NXT General Manager William Regal Confronted Samoa Joe
This was the Samoa Joe we all knew and loved from before he got hurt early last year. He was aggressive, intense and was ready to fight. Regal instead told him to handle it "peacefully," but there's no way that's what happens. There's also no way NXT would tease Joe getting physical this much if he wasn't returning to the ring soon, hopefully against Kross. Then again, and this is a genuine question: Does that match still have appeal to people now that Kross has been beaten and in embarrassing fashion no less? Nonetheless, this was a solid segment to kick off the show.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida and Bobby Fish def. Diamond Mine (Roderick Strong and Tyler Rust)
It's bizarre that, despite being out of action for almost six months, Fish has been completely directionless since returning from injury. I like the idea of him feuding with Strong, his former stablemate from Undisputed Era, so we'll see if he remains involved in this Cruiserweight Championship feud between Strong and Kushida or if this was just a one-off. As expected, this was a really well-wrestled match. What wasn't expected was Diamond Mine losing their first match as a team, but I guess the idea was to give Kushida some shine after losing to Kyle O'Reilly a few weeks ago. We still have no idea why the hell Diamond Mine is here (other than wanting the Cruiserweight title) and it's disappointing we've hardly heard from them at all.
Franky Monet def. Jacy Jayne
This was only Monet's third match on NXT. She debuted months ago, so I think it's about time she got going and entered a program with someone on the roster. At least she's making some progress by seemingly recruiting Jessi Kamea and teasing something with Mandy Rose, who was on top of the commentators' table for most of this matchup. It was a standard squash and another win for Monet. Will she feud with Rose or potentially join the tag team ranks with her?
Kyle O'Reilly def. Austin Theory
Theory debuted new entrance music beforehand. It has that connection to The Way at the beginning, so it's not like he's breaking off on his own any time soon. He's really talented in the ring, but he hasn't been positioned as anything more than a punching bag for The Way this year. Thus, it was slightly unbelievable that he'd take O'Reilly to the limit, but it was an enjoyable affair, nonetheless. I'm curious if this was supposed to set the stage for O'Reilly feuding with Johnny Gargano or if NXT has other plans in mind for O'Reilly. A rubber match with Adam Cole seems likely, but I think a lot of fans feel that feud has run its course.
Hit Row Attacked Legado del Fantasma
Legado del Fantasma were advertised to have a "mariachi madness musical," but Santos Escobar said they weren't going to stoop to Hit Row's level. That led to Hit Row coming out and Isiah Scott bringing up how it took all of Legado for Escobar to beat him when they were feuding over the Cruiserweight Championship last year. Hit Row got the better of their brawl and Scott has the upper hand heading into their eventual clash for the NXT North American Championship. I've seen people refer to Hit Row as babyfaces, but we've seen so many heel vs. heel feuds/matches in NXT that I would wait and see what they do after their rivalry with Legado del Fantasma is over.
Odyssey Jones def. Andre Chase in an NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinal Match
Damn, Jones was over from the moment he made his entrance! I noticed that when he wrestled on 205 Live two weeks ago. He must have grown a fan following among the NXT faithful that have watched him develop on the Florida shows before the pandemic. He's definitely far from polished but showed signs of potential here and had a solid showing. Chase might be the better worker of the two, but Jones has more charisma and more upside from what I saw in this match. I assume these first-round matches will be mostly squashes before it gets more competitive in the semifinals.
Drake Maverick def. Million Dollar Champion LA Knight (Non-Title)
I honestly almost forgot that Maverick was still on the NXT roster coming off the last few rounds of cuts. His partner Killian Dain got released and it doesn't look like he's going back to the Cruiserweight division, so he's just left in limbo. That's unfortunate given how he can excel in almost any role. With all that said, it was nice seeing him pop back up here and fight from underneath before scoring the upset win thanks to a little help from butler Cameron Grimes at ringside. Grimes was the focal point at ringside as well as Knight forcing him to attack Maverick afterward. Their storyline continues to be a recurring highlight on NXT.
NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez def. Xia Li
Similar to Gonzalez's title defense against Mercedes Martinez back in May, this had a weird dynamic because both Gonzalez and Li have been established as heels. In other words, viewers didn't have an incentive to cheer for one woman over the other. Despite that, they had a good match that would have benefited with more of a build and less predictable outcome. Li has been dominant since turning heel last year, so for her to lose in a matchup with one-week build felt rushed. It's a shame she got hurt during the finishing sequence and hopefully she's okay, but kudos to her for opting to continue. The Dakota Kai turn is coming sooner or later.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross Attacked NXT General Manager William Regal
Joe was waiting around for Kross all night but was never able to get his hands on him due to Kross outsmarting him and attacking Regal when Joe was in the ring. This segment lasted all of a minute or two because they were going off the air quickly. It was a fine way to keep the feud going, but like I said earlier, a match between the two with Joe taking the title from him is the only endgame that makes sense. Otherwise, why would they be building so much animosity between them? WWE's handling of Kross on Monday's Raw was the worst, but I'm glad that wasn't harped on here. I mean, if WWE isn't going to acknowledge continuity from NXT, why should NXT acknowledge anything that happens there?
We officially found out on this show that TakeOver 36 is happening Sunday, August 22, which is one day after SummerSlam. The Joe and Kross angle was the biggest hook coming into this episode, but they never went at it and we didn't find out what the fate of the NXT Championship will be. Essentially, it was a filler show. There was some quality wrestling as well as effective storyline progression and hype for next week, but there weren't any major developments and the two hours didn't flow as well as they normally do. If you missed the show, you didn't miss much and probably don't need to go out of your way to check anything out.