WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 17

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2021

WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 17

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    Credit: WWE.com

    On the heels of an epic NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day, the February 17 edition of WWE NXT was all about fallout. The show did not promise much wrestling to start but plenty of opportunities for action.

    After Finn Balor successfully defended his NXT Championship against Pete Dunne, Adam Cole superkicked The Prince as well as Kyle O'Reilly. Betrayed by his friend, O'Reilly opened the show seeking answers from the Undisputed Era.

    The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic officially ended with two huge winners. MSK ended an incredible run with victory, defeating The Grizzled Young Veterans. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez toppled Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon to become the first-ever women to win the tournament.

    Blackheart and Moon tried to refocus by taking on two members of The Way, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. This long-running feud was sure to produce another excellent match.

    The leader of The Way, Johnny Gargano defeated Kushida at TakeOver but at a price. With his back turned, Dexter Lumis abducted Austin Theory. The Rebel Heart vowed to find his "sorta-kinda son."

    This show had massive potential off of one of the absolute best TakeOvers in recent memory. Especially while on the Road to WrestleMania, anything was possible from the black-and-gold brand.

Undisputed Era Continue to Crumble as Adam Cole Remains Silent

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    Kyle O'Reilly interrupted the rundown by the commentators to call out Adam Cole. He was willing to give his Undisputed Era brother the benefit of the doubt. Roderick Strong interrupted to explain that Cole did not mean to do what he did.

    Finn Balor blamed O'Reilly for setting him up, and he got in the face of Strong. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch ambushed all three men, particularly focusing on The Prince.

    Backstage, William Regal commented on Santos Escobar refusing to fight Karrion Kross. He told the NXT cruiserweight champion the match would happen next week or Escobar would be stripped of his title. He then made a six-man tag team match official for the main event between the men in the opening segment.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    This was a chaotic open to the night that suited the chaos at the end of NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day. However, it did not lead to much of anything beyond setting up a match for later. It felt too much like a Monday Night Raw segment over an NXT segment.

    O'Reilly did a solid job selling his anger, even though he is not a great mic worker on his own. The ultimate goal should be O'Reilly vs. Cole, so this was a solid start. Balor's involvement will add little early on, and The Prince should already have moved past The Bruiserweight.

Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon vs. The Way's Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Candice LeRae led Indi Hartwell through an early dominant streak against Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart. However, a camera cut backstage occasionally to show a white van. This sent Johnny Gargano marching backstage to check for Austin Theory.

    The Way soldiered through, closing in on a victory. However, as The Poison Pixie tagged in Hartwell, Gargano brought Theory out to the stage. LeRae ran out to check on Theory, leaving Hartwell to get stacked up for three.

    Pat McAfee mocked the NXT Universe in a pre-taped interview from his private jet, telling the fans that he was always right about Adam Cole.

              

    Result

    Moon and Blackheart def. The Way by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B-

                

    Analysis

    While this was not as good as the match last week, it was still solid thanks to the time it was given. LeRae remains the ring general in these matchups, but Moon has also truly found her groove in the ring again. Blackheart was less involved than usual, while Hartwell showed her inexperience.

    The result was obvious but still worked. Dexter Lumis plays mind games constantly, taking Theory out of the title match Sunday, and he clearly has more plans for The Way to come. For now, it makes sense for Theory to return to The Way.

Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott vs. Leon Ruff

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    Leon Ruff started hot but took a rough boot to the face. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott got overconfident with every opportunity, nearly costing him the win.

    Ruff almost took the win off a diving twisting cutter for a near-fall then, as Scott prepared for a victory after a clothesline, Ruff reversed into a crucifix bomb for a surprise pinfall. Afterward, Swerve viciously attacked Ruff and said he was tired of the rookie getting all his opportunities.

              

    Result

    Ruff def. Swerve by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    Ruff and Swerve have chemistry that should be immensely fun to watch. The first contest could have used more time, but the sprint absolutely worked. These are two of the fastest and smoothest cruiserweights in NXT. The two complement each other well.

    Ruff can make Scott look far more dangerous as a heel than someone like Bronson Reed could. NXT intentionally gave Ruff a jobber entrance to solidify just how much he is the underdog. Meanwhile, Scott is able to do anything in the ring but will work best with someone he can toss around.

Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah and Jessi Kamea

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    Kacy Catanzaro rolled around the ring to keep the advantage against the bigger Jessi Kamea and the craftier Aliyah, but Xia Li and Boa arrived to distract her. It was only thanks to a timely hot tag to Kayden Carter that the faces were able to win.

    Afterward, Catanzaro confronted Li, and the Chinese Superstar told the athlete she would purge her next week.

              

    Result

    Carter and Catanzaro def. Aliyah and Kamea by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    D

                

    Analysis

    Carter and Catanzaro are still green in ways that come up every now and then. It was on full display, especially against the inexperienced Kamea. This was a showcase of women that need more time before they can seriously be in the spotlight.

    This was just about setting up a bigger match down the line, though it remains to be seen if Catanzaro vs. Li will be a serious match in the best women's division in wrestling. While Li's evolution has been fun to watch, she still has not had a chance to show she can compete at the highest level.

Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax Face Down Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

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    Beth Phoenix presided over the trophy ceremony. MSK arrived, giddy over their big win. They challenged Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to a match for the NXT Tag Team Championships on March 3.

    After Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez arrived to celebrate their victory, Shayna Baszler's music hit. She and Nia Jax walked and traded barbs. Gonzalez refused to be intimidated by The Irresistible Force, promising to make a lasting impression on her on March 3.

    Josiah Williams' song and video package for Cameron Grimes from TakeOver showed again for the rich man.

               

    Grade

    D

                

    Analysis

    This was an ugly segment despite a lot of talent in the ring. No one sounded confident with the script they were given, especially Baszler. The faceoff of The Queen of Spades and The Captain of Team Kick should have meant more, as it was Baszler who forced Kai to evolve.

    While Jax vs. Gonzalez is an interesting matchup and the title match should be good, focusing on the two was a mistake.

    MSK was just there and probably should have been allowed their own segment instead. It was silly that MSK just challenged the tag team champions and were left to stand there.

Kushida vs. Tyler Rust

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    Kushida explained that he was ready to go after Gargano soon, getting a warning from Bronson Reed that he was not the only one going after the North American Championship. Malcolm Bivens challenged Kushida to fight Tyler Rust, who would show he was more impressive than the former No. 1 contender.

    Rust knew immediately to focus on the neck of Kushida that was hurting from Sunday. Bivens was confident until the Japanese Superstar showed his toughness and reversed the attack into his own focused attack on the right arm of Rust.

    Biven's client won a series of counters into an impressive sleeper, but Kushida would not stay down. The Japanese Superstar trapped Rust in the Hoverboard Lock, and Bivens called it for his client rather than letting Rust tap out.

              

    Result

    Kushida def. Rust by submission.

               

    Grade

    B

                

    Analysis

    Rust continues to stand out with strong competitions. This was a good showing from the NXT rookie, who has plenty of experience outside of WWE to showcase with major opponents. Bivens has done well for Rust so far, though the dynamic is still a bit off.

    Kushida is truly finding himself in NXT. He has always been great, but he's showing out lately. He just has found the right dynamic to work with a variety of NXT performers. He may have lost at TakeOver, but he has to be in line for a title soon.

Zoey Stark vs. Valentina Feroz

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    A cameraman found the home of LA Knight, who cut an impromptu promo on why he was already the hottest star in NXT.

    A video package was shown for Zoey Stark ahead of this match. Valentina Feroz tried to keep out of her reach, but Stark barely needed to move. She hit a sliding knee strike into a spinning knee lift for the win.

    Karrion Kross with Scarlett warned Santos Escobar that the NXT cruiserweight champion would not survive their encounter, whether it happened next week or backstage.

              

    Result

    Stark def. Feroz by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    For a short exhibition match, Stark showed out from the outset. It is a shame that WWE immediately gave her a loss in the women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. She comes off as a powerhouse that could dominate NXT in time. The early loss will need to be quietly written off.

    Knight is a unique addition to NXT. He is an old-school mic worker with charisma to spare. While his catchphrase focus might be outdated, he has the talent to make it work. It is just a matter of how much NXT is willing to invest in a man who has dominated outside of WWE.

    The new crop of talent will define the future of NXT. Both have pros and cons, but it is exciting to look at a brand that is constantly evolving.

Pete Dunne, Lorcan and Burch vs. Finn Balor, Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong

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    Despite the best efforts of the heels, isolating one face did not work. The pace of this contest was non-stop. Roderick Strong and Finn Balor worked together with explosive offense, even when Pete Dunne started to dissect the pair with technical offense.

    Due to the beatdown he took earlier in the night, Kyle O'Reilly was the clearest target, and Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan gladly left welts on the NXT champion for The Bruiserweight to exploit. The Prince caught the hot tag from O'Reilly, setting up a big fight between Dunne and Balor.

    As a brawl broke out outside, Strong saved O'Reilly from Burch and Lorcan. However, the referee got taken out in the chaos, and Adam Cole appeared to assault his former friend O'Reilly.

    In the chaos that followed, Balor accidentally caught Strong with a pele kick, and Dunne took advantage to plant Balor with the Bitter End to win. As Balor watched the heel gloat, Cole superkicked Balor and held up the NXT Championship.

              

    Result

    Dunne, Burch and Lorcan def. Balor, O'Reilly and Strong by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    This was always going to be a fun fight. Everyone involved was too talented not to compete at their absolute best. The continuation of Balor and Dunne was as fun as Sunday, and it was interesting to watch the dynamic of Strong and O'Reilly.

    The chaos at the end did take away from the action a bit. However, it was important that Cole ultimately make a statement. He did so with his actions, clearly showing that he is no longer just acting with emotion. He has intentions to destroy Undisputed Era to become champion again.

    It will be fascinating to watch what comes next. It could be good. It could be bad, but what matters for NXT immediately is that it will be different from the many years that have passed before with Undisputed Era on top.

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