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NXT recap & reactions (Mar. 3, 2021): A HOLE Lot of Controversy

NXT returned last night (Mar. 3) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Who runs this b*tch?

A confrontation on last week’s NXT between Dusty Rhodes Classic champions Dakota Kai & Raquel González and WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax led to a war to settle the score at CWC. The way to prove who the “baddest b*tches” are was simple enough — put both teams in the ring and let the victors leave with the titles in tow.

Sadly this match did not settle the issue. Thanks to a ref bump the official who ran out from the back had no idea that Kai was not the legal woman when Shayna Baszler submitted her with the Kirifuda Clutch. William Regal promised to “make an announcement that would change the landscape of NXT” on NEXT WEEK’S SHOW to resolve the issue once and for all.

Sorry, not sorry

Adam Cole tried to claim remorse for his actions last Wednesday, but then betrayed his band of brothers by giving Roderick Strong a low blow instead of a helping hand. If you expected him to get away with those actions scot-free, you’d be sorely mistaken. One thing was clear though going into the show — never EVER taken Adam Cole at face value. Strong certainly wasn’t, and he demanded Cole explain himself, but Finn Bálor came out instead. To make a long story short this turned into a pull apart brawl, resulting in Strong getting a non-title match against the NXT Champion in our main event.

Despite his best efforts Strong lost after a Coup de Grâce and 1916 put him down for good, which FINALLY made Adam Cole show his ugly mug at the CWC. He pointed at Bálor as NXT went off the air, and in seven days, Bálor will finally get his chance at some revenge on Adam Cole, bay bay!!

Without even knowing The Way?

Johnny Gargano reached his breaking point with The Way over Austin Theory’s inability to hit Dexter Lumis with a chair, not to mention the fact Indi Hartwell thinks Lumis is “kind of cute.” As a result he demanded the entire family go TO THERAPY on this week’s show. If you know anything about Gargano though you know that he’s a cunning, devious bastard. After Theory broke down crying when the therapist told him that Dexter Lumis thinks he’s an awful, disgusting, horrible individual, he ran out of the room screaming and crying. Gargano stepped in to “have a word” with such a terrible monster... and promptly paid her off for doing EXACTLY what he wanted. Well played Gargano, well played.

Ciampa & Thatcher had something to prove

Tommaso Ciampa took exception to Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan gloating over the hand injury they caused to MSK’s Wes Lee. “The Blackheart” was more than happy to enlist the help of Timothy Thatcher to prove a point — if you can do bad, we can do WORSE. They got their chance as a non-title match was booked between the two sides for NXT last night.

After a solid back and forth contest it seemed that Gargano and Thatcher were on the verge of victory, but Imperium showed up at the top of the entrance ramp to cause a distraction and allow Lorcan and Burch to hit the assisted spike DDT for the pin.

The artist formerly known as Eli Drake

L.A. Knight was announced for another appearance on NXT ahead of the show. The cocky hot shot clearly had a few things to get off his chest.

Knight arrived at the Capitol Wrestling Center before a commercial break reiterating his promise that he’d do things his way, on HIS time. Once he got in the ring with a mic in his hand, Knight claimed that people call him “the Tom Brady of wrestling” then cockily added that Brady wishes he was “half the man” he is. Knight’s whole modus operandi was to run down a list of names of high flyers and spectacular competitors in NXT, and then inform us he WON’T be doing what they do. Think FTR — “no flips, just fists.” He vowed to bring the fight to anybody who wants it and all but said “You want some? COME, GET SOME.” He had to take a powder though when Bronson Reed came out to face Cameron Grimes.

Lowdown, dirty and GRIMES-y

It took Cameron Grimes three tries to figure out how to be modern day Ted DiBiase, causing the recently rich off STONKS investor to blow thousands of dollars in the process. Maybe he’d be a little bit wiser with his financial gains this week? NAH. Not bloody likely. The foolish man tried to bribe General Manager William Regal after being told his actions last week could cause a lawsuit, who promptly informed him that wasn’t necessary — the only payment he wanted was to see Grimes vs. Reed in the ring tonight. He got his wish.

This should have ended in a one sided squash, but L.A. Knight ran interference to help Grimes overcome the HUGE size differential and score the upset victory. How much will Grimes pay him for the help?

Grade: B

I was tempted to grade this show slightly higher, but the screw job finish in the women’s tag team match wasn’t satisfying, regardless of what it might lead to on next week’s show. Finn Bálor and Roderick Strong not only delivered but OVER delivered in the main event, which helped to offset the bitter taste in my mouth from earlier. I’m confused about whether or not L.A. Knight and Cameron Grimes are going to be an alliance, but we’ll wait to see where that one goes. No points awarded for the non-match between Ever-Rise and Breezango.

Ember Moon was fine but Aliyah is just not in her league. The Way’s segments were hilarious, particularly the unapologetic way Indi Hartwell is lusting after Dexter Lumis, and Candice LeRae taking texts from Gargano even after he was “kicked out” of therapy. Ciampa and Thatcher deserve better, and I think they’ll eventually get it at a NXT Takeover. Next week is going to be Takeover Lite though. I can’t wait to see it.

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

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