We have arrived to another episode of NXT and both Dusty Classics are in full swing. They both will continue this week and we also have another tag match to look forward to as well featuring Finn Balor teaming with Kyle O’Reilly to take on Lorcan and Burch. The Cruiserweight Championship is also set to be defended as well this week. Plenty to look forward to so let us see what the black and gold brand had for us this week.
MSK vs Drake Maverick & Killian Dain
This was a fun opening tag match and MSK continues to impress in NXT. It is a bit sad that Trey decided to stay at Impact but I am digging Nash and Lee. I think this is their real chance to distinguish themselves from being a part of the Rascalz with Trey and they are making the most of it. I do love the pairing of Dain and Drake and I feel like they have found their groove as a team. NXT was struggling a bit with their tag team scene in 2020 but the Dusty Classic is showing that they are set to have a good tag scene in 2021. Really fun back and forth and I loved how Lee and Nash each sold the big moves from Dain. Dain was the powerhouse in this match and they bumped like the pros they are for him. MSK would end up winning and will take on the winners of the Legado del Fantasma versus Lucha House Party match in the semifinals. Fun opener this week and MSK continues to show how talented they are.
Curt Stallion Interview
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this interview segment by Stallion but he didn’t stumble in it so there’s that. He spoke about his upbringing and how it affected him. He has his eyes set on taking the Cruiserweight Championship from Santos Escobar and is confident he can.
Aliyah & Jessi Kamea vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
There are two things that I liked about this match. One is that it was nice to see Robert Stone back in NXT because the man is amazing in this role. The other being that it was interesting to see Raquel and Dakota make separate entrances and that really is an indicator that Raquel is inching closer and closer to being able to stand on her own with Dakota. This match, like the other matches in the Dusty Classic, was a lot of fun. You can tell how much Aliyah has worked on her ring work and has come a long way. It was also nice to see what Jessi could do since she has primarily been a jobber in NXT. I think an Aliyah/Jessi tag team could be quite fun with Stone as their manager. It was easy to see that Dakota and Raquel were going to win here and Raquel looked like a beast in there. Raquel and Dakota would win and will face Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro in the next round.
The Way Backstage
This was absolutely hilarious and I love how Johnny finds new words to have banned in front of him because of his logic behind it. Indi and Candice spoke a bit about how they won their match in the Women’s Dusty Classic and how they will win the whole thing. McKenzie then moved on to talk to Johnny about the prospect of facing KUSHIDA and I loved how he left because of the mere mention of KUSHIDA. Theory would inform her that they do not say that name in front of Johnny and then would say it in front of Johnny when saying he was explaining it to her. Theory is so perfect as a meathead and I love Johnny’s reactions to him. The Way would leave and then Dexter Lumis would appear from behind the curtains and that makes me curious as to what he is planning.
Scarlett Tarot Cards
More tarot card reading from Scarlett here as she continues to say that Kross is continuing on his path to reclaim the NXT Championship. I like these segments because they are different and fits with the mystique, they have built between them in NXT.
Tyler Rust vs Dante Rios
Pretty standard squash match here as Rust looked to rebound from his loss to Bronson Reed. This was obviously the match that Bivens wanted to get him last week before Rust jumped the gun and he looked good here. Rust is someone I can see enter the North American Championship scene sometime this year and I wouldn’t mind it. He is impressive in the ring and Bivens is a great mouthpiece for him. I also love his version of the Rings of Saturn because he makes it look rather brutal.
Finn Balor Interview
Finn was set to be interviewed about the upcoming tag match when Kyle O’Reilly would come in. Kyle asked him if he was ready and Finn told him he was. Kyle asked if he can trust him and Finn was a bit vaguer about that. Kyle just wants to make sure they are on the same page about taking out Lorcan and Burch and I like how this reluctant partnership has developed. I do not know where they are going with it and that is generally a good thing for me.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff
This may have been my favorite match of the night and I really do love Grizzled Young Veterans. They know what to do and Gibson is really great on the mic. He was getting plenty of heat prior to the pandemic happening and he just knows what to say and how to say it. This match was a lot of fun and the styles between GYV and KUSHIDA/Ruff really blended quite well. Really good back and forth and I did quite enjoy when Ruff would get on a roll. He hasn’t been doing this for terribly long but he does not look out of place at all. KUSHIDA is amazing as usual and GYV used their teamwork quite well. GYV would end up picking up the win here and will face the winner of Thatcher/Ciampa versus the Undisputed Era in the next round.
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory of the Way would come out after the match and beat down on Ruff and KUSHIDA. They did a number on them until Dexter Lumis would appear behind the barricade to scare them away. It is clear they are building towards KUSHIDA/Gargano, which should be amazing, but I wonder where Lumis fits in this.
Curt Stallion Attacked
Right before the commercial break, it was shown that Stallion had been attacked backstage and he blamed Legado del Fantasma for it. Regal did not like that at all and took off looking rather angry. NXT would return from the break with McKenzie telling Legado that Stallion would not be able to compete and they did their best to act as though they were surprised. Regal would barge in and tell them that the match will happen next week. He also told them that they would suffer consequences if something happens to Stallion and of course they denied having anything to do with Stallion being attacked.
This is when things got a bit interesting as Regal would leave and Santos would find a tarot card on his bag. He acted like he was scared because it is a sign for Karrion Kross but he laughed it off along with Mendoza and Wilde. It would be interesting to see Santos have to deal with Kross since he did talk smack to him last week but we shall see if more comes from it.
Toni Storm In-Ring
Toni came out to the ring for a promo and spoke a bit about how she wants Io Shirai. She talked about how she took the NXT UK Women’s Championship from Rhea Ripley and how she beat Io in the finals of the Mae Young Classic. She wanted to win the Women’s Dusty Classic but Io ruined that for her so she wants a piece of her. Io would come out and tell her that she doesn’t like her and a fight would happen. Io looked to have gotten the better of Toni when Mercedes Martinez would show up to join the fight. All three would fight and Toni would be the one that was left standing tall with the NXT Women’s Championship. Fun little brawl here and I am loving the way this is being built. We may be in line for a triple threat at TakeOver and I am all for that.
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott Interview
This was probably the weakest part of NXT this week because I could not really follow what Swerve was trying to get at here. He made it clear he has beef with Bronson but the whole pointing fingers thing didn’t work for me. Swerve can work as a heel but this promo was not all that great.
Really good vignette/promo for Imperium here. They spoke about how they have been separated because of the pandemic but it hasn’t stopped them from becoming champions. They spoke up WALTER and how he is still the NXT UK Champion. They seemed to hint that they will be a united front again and if that means WALTER is coming to NXT, then I am all for it. WALTER has pretty much gone through everybody there is to go through in NXT UK and he would have a bevy of new opponents in NXT.
Adam Cole & Roderick Strong Interview
Solid enough stuff here from Cole and Strong as they spoke about how they will beat Thatcher and Ciampa next week. They are confident in the fact they have been a group for years while Thatcher and Ciampa are a fairly new tandem. Cole did acknowledge how they have battled Ciampa many of times but they still feel like they can beat them.
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Bronson Reed
Nice little match between these two here as this was a bit of a grudge match. Swerve worked over Reed’s arm a bit in the match and Bronson did do a good job in selling it. Swerve also bumped his butt off for Bronson in this match and that always is a pleasant sight to see when someone does that for the other without being floppy like a Dolph. Swerve thought he had the match won but Bronson would kick out and eventually hit his big Tsunami Splash for the win.
Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher Promo
Nice promo work by these two here as they spoke about why they teamed up for the Dusty Classic. Ciampa spoke about losses and how you can gain respect for someone. Thatcher would then pull up a chair next to Ciampa and explain how the Fight Pit can change someone. He said he gained/earned Ciampa’s respect in that match and that is why he decided to team with him. They believe they can take it to the Undisputed Era and that they can win the Dusty Classic. I like this pairing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it to the finals.
Kyle O’Reilly & Finn Balor vs Lorcan & Burch
I totally hate that they went to commercial during Kyle’s air guitar solo because that is always a joy to watch. The match itself was plenty of fun and was hard hitting as you would expect with the men involved. Lorcan and Burch thrive in the strong-style and Finn and Kyle are more than up to the task of partaking in it. Solid back and forth in this match and Kyle did a good job in selling like he always does when Lorcan and Burch would attack his jaw. Finn came in to clean house to gain momentum for his team until Lorcan and Burch would take it back. More fun back and forth in the match and Kyle would end up picking up the win by making Burch tap to a heel hook. Pete Dunne would then appear and would be joined by Lorcan and Burch in a beat down. Kyle would be out of the equation and Dunne would do some joint manipulation on Finn as the help from Cole and Strong was too late. Cole and Strong would chase off the heels and would stand with Finn a bit in the ring before Finn left them in the ring. I will say that seeing Finn stand with the UE felt fitting and it was a nice tease for something that may or may not happen.
And That Is Undisputed
Overall, another fun episode of NXT this week and they seem to have really found their groove in 2021 so far. The Dusty Classic matches were all fun and the main event was as well. The main event was plenty of fun as well and Dunne clearly wants Balor. I loved the Imperium vignette and am totally giddy over the prospect of WALTER in NXT. The brawl between Storm, Shirai and Martinez was also fun and I like how the women’s title scene is shaping up ahead of TakeOver. All in all, very fun episode of NXT this week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I look forward to you joining me next week for another NXT review.