Reviews by Dave
By David E Houston II
Show air date: August 17, 2021
NXT on USA, Episode 633, was a good enough show with this being the go-home episode for this weekend’s TakeOver. I didn’t like everything but they did as they should: gave every TakeOver match a segment and featured some talent who won’t be on that show.
Ilja Dragunov defeated Roderick Strong
Watching and listening to The Diamond Mine manager Malcolm Bivens was a reminder that he’s been there a long time and hardly been given anything. What a waste of time and talent. He was great, denouncing cruiserweight champion KUSHIDA for not making his scheduled title match with Roderick Strong and issuing an open challenge. A challenge met by NXT: UK title contender Ilja Dragunov. This was a great match. Smart and physical with a bloody Dragunov getting the win. Wade Barrett is being paid by the letter. He has to be because he would not STFU.
The Prime Target
The Prime Target segment on the Adam Cole-Kyle O’Reilly feud, which ends at Takeover on Sunday, was fine but it was the same things they’ve been saying for months.
Hit Row Are Faces
I guess to make sure it’s clear that North American champion Swerve Scott and Hit Row are faces (for now), he fell for Basic Heel Trap number 2: come face me alone, I’m all by myself. It was okay.
Cameron Grimes defeated Josh Briggs
LA Knight’s personal butler and TakeOver opponent, Cameron Grimes, beat Josh Briggs, who was being paid by Knight 10 grand to beat up Grimes (5k upfront). Nice TV match where the young Briggs got to have some good moments. Knight then drops Ted DiBiase, who was doing guest commentary and who put 10k on Grimes and lays out Grimes with his headlock driver on the floor. Not my favorite thing on the show, but I like them giving some underneath feuds some time.
One Day They Might Wrestle and Defend Their Titles
NXT women’s tag champs Io Shirai and Zoey Stark got to be on TV with a very short backstage interview. One day they might wrestle and defend those titles.
They Have Jumped the Shark
It’s hard to think of too many stories that jumped the shark, circled around to jump it again. Indi Loves Dexter is one of those.
Raquel vs Dakota Face-Off
The bleeding from my eyes stopped in time to see Dakota Kai body Women’s champion Raquel Gonzalez in a Face-Off segment before their TakeOver title match. It wasn’t as good as her promo last week but still enough to outshine Gonzalez here.
Carmelo Hayes defeated Duke Hudson
Carmelo Hayes advanced to the finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament, beating Duke Hudson (Duke Hudson. LMAO) in a semi-final match. Good story of the smaller Hayes outlasting the larger Hudson and stringing together some high-impact offense. He does alright with his post-match interview with Samantha Irvin, where he faces off with his finals opponent, Odyssey Jones, who was solid with his talk.
Main Event: MSK defeated Imperium
For the NXT Tag Team Championship
NXT tag champions MSK–Wes Lee and Nash Carter–beat Imperium–Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel–successfully defending their tag titles and establishing them as THE dominant team in NXT. The match was going well but then chose to get really messy with NXT: UK champion WALTER coming out and having a pointless, useless “distraction” moment with the ref, which brings out Dragunov, who gets DRUG and then choked out. Big WALT also chops up the tag champs for good measure. Eh. They short-circuited a really good match to do a cliche angle.
NXT’s Peaky Blinders–Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland–had a good promo in an alley.
Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross Brawl
The closing face-off between NXT champion Karrion Kross and his TakeOver title challenger, Samoa Joe, was fine. They had the expected brawl and some solid talk before. Can’t figure out why Kross had security come down and then walked in front of them and got in the ring. Then it seemed they sent all the Breakout Tournament losers and some retired veterans (‘sup Steve Corino and Brian Kendrick) out to break up the fight but they chose to stand and watch. Solid show as they barrel–careen at times–into TakeOver.
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David E Houston II he’s attended small independent shows with less than 100 people and large stadium shows with over 20,000 fans and live worldwide pay-per-views.