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NXT recap & reactions (Mar. 24, 2021): Out of control

NXT returned last night (Mar. 24) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Adam Cole is out of control (and so is O’Reilly)

The war between former friends Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly could no longer be constrained to the confines of the Capitol Wrestling Center. The fight spilled out into public and left Regal praying that law enforcement would drop the charges... but that’s only because HE wanted to be the one to hand out the punishment.

Cole would have to face the music when he arrived, with both O’Reilly and Regal waiting. The GM would be forced to make a ruling with Stand & Deliver only two weeks away!

Regal started the meeting (which was the “main event” of the show) calmly, but quickly started yelling at both Cole and O’Reilly for getting the BLOODY POLICE involved. He told them that the only way he’d allow an injured Kyle O’Reilly to take a match as the co-main event of Takeover night two was if they both signed a hold harmless agreement absolving NXT of any responsibility for what would occur.

Adam Cole signed first, but not before taking the opportunity to belittle Kyle O’Reilly as nothing more than a “lap dog” and a “sidekick.” He told William Regal he was like a blind man seeing the world for the first time, and his revelation was that he didn’t need The Undisputed Era — in fact, they were holding him back. The record setting title reign, the main events, the t-shirt sales, all ADAM COLE BAY BAY. He said the winner at Takeover was obvious to everyone except the man across the table from him.

O’Reilly’s rebuttal was equally passionate. He couldn’t believe the last three and a half years had been a waste of time, that their friendship had been a lie, but he had to accept that or he wouldn’t be able to do what was necessary at Takeover. O’Reilly said they had become better wrestlers, better fighters and world champions in The Undisputed Era... but only one of them had become a BETTER MAN. He vowed to take responsibility for all his misdeeds, starting by taking out the man he used to trust with everything. He signed the contract and threw the pen at Cole, Cole erupted in rage, and the match for Takeover was official!

Tag team champions no more

Due to Danny Burch’s unfortunate injury last week, General Manager William Regal felt he had no choice but to strip Burch and his partner Oney Lorcan of their tag team titles.

This left a huge vacancy in the title picture, one that could possibly be addressed either before or at Takeover: Stand & Deliver. What would William Regal’s decision be? He came up with a triple threat for the first night of Takeover — MSK, Grizzled Young Veterans and Legado Del Fantasma would face each other for the vacant belts!

Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs. Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah

While it seemed unlikely that the women’s tag team titles would change hands again so soon after being inaugurated, that didn’t mean Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon could just laugh off the challenge that Mercedes Martinez (filling in for an injured Jessi Kamea) and Aliyah brought to the table, particularly with Robert Stone ready and willing to run interference on their behalf.

Despite Martinez accepting his offer (and demanding double the pay) the challengers were unable to dethrone the champions. Blackheart took out Martinez with a DDT, and Moon hit the Eclipse on Aliyah for three. Everything about this felt rushed, including the lack of a full introduction for both teams in a title match/defense.

WALTER vs. Drake Maverick

I’m not kidding. The long reigning NXT UK champion WALTER faced the minuscule Drake Maverick in a non-title defense on WWE NXT this week.

This lasted exactly as long as you’d expect it to. WALTER destroyed him with a single power bomb and put him in a submission hold, but the referee stopped the match after declaring that Maverick was already out cold. Tommaso Ciampa came out to challenge WALTER for his NXT UK title at Takeover, and WALTER accepted... but only after Imperium left him in a heap in the middle of the ring.

Bronson Reed isn’t playing around any more

Last week Bronson Reed thought it was funny to do the “fat man in a little coat” spot with LA Knight’s designer jacket. This week though Reed was all business — no more time for jokes.

LA Knight tried his best to keep “The Colossal” Bronson Reed at bay, but eventually he pissed Reed off one too many times and he “hulked up” for the comeback. Knight tried to crotch him on the top rope and suplex him off, but Reed overpowered him and sent him flying, then came off the top for a TSUNAMI to end the contest decisively.

Karrion Kross vs. Oney Lorcan

If it wasn’t enough that Karrion Kross destroyed Danny Burch by accident last week, now he was going to up the ante by trying to destroy Burch’s tag team partner on PURPOSE.

Kross mocked Lorcan during the match, telling him that he enjoyed hurting Danny Burch and didn’t regret his actions one bit. This got Lorcan to make a furious comeback filled with uppercuts, but he still succumbed to the forearm to the back of the head, just as most of Karrion Kross’ opponents do. The win was just an excuse for Finn Bálor to come out and tell Kross that he had shown his weakness last week — he’s a young hot head ruled by emotion. Bálor promised to be cold and dispassionate at Takeover: Stand & Deliver, where he vowed to drown Kross in “the deep water.”

Jordan Devlin vs. KUSHIDA too

Did they really have enough time to cram all of this into a two hour episode? Apparently so! Like WALTER this too was a non-title match for the cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin.

Legado Del Fantasma tried to provide a distraction and cost Jordan Devlin the match, but he avoided both Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, diving back into the ring and bridging KUSHIDA for the pin. The damage had been done though as KUSHIDA had been working over his left arm for the entire match, possibly sending him into the title unification match (in kayfabe at least) in a weakened state. Santos Escobar got in the ring to confront him and show off the interim title, but Shawn Michaels’ music hit and interrupted them both!

The Heart Break Kid didn’t say anything but he didn’t need to. He lifted the apron and slid a ladder into the ring, and both men took that as a cue they’d have a ladder match to unify the Cruiserweight belts at Takeover. It’s on!

Raquel sends a message

Io Shirai and Zoey Stark vs. Dakota Kai and Raquel González was the opening contest on this week’s show. This was a good chance to remind everyone that Io Shirai vs. Raquel González will headline NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver night one. It was an even better chance for González to prove a point by showing her dominance to Shirai. She gave her a boot to the face on the apron and power bombed Zoey Stark in the middle of the ring for the pinfall, then just to add insult to injury, she slammed Shirai right on top of the announce desk after the match. Shirai was left writhing in pain as González gloated over her.


William Regal announced a 12 man battle royal to determine a new number one contender for NXT North American champion Johnny Gargano.

Grade: B+

With no disrespect to Jessi Kamea the match was upgraded by having Mercedes Martinez as Aliyah’s tag team partner for the title shot. Unfortunately they rushed through the whole thing to give more time to the segment at the end of the show, and that’s my biggest knock on the episode as a whole. Title matches should be important even if the opponents change at the last minute. There was some unnecessary Cameron Grimes shtick where he tried to buy the intellectual property of The Undisputed Era from Roderick Strong and got decked in the face, but at least it was short. I would have preferred WALTER have an actual match instead of a squash, but any week he’s on NXT is a good week in my eyes.

Get up from your cageside seats and sound off below. See you in seven days!

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