NXT – March 3, 2021
By Thomas Hall on 4th March 2021
Date: March 3, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph
The big story around here continues to be the complete implosion of the Undisputed Era after Adam Cole turned on the team and left them laying. Finn Balor is involved as well and that could make for some interesting situations. On top of that, the Women’s Tag Team Titles are on the line tonight as Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax are defending against Dakota Kai/Raquel Gonzalez. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s brawl between Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor.
Last night, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch got into an argument with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher, setting up a non-title match for tonight. This is due to Wes Lee’s broken hand, meaning MSK’s Tag Team Title shot is being postponed.
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch vs. Tommaso Ciampa/Timothy Thatcher
Non-title. Thatcher and Burch start things off with Thatcher taking him to the mat for an armbar. Back up and Thatcher takes him right back down into another armbar, setting up an elbow drop to the arm. They get up again and this time it’s an exchange of uppercuts, with Thatcher knocking him into the corner for the tag off to Ciampa. Lorcan comes in as well and they strike it out as well until Lorcan grabs him by the head.
A headlock takeover is countered with a headscissors, followed by a running knee to send Lorcan outside. Burch gets knocked outside as well and Thatcher uppercuts the heck out of him. Back in and a heck of a discus lariat drops Lorcan, followed by a flapjack into Thatcher’s uppercut.
Thatcher grabs a chinlock but Lorcan goes to the eyes and the knee to put Thatcher down for a change. A clothesline sends Thatcher outside, where he grabs his neck as we take a break. Back with Thatcher (whose neck seems fine) fighting out of Lorcan’s half crab and kicking Burch away, allowing the hot tag to Ciampa. House is cleaned in a hurry and it’s back to Thatcher for the uppercuts. Ciampa fires off chops and Thatcher comes in again for some forearms.
Everything breaks down and stereo forearms to the chest have Lorcan and Burch bailing to the floor. Burch hits Thatcher in the head though and there’s the half and half suplex from Lorcan. Everyone goes down again and the NXT chants are on strong. Thatcher crawls over to Ciampa but here’s Imperium on the stage. Ciampa is knocked down and the elevated implant DDT finishes Thatcher at 13:14.
Rating: C+. This got some time and the Imperium deal has me interested, but it wasn’t the most thrilling match in certain parts. Thatcher and Ciampa are fine as a team and it’s nice to see the champs getting a win, even if it wasn’t exactly clean. Good opener though, and about as good of an option as they had given the injury to Lee.
Post match Ciampa does not look happy with Thatcher.
Here is a ticked off Roderick Strong to call out Adam Cole. He gets Finn Balor instead, who says that Cole isn’t coming out here for him. Strong blames Balor for the team falling apart but Balor says the title is what split them up. Balor knows how to get Cole out here and challenges Cole for a title match next week. That doesn’t bring Cole out, so Balor tells Strong to get a killer instinct. The fight is on until referees break it up.
It’s time to go to a psychiatric hospital where the Way is having group therapy. Johnny Gargano says Dexter Lumis has been affecting all of them, with Austin Theory not even being messed up by Lumis kidnapping him. Theory says nothing happened because it was just two dudes hanging out.
Gargano asks Indi Hartwell what she is doing on the notepad, which would be doodling the words “MRS. INDI WRESTLING LUMIS”. Gargano snaps, demanding to know why Lumis isn’t in jail. The therapist thinks Gargano has some deep seeded issues, sending Gargano into a complete meltdown. Gargano is thrown out but he’ll be outside if anyone needs him. More on this later.
Cameron Grimes wants to change the name of the CWC into the Cameron Grimes Auditorium, which he can absolute afford. William Regal comes in to say he has a potential lawsuit on his hands. Regal tells Grimes to chill and tonight it’s Grimes vs. Bronson Reed. Grimes is not pleased and offers Regal money because….everybody has….a price. Grimes: “THAT D*** TED DIBIASE!” Oh man that is going to be a great cameo when it happens.
Aliyah vs. Ember Moon
Jessi Kamea, Robert Stone and Shotzi Blackheart (with tank) are here too. Moon works on the arm to start but Aliyah flips up and hits a forearm to the jaw. That gets a rather annoyed look from Moon, who lets Aliyah try it again. That earns her a belly to back slam and it’s time to go to the floor. Moon….I believe kicks her in the face but the rapid camera cut makes it hard to see.
Either way it gets two back inside (with the replay showing that it was a dropkick which hit clean, making the camera cut pretty pointless) but Aliyah gets in a shot of her own for two of her own. We hit the chinlock with a knee in Moon’s back but she’s right back up with a spinebuster. Stone and Kamea’s interruption earns them a double clothesline from Blackheart and the Eclipse finishes for Moon at 4:53.
Rating: C. I can go for both the Eclipse being back and Moon/Blackheart staying friends after the tournament ends. The women’s tag team division could certainly use some more depth so why not let them see what they can do. Aliyah continues to astound me as she has barely progressed whatsoever in years now. She’s passable in the ring but you would think that being in developmental this long would mean a little more development no?
Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa say what happened with Imperium is in the past, where it is going to stay. How long has Ciampa had hair on his head?
Video on Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm before their title match next week.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai
Kai and Gonzalez are challenging. Jax throws Kai around with ease to start and there’s a running splash in the corner to make it worse. Baszler comes in for a pat on the head, which does not sit well with Kai. It doesn’t seem to matter to Baszler, who takes her down to the mat, only to miss the stomp to the arm. Baszler knocks Kai down again and out to staredown as we take a break.
Back with Kai hitting the running kick to Baszler’s face in the corner. Baszler takes her down by the leg though and hands it off to Jax for the power. A gorilla press drop leaves Kai thudding onto the mat so Baszler can get two. Kai kicks out the leg though and the hot tag brings in Gonzalez for a big dropkick. A powerslam gets two on Baszler but the powerbomb is broken up. That means Jax comes in for the showdown and they go straight to the slugout.
Jax gets the better of things and it’s back to Baszler for two off a forearm. The Kirifuda Clutch is broken up though and Gonzalez kicks her in the face. Kai hits her own kick to the face for two more but something like a GTS is blocked. The Kirifuda Clutch has Kai in trouble but she crawls over for the tag off to Gonzalez. The referee gets bumped as Gonzalez goes after Jax and the two go over the announcers’ table. Baszler grabs the Kirifuda Clutch on Kai as Adam Pearce sends a second referee in to call the knockout at 13:15. Commentary makes a big deal out of Kai not being legal.
Rating: C. There wasn’t much drama to this one but the action was good enough. That’s kind of the problem with having these NXT teams challenge for the titles: it is almost impossible to imagine an NXT star beating the main roster wrestlers, especially when Jax and Baszler are already scheduled to defend the titles against Lana and Naomi at some point in the future. For a one off match, it was fine enough though.
It’s back to therapy, with Theory thinking Lumis wants a friend and Hartwell wanting to be that friend. Candice LeRae doesn’t buy it, even as Gargano texts her what to say to the therapist. The therapist checks the door and here’s Gargano to ask if anyone wants something from Uber Eats. That’s enough of Gargano, so the therapist wants to know what really happened when Lumis abducted Theory. Things get tense and we’ll be back later.
We go to Isaiah Scott’s recording studio, where he wants to talk about life opportunities. Leon Ruff had a North American Title shot handed to him but Scott had to scratch and claw to get his shot. This is NXT in the CWC and that makes it Swerve’s House. Ruff doesn’t want to go to war with someone who cares less than him because Swerve is just different. He doesn’t care anymore.
Here’s LA Night for his in-arena debut. Knight has waited way too long to step into this ring, look into that camera and say “let me talk to ya”. He isn’t going to stand out here talking about childhood dreams because he’s the one man revolution. Some people might say he’s the Tom Brady of wrestling but Brady wishes he was half the man that he is. Just like old Tommy Boy, Knight isn’t a first round draft pick but bet every dollar you have to your name that he will be the one setting trends and records.
Knight has been looking around NXT and sees your Johnny Gargano, Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole and Finn Balor. They all have their kicks, flips and dives so bring all of them to your front door. He isn’t here to do anything fancy and while you might not like the way he does it, he gets the job done. Knight is the last of a dying breed (ugh) and some people might be saying that he is the best of all time.
When his coronation takes place, don’t call him the GOAT. No, call him LA Knight, and that is just a fact of life. Bronson Reed comes out for his match and Knight isn’t pleased about being cut off but leaves in peace. I’ve always liked Knight’s promos but please not another last of a dying breed. There have been way too many of them in wrestling over the years.
Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes
Grimes throws his money around during his entrance and offers Reed a payoff. That earns him a shot to the face so Grimes has to try and pick up his money (smart man). The powerbomb is broken up but Grimes is thrown outside as we take a break. Back with Grimes nailing an enziguri and managing the flipping crossbody for two. A crossface doesn’t last long on Reed so Grimes knees him in the head.
Reed fights up again and hits something like a Thesz press minus the press. Grimes hits a Superman punch but gets knocked down by a clothesline. That’s enough for Grimes so he tries to leave, only to get taken down by a suicide dive (ouch). It’s enough to knock Grimes’ hat off so here’s LA Knight for a distraction and a crotching. Grimes hits the Cave In for the pin at 8:28.
Rating: C. These guys are both doing rather well right now and it’s nice to see Grimes getting a win, even one like this. He has struck gold with this money deal and while it won’t last forever, it is one of the best things going in wrestling today. Reed vs. Knight could be interesting as Knight could use a first feud. Just let Knight talk a lot and he’ll be fine.
William Regal is yelling at Adam Pearce over the ending to the Tag Team Title match.
Kayden Carter isn’t happy about what Xia Li did to Kacy Catanzaro and it’s time for revenge.
We look at Karrion Kross destroying Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma last week.
Back to therapy where Theory talks about being in a really small room with Lumis. Theory ate cereal and watched cartoons all day because Lumis isn’t a bad guy. The therapist doesn’t get how Theory can imagine Lumis as a nice guy because she talked to Lumis this morning. She couldn’t make him stop talking and Lumis said he couldn’t wait to get rid of Theory.
Lumis found him rude, loud, and obsessed with cutting off the bottom half of his shirts to show off his average abdominal muscles. Theory runs out screaming and crying but the Way brings him back in. Gargano yells at the therapist but then thanks her for making everything work after the rest of the team leaves. Gargano tells Theory that they’re going to Chuck E. Cheese to calm him down.
Ever-Rise vs. Breezango
Breezango is still around? Actually hang on as Legado del Fantasma jump them during their entrances (astronauts this time around) and leave them laying. Legado chases Ever-Rise off too so Santos Escobar can jump both of them from behind. Escobar beats them both up and gets inside, saying do not mistake last week for weakness. If you do that, then this is what awaits you. No match if that wasn’t clear.
Here is what’s coming next week, including the Women’s and NXT Title matches.
Video on Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole.
In response to the ending of the Women’s Tag Team Title match, William Regal promises a game changing announcement next week.
Finn Balor vs. Roderick Strong
Non-title. They lock up to start and go to the mat with Balor grabbing a quickly broken chinlock. Back up and Strong goes for the arm but Balor blocks it for a good bit. Balor grabs the arm as well but Strong manages a backbreaker to send us to a break. Back with Strong sending Balor into the buckle and chopping away. Balor kicks him down though and stomps away before cranking on the arm even more. A big crank has Strong on the apron for a breather but Balor is right back with the armbar.
Balor pulls on the arm even more until Strong comes back with a powerslam. Another backbreaker connects for two but Balor comes back with something like an Anaconda Vice. Strong gets out and hits a running clothesline, setting up the belly to back faceplant. The running forearms against the ropes set up Strong’s Angle Slam into a tiger bomb for another near fall.
Strong goes for the Strong Hold but has to counter Balor’s counter into a rollup. The fireman’s carry gutbuster is loaded up but Balor spins into a double stomp to the chest to put Strong down again. A Pele knocks Strong into the ropes and there’s the shotgun dropkick into the corner. The Coup de Grace into 1916 finishes Strong at 13:46.
Rating: B. This worked well as they took their time getting going but then picked up the pace really well. Balor is money right now and he is helping to bring everyone else up with him, which is one of the best things that the champion can do. I liked this match a lot and Strong looked, well, strong, in defeat.
Adam Cole comes out for the staredown to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Good show this week as it did the most important thing by building up next week’s big show. I’m looking forward to the two title matches and we got a solid enough show setting things up. NXT has figured out how to make this work far better in recent weeks and I want to see where these things go. I’m not sure where this leaves April’s Takeover, but I can live with a big time weekly show
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch b. Tommaso Ciampa/Timothy Thatcher – Elevated implant DDT to Ciampa
Ember Moon b. Aliyah – Eclipse
Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler b. Dakota Kai/Raquel Gonzalez – Kirifuda Clutch to Kai
Cameron Grimes b. Bronson Reed – Cave In
Finn Balor b. Roderick Strong – 1916
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