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

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistAugust 17, 2021

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

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    Credit: WWE.com

    NXT TakeOver 36 may be one of the biggest nights in WWE NXT history. Before that huge show, the black-and-gold brand promised a big show with major face-to-face encounters and matches with major stakes.

    Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross have been kept apart for weeks, but this week's NXT promised to put them in the same ring. What would they say, and what would they do to one another if security could not get in the way?

    MSK has dominated the NXT tag team division since arriving. However, Wes Lee and Nash Carter face the toughest opponent in their careers to date as Marcel Bartel and Fabian Aichner look to prove themselves to Walter and regain the tag titles.

    The NXT Breakout Tournament semifinals pit two of the brand's most promising newcomers against one another. Carmelo Hayes has been on a mission to prove himself, but he would have to go through the imposing Duke Hudson to do it.

    Continuing some of NXT's biggest stories, Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis would tag together for the first time against Jessi Kamea and Robert Stone. Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes would face a monster of a man in Josh Briggs, who LA Knight paid $10,000 to hurt.

    Roderick Strong was originally set to face Kushida, but the NXT cruiserweight champion was not cleared to compete. He issued an open challenge to anyone for the night. NXT promised a Prime Target on the rivalry of Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly.

    This show has as much potential as NXT show in recent memory to make a lasting impact. It was all down to who would step and who would falter on the road to TakeOver.

Roderick Strong vs. Ilja Dragunov

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    William Regal announced before this show that Kushida was not cleared to compete. Malcolm Bivens demanded a match for Roderick Strong. Ilja Dragunov answered the call.

    The No. 1 contender to the NXT UK Championship came out with fire. While The Messiah of the Backbreaker wore down his opponent, even breaking him open with a stuff elbow, Dragunov just seemed to work harder the longer the match went.

    He caught Strong on a rope rebound with a back uppercut to seal his victory. Dragunov demanded WALTER afterward, who did not answer.

    Later that night, Bivens said the loss was invalid because Dragunov was a heavyweight not a cruiserweight.



    Dragunov def. Strong by pinfall.






    It is a shame that Kushida could not compete. The reason for him being taken out last minute was not explained, but hopefully he will back in action shortly. Kushida vs. Strong will be a great match.

    Dragunov vs. Strong was a strong replacement, though it was a lose-lose situation for both men. The two should both be picking up victories. Strong losing this early in his Diamond Mine run undermines his claim to the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.

    That said, it was a good idea to have the No. 1 contender to the NXT UK Championship pick up a victory ahead of his match with WALTER, especially given he lost to Pete Dunne the previous week. The action itself was good but felt more house-show quality than TV.

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott Takes His Grill Back from Santos Escobar

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    NXT showed the latest Prime Target for Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly III.

    Santos Escobar interrupted Hit Row on the titantron, asking Isaiah "Swerve" Scott to come meet him in the parking lot. He offered to give back the grill he ripped out of Swerve's mouth.

    While Escobar promised to be alone, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde attacked Scott from behind. Hit Row caught up to even the odds. Swerve got Escobar alone and laid him out before walking away with his grill back in hand.






    The latest segment between Hit Row and Legado del Fantasma was as physical as ever. It might have made more sense for Escobar to get an edge up on Scott here given that Hit Row has remained dominant. However, that should come before the two fight for the NXT North American Championship.

    This was shot clearly to showcase how real the hatred between these groups has grown. It felt like Escobar was willing to genuinely hurt Swerve for his own sake. Hit Row held back in the end but only just barely.

Cameron Grimes vs. Josh Briggs

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    LA Knight offered Josh Briggs $10,000 to hurt Cameron Grimes. Ted DiBiase and LA Knight joined commentary for this match where The Million Dollar Man bet Knight $20,000 that The Technical Savage would win.

    Grimes looked out of sorts at first, but he fired back and planted his opponent with the Cave-In to win. Knight punched DiBiase then connected with his finisher on his butler for the win.

    The Million Dollar Man apologized to The Technical Savage backstage, who was recovering in the trainer's room. Grimes refused to accept the apology, hyped to finally win the Million Dollar Championship.



    Grimes def. Briggs by pinfall.






    Briggs was established by the NXT Breakout Tournament as a potential star. His loss in the first round followed by this squash are saying something different. While he is a big man that should be a major part of NXT, he is stuck in the early stages of putting over established talent.

    NXT has previously shown a propensity to start with this booking before pushing a star that finds the right angle. However, WWE is very likely to change the format of NXT sooner rather than later, and it may leave Briggs in the background.

    Knight vs. Grimes III has potential to be a great ending to this rivalry. It remains well told with new wrinkles every week.

Dexter Lumis and Indi Hartwell vs. Robert Stone and Jessi Kamea

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Franky Monet grabbed the leg of Dexter Lumis early, causing the referee to throw her out. Jessi Kamea took over the action, wearing down Indi Hartwell.

    When Robert Stone missed a plancha outside, Kamea got in Lumis' face and slapped him. This set off Hartwell, attacking Kamea viciously outside. She locked Kamea in the Silence in the ring, forcing a submission, while Lumis knocked out Stone outside with the Silence.

    Afterward, Beth Phoenix gave Hartwell a ring that she used to propose to Lumis. He nodded yes, and the two were officially engaged.



    In-Dex def. Kamea and Stone by submission.






    This was a fun segment that continued the success of the story for Hartwell and Lumis. The two have strong chemistry as a mixed tag team, and they have great comedic timing together. While this was not much more than a squash, the story was worth the limited wrestling.

    The engagement of In-Dex felt sudden, but WWE has rarely taken time with stories. It should be entertaining to watch the latest wrestling wedding unfold.

NXT Breakout Tournament: Carmelo Hayes vs. Duke Hudson

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Dakota Kai told Raquel Gonzalez that she had made the NXT women's champion, and she planned to take the championship that she deserved. Gonzalez told Kai she could never win without help, and no one was left that would help The Captain of Team Kick.

    Duke Hudson mocked Carmelo Hayes repeatedly, using his strength and size to his advantage. Hayes responded with a springboard uppercut only to get thrown to the floor. In response, Hayes hit a scissor kick followed by a jumping DDT onto the apron.

    This left Hudson dazed enough for him to take the victory off a diving leg drop. Afterward, he promised to be the final boss that took down Odyssey Jones. This brought out the big man to promise to beat Hayes.



    Hayes def. Hudson by pinfall to advance to the finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament.






    Hayes continues to be the only man having complete matches in this tournament. He and Hudson had a solid match that could be better with more time and story in the future.

    While Hudson did stand out in this tournament, there was no way he could defeat Hayes. The young competitor has made a lasting impact in a short time. He feels like the closest NXT has to a true young breakout talent.

    He may not defeat Jones, given their relative size. However, what will matter most is to end this lackluster tournament on a high. Let Hayes and Jones show what they can do.

NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (c) vs. Imperium

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WALTER told Fabian Aichner and Marcel Bartel that this show was about them taking back the gold they deserved.

    MSK tried to hold the ring early, but they dived right into the waiting hands of Imperium, who slammed both into the floor. Wes Lee was isolated after the impact. Aichner almost his hold on Lee but managed to plant him with a lariat.

    Bartel lost his hold on the worn-down champion as WALTER walked out to watch closely. Nash Carter got the hot tag, and the two nearly took the win. WALTER distracted the referee to set up Imperium's finisher, but Ilja Dragunov arrived to take out the champion.

    In the chaos, MSK hit an elevated blockbuster for the victory. WALTER barely paid attention as he attempted to take out his No. 1 contender early. The NXT UK champion laid out both members of MSK then Imperium helped him isolated Dragunov and knock him out with a sleeper.



    MSK def. Imperium by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.






    This was a very solid TV title match. It just lacked the necessary drama of great tag matches. MSK never truly lost control of this match to the point that the audience believed they could lose.

    The action sold that this is a match that should not be one-and-done. Take WALTER and Dragunov out of the way and let these teams fight the next time to the finish on their own. It could be something truly special.

    If NXT does not set up a rematch, MSK is running low on serious challengers. The team has dominated too many teams in a short team and need a fresh competitor.

Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross Have Their Final Say Before NXT TakeOver

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    Pete Dunne put over how dangerous Ridge Holland can be before the big man gladly accepted the challenge of Timothy Thatcher.

    Samoa Joe walked into the ring with confidence and anger. Karrion Kross answered his No. 1 contender's challenge, calling security out to aid him. However, The Samoan Submission Machine still struck, sending Kross reeling.

    Security and wrestlers flooded the ring to try and separate them. However, they kept fighting, running straight through the barricade.






    The feud between Joe and Kross has been simply and elegantly told. These are two dangerous men with the power to run through anyone else. However, they have been separated by WWE rushing the NXT champion onto Monday Night Raw.

    What matters is that ultimately these two are allowed to have the brutal brawl they are both capable of. This was a solid introduction to what they could be. As security tried to separate them, they tore apart the stage with their will to destroy one another.