Tuesday, 20 April 2021

WWE NXT Highlights 20 April 2021

 

WWE NxT Live 4/20/21 April 20th 2021






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WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 20

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE NXT started off Tuesday night with a big show that included surprises, title changes and fresh faces to the black-and-gold brand. Continuing that evolution of NXT, the April 20 edition promised more title matches and a huge debut.

    Just two weeks after his vicious war with Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly returned to NXT. Last week, fans saw new footage of Adam Cole and KOR both heading to a local medical facility. What would he have to say after putting Undisputed Era behind him?

    Kushida wanted to repay the opportunity he was given last week when he answered Santos Escobar's open challenge and became the NXT cruiserweight champion. He offered an open challenge to any cruiserweight that wanted a fresh chance to succeed.

    Much has been said of Sarray over the past month, but the time for talk has passed. The Warrior of the Sun finally arrived in NXT in a match with NXT's most impressive recent newcomer, Zoey Stark.

    Dexter Lumis has long sought an opportunity at the NXT North American Championship. LA Knight took that away from him at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. The Tortured Artist wanted his revenge against the loudmouth.

    This was to be a night built around the future of NXT. Many of the stars on this card have rarely had an opportunity, and they sought the chance to take their own game to the next level.

Cameron Grimes Fails to Establish a Business Relationship with Kyle O'Reilly

1 OF 8

    Kyle O'Reilly put Adam Cole behind him. He was ready to move forward. He made clear his focus was on the NXT Champion held by Karrion Kross. Cameron Grimes interrupted KOR, wanting to set up a business relationship with the man.

    While O'Reilly almost agreed to the alliance, he revealed he was cleared to compete and knew exactly who he wanted to face first. He hit The Technical Savage in the face before taking Grimes' hat.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    This was not the way it seemed this promo would go. Kross vs. KOR could be a massive match in the near future, and O'Reilly likely still has unfinished business with Cole. Grimes' arrival was more of a one-off than an angle that will go anywhere long term.

    The Technical Savage has been fun in this new role, and he brought out a fun side of KOR. However, that joy will likely vanish again when he is ready to work the main event again. This is mostly making up for Roderick Strong's story with Grimes abruptly ending.

Dexter Lumis vs. LA Knight

2 OF 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    LA Knight learned from a few early mistakes, mocking Dexter Lumis too much. The Tortured Artist had him on the run until the loudmouth heel was able to ground Lumis. Outside, Knight sent Lumis hard into the barricade.

    As The Tortured Artist tried to recover, Indi Hartwell caught his eyes. Lumis and Hartwell stared into each other's eyes too long, and Knight took advantage, planting The Tortured Artist with a reverse DDT out of the ropes to win.

    Lumis and Hartwell almost kissed, but The Way dragged her away before the two could lock lips. Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Indi Wrestling, but The Way interrupted. Bronson Reed challenged Johnny Gargano. Instead, Austin Theory agreed to fight The Colossal next week.

              

    Result

    Knight def. Lumis by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B-

                

    Analysis

    This match came together well beyond the ending. The pacing was engaging as both men approached a victory. However, the pace ground to a halt with the arrival of Hartwell. It was never explained what happened after The Tortured Artist carried her to the back.

    That angle had potential that was thrown out for a potential future payoff. Regardless, it would have been nice to not take three minutes on Lumis and Hartwell staring at each other in this match.

Franky Monet Interrupts Io Shirai's Interview

3 OF 8

    Leon Ruff made clear that he would hurt Isaiah "Swerve" Scott again soon, ready to end this on his own terms.

    Beth Phoenix interviewed Io Shirai one on one, asking her about her loss to Raquel Gonzalez and the next step in her journey. She admitted that she was tired and fell to her latest challenge, but she promised to rest up and get back the NXT Women's Championship.

    Franky Monet interrupted and nearly got into a fight with The Genius of the Sky by telling Shirai she would take her spot while she was away.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    Shirai is a fantastic wrestler, but she is a much better promo when she is allowed to speak Japanese. This interview with Phoenix served its purpose but could have been better. It ultimately set up the eventual rematch between Shirai and Gonzalez when the time is right.

    Monet vs. Shirai could be a great match in the meantime. La Guera Loca is a talent with plenty of pedigree that needs to be established in NXT. Even if she does not defeat The Genius of the Sky, pushing Shirai to her limit would be a great first step.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Breezango

4 OF 8

    Breezango came out in gear reminscent of the Great Britain queen's guard. This angered Grizzled Young Veterans, who saw this as Fandango and Tyler Breeze not taking them seriously.

    Using a few key tactics to isolate Fandango, Zack Gibson and James Drake looked dominant early. However, Prince Pretty took full advantage of a hot tag, taking out the Grizzled Young Veterans on the outside.

    Breeze could not keep up though with GYV's speed and ingenuity. Drake nearly stacked him up for three then Gibson tagged in and hit the Ticket to Mayhem to win.

              

    Result

    GYV def. Breezango by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B

                

    Analysis

    NXT's tag team division always delivers despite a limited focus. Grizzled Young Veterans in particular bring so much to every match. The story of every match is different, even if most all end in the Ticket to Mayhem.

    Playing up the best issues between these teams, this was about the heels taking advantage of small mistakes by the faces. While Breezango may have more tenure in WWE, GYV certainly looked like the veterans throughout.

    While MSK vs. GYV has been done, there's still at least one more title match left in this rivalry.

Sarray vs. Zoey Stark

5 OF 8

    William Regal welcomed Sarray in the parking lot where Zoey Stark got involved to ask to be the first opponent for The Warrior of the Sun.

    Stark showed respect to Sarray early, but she found herself at a disadvantage on the mat against The Warrior of the Sky. The relative NXT newcomer used her power against her hyped opponent, who would not stay down for long.

    A series of knees brought down Stark, allowing Sarray to begin building back momentum. Stark connected on a suplex into a running knee for a nearfall, but a roundhouse into a forearm and Saito suplex sealed the victory for The Warrior of the Sun.

    Stark and Sarray stood in respect for one another, but Toni Storm stomped out Stark when she left the ring.

              

    Result

    Sarray def. Stark by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    As always, Stark delivers. While she has looked better against a couple other opponents, she definitely made Sarray look dangerous. The Warrior of the Sun is a huge signing for NXT. She could easily follow in the footsteps of Io Shirai, Kairi Sane and Asuka in taking over the black-and-gold brand.

    Based on the attack of Storm post-match, it seems likely the next stage of this story is a tag team feud. Storm and Mercedes Martinez have a problem with Stark, and Sarray is set up as an ally for Stark. These teams colliding can add credibility to NXT's women's tag team division.

    The winners could also be perfectly set up to challenge Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart down the line.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Kushida (c) vs. Oney Lorcan

6 OF 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    After showing a video package celebrating the victory of Kushida, the new NXT cruiserweight champion walked out and established his own open challenge. Oney Lorcan answered the call, but he was not ready for the new speed of Kushida brought on by his change of footwear.

    He repeatedly dragged his challenger to the mat, focusing on the arm of Lorcan. A running knee by the challenger dazed the champion, but all it took was one punch to answer back. The champion hit a springboard double knee drop to the arm of the challenger then went for the Hoverboard Lock.

    Lorcan could only escape for so long before he was thrown to the mat and forced to tap out.

    Afterward, Legado del Fantasma ambushed the NXT cruiserweight champion. MSK arrived to even the odds, and the faces stood tall in the ring.

              

    Result

    Kushida def. Lorcan by submission to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.

               

    Grade

    A-

                

    Analysis

    If we are getting open challenges from Kushida almost every week, NXT is going to easily to must-watch for a long time to come. The NXT cruiserweight champion is a unique technician that brings everything to every performance.

    Lorcan looked good against Kushida, pushing him to compete at a high level. With Danny Burch out for a while, the heel should be allowed to compete on his own in matches like this. He is a physical competitor that can make everyone look better.

    Kushida vs. Esobar is a money match as is Kushida vs. Jordan Devlin, but it does not end there. Leon Ruff, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Jake Atlas and more can get the rub competing with the new champion.

Imperium vs. Ever-Rise

7 OF 8

    Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai made clear that the NXT women's champion would defeat any and all challengers. Mercedes Martinez answered in her own promo, telling Gonzalez she would take out Kai first before going after the champion.

    Ever-Rise tried to challenge Imperium's speed early, but nothing could stop the dominant display for Marcel Bartel and Fabian Aichner. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick tried to distract the heels, yet Imperium took the win easily with an elevated diving spinning uppercut for the win.

              

    Result

    Imperium def. Ever-Rise by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    D

                

    Analysis

    Imperium can have a fantastic sprint with just about anyone, but this was not even long enough for that. It was a complete squash with very limited time. That makes sense given the relative status of Imperium and Ever-Rise on the card.

    However, it would have at least been more interesting if Maverick and Dain made some impact by trying to get involved. The odd-ball tag team has heat with Aichner and Bartel. That should explode in a serious tag team match soon.

Kyle O'Reilly vs. Cameron Grimes

8 OF 8

    Cameron Grimes tried to forget the unfortunate opening to the show, but his special NFT was taken from him due to a late bid by Ted DiBiase. Karrion Kross caught Kyle O'Reilly at the ramp, staring him down as the potential title challenger headed to the ring.

    While The Technical Savage looked uncertain early about fighting KOR, he took over after a vicious German suplex clearly made an impact on O'Reilly's injured neck. Grimes tried to take advantage with a crossface, but KOR showed he was the far more natural technical competitor, nearly locking in a heel hook.

    The damage built up on KOR, who was clearly far from 100 percent. O'Reilly barely blocked the Cave-In and hit a roundhouse, and the kick counters continued. Finally, KOR won with a diving knee drop to the back.

              

    Result

    KOR def. Grimes by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    While O'Reilly is certainly a top star in NXT and Grimes is a talented wrestler, this never felt like the main event of the night. It would have made more sense for Sarray vs. Zoey Stark or Kushida vs. Oney Lorcan to end the night instead.

    The Technical Savage brought his absolute best to this match, and it was a fun contest to watch. The series of kicks between the two landed hard. It was simply impossible to believe that Grimes had any chance at all

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