3/10 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship, Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women’s Championship, William Regal’s big announcements, Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter

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

NXT TV 
Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired March 10, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] The cameras showed Finn Balor, Adam Cole, Io Shirai, and Toni Storm entering the WWE Performance Center at different points of the day. The Show then cut to William Regal in the ring…

Regal talked about his two big announcements and then sent the show over to a video package. The video package introduced NXT Takeover: Stand and Deliver, which will be a two night Takeover show. The show then cut back to William Regal who mentioned that his 2nd announcement has to deal with the NXT Women’s Division. Regal asked the NXT Women’s roster to stand lined up on the entrance ramp. Regal talked about NXT having the best and hardest working women’s division in the world. Regal asked Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to enter the ring since they are the Dusty Classic winners.

Regal talked about feeling sick and disgusted at what happened to Kai and Gonzalez last week when they got screwed out of the tag team title match. Regal said he fought for WWE officials to help retify that, but WWE was taking too long to respond. Regal said he took action himself and are awarding Gonzalez and Kai the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship. Kai took the mic and went into heel mode, saying that NXT has the best women’s division in the world and they tore through everyone on the ramp. Gonzalez said this is just the beginning and Gonzalez and Kai will be champions for a long time.

Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon stepped up and entered the ring, cutting a promo along the way. Moon said that as champions, Kai and Gonzalez need challengers. Moon and Blackheart challenged Kai and Gonzalez to a match on this week’s episode. Regal said that Moon and Blackheart just made his job easy. Regal booked Kai and Gonzalez vs. Blackheart and Moon for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from the commentary table with Barrett returning to live commentary this week…[c]

John’s Thoughts: No Tuesday night announcement yet, but this was probably the top guess amongst people speculating what Regal’s huge announcement was going to be. It would have been nice for Kai and Gonzalez to pick up the WWE Tag Titles because it would have elevated the main roster, but this is Raw and Smackdown’s loss because Raw and Smackdown would have had some competent booking in what is a stale division (presumably if Kai and Gonzalez would have split time). Interesting thing about the Women’s Division in NXT is that this was almost done out of necessity. The division is so deep with literally the best women’s wrestling talent in the world. If Raw or Smackdown call up 5 or 10 wrestlers, NXT can start presenting people like Lacey Lane, Priscilla Kelly, Xia Brookside, some more people haven’t made TV yet. Heck they also have a line of developmental talent who are getting trained in the WWE PC.

Entrances for the NXT Women’s Championship match took place. Wade Barrett noted that this singles match was a rematch of the last WWE Mae Young Classic, which Toni Storm won.  Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the Championship match. Vic Joseph noted that Shirai is third behind Asuka and Shayna Baszler in terms of NXT Women’s Title reign length…

1. Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women’s Championship. Storm caught Shirai with a hip attack in the corner early on. Shirai came back by using a forearm to block Storm’s dive. Shirai hit Storm with a slingshot double boot. Shirai ducked a Storm move with a matrix dodge. Shirai ended up locking Storm in an Octopus Hold. Shirai broke the hold and worked on Storm’s lower back. Shirai went for a Asai Moonsault, but Storm yanked Shirai to ringside. Storm then tossed Shirai into the steel steps heading into picture-in-picture.[c]

Shirai hit Storm with a series of forearms and a flapjack. Shirai then followed up with a Slingshot dropkick. Shirai transitioned a victory roll into a double stomp. Shirai and Storm brawled to the top rope. Storm and Shirai tumbled. Storm hit Shirai with a lariat and German Suplex for a two count. Shirai went for another Matrix dodge but Storm reversed it into an elbow drop and basement lariat. Shirai halted Storm’s momentum by backdropping Storm on the apron. Shirai hit Storm with a beautiful Triangle Moonsault to ringside.

Storm recovered and hit Shirai with a sitout power bomb for a nearfall. Shirai hit Storm with a rising palm and then dragged Storm into a Crippler’s Crossface. Storm got the rope break, but got nailed by a meteora in the corner. Storm avoided Shirai’s finisher moonsault and hitShirai with her finisher, the Storm Zero. Shirai kicked out of the pin. Storm crashed and burned off a diving headbutt attempt. Shirai locked Storm in the Crossface for the tapout win.

Io Shirai defeated Toni Storm via pinfall in 11:58 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.

The show cut to Finn Balor sitting down and cutting a promo at a WWE PC office. Balor said Cole doesn’t have anyone to back him up this week and he’ll have to go against Balor one-on-one this week. Balor hyped up his title defense for this week’s episode…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A well wrestled match that would have been nice on a Takeover, but the interest level was held back big time due to the short-ish match length and even more importantly the lack of credibility for Toni Storm. I almost felt like this was a missed opportunity because they had a good story to tell with Toni Storm “having Shirai’s number” with Shirai not having a singles win over Storm in WWE over the last five years, but they breezed through that quickly. I guess it’s back to the drawing board with Toni Storm, but what do you do with her now (and this has been one of the biggest mysteries in all of pro wrestling because Toni Storm’s talent and charisma made her look like a sure-bet when coming into WWE and for some reason she struggles on NXT US to get over).

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed LA Knight about his actions on NXT last week. LA Knight ran through all his Eli Drake catchphrases. Right when he got to the “that is not an insult, that is just a fact of life”, he was attacked by Bronson Reed. The referees pulled the two men apart…

Jake Atlas made his entrance. He now has R&B based entrance music. His opponent was Pete Dunne…

2. Pete Dunne (w/Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch) vs. Jake Atlas. Atlas used a lot of gymnastics to reverse Dunne’s initial chain wrestling. Beth Phoenix noted that even though Atlas calls himself an introvert, he uses wrestling to break out of his shell. Phoenix noted that Atlas’s favorite wrestler is Trish Stratus. Dunne got his hands on Atlas and got in some of his signature Joint Manipulation. Atlas hit Dunne with a dropkick and a triangle arndrag. Dunne reversed a huracanrana into a PK. Dunne fishhooked Atlas. Dune then went back to the joint manipulation.

Atlas got to his feet and landed a few strikes on Dunne. Atlas hit Dunne with a few big boots. Dunne tried to lock in a Kimura but Atlas came back with more strikes and a standing moonsault for a two count. Dunne blocked a Tornado DDT attempt. Atlas came back with a lariat. Dunne tripped up Atlas when Atlas went for a Rainbow DDT. Dunne viscously stomped out Atlas and then wishboned his fingers. Dunne converted the wishbone into an armbar for the submission win.

Pete Dunne defeated Jake Atlas via submission in 4:24.

Dunne took the mic and said that this is the time of year where everyone steps up their game and now it’s time to step up against Dunne. Dunne said he made a name for himself in the UK and is the best technical wrestler in the world. Dunne then asked for someone to challenge him…

The camera cut to Marcel Barthel, Alexander Wolfe, and Fabien Aichner. Aichner talked about Timothy Thatcher once being a part of Imperium (Progress fans remember Thatcher as Barthel’s replacement in Ring-Kampf/Imperium) and how there’s a spot open for him in the group. Aichner said they’re looking out for Tim and they’ll allow Thatcher to ask Ciampa if he’s able to jump to the group…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A really efficient match with both Dunne and Atlas looking the best I’ve seen them in a long time. This might have been the cleanest match I’ve seen Atlas work because a lot of his athletic moves looked cleaner than usual (aside from that potentially botched Tornado DDT). Dunne looked like a dominant badass for the first time in a long time, and that’s WWE’s fault for booking him to lose so many matches after his multi-year undefeated streak. Dunne made things even better with his post match promo that makes for a good hook as to who is going to step up to face badass Dunne. I hope because it’s geared towards a “technical” wrestler, that it isn’t Roderick Strong. Strong and Dunne can wrestle a main event level match, but both men need a bit of rebuilding at this point in order for people to take a match between the two seriously.

Leon Ruff cut a selfie promo addressing Isaiah Scott calling him out last week. Ruff talked about holding things down in NXT opening matches and main events throughout the year (he even got a lot of main roster matches in 2020 too). Ruff said it will be soon time for Scott to have a “Ruff landing” (ugh)…

Entrances for the women’s tag team championship match. Shotzi Blackheart now has new entrance music that features a person saying “welcome to the ball pit”. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the championship match…

3. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship. Blackheart quickly locked Kai in a Cloverleaf to start the match. After about a minute, Kai got to the bottom rope for the break. Both women took each other out with jump kicks. The show cut to picture in picture.[c]

Gonzalez tossed Kai boot first into Blackheart to give Kai a two count on Blackheart. Kai worked on Blackheart with methodical offense, cutting the ring in half on Blackheart. Barrett noted how he thought Regal should have slapped Adam Pearce back to Raw for getting involved in a NXT match. Blackheart ducked Kai and then got the hot tag to Moon. Moon hit Kai with a hip toss, Senton, kick and facebuster for the two count. Moon hit Gonzalez with a Magnum Codebreaker.

[Hour Two] Blackheart gave Gonzalez a dive at ringside. Moon rolled up Kai for a two count. Kai slammed Moon into the second buckle and hit Moon with a Face Wash kick. Kai and Gonzalez hit Moon with their double team GTK. Moon kicked out of Gonzalez pin attempt. Gonzalez hit Moon with a nice looking Gory Special into a power bomb for a two count. Kai and Gonzalez went for another TK, but Moon slipped away and tagged in Blackheart. Blackheart hit Gonzalez with a huracanrana. Blackheart then hit Kai with a reverse Sling Blade. Blackheart hit Kai with a German Suplex for a two count.

Blackheart hit Kai with a draping reverse cannonball. Moon tagged in and hit Kai with a slingshot splash for a two count. Moon and Blackheart hit Kai with a double team flapjack. Moon tried to hit Gonzalez with the Eclipse, but Gonzalez blocked the move. Kai ended up dumping both Gonzalez and Kai to ringside. Blackheart rolled up Kai into a jackknife pin for the surprise win.

Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon defeated Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez via pinfall in 12:16 to become the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. 

Vic said to “let the celebration in the ball pit begin”. Moon and Blackheart celebrated their tag team title win…

Adam Cole cut a promo backstage. Cole said all he did a few weeks ago was put O’Reilly in his place. Cole said that he stomped out Strong when Strong tried to be a tough guy. Cole said UE is only over when Cole says it’s over. Cole said he’s just getting rid of dead weight. Cole said it has always been all about the NXT Championship. Cole said that people saw Balor as the best NXT Champion before Cole showed up and took that title. Cole talked about having a dominant reign. Cole said you haven’t seen nothing yet in terms of what Cole’s second reign is going to end up being…

Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter was announced for after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A surprising finish and a short 1 hour championship reign for Kai and Gonzalez. I did have an inkling that Kai and Gonzalez might not be long for the titles when they both still come out with different entrance music, but it was still surprising that they pulled the belts off them their first night in. My guess is that NXT is going back to their initial plan of setting Gonzalez and Shirai on a collision course. I hope they aren’t going with the breakup or callup of Kai and Gonzalez this soon because I feel there’s so much they can do with arguably the best women’s tag team in all of pro wrestling (including an epic breakup down the road).

The show cut to Blackheart and Moon walking backstage where they were awaited by applause from the babyface Women’s locker room. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell looked with disgust backstage. They then ran into Johnny Gargano who found Austin Theory backstage. Theory asked Gargano why Gargano paid the Therapist. Gargano said that Therapists cost money. Theory said “good point”. Theory then acted sad over finding out that Dexter Lumis doesn’t like him. Gargano then reminded Theory that Lumis thinks that Theory’s abs are mediocre. This fired up Theory who hulked up and ripped off his shirt. The Way walked away with Theory being hyped up…

John’s Thoughts: The Way continue to be a highlight of this show every week. While not for everyone, Theory’s hammy acting and man-child gimmick cracks me up.

A WWE Women’s History Month charity video package aired…

Kayden Carter was already in the ring while Xia Li, Boa, and Mei Ying got their highly produced entrance. No weapon for Li this week, Li did a unarmed Wushu demo before her match…

4. Xia Li (w/Boa, Mei Ying) vs. Kayden Carter. Carter hit Li with a dropkick right when the bell rang. Li got control immediately after with strikes. Carter then came back and got Li to the mat with a running wrecking ball kick. Li recovered and worked on Carter’s knee. Kacy Catanzaro showed up at ringside on crutches. Joseph noted that Catanzaro has a torn LCL. Li focused her attack on Carter’s ankle and told Catanzaro “This is for you”. Kacy then lifted up one of her crutches and bashed Xia with it to provoke the DQ.

Xia Li defeated Kayden Carter via DQ in 2:09.

Catanzaro continued to beat down Li with the crutch. Boa then got in the way and threw Catanzaro’s weapon aside. Mei Ying ordered Boa to “crush” Catanzaro, but Boa was blindsided and knocked down by Kayden Carter.

The show cut to a selfie promo by NXT UK Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin. Devliin talked about how he’s getting tired of the Ireland weather and you can’t have the largest Takeover without the Cruiserweight Champion. Devlin talked about how the Ireland Travel Ban is lifted and he’s coming to the US to confront Santos Escobar and find out who the real Cruiserweight Champion really is…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Poor Boa can’t catch a break. Of the four women in that segment, three of them have either kicked his ass or got the upper hand over him (He also got manhandled by Raquel Gonzalez). The Mei Ying storyline continues to be a fun side story in NXT and I’m looking forward as always for the next chapter. What was even bigger news is Jordan Devlin vs. Santos Escobar being on the horizon. Devlin has that hard hitting UK style and Escobar can have a great match against anyone (I argue that Escobar is one of the best “technical” wrestler in the world with the world’s best Suicide Dive). The only weird part, we’re getting another Santos Escobar heel vs. heel feud? Escobar is a babyface for me at least for whooping the asses of dumbass strippers Tyler Breeze and Fandango.

A Zoey Stark documentary video package aired where she talked about her road to being signed by WWE. There wasn’t much unique to this package. She talked about being happy to be in WWE and how she’s a good wrestler…

Santos Escobar got in William Regal’s face at the Gorilla Position about Jordan Devlin calling himself “the real Cruiserweight Champion”. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza passed by them for their upcoming match. Zack Gibson and James Drake were their opponents. Gibson cut his usual walking promo, he said that Mendoza and Wilde are Escobar’s lapdogs, giving him massages and carrying his bags. Gibson said the GYVs have been having an Impact on the tag division. Gibson then went into his usual “Soon to be recognized..” schtick…

5. “Legado Del Fantasma” Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake. Legado were dominating the GYVs to start the match. To guys in astronaut suits showed up. Wilde thought it was Breeze and Dango. The antronauts took off their suits to reveal that they were Wes Lee and Nash Carter. This distracted James Drake which allowed Wilde to roll up Drake with a jackknife pin for the win.

Legado Del Fantasma defeated The Grizzled Young Veterans via pinfall in 1:41. 

MSK beat down the GYVs at ringside. Tyler Breeze and Fandango then showed up and beat down Wilde and Mendoza. Breeze and Dango were wearing denim jeans. After the heels went off, Dango and Nash Carter danced and swung their hips together for some reason…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Gonzalez was ranting about losing the titles. Io Shirai showed up and tol Gonzalez that she wants Gonzalez next. Gonzalez told Shirai “be careful what you wish for, chica”…

Finn Balor and Adam Cole were shown heading to the ring…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A bit of a confusing segment with all the parties involved. The heel vs. heel Legado vs. GYV match was already confusing. I thought they were turning Legado face with Gibson’s promo and MSK involvement, but then Breezango show up looking like babyfaces. Can we just break up Breezango because these guys and their stripper gimmick jumped the shark years ago.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Thatcher and said that Imperium is trying to recruit Thatcher and Ciampa. Ciampa said he rejects the offer, but he’s more interested in their general overseas, Walter. Ciampa then said he wants a match against Imperium instead of joining them. Ciampa proposed he and Thatcher face Imperium next week…

Austin Theory vs. Dexter Lumis, Isaiah Scott vs. Leon Ruff, and LA Knight’s NXT (re-) debut were announced for next week…

Adam Cole made his entrance to Undisputed Era’s entrance music. Vic Joseph noted that Cole is wearing the same gear he wore when he last won the NXT world title. Finn Balor came out next. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the championship match…

6. Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. Both men mirrored each other’s moves to start the match, ending with Balor getting Cole in a side headlock. Cole escaped and both men had a stalemate standoff heading into the picture-in-picture commercial.[c]

Balor caught Cole with a front dropkick, leading to a Half Nelson. Cole escaped and Balor took him back down with a elbow strike. Cole knocked Balor off the apron with a high boot. Cole then threw Balor into the plexiglass fence. Both men traded reversals in the ring. Balor hit Cole with an Eye of the Hurricane for a two count. Cole hit Balor with a pump kick. Joseph noted that Balor was selling his jaw. Balor caught Cole with a suplex at ringside heading into the next picture-in-picture.[c]

Cole countered a Bloody Sunday into a Ushigoroshi for a two count. Balor ducked a Panama Sunrise and hit Cole with a Sling Blade and Shotgun Dropkick. Cole dodged a Coup De Grace and Hit Balor with a Superkick to the jaw. Balor kicked out while having his hand clasped on the jaw. Cole locked Balor in a crossface and used an aligator roll to drag Balor to the center.

[Overrun] Balor initially escaped the move, but Cole got Balor back in the Crossface. This time, Balor got to the bottom rope for the break. Cole made sure to let go after five seconds. Balor hit Cole with ground and pound and an inside-out lariat. Cole escaped a Bloody Sunday and hit Balor with a shin kick. Cole hit Balor with the Last Shot. Balor kicked out of Cole’s finisher at two. A “this is awesome” chant ensued. Cole hit Balor with a Panama  Sunrise (Canadian Destroyer). Balor kicked out of the subsequent pin.

Balor tossed Cole over the top rope when Cole went for another Last Shot. Cole was recovering on teh barricade, when Kyle O’Reilly all of a suddenly showed up in the crowd area in street clothes. Balor hit a distracted Cole with a Tope Con Hilo, 1916, and Coup De Grace for the pinfall win.

Finn Balor defeated Adam Cole via pinfall in 20:07 to retain the NXT Championship.

O’Reilly entered the ring in slacks and a denim jacket. Cole tried to beg for mercy. Right when Cole was about to go for the low blow, O’Reilly caught Cole’s arm and pulled off Cole’s UE armband. O’Reilly then pummeled Cole with ground and pound. Cole quickly ducked to ringside, but O’Reilly remained in pursuit. Drake Wuertz tried to hold O’Reilly back, but he was shoved to the ground.

O’Reilly tossed Cole corner to corner on against the barricades. O’Reilly yelled at Cole for trying to end his career. The referees saved Cole from getting Brainbustered into the stairs. O’Reilly broke away and chased Cole to the back…

The camera cut to Finn Balor in the ring. The camera then panned around to show Karrion Kross in the ring with him. Balor told Kross “what took you so long?”. The show closed with a Balor and Kross face off…

John’s Thoughts: A very meaty final half hour of the show that set a lot of things in motion. The match was your usual Adam Cole takeover faire, complete with many finisher kickouts. In fact, I think they went a little bit too overboard with Balor kicking out of all of Cole’s finishers, but at the same time that’s what was needed to elevate the energy of the match. Plus, NXT doesn’t overdo the false finishes like a lot of Indie or foreign companies do. I think Cole was protected enough in the end. He landed all his finishers on Balor and lost due to the O’Reilly distraction. Solid stuff. It also looks like they’re finally building towards the expected Balor vs. Kross Wrestlemania Week match that we all expected.

I can only defend Kross  to you guys so many times, but at the same time I would expect that Balor can be a very good opponent to bring out the best out of Kross. As Jason Powell and I keep hyping up, Kross is at his best when he’s able to wrestle more of a realistic, brutal, violent, and practical style. If everything falls in line, I feel like Kross can be the next Minoru Suzuki with the perfect combination of violence, character, and presence (not to mention, Kross is extremely affluent on his promos. This week’s NXT,  great show with many meaningful moments. I think they might have went with too many and could have maybe had the Women’s Tag Team Title match on next week’s show given how dry that show is looking, but at the same time I understand that they want to get to Io Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez as soon as possible.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. Not sure why everyone thinks NXT would move nights. Yes I’ve seen the speculation but the point to bringing it to USA was to keep eyes off of AEW. Sure they lose almost every week but it’s still 600,000 to 800,000 less watching AEW live

    • That’s not what’s happening. NBC is shutting down the NBCSN channel and moving the sports content to their other networks. NHL hockey will be on Wednesday night on USA, so NXT had to move.

      With that said, it will likely be short term as the NHL is moving back to the ESPN platforms starting next season, so it’s probably just a 3-4 month move.

  2. “Plus, NXT doesn’t overdo the false finishes like a lot of Indie or foreign companies do.”

    No they just have every other match finish because of a distraction, like the rest of WWE programming.

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