WWE NXT Review (8/24/2021) by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
This has been a big week for wrestling as a whole, even for NXT! Last Sunday, Ilya and Walter put on what I consider to be a modern wrestling classic that bridges the gap between generations for the NXT title. It’s just a shame this had to happen on NXT and not someplace with a much larger viewing audience because this match could have played anywhere. After about 400 years as champion, Walter finally lost, by submission no less! What’s next for Ilya? We’re about to find out!
But first, the program opens with Cameron Grimes, who finally won the Million Dollar belt from LA Knight on Sunday. This may be the wrong time to point this out, but that belt’s never been officially recognized by WWE brass. It’s just a trinket Ted made for himself after he couldn’t win the belt from Hulk Hogan in the 80s. Ted starts by saying some nice things about Grimes, which is rich from a guy who used to cheat to win every single match. Cameron responds in kind, and now we have an ass-kissing contest. Get somebody out here to interrupt these guys! Ted makes it rain and this segment is over. Bad News Barrett thinks this blows.
Ridge Holland vs. Timothy Thatcher
I liked the look of Ridge last time I saw him in a match, but I’ve heard good things about Thatcher too. Isn’t it a little soon for this? Ridge is brand new. He should still be crushing underneath guys! I’m not sure about his alliance with Pete Dunne, who nobody cares about at this point, but he’s built like a brick shithouse. I’m willing to give him a chance! Thatcher is well known for his technical background. There’s no way Ridge can match that, but he can use his brute strength! Thatcher tries to go for Ridge’s knees, but he eats some forearm smashes instead. This goes on for several minutes, but never reaches second gear. Thatcher does a nice suplex, then goes for an armbar of some kind, but Ridge is much too strong and he’s able to block it. Ridge answers with a suplex of his own, but his arm appears to be hurt. Thatcher wants a keylock, but he can’t get it, so he starts throwing uppercuts before Ridge gives him a big short clothesline.
After the break, both guys are standing in the middle trading punches. Thatcher gets the better of Ridge by attacking his previously injured ankle. He slaps on the Boston crab and Ridge can’t reach the ropes, so he has to power out. Ridge drops Thatcher on his head with a Snow Plow and wins the match out of nowhere. Tommaso Ciampa jumps in the ring to back his friend up, but he’s disposed of by the team of Ridge and Pete Dunne. Just as Ridge turns to leave, Thatcher has already recovered and wants some more. Ridge wants to obliterate him with his beating stick, but Pete calls him off. Why? He could have ended him right then! This wasn’t Ridge’s kind of match. He’s a lot more effective when he can crush guys in less than two minutes without leaving his feet. He spent six months on the injured list, so he’s still new at this. He shouldn’t be in the ring for too long against anyone, or he’ll be exposed. The next match is a girls tag team match which was set up on Tik Tok. I don’t know what Tik Tok is, but I’ve heard some bad things about it. I won’t be talking about this one.
Kay Lee Ray vs. ???
I know nothing about either of these women, but one of them made her debut after the Raquel Gonzalez match at Takeover. There’s nothing special about her opponent, besides that she comes from Brazil. According to Bad News, Kay Lee is originally from somewhere in Europe, but I couldn’t tell you where. The crowd is pretty dead for this. Kay Lee wins after a Gory Bomb! It’s been a while since I’ve seen that move, but there was nothing that leaped out at me about this match. After this, we see the brand new NXT champion Samoa Joe coming into the arena from the parking lot. This should be good. He’s always pissed!
Joe comes out next to talk about his match with Kross last Sunday. He should be celebrating his victory, but he’s not in a celebrating mood because he knows there’s still a target on his back. It’s time to find his next challenger! Joe wastes no time in calling out anybody who has the balls to face him and he gets Pete Dunne. This dude is desperate to make people care about him. He’s wearing ladies’ pants, a polo shirt he got at the baby Gap and no socks. He’s here to brag once again about being the toughest guy in the wrestling school. This is getting old quickly. LA Knight shows up to save this segment! Bad News loves him. The former Eli Drake is gold on the microphone as usual. He wants to challenge Joe, but Dunne’s there to block him. Super intimidating. Here comes Kyle O’Reilly, who I’m not interested in hearing talk about anything. Ridge Holland shows up and promptly boops him from behind with his beating stick. Ridge and his men beat down everyone to prove a point I guess, but Samoa Joe is still fine. No definite challenger decided yet, but I’d like to see Knight give it a go.
Odyssey Jones vs. Carmelo Hayes
I could be wrong, but I think this is the last match in the NXT breakout star tournament. If I had to pick two guys to make it to the end, these would be the two I’d pick. This should be interesting, but I have to give it to Odyssey Jones. This dude has everything it takes to be a major star in any promotion. Size, agility, attitude. And he can talk! Hayes can talk too and he’s in great shape, but I always take the big guy in these situations. Odyssey Jones is what Keith Lee could have been in an alternate universe, but he’s a lot younger.
Hayes goes for a handshake at the start, but it’s a trick. He puts a headlock on OJ. He really didn’t think this through. Jones easily hucks Hayes all the way out to the floor. Hayes throws some kicks and goes for a springboard move, but OJ smothers him with his body instead. This dude is too massive! After a brief commercial that was poorly placed, Hayes has targeted OJ’s leg. He still hasn’t left his feet, but this is a solid strategy. OJ shrugs him off, but Hayes doesn’t give up. He tries for a sleeper, but it has no effect. Hayes puts on a front facelock and OJ drops to a knee. Hayes throws some more big kicks, but he can’t knock OJ off his feet. He finally nails a spinning facebuster and OJ’s down, but Hayes only gets a two-count. OJ responds with a single shoulder breaker and now they’re even.
Hayes comes off the top rope with a leg drop and OJ goes down again, but it looks like he’s hulking up! Hayes goes for the big leg drop a second time, but he misses and Hayes takes a splash instead. Hayes kicks out at two, then beats OJ after a crucifix pin. What the fuck? I like both guys, but that was a ripoff. They shake hands after the match ends. What’s next for these guys after this? Regal shows up and offers Hayes the chance to challenge any NXT champion he wants. Wow! He gives props to OJ, but says it’s far too early to decide which belt to challenge for. He doesn’t want any of Samoa Joe right now, and I don’t blame him. This match was good, and I guess if OJ was going to lose, this was the only logical way to do it. He’s got nowhere to go but up from here.
Boa vs. Xyon Quinn
Crowd is dead for Boa again. They don’t know what to make of this guy. His opponent is a new face, but he has good size and cool tattoos, if nothing else. Boa’s accompanied by the girl from The Ring, who stands up from her chair on stage and does some stagey bullshit. Boa is distracted by this, and he eats a big boot and the pin. That was easy! Quinn avoids the girl in the chair and leaves through the crowd. Smart!
Swerve Scott & His Funky Bunch vs. Santos Escobar & His Lawyers
I think this might be the last match, and there’s 20 minutes left. In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of any rap music that came out past about 1992. Why wasn’t Carmelo Hayes vs. Odyssey Jones the main event of this program? Anyway, I’ll be sticking to the greatest hits in this one. Swerve’s big friend looks impressive in small doses. Those two would make a good pair on their own. The other people are just in the way. Which group is supposed to be the good guys here? Escobar and his people don’t seem evil to me, and the rappers are annoying. I guess this crowd is into it, but I could do with more Odyssey Jones on this program instead. The crowd is sitting on their hands until the big guy enters again and makes a comeback. He’s good at this, but I wouldn’t trust him with much else at this point. He body slams all three opponents at the same time then leaves the match again and the crowd is back to being apathetic. Some girl comes down to ringside and passes what looks to be Ridge’s beating stick to Swerve, but the ref sees it. Escobar wins after a rollup. I’m so glad they could waste 15 minutes on this. Match of the night goes to Odyssey Jones and Carmelo Hayes!