5/25 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship, Franky Monet’s in-ring debut, Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon for a shot at the NXT Women’s Tag Titles, Ted DiBiase and Cameron Grimes face-off segment

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

NXT TV 
Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired May 25, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] A teaser aired for the Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor NXT Championship match…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary and checked in from ringside. Alicia Taylor was the ring announcer. All three commentators yelled in order to speak over the crowd and background music. Vic Joseph also made sure to drop his contractually obligated line of saying that NXT has the “best women’s division in the world”…

1. Dakota Kai and NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon. Shotzi went for an early sleeper, but she was quickly slammed by Raquel. Raquel shrugged off all of Shotzi’s offense, forcing a tag from Ember. Ember went for a crossbody but was caught out of the air. Shotzi reversed the move with a huracanrana. Moon got a few two counts off Gonzalez through rollups. Moon went for another crossbody, but was caught again.

Kai tagged in and hit Moon with a senton. Blackheart tagged in and rallied against Kai. Blackheart hit Kai with a reverse sling blade. Moon and Blackheart traded quick tags to dominate Kai and isolate her from Gonzalez. Shotzi locked Kai in a Texas Cloverleaf. Gonzalez dragged Kai to her corner and tagged herself in. Gonzalez hit Kai with a series of elbow drops heading into the regular commercial break.[c]

Moon and Gonzalez caught fresh tags with Moon getting the better of Gonzalez with a dropkick and discus forearm. Moon hit Gonzalez with a Magnum. Moon dodged a Face Wash from Kai, but not Gonzalez’s Yakuza Kick. Kai and Gonzalez hit Moon with the double team GTK finisher. Blackheart broke up Kai’s subsequent pin. Blackheart tagged in and caught Kai with knees and a question mark kick. Blackheart hit Kai with a facebuster for a two count. Blackheart took out Kai with a crossbody.

Moon locked Kai in a modified STF, but Gonzalez yanked Moon off. Gonzalez went for her finisher, but Moon reversed it into a Stundog Millionaire. Moon and Blackheart hit a double team front face slam for the victory.

Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon defeated Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez via pinfall in 7:46 of on-air time.

Gonzalez got salty after the match and attacked Moon and Blackheart afterward. Gonzalez treated Blackheart like a battering ram by slamming her against the ringpost and plexiglass barricade. Kai was kneeing Moon into the bottom buckle. Gonzalez snake eyed Blackheart on the ringside barricade…

The show cut to Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher backstage for a promo. Both men addressed being attacked by the Grizzled Young Veterans last week and how they expect another war with GYV soon. The promo ended with Ciampa looking angry while Thatcher said he would love breaking the limbs of Zack Gibson and James Drake…

A hype vignette aired for Bobby Fish vs. Pete Dunne which will happen after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Really well worked and logical tag match (bonus points for Shotzi not wiping out which I fear in most of her matches). As much as I would like to see Kai and Gonzalez get a run towards the titles, I don’t mind NXT keeping some steam behind Moon and Blackheart in order to bolster up their women’s tag division and not set up Moon and Blackheart as enhancement so soon after losing the tag belts. This loss can also add fuel to the eventual breakup between Kai and Gonzalez in what should be very Shawn Michaels and Diesel esque. I still would like to see Kai and Gonzalez get a tag title program before the breakup though because Kai and Gonzalez are arguably the best women’s tag team over the last two years.

Finn Balor was shown entering the WWE Performance Center. They also showed Karrion Kross and Scarlett entering the PC…

Entrances for the next match took place. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan came out first. Next, was Bobby Fish who debuted new entrance music as well as a new video wall (which featured his old fishbones motif)…

2. Pete Dunne (w/Oney Lrocan) vs. Bobby Fish. Fish was aggressive early on, working on Dunne with his Muay Thai and distanced strikes. Dunne ended Fish’s momentum with a strong right hand after the referee tried to slow down Fish. Dunne worked on Fish with his signature joint manipulation. Barrett pointed out that Dunne was focusing his attack on the arm where Bobby Fish had his tricep surgery. Fish managed to counter Dunne’s punch with a Fujiwara Armbar. Fish lifted up Dunne and slammed him into the top rope. Fish dumped Dunne to ringside with Muay Thai knees. The show cut to commercial.[c]

Dunne worked on Fish with joint manipulation. Fish slammed Dunne into the corner for a bit of a rally. Fish planted Dunne with a spinebuster and gave Dunne some Jujitsu strikes on the ground. Fish went for a sleeper, but Dunne broke the hold by wishboning Fish’s fingers. Dunne gave Fish a knee drop on his injured right elbow. Fish retreated to ringside and even tossed Dunne into the barricade. Fish, while selling the arm, walked right into an enzuigiri from Dunne.

Dunne went for a Kimura Lock, but Fish reversed it into a Exploder Suplex into the bottom rope. Dunne and Fish traded Muay Thai clinch knees. Dunne crumpled after Fish kneed him in the liver. Dunne recovered because Fish was selling the arm. Fish took Dunne back down with a modified Zig Zag. Fish went for joint manipulation on Dunne, but Dunne powered out and hit Fish with the Bitter End for the clean win.

Pete Dunne defeated Oney Lorcan via pinfall in 8:40 of on-air time.

Oney Lorcan attacked Fish after the match and tossed Fish bicep-first into the turnbuckle. Lorcan yelled that he wants to put Fish back on the shelf. Lorcan used the apron as fulcrum as he bent Fish’s elbow on it. The referees sent Lorcan and Dunne to the back, but not before Lorcan could hit Fish with a punt to the elbow. Dunne made sure to do his signature shrug on his way out…

A vignette aired which spotlighted Bronson Reed’s North American title win…

Backstage, Mercedes Martinez cut a promo. Martinez talked about how she was starting her road back to the title. For some reason, Boa was standing in the back of the hallway looking like a creeper…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Good match. I’m surprised they went with Fish vs. Dunne before they did Fish vs. Lorcan given how protective they’ve been of Dunne over the past few months, meaning this was a foregone conclusion as to Dunne continuing to look dominant. They’re definitely setting up Dunne for something? Probably to lose to a big babyface? Kyle O’Reilly? To me, this is reminiscent of the Bobby Lashley push on the main roster. Speaking of Bobby’s, the end of the match definitely means they’re going to do Lorcan vs. Fish next, but why in this odd order? Maybe they have their reasoning.

The show cut to Hit Row, in Isaiah Scott’s recording studio. B-Fab started off the promo by referencing Takashi SixNine’s Big Mad. Ashanti Adonis talked about how he was going to knock Kushida back to the future. Top Dollar and Isaiah Scott also dropped a few lines. Even mentioning how Hit Row will be coming after the North American and Tag Team titles…

Mercedes Martinez got a televised entrance for the next match…

3. Mercedes Martinez vs. Zayda Ramier. Ramier got to rally a bit with a few forearms and an enzuigiri on Martinez. After a pin attempt by Ramier, Gonzalez quickly regained control after a series of suplexes, topped off with a Butterfly Suplex. Martinez got a two count. Martinez locked Ramier in a Dragon Sleeper. Ramier rolled up Martinez for a two count. Martinez came right back with a spinebuster on Ramier for a two count.

Ramier hit Martinez with a huracanrana right into a sleeper, but Martinez got to her feet and rammed Ramier into the buckle to break the hold. Ramier blocked a superplex attempt, but Martinez body slammed Ramier off the top rope. Martinez took down Ramier with a drive by knee. Martinez finished off Ramier with an Air Raid  Crash and then a pin.

Mercedes Martinez defeated Zayda Ramier via pinfall in 3:27. 

After the match the lights went black. When the lights came on, there was red lighting and a glimpse of Mei Ying of Tian Sha on the LED. The regular lighting was restored and Mercedes Martinez saw a chinese character written in ink on the back of her wrist out of nowhere…

Ted DiBiase was shown chatting with Toni Storm backstage. Robert Stone tried to chat with DiBiase, but Dibiase just walked away doing his signature Million Dollar Man laugh…[c]

John’s Thoughts: The whole magic symbol thing may be a bit hokey, but as a former magician who performed street magic, I can tell ya that getting that symbol on someone’s hand without them noticing is totally possible practically. Anyway, magic lesson aside, it looks like they’re setting up Martinez to gatekeep against Tian Sha. I wonder if it’s against Mei Ying or Xia Li?

WWE’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month video aired featuring former WWE Women’s Champion Asuka…

[Hour Two] Cameron Grimes made his entrance wearing a suit, but also shirtless under his jacket. Before Grimes could even get a word out, he was interrupted by the “Money Money Money Money Money” theme of the Million Dollar Man. Ted DiBiase made his entrance and confronted Grimes in the ring. The CWC gave both men dueling “DiBiase” and “To the Moon” chants. Grimes acted serious and asked Ted why Ted was coming after him. Grimes mentioned how he wasn’t always rich and got rich recently.

Grimes said he looked up to Ted and learned that you can treat people like crap and people will still like you because you have money. That popped the crowd. Grimes talked about being disappointed to meet his idol. Ted told Cameron that he and Cameron have a lot in common. Ted said the reason he put Cameron through hell was because he sees a little bit of himself in Cameron. Ted said he’s here because he’s looking for the individual that embodies the Million Dollar Legacy (poor Ted Jr.). Ted said that Grimes has got it, but ever since Grimes has got rich he lost focus.

Ted’s promo was cut off by LA Knight making his entrance. Knight started off with his signature “let me talk to ya” catchphrase. Knight said he was here to give Ted a million dollar opportunity. Knight said he is the man that can get the done. Knight ran through a few of his catchphrases including his signature “yeah”. Knight said he’s gold while Grimes just got randomly rich off virtual money. Grimes tried to cut off Knight, but Ted wanted to hear Knight out. Knight called the fans “incels”. Knight then asked who’s game is it? “L A Knight”.

Ted said he’s seen Knight travel the world and gain success, even leading to potential success in NXT. Ted said Knight even has a million dollar body. Grimes said he understands that Knight is ripped, but he’s no Cameron Grimes. Grimes told Knight to get out of the ring or else he’s going to kick Knight’s ass “to the moon”. When Grimes turned his back to talk to Ted, Knight planted Grimes with the Blunt Force Trauma. Ted stood over Grimes and told Grimes “Kid? You’re just not gonna get it are ya? HAHAHAHAHAHA!”. Ted Dibiase’s theme played as Knight and DiBiase walked up the ramp…

Vic Joseph hyped up Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor 2 as the main event of the show. The camera then showed Franky Money and her Pomeranian backstage. Barrett hyped Monet’s debut after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: An interesting segment that got a tad more serious than I expected given how clownshoes Grimes has been for years. Don’t get me wrong, this segment was still comedic in nature, but we saw a little bit of a taste as to how a serious Cameron Grimes can be portrayed. I have to say, Grimes seemingly won over the crowd against the popular legend in Ted. LA Knight is a great opponent for Grimes to face if they are thinking of finally flipping the switch on Grimes towards being more serious. Grimes has had main event in-ring ability, as we’ve seen for years. This might be a taste of Grimes as a credible top babyface (which, he might have an easier time than Kyle O’Reilly if O’Reilly continues to be way out there with his goofy attire. I kid, I kid). Either that, or Grimes gets locked into the mid-card. Ya’ll know how pro wrestling works!

A commercial aired for NXT Takeover In Your House…

The WWE Vaccination PSA aired…

McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Indi Hartwell backstage, but she was busy looking for her bae Dexter Lumis. She ran into Ever Rise, Matt Martel and Chase Parker, and got into an argument due to Ever Rise trying to shill their merch. Drake Maverick showed up and pointed Hartwell in the direction of a dark room. When Indi turned on the lights, the black walls were covered in Lumis’ caricature paintings representing his broken heart. There were pictures of broken hearts and one picture even had Lumis in caricature form, getting stabbed with a night through the heart bleeding profusely (a little bit more violent than I would expect on WWE TV?)…

John’s Thoughts: Yoooo! This was the first time I’ve every cared about the Dexter Lumis character! Poor guy!

Franky Monet made her entrance. No Pomeranian though (I totally understand why, Momma’s gotta wrestle)…

4. Franky Monet vs. Cora Jade. Monet slammed Jade to the mat and did her signature “Wera Loca” catchphrase. Barrett noted that Monet is trilingual due to wrestling in Mexico. Monet hit Jade with her signature hip attack and meteoras against the buckle. Monet hit Jade with knee lifts and kicks, topping it off with a crossbody block. Jade got a few forearms in on Monet while Monet was gloating.

Jade hit Monet with La Mistica into a Russian Legsweep. Monet came back with a Spear followed by a Blue Thunder Bomb. Monet hit Jade with the Road to Valhalla for the victory. Beth referenced how the Road to Valhalla is essentially Beth’s Glam Slam.

Franky Monet defeated Cora Jade via pinfall in 3:11. 

Zack Gibson and James Drake cut a promo backstage in response to Ciampa and Thatcher’s promo from earlier. They talked about how they are done with Ciampa and Thatcher, but not MSK because MSK have the belts and that’s why they traveled over seas. Drake mocked MSK and went right into his usual “soon to be recognized” schtick…

New North American Champion Bronson Reed was hyped for after the break. The cameras showed NA Champion Reed and Cruiserweight Champion Kushida at a photoshoot for WWE.com heading into the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A simple and effective debut for the former Taya Valkyrie. As much as I would like to see Taya and her husband John Morrison shine on the main roster, Monet is one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world and NXT is the best place to showcase that world class talent. This match didn’t give away anything as to her first feud, but it was a good intro to her moveset.

An Imperium vignette aired where WALTER addressed expelling Alexander Wolfe from Imperium as Imperium expelling weakness. Walter cut a promo in both English and German  telling Barthel and Aichner to step things up. Walter, in German, said that the ring is sacred…

“The Colossal” Bronson Reed made his entrance with his title belt and wearing formal attire. Joseph hyped up Reed appearing on Corey Graves’s podcast this week. Reed grabbed a mic for a promo as he soaked in “you deserve it” chants. Reed said it took him 14 years to get to this point and it wasn’t an easy road. Reed said it wasn’t just climbing the mountain, but repeatedly falling and climbing up that same mountain. Reed said a lot of people told him he couldn’t do it, but this belt is proof that you don’t have to take no for an answer. You can grind things out and become a champion.

Reed said now what he has the belt, good luck trying to take the belt from him. Reed said while he had a big mountain to climb, everyone else has a “Colossal” mountain to climb. Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza made their entrance. Escobar joked that Reed’s speech was like a telenovela, getting tears from their eyes. Escoabar said he can’t relate to Reed because he was born a champion.  Escobar said the business belongs to him. Escobar said it’s not Reed’s mass that caught his eye, but the North American title. Escobar said he’s the emperor of Lucha Libre.

Escobar said he runs the bingo, which led to him taking the Cruiserweight title. Escobar said he dominated Mexico and North America. Wilde asked Escobar “what about Canada?”. Escobar told Wilde, “I told you! Canada doesn’t count!” (good line). Wilde agreed. Escobar said the North American title belongs to him and he’s about to take what’s his. Before Legado could jump Reed, Wes Lee and Nash Carter showed up and cleared the heels from the ring. Reed, Lee, and Carter stood tall while the heels backtracked up the ramp…

Finn Balor was shown warming up backstage…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Looks like they’re finally elevating Santos Escobar out of the Cruiserweight division. Thank God! This guy is heavyweight division money! Reed’s promo was a bit cheesy, but they’ve stressed over the last two weeks how genuine his journey is, to the point where it just elevates Reed as super-wholesome. Escobar was solid in setting up a feud against Reed with his solid promo. His “Canada doesn’t count” line was also very witty. It also looks like we’re getting a trios match between both trios in that segment because Wilde and Mendoza are feuding with MSK.

William Regal was shown sitting in his office. He announced Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano in a triple threat for Takeover: In Your House…

Entrances for the main event took place, complete with the cameras following the wrestlers through the hallway on the way to the ring. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions. Each man had a Tale of the Tape graphic for them during the introductions. The fan LED Board had Kross vs. Balor II on it during the introductions. The match started with 15 minutes left at the top of the hour…

John’s Thoughts: Did Heyman mentioning Roman Reigns foreshadow Balor losing and getting called back to Smackdown? We’ll see. If not, that was a nice red herring for people who read too much into things.

5. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. Kross was wearing the gladiator ring gear that he’s been wearing since his return from injury. Kross took down Balor with a knee. Kross tried to dump Balor to ringside, but Balor came back in and chop blocked Kross with a dropkick. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]

During the break, Kross and Balor were trading jujitsu holds from the ground game (why didn’t they show this on the full screen non-commercial?). Kross escaped an armbar with a body slam back from the break. Kross worked on Balor with methodical strikes in the corners, as well as some holds. Kross knocked Balor loopy with shortarm punches. Balor recovered and reversed the shortarm into an abdominal stretch. Balor got a two count after a shortarm elbow drop.

Kross recovered and tossed Balor into the corner. Kross made Balor crumple with a knee shot to the spine. Kross chucked Balor across the ring several times with suplexes. Balor rallied back, rolled up Kross, and hit Kross with a double stomp. Balor trapped Kross in the apron and pummeled him with strikes. Balor knocked Kross to the ringside mat with a PK from the apron. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]

Balor and Kross struggled to get to their feet. Kross lifted Balor and rammed him corner to corner. Kross hit Balor with a power slam for the two count. Balor used a boot to keep Kross at a distance. Balor reversed a power slam with a sling blade. Kross kicked out at one. Kross got into Balor’s face and gritted his teeth, but Balor rolled up Kross into a double stomp. Kross reversed Balor into the Kross jacket, but Balor got an arm to the bottom rope.

[Overrun] Barrett pointed out that the sleeper might have taken the wind out of Balor. Kross gave Balor a Razor’s Edge into the plexiglass. Balor reversed a power bomb into a DDT. Balor followed up with a sling blade and a lariat to dump Kross to ringside. Balor caught Kross with a Tope Con Hilo, but Kross no sold the flip dive. Kross gave  Balor a release Blue Thunder Bomb on the announce table. Balor recovered and tripped up Kross for another double stomp.

Balor took down Kross with a Shotgun Dropkick. Balor went for a Coup De Grace, but Kross rolled away. Kross rammed Balor into the corner and hit Balor with a German Suplex. Kross hit Balor with the Doomsday Saito. Balor reversed the Northern Forearm with a victory roll for a two count. Kross blocked Balor’s Crucifix Driver to prevent a pin. Kross mounted Balor’s back and gave Balor elbows to the back of the neck. Balor reversed the mount and rained elbows down on Kross.

Kross locked Balor in a Rear Naked Choke, causing Kross to fall to the mat in the hold. Kross escaped the hold, but Balor dragged Kross’s arm into a Koji Clutch. Kross teased fading away, but Kross powered up and power bombed Balor to break the hold. Balor and Kross hulked up with Kross following through with a lariat. Kross hit Balor with two Northern Forearms. Kross put the boots to the back of Balor’s neck. Kross put Balor in a sleeper hold. Balor passed out for the loss.

Karrion Kross defeated Finn Balor via ref stoppage in 22:22 to retain the NXT Championship.

Kross and Scarlett knelt in the center of the ring with the title as Balor rolled out of the ring to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: A solid television main event, but I did see some things that dragged this match down for me a bit. First of all, I thought the match was maybe 7 or so minutes too long? In fact, some of the picture-in-picture segments should have been in full screen, with Kross working more MMA in those picture-in-pictures. Via comparison, their takeover match was much better, tighter, and told a better story with Balor dominating 80% of that match from the position of the dominant world champion. Kross was solid again, but I still feel like he hasn’t lived up yet to the high in-ring storytelling expectations of past NXT top stars (O’Reilly and Balor’s series was arguably more compelling match-to-match).

It’s tough for Kross. Because of injuries and average first impressions, the guy is placed under a microscope by those expecting top quality main events from the guy with the rocket strapped to his back. As ya’ll know, I’m one of his biggest defenders and I’ve seen the guy work up to that expectation, it’s just he still hasn’t brought that over to NXT and we’re all starting to wonder if he’ll ever get there. Hey, the guy’s still champ. amd I’m still hoping for my fight pit with O’Reilly (and totally expect Gargano to take the fall to O’Reilly next week because I don’t think they’re having Dunne involved in the finish). All in all, solid week for NXT as usual, but I couldn’t help but have some criticisms of the Kross vs. Balor match, which was still solid. I’ll have more thoughts in my NXT Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.

 


Readers Comments (3)

  1. Could reDRagon be reuniting.. against Dunne and Gargano? Stretching it a little, but, who knows?

  2. “Pete Dunne defeated Oney Lorcan via pinfall in 8:40 of on-air time.”

    You mean Fish????

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