SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
JUNE 15, 2021, 8PM EST
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
Join the “PWT Talks NXT” Dailycast with me, Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg to break down the episode:
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-In Your House highlights. The segment set up the Regal announcement as the opening hook.
-Regal entered the arena to no music but a strong reaction. He grabbed a mic and thanked the crowd for the ovation but said he had something to say. He said he’d been in NXT since the beginning, and he’d even called the first TakeOver. He had tears in his eyes. He said he got to see a lot of incredible talent come through and they’d gone all over the world with the brand. He mentioned watching the Blackpool show with his nieces and he was totally breaking down.
He said a lot of work had been done to make NXT what it is. He thanked everyone for helping allow them to take the brand all over the country. He said he had given the brand everything he can now, and said he’s no longer capable of giving everyone what they deserve anymore. He said with that in mind, he thinks it’s time –
Karrion Kross’s music played to bring him, wearing a suit, to the ring with Scarlett to boos. He grabbed another mic and said he and Scarlett knew the day would come, but didn’t know when, and now they had to see it for themselves. He asked Regal if he was crying and called him completely pathetic. He said Kross was in control of NXT now, and he wanted Regal to say he was leaving and then walk his ass up the aisle and never come back. He yelled at Regal to say that Kross is right, and Kross conquers all.
Samoa Joe’s music played. The crowd popped huge and Kross’s eyes bugged out. He strode to the ring with another mic. “Mr. Regal, I believe you wanted to speak with me.” Regal said he did indeed, and it wasn’t supposed to be under these circumstances, but now he’s here. Regal said everyone deserved a GM who can bring the respect it deserves. Joe said his answer…was absolutely…not.
Joe said that in the seven years Regal was in NXT, Regal plucked the brand from obscurity and turned it into a national phenomenon. He cast a large shadow and has large shoes to fill. He said he’d make sure that Regal received the respect he deserved from everybody. He looked at Kross during that bit. He said Joe couldn’t lay a hand on anyone…unless…provoked.
Joe said that only left one question: what are you (Kross) still doing in this ring? “Tick tock, young champion.” Kross left with Scarlett while Regal and Joe shook hands in the ring to cheers.
The announcers promoted the Kushida match and the tornado tag main event.
(Wells’s Analysis: Some particulars will still be laid out later, but we’ve got a new sheriff in town. Joe was largely expected to fill this role, but the Kross segment threw an unexpected curveball and Joe’s moment was bigger as a result.)
-GYV cut a promo on Thatcher and Ciampa. Tonight, they’re going to get their heads kicked in.
(1) BREEZANGO vs. IMPERIUM
Tyler Breeze and Marcel Barthel opened. Mat work to start. Breeze snapped on a headlock and Barthel reversed, then ran the ropes and hit a shoulderblock. A much, much too large reaction to the shoulderblock was piped in. Ha. Breeze got some shots in and tagged Fandango. Blind tag to Aichner, who caught Fandango on a rope run and grounded Fandango with an armbar. Aichner leaned on Fandango in the corner but Fandango reversed for a chop. Legdrop by Fandango, who dumped Aichner. Breeze missed a plancha but I think he though he was going to be caught. The audio cut for a moment, likely with Breeze swearing. He was on the mat for a bit as the announcers acknowledged the bad landing. Fandango ended up hitting a plancha on the heels and controlled in the ring heading to split-screen commercial.
Back to full-screen, Aichner had Fandango dominated. Aichner posed and Fandango tried to get some shots in, but Aichner beat him down. Fandango jumped for a tag but Aichner caught and slammed him. Tag to Barthel, who kicked Fandango and snapped on a headlock. He grounded Fandango and reapplied it with more force. Fandango did a sort of ripcord out of it and rolled up Barthel for two. He fought for a tag and got close but Barthel whipped him to the heel corner. He charged and Fandango whipped him out to the floor. Fandango made the hot tag and Aichner hit a huge clothesline on Breeze, but Breeze immediately rolled him up in a small package for the win.
As soon as Breezango’s music played, Breeze tried to exit but Aichner beat him down. Imperium hit their finisher on Breeze and draped a huge “Imperium” banner on him.
WINNERS: Imperium at 10:24.
(Wells’s Analysis: Fine old school tag match, though it struck me that both these teams were very recently tag champions and there’s just been no fanfare at all around that title for a while now. The finish suggests more for this feud, or perhaps just more for Imperium, since Walter’s US return was teased for a while but hasn’t been promoted recently at all.)
-In the back, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly were at each other’s throats again. William Regal tried to split them up. He tried to settle it down and said they could go at Great American Bash in an unsanctioned match, but if they were so fired up they could choose opponents tonight. The two kept brawling. Samoa Joe showed up and Adam Cole tossed him aside. Poor dope. Joe yanked Cole away from O’Reilly and put him down quickly with the Coquina Clutch. He told an official that when Cole wakes up, Mr. Regal expects his decision.
-A video showed a dead battery symbol, as on a phone. A click sounded and it showed “1% Charging.” Assuming this is a very early teaser for a new talent.
-Santos Escobar cut a backstage promo. He’s coming for Bronson Reed, one on one, and says he’ll be the next North American Champion.
(2) KUSHIDA (c) vs. TREY BAXTER – Open Challenge for the Cruiserweight Championship
After Kushida’s introduction, Wade Barrett threw to a vignette for opponent Trey Baxter. He’s all heart. Baxter is the former Blake Christian, who I watched on NJPW Strong quite a bit, primarily in tag matches. He’s a good cruiserweight addition, though they’re not using the even better addition from NJPW Strong (Tyler Rust) that they have already.
Quick attempt to work the digits by Kushida. Baxter escaped and reset. Kushida grounded Baxter and kept stopping his escape attempts. He covered for one and they reset again. Kushida grounded Baxter but Baxter reversed to a quick rollup, then put on a headlock. Rope run and a rollup by Baxter. Quick missed spots by both guys. Rana by Baxter. Baxter hit a springboard clothesline and Kushida bailed. Baxter tried something near the ropes but Kushida dragged him near the outside but Baxter kicked Kushida’s legs out from under him and flew over the top. As both guys sold outside the ring, Kyle O’Reilly was on top of the ramp scouting for some reason. The match went to commercial.
Baxter was in control upon return and hit a spinning heel kick. O’Reilly lingered nearer the action. Kushida put Baxter in the corner and hit his cartwheel dropkick shortly after. He missed a kick the Baxter’s arm but hit an enzuigiri. Rope run and Baxter hit a springboard enzuigiri. Both guys sold for a bit and then exchanged forearms. Kushida got the better of it with a forearm but Baxter hit Spanish Fly and 450 from the top rope for a two count. O’Reilly applauded the move.
The two went up to the second rope and Kushida got the better of it and slammed on Baxter’s elbow. He kicked Baxter’s arm and snapped on the Hoverboard Lock for the immediate tap.
WINNER: Kushida at 10:24.
Kushida and Baxter shook hands. O’Reilly again applauded Baxter, then got in the ring. He said to Kushida that he’s not answering Kushida’s challenge – he’s issuing his own. Both want to fight the best, and he wants Kushida next week. Kushida said he was ready.
(Wells’s Analysis: Almost every time I typed Baxter, I had to fight the urge to type Christian. I’ll get used to it. He acquitted himself well here and got way more offense than I would have guessed he’d get. The big news is an O’Reilly-Kushida match, which could be a wonderful bit of violence if given the proper time)
-Franky Monet happened upon Aliyah and Jessie Kamea and said they’d be more successful if they listened to Robert Stone. Stone showed up and said Monet was obviously a smart woman. Monet left one way, and Stone left another. Kamea and Aliyah lightly mocked the idea that they need to listen to Stone more.
-Mrcedes Martinez reviewed film of the beatdown she got from Tian Sha at TakeOver. She said she suffered the wrath, but she wasn’t going anywhere. She said she and Xia were 1 and 1 now, so…anytime. She said next time Mei Ying wouldn’t get up out of her chair, because Martinez would knock her right out of it. As always, stellar stuff from Martinez.
LA Knight’s Million Dollar Coronation
Ted DiBiase entered to his music. He said last Sunday he finally found someone worthy of holding the Million Dollar Championship, so let’s look at that person right now. He threw to the screen, which played parts of the hype video of Knight’s from last week. Knight arrived outside and he walked to the ring wearing a jacket not totally dissimilar from Michael Jackson’s Beat It jacket. He grabbed a mic to boos. As he gathered his thoughts, the crowd chanted “To the moon.” Knight said it’s not often in life that we get to meet our heroes. To think that he got to meet him and be told he had potential was huge. He said he took this seriously and said to stand there with the belt was 100% worth it. He said when he watched wrestling with his dad, DiBiase was constantly on the screen. He said the kids in his neighborhood would wrestle in the backyard and he was always portraying the Million Dollar Man. He said he needed DiBiase here tonight to express his gratitude and appreciation. He shook DiBiase’s hand. He said it was the greatest moment in his wrestling career and it would be the honor of his life to be crowned Million Dollar Champion. DiBiase said he’d be happy to. He draped the belt over Knight’s shoulder and pyro played. DiBiase did his laugh, and Knight did his own version.
Knight said to have the belt on his shoulder was beyond description. He said now he’s got everything he wants, it’s time to drop what he doesn’t need. He threw a punch to lay out DiBiase and then tossed the security guys from the ring. He jawed down at DiBiase that it was once his, but now Knight is the one and only Million Dollar Champion. He stomped DiBiase to big boos. Cameron Grimes charged the ring and destroyed Grimes to a huge pop. Knight retrieved his belt as Grimes checked on DiBiase and got a “To the moon” chant. Grimes said Knight crossed the line, and now he’s gonna pay.
(Wells’s Analysis: This continues to be the segment that’s felt the most organic and fun for the past month or two. Knight’s first talk segment was so gushing that it could all only end in a disgusting attack. Grimes completed the face turn tonight, in case anyone wasn’t getting the picture already. I of course want to see Grimes destroy Knight further but Knight feels like he’s definitely the right Million Dollar Champion)
-McKenzie Mitchell stood with Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai. Gonzalez told Mitchell to tell Candice and Indi to hold on to their titles real tight. Kai said after they beat little Kacy and little Kayden, it’s off to become champions a second time.
-The battery from before was now at 11%.
-Backstage, Kai and Gonzalez ran into Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart. Regal and Joe tried to separate them.
(3) KACY CATANZARO & KAYDEN CARTER vs. DAKOTA KAI & RAQUEL GONZALEZ
Kai and Carter to start. Kai backed Carter to a corner and taunted her by patting her head. In the center of the ring, Carter missed a couple of kicks and then patted Kai’s head. Tag to Catanzaro and the faces hit tandem kicks to Kai’s head. Cover for two. Tag to Catanzaro and they worked together for another kick spot and Carter covered for two. Gonzalez tagged in and missed a kick, but then caught Carter and tossed her to a corner. Carter tried a crucifix and turned it into an octopus. Gonzalez fought it off. Tag to Catanzaro and the two hit a couple of kicks. Catanzaro hit a rana off Carter’s shoulders. Tag to Kai. Rana by Catanzaro and Kai tagged in and got hit by a clothesline and a plancha. Tag to Carter and the two laid out Kai on the outside heading into a commercial.
Gonzalez was controlling Catanzaro with a stretch over her knee. Gonzalez chucked Catanzaro down in a corner and tagged Kai, who hit a corner kick and covered for two. Tag to Gonzalez, who hit a splash in the heel corner. Sidewalk slam. Gonzalez missed a dropped elbow but Kai tagged and charged in to boot Catanzaro outside. Catanzaro made the hot tag and beat down both heels and hit a big forearm on both in the corner. Splash for Kai. Rope run and a rollup and thrustkick for Carter. Big boot against the ropes by Carter got a two count.
Carter lifted Kai, who hit a Scorpion Kick. Tag to Gonzalez, who caught Carter off the second buckle and hit a sidewalk slam for two. Tag to Kai. The heels teamed up for a lungblower and Catanzaro flew in to break it up. Carter fought both heels in their own corner and Kai got in a shot. Rope run and Kai ran into a blind tag and splash by the faces for two. Everyone got involved and Gonzalez got dumped. They dealt with Gonzalez on the outside and teamed up for a Catanzaro 450 for two, broken up by Gonzalez, who smeared both faces against the Plexiglass. Catanzaro went in and got caught by Kai’s GTK.
WINNERS: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez at 12:24.
(Wells’s Analysis: A very strong tag match with a good heat sequence, likable underdogs and a lot of good spots. I thought Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart might cost them this match, but they can always cost them a tag championship match, too. Or conversely, all three can go in a triple threat match at Great American Bash that would likely steal the show)
-Ever-Rise had trouble with Hit Row, who wrecked their mini-house on the pre-pre-show. They said they’d rebuilt the house, and the camera panned to show it essentially destroyed.
-Charging was now at 20%.
-Great American Bash spot. Tuesday, July 6th! Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole battle in an…ugh…Unsanctioned Match at that show.
-The announcers hawked Poppy’s five-song NXT soundtrack, wherever you stream music.
-Io Shirai hit the ring. She said she was back and she feels good. She said a few things in Japanese. She said her next target is…
Candice LeRae’s music played. She said a lot has changed since Io’s been gone. For instance, Candice is no longer an uncrowned champion. She said it was back to the bottom for Io. She said you have to earn your opportunities now. She said the one thing that hasn’t changed is that she still can’t stand Io. Io waited for her in the ring but Indi Hartwell attacked from behind. Shirai got the better of it and hit the 619 on Hartwell. Numbers caught up and Shirai got booted to the floor. Hartwell cleared off the announce table and LeRae set Shirai on it. Hartwell went up for an elbow drop and Zoey Stark hit the ring and booted her. The faces cleared the ring of the faces, then shook hands and waved off the heels.
-McKenzie Mitchell talked to William Regal as he left the building with Samoa Joe. She said it seems order has been restored and she’d like his thoughts. He said “McKenzie -” and then video awkwardly and out of nowhere crossed over to a different segment where MSK were eating popcorn in the back near the lockers ahead of the main event. Timothy Thatcher passed them and angrily took a handful of popcorn before heading to the ring. So what did Regal have to say?!
-Diamond Mine. This time it says “Opening next week.”
-McK, Regal and Joe tried again elsewhere. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory chanted “Joe” as they walked into frame. Gargano said Regal was going cuckoo bananas, but now that Joe was here, it was great. Joe asked him for a favor: get out. Pete Dunne walked into frame and stared at Joe, who stared back. “Gentlemen, please,” Regal said.
(4) TIMOTHY THATCHER & TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS – Tornado tag team match
A graphic explained that all are legal. No tags, no countouts. GYV tried to do their mic stuff but the faces attacked them and the match went to the ring and the bell sounded. The faces clubbed the heels and hit double submissions. Rope breaks didn’t matter so I guess there are no DQs either? GYV teamed up after escaping to dump Thatcher and work over Ciampa. Ciampa ducked a double clothesline and clotheslined both. He did his forever clotheslines spot but GYV charged him and teamed up to dump him and keep Thatcher outside. Gibson charged Ciampa into the barricade as Drake worked over Thatcher. A corner graphic promoted Ever-Rise vs. Hit Row’s Top Dolla and Ashante Adonis next week.
Ciampa hit a brief lock on Gibson, who chopped his neck to break. GYV took control again and stomped both guys. They teamed up for a neckbreaker and Gibson covered for two. Drake went out toward Ciampa, who yanked Drake off the apron. Ciampa cleared out Gibson and hit running knees on Gibson. Action spilled outside and Ciampa tossed Drake to the barricade, then tossed Gibson into him and hit a hip attack on both. Ciampa threw both men back inside and he and Thatcher pumped one another up. They ran the length of the ring and repeatedly hit impact shots on GYV as the match went to split-screen.
The match returned to GYV dominating Thatcher, who immediately came back with European uppercuts for both. The two cut off the flurry and Drake put Thatcher down in a submission. Gibson taunted him and he fought back. Ciampa popped back into the ring and stomped Drake until he had to break. Stiff chops from Ciampa to Gibson. Belly-to-belly from Thatcher to Gibson. Step-up from Thatcher to Drake. Face miscommunication led to Ciampa booting Thatcher. GYV set up the Doomsday Device on Ciampa, who fought free. Thatcher suplexed Gibson and Ciampa hit Air Raid Crash from the second rope on Drake for two. Ciampa and Drake chopped the hell out of each other on the apron as the other two cleared out. Ciampa got the better of it but GYV set up the Doomsday Device on Ciampa to the outside.
Gibson and Thatcher hit the ring. Uppercut exchange. Backslide by Gibson, roll through, submission exchange, and Gibson took Thatcher to a corner, and Drake flew in with a high dropkick. Ticket to Mayhem, and Ciampa shot in from out of frame to break it up. GYV beat Ciampa outside at the announce table. Drake leaned the table hood up against the table and they broke Ciampa through it. Drake went inside to stomp Thatcher but outside, Ciampa hit Air Raid Crash on Gibson on the table. Drake saw it and freaked out. He begged Gibson to get up. Thatcher recovered and the faces teamed up for Fairytale Ending, then put on two submissions for the quick tap by Drake.
WINNERS: Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa at 17:09.
The faces got in the camera’s face after the match. Ciampa said “Tonight was our TakeOver! Next…” and YET AGAIN there was a quick awkward crossover and we didn’t get Ciampa’s words.
McKenzie Mitchell asked Samoa Joe and William Regal how the night went, now leaving the building (for real this time). They said it was night one of many.
(Wells’s Analysis: What is going on with production? Oh well. Tornado tags are pretty hard to cover, and they’re not ideal for teams getting heat, but there aren’t all that many of them so they feel fresh on the rare occasion they show up. This match had more build than most of the TakeOver matches. That’s not saying much, but I think it probably deserved a spot. TV needs main events too, though. Thatcher and Ciampa seem like they’re starting to rise to the top of a rather large tag division, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s next for them)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Just four matches tonight, which is exceedingly rare, but coming out of TakeOver with some quick work to do before Great American Bash, the company focused on getting some stories together early – something they didn’t do before TakeOver. Samoa Joe’s presence made for some interesting new dynamics. After the predictable empty calories of TakeOver: In Your House, tonight was a breath of fresh air. Join me, Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg tonight on PWT Talks NXT or stream tomorrow.