By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped July 21, 2021 in Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired August 3, 2021 on Syfy Network
[Hour One] Hit Row made their entrance to start off the show for their upcoming match. Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph, and Wade Barrett were on commentary…
1. “Hit Row” Ashanti the Adonis and Top Dolla AJ Francis vs. “Legado Del Fantasma” Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza (w/Santos Escobar). Ashanti and Raul started off the match. Ashanti started off with his usual frantic offense to dominate Raul. Barrett noted that Ashanti has years of military experience to supplement his fighting ability (nice! Very similar to Scott’s background. Wilde tagged in and ate a neckbreaker from Adonis.
Dolla tagged in and no sold Wilde’s punch. Dolla gave Wilde a armbar lift and shortarm shoulder tackle. After roughing up Wilde a bit, Adonis tagged back in and gave Wilde a flapjack. Escobar got up on the apron for the distraction which allowed Wilde to dump Adonis to ringside and into the plexiglass barricade. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]
Wilde gave Adonis a flapjack for a two count back from break. Mendoza tagged in and gave Adonis a lionsault for a two count. Mendoza gave Adonis some Muay Thai knees. Adonis gave Mendoza an enzuigiri. This allowed Dolla to get the hot tag. Dolla gave Mendoza a knee lift. Dolla gave Wilde a sidewalk slam. Santos Escobar gave Top Dolla a chair to the back while Dolla was running the ropes for the DQ.
Hit Row defeated Legado Del Fantasma via apparent DQ in 7:21 of on-air time.
After taking down the rest of Hit Row, Legado triple teamed Scott. Escobar ripped out Scott’s grill and was about to stomp a chair wrapped around the neck of Scott. Dolla recovered and dragged Scott to safety ringside. B-Fab hit one of the Legado Del Fantasma guys in the back. Hit Row got the advantage. Scott hit one of the Legado members with the JML driver.
Samoa Joe was pacing backstage. William Regal showed up and said that the guards that used to work for Joe are now assigned to surround Joe now that Joe’s a wrestler again. Regal said they are there to make sure Joe doesn’t get out of hand before Joe’s match at Takeover.
A replay aired of Ridge Holland’s NXT return last week…
John’s Thoughts: A good match with a logical cheap finish to put some heat on Escobar. I’m not the biggest fan of DQ finishes as a go-to to continue a feud, but NXT hasn’t really overdone that wrestling trope. Cool to hear that Ashanti the Adonis has a military background which is very similar to Isaiah Scott’s path to NXT (Scott was even in active Military while working for Lucha Underground if I remember correctly?). Adonis is also impressing me with his completely-altered in-ring style where he’s become a frantic brawler (which reminds me of Dean Ambrose/Jon Moxley when Mox was a part of The Shield). It does seem like they are limiting Dolla’s time in the ring, understandable if he’s still picking up pro wrestling from an in-ring perspective. We do know that Dolla does have respect for pro wrestling as a longtime fan at least, as evidenced through his very successful WWE Treasures show on A&E.
Dexter Lumis was shown in his creepy dark room (which we found out is one of the closets in the WWE PC. The room had caricatures of him and Indi Hartwell all over the place. He had a caricature painting of him holding Indi with the words In-Dex over it…
Ridge Holland, Oney Lorcan, and Pete Dunne made their entrance. Ikeman Jiro was already in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Dammit! And I like Jiro’s upbeat J-pop entrancetheme!
2. Ridge Holland (w/Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan) vs. Ikeman Jiro. Holland locked Jiro in a headlock early on. Jiro escaped and rallied at Holland with right hands. Holland didn’t fall and ended up putting Jiro on the top rope and shoving him off. Holland tackled and shoved Jiro into the Plexiglass. Holland hit Jiro with a release suplex. Holland ripped apart Jiro’s jacket which drew mega heat from the crowd. Holland gave Jiro a few underhook Belly-to-belly suplexes. Holland kept yelling “10 months!”. Holland gave Jiro a Sidewalk Body Slam for the victory.
Ridge Holland defeated Ikeman Jiro via pinfall in 3:13.
Dunne, Holland, and Lorcan stood in the ring. Dunne said everybody thinks they’re a bad man until a real bad man steps in the room. They said they stepped in the room on Tommaso Ciampa and Oney Lorcan. Dunne said Holland showed up to punch their teeth out of their throats, and how are you gonna pick up those teeth with broken fingers. Dunne said he, Lorcan, and Holland are the baddest men in NXT and he dares anyone to prove them wrong.
McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Franky Monet, Jessi Kamea, and Robert Stone about their loss last week. Monet said it was all Stone’s fault because Stone and Kamea are used to losing. She said this group has to be built around Franky’s rule. Stone said he agrees and it was crystal clear. They all walked off…
A hype video aired to hype up Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong…[c]
John’s Thoughts: The time off seems to have done Holland some good, because he looks better overall compared to the last time we saw him when he was being set up to be Pat McAfee’s heavy. His gear is better and he looked a bit better in the ring (we didn’t see much this time, but he wasn’t plodding or clumsy). It does look like they still plan to have Pete Dunne as the Alpha of the group, which will seemingly lead to Dunne vs. Joe down the road due to NXT beating us over the head with that matchup possibility. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing how Holland develops because NXT could really use a solid monster big man.
An introductory vignette aired for Trey Baxter (a.k.a. Blake Christian)…
3. Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong (w/Malcolm Bivens, Hachiman, Tyler Rust). Fish and Strong locked each other in a double clinch. Fish got out and gave Strong a shoulder tackle. Strong hit Fish with a high knee and side headlock takedown. Fish got out the corner and hit Strong with Muay Thai strikes. Fish gave Strong a suplex. Fish worked on Strong with a more Muay Thai strikes. After Fish gave Strong a Muay Thai roundhouse, the show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Strong used the referee’s separation to blindside Fish and put the boots to him. Fish kicked out at two. Strong worked on Fish with restholds. Strong hit Fish with his signature backbreaker. Strong hit Fish with his signature drive by elbows and a flapjack slam for a two count. Fish gave Strong a cross kick for a two count. Fish went high risk and was shoved to ringside by Strong. Fish rolled up Strong for a really close nearfall. Strong recovered and hit Fish with End of Heartache for the victory.
Roderick Strong defeated Bobby Fish via pinfall in 12:41.
LA Knight and Cameron Grimes were in the locker room preparing for their match against the Grizzled Young Veterans. Knight said that Grimes has to wear the butler outfit in their match. Knight said he needs to know if he has Grimes’s back in their match later. Grimes said if he wasn’t a man of his word, he wouldn’t be wearing this butler outfit now and of course he has Knight’s back. Grimes said this in a serious tone. Grime then asked Knight if Knight has his back. Knight ensued Grimes that he has Grimes’s back in the match. Knight then told Grimes to shine his boot, which Grimes ended up doing…
The commentators hyped Knight and Grimes vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good match that would have been great if given 5 to 10 more minutes. Fish vs. Strong should be a Takeover match and instead it was put on TV rushed and without story development. Diamond Mine is still undercooked as hell, and I don’t know what we’re supposed to think of them. They’re MMA guys right? But no-one in the group is really an MMA person? In fact, Fish would have been better in Diamond Mine than Strong because of Fish’s Muay Thai background. Booking aside, the match was solid.
[Hour Two] Entrances for the next match took place. James Drake actually took control of the GYV’s promo to the ring. Gibson said it looked like Grimes and Knight were playing a role playing game. Gibson then did his usual “soon to be recognized” promo…
4. LA Knight and Cameron Grimes vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” James Drake and Zack Gibson. Drake and Gibson traded quick tags to keep control of Knight. Knight hit Drake with a neckbreaker to get Grimes in the ring. Grimes gave Drake a crossbody. Knight inadvertently distracted Grimes with allowed Gibson to tag in and shove Grimes. Drake and Gibson gave Grimes a double lariat to give Grimes a double lariat. Gibson tagged back in and put Grimes in a sleeper.
Grimes backdropped Gibson and went for the hot tag, but Knight dropped off the apron. Pointing out that he wants to embarrass Grimes. Grimes fired up and gave both opponents punches. Grimes gave both opponents a Frankendriver. Grimes gave Drake a jawbreaker on the top rope. Grimes hit Drake with the Spanish Fly power slam for a two count. Grimes went for a cave in on Drake but was distracted by Gibson. Gibson tagged in and the GYVs gave Grimes a Ticket to Mayhem for the victory.
The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Cameron Grimes and LA Knight via pinfall in 4:47.
Highlights from the match aired. While the GYVs were gloating on the ramp, Ted DiBiase passed by them and went to check on Grimes. DiBiase said he told Grimes that Knight would leave him out to dry. DiBiase said that Grimes needs to find a way out of this situation. DiBiase carried Grimes on his shoulder heading to the back…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Simple storyline to put heat on Knight and put sympathy behind Grimes. It also somehow gave the GYVs a win, so that’s another plus (but the GYVs also needs some promo time. At least let Gibson talk!).
A highlight package aired of Samoa Joe’s NXT career…
John’s Thoughts: Yo! Great video package and a good reminder of how much of a badass Samoa Joe is.
A replay aired of Dakota Kai betraying Raquel Gonzalez last week…
A Dakota Kai interview promo aired. Kai talked about how she saw potential in someone a long time ago, Raquel Gonzalez. Clips aired of Raquel as “Reina Gonzalez”. Kai talked about how Raquel rose up and became a star in her own right. Kai said she “let” Raquel get those victories, but everybody knew who the real leader was. They showed a clip of Io Shirai walking past Kai and picking Gonzalez as her next opponent, which led to Gonzalez winning. Kai said that moment should have been her’s and she should have stood up there with Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley as champion. Kai said she resented being known as “Raquel’s Sidekick” and she’s nobody’s sidekick.
Kai said the funniest thing is that Raquel was so obvlious that she didn’t see the betrayal coming. Kai said she brought Gonzalez into the world and she’s going to take her out of it. Kai said she’s going to become the next NXT Women’s Champion…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae about Johnny’s love or lose match against Dexter Lumis. Gargano said this match is up there with all his takeover matches (lol). LeRae said they’re doing what’s best for Indi. Gargano said tonight he’s going to end In-Dex. LeRae said “for good”…
A Joe Gacy introductory vignette aired…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A really nice promo package from Dakota Kai that explained Kai’s motives behind the betrayal. Kai’s a strong talker so that shouldn’t be a surprise. She’s the 2nd coming of Shawn Michaels, just in female form. Is that a controversial statement? Anyways, Kai vs. Gonzalez should be an amazing match (which will maybe also involve Shawn Michaels as the person agenting that match, I wouldn’t be surprised).
Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from the commentary table where Joseph noted that Adam Cole is not medically cleared to wrestle at the moment due to the Brainbuster that O’Reilly gave him on the steel steps. Beth noted that O’Reilly replicated what Cole did to him before. Joseph hyped up William Regal mediating a meeting between Cole and O’Reilly next week…
Entrances for the next NXT Breakout Tournament match aired…
5. Trey Baxter vs. Joe Gacy in a first round match of the NXT Breakout Tournament. Gacy manhandled and deadlifted Baxter around the ring. Barrett noted that Gacy is the veteran of the match and is more on the ending part of his career compared to a youngster like Baxter. Baxter dumped Gacy to ringside, but jumped right into a slam by Gacy. Gacy punched Baxter and dragged Baxter in the ring for methodical offense. Baxter avoided a tackle in the corner and dropkicked Gacy to Ringside. Baxter gave Gacy a series of suicide dives.
Baxter hit Gacy with a Fosbury Flop. Gacy got to his feet first and got back in the ring. Baxter hit Gacy with a slingshot crossbody and got a two count. Baxter went for a sleeper, but Gacy cannonballed him into the corner to break the submission. Baxter escaped the top rope with a jawbreaker. Baxter gave Gacy what Barrett called a 450 stomp (looked also like John Morrison’s Impact Elbow).
Trey Baxter defeated Joe Gacy via pinfall in 5:10 to advance to the semi-finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament.
Carmelo Hayes vs. Duke Hudson and Odyssey Jones vs. Trey Baxter were announced as the semifinals of the Breakout Tournament…
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were at a Japanese Yakitori restaurant. Shirai ordered a bunch of random food that Stark didn’t understand how to eat. Shirai also forced Stark to front the bill. Stark asked the waitress if she was friends with Shirai from Japan. The waitress said she was not friends with Shirai and was in fact from Kansas…[c]
John’s Thoughts: No joke, as a bit of a rib, this is what me or my Asian friends would do to our non-Asian friends at Asian restaurant sometimes. Not the make them pay part, but the whole introducing foreign food part and watching them trying to figure out that food.
Indi Hartwell was backstage as McKenzie Mitchell told her that “your love life is on the line tonight”. Hartwell said she has family vs. love in a match tonight. She said tonight is when we’ll find out weather the love is meant to be or not…
The commentary team tried to hype upcoming segments, but Karrion Kross showed up and got on the table with a mic. Kross called out Samoa Joe. Joe ran out and was held back by Regal’s security. Joe ended up punching the guards as Kross ran away. Joe tossed one guard out of the ring and put another in a Coquina Clutch. Joe said “I’m coming for you” as the guard passed out…
A hype package aired for WALTER vs. Ilja Dragonov II…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Simple, badass, and effective stuff from Joe (I’m curious as to why we’re seeing so little from Kross though, despite him clearly being in the PC). My favorite part about Joe back in NXT was when he was uncontrollable and just causing mayhem backstage.
A promo aired where Kushida offered to give Roderick Strong a shot at his Cruiserweight Championship…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? They’re just burning through all of Diamond Mine’s big matches without any character development for Diamond Mine whatsoever? I don’t get what they’re doing with Diamond mine. Why should we care about Roderick Strong and his random ass MMA gym?
Entrance for the Love Her or Lose Her match aired…
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a Love Her or Lose Her match (where if Dexter Lumis loses, Lumis has to stop pursuing Indi Hartwell’s affection). Gargano put Lumis in a side headlock to start. Gargano gave Lumis a few armdrags and a deep armbar. Lumis reversed the pressure with a kip up. Lumis did a few armdrags and his snake walk. Gargano dumped Lumis to ringside. A worried Indi Hartwell showed up and the crowd gave her a “In-Dex” chant. Gargano rolled back in the ring and took punches from Lumis.
Lumis slid to ringside and slid under the ring. Hartwell joined Lumis under the ring which drew “oooos” from the crowd. Candice LeRae showed up and pulled Hartwell out. Hartwell and Lumis were holding hands. The show cut to Picture-in-Picture after Gargano kicked Lumis away from Hartwell.[c]
Gargano had Lumis in a side headlock. Lumis escaped and hit Gargano with a spinebuster. Lumis gave Gargano a lariat and bulldog. Lumis hit Gargano with a twisting legdrop for a two count. Gargano dumped Lumis to ringside and gave him a suicide dive. Gargano yelled at Beth Phoenix and said “this is your fault”. Wade Barrett said he agrees with Gargano. Lumis dragged Gargano in the ring and gave him a rebound Michinoku Driver for a two count. Gargano avoided a splash and gave Lumis a superkick for a two count.
[Overrun] Gargano and Lumis traded forearms. Lumis gave Gargano a popup throat punch. Gargano came back with forearms. Lumis took down Gargano with a kick. Lumis stared at Hartwell for a moment. Lumis went for a slingshot elbow drop, but Gargano avoided it. Gargano locked Lumis in the GargaNo Escape in front of Hartwell. Lumis rubbed Hartwell’s face, which was on the rope, for the break. Beth said he was reaching out for a tender touch of love.
Lumis rolled up Gargano for a two count. Gargano kicked Lumis into Hartwell to knock her out at ringside. This distracted Lumis enough for Gargano to spike him with a DDT at ringside. Gargano hit Lumis with One Final Beat for the victory.
Johnny Gargano defeated Dexter Lumis via pinfall in 12:51 to win the love her or lose her match.
Hartwell looked crestfallen as Gargano and LeRae walked her up the ramp. Instead, Hartwell ran in the ring and gave Lumis a Thesz Press of Love. Hartwell pounced Lumis and made out with him. Beth Phoenix yelled “In Dex is here and nothing can stand in their WAY!”. NXT closed with Hartwell still mounting Lumis…
John’s Thoughts: This storyline may not be for everyone, but as a fan of soap operas and Korean Dramas, I’m all for romance based melodramas. There’s a part of me that wants Indi Hartwell to get amnesia at some point in this storyline in order to add a bit more trill and trope into the whole In-dex thing. This wasn’t a Takeover level match by any means, even with Johnny “Takeover” in the ring, but the cheesy love storyline actually put some meaning behind the nearfalls and I loved it.
A few wrestling purists out there will argue “uhhhh… Gargano won the match! uhhhh… Aren’t Indi and Dexter not suppposed to be a thing? uhhhhh”. Well, the stipulation was that Dexter had to stop pursuing Indi if Dexter lost, not the other way around. Indi giving Dexter the Thesz Press of Love was a way around the stipulation. As for this whole show? I thought it was way better than last week’s taped show. More happened here and I felt like the main event had enough storyline behind it to make viewers interested.