Hey gang! Welcome to the second NXT recap without Chad McMahon (we wish The Chadster the best in all future endeavors). Now in looking at tonight's Wednesday Night Wars, we have one show with WCW roots that has loaded its broadcast with former WWE stars and celebrity appearances versus a WWE show that is strictly relying on its roster of young talent. Ah, it feels like we're in 1997 again! Well, we're here to focus on what went down on NXT tonight, so let's get to it!
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa
We open with some tag team action. We get a video from earlier in the day showing Thatcher and Ciampa challenging Lorcan and Burch, getting them to put the tag titles on the line through some not-so-kind words. The bout opens with Thatcher and Burch having a go at some chain grappling, exchanging holds and arm locks. Lots of feeling out here to start, with a slow tight pace. Ciampa and Lorcan get tagged in and keep the feeling-out going, except substituting a more fast-paced offense, with lots of kicks and elbows. Ciampa and Thatcher get some double-team work in on Lorcan, and Thatcher gets some near-falls out of it. Lorcan responds with an eye-gauge and a low-chop to Thatcher's knee, injuring him and taking the advantage in the match. Thatcher then takes a huge clothesline and rolls out of the ring and is holding his neck, with Ciampa and the ref checking on him. He keeps going, though and gets back in the ring. He hot tags Ciampa, who takes it to both opponents with running fists. Ciampa and Thatcher trade tags a few times to each get shots in at Burch in the turnbuckle. Thatcher locks Burch in a rear-naked choke, and Ciampa lines up Lorcan the same next to him, and they both start pounding on their opponent's chest from above. We get all four brawling and trading blows in the ring until everyone is on the mat hurt. Eventually, this gets sorted out, until Thatcher and Ciampa notice Imperium watching from the stage. This allows Lorcan and Burch to hit Thatcher with a double DDT for the pinfall.
Winners: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Backstage we see Roderick Strong walking towards the entranceway.
We come back from a commercial to find Strong in the ring, and he wastes no time in demanding Adam Cole get his ass to the ring now! Instead, he is met by the NXT Champion Finn Balor. Balor talks down to strong, saying Cole won't come out for him. Strong then blames Balor for breaking up the Undisputed Era. Balor disagrees and says they fell apart because of the NXT title. He then challenges Cole for the NXT championship on next week's show. He ends it by telling Strong he'll never be a leader and that he doesn't have a killer instinct, which Strong disputes by jumping Balor and pummeling him on the mat until a bunch of refs intervene and separate the two.
We now go to a psychiatric center, where The Way is having some group therapy. Johnny Gargano criticizes Austin Theory for not being angry enough about Dexter Lumis kidnapping him, but Theory says Lumis is a cool guy and just needed someone to hang out with. We also see Indi Hartwell writing in a notebook that Gargano takes, and we see that she is sketching her name as "Mrs. Indi-Wrestling Lumis."
Gargano loses it and explodes on his "family," but the psychiatrist gets involved and tells him that he's the one with the problem. Gargano then lets the psychiatrist have it before she kicks him out of the office. Kinda funny segment, actually, and Gargano seems to be having a blast playing this character. To be continued…
We now find Cameron Grimes chatting up the production crew backstage before being interrupted by NXT Commissioner William Regal, who scolds him for assaulting a crew member last week. Grimes says he can pay for it with his cash, but Regal says instead he'll be facing Bronson Reed tonight. Grimes is pissed and blames Ted DiBiase (as we all do when life hands us lemons).
We learn Balor will face Strong later tonight.
Ember Moon with Shotzi Blackheart vs. Aliyah with Robert Stone
Ember reverses everything Aliyah throws at her early on to take advantage. Aliyah gets some shots in, but Ember shakes them off and just powerhouses her with some slams. They get outside the ring, and Stone tries to give Ember his card when Aliyah tries an over the ropes crossbody, but Ember catches her and throws her back in the ring. Aliyah is able to get some kicks in and begins to work on Moon. Moon rallies, though, and takes it right back to her. They both get on the top turnbuckle, and Ember tosses Aliyah down before Shotzi flying clotheslines Stone and Mercedes Martinez from the steps. Ember hits the Eclipse on Aliyah for the pinfall.
Winner: Ember Moon
Backstage Ciampa and Thatcher are interviewed about Imperium, and Thatcher says that's in his past.
The build-up for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match, which is next!
First, there's a video package setting up Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women's title next week.
Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
The WWE Women's Tag Titles are on the line! On NXT! Jax vs. Kai starts us off, and (predictably) we get Jax overpowering Kai easily. She quickly tags in Baszler, who continues arrogantly working over Kai. Baszler puts some arm holds on and tries breaking Kai's arm, but she gets outs of it and starts getting some offense in on Baszler. Baszler regains control and tosses Kai out of the ring, where all four meet up for a staredown. We get back in the ring, and Kai tags in Gonzalez, who is able to stand up to Baszler size-wise. They exchange slaps and then get brawling. Baszler locks in some wristlocks, but Gonzalez slams Baszler and tags in Kai, who, after a failed pin attempt, is beaten on again by Baszler. She tags Jax in, and the beatdown continues. Jax is all over Kai and tosses her around like a ragdoll. She tags Baszler back in, who then works Kai in the corner. Gonzalez is desperate for a tag, as Kai is getting destroyed. Kai is able to get the tag, and Gonzalez begins pounding on Baszler before tagging Kai back in. She tries a running apron kick to Baszler on the outside, but Shayna just slams her into the ring and tags Jax back in. Jax hits Kai twice with a Stretch Muffler, the second time whipping Kai's head into the turnbuckle. Nia then botches (you knew it was coming) a military press as Baszler tags in. Kai gets some momentum now and gets Baszler down. She gets the tag, and Gonzalez powers into Baszler with a fallaway slam. She's all over Baszler and gets a near-fall. Baszler is able to get the tag, and now we get the two big powerhouses facing off. They trade blows but Nia tags out. Baszler tries a rear choke, but Gonzalez reverses and tags in Kai. Kia breaks up a pin attempt and clotheslines Gonzalez out. Kai's knee is messed, and Baszler works it. Baszler locks in the Kirfuda Clutch, and Gonzalez gets the tag on Kai. She and Jax get involved before knocking out the ref. Gonzalez and Jax fight on the announce table, but Baszler gets the clutch back on before Adam Pearce shows up, bringing out a ref from Raw, who declares Jax and Baszler the winners by KO. Weird match that never really felt like it settled in well. Also, the Dusty finish didn't do anyone any favors.
Winners and still champs: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Back in group therapy, Theory and Indi tell why they like Dexter Lumis so much. Candice LeRae is getting lots of texts from Gargano, who the psychiatrist finds waiting outside her door. She then kicks everyone out except Austin Theory. She tells him this is a safe place and asks him what happened over the three days he was with Lumis? To be continued…
In an audio studio, Swerve cuts a promo on Leon Ruff, warning that no one should mess with him cause he's "different and dangerous." Now I've seen different, and I've seen dangerous, but never together. God help us all!
LA Knight arrives! He hits the ring to cut his first live promo in NXT. He tells us how long he's waited to get here and that he's here for business, and his business is whipping another man's ass! He then says Tom Brady wishes he was half the man LA Knight is (take that Brady! I bet that hurt!). He calls out each of NXT's top stars by name and invites each of them to challenge him and promises he'll beat the hell out of them. He says don't call him the GOAT. Call him LA Knight. He's interrupted by Bronson Reed, making his way out for his match, but Knight ain't leaving the ring, cockily leaning on the ropes. The two have a brief staredown before Knight appears to be gracious and let Reed have his moment. Excellent promo, and I'm sure good stuff is to come from LA Knight. No word yet from Tom Brady as to how he'll deal with being insulted by an NXT superstar.
Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes
Grimes tries paying off Reed to leave him alone, but Reed says "no thank you good sir!" by beating the absolute shit out of Grimes. Grimes rallies and is able to get some offense in on Reed. He tries wearing Reed down on the mat with some kicks and some holds, but Reed is able to absorb it and keep going. Grimes tries a bunch of swipe kicks, but Reed Hulks up and takes over. He pounds on Grimes for a bit before Grimes heads out of the ring and tries making a run for it. Reed hits him with a flying elbow through the ropes and tosses him back into the ring. LA Knight reappears and knocks Reed off the top rope. Grimes hits Reed and pins him.
— WWE (@WWE) March 4, 2021
Winner: Cameron Grimes
Backstage we see NXT Commissioner William Regal and Adam Pearce arguing.
Also backstage, Kayden Carter is being interviewed about her injured friend Kacy Catanzaro. Carter challenges Xia Li as revenge for injuring Kacy.
Back in therapy, Austin Theory says he had a great time with Dexter Lumis. He says he's a nice guy, and they ate cereal and watched cartoons. He says he doesn't know why he brought him back. The psychiatrist says she spoke to Lumis, and he couldn't wait to get rid of Theory. He said he was disgusted with him and said a bunch of personal insults about him. Theory bursts into tears and runs out. Gargano runs in, demanding to know what she did to him? After the others leave, Gargano returns and tells the woman she did great for breaking him and pays her for her work. Well then.
Ever-Rise and Breezango are supposed to have a tag match, but the entrances are interrupted by Wilde, Mendoza, and Escobar, who beat the piss out of all of them and clear the ring. Escobar cuts a promo where he threatens that they will destroy anyone who thinks he's weak.
Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter is formally announced for next week.
In a backstage interview, William Regal says next week he will make an announcement about the Women's tag titles that will change the landscape. Dramatic fellow!
Finn Balor vs. Roderick Strong
NXT main event time! They immediately lock-up and begin trading holds right at the bell. Each man gets some shots in before they hit the mat for some ground grappling. Balor gets the advantage and begins working Strong's arm. Each time Strong tries getting up, Balor powers him back down. Strong is eventually able to roll out and hit Balor with a backbreaker to even things up. He then starts working the champion's chest with chops, leaving a noticeable welt. Strong keeps on Balor with strikes, kneeing and elbowing him in the ropes. Balor eventually reverses and again locks up Strong's arm, holding him in a tight wristlock on the mat. Strong tries to rally with chops to the chest, but Balor just locks his arm up again to slow him down. Very scientific as each has a target they're working on their opponent. Bret Hart was said to be seen wiping a tear from his eye in Calgary tonight. Balor continues destroying Strong's arm on the mat, mixing in some interesting moves to torque it, including what looked like an Indian deathlock, but on his arm. Strong is able to respond and drop Balor and then proceeds to hit him with strikes, followed by another backbreaker and then another for fun. Strong tries a running knee, but Balor dodges and locks Strong in a submission move, but he reaches the ropes and breaks. Balor hits Strong with running chops to the chest in the corners before Strong reverses with a clothesline. Strong begins the strikes again and follows up with a suplex to Balor. Strong takes control with running forearms before hitting Balor with a double underhook bomb and getting a near fall. Strong tries to do a running move, but Balor hits him with a sling blade. Strong bounces back quickly, though, and locks Balor in a Boston Crab. Balor breaks free and hits Strong with a running double foot stomp. Balor hits him with the Pele kick and dropkicks him down. Balor hits the top rope and connects with the Coup de Grace and then the 1916 for the pinfall.
Winner: Finn Balor
Balor poses with the NXT championship in the ring to celebrate his win, but up on the stage is that scoundrel Adam Cole. NXT goes off the air as the two taunt each other before their title match next week.