2/3 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Royal Rumble winner Edge’s appearance, Santos Escobar vs. Curt Stallion for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match, additional Dusty Classic matches


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

Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired February 3, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] This week’s NXT started out with a narrated teaser which hyped up this week’s matches as well as recapping last weeks show…

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

1. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro in a semi-final match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Kacy and Kayden got a picture-in-picture promo before the match where they talked about their shocking win in the first round. Kai toyed with the smaller Catanzaro to start the match. Catanzaro dragged Kai to her corner and tagged in Carter where her team swarmed Kai for a two count. Kai tripped Carter and dragged her to her corner by the hair. Gonzalez tagged in and overpowered Carter. All four women got in the ring to face off. Gonzalez managed to clear her opponents to ringside.

Carter caught Gonzalez with a dropkick. Catanzaro tagged in and was caught at ringside by Gonzalez. Gonzalez military pressed Catanzaro. Kai tagged in with an assisted leg drop. Kai got a two count. Kai dominated Catanzaro for a stretch. Catanzaro took down Kai with a leg scissors. Gonzalez and Carter tagged in with Carter dominating Gonzalez with strikes and a corner dropkick. Carter hit Gonzalez with a tightrope dropkick. After more offense, Gonzalez kicked out of a pin attempt at one. The show cut to PIP commercial when Carter got shoved into the announce table. [c]

Kai missed an axe kick on Carter which allowed Catanzaro to get the hot tag, taking down Kai with a huracanrana. Catanzaro climbed up the ringside steel pillar to nail both opponents with a crossbody. Catanzaro caught her opponents with a crossbody. Carter tagged in and walked into a Scorpion kick from Kai. Gonzalez tagged in and military pressed Carter into a Pele Kick by Kai. Carter kicked out of Gonzalez’s pin at two.

Carter piggy backed Gonzalez and landed clubbing blows. Gonzalez escaped. Carter hit Gonzalez with a rope draped no-hands Pedigree. Catanzaro hit Gonzalez with a draping lag drop. Catanzaro hit Gonzalez with her crazy looking Inverted Red Arrow. Kai broke up the pin. Kai took care of Carter at ringside, allowing Gonzalez to hit Catanzaro with her Uranage finisher for the victory.

Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai defeated Kazy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter in 13:01 to advance to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

The graphic showed that Kai and Gonzalez will face either Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon or Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from ringside. Vic Joseph congratulated Wade Barrett for becoming a US citizen by giving him a picture of Jim Duggan and a mini apple pie as a gift…

Toni Storm was interviewed by Smackdown interviewer, Alyse Ashton. Storm talked about how she stood tall a few weeks ago and will stand tall over Shirai and Martinez as champion at the Takeover Vengeance show. She said she’s going to display her dominance tonight…

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory were shown heading to the ring…[c]

John’s Thoughts: My opinion of course, but that match came off as one of the best tag team matches on NXT TV since The Revival made that one-off in a match against O’Reilly and Fish right before Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler left for AEW. That was great stuff. Not only that, but that was one of WWE’s best overall women’s tag team matches ever since they came up with women’s tag team titles. Gonzalez and Kai are finally getting a chance to showcase their chemistry in meaningful fashion with this tournament. Not only that, but Carter and Catanzaro really gained credibility through this tournament. Catanzaro’s long tenure in NXT is finally starting to pay off. She’s finally looking like a female John Morrison in terms of using her parkour asset to stand out. Does Gonzalez and Kai winning tip off that Moon and Blackheart end up winning the other semi-final to put together a proper heel vs. babyface matchup?

William Regal was shown congratulating Edge on his Royal Rumble win backstage…

Leon Ruff was already in the ring for the next match. Austin Theory finally has new and non-generic entrance music. It was hip hop themed with Gargano’s theme as the leitmotif…

2. Austin Theory (w/Johnny Gargano) vs. Leon Ruff. Theory caught Ruff with a fallaway slam. Ruff came back with a dropkick. Theory recovered and hit Ruff with a belly to back suplex. Theory got a two count. Wade Barrett predicted that Theory will be a future NXT Champion. Theory manhandled Ruff as you would expect. Theory no sold Ruff’s initial victory roll attempt, but Ruff went for a second victory roll and got a two count. Ruff came back with quick strikes. Ruff took down Theory with a twisting dropkick.

Ruff caught Gargano with a kick off the apron. Ruff caught Theory with a missile dropkick. Theory ran the ropes to knock Ruff down. Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae ran out to try to help Gargano to his feet, but were taken to the back in a brawl with Blackheart and Moon. Leon Ruff flopped at ringside for the classic Eddie Guerrero flop to fool the referee into thinking that Gargano interfered. Drake Younger fell for it and sent Gargano to the back. Ruff hit Theory with his beautiful twisting springboard cutter for a two count. Theory quickly regained control with a snake eyes on the barricade. Theory hit Ruff with an ATL (TKO) for the victory.

Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff via pinfall in 6:16.

Theory hit Ruff with another ATL after the match. Theory tried to attack Ruff with the ring bell, but he got his hair pulled by Dexter Lumis who showed up out of nowhere. Theory forced himself from the grasp of Lumis and Lumis ended up ripping off a chunk of Theory’s hair as a trophy…

A promo package aired where Santos Escobar hyped up Legado Del Fantasma potentially winning all their matches on this episode of NXT. Escobar said LDF’s future is bright and the end is near for their opponents…[c]

John’s Thoughts: It looks like things are starting to come together for Austin Theory to the point where he’s even got real non-generic entrance music. He’s getting more creative attention these days than when he had that callup to Paul Heyman’s Raw brand. So far, he’s benefiting from being Johnny Gargano’s spiritual son and I’m looking forward to see how he develops and matures. I continue to like what I see from Leon Ruff too. He’s back to his losing ways, but NXT did a great job giving him that championship run which turned him into a credible opponent for other

A stylish vignette aired to tell the story of “Tian Sha”. The promo was narrated in ink-stroke style (similar to Okami). A woman told a story about Mei Ying selling her soul to a dragon for power to save the honor of her family. Mei Ying ended up defeating her evil brother in a war, only to end up as an evil ruler herself. Mei Ying was revealed as “Tian Sha”(?) to be the mystery leader of Boa and Xia Li when the ink graphics faded to the face of the leader on throne with Li and Boa flanking her…

John’s Thoughts: Welp. So this lady has dragon infused magic powers. As much as I like my pro wrestling to be as realistic as possible, the Jade buddha in my mom’s living room tells me that I shouldn’t be disrespecting these Chinese folk tales that I grew up being told.  Hey! Who’s saying that dragons can’t give you powers, or that monkey kings do exist?

Entrances for the next tag match took place…

3. “Legado Del Fantasma” Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza vs. “Lucha House Party” Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado in a Quarter-Final match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Mendoza and Wilde used quick tags to dominate the first stretch of the match over Dorado. Metalik tagged in and caught Mendoza with a crossbody. Wilde tagged in and took out Metalik at ringside. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

Metalik hit Mendoza with a Sunset Flip Bomb in the corner. Wilde and Dorado tagged in with Dorado having momentum. Dorado caught wilde with an armdrag. Dorado ran the ropes and hit Wilde with a diving crossbody for a two count. Dorado caught Wilde with a Lethal Injection for a two count. Metalik tagged in and got a two count after Mendoza broke up the pin. Dorado tagged in and tossed Mendoza to ringside. Wilde hit LHP with a nice looking springboard double DDT.

Dorado kicked out of the pin attempt. Metalik hit Wilde with a top rope huracanrana to ringside. Dorado hit LDF with a nice top rope Asai Moonsault to ringside. Dorado was tripped off the top rope. Legado Del Fantasma hit Dorado with their Legsweep-Leg Lariat combo to give Mendoza the win over Dorado.

Legado Del Fantasma defeated Lucha House Party via pinfall in 6:23 of on-air time to advance to the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

The graphic showed that Legado Del Fantasma will face MSK in the next round. Wes Lee and Nash Carter made their entrance to cut a promo on their opponents in the next round. Carter said that MSK was Michael Jackson while Legado are Tito. MSK continued to trash talk LDF, ending the promo with their M hand sign (Thank God they got rid of that dumb Rascalz hand sign, I’m guessing it’s because Alexa Bliss is using it now)…

Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch drove up to the Performance Center…[c]

John’s Thoughts: While the match was a good lucha-style match, I was more impressed that MSK got some promo time after the match to look like stars. MSK looked great with their playful trash talk. This is another example of Impact/TNA dropping the ball on home grown talents (look in the ring, Joaquin Wilde is a badass now!). Impact presented MSK as a skit comedy troupe with only one skit (That 70’s Show). There’s no guarantee that WWE gets things right with MSK, but so far they are presented as bigger deals than any point of their Impact run.

[Hour Two] Timothy Thatcher was doing weighted ball exercises while Tommaso Ciampa was tying up his boots backstage…

Dunne, Burch, and Lorcan made their entrance to the WWE PC arena. Dunne cut the promo for his group. He said he warned Finn Balor with a message, but Balor didn’t listen. Dunne said he ended up snapping Balor’s fingers as a result. Balor made his entrance, with his fingers taped up. Balor talked about how Pete Dunne is hiding behind two clowns. Dunne retorted by saying he doesn’t hide behind anyone. Dunne sent Lorcan and Burch to ringside. Dunne said Balor better hold on to the title because it’s his the next time he has a chance. Balor said he will have a chance at the title at the Valentines Day Takeover.

The 2021 Royal Rumble winner, Edge, made his entrance. Edge talked about watching NXT as a fan where he sees passion and fire in the wrestlers. Edge said NXT helped him find passion to get his back career after 9 years off. Edge said he used that passion to win the Royal Rumble. Edge said he can use his Rumble win to challenge any champion in WWE. Edge said he sees a lot in Pete Dunne good and bad and said he would shrug like Dunne ten years ago. Edge said he sees something in Balor too, with Balor being someone to watch.

Edge said he’s going to watch the Balor vs. Dunne match at Takeover because he’s never had the NXT Championship. Edge said if he still hasn’t made his choice at Takeover, the Balor vs. Dunne match might convince him to make his final choice…

Johnny Gargano was interviewed backstage by Alyse Ashton. Gargano cut off Alyse saying she asks stupid questions. Gargano kept hyping up his fellow Way team members. Ashton then asked Gargano about how he’s booked in a title defense against Kushida at Takeover. Gargano then freaked out because he’s afraid of the word “Kushida”…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A simple promo segment, but it was elevated to another level because Edge was involved. My guess is that the “if I still haven’t made my choice” line means he won’t be choosing the NXT Championship as his WrestleMania title shot, but it would be a cool surprise if  WWE does utilize Edge to elevate the NXT brand (Heck! His wife is the color commentator for the show). I won’t get my hopes up on that one. Putting Edge in this situation, almost makes me think that Pete Dunne has no chance to get that title (especially with Karrion Kross looming in the shadows). I do hope we get more promo work from Dunne to see if he can improve his status coming out of this feud with Balor. I also wouldn’t mind if WWE starts utilizing Pat McAfee again, because that guy is stellar.

Johnny Gargano was knocking on William Regal’s door saying that the new interview lady should be fired. Kushida opened the door saying that Regal was busy. This led to Gargano and Kushida brawling in the PC hallways. Steve Corino, William Regal, and the backstage staff pulled the rivals apart…

Jessi Kamea, Aliyah, and Robert Stone were already in the ring…

4. Toni Storm vs. Jessi Kamea (w/Aliyah, Robert Stone). Storm caught Kamea with a rope drape lariat. Jessi came back and Military Pressed storm in the corner, followed by a front kick. Storm kicked out at two. Kamea hit Storm with a rolling kick. Mercedes showed up and attacked both Kamea and Storm.

Toni Storm vs. Jessi Kamea ended in an apparent no-contest in 1:21. 

Martinez and Storm brawled in the ring. Io Shirai made her entrance after both women knocked each other to ringside. Shirai caught Storm and Martinez with a moonsault at ringside. Shirai stood tall with her title to close the segment…

Curt Stallion was backstage cutting a promo about his upcoming title match being the biggest moment of his life. Stallion said he has Escobar backed into a corner. Stallion said he’s the “Lone Star Stallion” and will make everyone in Texas proud…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Hey, we’re finally getting to know who Curt Stallion is and he’s doing an awesome job getting over that he’s a down-to-earth blue collar dude. He reminds me a bit of Marshall Von Erich in MLW where his promos are very simple, but very wholesome, making him very relatable to the everyman. Pro Wrestling is so filled with eccentric personalities, to the point where it’s refreshing to get more wholesome personalities. Wholesome Works! Just ask Drew McIntyre. Ask John Cena.

A Cameron Grimes highlight package aired to hype his return next week. They still focus on his “To the moon” catchphrase and goofy antics…

Curt Stallion was already in the ring. Vic Joseph hyped Edge’s appearance on Corey Graves’s podcast tomorrow. Alicia Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the Cruiserweight Championship match (nice touch). Vic Joseph noted that Escobar has been champion for over 245 days (which was usually the kiss-of-death flag when Michael Cole would say it)…

John’s Thoughts: My stream was acting up last week, but during my review I didn’t catch that the calling card that Escobar received was a Tarot card, revealing that he was the “Hierophant” that Scarlett was talking about. Escobar vs. Kross? That can be fun. I can vouch that Kross and Escobar have great chemistry because they have worked together for years in AAA, Lucha Underground, and now NXT. What will be odd is heel vs. heel feuds can be awkward, unless they are pulling a Damian Priest with Kross to randomly make him a badass babyface (which I’m not a huge fan of given NXT’s lack of monster heel big-men at top of the card).

5. Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza) vs. Curt Stallion for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Escobar pummeled Stallion with a handful of strikes. Stallion crumpled after a stiff slap from Escobar. Escobar worked on Stallion with a butterfly double wrist lock. Escobar ran the ropes and hit Stallion with a dropkick for a two count. Scarlett [Bordeaux] showed up standing on one of the NXT’s crow’s nests. Escobar hit Stallion with a meteora in the corner.

Escobar got a two count after a suplex. Escobar then flashed a smile at Scarlett. Escobar hit Stallion with a backbreaker. Escobar got distracted, which allowed Stallion to get a two count. The show cut to commercial with Escobar recovering at ringside.[c]

Escobar gave Stallion a backbreaker on the ring steps. Scarlett continued to make subtle and sensual poses on the podium. Escobar toyed with Stallion for a few minutes with submission maneuvers. Stallion caught Escobar with a German Suplex and a series of rolling elbows to finally get momentum. Stallion hit Escobar with a dive. Stallion hit Escobar with a top rope splash, leading to a couple of nearfalls. Escobar reversed Stallion by hitting Stallion with a snap Suplex.

Escobar got a two count on Stallion. Escobar hit Stallion with a jump kick and a Phantom Driver. Escobar hit Stallion with the Legado to pick up the win.

Santos Escobar defeated Curt Stallion via pinfall in 9:52 of on-air time to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. 

Wilde and Mendoza posed in the ring. Karrion Kross then made his entrance to ringside. Kross lawn darted Wilde into the plexiglass and then power bombed Mendoza into the plexiglass. Escobar was unfazed in the ring. Kross faced off with Escobar. Kross said he was going to give Escobar some time to think, to think about the inevitable. Kross then told Escobar to walk along and his tick tock catchphrase. Kross and Scarlett stood tall in the ring after Escobar went to ringside…

Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O Reilly, and the returning Bobby Fish were shown backstage…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Hmmm. This is interesting… I can’t say I’ve ever seen Kross work babyface aside from his two matches in MLW and that one time Disco Inferno called him a bald son of a b*tch in an Impact cinematic. Given my constant and justified defending of Kross, of course I’m confident that his solid promo ability and MMA moveset can make it work. That said, working face is something he hasn’t done most of his career given his nihilist presentation. But hey, NXT also has a Serial Killer babyface in Dexter Lumis/Sam Shaw running around, so maybe this can work.

Edge was interviewed in the parking lot. Edge said he hasn’t chosen yet but he wouldn’t tell if he did. Kross approached Edge, saying that it’s not Dunne or Balor that Edge should be worried, but rather Kross who will get back the title that he never loss.

NXT Vengence Day graphics aired Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne, Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez, and Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida with each match being a title defense for the respective titles involved…

Entrances for the next tag team match. Wade Barrett joked that Adam Cole stole his “Boom” catchphrase which both men used during their entrances…

6. “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole and Roderick Strong vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher in a quarterfinal match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Ciampa took down Cole with a shove and grounded headlock. Cole reversed a Fairy Tale ending into a jackknife pin attempt. Ciampa regained control with a side headlock. Cole got to his feet with Ciampa using quickness to dodge all of Cole’s strikes, leaving both men at a stalemate. Joseph acknowledged the main event history that Cole and Ciampa have. Thatcher and Strong tagged in and initiated their signature chain wrestling.

Strong had the initial momentum, but Thatcher got the dominant mount after wraping his thighs around the head of Strong. Strong got out and went back to the catch wrestling. Strong and Thatcher then traded strong style strikes. Strong dropkicked Thatcher to his corner to tag in the fresh Cole. Strong tagged back in. Thatcher was able to slow down Strong by doing a wide base headlock to prevent himself from takedowns. Ciampa tagged in and took Strong to the mat with a lariat.

Thatcher tagged in and hit Strong with a body slam and elbow drop for a two count. All four men ended up facing off in the ring. A brawl ensued heading into the picture in picture break.[c]

Ciampa and Thatcher cut the ring in half on Strong. Strong had a bit of a strike rally against Ciampa, but Ciampa took Strong down with a forearm. Thatcher tagged back in and the isolation continued.

[Overrun] Thatcher mounted Strong and gave Strong clubbing blows. Thatcher grinded Strong down with a headlock. Strong got to his feet by crawling against Thatcher’s pressure. Thatcher regained control by locking Strong in a rope assisted sleeper, which he had to break at 5. Strong and Thatcher brawled to the top rope, leading to Strong hitting Thatcher with a Superplex. Thatcher and Cole tagged in with Cole having momentum with a series of lariat. Cole hit Thatcher with a jump kick and Ushigoroshi Last Shot for a two count.

Joseph noted that the Ushigoroshi hurts Ciampa worse due to Ciampa’s neck problems. Ciampa reversed Cole’s moves and tagged in Thatcher. Cole tripped Thatcher and locked in a Figure Four while Strong locked Ciampa in a Stronghold. Ciampa escaped and broke Cole’s Figure Four. Strong reversed Thatcher’s armbar into a small package for a two count. Ciampa hit Strong with a stiff chest chop and German Suplex.

Ciampa tagged in and hit Strong with a German. Ciampa hit Strong with a running knee for a great nearfall after Thatcher sent Cole to ringside. Ciampa pummeled Strong with clubbing blows. Strong reversed a Fairy Tale Ending into an Angle Slam. Cole tagged in. UE hit Ciampa with a superkick-knee combo for a great nearfall on Ciampa. Cole and Strong went for a combo move, but Thatcher pulled Cole to ringside. Strong hit Thatcher with a backbreaker on the barricade. Ciampa surprised Strong with a Willow’s Bell for the victory.

Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher defeated Roderick Strong and Adam Cole via pinfall in 17:05 to advance to the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Vic Joseph noted that Timothy Thatcher taking the bullet for Ciampa led to his team winning. The graphic showed that Thatcher and Ciampa will wrestle Grizzled Young Veterans in the next round. Thatcher and Ciampa walked up to the Dusty trophy. Zack Gibson and James Drake showed up to confront their opponents in the next round. Regal and referees showed up anticipating a pull-apart brawl, they were right because a brawl ensued to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: A stellar tag-team match with the talent level living up to their credentials. This felt like an all-star match that could have happened in 2010 Ring of Honor given all the indie alums in this match. This was great start to finish and was given Takeover level time. Given Ciampa’s involvement and wrestling style, this match contained a lot of the setpieces and pacing that the DIY vs. FTR matches had back when Gargano and Ciampa were teaming. Ciampa is a tag team specialist and Thatcher’s unique realistic style was a good complement to their chemistry. Cole and Strong can’t have a bad match, so their greatness is expected.

This week’s NXT was a step up from the usual formula in that every segment felt like a step up from the usual formula that NXT does week-to-week. The show was book-ended with two next-level tag team matches, matches we haven’t seen since the time when NXT had actual developed tag teams on the roster. Royal Rumble winner Edge made things interesting by setting up potential feuds throughout the show in the main event (Of course, I totally expect them to just be teases because WWE doesn’t see NXT on the level of Raw and Smackdown). Jason Powell will be by tomorrow with his thoughts on NXT via a hit list. Dot Net Members will get a chance to hear my audio review of the show, which should be out sometime tomorrow.

NXT on USA Poll: Grade the February 3 edition

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. “Impact presented MSK as a…”

    You didn’t finish your thought. So, how were they presented?

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