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WELLS’S NXT TAKEOVER 36 REPORT
AUGUST 22, 2021
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
STREAMING LIVE ON PEACOCK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
-The pre-show was hosted by McKenzie Mitchell and Sam Roberts. We got a replay of Prime Target: Cole vs. O’Reilly. Rob Armstrong from BT Sports briefly joined via video from England (it’s 1 in the morning there) mostly to cover the Walter vs. Dragunov match.
-Vic, Wade and Beth were introduced just ahead of the pre-show match, with entrances starting at just ten to the hour.
(a) TREY BAXTER vs. RIDGE HOLLAND (w/Pete Dunne)
Holland dominated early. Belly-to-belly Suplex. Baxter tried a Thesz press or some such but got caught and suplexed again. Holland stomped Baxter but Baxter kicked up and got back into it with some knee strikes and a springboard kick. He tried a springboard again and got caught when Ridge headbutted him. Ridge hit his finisher.
WINNER: Ridge Holland in just under two minutes.
Holland grabbed the mic to make some threats to Timothy Thatcher ahead of their match Tuesday, disappointingly, a few people were yelling “what,” which isn’t the norm at the CWC.
(Wells’s Analysis: Unusual for them to use the pre-show match simply to give a squash to an up-an-comer, but I’m in favor of the move)
-The pre-show concluded with a rundown of the Karrion Kross-Samoa Joe feud.
-WWE’s favorite voiceover guy gave some weight to tonight’s proceedings. Again, the Cole-O’Reilly feud was covered first, perhaps as if it’s going to be positioned at the top. It’s been the least engaging of all five of these feuds, but I don’t think we’re getting out of it being the main event.
(1) CAMERON GRIMES vs. LA KNIGHT (c) – Million Dollar Championship match; if Knight wins, Ted DiBiase must become his Butler
Ted DiBiase was introduced first and he brought out a trash can with a dollar sign on it. Grimes was introduced and he tossed his butler outfit in it. Underneath, he was wearing sparkly dollar sign-flecked gear like DiBiase in his prime. Huge pop for him. Knight, upon his entrance, kicked over the trash can in disgust. “Cameron Grimes” chant for quite a while before the match.
The two soaked up some chants and did some character stuff early. Knight stalled and got booed. “Let’s get grimy” chant. Chops and forearms by Grimes. Hard knee to the gut by Grimes. Thrustkicks against the ropes. Rope run and a backdrop by Grimes. Grimes went for the Million Dollar Dream and Grimes escaped and bailed. Grimes missed a PK from the apron but jumped a sweep attempt and hit the PK on the second try. Grimes tossed Knight hard into the barricade. He set up Knight on the steps and DiBiase whipped him toward Knight, where he dropkicked him. After the kick, Grimes had a very hard landing on the steps. They didn’t linger there, but it was all over his back afterward.
Back inside, Grimes set something up and went to the top, but Knight tripped him and he fell to the outside. Knight followed and clubbed Grimes. Back inside and Knight stomped Grimes, then hit a monkey flip with Grimes under the rope. Grimes tried to get back into it with a punch and a boot. Grimes hit a hard knee. Rope run and Grimes hit his twisting cross-body. Knight went for a neckbreaker, but Grimes blocked. Grimes wanted a Thesz press(?) but Knight caught and powerbombed him instead.
Chinlock by Knight. Grimes tried a few different things to wriggle free and finally slipped free but immediately got slammed afterward. “You still suck” chant. Knight went for an elbow drop but missed. Rope run and a back elbow by Knight. Knight went for a springboard moonsault but Grimes slipped out the front. Rope run and a flying forearm by Grimes. Another. Running boot in the corner by Grimes. Million Dollar Dream attempt. Knight fought it off but Grimes hit a German suplex, and then a huracanrana for two.
Knight hit a boot from underneath, but he tripped Grimes into the ropes in a weird spot that suggested some miscommunication. Fireman’s carry by Knight, escaped but Knight went up and hit a bulldog from the second turnbuckle. Torture rack slam by Knight got a long two, and Knight showed some frustration. The two exchanged some kicks and attempts at big moves. Grimes hit his twisting cross-body and it looked like maybe he landed badly on his head; I think the ref briefly checked on him before counting the two.
Grimes took Knight to the corner for some thrustkicks. Knight set up Grimes on the top and clubbed him a bit; Grimes was bleeding but we didn’t get a good sense from where on the shot. Huge belly to back suplex by Knight from the top and he covered for a convincing near-fall. Knight went for his finisher but Grimes escaped, then reversed to the Million Dollar Dream. Knight backed him into a buckle, but Grimes held on. Knight rolled up Grimes, who kicked out at two and yet still held on to the sleeper. Knight was able to run Grimes into the buckle to finally break. Another “you still suck” chant.
Knight went outside and picked up his Million Dollar Championship belt. He went into the ring, presumably to use it against Grimes, but in the ensuing distraction from DiBiase, Grimes booted him to the floor. DiBiase laid him out with a punch and then snapped on his Million Dollar Dream for a moment. DiBiase rolled Knight into the ring, where a waiting Grimes hit the Cave In and, exhausted, fell back onto Knight’s body for the three.
WINNER: Cameron Grimes at 16:32.
(Wells’s Analysis: As is the norm from these two, a very strong match with some surprising brutality at times. Grimes sold the importance of carrying the Million Dollar Belt. DiBiase passed the torch as Grimes allowed for some genuine emotion. I assume these two are moving on now, but what a feud it was)
-Earlier today, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly (separately) arrived to the CWC!
-Rundown of the Women’s Championship feud.
(2) RAQUEL GONZALEZ (c) vs. DAKOTA KAI – NXT Women’s Championship match
Kai was introduced first, fresh from a shock pink dye bottle. Vic wondered if this was Gonzalez’s biggest challenge in her reign during her entrance. Alicia Taylor handled formal intros. The crowd was split here.
The two continued to stare at each other after the bell. They did a little jawing. Slap from Kai. Gonzalez missed a forearm, then a kick. Gonzalez backed Kai into a corner for some blocks. Kai scissored Gonzalez into the buckle, then slipped out. She tried to sucker Gonzalez out. Gonzalez tried to slam Kai inside, but Kai turned it into a cross-armbreaker. Gonzalez missed another big boot and Kai bailed again. Kai tried a kick from the apron but Gonzalez slammed her inside. Fallaway slam by GOnzalez. Another. Kai shoved off Gonzalez and hit a high cross-body, but Gonzalez held on and tossed Kai onto the buckle. Gonzalez hit some kicks in the corner and one more fallaway slam from there. She went up the ropes but Kai tripped her and hit a Yakuza kick. Gonzalez spilled outside and Kai followed.
Kai went out to roll Gonzalez inside. She covered for two. The camera focused on Kai as a strap on Gonzalez’s gear broke or otherwise came loose, and they showed a replay to buy a little time. Kai draped Gonzalez over the second rope, hit a pump kick and then an axe kick. Cover for two. Kai dismissively kicked at Gonzalez’s face as she was grounded, and Gonzalez fired up and hit a few big boots and a press slam. Spinning sidewalk slam by Gonzalez. Splash and a cover for two. Gonzalez went for the Chingona Bomb but Kai held on. Gonzalez swung Kai into the second turnbuckle. Gonzalez countered a scorpion kick into a powerbomb for two. Both sold on the mat.
Kai yanked Gonzalez into the second rope then hit a series of different kicks and rolled up Gonzalez for two. Gonzalez suplexed Kai up and onto the top rope, where Kai flipped somewhat awkwardly out onto the ramp floor. Kai got back in the ring and the two shared another intense look from across the ring. Kai hit a kick and Gonzalez mocked her. Kai hit some more kicks and the Kai-Ropractor for two. Gonzalez went for a chokeslam but Kai rolled through and dumped Gonzalez. Kai rolled her back in and went up for a double stomp from the top for two. Gonzalez lifted up Kai and ran her belly-first into a corner. She set her up on the buckle and Kai fought her off. Gonzalez charged in again and Kai threw some headbutts, then escaped underneath for a thrustkick. Kai wanted a Yakuza Kick and Gonzalez caught her in the corner and lifted her up for a Chingona Bomb.
WINNER: Raquel Gonzalez at 12:26.
After the finish, the two were sharing another intense look when Kay Lee Ray, recent longtime NXT: UK champion, hit the ramp and the crowd chanted her name. She didn’t do anything but soak it up for now.
(Wells’s Analysis: So if not Kai, then who? That was the question until KLR’s appearance. This story was told extremely well…as long as Kai indeed finished the job in the end and won the championship, but yet again the most consistent worker on NXT loses a championship match. It’s hard to imagine her easily rebounding from this loss just after the split, so I wouldn’t be overly shocked if Kai turns out to be done in NXT)
-Vic said that tonight, Karrion Kross and Samoa Joe will go in the main event, so there it is.
-Recap of the Walter-Dragunov feud.
(3) ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. WALTER (c) – NXT: UK Championship match
Dragunov still had a bandage from where he bled all over the place in his match on Tuesday. Walter was unaccompanied. Today is day 870 in Walter’s ludicrous reign.
“Walter’s gonna kill you” chant. These are both stone cold killers, audience. Hard to blame them, though, given they put Dunne over Dragunov a couple of weeks ago. Early on, Dragunov evaded Walter’s rangy chops and threw some of his own. Dragunov shot in and Walter held him to the mat. Knees by Walter. Back to their feet and Walter threw some forearms. Dragunov caught Walter on a press attempt and slammed him in an impressive spot. The bandage over Dragunov’s stitches came off early. Dragunov hit a headlock and held on through a few attempts at escape by Walter. Walter backdropped Dragunov and he still held on. Walter threw some forearms and Dragunov returned with several more. Dragunov took Walter down and worked an armbar. Walterlifted Dragunov with the one arm and set him up in the corner, where he hit a vicious palm strike that sent Dragunov barreling to the floor.
Walter powerbombed Dragunov on the apron, then rolled him back in. He went for a sleeper but Dragunov fought it off. Belly to back suplex by Walter. Walter threw boots in the corner, then dragged Dragunov further into the ring and turned him over for a Boston Crab. Dragunov bit his own hand to fight through the pain. Walter transitioned to a headlock. Snap mare and a kick to the spine by Walter. The crowd is pretty evenly split in this one as well.
Forearm exchange as both guys got to their feet. Walter went for another sleeper and this time seemed to have it locked, but he tried to transition to a powerbomb and Dragunov transitioned to a backdrop. Dragunov ran the ropes and hit a few shots. Walter caught him on the third attempt and slammed him for two. Walter kicked the grounded Dragunov, who tried to fight back into it. Dragunov hit his feet and Walter chopped him. Ref Jessika Carr checked on Dragunov after the hard shot. Walter hit a big boot. Dragunov’s chest was getting pretty red.
Dragunov hit some chops and palm strikes. Walter picked up Dragunov and shoved him off. Dragunov charged in but Walter hit a lariat as he flew in for two. Both guys sold on the mat during an “NXT” chant. Dragunov pulled himself to his feet and Walter hit a vicious chop to the back of his neck. Ilja fired up from the pain and hit some chops and a German suplex. Walter hit a palm strike but Ilja immediately hit a knee and a lariat. Back suplex for two. “This is awesome” chant.
Dragunov went up and flew far for a dropkick. He went up the other side and hit a senton. He charged in for Torpedo Moscow, but Walter caught him in a sleeper into a German suplex. Dragunov hit Torpedo Moscow but couldn’t cover. He hit it again for a very long two. Dragunov sold disappointment that it didn’t finish. Dragunov got up and stalked around Walter. Stiff chops by Dragunov. Chop to the thigh. He cahrged in but Walter chopped him hard for two. Walter went to the top rope but Dragunov followed for a quick superplex. Dragunov went up again for a missile dropkick.
Dragunov tried to charge in again, but Walter hit a dropkick. Walter powerbombed Dragunov for another convincing near-fall. Dragunov’s chest has to be seen to be believed. Walter raised up Dragunov for a couple of palm strikes. Another powerbomb. Walter went up and hit a big splash for a very long two. My god.
Walter mounted Dragunov and clubbed him. Dragunov tried to cover up. Walter locked in a sleeper but Dragunov tossed him off. Dragunov sprung from the second buckle with an uppercut and threw repeated elbows at a grounded Walter. Dragunov put on a sleeper of his own. Walter went to the corner and climbed with Dragunov atop him and he flew back to break. Again Dragunov threw repeated elbows and then put on another sleeper. Walter again got to his feet and splashed backward but Dragunov didn’t break. A knockout may be the only way to change the title here.
Dragunov released and again rained down shots on Walter. Hidden Blade by Dragunov. Another sleeper. Dragunov screamed a war cry and Walter tapped. Dragunov himself looked shocked as he held up the belt as the audience cheered him, and no doubt, the match. Dragunov stepped on Walter and raised an arm afterward. Real-life emotion started to take over.
WINNER: Ilja Dragunov at 22:03.
(Wells’s Analysis: Like their previous match, I’m not sure this can be called anything less than perfect. It was brutal, mean, relentless and emotional. Walter’s insane reign is probably impossible to top by any measure available. I can’t wait to see what’s next for both guys.)
-Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase met with McKenzie Mitchell. Grimes talked about winning tonight and DiBiase put him over. He handed Grimes some money for tonight’s celebration, then gave some to Mitchell and said she didn’t have to party with them, but she could party regardless.
-William Regal met up with Samoa Joe. He said though he’s meant to be unbiased, tonight he hopes the championship match entertains the fans…but he also hopes Joe kicks Kross’s ass.
-Recap of the Cole-O’Reilly feud.
(4) KYLE O’REILLY vs. ADAM COLE – 2 out of 3 falls match
Not that I’m cheering for it, but it would be hilarious if the cage was up above the ring but it was never used because someone won in straight falls. O’Reilly was announced first, and in a refreshing change, was mostly received as a face (though this will likely stop when the match starts).
Both guys charged in for boots. Kyle hit a few in a row and Cole bailed. Running knee from the apron by Kyle, who followed and relentlessly battered Cole into the steps. Back inside, Cole booted Kyle to the floor and separated the stairs to set up a suplex. Kyle blocked and hit a brainbuster. Back inside again and Kyle went for a thrustkick. Cole caught it and the two started exchanging knee strikes. Scorpion kick and a cover by Kyle for one. Cross-armbreaker by Kyle, transitioned to an anklelock. Cole turned over and hit some kicks, then a dropkick for two. It’s a steep climb, but these two are working their asses off just minutes after Walter and Dragunov lit up the place.
Kyle went up for a flying knee, but Cole got up and hit a superkick. Kyle caught Cole on a Panama Sunrise attempt and rolled him up for the first fall.
Winner of the first fall: Kyle O’Reilly at 3:27.
Second fall: street fight. The crowd wants tables. Cole grabbed a chair and hit Kyle with it a few times, then set it up and went for a suplex. Kyle blocked and threw some knees, and Cole fell on the chair. Kyle put a trash can over Cole and hit a dropkick from the apron. He tossed a trash can, some chairs and some kendo sticks into the ring, then rolled Cole inside. Cole knocked Kyle from the ring and he landed badly on his ribs on the apron. Cole rolled Kyle inside and put the chair to his ribs, then leaned on him from above with the chair. Cole set up a chair between the top two buckles. It took a while as the chair didn’t play along, and the crowd gave him a Bronx cheer when he pulled it off. He saved the moment by bowing a couple of times. Cole whipped Kyle to that corner, and Kyle ducked, only to keep sliding into the post. Cole put Kyle into the barricade, then rolled him into the ring. He danced around with the kendo stick, then struck Kyle hard with it. Kyle covered his head on a fake and Cole hit his back instead. Backstabber by Cole got two.
Cole worked a chinlock submission, then picked up the kendo stick and used that instead for a moment. He released and clubbed Kyle a few times. Cole kicked at Kyle and told him to stay down. The two exchanged some kicks and strikes. Standing switch and a German suplex by Kyle. Running PK by Kyle, who set up a chair and dropped Cole’s knee on it. Dragon screw into the chair by Kyle. Kyle charged Cole in the corner, but Cole moved and Kyle went chest first into the chair. Both guys went for pump kicks and laid each other out at the twelve minute mark.
Both guys rolled out to other sides of the ring. Cole found a chain and grinned smugly as he rolled it around his fist. Kyle was putting one on as well. Cole got the better of an exchange, then hit a superkick and fell back on Kyle for two. Cole went outside the ramp side and Kyle followed. Thrustkick by Cole. Guillotine by O’Reilly. Kyle threw Cole into the Plexiglass on the side, where Cole fell to the floor. Kyle sold the pain to his chest and midsection as he went to Cole, who caught him with a neckbreaker. Cole rolled Kyle inside and kept favoring an elbow from the fall from the stage. Cole set up two chairs back to back. He tried to suplex Kyle onto them, but Kyle caught him for an ushigoroshi (a favorite move of Cole. Kyle went up and Cole ran up and tossed him from the top onto the chairs on his back in a spot that looks like death. Cole hit The Last Shot and covered for the fall. Two medical staffers ran to the ring to check on Kyle (kayfabe) and Cole cleared them out and attacked. He tossed Kyle into the announce table and told them to roll him in.
Winner of the second fall: Adam Cole at 16:57.
Cole was rolled in as Cole sat back in a corner for a breather. We saw some replays of the first two falls as they worked to put the cage together.
Back from replay, Cole hit a pump kick, then tossed Kyle into one side of the cage, then the other. He went a third time but Kyle blocked and monkey flipped Cole into the cage. Kyle hit some running forearms with Cole between the ropes and cage. Kyle went up and hit the flying knee. He went for a flying knee and missed. Cole missed the last shot and Kyle hit a last shot instead for a two count.
Kyle tried to set up something with a chair, but Cole hit him with a low blow. Cole went up to escape and he stood on a rope. Kyle went up and they exchanged shots. Cole knocked Kyle down and instead of climbing the rest of the way, he hit Panama Sunrise. Though it’s his finisher, it was kind of out of nowhere and it didn’t feel like a surprise when Kyle kicked out. Cole found some handcuffs and cuffed Kyle to the top rope. he took shots at Kyle, then some superkicks. Kyle caught the third attempt and worked a heel hook for a surprisingly quick tap. Cole’s relentlessly vocal fanbase chanted “bullsh*t.”
WINNER: Kyle O’Reilly at 25:23.
(Wells’s Analysis: Though it was tonight’s longest match, it felt quick because none of the three segments were overly long, particularly the cage segment, which didn’t really get started until around the twenty minute mark. Cole’s tap also came quicker than I would have thought. Outside of that, there’s little to complain about here, as these two made some magic together with a lot of spots even though their feud didn’t hit all the right notes leading up to this match. This was framed as the last match between the two, so it’s a very critical time for two guys who seemed to tread water and do very little between their last two matches)
-McKenzie Mitchell checked on Ilja Dragunov, who said the reign of the ring general is over.
-Legado del Fantasma cut a promo on Hit Row. The announcers hyped the six-man this Tuesday, as well as the finals of the Breakout Tournament featuring Odyssey Jones vs. Carmelo Hayes.
-Recap of Joe vs. Kross.
(5) SAMOA JOE vs. KARRION KROSS (c) – NXT Championship match
We got the ominous music as Joe walked through the back to gorilla. Big pop for his music; thankfully the crowd has something to give after the last couple of epics. Kross entered alone and there was a “We want Scarlett” chant that kind of undercut the moment. Alicia Taylor handled formal intros. “Joe is gonna kill you” chant. Vic tried to put over the challenge but had to say Joe was trying to beat a man who “has never been pinned or submitted…here in NXT.”
“Hardy” chant. Ugh, it’s hard enough for these two to overcome that booking, guys. Joe took Kross to a corner for chops and shots. Reversal. Another reversal and Joe hit an enzuigiri. The crowd was electric for Joe. Snap mare by Joe, who followed with a chop to the back of the neck and an elbow drop. Rope run and Joe caught Kross in a sleeper. Kross reached the corner to break, and hit a Saito suplex. He elbowed Joe out and to the floor. Kross jawed at the crowd and then went out and threw shots to Joe. He put Joe into the Plexiglass and rolled him back inside.
Kicks to a grounded Joe. Forearms by Kross in the corner. Chops by Joe. Headbutt by Joe, who ran the ropes into a headbutt. Doomsday Saito got two for Kross. Anklelock by Kross. Joe broke and rolled Kross to the outside. He charged Kross into the apron and sold for a bit, then rolled Kross inside. Kross hit a few lariats in a corner, then hit another Saito suplex for two. Kross ran into a powerslam by Joe for two. The crowd is slowing down a bit given this match and its stark contrast with the last two from a workrate standpoint. Joe snapped on a crossface and Kross yelled out “No!” as the ref kept asking if he wanted to tap. Kross reached the bottom rope to boos.
Kross hit a kneelift on Joe for two. He mounted Joe for some forearm shots as the crowd chanted “Hardy” again. DDT by Kross for two. Shots by Kross in a corner. Rope run and Joe hit a belly-to-belly. Kross hit some forearms and Joe fought back with some combo offense. Inverted atomic drop, big boot and a senton by Joe got two. Another senton. Coquina Clutch by Joe. Kross reversed into the Kross armbreaker. He transitioned to the Kross Jacket. The camera went in as Joe bled a little from the mouth. Joe broke free but Kross hit a forearm to the back of Joe’s neck and drove him to a corner. Kross stalked Joe but Joe caught him with a uranage. Joe hit a big kick as Kross went up, then picked Kross up off the top and hit the Muscle Buster to finish and become the only three-time NXT Champion. There was no angle, just Joe holding up the belt on the ramp as the show ended at the two hour, twenty-eight minute mark.
WINNER: Samoa Joe at 12:24.
(Wells’s Analysis: It’s a rarity for the main event to get the least amount of time on TakeOver, or any major show, but these guys don’t exactly work by the hour out there. The match was passable, I suppose, from a power standpoint but Kross’s stock in NXT was harmed so much by the early part of his main roster run and it just wasn’t believable that he’d retain)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The main event left a lot to be desired, but they did okay given the style of both guys and they really had no chance to match what the rest of the card was doing anyway. In the wake of all the NXT cuts a couple of Fridays ago, NXT decided to cancel media calls before and after this show, so instead I’m heading straight over to host Wrestling Night in America with the other goons from PWT Talks NXT. See you there, or stream tomorrow.