SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
JUNE 2, 2021, 8PM EST
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY NATE LINDBERG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
-The show kicked off with a “Last week on NXT” segment where they went over Kross vs. Balor and hyped the triple threat between Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano to determine the #1 contender for the NXT title.
-Pete Dunne’s music hit as Vic Joseph welcomed the audience to the show.
(1) PETE DUNNE vs. JOHNNY GARGANO vs. KYLE O’REILLY – TRIPLE THREAT, #1 CONTENDER FOR NXT TITLE
Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano made their entrances first followed by the face in the match, Kyle O’Reilly. Oney Lorcan & Austin Theory have been banned from ringside to keep this a fair fight.
The match exploded the second the bell rang with all three men slugging it out in the center of the ring. Gargano was dumped out by KOR, leaving he and Dunne in the ring. Dunne got the upper hand and locked in a wrist/fingerlock on KOR as he struggled to get to his feet. KOR looked for an armbreaker, but Gargano broke it up. KOR locked in a leglock on Gargano and then Dunne locked in a headlock on KOR so all three men were involved in the spot.
KOR was thrown out of the ring, leaving Dunne and Gargano in the ring. Gargano shot Dunne off the ropes, Dunne hit a shoulder block and then a clothesline. Dunne looked for a surfboard on KOR and Gargano broke it up, dumping Dunne out of the ring. KOR delivered a series of strikes to a prone Gargano and locked in an arm submission before Dunne ran in and locked both KOR and Gargano’s arms in that fingerlock before stomping on their hands.
The three men traded corner uppercuts knocking all men down. KOR went for an anklelock on Dunne who reversed it into an ankle lock of his own. Gargano managed to hit a tornado DDR on KOR while kicking Dunne outside the ring during the tornado spot as they cut to commercial. (c)
Picture in picture break, Gargano remained in control of KOR for awhile before Dunne got back in the ring, taking Gargano out with a leapfrog and then a whip outside the ring. Dunne took over for Gargano and continued to manipulate the arm and shoulder joints of KOR.
Back from break, Pete Dunne was in control but Gargano and KOR quickly rallied to overcome Dunne. KOR knocked both men down before hitting two underhook suplexes on Dunne followed by a third suplex on Gargano, landing him on Dunne. He covered Dunne for the first near fall of the match. KOR dumped Dunne out of the ring and took him out with a flying knee off the apron. Gargano dove over the top rope to take out KOR, then got back in the ring to do it twice more on each KOR and Dunne.
Gargano got KOR back in the ring for a two count after an uppercut. He backed KOR into the corner and chopped him a few times before going for a lawn dart, but KOR countered. Dunne kicked both men in their heads and hit a powerbomb on KOR for a two count. Dunne hit the X-Plex on Gargano for a two count. Dunne locked in a standing kamura lock but Gargano broke it up. KOR sent Dunne over the top rope and Gargano hit a schoolboy for a two count. KOR locked in another leglock to Gargano but it was broken up by Dunne. Dunne looked for the Bitter End which was reversed into a DDT by Gargano. Gargano lawn darted Dunne for a two count, knocking KOR to the floor in the process.
Dunne and Gargano traded blows while kneeling, showing how tired they were. KOR entered the ring with a series of kicks to each other competitor until Gargano drop toe holded him into a kick to the head from Dunne. The three traded blows until KOR hit a double clothesline on both men, leaving all three men on the mat.
KOR got to his feet first, locking in a guillotine on Gargano. Dunne locked a sleeper in on KOR forcing him to drop Gargano. Gargano broke up the hold and locked in the final escape on Dunne. Dunne pried Gargano’s fingers apart and hit the bitter end for two. KOR hit a splash to break that count.
The action spilled outside, Dunne and KOR hit a clothesline on each other simultaneously, leaving them lying by the entrance ramp.
Adam Cole rushed the ring and hit KOR an Dunne with a chair. He shoved the ref when the ref tried to intervene. He left Gargano laying in the ring after a knee to the back of the head. Remember, triple threat means No DQ.
William Regal and security came to the ring and escorted Adam Cole out of the ring. Cole slapped KOR on his way out as they cut to commercial. (c)
Back from break, Regal and Security were still getting Cole out of the arena. Ember Moon blew past Cole, and rushed to the ring.
WINNER: NO CONTEST in approx 19:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Well, I don’t exactly know how you come to a no contest during a no-DQ match. But considering they did, I kept timing through commercial break, only stopping the watch when Ember Moon was in the ring for the next segment. While this was a great match, I’m iffy on the finish. I loved how dominant Cole looked while taking everyone out but the match shouldn’t have been stopped. It should have continued as it was no-DQ. KOR looked to be the winner, as he was the only face in the match set against a heel NXT Champion, Karrion Kross. With three heels and one face now in contention for the NXT Title, assuming Cole is going to be in the mix, it leaves me to wonder if we’ll see either Dunne or Gargano lean tweener or if we’ll get a lopsided four-man feud.)
-Ember Moon demanded Raquel Gonzalez hit the ring now, looking for revenge on what happened to Shotzi at the hands of Gonzalez last week. Gonzalez rushed the ring with Regal trying to stop her. Security then accompanied Regal to the ring and took Gonzalez backstage. Dakota Kai, Gonzalez partner, attacked Moon from behind in the ring, knocking her through the ropes and onto the floor. William Regal, furious at losing control over the first half hour of his show, barked orders at the talent and security as he checked on his fallen star, Ember Moon.
-Legado del Fantasma was shown backstage with Escobar telling Mendoza and Phoenix that he’ll be in their corner for their title match tonight.
-LA Knight made his way to the ring cutting a promo saying that Ted DiBiase will be watching him backstage as he wins tonight, showing the Million Dollar Man that he is the one deserving of the million dollar legacy. (c)
-Drake Maverick was shown on his way into the building when Ever Rise started harassing him in the parking lot. Hit Row showed up and put Ever Rise in their place before asking Drake why he was laughing. Killian Dain interjected himself, diffusing the situation.
(2) LA KNIGHT vs. JAKE ATLAS
The bell rang and the two circled each other for a few moments before LA Knight hit an arm toss before showing off to the crowd. Atlas grabbed him and rolled him up for two. They traded arm drags and dropkicks and Atlas covered once again for two. Atlas hit an arm drag and then went for another pin attempt. Atlas continued working his shoulder and left arm in repeated arm locks with Knight escaping each time. He tried to roll Atlas up for two, but Atlas rolled him over using his momentum and pinned Knight for a two count.
Atlas continued to be on the offensive, striking Knight until falling victim to a Stun Gun off the top rope. The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase made his way to the ring to watch the match up close. Knight, distracted by his hero was rolled up by Atlas for a very near fall.
Knight hit DiBiase’s fist to the face and choked Atlas on the middle rope. He kicked Atlas in the ribs and choked Atlas on the rope again before kicking him in the head. Atlas shoulder tackled Atlas and then climbed to the middle turnbuckle to show off to the crowd. (c)
Back from commercial, Atlas and Knight were trying to suplex one another, reversing each attempt until Knight finally reversed it into a neckbreaker. He let Atlas get to his feet, and went for the Million Dollar Dream. He couldn’t lock in the submission and Atlas hit a cross body for a two count. Atlas fired up but was dumped over the top rope, landing in front of DiBiase. Atlas made it back into the ring, but Knight kept him down with a series of strikes and seated punches. Knight went to the middle rope and jumped, but was hit in the ribs by Atlas. Atlas knocked him down with a clothesline and a suplex for two.
Cameron Grimes made his way out to the ring to talk to DiBiase. Atlas was hit with a death valley driver and a standing moonsault for two. Grimes tried talking DiBiase out of looking at Knight as he was getting his butt whooped at the moment. Atlas climbed to the top rope, but Knight did as well. Atlas knocked Knight off, landing groin first on the ropes. He hit a top rope DDT and covered, 1 2 3.
DiBiase looked disappointed as Grimes laughed and laughed while retreating backstage.
WINNER: Jake Atlas in 12:37
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I think I loved everything about this match. LA Knight came off looking like such a cocky a-hole who couldn’t get the job done, which is exactly where this character should be. Atlas looked like a million bucks and has the talent to be pushed up the card a bit. This and the match with Grimes two weeks ago reminded us at just how good this kid is. DiBiase and Grimes continue to be an amazing part of NXT and their involvement in this angle is pure gold – no pun intended. DiBiase has not been a major proponent of the wrestling world after his retirement, so it’s great to see a legend embrace wrestling once again.)
-A camera was shown entering the trainers room backstage where Dunne, Gargano and KOR were being treated after the opening match. Oney Lorcan, standing with Dunne, stormed the camera man and demanded they leave. Austin Theory started beef with Lorcan on behalf of Gargano, and the two were separated.
-McKenzie Mitchell asked Ted DiBiase who he thought was deserving of carrying the legacy of the Million Dollar Man. He said that LA Knight dropped the ball while Grimes looks like he’s the one that may do it. Adam Cole walked through the frame and into Gorilla, ending the segment and cutting to commercial. (c)
-Poppy was announced to be in house live next week.
-Adam Cole was in the ring saying that two years ago today he became NXT Champion. Whether anyone admits it or not, he’s the real number one contender. He’s watched while everyone was trying and failing to live up to his legacy. He took out three of NXT’s top stars in one night meaning he wants the NXT Title back. He looked into the camera and told Kross that he sees through him. He’s just an overrated muscle head who doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with Cole prompting the NXT Champion to make his way to the ring with Scarlett in tow.
Kross called Cole a little man and said that his motives were understandable. But the title isn’t his and no matter whatever he does nothing in the grand scheme changes. When he signed at NXT Cole no longer became special. He told Kross to entertain him and tell him a story. Cole said that the story is that Kross isn’t Adam Cole Baybay and never will be. All of the pomp and circumstance makes Kross look special. Making Cole look special involves ringing the bell. He said that Kross was just the guy who had Cole’s property.
Regal made his way to the ring and said that he wouldn’t get a one on one with Kross when Kross shouted at Regal to shut up. He said that Kross wants everyone at Takeover. Gargano, Cole and Dunne. He promised that Cole will not get out of this ass-kicking. Regal then said “Done”, making the match official. Cole went over to the announce desk and threw everything off of it before jumping on top of it and saying that he’s always run this show before throwing a bottle of water at the champ and retreating through the crowd.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Predictable after the finish to the opener, but strangely I’m okay with the outcome. A five-way for the NXT Title seems like a massive hurdle for any champion to overcome. If Kross wins, then I think he’ll be a longer-term champion and we’ll see him in NXT at least until WrestleMania next year. If he loses, then we’ll see him get called up sooner rather than later. Just my guess, but it makes sense.)
-McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Candice LaRae and Indi Hartwell backstage. While LaRae talked about their titles, her husbands match with Kross at TakeOver and Poppy returning next week, Hartwell was listening to love songs on headphones, heartbroken for Lumis. A while later, Lumis found the headphones that she took off, and shed a tear.
-Wade Barrett introduced a video package for the newcomer Carmello Hayes who will be answering Kushida’s Cruiserweight Open Challenge tonight.
-Xia Li called out Martinez for Takeover in a Tien Sha video package.
(3) KUSHIDA vs. CARMELO HAYES – NXT CRUISERWEIGHT OPEN CHALLENGE
-The bell rang and the two men locked up with Carmello rolling him up immediately, unable to cover. They locked up in a test of strength, with Kushida bringing him to the mat. Haze popped up and gave a reverse headscissors for a two count. Kushida shot him off the ropes and Hayes hit him with a kick to the stomach followed by a few arm drags into a dropkick. Kushida was thrown into the corner, and then hit with a rolling, grounded pele kick for two.
Kushida locked in a headlock on Hayes, who managed to get to his feet and shoot Kushida off the ropes. Kushida hit a springboard back elbow and then was caught up in the ropes by Hayes. Hayes hit a legdrop on Kushida while he was tangled in the ropes for a two count. (c)
Hayes was in control when coming back from commercial with Kushida trying to rally without much luck. He whipped Kushida off of the ropes but Kushida blocked and then knocked Hayes out of the ring himself. He jumped off the ring onto Hayes’s shoulder and then rolled him back into the ring. He climbed to the top jumped, but was met with a superkick from Hayes. Hayes hit a unique facebuster and then a unique springboard bulldog for a near fall.
Kushida and Hayes traded chops until Kushida got fed up and then traded the chops for kicks. Hayes blocked one and hit another unique facebuster for two. Kushida hit a hiptoss and sitting dropkick on Hayes and then looked into lock in the Hoverboard Lock. Hayes managed to reverse it but got a kick to the temple for his troubles. Kushida finally locked in the hoverboard lock for the submission win.
After the match, Kushida shook Hayes hand and raised his arm in respect.
WINNER: Kushida in 10:55
(Lindberg’s Analysis: While there was little doubt that Kushida would lose his belt so early on in his run, Carmelo Hayes certainly gave him a run for his money. When I referenced those three “unique” moves, I couldn’t tell if they were botched moves or if they were legitimately done that way on purpose. With his seemingly polished style in the ring, I’m going for the latter, but I’ll need to see more out of this kid to know for sure. As of now, though, I was thoroughly impressed.)
-MSK was backstage prepping for their title defense against Legado, letting the audience know that they won’t be defeated tonight.
-Frankie Monet was backstage reading the “reviews” from her debut match last week.
(4) ZAYDA RAMIER & ZOEY STARK vs. CANDACE LARAE & INDI HARTWELL
-Hartwell and Ramier kicked things off with Hartwell hitting a scoop slam before tagging in LaRae. LaRae hit a slam of her own and covered for two before tagging Indi back in. Indi kicked Ramier in the head and tagged LaRae back in, who covered for two once again. She wrenched the neck of Ramier with Stark cheering on her partner from the corner. Ramier fought to her feet and rolled LaRae up for a near fall.
LaRae hit a forearm on Ramier and tagged Indi back in who knocked Ramier down with a kick. She eyed up with Stark and went to attack Ramier but was met with a dropkick. Indi managed to tag out, but Ramier couldn’t make it to Stark. LaRae took a cheap shot on Stark, knocking her off the apron but only for a moment as Stark jumped right back up to make the hot tag. She took out LaRae and Hartwell and covered LaRae for a two count. She tagged Ramier back in and she threw her partner on top of LaRae for a two count. LaRae got the upper hand on Ramier and tagged in Hartwell. Hartwell vaulted over the top rope and hit an elbow into Ramier’s back. She rolled Ramier over and pinned her for the win.
WINNERS: Indi Hartwell & Candace LaRae in 3:45
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I was surprised that Stark spent so little time in this match after how heavily she was pushed at first. We haven’t seen much of her recently and she only spent about 40 second in the match tonight. Ramier was a bump machine, as she always is, and made The Way look great any time Indi or Candace would knock her around. I was surprised that The Way got the victory as this was a non-title match upv – the champs usually lose. A loss would have also made sense for the story, perhaps more so, for The Way.)
-Mercedes Martinez was backstage speaking into the camera, rebutting Xia Li’s challenge from earlier in the show for Takeover.
-Grimes vs. Knight was announced for Takeover: IYH.
-Backstage, Ember Moon challenged Dakota Kai to a match next week and Raquel to a match at Takeover: IYH for the women’s title.
(5) LEGADO DEL FANTASMA vs. MSK – NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
-Lee and Wilde kicked things off, locking up with Lee synching in a waistlock. He took Wilde down to the mat, and the two men spent the next few moments trading headlocks and holds. Lee made the tag to Carter. Wilde was able to thwart their double team offense, and threw Carter into his own corner. He tagged Mendoza and the two stomped Carter in the corner. Wilde tagged back in and covered Carter for two.
He hit a sitting cross body on Carter for another two before locking him up in an arm wrench. Carter made it to his feet and tagged Lee back in prompting Mendoza to enter the ring as well. All four men brawled, leaving all four of them laying in the ring as the Grizzled Young Vets made their way to the ring. Before they could get there, Tomasso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher ambushed them and dragged them backstage.
The action spilled outside the ring with both members of MSK diving onto Wilde and Mendoza as they cut to a picture in picture commercial. (c)
MSK was in control of the commercial break with Lee and Carter exchanging quite a few tags throughout. Right before the break ended, Mendoza was tagged in against Lee and took control of the match with him dropkicking Lee off of the top turnbuckle. He covered for two and then continued his assault on Lee, dragging him to his partner. He tagged Wilde and the two double teamed Lee, Wilde covering for two.
Lee was kept in Legado’s corner, with Wilde and Mendoza exchanging quick tags and hitting double team offense on Lee with covers in between. This continued for a couple minutes until Lee reversed a powerbomb into a DDT on Mendoza. Lee made it to his feet and tagged in Carter who came in hot and took out both Wilde and Mendoza in quick fashion. He tagged Lee back in with Wilde on the ground. Carter hit the standing moonsault and Lee covered for two.
Wilde made the tag to Mendoza without Lee seeing the tag. Mendoza came in with a dropkick off the top rope for two. Mendoza knocked Carter off of the top rope and then tagged Wilde in. He and Mendoza double teamed Lee in the corner with multiple splashes. Wilde and Mendoza hit a double team power bomb on Lee for a pinfall so close, I thought we had new champions.
Wilde dumped Lee outside the ring and Escobar threw him into the steps without the ref seeing it. Mendoza and Wilde hit a double team kick on Lee and covered for two, but Carter made the last minute save. With Escobar upset that they didn’t win, he started making a scene outside the ring and was quickly flattened into the barricade by a very nimble Bronson Reed, coming from seemingly nowhere. This distraction allowed MSK to get one up on Wilde as they hit their double team finish for the win.
WINNERS: MSK in 18:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I almost thought Legado del Fantasma had this match won at a handful of spots throughout the match, though I doubted we’d see MSK lose the titles so soon. The two teams have some serious chemistry and put on a great tag team main event. MSK’s affiliation with Bronson Reed continues to confuse me, as it seems like they just threw them together since they all happen to be facing Legado. Reed and MSK are total opposites and I just can’t see a character like Reed putting up with the seemingly dimwitted MSK.)