SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
JUNE 22, 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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-Recap of last week focused on Samoa Joe’s return as William Regal’s enforcer. Tonight’s return of Adam Cole as well as the match between Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly were promoted.
(1) CARMELO HAYES vs. ADAM COLE
Cole no longer has the Undisputed Era music. He still does the “boom” and “Adam Cole, baybay” at advantageous points. He took the mic and talked about being forced into a Great American Bash match with Kyle O’Reilly and getting attacked by Samoa Joe. He said he wasn’t going to choose an opponent tonight as instructed. He said after he embarrasses Kyle O’Reilly at GAB, everyone will know he’s the best.
Carmelo Hayes’s music played. He had a mic. He said Cole may not know who he is, but he knows Cole. He introduced himself and said if anyone was going to change Cole’s mind, it was him. He said there was a famous phrase: “ruthless aggression! Same energy.” He slapped Cole. The bell sounded.
Hayes hit a big lariat off the ropes and dumped Cole. Hayes tossed Cole back inside and Cole booted him to the floor and tossed him inside. Cole stomped a mudhole in a corner and threw a few forearms. Snap suplex by Cole. Neckbreaker by Cole. Cole threw forearms to a grounded Hayes, who blocked a kick and hit a kneelift and a clothesline for two. Hayes threw some body shots and clubbed Cole in the corner, but Cole tripped him into the buckle. Hayes went up but Cole dumped him to the floor. Cole tossed Hayes into the barricade, then the Plexiglass, as the match went to split-screen.
Cole had Hayes grounded with a headlock upon return to full-screen. Hayes ran the ropes right into a back elbow. Irish whip by Cole. Hayes bailed to the floor and made it into the ring at seven. He tried to get up on jellylegs. Cole slapped Hayes. Forearm exchange. Hayes hit a pump kick but then ran the ropes into a pump kick from Cole. Hayes countered a suplex attempt into a cutter for two. Inside cradle got two. Hayes hit an enzuigiri and a lungblower for two. Quick reversals led to a backstabber by Cole. Cole went up to the second rope for Panama Sunrise but ran into a superkick. Cole hit a superkick of his own and hit Panama Sunrise to finish.
WINNER: Adam Cole at 12:27.
Cole considered Hayes on the mat and took his leave.
(Wells’s Analysis: Nice enough match with a decent heat sequence, but the audience’s refusal to play along with Cole as a heel continues to damage his act. Hayes was pretty bad in his backstage vignette a couple of weeks ago, but was much better on the mic here. He’s good in the ring, though doesn’t have anything that sets him too far apart from the pack yet)
-Earlier today, Franky Monet was talking to Jessie Kamea and Aliyah. She said they should call themselves the “Winner’s Circle” because they all have matches tonight. Robert Stone showed up and said he was looking for Kamea and Aliyah everywhere. Monet hit high fives with the women, and then hit one with Stone, who freaked out about Monet’s dog.
-McKenzie Mitchell was with Zoey Stark, who was surprised Io Shirai wanted to be her partner tonight, but not disappointed. Shirai showed up and assured Stark that she doesn’t like her. Stark said to Mitchell “mutual respect is all we need.”
-LA Knight cut a promo from his pool about shedding the dead weight of Ted DiBiase and dealing with Cameron Grimes tonight.
-Austin Theory and Johnny Gargano hit the ring. Gargano said there was a new regime in NXT, and we need a new champion. Gargano said what they needed was a hardworking family man like him. Gargano says he can outwrestle Karrion Kross on his worst day.
Pete Dunne’s music played, bringing him to the ramp with Oney Lorcan. The two walked the ramp and entered the ring. Dunne asked if Gargano was mad. He said he must be if he thought Gargano was #1 contender over him. Austin Theory tried to say something, and Dunne told him to shut up. Gargano cooled down Theory and said they wouldn’t be baited. He said they were good people and law-abiding citizens. He said he was going to put the mic down gently. Theory pointed at Dunne and said “I am watching you.” Dunne of course grabbed Theory’s fingers and snapped them. He shrugged. Decent enough, but is anyone a face here?
-Cameron Grimes arrived outside and got a big ovation. He warmly greeted two guys and gave them big bills. A third guy asked if he was back from the nursing home, checking on Ted DiBiase. Grimes fake laughed, then hit a big forearm to put the guy on the ground. He tossed a bill at his feet and entered the building.
-William Regal thanked Adam Cole for fulfilling his match tonight. Cole said it was for himself, not Regal. Regal told Cole not to interfere with Kyle O’Reilly’s match tonight. Cole got surly and took off.
-The battery from last week was still charging, now at 31%.
-Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory went to William Regal’s office. Gargano and Theory said there had to be consequences for Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan because they were good people. Gargano offered Regal a pencil since he broke one a few weeks ago. Regal said Gargano was right, and they’d face Dunne and Lorcan next. Apparently “next” means next after the next match in this instance.
(2) IO SHIRAI & ZOEY STARK vs. ALIYAH & JESSIE KAMEA (w/Robert Stone)
Aliyah and SHirai opened. Rope run and an armdrag by Shirai. Aliyah broke from a fireman’s carry just to get chopped a few times. Flapjack by Shirai. Double knees in the face corner by Shirai. Stark tagged in and grounded Aliyah with an armbar. Aliyah threw some rights and hit a rana but Stark landed on her feet. Lariat by Aliyah, who went and made the tag. Back kick by Kamea. Rollup by both. More rollups and a stomp by Stark. Kamea hit the apron and choked Stark on the rope, then flew in with an elbow for two. At the top of the ramp, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell appeared to scout the match. Aliyah tagged in and stomped Stark in the heel corner and rolled her up for two. The match went to commercial.
Back from commercial, the heels had controlled throughout the break and Vic said he was surprised to say that. Kamea press-slammed Aliyah on Stark, and Aliyah covered for two. A couple of rollups got two. Aliyah tried a guillotine but Stark bodyslammed her to the mat. Aliyah made the tag and Shirai made the hot tag. Quick offense and a 619 by Shirai. Shirai cleared Aliyah and hit a spinning heel kick on Kamea for two. Kamea blocked a move and hit a thrustkick, then tagged. Northern lights suplex by Aliyah got two. Shirai landed on her feet after a tandem suplex attempt and tagged. Double missile dropkick by Stark. Another quick tag and Shirai hit the Over the Moonsault (called “Moon over Moonsault” by Vic) to win.
WINNERS: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark at 9:41.
After the match, the champs closed in, and Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez pitched themselves at #1 contenders. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart hit the ring and found a new level of annoying as they cut a promo on everyone. Everyone brawled in the ring and Samoa Joe tried to regain control with the help of a ton of officials. I figured the four-way announcement would happen here, but I guess we have to wait.
(Wells’s Analysis: Is anyone telling Shotzi and Ember how irritating they are? The normally-popular team was not cheered at all as they did their schtick on the way to the ring. The match was just kind of there, and surprisingly long given the usual slotting of the Robert Stone Brand. Assuming Aliyah and Kamea will be joining Franky Monet, it’ll be interesting to see if they move up the card even a little.)
-Kushida said tonight’s match with Kyle O’Reilly would be a special moment in his career.
-Recap of last week’s tornado tag match where Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher beat Grizzled Young Veterans. In breaking news, MSK will defend against Ciampa and Thatcher at the Great American Bash in two weeks. Cole and O’Reilly will rematch at that show as well, as announced last week.
(3) PETE DUNNE & ONEY LORCAN vs. JOHNNY GARGANO & AUSTIN THEORY
Gargano and Theory were still putting on their gear as they entered, as if the 15 minute warning they were given wasn’t enough time to get changed.
Lorcan and Gargano to open. A very fakey “Johnny sucks” chant was piped in. Just let these things happen, NXT. Quick reversals to start. Dunne tagged in but Gargano grounded him. Gargano tagged Theory, but Theory sold the tag as painful because of Dunne snapping his fingers earlier. Lariat by Dunne. Tag to Lorcan and the two chopped Theory together. More chops by Theory. Lorcan hyperextended Theory’s arm over his own shoulder and tagged. Stomp spot by Dunne. Dunne stepped on Theory’s bad hand to stop him from tagging and grounded him and worked his digits. Dunne broke off a tag attempt again and tagged Lorcan, who chopped Theory in the corner. Corner elbow by Theory, who made the tag. Tandem clothesline and elbow drop by The Way. Dunne tagged in but got hit with an atomic drop. Theory tagged back in and Barrett called it out since Theory is one hand short. Dunne grounded Theory and threw fists at his midsection. Dunne clubbed Theory and worked Theory’s digits again and kicked his arm.
After a few counters, Theory dumped Dunne with a clothesline Things broke down for a moment and Dunne tagged Lorcan. Dunne and Lorcan slammed Theory hard on the edge of the apron heading into commercial.
Back live, Dunne and Lorcan were dominating Theory. Dunne held him while Lorcan chopped him. Gargano tried to pump up Theory. Dunne cut off another tag but Theory rolled up up for two. Dunne held on. Theory was reaching for the hot tag and there was a weird missed tag by Lorcan and Dunne, so everyone had to no-sell a clear tag made by Theory to Gargano. Moments later, the hot tag occurred, and Gargano cleaned house. Theory hit a seated springboard Spanish Fly on Lorcan for two, broken by Dunne. Bonzo gonzo and all four guys sold on the mat after some impact spots. Theory and Lorcan were legal at the end of it. Blockbuster by Lorcan. Dunne tagged in and grounded Theory. Dunne hit something like a Fujiwara armbar and there was a contrived spot as Lorcan ran in to stop interference that wasn’t even happening, then got shoved onto the pile to break.
Quick spots and Gargano tagged in. Dunne and Lorcan hit a tandem slam. Cover for two, broken up by Theory. The announcers were really laying Theory’s show of heart on thick, so this really might be a face turn in the making. Gargano hit a tope DDT on Dunne on the outside, then hit One Final Beat on Lorcan for the win.
Immediately after the match, as Gargano tried to celebrate on the ramp, Karrion Kross flew in and grounded him with a shot to the back of the neck. He was booed as Scarlett looked on approvingly.
WINNERS: Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory at 14:15.
(Wells’s Analysis: The Way doesn’t seem to win a lot of tag matches, but here we are. This was entirely worked as if The Way were the babyfaces, though I’d much prefer they turn Dunne and Lorcan, if a turn seems necessary. More likely still is Gargano working face(ish) solely for the Karrion Kross mini-feud and then going back to being a straightforward heel. This match had all the right components, and all four guys are polished enough that a disaster isn’t possible, but a lot of little things weren’t perfectly timed or executed)
-Charging now at 40%.
-Karrion Kross and Scarlett ran into Samoa Joe in the hallway. Kross reminded Joe he couldn’t do anything unless provoked. “Of course, champ,” Joe said, and made a production of letting them by. Pete Dunne then appeared in front of Joe and the two stared at each other.
-Next week, it’s Kai/Rodriguez vs. Shirai/Stark vs. Moon/Blackheart for the #1 contendership. Well, I’m still going to bet on a four-way eventually.
(4) ELECTRA LOPEZ vs. FRANKY MONET
Headlock by Monet. Sweet snap headlock takedown. Lopez got up and wrenched an arm. Reversal by Monet, who backed Lopez to a corner. Palm strike in the corner by Monet, who posed. She charged into a back elbow and a boot. Body slam by Lopez. Two elbow drops. Lopez did a little dance and then acted surprised that Monet had moved. Rope run and Monet hit a couple of stiff kicks and then swept the leg. Monet mounted Lopez for some forearms. Hair mare by Monet. Irish whip by Monet, followed by a running back elbow. She charged again and missed. Lopez hit a couple of shots and a back elbow. Pump kick by Lopez. Monet snuck out of a fireman’s carry and hit the Glam Slam (still not called that yet) and covered for the win.
WINNER: Franky Monet at 3:26.
(Wells’s Analysis: Lopez is definitely a work in progress, but she has some power and some raw tools. More good impact stuff from Monet)
-Bronson Reed tried to give an interview, but Hit Row showed up. Top Dolla said “Everybody tries to be colossal until Colossus shows up.” Adonis got into the camera’s face and said “And Never-Rise? You about to get a crash course.” Breanna Brandi added “Without the seat belts” and the foursome took their leave.
-Earlier today, Ever-Rise snuck around the parking lot in ninja masks. They approached the limo of Hit Row and Top Dolla rolled down the window. “Ski masks don’t work when your name is on your shirt,” he said. They scattered.
(5) EVER-RISE (Matt Martel & Chase Parker) vs. TOP DOLLA & ASHANTE THEE ADONIS
Top Dolla steamrolled over Parker to start and speared Martel off the apron. Adonis tagged in and hit the airdrop dropkick on Parker. Top Dolla tagged in and carried around Parker, who wriggled out of trouble. Tag to Martel and the two dumped Top Dolla to the floor. Top Dolla glared from the floor. Parker tried a tope and Dolla tossed him aside. Dolla splashed Martel in the Hit Row corner and Adonis tagged in for their tandem neckbreaker finish.
After the match, Parker tried to protect Martel, and Swerve flew in with a kick. The four posed together. This act is killing it right now.
WINNERS: Hit Row at 2:32.
-McKenzie Mitchell told Mercedes Martinez that next week, she’d be in a mixed tag against Xia Li and Boa, and asked if she knew who her partner might be. Xia Li jumped Martinez before she could speculate. Boa was also on hand, and Jake Atlas showed up to break it up. “I guess I just joined the fight,” he said.
-Charging is at 50%. Someone’s debuting at Great American Bash.
-Next week, MSK and the team of Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa will have a face-to-face meeting in addition to the women’s tag triple threat.
(6) KUSHIDA vs. KYLE O’REILLY
Mat reversals to start. The two worked brief scissors and holds too quick to relate. Break and reset. More quick reversals and O’Reilly grounded Kushida and worked a triangle but Kushida hit the ropes to break. O’Reilly put on a headlock, break, and Kushida went for his springboard back elbow but Kyle trapped him in a quick arm submission. Break and Kushida took down O’Reilly. Kushida twisted O’Reilly’s elbow with his legs. Kushida grounded O’Reilly and threw some kicks. Quick reversals again and the two charged in bumped heads going into a split-screen commercial.
Back from break, the two had exchanged holds all through. O’Reilly grounded Kushida and hit a bodyscissors after a judo throw. He added shots to the back of the head and Kushida was able to break. Combo kicks and strikes by O’Reilly. Big lariat by Kushida. Cross-armbreaker in a brief Hoverboard Lock by Kushida. The two exchanged cross-armbreakers until they hit their feet at Kushida hit some kicks. Northern Lights suplex with a bridge got two and O’Reilly got a leg on the rope. Kushida went up and missed a shot and O’Reilly threw some shots. Heel hook by O’Reilly, but Kushida bridged to a cover for two. Quick reversals again and some missed spots. Pele kick by Kushida. Clothesline by O’Reilly, followed by a brainbuster for two.
O’Reilly went up but Kushida rolled forward and dumped him to the floor. Kushida ran O’Reilly into the post arm-first. Kushida joined Kyle on the apron and the two exchanged kicks. O’Reilly wanted a guillotine but his arm was in too bad of condition. Kushida hit a suplex on the apron instead. Kushida rolled O’Reilly into the ring and ran the ropes, but got caught for some combo kicks. Big right fist by Kushida. Both guys sold for a second. More mat reversals and Kushida worked a Hoverboard Lock. O’Reilly rolled forward and trapped Kushida for a quick victory. Kushida sold disappointment, but bowed briefly in respect.
WINNER: Kyle O’Reilly at 14:23.
After the match, the two showed respect to each other and Kyle broke suddenly to deal with Adam Cole, who had shown up in the ring. The two brawled to the outside.
Inside the ring, Kushida had been jumped as well, by three guys in black tracksuits. As the dust settled we saw two of the members were Roderick Strong and Tyler Rust. The other, though not named on TV, was Hideki Suzuki, named the top Japanese independent wrestler in 2017. Malcolm Bivens said “THIS is Diamond Mine!” The show faded out.
(Wells’s Analysis: A very good match that was mostly impossible to describe. NXT played it straight with the clean win rather than Cole costing O’Reilly the win. Cole was a red herring as NXT unveiled the newest faction in a brand loaded with them in the New Japan mold. I’m glad to see Roderick Strong again, but even happier to see Tyler Rust back. This should be a faction that can have some banger six-man matches, if NXT is headed in that direction.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: NXT continues to tinker with its DNA by bringing another faction into the fold. This can be a good way to ensure nobody is totally out of the picture, but an easy way for people to fade into the background as individuals nonetheless. I’m very intrigued with the culture change and eagerly anticipate the inevitable faction wars. Great American Bash continues to be promoted much better and earlier than the previous TakeOver show, and will likely feel like a bigger deal as a result. A decent show tonight with some good hooks for the future. Join me and Nate Lindberg tonight on PWT Talks NXT or stream tomorrow.