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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 7.20.21

July 20, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
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Jeremy’s WWE NXT Review 7.20.21  

Hello there, NXT fans! It’s Tuesday evening, which means it’s time for another episode of NXT — also known as the place where Karrion Kross DOESN’T get pinned in a squash by a midcard babyface who was on a losing streak and puts their feet on the ropes to win! I’m Jeremy Thomas, as usual, and tonight we have a real big show with fallout from Kross’ attack on Samoa Joe last week, Raquel Gonzalez defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Xia Li, Franky Monet back in action, and more! There’s a lot going on so without further ado, let’s get right into it.

As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.

PREVIOUSLY ON NXT: Samoa Joe is brought back as an enforcer and can’t lay a hand on anyone unless he’s provoked. He is provoked by Karrion Kross when Kross chokes him out at the end of last week’s show.

* And right off the bat, Joe is coming down to the ring. He does not look happy. Wonder how he’d fare against Jeff Hardy? (Sorry, last joke about that, I promise.) Joe says “Tick tock, tick tock, guess who’s come to smash your clock?” Regal comes out and says this is not what he wanted and Joe knew when he came back what he had in mind. Regal says he can’t call out superstars, and Joe disagrees because he was provoked. Regal gets it but says he entered the ring and got his hands put on as a referee, not management.

Joe is not pleased with the semantics nonsense and says Kross is out of control and needs to be put down. He asks if Regal knew about Kross’ field trip to Raw and says he doesn’t because he’s not in control. Regal says Kross is on his way here and when he arrives, all hell will not break loose and Joe will resolve this peacefully. The crowd chants “Let them fight!” Joe says due to his respect for Regal, he will end this tonight but he can’t promise he’ll end it peacefully. He promises that tonight, someone is going to sleep.

* In a vignette, Xia Li says this is the moment she’s been waiting for and the most important match of her life. She promises to do to Raquel what she did to Mercedes Martinez (please don’t, Xia!) and will be the first Chinese NXT Women’s Champion.

Bobby Fish and Kushida vs. Roderick Strong & Tyler Rust

Fish and Kushida attack Diamond Mine as they come down and they beat up the Mine in the ring before throwing them out, and we’re on break.

Apparently the bell rang during the bell, so I’m starting the clock now. Fish is in control of Strong and lays into him from an elevated position before tagging in Kushida. They work the arms and give a double kick off the ropes, cover for one. Kushida works submissions on Strong’s arms and wraps him up, then drops back to snap the arm. Tag in to Fish but Strong kicks him while down and tags in Rust. Fish and Rust trade blows, Fish in control and lays in knees to the head, snapmare and a springboard senton for two. Kushida tagged in, he gets a font chancery but Rust pushes him back into the corner and tags in Strong, who comes in and goes for a suplex but Kushida fights out and hits a big kick. Kushida ducks a clothesline, goes for an armbar and leaps for a bulldog but Strong catches him and hits a backbreaker. Rust in now, belly-to-back and a cover for one. Rust with a kick to the back and he gets him back to the hostile corner, Strong in for chops to the chest and a headslam into the corner. Big chop and he taunts Kushida before backing off, which gives Kushida an opening to fight back but a double underhook suplex gets two. Sleeperhold from Strong, Kushida back to his feet but Strong gets Rust tagged in and they double team him, Kushida off the ropes but hits a double springboard elbow and tags in Fish! Kicks to Rust and a charge into the corner. He knocks Strong off the apron, back kick to Rust, diving clothesline gets two. Rust fights back but eats knees, Rust gets help from Strong to get leverage and that distracts Fish enough for him to get taken down. Fish to the outside and Strong picks him up, slamming him onto the apron as we’re on break again.

Back from break and Strong is in control of Fish. He tags in Rust and they hit a double knee lift, axe kick from Rust off the ropes for two. Rust tries to wear Fish down, Fish fights back but gets taken down and leg whipped on the mat. Strong back in, Fish kicks Rust but Strong pounces on him and locks in a front headlock. Fish gets to his feet and fights Strong to get to the tag, but Strong slams him down and covers for two. Rust back in for kicks to the chest, then an abdominal stretch with a fishhook. Fish gets free and is fighting back, he gets close to his corner and Rust stops him for a moment but Fish with a big spinebuster! He gets over, tag to both men! Kushida in hot and he hits an atomic drop and hip toss on Strong, kick to the head out of a sunset flip attempt. Kushida with an arm bar bulldog but Strong is able to tag in Rust who hits a gutwrench powerbomb. He goes for a kick, Kushida blocks and hits an enzuigiri. Rust locks in an ankle lock but Kushida reverses and they trade shots, Rust with a spinning slam and cover but Fish breaks it up. Fish and Strong to the outside, Kushida up top for a knee to the elbow. Kick to the leg, Kushida off the ropes and a Hoverboard Lock! Rust taps!

Winner: Bobby Fish and Kushida (15:23)
Rating: *** 1/4
Thoughts: Great match that started us off, hurt only by the two commercial breaks. Don’t know we want Diamond Mine losing this quickly but it was great work in the ring by all involved.

* Earlier today, Knight arrives with Grimes driving and is pissed he didn’t pay attention to the GPS. Grimes is a chatty sumbitch and Knight isn’t happy about it. Grimes is getting all the luggage when Drake Maverick shows up to help. Knight tells him not to help and Drake says it looks like he needs it. Knight says they’re going to have a match and Maverick is good with that.

* NXT Takeover 36 is August 22nd.

* Back from break and we get a vignette for Odyssey Jones. He talks about how he’s broken records and jaws since signing with NXT.

* Joe PACES backstage as we await Kross’ arrival.

Franky Monet vs. Jacy Jayne

Franky has Jessi Kamea with her. Bell rings, the ladies lock up and Franky pushes her in the corner for a hit. Robert Stoneout is out now too as Jayne takes control, then misses a cannonball in the corner. Franky hits the charging double knees on Jayne and pulls her into the center of the ring. Jayne tries to fight back but Franky mounts her for punches and then gets up for a kick to the side. Chinlock by Franky as Mandy Rose comes to join commentary. Or rather, she sits on the table to watch as Franky batters Jacy in the ring. Jacy up in a fireman’s carry but she fights out, takes Monet down and kicks her in the head. She showboats for Mandy and charges for a neckbreaker, cover gets two. Jacy with forearms, she goes for an Irish whip but Franky says no. And out of nowhere, Jacy comes off the ropes into the Ride to Valhalla for three.

Winner: Franky Monet (3:20)
Rating: * 3/4
Thoughts: It was a squash match but a lot more even on the offense than that would imply. Don’t love those bookings because it doesn’t really get anyone over, but it was a fine three-minute match.

* McKenzie is backstage with Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory from earlier and Gargano says that he’s doing okay after his loss to Kross. Theory says he hasn’t slept for weeks but Johnny points out that his lack of sleep is unrelated. Kyle O’Reilly comes in and doesn’t like that Theory said something bad about him last week so he wants a match. Theory agrees and KOR leaves, after which Gargano tells Austin he got himself into this, he has to get himself out so he’s on his own.

* We get a reminder that NXT is going to SYFY for two weeks starting next week, after which we go to a sitdown with Wade Barrett and Bronson Reed. Reed says that losing the NXT North American Title affected him big time but said he can’t stay in that mindset so he’s pushing forward. Barrett asks Reed about his match with Adam Cole on next week’s NXT and if it’s wise, and Reed says next week he’ll finish the job he started last week of shutting Cole’s mouth.

Kyle O’Reilly vs. Austin Theory

Lockup to start, O’Reilly pushed into a corner and Theory backs off. They go into some counter wrestling, KOR gets the kick and Theory grabs the ropes, but O’Reilly with a kick to the leg. He locks in an elbow lock but Theory with a suplex out of it. Theory with punches in the corner, snapmare and then a jumping stomp, KOR fights back but eats a shoulder to the gut in the corner and Theory flips him over for a laying headlock in the middle of the ring. KOR gets out with a headscissors, Theory locks in a headlock, they go back and forth but KOR with a kneelift against the ropes and he comes off with a mocking slap. They come off the ropes, Theory ends on the apron and gets knocked to the floor as we go to break.

During break, Kyle maintained control with holds in the ring until Theory fought back and hit a backbreaker for two. As we come back, they’re trading submissions and O’Reilly takes Theory down with some kicks. He charges but Theory kicks him and hits a somersault blockbuster neckbreaker for two. Theory lays in mounted punches to KOR. O’Reilly fights back and goes between Theory’s legs, tries to roll him up and Theory comes off the ropes with a dropkick — COUNTERED into a heel hook! Theory breaks the hold and goes to the apron, he takes over and hits a stomp over the ropes, fisherman’s suplex for two. Theory working the shoulder and neck of KOR, who gets to his feet and hits a couple of elbows but gets cut off. Theory sent into the ropes and he comes off into a kneelift. More knees from KOR and a big slap, kick to the chest and a leg sweep. Theory up in the corner, KOR charges in with a forearm and then a knee in the other corner, double underhook suplex into an armbar. Theory prevents the arm extension so KOR rolls into an anklelock! Theory gets to the ropes, KOR starts targeting the shoulder with kicks. Theory hits a back elbow and goes for a powerbomb, KOR slides out and hits a forearm. Theory dodges a charging knee, gets KOR on his shoulders and plants him with a spining powerbomb for two. Brainbuster by onto the knee and another cover — nearfall! Theory has snapped and he goes out to grab the steps, but KOR is back up and is enraged. They end up in the ring, Theory gets taken down and laid into with punches and kicks, stomp to the head, and a knee to the sternum. KOR goes up top, knee to the ankle and submission, Theory taps.

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly (14:05)
Rating: *** 1/4
Thoughts: Great effort by both guys here, the story was that KOR snapped when he saw the steps which he took a brainbuster to from Adam Cole a while ago. Solid twist although it was slightly cheesy the way KOR played it, and the action was good.

* McKenzie asks Raquel about Xia’s comments, and Raquel says everyone’s saying the same thing. But she beat Ember Moon and Li won’t be fulfilling her destiny. Dakota says Raquel is going to destroy her for interrupting her moment last week. Raquel says none of Tian Sha scare her and there will be no one else to face after she puts Xia down.

* Legado del Fantasma is in the ring for Mariachi Madness. He dismisses the masked mariachis and says he won’t need them tonight, then tells the fans he was going to give them a taste of the best musical heritage in mariachi but he changed his mind because he won’t lower himself to entertain them because they aren’t worth it. He won’t do the “Hit Row thing,” vomit a few lines and embarass himself. “What is this, the battle of styles?” His style is being the true and real champion. He tells Hit Row he’s taking the NA title and putting it up there with blood, tradition, heritage, and —

Here comes Hit Row! Ashante says they’re talking really spicy up in here. They call mariachi music “trash” and say they’re celebrating their birthday quinceanera thrown by Daddy Delgado. Top Dolla says he’s Pablo Escobar and talks some more trash. Swerve says it once took an entire Legado to stop him from getting the Cruiserweight Title so he got a group of his own. He says he’s gonna make Santos his bitch and in 10 years, the apple is not gonna fall too far from the tree. Santos says he’s taking the title and bringing it back to him, and Hit Row goes to hit the ring. They step up onto the apron and Legado is up for the fight. The brawl begins, Dolla and Ashante are taking out Legado and Swerve attacks Escobar. Swerve gets knocked down, Santos goes to hit Swerve with a guitar but B-FAB grabs it and Swerve knocks Escobar down. B-FAB hands the guitar over, Escobar flees the ring and Joaquin Wilde is caught inside it. Hit Row surrounds him, and he gets startled into an Ashante superkick. Santos watches angrily as the guitar is broken over Wilde’s back.

* Backstage, The Way is meeting and Candice says things have been awful lately. They lost the Women’s Tag Team Titles, Gargano lost to Kross and Theory is starting fights with everyone. Indi says to go easy on him: if Theory wants to kiss Dexter, let him! Trouble in paradise, and Theory just walks off as the others argue.

* Regal approaches Joe and assures him Kross will be here, but to calm down. Joe says he respects Regal but he will be the first to greet Kross. Regal emphasizes, “peacefully.”

Andre Chase vs. Odyssey Jones

Andre Chase’s ring gear is fucking AWFUL. Chase tries to grapple to stop and gets picked up but slides off. Chase off the ropes and a bodyblock does nothing, but he manages to get Jones to one knee with kicks. Chase off the ropes and gets flattened with a shoulderblock and then sent to the outside. He goes out but Chase slides in and hits a dropkick through the ropes, then leaps over onto Jones. Jones takes back over, slams Chase into the table but Chase pushes Jones into the ringpost and rolls him in for two. Chase with a springboard somersault stunner and then hits a moonsault,cover gets two. Jones back in control quickly though and he takes Chase down with a crossbody, then splashes him in the corner. Picks Chase up out of an Irish whip into a lifting urenage for three.

Winner: Odyssey Jones (3:18)
Rating: **
Thoughts: It was a fine squash match.

* McKenzie is backstage with MSK and asks them what’s next. They say they’re willing to welcome all challengers. McKenzie asks what MSK is, and we get a flashback to — Imperium? An Imperium vignette cuts in and they talk about what the division has become, and that MSK has had a meaningless title reign. We cut back and missed the story of what MSK stands for.

* Pete Dunne is backstage with Oney and says he’s been begging people to prove they’re better than them for weeks and finally Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa stepped up. He calls them out for a tag match, and Lorcan says they’ll see how tough they are.

LA Knight vs. Drake Maverick

Maverick gives Grimes the Million Dollar Title and tells him to hold it high, and Maverick gets an attack in with a flurry of offense before Knight takes back control. With Maverick down, Knight goes out of the ring to criticize Grimes for not holding the title high enough. Knight back in the ring and Maverick takes control again, hitting a rana and then a crossbody off the top. Maverick with another crossbody attempt off the ropes and Knight catches him with a fallaway slam. Knight tells the crowd to shut up and again orders Grimes to hold the title up, and Maverick dropkicks Knight head-first into the title and then gets a roll-up pin.

Winner: Drake Maverick (2:20)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: It’s all about the angle.

Grimes tells Drake to run but he runs into Knight, who beats on Maverick. Grimes gets in and goes to stop Maverick, saying the match is over. Knight says it’s not over because it’s Grimes’ turn to beat on Maverick. Grimes tries to leave but Knight holds him to his word to do whatever Knight says. Grimes is none too happy and Knight holds him up, and Grimes decks him and looks really guilty about it. For once, Knight is happy. He rolls out of the ring and tells Grimes to come along.

* Raquel is prepping with Dakota before the main event, and we get a vignette hyping the match.

* Karrion Kross’ car arrives at the arena and Joe rips the door open but Kross isn’t inside. He’s somewhere in the arena and Joe goes hauling after him.

* Set for Next Week:
– Bronson Reed vs. Adam Cole
– Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
NXT Breakout Tournament Match: Carmelo Hayes vs. Josh Bridges

NXT Women’s World Championship Match
Xia Li vs. Raquel Gonzalez

They lock up to start and Li gets powered intothe corner but escapes. Li with a side headlock but gets thrown off by Raquel and knocked to the mat. Li kips up into a three-point stance and then leaps up into a sleeper, but gets fliped to the mat. Test of strength but Li with a kick to the gut and she leaps onto Raquel’s shoulders, but Raquel stops her and shoves her into the corner. Big boot to Li and she rolls to the outside, where Rquel follows for a snake eyes into the ringpost. She gets Li back in but Li quickly rolls out. Raquel out and goes to kick Li but Li moves, and Raquel gets her leg caught around the ringpost. Li brutalizes the knee and takes over, then pushes the champ into the steel steps as we go to break.

Back from break and Li has been working the knee during the PIP. She has Raquel in the corner and sets her leg in the ropes, hitting a couple of dropkicks to it. Li covers for two, then goes right back to the leg with a single leg crab. Gonzalez rolls out of it, and Li charges but gets caught with a fallaway slam. Raquel with a wild shot and then another, dropkick and a cover gets two. She goes to pick Li up but Li fights out, a couple pin attempts get two and a kick to the back of the champ. Li comes off the ropes with a leaping spinning roundhouse to the Raquel’s back for two. Li has Raquel on her knees and lays in strikes, but Gonzalez catches a kick and slams her down. Vader bomb senton in the corner, cover gets two. Raquel yells at Li go get up and says she wanted this, she’s lying in wait and Li is being attended to by the referee and medical staff. This seems … not good. Looks like it was from the senton, at least that’s what WWE says. Li is cleared and gets picked up by Gonzalez, choke slam for three.

Winner: Raquel Gonzalez (10:48)
Rating: **
Thoughts: This was going fine until the injury, after which the match was pretty much screwed. Gonzalez is clearly upset about this.

* Joe comes down to the ring before Gonzalez has left and calls for Karrion Kross. He says Kross needs to learn there will be a reckoning. Kross appears on the Tron and says this isn’t Joe’s NXT; this is Kross’ now. And his title says he can go where he wants, do what he wants, and hurt whoever he wants (as long as they’re not Jeff Hardy). For example… he pans down to reveal William Regal unconscious and asks Joe — who is running to the back — if he feels in control still. Kross drives off as Joe runs outside.

And with that, we’re done for the night!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Man, this is a rough one to rate. On one hand, did we get two great TV matches? Yeah, and it's hard to give a mediocre score to a show that had those. On the other hand, a lot of the rest of this episode wasn't stellar. The main event was ruined by Li's injury, the squash matches were squash matches, the Fantasma/Hit Row segment did very little for me because it felt so uninspired and the Joe/Kross stuff was filler just to lead to Kross attacking Regal. Cameron Grimes and LA Knight continues to be great and this wasn't a BAD episode per se, but I don't think it was all that good on the whole either.

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WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas