The John Report: WWE NXT 05/11/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. We found out officially earlier on Wednesday that the next WWE NXT Takeover event is going to be called NXT Takeover In Your House just like they did an In Your House last year. It will take place on Sunday, June 13 with former WWE announcer Todd Pettengill as the host. That also likely means six Takeover events in the year since they did February, April, now June, so the other three will probably be August, October and December. It’s similar to last year.

This episode is taking place at the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Check out my WWE NXT review archive here.

A video package aired showing the highlights of the main event last week with Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell beating Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon to win the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. They also promoted the two title matches coming up this week.

The show began with Austin Theory in the ring for his match with NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano by his side. There were fans behind the barricades and in other parts of the building. The NXT Champion Karrion Kross made his entrance with the lovely Scarlett by his side. The announce team was Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix as usual.

Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Austin Theory (w/Johnny Gargano)

This is not for Karrion’s NXT Title. Theory avoided Kross, Theory hit a dropkick and then Theory hit a boot to the face. Kross got a hold of Theory and tossed him across the ring. Theory avoided a corner charge, but then Kross came back with a hard clothesline. Kross delivered two forearms to the ribs followed by another kick to the face. Theory got a boot to the face, but then Kross hit a Saito Suplex across the ring. Theory did an eye gouge while Gargano distracted the referee. They left the ring with Theory sending Kross into the barricade and Theory hit a DDT on the floor. Kross lifted Theory, who sent Kross into the ring post. Theory with some punches and kicks. Theory with a rolling dropkick for one. Theory with a fallaway slam across the ring, Kross no-sold that and Kross hit two Saito Suplexes in a row. Kross with the forearm to the back. Kross delivered more forearms to the back and then he stared at Gargano. Kross applied a rear naked choke submission and the referee called for the bell because Theory was out.

Winner by submission: Karrion Kross

Analysis: **1/4 A dominant win for Kross. It wasn’t a total squash match because it got more time than those kinds of matches, but it was obvious that Kross was going to win. After Theory got some offense for a couple of minutes, Kross hit a couple of suplexes and it was all over after that. With the way this was booked, it appears as though Kross is a face now after he was a heel in the past.

Kross stood in the ring with Scarlett and stared at Gargano, but then Kross turned his left shoulder to see Finn Balor standing there. Balor said that he doesn’t wait in lines, he wants his rematch. Kross said he wants it as bad as him, so let’s do this.

Analysis: I like how that was shot because when Kross challenged Balor, it was the same thing with Kross appearing from behind Balor. That’s a clever nod to their history together.


A commercial aired for the A&E Biography about Shawn Michaels on Sunday night. It goes up against the WWE WrestleMania Backlash PPV. I will likely review that since Shawn is my favorite wrestler ever. It might be a day or two later.

They showed some “Earlier Today” arrivals of NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida and NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez with Dakota Kai.

They showed a scene from earlier today with Leon Ruff going up to NXT GM William Regal with Ruff saying he wants to compete. Ruff said he was cleared. Regal said he was cleared, but Regal didn’t want to put him in a match after Ruff was in a tough match last week. Ruff left angrily.

MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)

This is not for the NXT Tag Team Titles held by MSK. The announcers put over the depth of the tag team division, which is good because it’s a deep division right now. Lee and Breeze exchanged some moves, Lee literally jumped over Breeze and then they did a double superkick where they kicked eachother in the foot. Carter tagged in against Fandango with Fandango hitting an armdrag only for Carter to come back with a dropkick. Breeze tagged in, they did a spot where Fandango ran the ropes and ran into Breeze. Then Carter sent Breeze into the ropes, the referee Darryl Sharma (a former wrestler) did a drop-down and then a leapfrog spot! That was funny. I’m sure some wrestling fans will complain, but I’m all for a fun moment like that. The fans chanted “NXT” for that with the announcers not saying the referee’s name. The match went to break.


Lee and Fandango were legal in the ring with Fandango doing an armdrag that sent Lee into the turnbuckle. Fandango hit a Falcon Arrow slam for two with Carter breaking up the pin. Breeze tagged in, Lee broke free and Carter hit a double stomp on Breeze. Carter did a moonsault with Lee shoving him onto Breeze for a two count because Fandango tackled Lee onto the pile. All four guys were exchanging punches in the ring, Lee kicked Fandango, then Breeze hit a superkick on Lee and a superkick on Carter too. Fandango tagged in, he went up top, but Carter punched Fandango to stop him. Carter with a running knee while Fandango was on the top rope. Carter hit a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle onto both opponents on the floor. Great spot. Carter hit a running dropkick. Breeze was all alone with MSK with Carter holding Breeze and Lee hit a Blockbuster neckbreaker for the pinfall win. It’s like the Hart Attack clothesline, but with a neckbreaker instead. This went about 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

Analysis: *** This was pretty good. I don’t think MSK is capable of having a bad match as long as they get time. The referee spot is going to get a lot of attention from people that like to complain, but I didn’t mind it as a spot to do make people laugh. That’s two straight matches where champions won non-title to keep them strong. It’s different than how WWE books matches on Raw and Smackdown because the same people aren’t booking these NXT shows.

Post match, Breezango shook hands with MSK after the win. Fandango looked frustrated, so maybe the team will turn heel or split up soon. MSK spoke to the camera saying they are ready for Legado del Fantasma since Legado called them out last week.

Johnny Gargano went into GM William Regal’s office with Johnny mentioning that next week he defends the North American Title against Bronson Reed again. Regal said that he didn’t hate Reed, he appreciates him and even though Gargano complained, Regal said that Johnny is still going to face Reed next week.

Pete Dunne was shown walking for a match with Oney Lorcan by his side.


Mercedes Martinez was shown warming up for her title match late in the show.

The announcers talked about NXT Takeover House 2021 on June 13 hosted by Todd Pettengill.

The Ever-Rise team of Matt Martel and Chase Parker were shown behind the announcer. Ever-Rise rules if they ever get a chance.

Pete Dunne did a promo in the ring with Oney Lorcan at ringside. Dunne said that Karrion Kross has chosen Finn Balor but everybody knows Dunne is the baddest man in NXT and he dared somebody to try to prove him wrong. Dunne wanted somebody to step up. Leon Ruff showed up with an attack from behind. Ruff hit a dropkick that sent Dunne out of the ring, so the match is on.

Pete Dunne (w/Oney Lorcan) vs. Leon Ruff

Dunne sent Ruff to the apron, Ruff jumped off the ropes to avoid Dunne and then Dunne pulled on the fingers of Ruff. Dunne applied an armbar to the left arm while punching Ruff in the face. Ruff hit an impressive headscissors off the top rope. Dunne came back with a huge lefty clothesline. Dunne stomped on the ribs of Ruff followed by a shot to the back of the head. They exchanged chops, Ruff with a kick to the back and a kick to the head. Ruff with a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Dunne with an enziguri kick and then Ruff bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. Ruff went for a springboard attack, but Dunne hit him with a forearm. Dunne applied a leg scissors around the head/shoulders and Dunne delivered elbows to the head. The referee said that Dunne was the winner by referee stoppage. They got three minutes.

Winner by referee stoppage: Pete Dunne

Analysis: *3/4 This was fast-paced and full of action. It wasn’t a squash win for Dunne since Ruff got plenty of offense as well, but Dunne was put over in a dominant fashion.

Post match, Dunne pulled on and twisted the fingers of Ruff since that’s what Dunne likes to do.

Santos Escobar was backstage with his Legado del Fantasma buddies Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. Escobar said that Kushida’s championship reigns stops by the end of the night.

Raquel Gonzalez was shown warming up with Dakota Kai. That match is next.


There was a commercial for some show on Peacock. No Peacock here in Canada, but we get commercials during WWE shows.

A video aired about Franky Monet’s in-ring debut in two weeks. I’m looking forward to that. She will quickly be a favorite of mine in the women’s division because not only is she Canadian, but I know she’s so talented and fun to watch.

They made a big announcement noting that Karrion Kross will defend the NXT Title against Finn Balor on NXT, so that’s on May 25.

Analysis: I expect Kross to retain the title in a competitive match. They will probably have somebody challenge Kross after the match to set up a title match for Takeover In Your House. It might be Pete Dunne or Kyle O’Reilly. Maybe even Adam Cole. A multi-man match would be fine too although NXT doesn’t do that as much as they do it on Raw or Smackdown.

Mercedes Martinez entered as the challenger for the NXT Women’s Title match. That led to NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez making her entrance with her back poses. They stood in the ring as Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions.

NXT Women’s Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (w/Dakota Kai) vs. Mercedes Martinez

Both women are heels although Gonzalez has acted as a face at times of late. Martinez sent Gonzalez out of the ring and then Martinez hit a knee that sent Gonzalez into the barricade. They went back into the ring with Gonzalez hitting some punches, but then they went to picture-in-picture action. We don’t get that in Canada.


Gonzalez was in control with a lefty clothesline. Gonzalez with a corner splash and then a powerslam for a two count. Martinez with punches while Gonzalez was on the mat and Gonzalez sent her out of the ring. Martinez back in with a sleeper, Gonzalez powered out of it and Martinez delivered a forearm to the face. Martinez avoided a kick and hit a forearm to the face. Martinez with a spinning neckbreaker off the top rope for a count. Cool spot and nearfall there. Gonzalez was on the ring apron with Martinez delivering a Spear on the ring apron, which is the hardest part of the ring as we know. Back in the ring, Martinez got a two count and followed up with punches to the face. Martinez charged, Gonzalez caught her and sent Martinez throat first into the top rope. It wasn’t smooth, but it was effective enough. Gonzalez sent Martinez right shoulder-first into the ring post. Martinez with punches and then they tried some spot where Martinez wanted to do something, but Gonzalez wasn’t ready. Martinez hit an uppercut leading to Gonzalez hitting a clothesline for two. Gonzalez with a backbreaker for two. Martinez fought out of the Powerbomb and then Martinez hit a rising knee to the face. Martinez with a Fisherman’s Buster for a two count. Martinez with multiple knees to the face, but then Gonzalez delivered a huge kick to the head. That looked impressive. Gonzalez lifted up Martinez for the Powerbomb for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Raquel Gonzalez

Analysis: *** A good match with the champion looking strong as she picked up another victory. There were a few spots that didn’t look great although I think they set up some big spots well. Gonzalez is out of place a bit sometimes, so that’s something she has to work on and improve on. I think Gonzalez works better against smaller opponents, but Martinez is a talented veteran that worked well with Gonzalez in this match.

They showed Isaiah “Swerve” Scott showing up with his crew.


There was a backstage scene with Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory leaving the locker room after they attacked Bronson Reed. That led to some agents like Scotty 2 Hotty and Steve Corino checking on Reed. Bronson said that “Johnny is a dead man.” That ended the scene.

Let’s Hear from Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was on the stage with members of his group appearing beside them. They are called Hit Row including the big man AJ Francis (you may know him from the A&E show about WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures), Ashante Adonis and a woman that’s Briana Brandy. Scott sat in a chair and said that he is a savage, disrespectful and a dangerous man. Swerve said that is the way he has been thinking for the last six months. Swerve introduced us to Top Dollar (AJ Francis), who talked about how he makes Top Dollar every day. Francis said he was on first-class flights since he got there. Ashante Adonis showed off his shoes, then said that you have to proceed with caution. Brandy said that her name is Be Fab. Brandy talked about how she rapped on tour, she went overseas and Swerve said he needed a mind, so that’s what she is for. Top Dollar talked about dropping Leon Ruff on his head last week. Swerve said that this is a problem, they produce hits and they are Hit Row. They ended it saying: “If you didn’t know, now you know.” They did some posing for the cameras to end it.

Analysis: I like it as a new group. Swerve has been so impressive as a heel, so now that he has some backup it’s going to make him look even better. It will be interesting to see how they use the others in the group whether they get in the ring often or just as backup for Swerve for a while. I can see Swerve getting into one of the title pictures soon and holding some gold by the end of summer.

There was an Earlier Today video about how they were auctioning off a house with eight bedrooms, six baths, a pool and so on. The auction started with $2 million and Cameron Grimes emerged from a car saying put him down for that. Grimes didn’t like the auctioneer speaking so fast. Grimes was mad at somebody bidding against him throughout the process. Grimes said $8 million, then somebody shouted $20 million. Grimes said he was out. The winner of the bid was the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, so Grimes freaked out again. Grimes said Dibiase was ruining his life. Dibiase said “everybody’s got a price for the Million Dollar Man” and he told Grimes he is no Million Dollar Man. Grimes yelled about Dibiase again.

Analysis: This made me laugh. Grimes is hilarious as this millionaire character and having Dibiase show up during these skits week after week only adds to the comedy that Grimes provides. It’s not like it will lead to a match and I doubt Ted would want to be involved in NXT regularly, but I’m all for these kinds of light-hearted segments. Grimes is one of my favorites in NXT these days.


A video aired about Zoey Stark talking about her issues with Toni Storm, who has complained about Stark for several weeks. They are building to another match between them next week.

There was a video from earlier in the day with Oney Lorcan talking trash to Kyle O’Reilly, who was more than happy to kick his ass in the ring.

Kyle O’Reilly vs. Oney Lorcan (w/Pete Dunne)

Kyle with a kick, but the Lorcan got an armbar and a leg scissors around the head. Kyle with a trip into a chinlock. Kyle with a shoulder tackle, but then Lorcan hit a running forearm to the throat. Lorcan with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Kyle went for an armbar against the ropes and then Dunne approached Kyle, so Lorcan knocked down Kyle from behind.


Lorcan was in control with chops to the chest and then Kyle came back with forearms. Lorcan with an elbow smash to the knee. Lorcan charged, but then Kyle came back with a lefty knee to the ribs. Kyle with kicks, strikes to the face and a spin kick to the legs. Kyle with a running forearm and a sitout slam into a heel hook submission, but Lorcan got to the ropes. Lorcan and Kyle exchanged strikes again, then Kyle with a knee to the body and Kyle hit a brainbuster. Kyle went up top and jumped off with a knee to the upper back. Kyle covered for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kyle O’Reilly

Analysis: **3/4 A good match between two talented veterans that have worked together a lot in the past in tag team matches. Their styles work well together. This was another match where the result was obvious because nobody thought that Lorcan was going to win, so it was all about Kyle getting some offense going and picking up the win. I thought the finish was a bit anticlimactic, but the result was what it needed to be.

Post match, Dunne worked over Lorcan with punches. Bobby Finish went into the ring and delivered punches on Dunne and Lorcan. Fish kicked Dunne out of the ring. Kyle kicked Lorcan out of the ring. Kyle faced off his former partner Fish. Kyle said he was doing his own thing. Fish said he has his own scores to settle too. Fish told Kyle he’ll see him when he sees him.

Analysis: Fish was out of action for a few months with an injury, so it’s good to see him back. No more Undisputed Era, so it’s about the guys doing their own thing.

There was a video about The Way like a comic boom movie.

Bronson Reed did a promo speaking into the camera saying he was sick to death of The Way. Reed said he spoke to GM William Regal, so Reed gets to face Gargano next week for the North American Title in a Steel Cage match. Barrett complained about it since he supports the heels like Gargano.

Santos Escobar entered for the main event with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde by his side. Kushida entered as the NXT Cruiserweight Champion. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

Cruiserweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Kushida vs. Santos Escobar

Escobar with kicks, then he sent Kushida out of the ring. Legado tried to attack Kushida on the floor, so MSK showed up to attack Legado at ringside. The referee ejected Kushida and Legado from ringside. Kushida hit a dive off the top onto Escobar on the floor.


Escobar hit a dropkick leading to a submission pulling back on the leg. Escobar sent Kushida ribs first into the top rope. Escobar applied a submission on the steel steps and had to let go after five seconds. Escobar applied a surfboard submission leading into a chinlock. Escobar with punches, Kushida came back with punches of his own, but then Escobar delivered repeated kicks to the ribs. Escobar pulled back on Kushida’s neck against the ropes. Escobar hit a running double knee attack to the chest. Escobar worked over Kushida with punches to the face while Escobar posed on the turnbuckle. Escobar delivered a hurricanrana off the top that led to Kushida hitting a sunset flip for two. Kushida with a handspring back elbow, hiptoss and then a low dropkick. Escobar with a knee to the face and then Escobar hit the Phantom Driver for the pinfall.

Santos Escobar leads 1-0

Analysis: It’s common for the heel to win the first fall in a two out of three falls match. That way it builds up to the babyface coming back.

Kushida stood back up, Escobar hit a running double knee attack and then Kushida applied a cross armbreaker on the left arm. Escobar tapped out to give Kushida the second fall. They went to break there.

The match was tied 1-1


The match continued with Escobar sending Kushida to the floor to try to escape from an armbar. Escobar sent Kushida back first into the barricade. They were back on the apron with Escobar sending Kushida throat first across the top rope. Escobar hit a suicide dive onto Kushida on the floor, which led to a two count in the ring. Kushida charged right into a headscissors that sent Escobar headfirst into the mat. That looked a bit painful, but they were okay. Kushida jumped off the top with a knee to the left elbow. Kushida with a forearm to the face followed by a kick to the left arm. Escobar to the floor, Kushida went for a sliding attack on the floor and Escobar ducked, but Kushida hit a running armbar on the floor. There were nearfalls by each guy that were very close. Escobar with a jumping kick to the head. Kushida sat on top for two, Escobar for two, Kushida for two, Escobar for two and Kushida sat on top holding the legs for two again! Both wrestlers ran the ropes leading to a double clothesline spot. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. I agree. They were past the top of the second hour.

Escobar set up Kushida on the top rope, Escobar had Kushida on his shoulders, but then changed his positioning. Kushida took down Escobar with an armbar off the top rope! Kushida applied the Hoverboard Lock submission on the left arm. Escobar was close to the ropes, then Kushida brought him to the middle of the ring and Escobar got his hand on the bottom rope to break free. Kushida suplexed Escobar into the turnbuckle! Ouch. Kushida hit a bridging suplex while holding the left arm and Kushida covered for the pinfall win. I thought Escobar would kick out there, but he did not. This match went 22 minutes.

Winner: Kushida

Analysis: **** This match was excellent! I love that they got so much time to tell a story. Both guys are so skilled at submission while also able to do cool-looking moves throughout the match. Kushida works over the left arm of his opponent in most of his matches and I thought Escobar did a terrific job of selling while also countering Kushida when needed. I think the finish was pretty good, but I was surprised that Escobar didn’t kick out of that move. I figured Kushida would win by submission. I guess the reason why they didn’t do a tapout finish is because Escobar lost the second fall by submission, so tapping out twice would be too much. Escobar controlled most of the first half of the match, so then it made sense for Kushida to dominate the second part and that’s what happened. The relentless way that Kushida attacks his opponent in every match makes him so much fun to watch. Both of these guys are so talented in the ring. They did a really nice job here.

Kushida celebrated with the NXT Cruiserweight Title that he successfully retained. They showed replays of the three falls in the match. Kushida posed in the ring as the winner while Escobar was down on the floor as the loser.

Next week: Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed in a North American Title match in a Steel Cage match. Kushida’s celebration continued and that was the end of the show.

Analysis: That’s likely the end of Escobar in the Cruiserweight Title picture for now. I think Escobar could be a guy that will thrive in another division. They don’t need him to be the centerpiece of the cruiserweight division anymore. Escobar is such a talented all-around wrestler that he could certainly be in contention for the North American Title or the NXT Title.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kushida
  2. Santos Escobar
  3. MSK


The Scoreboard

This week: 7.75 out of 10

Last week: 8

2021 Average: 7.51


Final Thoughts

It was a great show for the second straight week with an awesome main event between Kushida and Santos Escobar. I think NXT is rolling right now. The brilliance of the NXT brand is that they can feature different titles and divisions week after week. Last week the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles main evented and this week the NXT Cruiserweight Title match main evented. Next week the North American Title is on the line in a steel cage (Gargano vs. Reed) and in two weeks the NXT Title is on the line (Kross vs. Balor). The Raw and Smackdown brands are not booked this way. It would be nice if they were booked like that, but obviously different people are in charge.

The NXT Women’s Title match was solid. Raquel Gonzalez beating Mercedes Martinez was an obvious result. They had a few sloppy moments in there, but they got through it fine and Gonzalez’s dominance continues. Other matches were shorter like Karrion Kross and Pete Dunne picking up wins. Kyle O’Reilly also looked impressive while it’s nice to see Bobby Fish back after injury. MSK continues to impress in the tag team division with a nice leapfrog from the referee in that match! I don’t think they are capable of having a bad match.

The only lengthy promo was by Swerve Scott’s new group, which was cool to see because it means Swerve is likely to get a push. It’s well deserved for him. I continue to enjoy what NXT delivers on a weekly basis.


Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton


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