WWE NXT Report – 2/24/2021

Feb 24, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

– Tonight’s WWE NXT episode opens up on the USA Network with a video package to hype Karrion Kross vs. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar in the non-title No DQ match.

– We’re live from the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida as Vic Joseph welcomes us. He’s joined by Wade Barrett and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. We go right to the ring.

Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis

Dexter Lumis is crawling into the ring as Alicia Taylor does the introduction. We see The Way backstage now – NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano with Austin Theory, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. They all head to the ring for this non-title match. Lumis stares them down and fans boo them.

Fans chant “Johnny sucks!” as the bell hits. Gargano charges but Lumis raises a fist and he puts on the brakes, going to the mat in terror. Lumis crawls but Gargano unloads with forearms. Lumis with a big right hand to keep Gargano out on the floor while Lumis stands tall in the ring. Gargano comes in with the slingshot Spear but misses as Lumis crawls under the ring. The rest of The Way looks under the ring but Theory spots him, right behind Gargano. Gargano turns around and gets rocked as Luis takes control.

Lumis works Gargano over in the corner. Lumis runs into boots but then hits a Thesz Press and right hand for a pop. Lumis with a big knee drop for a 1 count. Lumis with a big suplex, pumping Gargano in the air, then dropping him back to the mat for a pop. Gargano goes to the floor for a breather as Lumis stares him down. Lumis follows and Gargano rams him back into the edge of the barrier. Gargano then levels Lumis at ringside and mounts him with right hands as the referee counts. Gargano breaks the count and goes for a running kick but Lumis ducks. Lumis then picks Gargano up and launches him into the edge of the apron.

Lumis rocks Gargano as the referee counts. Lumis throws Gargano back in the ring. Theory approaches Lumis but puts on the brakes as Lumis stares at him. Indi comes from the other side but Lumis also stares her down. LeRae comes off with apron with a hurricanrana attempt but she gets caught in mid-move. Gargano makes the save, stuns Lumis back a few steps, and then runs the ropes for a suicide dive, taking Lumis down at ringside. Fans boo Gargano as we go to commercial.

Back from the break and Gargano has Lumis grounded in the middle of the ring. Lumis gets free and ends up mounting a bunch of offense, making a comeback. Lumis with a big clothesline and a slingshot suplex. Lumis with a belly-to-back suplex, and a kip up, then a big leg drop for 2. More back and forth between the two now. Gargano goes for the GargaNo Escape but Lumis tries to turn it into The Silence. Gargano ends up sliding into a pin but Lumis kicks out. They tangle some more and Lumis nails a big Spinebuster for a close 2 count.

They go on and Lumis ends up on top but Gargano tries to cut him off. Lumis knocks him to the mat but misses a big stomp as Gargano moves. Gargano avoids The Silence again. Lumis rocks Gargano again but Gargano comes right back with a big superkick. Lumis kicks out just in time and Gargano can’t believe it. Gargano orders Theory to grab a steel chair while LeRae argues with the referee. Lumis puts his foot on the chair to prevent Gargano from grabbing it. Lumis rocks Gargano. Gargano comes back with an enziguri. The referee checks Gargano’s boot out in the corner. Theory is on the apron with the chair, about to hit Lumis with it. LeRae yells at him and fans boo. Lumis turns around, stares at Theory and Theory just smiles at him, still with the chair in the air.

Gargano ends up charging Lumis but he moves and Gargano runs into Theory on the apron, knocking him off. This leads to Lumis dropping Gargano with the sitdown slam, then applying The Silence. Gargano fades in the submission and goes out to give Lumis the non-title win.

Winner: Dexter Lumis

– After the match, Lumis just sits there holding Gargano as his music hits. The Way is stunned.

– NXT General Manager William Regal comes out to the back parking lot and looks around. He tells the camera man to tell Karrion Kross to come see him when he arrives.

– We go to ringside to Vic and Beth. They say hello to Barrett, who is a remote correspondent tonight. Vic leads us to a video package on Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners MSK. Vic says we will hear from MSK tonight. Back to commercial.

– Shotzi Blackheart is featured in a Burger King commercial.

– Back from the break and McKenzie Mitchell is with MSK in the backstage area. She brings up their title shot with NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch happening next week, but they’re suddenly attacked out of nowhere by The Grizzled Young Veterans. The Grizzled Young Vets beat them down and leave them laying, talking some trash on the way out.

Tyler Rust vs. Leon Ruff

We go back to the ring and comes Tyler Rust with Malcolm Bivens. We see footage of Leon Ruff being cleared in the trainer’s room earlier today, cleared from last week’s attack by Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Bivens appeared and proposed tonight’s match with Rust. Ruff accepted and Bivens walked off. Bivens takes the mic now and talks about Ruff’s recent success, but then calls him the son he never wanted, which is why Ruff holds a special place in his heart and is getting this once in a lifetime opportunity tonight. He goes on and says tonight Rust will prove why he’s a diamond in the… rough. The music hits and out comes Ruff.

Ruff is doing his entrance, hanging off the apron, when Swerve attacks him out of nowhere. Swerve unloads on Ruff as fans boo. Swerve takes Ruff to the announce table, puts him face-down on the table and says he’s going to start getting some opportunities and handouts now, not Ruff. Swerve launches Ruff into the edge of the apron and walks off as fans keep booing. Bivens is in the ring with Rust now, raising his arm in victory. Bivens applauds Rust as his music plays.

– We see video released on Tuesday, showing NXT General Manager William Regal telling newcomer Zoey Stark she gets to face NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai in a non-title match tonight. McKenzie is backstage with Stark now. She has so many emotions right now but she’s just ready to be out there… There are some technical difficulties as the camera freezes and cuts to Shirai backstage, freezing on her entrance as well.

Io Shirai vs. Zoey Stark

Vic acknowledges these technical issues but the show goes on. Out first comes Zoey Stark for the next match. We see NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai walking backstage now for this non-title match. We go back to commercial before Shirai comes out.

Back from the break and we see a video recorded earlier today with Cameron Grimes watching a classic heel segment with WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase Sr. getting a kid to dribble a basketball for money. Grimes isn’t impressed too much. He has tons of money of his own. He goes over to a backstage crew member and has the guy dribble a basketball 10 times for $1,000 cash but the staffer does all 10 dribbles and walks off with the cash from Grimes’ hand. Grimes throws a fit and says he wishes he would’ve watched the rest of the DiBiase video. The announcers show us how Adam Cole attacked Kyle O’Reilly last week. Vic says O’Reilly is not currently cleared to compete and is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks. We go back to the ring and out comes the NXT Women’s Champion for this non-title match.

The bell rings and they go at it, locking up. Stark takes it to the ropes and they break. They lock up again and Shirai takes her down, keeping the lock up going. Stark takes Shirai to a knee but they remain locked up. They tangle now and Shirai works on the arm. Stark turns it around and ties Shirai’s arm up off a counter. Shirai breaks it and counters with a big arm drag. Stark back-drops Shirai to the mat. Shirai comes back, gets the upperhand and applies the Octopus submission with an elbow in the ribs. Shirai takes her down for a 2 count.

Shirai charges with a dropkick to the jaw. Shirai kicks Stark while she’s down, then kicks her into the corner. Stark fights back but Shirai chops away in the corner. Shirai kicks the leg out and puts double boots to the chest, then a swinging kick to the chest while Stark is down in the corner. Shirai goes for 619 but Stark catches it and nails a punt kick to send the champ down on the apron. Stark charges but Shirai meets her with a kick. Shirai with a springboard kick through the ropes.

Shirai goes to the top but Stark leaps up with a kick, knocking Stark out to the floor. The referee begins counting as we go to commercial with Shirai down on the outside.

Back from the break and Stark unloads with kicks to drop Shirai. She charges but Shirai takes her down by the arm. Stark fights back and takes Shirai down again, then nails a running kick to the jaw for a 2 count. Stark goes to the top for a 450 but she has to roll through as Shirai moves. They both charge for a crossbody at the same time but they collide in mid-air and go down as fans cheer them on.

Shirai sits up first but Stark pulls her into a pin from behind. Shirai kicks out at 2. Stark with a huge suplex, dropping Shirai on her head, for a close 2 count. Stark can’t believe it. Stark goes right into a headlock to ground Shirai now. Shirai fights back and stuns Stark with strikes. Shirai with a clothesline and a Facebuster. Shirai nails 619 now. Shirai goes to the top as fans rally. Shirai nails the missile dropkick but Stark kicks out just in time. Shirai can’t believe it.

Stark counters a suplex with a back drop. Stark goes back to the top but takes too much time, allowing Shirai to rock her. Shirai climbs up and works Stark over. Shirai with the big hurricanrana from the top. Shirai follows up with the big double underhook backbreaker in the middle of the ring but Stark still kicks out at 2. Stark comes back with a German suplex for a 2 count.

Stark goes for another German suplex but Shirai counters and sends her head-first into the bottom turnbuckle. Shirai with running double knees in the corner now. Shirai goes to the top and hits her Over The Moonsault for the pin to win.

Winner: Io Shirai

– After the match, Shirai takes her title and stands tall as the music hits. Stark starts to stumble to her feet as Shirai approaches and gives her a hand. They hug as fans cheer them on. The music interrupts and Toni Storm comes to the stage with a mic. She says Shirai is willing to face anyone but her. Storm says she kicked Shirai’s head off last week and she’s not doing anything about it. She says Shirai pinned Mercedes Martinez at Takeover because she can’t beat Storm. Shirai says she will fight Storm at any time, any place anywhere. Storm says if Shirai thought she could beat her one-on-one, she would’ve went to William Regal and got the match, but they all know she’s afraid and knows she can’t win. Storm tells Shirai to go find Regal and prove her wrong. Shirai yells back at her, raising the title in the air, apparently accepting.

– McKenzie stops The Way in the back but Johnny Gargano is in a hurry so they can leave before the lunatic Dexter Lumis gets them. Gargano is upset with Austin Theory for not using the steel chair on Lumis. Lumis says a chair shot is too much. Candice LeRae agrees with Gargano that Lumis should be in jail. They ask Indi Hartwell and she says he’s actually kind of hot. LeRae and Gargano aren’t happy with Hartwell and Theory’s stance on Lumis. Gargano isn’t going to let this Stockholm Syndrome get in the way. He goes on ranting and says Theory is going to therapy.

– We get a brief video on Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro. Back to commercial.

– We see video from earlier today with Cameron Grimes outside with a basketball. He says he’s got it all figured out now because he watched the full video, apparently the one with WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase Sr. Grimes approaches a few people for the basketball challenge. The woman, who is former WNBA player turned WWE developmental talent Anriel Howard, dribbles first and he tries to kick the ball away but she keeps it going and wins his money. Grimes is played again. He rants and throws another fit, saying this isn’t over with DiBiase.

Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro

We go back to the ring and out first comes Kacy Catanzaro with Kayden Carter. We see Mei Ling appear on the stage on her throne now, with Xia Li and Boa at her sides. Xia and Boa walk down the ramp now. Li takes her hat off and puts on a performance with a sai at the bottom of the ramp. She hands the weapon to Boa and then enters the ring as Ling looks on.

Li poses in the middle of the ring. She turns and attacks Kacy but Kacy ducks it. Li misses as the bell rings. They go at it back & forth now. Kacy with a head scissors takedown. Li catches Kacy on her shoulders and then drops her over the top rope. Li poses and taunts Kacy, waiting for her to recover. Li takes Kacy to the opposite corner and then unloads with kicks, stomping away while she’s down and delivering a big stomp to the face. Li with a snap suplex in the middle of the ring now.

Catanzaro kicks out at 2. Li grounds Kacy in the middle of the ring now. Kacy tries to make a comeback but Li goes for a power move in the middle of the ring while staring up at the stage but it’s blocked. Li cuts her off and drops her for a 2 count. Li grounds Kacy on the mat again as Carter looks on. Fans rally and Kacy tosses Li off her back. Li runs into an elbow in the corner, then a boot. Li charges again but gets sent into the turnbuckles. Kacy unloads with kicks and punches in the corner now. The referee pulls her off but she keeps going. Li fights back but Kacy dropkicks her into the corner. Kacy drops Li again and flips onto her back with a kick for 2.

Li rolls to the floor for a breather. Kacy leaps off the apron but gets caught. Kacy slides out but Li sends her face-first into the steel fencing on the barrier. Li looks up to the stage for approval as fans boo her. She then stomps on Kacy’s leg while she’s down, apparently injuring it. Fans boo and the referee checks on Kacy. Li looks up the ramp to Ling and back over at Kacy.

Li grabs Kacy by the hair and drags her up the steel ring steps, into the ring as the referee warns her. Li drags Kacy into the middle of the ring now as Carter also yells at her. Li stands over Kacy as she clutches her own knee. The referee checks on Kacy and rules that she can no longer compete, and Li is the winner.

Winner by Referee Stoppage: Xia Li

– After the bell, officials hit the ring to check on Kacy. Carter also checks on her. Carter storms past Li and up the ramp to Ling, telling Boa to get out of her way. Referees help Kacy to her feet but Li drops her with a roundhouse kick. The boos get louder. Li exits the ring returns to the stage to pose with Ling and Boa as Carter and the referees check on Kacy.

– We see William Regal walk back out to the parking lot. Karrion Kross has not arrived yet and he’s annoyed. Regal heads back in the building.

– We get a video for next week’s match with Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.

– Still to come, The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick. Back to commercial.

– Back from the break and Cameron Grimes is in the parking lot, ranting about how this isn’t over, no one gets over on him. He still has the basketball. He stops and talks another developmental talent into the dribble contest. The guy starts to dribble but Grimes drops him with a right hand. Grimes is going wild now, yelling about money buying happiness (or not buying happiness). He throws a bunch of money in the air and storms off.

Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans

We go back to the ring and out comes Killian Dain and Drake Maverick. The Grizzled Young Veterans are out next – Zack Gibson and James Drake. Gibson cuts a promo and announces that MSK’s Wes Lee has broken his hand, apparently from the earlier attack. Drake says William Regal has given them a hefty fine, but they were doing it for the WWE Universe because now we get a few weeks without MSK joking around like a few children. Gibson goes on about how the best team lost in the Dusty Rhodes Classic, and only one team is destined for tag team glory, and it’s not MSK or Shrek (Dain) and his partner. The Vets hit the ring and pose as fans boo.

Dain starts off with Drake, taking control. Dain with a big uppercut. Drake tags in for the double team as Dain drops a senton on Drake. Dain scoops his partner and slams him on top of James for a 2 count. Drake grounds James now but James fights out and in comes Gibson for the double team. Gibson also rocks Dain on the apron but that jut angers him. Dain runs in and stops a double team on Drake.

Dain ends up grabbing both opponents by their necks, shoving them over the top rope to the floor. Dain then launches Maverick over the top rope, to the floor onto both opponents. Fans cheer Dain and Maverick on as we go back to commercial with Dain in the ring by himself.

Back from the break and Drake avoids a double team in the corner. Dain tags in and unloads on both opponents with big right hands and a clothesline to Drake. Dain launches Drake across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex. Dain then runs Gibson into Drake, and drop him. Drake is on Dain’s shoulders now. Dain ends up hitting a big fall-away slam on both at the same time.

Dain drives Drake back into the mat and hits a senton on him for 2 as Gibson breaks it up. The Vets with a double suplex on Dain. Drake tags in and hits a big crossbody on James from the top. Drake and Drake unload on each other now. Maverick with two dropkicks for a pop.

Vic announced Toni Storm vs. NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai with the title on the line for two weeks from now. The Vets nail a big double team but Dain breaks Gibson’s pin up. Dain gets sent to the floor but he pulls Gibson out by his ear. Drake flies out and breaks it up. Gibson comes back in but Maverick clotheslines him and hits a bulldog. Maverick goes to the top but Gibson yanks him to the mat. Drake tags in and they hit the Ticket to Mayhem double team finisher on Maverick for the pin to win.

Winners: The Grizzled Young Veterans

– After the match, Gibson and Drake head to the ramp and recover as their music hits. Fans boo them. Dain checks on Maverick and carries him away.

– We see a black SUV pull up in the back parking lot. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza of Legado del Fantasma step out and stand guard. Back to commercial.

– We get a promo for tomorrow’s NXT UK show with NXT UK Tag Team Champions Gallus defending against Pretty Deadly.

– Killian Dain is carrying Drake Maverick into the trainer’s room and doesn’t want to speak to the cameras. Imperium’s Alexander Wolfe walks up and asks what is this. He says Dain used to be a monster. Wolfe walks off and Drake sets Drake down, calling for a doctor. Dain looks to put some thought into what Wolfe said.

No DQ Match: Karrion Kross vs. Santos Escobar

We go back to the ring as the entrance of Karrion Kross and Scarlett begins. However, the camera cuts back to the SUV as Kross attacks Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar then attacks Kross as this non-title No DQ match begins.

Kross and Escobar begin brawling around the parking lot now, sending each other into the side of a large box truck. Kross knocks Escobar into the back of the truck and Escobar slams the sliding door down into his back. Kross falls to the pavement and yells out in pain. Escobar stays on him and keeps fighting. Escobar ends up inside of the cab of the truck. Kross has a pickaxe, piercing the side of the passenger door with it. Escobar retreats from the cab out the driver’s door. Mendoza and Wilde attack Kross but he fights them off. Escobar use a trash can to drop Kross. Escobar with another trash can shot.

Wilde and Mendoza help him as the triple team attack goes on. Escobar regroups while Wilde and Mendoza slam Kross into the side of the truck some more. Escobar comes over and sends Kross into the truck steel. Escobar poses and tells Wilde and Mendoza to bring Kross into the building. They follow Escobar into the arena and keep pounding on Kross as the boos continue.

Kross fights back now as Escobar looks on from the other side of the barrier at ringside. Escobar sees what has happened as Kross has Wilde and Mendoza by their heads. Kross launches both of them into the barrier and they go crashing trhough the Plexiglas, doing down at ringside. Fans chant “NXT!” as there is broken Plexiglas all over the floor.

Kross brings it back into the ring and gets a close 2 count. Mendoza attacks but Kross launches him into the barrier again. Escobar with steel chair shots to the back of Kross as fans boo. Escobar sends Kross’ arm into the ring post and then shoves him shoulder-first into the steel steps. Fans continue booing as Escobar and his henchmen keep control. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial as Wilde and Mendoza ram Kross with half of the steel steps, dropping him at ringside. Escobar unloads on Kross’ hurt arm now.

Back from the break and Escobar continues to dominate, in the ring now. Escobar with a running dropkick in the corner. We see Scarlett looking on from the ringside area, seething at the attack on her man.

Escobar wraps a steel chair around Kross’ arm at ringside. Kross tries to fight back but Escobar sends him chair and arm-first into the ring post. Kross goes down in pain. Escobar with a DDT into the seat of the chair as fans continue to boo him. Escobar brings Kross back in the ring for a close 2 count. Kross sits right up and shakes his head. Escobar dropkicks him. Kross gets back up and Escobar tosses him to the floor. Kross sends Escobar back in but Wilde and Mendoza attack. Kross takes them out but Escobar nails a suicide dive from the ring, sending Kross into the barrier. Escobar is all smiles.

Escobar stomps away on Kross at ringside now. Escobar focuses on the hurt shoulder, bringing Kross back in and covering for a 2 count. Escobar drops elbows into the injured arm of Kross. Escobar grounds Kross with an armbar now. Scarlett yells from ringside. Escobar with a running knee to the face in the corner now. Escobar with a suplex. He holds it for Three Amigos but Kross blocks it. Kross with a big overhead suplex for a pop. Kross stops Wilde from getting on the apron. Kross launches Escobar over his head again. Escobar rolls to the floor and Kross follows. Escobar rams Kross back into the ring post.

Kross blocks a shot into the ring post and yanks Escobar into it. Mendoza charges with a chair but goes down. Wilde saves Escobar from a chair shot. Kross sends Escobar in and catches Mendoza as he leaps off the steps, taking him down on the floor. Wilde leaps off the apron but Kross catches him and sends him into the barrier. Kross goes to work on Escobar in the corner now. Kross follows Escobar back to the floor. Kross with a Doomsday Saito suplex from half of the steel steps through the announce table.

The table collapses and fans chant “NXT!” as Scarlett poses and smiles. Kross brings it back in the ring and hits another Doomsday Saito suplex. Kross waits for Escobar to get back up, taunting him. Kross charges with the big forearm to the back of the head and covers for the pin to win.

Winner: Karrion Kross

– After the match, Scarlett immediately slides into the ring as Kross recovers and the music hits. Kross stares Escobar down as he clutches his hurt shoulder. We go to replays. Kross and Scarlett pose together as the lights go low.

– We see Adam Cole walking backstage now as the boos start up. Back to commercial.

– Back from the break and we see video recorded earlier today of LA Knight. He says NXT is his game and everyone is asking about when he will debut. He goes on and says he will debut on his time, his terms, and it’ll be done his way. Knight says he could debut next week or three months from now but it doesn’t make a difference because all your favorite NXT Superstars hold a golden ticket to getting stomped out by LA Knight and that’s not an insult, it’s a fact of life.

– We go back to the arena and out comes Adam Cole to The Undisputed Era’s theme. Fans boo as Cole heads to the ring. We see a replay on the big screen of how Cole attacked Kyle O’Reilly and NXT Champion Finn Balor last week. Cole apparently finds it a bit hard to watch.

Cole says he planned to come out and discuss O’Reilly but watching that footage makes him sick. He mentions the importance of the NXT Title and says he doesn’t like the guy he’s become in the past several weeks. At first he was pissed off that Kyle got NXT Title shots but continued to fail, but that does not excuse his actions and after watching the footage, Cole is ashamed of himself. The boos continue.

Cole knows Kyle is at home watching this and he wishes they could have this conversation face to face, man to man, but they can’t, and they can’t because of Cole. Cole says Kyle knows him better than anyone in the world and he knows Cole hates to admit when he’s wrong. Cole says he was dead wrong last week. Kyle should be in the ring right now but Cole made a stupid mistake and he hates himself for it.

Cole says he is so, so sorry about this, and will do whatever he can to fix this and if he can’t, he will try. Roderick Strong appears on the stage now. Strong says Cole is sorry now but he hasn’t been sorry for the past several days. He didn’t even let Strong know what was happening or apologize for what he did to Kyle, for what he did to the group. Strong goes on about how The Undisputed Era was built on trust, everyone having each other’s backs, but Cole shattered that trust. Strong is on the apron now. He says Kyle will heal and when he does, he doesn’t know if he can save Cole from what Kyle will do to him.

The music hits to interrupt and out comes NXT Champion Finn Balor. Strong meets him at ringside, apparently to talk, but Balor just shoves him to the side. Balor rushes the ring and brawls with Cole. Strong comes back in and Balor tumbles with him to the floor. Balor unloads on Strong at ringside. Cole runs out and attacks Balor, then lays him out at ringside with a big superkick. Balor is down and out on the floor.

Strong is in the ring now recovering. Cole comes in, it sounds like to possibly apologize, but Strong levels him with a big right hand. Fans chant “Roddy!” now. Cole is down on the mat but he’s apologizing to Strong, saying he doesn’t want this anymore, he wants to go back to how it was, this is all his fault. Strong yells out and asks what is happening. Cole is on his knees now, crying in his hands. Strong kneels down and consoles him, saying he loves Cole and they are brothers. They look at each other in the eyes and hug in the middle of the ring now.

Strong goes to help Cole up but Cole drops him with a low blow. The boos get louder now. Cole tells Strong how stupid he is to his face. Cole snatches Strong’s chain off and says he’s dead to him now. Cole then superkicks Strong while he’s on his knees, laying him out in the middle of the ring. Cole stands over a fallen Strong as NXT goes off the air.

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