lumis the win at 9:17.

Rating: C. Total comedy match here and that is what you have to do in a situation like this. The wrestling wasn’t the point at all here and Lumis/Hartwell are good in their roles. I’m curious to see where it goes from here and that is a nice feeling. I didn’t expect to like this but they have made it work, which you don’t get very often these days.

Post match, Beth Phoenix whispers some advice to Indi Hartwell, who pulls out a ring and proposes to Lumis. That’s good for a quick nod of acceptance.

The Diamond Mine insists that Roderick Strong’s loss to Ilja Dragunov doesn’t count because Dragunov is not a cruiserweight. Therefore, Strong’s title shot against Kushida still counts.

We get a split screen sitdown interview between Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Kai talks about how she discovered Gonzalez but Gonzalez says she has become a superstar. How does Kai expect to win on Sunday? By bringing in the next Raquel Gonzalez? Kai says she can play all the roles she wants, but on Sunday, Kai is playing the role of champion. See you at Takeover, sidekick. This was short and to the point but you can feel the intensity.

Breakout Tournament Semifinals: Duke Hudson vs. Carmelo Hayes

The bigger Hudson goes with the headlock to start but Hayes slips out and grabs one of his own. A big shoulder drops Hayes, who is back with a springboard crossbody for two. Hudson tosses him outside in a heap and we take a break. Back with Hudson kneeing him in the face and hitting an overhead belly to belly out of the corner.

Hayes manages a quick scissors kick though and a slingshot DDT sends Hudson face first into the apron (geez that looked rough). Hudson catches him on top but the slam is countered into a small package for two. A Backstabber rocks Hudson again and Hayes goes up for the top rope Fameasser to advance at 8:57.

Rating: C+. Hayes has looked like a complete package since he debuted around here and this was no exception. This was a nice come from behind win as Hayes hung in there just long enough to pull it off, with Hudson getting a bit too cocky and not being able to keep up. The finals could go either way and Hudson has come off like a star, making this a pretty efficient tournament so far.

Post match Hayes said he called his shot to make the finals and that’s what he did. That isn’t enough for him though and now it is time to face the final boss. Hey Odyssey Jones, plot twist: Hayes is the final boss. Cue Jones to say the universe will sound the alarm next week. This was a perfectly fine jawing segment.

Jacy Jayne says a lot of people are just satisfied but that is not good enough for them. You have heard them silenced for too long and now it is time to break free. The plurals were strong with this one.

Ted DiBiase apologizes to Cameron Grimes in the back, with Grimes going into a rant to recap the whole thing. He dropped the ball for DiBiase but after Takeover, the two of them are going to be Million Dollar Champions going TO THE MOON! DiBiase is so impressed that he busts out the laugh. DiBiase: “THAT’S MY CAMERON!” I’m not sure how much DiBiase likes this stuff but he’s the only person who would fit in this role.

Tag Team Titles: MSK vs. Imperium

Imperium is challenging. Lee takes Aichner into the corner for the slingshot dropkick, followed by the running Bronco Buster from Carter. Barthel brings himself in and armdrags Carter into a hammerlock. A hard uppercut rocks Carter but he fights out of the corner, only to get suplexed right back down. The beating doesn’t last as long this time though as Carter gets over for the tag to Lee. Everything breaks down and the champs’ dives are cut off by stereo slams as we take a break.

Back with Lee fighting out of a chinlock but getting pulled into an ankle lock. Lee gets sent hard into the corner and we need a quick breather so the referee can make sure he’s fine. The double dropkick in the corner gets two on Lee but he sends both of them outside. Cue Walter as the hot tag brings in Carter to clean house. The push moonsault gets two on Aichner with Barthel making the save. Walter’s distraction looks to set up the European Bomb but here is Ilja Dragunov to cut Walter off. Lee makes the save and the Blockbuster Hart Attack retains the titles at 11:04.

Rating: C+. Imperium continues to be a problem for me in the tag division. They are technically sound and their gimmick makes perfect sense but I have yet to find myself invested in anything they do. They just aren’t very interesting and it feels like no one can do anything to bring them up. MSK winning is the good move here, though I continue to not be sure who takes the titles off of them.

Post match the beatdown is on, with Walter destroying everyone in sight. Dragunov is taken out as well and Imperium stands tall.

Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland don’t like Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa ignoring them. Holland would fight through people just to get to a fight and he’ll be seeing Thatcher next week.

Takeover rundown.

Here is Samoa Joe for the big face to face with Karrion Kross. Joe says it is time to verbally eviscerate Kross in front of the world but what’s the point? He isn’t here to hurt Kross’ feelings because he is here to hurt Kross period. Cue Kross to say that this is about the future of this brand and Joe isn’t coming in to beat him after a year off. Kross calls out security to protect Joe but Joe is ready to fight anyway. The brawl is on, with Joe hitting the big dive to take everyone out. They fight over to the announcers’ table and the big double knockdown ends the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This was a fine enough go home show, but it was far from a home run. There was nothing on here that really made me want to see Takeover, though I’m sure the show will wind up being another hit. Maybe it’s the lack of anything interesting in Kross or Cole vs. O’Reilly AGAIN but I can’t get myself to care about what they’re doing. That being said, Walter vs. Dragunov II is going to be enough to carry a lot of the show and I’m really not worried. Good go home show, though I’m not entirely jazzed for Takeover.

Ilja Dragunov b. Roderick Strong – Torpedo Moscow
Cameron Grimes b. Josh Briggs – Cave In
Dexter Lumis/Indi Hartwell b. Jessi Kamea/Robert Stone – Silencer to Kamea
Carmelo Hayes b. Duke Hudson – Top rope Fameasser
MSK b. Imperium – Blockbuster Hart Attack to Barthel




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