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NXT recap & reactions (May 4, 2021): It’s a street fight!

NXT returned last night (May 4) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.


If you have a moment free take it to enjoy this slept on gem from the Street Fighter soundtrack. The moment I heard that Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon were defending their tag team titles in a STREET FIGHT against Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell, I was eagerly anticipating tiger uppercuts, hadoukens and perhaps even some YOGA FIRE.

LeRae seemed very concerned going into the match that Hartwell was spending too much time “thinking about boys” and not enough thinking about getting the gold belts.

There were less than ten minutes left on the clock when the ring introductions began, so all four women cut off the announcer by brawling, which makes sense given it’s a street fight anyway so anything goes. You’d also expect a lot of plunder in a street fight and you wouldn’t be disappointed by the amount here — chairs, tables, and a fire extinguisher all came into play before we got a very late commercial break guaranteeing an overrun!

I’m going to coin the word PLUNDERIFFIC to describe this contest. If this had been given a half hour or close to it instead of the 18 minutes or so it got from the start through the overrun, it might be remembered as a TLC match for the ages. It certainly had the lack of selling you’d expect from the Hardy Boys, Dudleys, et cetera in their prime — everyone went through tables and ladders and sold only briefly before getting back into the fight. Even Blackheart’s leap off the rigging through the announce table onto Hartwell didn’t keep either lady down for very long!

In the end all of The Way’s conniving and trickery to get the women’s tag team champions into this match paid off. Hartwell took out Moon by diving from the ring onto a table outside, and LeRae stomped Blackheart’s head into a steel chair and pinned her for 3. We have new women’s tag team champions!

Shoes off if you hate Gibson!

On last week’s edition of NXT, Tommaso Ciampa sang a little tune for Zack Gibson to mock the Grizzled Young Veterans. I’ve been told that “less than one percent of the USA Network audience watches NXT UK,” so in case you didn’t get the reference he made... here you go.

James Drake and the aforementioned Gibson would have a chance for revenge in a tag team contest against Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. With a win the Grizzled Young Veterans could prove they are SSSSSSSOON to be in contention again for MSK’s tag team titles. Did they get the upper hand or did the equally grizzled veterans humiliate GYV again?

There was no shortage of dirty tactics in this contest, including distracting the ref with an illegal tag just so James Drake could try to rip Thatcher’s ear off his head. Ciampa got knocked over the announce table and Wade Barrett started complaining that he lost a shoe in the process. I think you can see where this is going! Thatcher got the shoe from Ciampa somehow and clocked Zack Gibson with him, then put on the armbreaker while he was dazed and confused. Gibson tapped out and the MORE grizzled veterans got the win!

The ring can not contain their fury!

Leon Ruff and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott keep upping the ante with their attacks on each other, so General Manager William Regal did the only sensible thing he could do in response. If they can’t keep their fight inside the confines of the squared circle, let them take it all over the Capitol Wrestling Center instead — falls, count, ANYWHERE.

This match kicked off the live broadcast. Leon Ruff was the first to enter and tried to attack Scott when he hit the ring, being held back by the ref until the bell, at which point Scott promptly hit him with a knee as he charged in. Scott stayed in control until Ruff gave him an arm drag that sent him through the ropes, but Scott managed to get the upper hand there too. Ruff did have his moment when he was on the outside selling a superplex from the top, avoiding a charge from Scott that left him hanging, giving him a dropkick while upside down. Scott got the advantage again and threw a toolbox at his head before the break.

During the commercial break the brawl spilled to the back, the locker room, and “anywhere” they wanted to go. Both men picked up the pace when we came back to live action, with Ruff making his big comeback when Scott when knee first into the ring steps, attacking him with the toolbox to further injure the knee. Scott tried to escape from a dueling leg lock, but ate a cutter in the ring AND on the floor. Ruff sent him over the barricade and went through the curtain to climb up to the top, but AJ Francis from Swerve’s entourage caught him jumping off and said “You must be out your DAMN mind!” He dumped Ruff back over the barricade and Scott took him back into the ring to hit the JML Driver and get the pin.

Does “The Prince” want his throne back?

It’s been more than a minute now since “The Prince” Finn Bálor lost his crown to Karrion Kross at Takeover: Stand & Deliver night two. As the longest reigning NXT champion in the brand’s history (504 days over two different spans) Bálor has nothing to prove, but that didn’t mean he planned to just roll over and let Kross or anyone else take his spot.

Even though it was billed as Bálor’s big return going in, it was actually a segment designed for (and all about) Karrion Kross. He took center stage and once again dared the NXT locker room to have some cajones. Kyle O’Reilly came out and told him there was only one match he wanted, and he was pretty sure that Kross wanted it too.

Pete Dunne declared this “a laugh” and dared both of them to prove they were badder than him. Bálor came out and declared he had beaten Dunne, beaten O’Reilly (twice) and wanted Kross when he was done with Austin Theory next week, leading immediately to a brawl!

Kross almost single-handedly cleared the ring, but while he was staring Bálor down on the ramp he was jumped by Austin Theory and Johnny Gargano. They gave him stereo superkicks and Gargano put him down with a North American title shot to the head.

What else do you need to know?

Cameron Grimes had an unannounced match with Asher Hale. Despite a few moments of offense here and there the end result was clear from the beginning — Cave In for the pin. Grimes vowed to celebrate in a VIP lounge, Ever-Rise tried to tag along, but he told them there was only room for three: “Me, myself, and Cameron Grimes.” Is he a De La fan?

Franky Monet has no respect for Kacy or Kayden (nor her little dog too)

Sarray had a match with Zayda Ramier

So we gave Ramier a win over Toni Storm last week, just to feed her to the “Warrior of the Sun” this week? Don’t get me wrong, I like Sarray a lot, but this seems totally bass-ackward if you’re trying to tout Ramier as a “future prospect” off her “big upset win” last week, which they did during the broadcast repeatedly.

LA Knight squashed Jake Atlas in a short match

The most memorable part was Knight’s pre-match promo where he vowed to punt his opponent so hard that he’d NEED an atlas just to find his way back into the building.

If you like talking this was the show for you

I thought there was a lot of time killing last week, but I should have gotten out a coffee machine and set it to “auto refill” for this week. We had the promo segment from Kross and crew, a long promo segment by Legado del Fantasma to set up his flunkies challenging MSK and him challenging KUSHIDA (2 out of 3 falls next week), a backstage promo by Toni Storm on Zoey Stark, all of the segments with Gargano & Theory with Regal, a split screen interview for Mercedes Martinez & Raquel González, and multiple skits involving Cameron Grimes culminating in the night club he rented a room for being BOUGHT by Ted DiBiase. That’s vintage “Million Dollar Man” and all but for whatever reason I didn’t get nearly the chuckle out of Grimes being upstaged that I expected to.

Oh and Franky Monet’s dog apparently pooped in Shotzi Blackheart’s tank too. I don’t have a clip of that — not that I want to see it, nor do I think any of you want to either.

Grade: C

That’s going to seem harsh I know, but every match given any amount of substantial time was gimmicked to hell and back — yet the one gimmick match that SHOULD have been given more time as the main event didn’t get near enough. I think I’m about done with Swerve and Ruff at this point and they should be too. Sarray is in danger of being lost in the shuffle if they don’t give her some direction and promote her matches ahead of time. I don’t get the point of the Diamond Mine promos and frankly I don’t care. With three different matches involving foreign objects (legally or illegally) it was pure overkill, despite some good moments from bell to bell in each. Try to only have one plunderiffic match per show please, and for the love of all that’s good in wrestling cut down on the promo segments.

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

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