WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 17March 17, 2021
WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 17
This week's episode of NXT featured appearances from several champions and a healthy mix of singles and tag team matches from the men's and women's divisions.
Jordan Devlin returned to NXT this week to establish himself as the rightful cruiserweight champion. He has been calling out Santos Escobar for weeks and was looking for a confrontation with the man he sees as an imposter champion.
Newcomer Zoey Stark was back in action against Dakota Kai. The Captain of Team Kick was not in a good mood after losing the NXT women's tag titles the same night she and Raquel Gonzalez were awarded the belts, so she was looking to take out her frustration on Stark.
We also saw Dexter Lumis face Austin Theory. The Artist has been tormenting the Gargano clan for weeks, but after Johnny Gargano told Theory that Lumis insulted his abs, the battle was on.
Breezango faced Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, and LA Knight made his in-ring debut after making his first appearance at the most recent TakeOver event.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's episode of NXT.
Austin Theory vs. Dexter Lumis
Gargano and Candice LeRae were at home this week, but they sent Theory a set of gear that looked like Gargano's attire as a motivational gift. The match started with Theory taking Lumis out of the ring right away. He slammed Lumis' head into the announce table a few times as the show cut to a break.
We returned to see Theory hit a fallaway slam for a quick two-count. Lumis took a little more damage before he hit a spinebuster out of nowhere to give himself some time to get his bearings.
He started to build some momentum as he hit a jumping leg drop for a near-fall. The Artist dropped his opponent with a slingshot suplex. Theory was not phased by one of his mind games and drilled him with a forearm to the face for a close two-count.
Lumis knocked him down with a clothesline but then offered him his hand to help him up. Theory took it and tried to hug him. Lumis used the opportunity to put on a chokehold, but Theory broke free. Lumis countered his finisher and locked the hold in again for the win.
It's hard to tell what we are supposed to feel by watching this story unfold. Should we feel bad for Theory, or are we supposed to be on Lumis' side? Should we hope they unite against Gargano at some point? The messaging has been inconsistent, to say the least.
The match was good and let both guys show off their athleticism. It wasn't a barnburner, but it was a good start to what is sure to be a feud that gives us a handful of matches in the coming weeks.
Lumis is an interesting character, but it sometimes feels like WWE doesn't know what to do with him. As for Theory, he has his upsides, but his current gimmick of being Gargano's slightly dim lackey isn't doing him any favors.
Breezango vs. Legado Del Fantasma
Mendoza tried to get an early advantage, but Fandango saw him coming and knocked him down with one quick shot. He also fought off Wilde before he brought in Tyler Breeze for a double-team and a two-count.
Legado del Fantasma was able to turn the tables when Fandango got back in the ring. Mendoza knocked him off the top rope to the floor with a running kick as we went to a commercial.
We came back just as Dango sent Mendoza over the barricade. Prince Pretty got the hot tag and took it to Wilde with a flurry of quick strikes. He locked Wilde in a half crab submission but was forced to break it. Mendoza broke up a pin to save his partner after a Supermodel Kick from Breeze.
Wilde made a blind tag that allowed Legado del Fantasma to hit a tag team finisher for the win. After the match was over, Devlin came out for a confrontation with Escobar.
The Emperor of Lucha Libre challenged Devlin to a match at TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. Devlin hit a head-butt and a suplex before running with his title.
This was a fun, energetic tag team match. All four of the men involved looked great, and the lack of interference from Escobar was a refreshing change from how heel teams are usually booked.
Wilde and Mendoza often play second fiddle to Escobar, so it was nice to see them get a win on their own for once.
Breeze looked especially crisp in the ring this week. He is a great technical wrestler who is often overlooked because of his comedic gimmick. He and Fandango can get just as physical as anyone else.
Escobar and Devlin will have a good performance when they eventually battle for the cruiserweight title. It will be interesting to see if WWE adds a special stipulation.
Dakota Kai vs. Zoey Stark
Kai seemed to be back to her usual self as she made her way to the ring to face Stark. Raquel Gonzalez always looks angry, so it was hard to tell how she was feeling about losing the tag titles on their first night as champions.
They had a nice exchange of basics to get things going. Stark brought Kai down in a hammerlock and started to work on her arm.
Captain Kota was able to get Stark in the corner and nail her with a running kick to the face for a two-count. The newcomer hit a slingshot crossbody from the ring to the floor as the show went to a commercial.
We returned to see Kai and Stark take each other down with simultaneous clotheslines. Stark began to build up a head of steam with a string of quick offensive maneuvers.
Captain Kota nailed her with a superkick as she came flying into the ring from the top rope, but she was unable to get the pin. After a few more moves, Kai hit the Kota Kick for the pin and the win.
This started as a relatively normal match. They locked up, traded some standard moves and sold for each other. The second half is when everything started to click.
Both women used just about every trick they had up their sleeves to turn this into one of the better singles matches either competitor has had in quite some time.
Kai is always a reliable performer, so seeing her step up was no surprise. This was a breakout performance for Stark and will likely lead to her getting a lot more screen time in the coming weeks.
Marcel Barthel vs. Tommaso Ciampa
As Marcel Barthel was making his entrance, Tommaso Ciampa attacked Fabian Aichner and threw him over the barricade. The match started and Ciampa went right after Barthel.
Once he was able to gather himself, Barthel wrestled Ciampa down to the mat and kept him grounded with a headlock. Aichner recovered and made his way back to ringside to watch Barthel choke Ciampa against the middle rope while talking trash into the camera.
Ciampa sent Barthel into Aichner before hitting him with the Widow's Bell DDT for the win. Imperium's music hit and Walter appeared on the stage. He signaled the rest of Imperium to attack Ciampa as he got into the ring.
We don't get to see Barthel compete in singles matches often. It was nice to see him get a chance to show off his skills without having to give a partner equal time.
This was a physical contest with a lot to like. It was a little on the short side, but they had to leave time for Walter's return, so it wasn't like this was a throwaway segment.
A feud between WALTER and Ciampa is an interesting prospect. It would be a war we would be lucky to witness.
LA Knight vs. August Grey
The former Eli Drake had his first WWE match this week since being a developmental athlete in 2014. His first opponent was August Grey.
Knight easily took control, but Bronson Reed came out to distract him. The big man destroyed Knight's jacket, and it almost allowed Grey to roll him up for the win.
Knight made a quick comeback and hit his finisher for an easy win.
This was the kind of match you would expect for a new talent. Knight looked dominant and picked up a quick victory. What made this slightly different was the use of Reed.
WWE doesn't always put new talents right into feuds. It lets them get a few wins under their belt before putting them into a storyline. WWE is having Drake start a feud with Reed immediately, so management must see something in him.
Opening Segment and Main Event
Finn Balor opened the show in the ring and immediately called out Karrion Kross. The former champions said now that they have settled their other issues, they can focus on facing each other and proving which Superstar is the rightful NXT champion.
Balor said Kross doesn't have what it takes to beat him, but Kross seemed confident that he would regain the belt at the next TakeOver special.
Scarlett said something about seeing this in the cards and gives some ominous message about two champions draped in gold. This led to the NXT tag team champions, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, coming out and declaring Balor should be facing Pete Dunne, not Kross.
Scarlett challenged them to defend the tag titles against Balor and Kross. She worked her magic and talked them into it by using some manipulative language of both the verbal and body variety. This match closed the show as the main event.
Kross started strong and wore Burch down with a bearhug. He hit both champions with a suplex at the same time, and Burch appeared to take a bad bump. The show went to a break with the ref checking on him.
Lorcan had the upper hand against Balor until the NXT champion hit an overhead kick. Lorcan prevented a tag, but Balor started building momentum anyway. He hit a sling blade on the floor followed by a running dropkick that sent Lorcan into Scarlett by mistake. Balor checked on her, but Kross lost his mind and started destroying Balor.
Lorcan was able to capitalize and score the pin to retain the titles, but it didn't save him from Kross' fury.
This was a good way to keep Kross and Balor together without forcing them into some kind of match against each other before TakeOver.
Hopefully, Burch is not injured and it was just a minor issue. He and Lorcan are great as tag team champions, and it would be a shame if an injury derailed their momentum.
This was a decent main event, but it was nowhere near the best thing we saw all night. That honor goes to Kai and Stark.