Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT 06/29/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. Next week’s NXT episode is the Great American Bash on Tuesday, July 6. It’s not a Takeover, but it will be pretty big.

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. Let’s get to it.

The opening video package hyped up the matches on this week’s show as well as the build to next week’s Great American Bash. There were fans in the crowd behind the barricade making some noise. The announce team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett. No Beth Phoenix this week getting the week off.

Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs. Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai

The winners of this match get an NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match next week at the Great American Bash. Three women are legal in the match while the other three are on the apron.

Moon started with Shirai and Gonzalez and they did some quick pin attempts. Moon and Shirai hit a double dropkick on Gonzalez, who came back with a double clothesline. Gonzalez launched Shirai into the top turnbuckle. Moon with a headscissors on Gonzalez. Moon with a forearm on Gonzalez, double knees by Moon and Blackheart tagged in with a sunset flip for two on Raquel, but Kai broke up the pin. All six women got involved as the action was going on in the ring and on the floor as well. Shirai hit a springboard moonsault onto Gonzalez and Kai on the floor. Blackheart followed that with a suicide dive onto Kai, Gonzalez and Shirai. Moon hit a somersault dive onto a bunch of women. Stark did an impressive leap to the top into a cross body block onto four women on the floor as Stark celebrated with Shirai. That led to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Gonzalez was in control with a shoulder tackle and a big slam on Blackheart. Shirai countered Gonzalez into a double foot stomp onto the chest. Stark tagged in against Kai with a forearm and a clothesline for Moon. Stark was on fire with a sliding dropkick on Moon and Kai at the same time for a two count on Kai. Shirai tagged in leading to Shirai and Stark striking Kai with kicks, Shirai with a 619 kick and a missile dropkick. Blackheart tagged in with a senton on Shirai to break up the pin. Blackheart with kicks and a spinning bulldog into the mat. Moon hit a running dropkick on Shirai. Moon worked over Kai with knees followed by a spinning forearm. Moon and Blackheart with a kick/splash combo on Kai and Moon for a two count. Blackheart hit a double underhook bridging suplex for two. Gonzalez saved Kai from a submission attempt. All six women were fighting in the ring. That would lead to a double Tower of Doom tease spot, but Gonzalez saved Kai. Gonzalez with a powerslam on Moon and a kick to Stark. Gonzalez with a Powerbomb on Blackheart. Shirai with a dropkick to Gonzalez and Stark with a knee. Kai with a double foot stomp off the top on Blackheart. Shirai with a dropkick on Kai. Shirai went for a submission, but Kai got out of it and hit a kick to the jaw. Shirai with a double underhook into a backbreaker. Shirai went up top and hit the moonsault onto Gonzalez and Kai at the same time. Moon tossed Shirai out of the ring, Shirai pulled Moon out and Blackheart jumped off the top with a senton on Gonzalez, but Stark was back into it. Stark with a slam off the shoulders into the knee. Moon jumped off the top with the Eclipse on Stark. Kai hit the Go To Kick on Moon. Kai with a rollup on Shirai. Shirai with the uppercut and Shirai hit the moonsault off the top on Kai for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Io Shirai & Zoey Stark

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a fun match. The NXT women are awesome. There were definitely a few minutes there where the referee lost total control and people were in the ring illegally, but that’s going to happen in matches like this sometimes. I liked all the nearfalls, the saves were timed well and I liked the last few minutes a lot. Good to see Shirai/Stark win since it elevates Stark to be part of a big win. Also worth pointing out that Kai took the pin in the match rather than Gonzalez because they always want to keep Gonzalez looking strong as the champion.

Io Shirai & Zoey Stark will challenge Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles next week at the NXT Great American Bash show.

Karrion Kross, the NXT Champion, was shown arriving with Scarlett. Johnny Gargano tackled Kross into a garage door. Security broke it up. Kross told Gargano he’s a dead man.

(Commercial)

There was a video about the NXT Breakout Tournament coming soon. They showed highlights from the tournament in 2019 featuring the likes of Cameron Grimes, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Dexter Lumis, Joaquin Wilde, Angel Garza and Bronson Reed. It’s time to break out again with eight superstars. The NXT Breakout Tournament returns in two weeks.

Analysis: The NXT Breakout Tournament winner in 2019 was Jordan Myles (formerly ACH) and he’s no longer in WWE or even wrestling, so they didn’t mention that. The eighth guy in the tournament was Boa, who is still in NXT and in action later.

Bronson Reed, the NXT North American Champion, was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Reed said that he can’t wait to see the fresh faces in the Breakout Tournament and said that tournament elevated him, so without it, he doubts he would be the North American Champion. Reed was interrupted by the Hit Row crew led by Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, who said he was in the tournament with Reed. Scott wondered how Reed became North American Champion and Reed said it was hard work and determination. Top Dolla told Reed to put the title on the line. Scott said if Reed is a champion that he says he is then he’ll put the title on the line against Scott tonight. Reed told him he’s got it.

Analysis: That set up the main event for the show.

The NXT Champion Karrion Kross made his entrance with the lovely Scarlett. Kross called out “Mr. Gargano” saying that last week he got Johnny and this week, Johnny got Kross. Karrion said that he is willing to die by the sword I live by and he is curious to know if Johnny is willing to do the same. Kross dared Johnny to walk down to the ring and see how he fares when Kross can see the shot coming.

Johnny Gargano showed up on the ramp to cheers. Gargano said that Kross jumped him from behind like a coward last week and this week, he’ll beat Kross at his own game. Gargano told Kross that the ring is his world. Gargano doesn’t have a sword, but he has actual talent and then Austin Theory attacked Kross from behind. Gargano and Theory attacked Kross with kicks. Kross came back to knock Theory out of the ring and Kross hit a Saito Suplex on Gargano. Kross left the ring and sent Gargano into the barricade repeatedly. Kross went for an attack with the steel steps, but security showed up to break it up. One of the security guys was definitely Brock Rechsteiner (Rick Steiner’s son), who is a top prospect and Kross hit him with a forearm. Gargano hit Kross with a superkick while Gargano/Theory left. Samoa Joe showed up with the security guys at ringside with Kross saying to Joe: “You’re doing a helluva job, Joe.” Kross and Scarlett left.

Analysis: It was a good brawling segment. It is a bit strange to see Gargano in the face role again, but I have noted that he was more face-like in the last few weeks even though The Way acts like a heel group for the most part. Gargano had some lines in his promo about how his talent in the ring and things like that, which was done to pop the crowd. Kross is the heel champion, so Gargano in the face role makes sense. With Kross getting a closer look by the bosses for a move to the main roster, it could be Gargano who beats Kross for the NXT Title in the near future.

Diamond Mine is up next.

(Commercial)

The charging graphic was at 61%.

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory were shown in the parking lot. They jumped into a white car that was right outside the door.

The Diamond Mine stable made their entrance. It’s Roderick Strong, Tyler Rust and Hachiman (new name for Hideki Suzuki) with manager Malcolm Bivens. The group debuted last week when they attacked Cruiserweight Champion Kushida.

Roderick Strong (w/Tyler Rust, Hachiman & Malcolm Bivens) vs. Asher Hale

Strong with a takedown and side headlock. Hale jumped on Strong’s back going for a submission, but then Strong drove Hale into the turnbuckle. Strong lifted Hale into a backbreaker. Strong with a double underhook suplex for two. Strong with a spinning back elbow. Strong with a jumping knee to the face. Strong applied a submission trapping the head/shoulder of Hale and Hale tapped out to give Strong the submission win after about three minutes.

Winner by submission: Roderick Strong

Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win by Strong to give him some momentum as part of this new Diamond Mine group. Since they attacked Kushida last week, Strong is probably going after the Cruiserweight Title.

Post match, Malcolm Bivens said that Diamond Mine is open for business and this is just the beginning. That was it.

Cameron Grimes was shown walking backstage for a match up next.

(Commercial)

Cameron Grimes vs. Ari Sterling

Grimes entered to a good pop since he’s now in a babyface role. Sterling with a headscissors, but Grimes managed to land on his feet. Grimes with a hurricanrana that sent Sterling out of the ring. Grimes went for a kick on the floor, but Sterling tripped up Grimes onto the apron. Sterling hit an impressive springboard moonsault. Sterling with a flipping splash for two. Grimes with a running knee, then two forearms and Sterling hit a jumping kick to the head. Sterling with a kick to the back of the head. Sterling went up top for a Shooting Star Press, Grimes moved and Grimes hit the Cave In stomp to the chest for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: *1/2 Grimes picked up the win obviously over the guy that isn’t known that well. I like that Sterling got some offense to show what he can do, but no doubt here that Grimes was going to win.

LA Knight showed up with the Million Dollar Championship. Knight said that Grimes is nothing but a loser. The fans chanted “you suck” and Grimes told Knight that he sucks. Grimes said that he wanted that championship and to carry that legacy while Knight just wanted some bling. Grimes said that next week, he’ll take that bling from Grimes. Knight denied the request because Grimes doesn’t deserve it. Knight said he’s got everything he needs, but there is one piece missing from the puzzle. Knight said if Grimes wants to get him then he’s got something for Grimes. Knight said that they can have the match with the Million Dollar Title on the line, but if Grimes loses then Grimes becomes his butler. Grimes said he’s got no problem with that because he knows at Great American he’s leaving as a champion that’s going “to the moon.”

Analysis: That’s going to be a good match. I really enjoyed their Ladder Match at the last Takeover, so I look forward to the rematch. I could see Knight winning leading to comedy skits with Grimes as the butler. However, if Grimes wins and is the babyface Million Dollar Champion then that’s fine too. I’m fine with either outcome.

Kyle O’Reilly was shown walking backstage for his segment up next.

(Commercial)

Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. They were interrupted by Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell doing a heel promo about how great they are. Candice warned Zoey that Io can be a sore loser. Io told Candice that they will become champions.

Let’s Hear from Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole

Kyle O’Reilly said that he wants to fight dudes that will make him a better fighter and that’s what last week was all about it. Kyle said that next week is Cole/O’Reilly II. Kyle said that after getting his hand raised, he proved he belongs in the main event and can one day become NXT Champion. Kyle said that Adam Cole refuses to see this and he said Cole is full of excuses. Kyle wanted Cole to give us an excuse after Kyle whips his ass at the Great American Bash.

Adam Cole walked towards the ring and they were joined by Samoa Joe along with security guys. Joe said that he was there to ensure that none of the nasty events of last week would continue tonight. Joe got into the ring with Kyle. Cole got into the ring saying Kyle has made it crystal clear that he wanted to be in Cole’s shoes. Cole said that Kyle hopes to have half the career that Cole has had. Cole said that Kyle is obsessed with him and it creeps him out. Kyle said he beat Cole, he put him in the hospital, he disappeared for six weeks and picked a fight. Cole said that Kyle is delusional. Cole said that Kyle is nothing without Adam Cole. Cole said that nobody would even be talking about Kyle if it wasn’t for him. Cole said that he was solely responsible for every ounce of success that Kyle has had in this industry. Cole said that he carried Kyle on his back for nearly four years and Cole is STILL the star. Cole said that the entire world knows it, the NXT locker room knows it, Samoa Joe knows it and even Kyle’s wife knows it.

Kyle told Cold not to mention his wife again. Kyle said that he is ashamed he was ever associated with Cole and he’s ashamed it took this long to realize what a pathetic, human, piece…and Cole slapped the microphone out of his hand. Joe put his hand between the two men to prevent a fight. Cole went for a strike and then Kyle slapped on a heel hook submission on Cole’s leg. Cole was screaming about getting Kyle off him, but then Joe left without helping Cole. After about 20 seconds, the security guys went into the ring and Kyle let go.

Analysis: That was an entertaining segment to build to their match next week. It was an interesting ending with Joe preventing them from fighting, then Cole tried a shot and Kyle countered it, so Joe didn’t help Cole at all. Cole remains arguably the best talker in NXT while he brings out the best of Kyle, who does not have a big personality, but he is getting better every time he gets a chance to speak. I’m thinking Cole wins this match and then they’ll have a third singles match at the next Takeover. If Kyle wins this match then Cole might be ready for Raw or Smackdown, but I don’t know if Cole will be off NXT any time soon. I’m just saying it would make sense for Cole to put over Kyle in a big way and then head to a new journey for him.

The Tian Sha group was shown. Xia Li and Boa spoke about Mercedes and Jake Atlas saying it was time to destroy. Mei Ying was also there looking scary.

(Commercial)

The charging clock was on the screen showing it was at 71%.

The Hit Row group was in the backstage area hyping up Isaiah “Swerve” Scott for his match later in the show.

Jake Atlas & Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li & Boa

It’s man vs. man and woman vs. woman. I believe this is the first time I’ve reviewed a Boa match. Atlas worked on Boa with a forearm and a boot to the face. Atlas had an impressive armdrag leading to a boot to the face. Li tagged in against Martinez with a kick to the face. Li with a running forearm on Martinez followed by a stomp to the chest. Martinez got a rollup on Li for two and then Martinez hit a back body drop that looked a bit sloppy in terms of the landing. Li stayed on the floor going into a break.

(Commercial)

Boa was in the ring with Atlas as Atlas sent Boa over the top to the floor. Martinez tagged in against Li with punches and a kick to the head. Martinez worked over Li with punches and a double underhook suplex off the top, but Boa pulled Martinez off Li. Atlas with a forearm to Boa and a double team lifting slam into a clothesline by Martinez on Boa. Martinez decked Li with a punch. Mei Ying emerged from her chair on the ramp, so Martinez left the ring and Li hit Martinez in the back. Li hit an impressive overhead suplex followed by a roundhouse kick. It looked like Martinez was legit knocked out. Martinez didn’t have her shoulders down, so the referee stopped the count and the bell rang. It went about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Xia Li & Boa

Analysis: ** It’s a win for the heels because Martinez wanted to fight Mei Ying, who did not give in to her demands and Li was able to capitalize on Martinez not paying attention to her. I assume the spin kick to the head was the finish because Li has won with a similar move in the past.

They showed multiple replays of the brutal kick from Xia Li. They showed it three times. Is that the best thing to do when Martinez was legit knocked out from it? I don’t know. They did not show Martinez after the kick to the head.

Analysis: It looked like Martinez was legitimately knocked out by the spin kick to the head, so I hope she’s doing okay.

Bronson Reed was shown warming up for the main event.

(Commercial)

The announcers were shown on camera talking about next week’s NXT Great American Bash show.

Face to Face: Thatcher/Ciampa and MSK

Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher made their entrance with steel chairs. They were the challengers for the NXT Tag Team Titles at the Great American Bash show next week. MSK were up next as the NXT Tag Team Champions with steel chairs of their own.

The four wrestlers sat in black folding chairs. Ciampa said that they make this look good. Ciampa said that next week at the Great American Bash, but the champs are the underdogs. Ciampa said that Double T has never held gold in NXT and he knows Toothless Timmy isn’t a man of many words, but take a look at him (Thatcher had a serious look on his face) and said Thatcher is motivated. Ciampa said that nobody elevates a title as much as Tommaso Ciampa elevates a title. Wes Lee said that they respect them and everything they have done they have done to this point. Fans chanted “Ciampa’s gonna kill you” at them. Nash Carter said that they should put respect on their names. Carter said that they may be the young guns, but Ciampa/Thatcher are the challengers. Lee said that they will show the challengers why MSK are the NXT Tag Team Champions. There was a punch in there, but Ciampa held Thatcher back. Ciampa said he wanted them to bring their pride and their titles because they will take them both. Ciampa told them tonight they are getting a free one, but next week won’t be so lucky. Ciampa actually kissed Carter on the cheek. They had a staredown to end it.

Analysis: Well done. It wasn’t that long and they got to the point quickly. Even though MSK are babyface champions, they aren’t beloved by the crowd that goes to NXT shows, yet Ciampa/Thatcher are cheered a lot mostly out of respect for Ciampa while Thatcher has fit in well as Ciampa’s partner. I think a title change next week is certainly a possibility. MSK hasn’t held the titles for that long, but I’d be fine with a title change because I enjoy the dynamic of the Ciampa/Thatcher team a lot.

William Regal was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. They mentioned three title matches at the Great American Bash show next week. Regal mentioned Cameron Grimes facing LA Knight for the Million Dollar Title and if Grimes loses, he will be Knight’s butler. Sarray walked in saying she wants a match against Toni Storm and Regal said he’ll take that under consideration.

The NXT North American Championship match is the main event up next.

(Commercial)

The charging graphic was at 81%.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett were shown leaving in their car in the parking lot. Austin Theory showed up to punch Kross, and then Gargano attacked Kross from behind. Gargano slammed the car door on Kross a few times. Kross got back up and choked out Gargano in the parking lot. Kross hit Theory with a forearm to the back to knock Theory into a garage door. Samoa Joe was out there to pick up Gargano as Kross drove away with Scarlett. Joe told Gargano perhaps he pushed Kross a bit too far.

Next week on NXT Great American Bash episode of NXT in the regular Tuesday timeslot:

* NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (c) vs. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark

* Million Dollar Championship: LA Knight (c) vs. Cameron Grimes – If Grimes loses then he will be Knight’s butler.

* NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher

* Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly II

Analysis: It’s a good lineup for a special edition of NXT next week. I like it.

Hit Row made their entrance with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott joined by Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab. Bronson Reed was up next as the NXT North American Champion and he got a nice reaction from the crowd.

NXT North American Championship: Bronson Reed vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (w/Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab)

Scott grabbed an armbar, Reed powered out of that and applied a headlock. Reed with a shoulder tackle after Scott sent him into the ropes. Reed stomped on Scott. When Scott charged, Reed shoved him to knock down Scott easily. Reed did a press slam to send Scott to the mat again. Reed with a chop, then a headbutt and a punch. Reed whipped Scott into the turnbuckle. Scott was holding onto the ropes, Reed pulled him off and Reed splashed Scott. They exchanged chops on the apron, which sucked for Scott since Reed is much bigger. Scott chopped Reed in the thigh, then kicks to the thigh and Reed sat on Scott during a Powerbomb attempt. They went to a picture in picture break there.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Reed beating up Scott with repeated chops to the chest. Scott came back with kicks to the thighs and then he used the ropes for momentum into a German Suplex for two. That was a cool spot. Scott was on Reed’s back trying for a sleeper, Reed fought him off and Scott came back with a flatliner for two. Scott went for a running kick, Reed blocked it and hit a huge clothesline. Scott came back with a dropkick. Reed got a hold of Scott and hit a Death Valley Driver like move. Both guys were down selling. The show was past the two hour mark now as usual for NXT. Reed came back with an elbow, then a corner splash and a running body attack. Reed with a senton splash on Scott. Reed went up top, there were distractions from Hit Row and Adonis pulled Reed off the turnbuckle leading to Reed bumping into the apron. Top Dolla charged, Reed moved and Dolla went crashing through the barricade. Reed tossed Adonis over the barricade. Back in the ring, Scott hit a running kick to the head. Scott went up top and hit a 450 Splash to the back of Reed for the pinfall win. New champion! It went 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT North American Champion: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match with Swerve getting the biggest win of his NXT career. I have really been impressed by Swerve since his heel turn and even moreso since forming Hit Row, so I’m glad that he’s won a big title in NXT. Reed sold everything well, he was in control for most of it, but then Scott found a way. Even though Reed took care of Dolla and Adonis, Scott capitalized to hit two moves for the win. Reed isn’t going to be hurt by the loss because he had to deal with the chaos outside the ring. What they did worked really well.

There were replays shown of the key spots in the match.

Swerve Scott celebrated with the NXT North American Title and his Hit Row allies. Reed was sad in the ring. Scott continued to celebrate. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: The obvious thing is that we know Bronson Reed has had tryouts to be on the main roster and maybe that call “up” to Raw or Smackdown is very soon, which is probably why Reed just dropped the title here. It makes sense to me anyway.

Here’s Triple H joining Hit Row for a photoshoot.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
  2. Io Shirai/Zoey Stark
  3. Bronson Reed

 

The Scoreboard

This week: 6.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2021 Average: 7.51

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good show overall, but not at the level of the best NXT shows. I think part of it is because next week’s show is the Great American Bash special and they used this episode to build to that. The triple threat women’s tag team match was probably the best match with a strong finish. I think Io Shirai & Zoey Stark may win NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles next week. Some of the other matches were shorter. There was a very scary moment when Xia Li kicked Mercedes Martinez in the head to end a match and Martinez was legit knocked out. The camera cut away when it was clear that Martinez was out of it. It was the finish. I hope Martinez is going to be okay.

The main event was a North American Title match that saw Isaiah “Swerve” Scott win his first title in NXT by beating Bronson Reed. That meant that Reed’s title reign only lasted six weeks. The reason for the title change is likely because Reed has had tryouts for a potential move to Raw or Smackdown soon, so maybe WWE made the call for Reed to drop the title. It does make sense anyway. I’m happy for Scott because the Hit Row group is very entertaining and Scott has done a tremendous job as a heel.

Next week’s show has some big matches for the Great American Bash episode, so I’m looking forward to that.

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John Canton

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