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NXT recap & reactions (Sept. 7, 2021): The end of an era gets a party

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Bachelor and bachelorette parties, tag team title matches, and beatdowns galore. Let’s talk about the end of NXT as we know it

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The moment where NXT leaves boys to men on bended knee cause this is the end of the road. And girls to women as well.

This is indeed the end of an era for the black and gold brand as it gets a lot more colorful next week.

As always, checkout Claire’s outstanding play-by-play, and make sure to do that each and every Tuesday.

Let’s talk NXT!


It’s a Party

Have you seen Bachelor Party starring Tom Hanks? Yeah, these bachelorette and bachelor parties were nothing like that. For one, that was the 1980s and a completely different world. Two, this is still a family show. And lastly, Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis deserve parties as weird and adorable as their love.

It says something about the work NXT put into both of these characters and their relationship where these segments are a highlight of the show. Any wrestler will tell you, especially the older ones, that if you do your job as a character, the crowd will go with anything you do in or outside of the ring.

NXT’s last episode of an era gave us an awkward bachelorette party filled with snark, one-liners, and people who weren’t even Indi’s friends. In typical ‘80s rom-com fashion, Indi and Candice LeRae even ducked out of Indi’s party early—how rude—to spy on the bachelor party.

While we got silly moments with go karts, axe throwing, moon bounces, and laser tag. it was all building to one moment. For weeks, Indi wanted Johnny Gargano to accept the love of her life. After last week’s cuss show, that looked like a dream deferred.

However, after a day of bonding, working together as a team, and Dex helping Daddy Wrestling whenever possible, the two finally exchanged a high-five. Sure, Johnny got bumped into it, but it was a big moment for everyone involved. Indi and Candice came out of “hiding” and the former was overjoyed that her fiancé finally “cracked Johnny’s nut.”

Maybe their wedding won’t be a mess next week like almost every other wedding in the history of wrestling weddings. Maybe, just maybe, Johnny is finally ready to let his little girl run away with a man who stalked his way into her heart.

I have my suspicions that Johnny is just waiting to explode and make it a day to forget for the blushing bride. I really hope that I’m wrong.


MSK, All Night x All Day

MSK wanted Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan. The NXT Tag Team Champions are on a mission for respect, and they’re taking on any and everyone to get it. Lorcan and Burch wanted back what they felt was rightfully theirs. Like the women’s tag title match, this match was a clash in styles.

Lorcan and Burch had the early advantage exerting raw power over the champs. Seriously, these are big cats and MSK just can’t compete in that department. Nash Carter was lost in the early onslaught of submissions, dropkicks, uppercuts, and suplexes.

In fact, Carter took the brunt of the beating during the main event, as it became clear we were seeing a story of a team outmatched in size but not in heart.

The highlight of the match came when Carter went to the top rope one too many times and caught a couple knees in his back on the way down.

Lorcan slapped an ankelock on him in the middle of the ring, while Burch put Lee in a crossface just as Lee went to save his partner. This was it, right? Carter was a prime target the entire match and there was no way to save him.

Not so fast. Carter found a way to not only break the hold, but fling Lorcan with just enough force to breakup the crossface and save his partner.

It’s the little things, ya know?

In the end, Lorcan and Burch just didn’t have the will, and MSK scored the pinfall with their trademark tandem offense.

At what point do the champs stop fighting for respect? I’m not sure, but after every victory, we’re told to “put respect on MSK’s name.” Who doesn’t respect these cats at this point? I like the story of their reign but it needs to find another gear after successive victories over big, bad opponents

Speaking of which, Pete Dunne and the man with the best hat in the business, Ridge Holland, were none too pleased about this defeat. They added insult to injury and issued Lorcan and Burch their walking papers in the form of a beatdown. One feud ends, another begins, as Dunne and Holland clearly see those two as the weak links in the chain.


Bad Friends, Great Partners

Can a relationship of convenience topple an actual friendship? That’s the main question going into the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match. Kacy Catanzaro x Kayden Carter are friends to the end. They even went to Indi’s bachelorette party together! Io Sharai x Zoey Stark? Yeah, they’re clearly just business partners, despite how much Zoey wants that to change.

Zoey and Io need to not only defend their titles, but prove their business arrangement has long-term potential. Meanwhile the challengers, after months of hard work and demanding it, have to prove they’re truly read to say, “The champs are here!”

I guess friendship is overrated. There’s one moment that crystalizes this match: Zoey inadvertently bumps her partner off of the ring apron. At that moment, Kayden has the momentum! She pulls a reverse STO out of her bag of tricks, and has the match won. That’s it. That’s over. Goodnight, everybody!

But about 9 minutes into the match she craved, Kayden hesitates. The CWC is screaming for her to pin Zoey and win the gold. But she can’t do it without her best friend. She finally gets up after wasting all of that time, tags Kacy, and they hit a tag team electric chair from the top rope. Match is over, right? Nope.

Io gathered herself during all that wasted time, broke up the pin attempt, and effectively stole the momentum back from the challengers.

Zoey tags in Io, who hits a gorgeous moonsault from the top rope, and the champs retain.

Gotta feel bad for the Kacy and Kayden. And I really do! They had the gold in their hands but showed they just weren’t ready to win. It’s a cliche sports term, but that doesn’t make it any less true. No matter how great of a team they are or how great of a friendship they have, it’s nothing compared to the experience of the champs, particularly Io Sharai.

To make matters worse, Kacy and Kayden got jumped by Batman disguised as Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne. I figured they’d go after Sarray for “disfiguring” Mandy, but Gigi and Jacy didn’t forget getting embarrassed by these two a couple weeks ago. Who knows what’s next for the tag champs, but NXT’s resident social media queens have their hands full with violence.


Bad Moon Rising

Last week, Kay Lee Ray baited Ember Moon into a match. Ray said the former NXT Woman’s champ was a thing of the past and Ray is the future. Like any competitor in any sport, the idea of someone calling you a has been got under Ember’s skin and she issued a challenge.

Again, exactly what Kay wanted.

The two engaged in a scientific brawl, targeting body parts and issuing submissions. The type of thing you do when you want to humiliate your opponent and make them cry auntie. Ember wanted to prove she’s still the competitor she says she is, while Kay wanted to knock off a legend and prove she belongs.

Neither wanted to submit, neither wanted to give in to a 3-count. Ember, even after getting her shoulder dissected for most of the match, refused to tap and give Kay the satisfaction.

In the end, it was Ember’s frustration got the best of her. She put Ray in an over-the-shoulder Michinoku Driver but even after suffering a move that looks like it hurts a whole damn lot, Ray refused to stay down. Ember lost focus for one moment to let out a yell of anguish, providing an Kay an opening to drop a KLR Bomb.

1-2-3.

Great opening match with a lot of pride on the line, and a lot to gain or lose for both women. Kay Lee Ray moves forward with a huge notch in her belt, while Ember is now a bit of adrift.

Her tag partner is gone, she’s on a serious losing streak, and as she said, something has to change. I like it. Quick follow-up on a story the commentators were telling, and gives us something else to look forward to during next week’s “rebrand.”

The winner and loser of a match need to have a destination post-match. NXT accomplished that multiple times tonight, and props to them for doing so.


Extracurriculars

Fatal Four Way Explainers

LA Knight, Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, and Tommaso Ciampa will duke it out next week in a Fatal 4-Way to determine the numero uno contender for the NXT Championship. Knight, O’Reilly, and Ciampa cut promos detailing their motivations, with O’Reilly’s being the best of the bunch for my money. We get a this next week and a wedding? I don’t know which to be more excited for.

Escobar Season has Returned

This was a case of finding the right outcome that didn’t hurt either man and NXT did that. Carmelo Hayes showed he can hang with Santos Escobar but like me in math class, the numbers weren’t in his favor. Legado del Fantasma interfered and shenanigans ensued. Escobar gets the W he needs, Lopez looks good in defeat since the bad guys cheated, and Elektra Lopez showed her worth and sheer power.

Hit Row with a Attitude

This was simple. Hit Row wants revenge on Legado del Fantasma for what happened last week. NXT is obviously saving something for next week since it makes all the sense in the world for them to get their revenge on this episode. Each member spoke their peace, with B-FAB letting Elektra Lopez know she started something she won’t get a chance to finish. A hard head does indeed make for a soft ass.

As much as I’m enjoying this feud, it feels like it’s stuck. Hopefully Ms. Lopez changes things and this means a match between her and B-FAB is in the near future.

Grand Opening Grand Closing

Chuckie Viola & Paxton Averill got fed to the Diamond Mine’s newest members, the Creed Brothers. Brutus and Julius ended the match before the commentators broke a sweat calling it.

That Was Quick

Mei Ying wanted to send a message to Boa. Taking out Virginia Ferry (I get it!), the poor woman who didn’t even get an entrance, in dominating fashion is a way to do it.


This is the end, but maybe not entirely. NXT will look different next week but it will probably feel the same in its attention to detail and character development. As long as that doesn’t change, there’s nothing to fear.

Right? Next week we get a wedding, a Fatal 4-Way, and an NXT Women’s title match between Raquel González and Franky Monet. Oh, and a lot of bright colors.

Grade: A