May 6, 2021

NXT Review – 04/05/21

Finn Balor returns to NXT tonight, for the first time since losing his title to Karrion Kross. He’s been on a well-earned holiday with his wife. Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon put their NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships on the line against The Way in a Street Fight. I’m guessing they’ll get considerably more time than the women’s main roster tag title match on RAW did… I would hope so anyway. Leon Ruff and Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott have a Falls Count Anywhere match. Between that and the tag title match, the fixtures and fittings are in for a battering. And Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher face The Grizzled Young Veterans.


Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Leon Ruff

Cameron Grimes def. Asher Hale

Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher def. Grizzled Young Veterans

Sarray def. Zayda Ramier

LA Knight def. Jake Atlas

The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) def. Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon




Leon Ruff vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott – Falls Count Anywhere

Ruff had to be held back by the ref during Swerve’s entrance. Swerve took his time taking his jacket off, then casually turned around and kneed Ruff in the face as he charged him on the bell. These two have been beating the crap out of each other for weeks, so they’ve picked up a lot of each other’s tricks. Early on, that meant a lot of counters and missed moves.

Leon Ruff hurricanranas Swerve off the apron tot he floor

They took it to the outside and, after throwing Ruff into the edge of the ring so he landed on his head, Swerve threw Ruff into barricades, slammed him on the ramp, then chucked him back into the ring. Swerve was calm and methodical with the match going in his favour, but he couldn’t put Ruff away, even after a superplex.

Ruff sidestepped when Swerve got too cocky, and managed to tangle him in the ropes. The comeback was encouraging, but brief. Swerve smacked him out of the air then pulled a toolbox out from under the ring and threw it at him. Ruff looked terrified.

Ruff got a very near fall with a second rope crucifix bomb. He delivered a hurricanrana from the apron to the outside as well, but couldn’t crawl over to make the pin. Swerve nearly got the win the Confidence Boost, but Ruff kicked out. Ruff destroyed Swerve’s leg with the steps and toolbox, but not enough for the follow-up frogsplash to be decisive.

A couple of cutters had Swerve reeling and Ruff knocked him over the barricade and climbed the set. AJ Francis, one of Swerve’s entourage, caught him when he jumped and dropped him spine-first on the barricade. Swerve rolled Ruff back into the ring and finished it with a JML Driver.

One of Swerve's lackey's drops Leon Ruff on the barricade

That was disappointing. I wanted to see them finish it properly.


Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory interrupted William Regal’s meeting with Scarlett. Gargano blustered self-importantly for a while and Theory was entranced with Scarlett’s nails.


Cameron Grimes vs Asher Hale

This only served the purpose of allowing commentary to talk about Grimes and Ted Dibiase, which is a shame because it was fun. Asher Hale (Anthony Henry) deserved a lot more attention than he got. He got pinned off the Cave In, but let’s see more from him.

Asher Hale dropkicks Cameron Grimes


Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro told McKenzie Mitchell they were done with Xia Li and Tian Sha. They want the tag titles. They’ll be watching the street fight, and they want the winners.

Franky Monet arrived and called them cute. She said they were her favourite tag team. She thinks it’s going to take them a lot longer to win the titles, but she believes in them.


Ever-Rise tried to get in on Cameron Grimes’ celebrations, but he ditched them.


Grizzled Young Veterans vs Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher

Ciampa’s music cut in on the end of Zack Gibson’s proclamations, but they’d already said plenty.

This was great. James Drake kicked Thatcher in the head to make him release the sleeper he had on Gibson, but Thatcher just grinned and locked it in tighter. Ciampa came in to deal with Drake and there was some nice tandem beating on him and Gibson.

Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa with tandem beatodwns on James Drake and Zack Gibson

After a break, Drake and Gibson made an illegal tag (Drake was on the apron). There were some shenanigans from Drake while Gibson argued with the ref, and Thatcher was isolated for quite some time before Ciampa exploded into the match. It was James Drake’s turn to take a beating, and take a beating he did.

It got messy with all four in the ring and Wade Barrett complained he’d lost a shoe in the kerfuffle. Ciampa and Drake took each other out on the outside, then Ciampa tried to hold Drake back while Thatcher attempted to submit Gibson. Drake kicked Ciampa into the announce desk and broke it up, then dived to the outside and put him over it. Gibson still couldn’t put Thatcher away.

Ciampa got in the ring and distracted the ref while Thatcher hit Gibson with Wade Barrett’s shoe then tapped him out with an armbar. Tommaso Ciampa took the shoe with them, removing the evidence. He even held it up when the ref raised their hands on the stage, but kept it out of his sight.


Johnny Gargano got to talk to William Regal. He tried to get the title match against Bronson Reed cancelled but failed. Regal also informed Austin Theory that Scarlett had given him a match against Karrion Kross next week. Theory was clearly scared, and Gargano was furious about his failure.


Swerve and his entourage think he beat Leon Ruff tonight.


Zayda Ramier and Sarray got a joint hype package as the two newest members of the roster. That made much more sense when they announced they have a match tonight.


Karrion Kross and Scarlett came out for a chat. The full entrance is a bit much when he’s not fighting. He said he’d made it very clear that all anyone had to do was step up, instead, he got people saying they weren’t afraid of him. He’s not afraid of them either. Now that’s established, he wants to know what everyone’s waiting for. Let’s give the people a fight. Next week he’s going to divebomb Austin Theory on his head and leave him face down unconscious.

Kyle O’Reilly turned up then. He took his hat off to Scarlett, because he’s a gentleman, then approached Kross. He was there to tell Kross he understands why Kross thinks people should be afraid of him but he’s not and he wants a title match. And he thinks Kross wants it too… He was suggesting they make it happen when Pete Dunne arrived.

Kyle O'Reilly tells Karrion Kross he wants a title match

Dunne doesn’t care who wants to see the match, doesn’t care about the new Kyle O’Reilly, and doesn’t care about Kross. He thinks he’s the baddest man in NXT and dared them to prove him wrong.

Before he could get his ass handed to him, Finn Balor joined the party. Balor said, ‘Pete Dunne, been there done that. Kyle O’Reilly, been there done that, twice. Kross, once you’re done with Theory.’ Then he punched him and Kross put him down with one blow. Dunne backed off with his hands raised and waited for Kross to square up to O’Reilly, then attacked Kross from behind and knocked him into O’Reilly.

Pete Dunne was thrown over the top rope by Kross. O’Reilly and Balor both had another go. Security pulled O’Reilly away then tried to split Balor and Kross. One of them went to back Kross off alone and took a Saito suplex.

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory attacked Kross from behind while he was watching Balor being removed. Even two on one it took a lot for them to get Kross down, but a North American Championship belt to the head eventually did the job.

Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory attack Karrion Kross

After a break, Gargano and Theory were getting in their car and getting the hell out of there, despite the rest of their group having an important main event title match.


Sarray vs Zayda Ramier

I like this. Bringing in established stars and making newbie look good against them is part of the way you build new stars. Zoey Stark, now Zayda Ramier, it’s a sold signal of intent to keep building the division.

Sarray dropkicks Zayda Ramier

Sarray is so entertaining to watch. Ramier is new, but interesting. Fun, shortish (but still longer than the RAW tag title match) match. Ramier put in a good showing, but veteran beating lightning wasn’t going to strike twice and she got pinned off a suplex.

Backstage they were taking and showing respect. Toni Storm stalked towards them but was intercepted by Zoey Stark. Storm backed off with some gentle persuasion from officials and Stark joined Sarray and Ramier.


LA Knight vs Jake Atlas

I’m not sure LA Knight calling the fans ‘incels’ is entirely appropriate, but he does what he does. It’s been too long since we’ve seen Jake Atlas, and we didn’t really get to see him for very long this time. What there was of the match was good, I would like to see a longer version with a less foregone conclusion. LA Knight, of course, got the win.

Jake Atlas knees LA Knight in the head


Dexter Lumis left a portrait for Indi Hartwell and was standing outside the locker room holding flowers. Candice LeRae made sure she didn’t see either and tried to keep her focused on the Street Fight.


Toni Storm said Zoey Stark is the flavour of the month and she’s pissing her off. Stark doesn’t deserve to share the ring with her. She’s a future nobody. She brought Stark into the business, and when she’s ready she’ll take her back out.


Legado del Fantasma want their titles back. Escobar wants his Cruiserweight title back, and Mendoza and Wilde want the tag titles back. Kushida appeared on the big screen during their segment and gave Escobar his title shot for next week.

Kushida interrupts Legado del Fantasma via the big screen


Beth Phoenix did a split-screen interview with Raquel Gonzalez and Mercedes Martinez ahead of their title match next week. Gonzalez plans to take Martinez out with pure power. The title means she’s the baddest woman in the division. Martinez isn’t scared of her. She’s hungry and she has something to prove. She paved the roads Gonzalez is walking on. Gonzalez was molded in the blueprint she created. Raquel Gonzalez said yes, Martinez set the bar, but in her one year of competition, she’s raised it so high no one else can reach it. Martinez is her first challenger, but she won’t be her last.


Franky Monet’s dog pooed in Shotzi Blackheart’s tank. She’d been pleased to see it up to then.


Cameron Grimes was turned away from the VIP room because Ted Dibiase had rented out the whole venue. They had a brief exchange and Grimes had a tantrum in the street.


Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship Street Fight

Moon and Blackheart were without their tank, which was probably for the best. It started during the ring announcements, and because it’s a street fight, they just rang the bell.

Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon dropkick the trash can over Indi Hartwell's head
All photo credits:

The toys came out immediately, chairs, tables, ladders, and trash cans. LeRae and Hartwell were just in their normal wrestling gear, but Moon and Blackheart had dressed for the occasion. The champs had everything under control in the early going.

Hartwell got her face driven into the chairs she set up, but a fire extinguisher blast from LeRae saved her from a Blackheart dive that would have been horrific. Blackheart got her ‘is she dead’ moment in anyway, a senton from the top onto LeRae laying on a ladder balanced between the ring and barricades. LeRae returned the favour with a springboard moonsault onto Blackheart laying on a ladder held by Indi Hartwell and the ropes.

Shotzi Blackheart jumps off the rigging onto Indi Hartwell laid on the announce desk

Blackheart took another big moment when she launched herself off the rigging onto Indi Hartwell to put her through the announce desk. Hartwell put Moon through a table with an elbow drop from the top rope. While they were down, Candice LeRae punched Blackheart with brass knuckles then delivered a Wicked Stepsister, driving her face into a chair and got the win.

Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell and the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.



Final word

Next week, Kushida defends the NXT Cruiserweight Championship in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Raquel Gonzalez puts her title on the line against Mercedes Martinez. And Karrion Kross destroys Austin Theory in a non-title match.

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