1/13 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Adam Cole and Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango, and Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Ever-Rise in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches, Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae, Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a non-title match

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT TV 
Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired January 13, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One]Highlights from last week’s New Years Evil themed show aired followed by a teaser for this week’s beginning of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…

1. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae (w/Indi Hartwell). Blackheart had the initial momentum with a bunch of strikes, avoiding all of LeRae’s offense. Blackheart got at two count after a diving crossbody. Blackheart locked LeRae into a Juji Gatame which was converted into an armbar. LeRae escaped by getting a foot on the bottom rope. Blackheart tripped LeRae off the top rope, causing the back of her head to catch the top buckle. Blackheart locked LeRae in Cattle Mutilation.

LeRae floated over and got a two count. Barrett noted that he was impressed by Blackheart employing more of a technical style in this match. LeRae and Blackheart brawled on the apron. Blackheart gave LeRae a diving knee from the steps to the ringside area. Hartwell got in Blackheart’s way with the distraction. LeRae hit Blackheart with a baseball slide and springboard crossbody after Hartwell kept Blackheart form entering the ring. The show cut to Picture-in-picture. [c]

Blackheart got a two count after an enzuigiri on LeRae. Blackheart hit a draped LeRae with a imploding cannonball for the two count. The women brawled on the apron again, this time with Blackheart hitting LeRae with a DDT. Blackheart hit LeRae and Hartwell with a Suicide Dive (thankfully she didn’t sail this week). LeRae gave Blackheart a basement superkick for a two count. LeRae went for the lionsault, but was tripped off the ropes. LeRae went for a GargaNo Escape but Blackheart deadlifted LeRae into a twisting facebuster on her knee.

Blackheart hit LeRae with a hanging DDT. Hartwell distracted Blackheart which allowed LeRae to meet Blackheart on the top rope and hit Blackheart with a Super Twisting Underhook Neckbreaker for the victory.

Candice LeRae defeated Shotzi Blackheart via pinfall in 11:05. 

Finn Balor was shown walking to the ring from the backstage area…

Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, and Pete Dunne drove up to the WWE PC in a SUV…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A good match to put heat on LeRae while also establishing Indi Hartwell as an insurance policy at ringside. This is not the end of the feud and we can get some good back and forth matches between both women. Another plus, Blackheart didn’t almost kill herself this week! I know that comes off as an overplayed joke sometimes, but it isn’t. She had her “Shotzi scary moment of the week” last week when she overshot on the suicide dive. To her credit, it is happening less frequently, so I am teasing a bit.

NXT Champion Finn Balor made his entrance to the PC arena. Balor talked about how he’s still NXT Champion. Balor said Kyle O’Reilly is great, but he’s not at Balor’s level. Balor said O’Reilly stepped up at Takeover, but he was put down again. Balor said the difference this time is O’Reilly is eating meals through a straw. Balor said he has a red x on his chest because of the target on him. Balor said the manufacturers have ran out of the cloth that Balor is cut from.

Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch made their entrance with Dunne holding a mic. Dunne said he watched Balor put down Kyle and also knew that he would face Balor one day. Dunne said the only reason Balor has the title is because Dunne hasn’t taken it yet. Dunne brought up Balor telling Dunne to “get in line” a few weeks ago. Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, and Pete Dunne then mobbed Balor. Balor fended them off a bit, but the numbers game got the upper hand of Balor. Kyle O’Reilly ran out to save Balor, but he was overwhelmed.

Barrett noted that due to jaw damage, O’Reilly is not “medically cleared” to wrestle. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong ran out to clear the heels from the ring and swing the pendulum in the favor of the babyfaces. The crowd started chanting “Too sweet”. Balor stood opposite side of the Undisputed Era trio. Balor then rolled to ringside as his entrance played…

John’s Thoughts: Finn Balor is showing us how Raw and Smackdown should have presented him as a main eventer. As an absolute badass. What the hell was “Grinning” Finn Balor anyway? This was a good promo segment that keeps Finn Balor looking like the most important person on this show.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Johnny Gargano about facing Dexter Lumis later in the show. Gargano talked about how he and Candice are about to win both the Dusty Classics. McKenzie brought up that Gargano is facing Kushida and Leon Ruff recently and he’s facing both of them in the first round of the Dusty Tag Team Classic. Gargano blamed last week’s lost to Kushida to the fact that he was wearing skinny jeans. Gargano said there’s not “breathability” in skinny jeans. Gargano’s spiritual son, Austin Theory showed up with a gift that Dexter Lumis told him to deliver to Johnny. It was a handful of caricature drawings making fun of Theory and Gargano. Theory said that was mean and Gargano is going to have to beat Lumis later in the show…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Gargano continues to be a riot in terms of being a cocky and delusional heel. Austin Theory, even though he has the potential to be a big time main event star due to talent alone, is really doing a good job as Johnny Gargano’s “child”.

Vic Joseph hyped up the mystery “MSK” tag team vs. Jake Atlas and Isaiah Scott for later in the show…

Zack Gibson and James Drake made their entrance. Gibson did his usual “Soon to be recognized…” promo to draw heat. Ever Rise was already in the ring. William Regal appeared on the Thunderdome LEDs and signaled the beginning of the Dusty Classic…

2. “Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake vs. “Ever Rise” Matt Martel and Chase Parker in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Ever Rise stalled early on. Parker yelled Ever Rise Rules, and Gibson kicked him. Drake tagged in and worked on Parker with a side headlock. Drake hit a unique hip toss with a knee lift on Parker. Gibson pulled Drake to ringside when he was losing it a bit after Parker yelled “Ever Rise Rules”. Gibson and Drake traded quick tags to keep Parker and Martel under control with tandem offense. Joseph reminded the viewers that the winner of the cups gets a Tag Team Title shot.

Drake hit Parker with a delayed bulldog. Gibson tagged in and gave Parker a sidewalk slam at ringside. Drake tagged in and gave Parker a spinning heel kick for a two count. Drake kept Parker from tagging by yanking the hand, but Drake managed to tug over and tag in Martel. Martel actually had a hot tag sequence, cleaning house. Martel popped Drake into Parker’s spear. Ever Rise hit Gibson with an assisted elbow drop. Gibson broke up Ever Rise’s tandem offense.

Drake dropkicked Martel in the back. Gibson tagged in. The GYV hit Martel with Ticket to Mayhem for the victory.

The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Ever Rise 7:58 to advance to the next round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 

The updated tournament brackets aired…

A promo package aired where Raquel Gonzalez recapped her win in the feud against Rhea Ripley. Gonzalez said Ripley is like 2020 “a bad memory we will all try to forget”. Gonzalez said she’s looking ahead at Io Shirai and she’s looking at the women’s championship…

The commentators hyped up Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis for after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A good match between two teams that need a lot of work to get over. They are both good in the ring and need their strengths showcased. Ever Rise seems to be more along on that path in that they are starting to develop a dorky lovability to them. Sorta like Heath Slater was when he was in WWE. The Grizzled Young Veterans need to give Zack Gibson some promo time, and not just him reciting his repeated “soon to be recognized” speech. He needs to antagonize the fans. Give the fans a reason to hate (or like) Drake and Gibson.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Shotzi Blackheart about her loss earlier in the show. Blackheart said she’s not going to let that bring her down. Blackheart said she’s going to win the Dusty Tag Team Classic and she knows Candice and Indi are in that tournament. Shotzi revealed Ember Moon as her tag team partner…

3. Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis. Gargano tore up Lumis’s caricature of Gargano in front of Lumis. Lumis went on to pummel Gargano. Barrett said Gargano should have put that picture up on Ebay. Lumis caused Gargano to retreat with his snake crawl. Lumis gave Gargano a throat uppercut. Lumis and Gargano brawled on the top rope with Lumis having higher ground. Lumis throat punched Gargano off the top. Gargano avoided a Swanton. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

During the commercial break, Austin Theory distracted Dexter Lumis which allowed Gargano to hit Lumis with a slingshot spear. Gargano worked on Lumis with methodical offense.

[Hour Two] Lumis turned the tables with a spinebuster on Gargano. Lumis rallied at Gargano with right hands. Lumis did a Back Suplex. A kip up. Followed by a seamless transition into a leg drop. Gargano escaped a Kata Gatame attempt. Gargano used a crucifix driver to get a two count on Lumis. Lumis no-sold an initial roundhouse. Gargano hit Lumis with another Roundhouse to the temple for a two count. Lumis rallied back at Gargano with right hands.

Gargano kicked Lumis after another distraction from Theory. Lumis blocked a One Final Beat with a punch. Lumis blocked another One Final Beat with a Kata Gatame. Theory got on the apron, which caused Lumis to go after Theory with a collar hold. Johnny Gargano rolled up Lumis for the win.

Johnny Gargano defeated Dexter Lumis via pinfall in 7:49 of on-air time.

Lumis did his creepy snake crawl to the apron to lock Theory from behind with the Kata Gatame. Gargano put the boots to Lumis to break the submission. Gargano was about to hit Lumis with a chair, but Kushida ran out and beat up the heels. Kushida locked Gargano in a Hoverboard Lock while Lumis choked Theory with a Kata Gatame. Kushida then let Gargano go and presented the North American Championship to Gargano to show that he’s coming after the title (about time!)…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch about their segment with Balor. Burch talked about how his teams run the place and Undisputed Era should mind their own business. Dunne said O’Reilly got in between Dunne and the NXT title and it’s time to take out Kyle O’Reilly…

The show cut to a Wade Barrett Sitdown interview with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. Barrett noted that Thatcher is now clear to wrestle. Ciampa said he’s curious as to what Thatcher’s injury was. Thatcher said it’s nothing that will affect the fight pit. Barrett wondered if Ciampa made the right decision to fight in Thatcher’s signature match. Ciampa said he’s trying to change the locker room culture and sometimes he has to enter enter into enemy territory. Thatcher and Ciampa then traded threats to each other.

Thatcher said he was a lion while Ciampa is a Zebra. Thatcher then said rather than be a zebra, Ciampa is just a man questioning if he still has it. Ciampa said Thatcher will see if Ciampa still has it at the Fight Pit. Barrett closed the interview…

The commentators hyped up the reveal of the MSK tag team after the break…

John’s Thoughts: Good to see the Fight Pit happening again and that makes next week’s show automatically must see. To talk about production a little bit, I really liked the Wade Barrett sitdown interview style with the cinematic camera cuts. I bring up Lucha Underground a lot, because of their usage of cinematic techniques, and this segment reminded me of those well shot “Ringside with Vampiro” segments. Pro Wrestling needs more of this type of “talk show” as opposed to the quirky/comedy talk shows that have been run into the ground, trying to be the next Piper’s Pit.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish about Pete Dunne coming after O’Reilly. The UE guys reiterated that they all have each others’ backs…

Jake Atlas and Isaiah Scott made their entrance. Scott continued to act cocky. MSK was revealed as the former  Dezmond Xavier and Zach Wentz. Their new names are Wes Lee and Nash Carter respectively…

4. “MSK” Nash Carter and Wes Lee vs. Jake Atlas and Isaiah “Swerve” in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Carter (Wentz) and Atlas started off the match. Atlas landed the first clean move and tagged in Scott. Carter hit Scott with an armdrag. Carter hit sick corkscrew crossbody (I’ve seen a ton of this guy’s matches and never saw that move). Wes Lee (Xavier) tagged in. Scott reversed an armbar and dragged Lee to his corner. Atlas tagged in and ate a back elbow to lee. Scott dragged Lee to ringside.

Both teams traded quick moves at ringside. Lee caught Atlas and Scott with a Tope Con Hilo. Vic Joseph yelled out “These Rascals are high flying!!!” (Get it?). The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

John’s Thoughts: Again, after writing these guys under their original names for hundreds of times, this is going to be a pain to adjust. I know, only problems I would have. Allow me to vent! It’s annoying having to backspace every “Wentz” to turn it into a “Carter”.

Scott had the advantage after a Paydirt on Carter. Carter used a matrix dodge on Scott’s crossbody to get Lee in for the hot tag. Lee gave Atlas some shots and a basement dropkick. MSK hit Atlas with the Hot Fire Flame (shoving Standing Moonsault by Carter). Scott blind tagged in. Atlas hit Lee with a German Suplex. Scott hit Lee with a Brainbuster. Atlas hit Lee with a deadlift swinging side slam followed by Scott’s 450.

Carter broke up Atlas’s pin attempt. Carter dragged Atlas to ringside and Lee shoved Scott off the top rope. Once Lee and Carter recovered, Lee hit Scott in the corner with a Frakensteiner. MSK hit Scott with a Hart Attack-like Blockbuster for the victory.

MSK defeated Jake Atlas and Isaiah Scott via pinfall in 8:36 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 

A video package aired listing some of the names in the women’s tag team tournament. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm will happen next week…

Xia Li was hyped for after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Oh look! An actual tag team with a lot of buzz in NXT for once! That was a sick match. These two guys are really good and if you’ve haven’t been watching Impact Wrestling you guys are in for a treat. These guys are a world quality tag team, and it’s shocking that Impact never utilized them to their highest potential (there they used them in That 70s Show ripoff segments and as a team that lost to everyone else). I’m afraid that these guys are so good that they might get called up to Raw of Smackdown quickly. Especially with Jeff Jarrett working as a producer. Jarrett (though his booking in TNA and through conference calls) was hyping up Wes Lee as the 2nd coming of AJ Styles, and Lee is that damn good once you see him work longer matches.

The show cut to a Scarlett [Bordeaux] vignette where she was doing a tarot card reading in front of some plastic skulls and dark lighting. She was telling a story of Kross moving past Damian Priest and onto “The Prince” (Balor)…

Xia Li, Boa, and the mystery leader made their elaborate and highly produced entrance. This week Xia did a Bo Staff kata…

5. Xia Li vs. an enhancement wrestler. I think the enhancement wrestler is Developmental Wrestler Valentina Feroz. She lost after a cyclone kick.

Xia Li defeated the enhancement wrestler via pinfall in 0:22. 

The mystery woman ordered Li to treat the unnamed enhancement wrestler like a punching bag. Li punched out the unnamed lady when she was trapped against the ropes like a crucifix…

Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter talked about being underdogs and how you shouldn’t underestimate them…

The Undisputed Era were shown heading to the ring for the main event…[c]

The show cut to Steve Corino, Bronson Reed, and a bunch of backstage staff breaking up a fight between Isaiah Scott and Jake Atlas. Reed got up to Scott’s face and Scott backed down…

John’s Thoughts: Are they setting up Scott for another loss? It’s strange because Scott really started to show personality as a heel and they’re having him lose a lot out of the gate.

Joseph advertised Lucha House Party vs. Imperium and Kushida and Ruff vs. Theory and Gargano for next week’s Dusty matches. Barrett advertised Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa in the fight pit for next week…

Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, and Roderick Strong made their entrance with O’Reilly doing his signature air guitar move to the ring. Wade Barrett and Vic Joseph pointed out that Kyle O’Reilly is not medically cleared to be near the ring. Joseph even named some sort of medical term for the “injury” O’Reilly has…

John’s Thoughts: I get they are trying to make O’Reilly look tough by ignoring doctor’s orders in the kayfabe. But it comes off as odd, because Bobby Fish is currently out due to a legit injury. It’s no big deal. It just got a chuckle out of me.

6. “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole and Roderick Strong (w/Kyle O’Reilly) vs. “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Breeze and Cole started off the match pretty even. Strong and Dango tagged in with Strong dominating during the chain wrestling with a wristlock. Dango reversed Strong and used a wide base to keep Strong on the ground. Strong escaped, but Dango hit Strong with a leg lariat. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]

Roderick Strong caught the hot tag and hit both opponents with his driveby forearms. Strong suplexed Breeze on Dango for a two count on Dango. Strong hit Dango with a gutbuster. Cole tagged in and hit Dango with a running move for a two count. Dango ducked a Last Shot and tagged in Breeze. Cole turned Breeze inside out with a pump kick. Breeze hit Cole with a Side Lungblower for a two count. Breezango hit Cole with a slingshot wheelbarrow elbow drop. Cole broke up the pin. Cole caught Breeze with a kic and Breeze came back with a lariat.

Dunne, O’Reilly, and Lorcan showed up to beat up O’Reilly. The commentators pointed out that O’Reilly is injured. Balor ran out to prevent Lorcan and Burch from driving O’Reilly’s face into the steel pillar. Dunne and Crew got the upper hand after Dunne slammed O’Reilly’s head into the plexiglass. This distracted Cole a bit. Cole missed a Panama Sunrise. Breeze went for a dive, but Cole recovered and caught Breeze with a superkick for the victory.

Adam Cole and Roderick Strong defeated Tyler Breeze and Fandango via pinfall in 11:57

[Overrun] Adam Cole went next to O’Reilly to hold fort and keep away the heels that attacked him. Cole yelled for some medics to show up and the backstrage crew showed up to check up on Kyle. Replays from the match aired. The show closed with Balor gritting his teeth in anger at the heels that were gloating at the top of the stage….

John’s Thoughts: Not much of a match, but more of an angle built to build sympathy around Kyle O’Reilly’s jaw. It was simple storytelling and I think it worked to some extent in that NXT is trying to build up Undisputed Era as sympathetic after them being cocky heels for years. It was fine. The right team went over too because I don’t see any benefit pushing Breezango in their current iteration, even as enhancement dudes. UE moving forward means we won’t go on a month-to-month draught without UE on TV.

The show wasn’t as noteworthy as last week, but NXT was back to their usual solid booking formula of developing storylines. Tournaments in pro wrestling allow the company to go into auto-pilot and not lose any steam. Tournament arcs automatically tell a story by themselves so it’s always good to throw those in every so often. A solid show top to bottom, with the highlight probably being the debut of the formal Rascal Duo of MSK (whatever the hell that stands for?).

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