NXT 2/24 Review: The Undisputed Betrayal

The NXT 2/24 episode kicks off with a promo package featuring Scarlett and Karrion Kross outlining the feud built between them and Santos Escobar.

Dexter Lumis vs Johnny Gargano

Johnny rushes at Lumis but is stopped in his tracks by Lumis’ creepy stare.  The North American champ  retreats via butt scoot and Lumis follows him on all fours (prompting my wife to say it reminded her of Dirty Dancing.) Dexter goes under the ring. Candice LaRae and Indi Hartwell can’t find him underneath but Austin Theory says that he’s “right behind ya.” Not the answer Johnny wanted.  Lumis lifts Johnny up for a vertical suplex triple and manages to lift him three times to block the escape attempts. Gargano gets a leg up when he uses the ring apron and ramp to his advantage but a running kick is dodged to a kip up by Lumis.  The Way interferes including a hurricanrana by Candice.  I’m guessing that, because it was blocked, that’s the reasoning for no disqualification. Johnny hits a sliding dropkick between his wife’s legs while she’s on the ring apron.

Johnny in control but Lumis hits a slingshot suplex and a leg drop. The combatants jockey back-and-forth from Garga-No Escape vs The Silence. Spinebuster by Lumis sends Johnny running to the referee as a distraction. Theory gets Johnny a chair.  Lumis stops it but Johnny makes the chair Austin’s job… which he seems to not understand.  Gargano loses patience and rushes Lumis. Olé into Austin Theory. Side Effect into Silence. Of course, it is a non-title match. [Eyeroll emoji]

Winner: Dexter Lumis

William Regal is outside the Capitol Wrestling Center looking for Santos  Escobar but completely unconcerned about the big white box truck with the driver door open.

Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix welcome Wade Barrett as a remote correspondent tonight. They take a look at NXT newcomers and Dusty Cup champs, MSK. Carter and Lee give us a look into their past and their lives. MSK all day.

I don’t know if Shotzi Blackheart likes Burger King but Burger King seems to like her.

MSK is there to talk about their upcoming NXT tag title shot but The Grizzled Young Veterans come in may have injured Wes Lee.

Tyler Rust vs Leon Ruff

Earlier today, Malcom Bivens goaded Leon Ruff into accepting a match with Rust despite still recovering from the brutal ass kicking he took from Isaiah “Swerve” Scott last week. It looks like Swerve hasn’t gotten over it, though. He blindsides Ruff outside the ring and sends him into the barricades and announce table. Bivens proclaims victory in the ring

Result: No contest

William Regal has given Zoey Stark the opportunity to face NXT champ, Io Shirai, in a non-title match. A technical hiccup backstage brings us right to Cameron Grimes giving the Million Dollar Man basketball challenge … with one tiny mistake in his plan that leaves him vexed at Ted DiBiase.

A recap of Adam Cole’s betrayal of Kyle O’Reilly last week gives the latter a 4-6 week timetable to return from neck injury.

Io Shirai vs Zoey Stark

Zoey comes out aggressive and manages to go hold-for-hold with the champion. Io takes control with strikes.  She tries to go to the top rope early but gets kicked out the floor. The rookie isn’t done yet! Every time Stark starts to get some momentum going (including a 450° splash attempt,) Io Shirai stops her cold but can’t seem to get a streak going herself. Stark goes to the corner but takes too long. Hurricanrana but Zoey doesn’t stay down! Zoey tries for a German suplex but gets sent headfirst into the corner. Over the moonsault does the trick. 

Winner: Io Shirai

The champion gives the challenger a “you done good, kid” embrace when Toni Storm shows up to challenge Io. Io says she’ll fight Toni anytime and anywhere but Toni doesn’t believe her, saying that a fighting champion would have gone to William Regal to make the match by now.

McKenzie Mitchell talks with The Way bit they are eager to get out of Dodge before Dexter Lumis comes back. Johnny wants to know why Austin didn’t hit Lumus with the chair as ordered and Austin begins to empathize with Dexter Lumis. When Johnny reminds him that Lumis chloroformed and abducted him, Indi Hartwell expresses an attraction for the “misunderstood “ serial kidnapper. Johnny says that Theory is going to therapy and they ate getting out of the building.

Cameron Grimes has figured out the basketball shtick… or so he thinks. He accidentally propositions a six-foot-plus Amazon who deftly does a crossover when he tries to kick away the ball.

Kacy Catanzaro vs Xia Li

Xia looks conflicted but determined during her new, elaborate entrance. Kacy dodges bullets as Xia comes out swinging. Kacy is mostly on defense but does enough bull dancing to keep Xia from getting ahead. A face first shove into the barricades and a vicious stomp to Catanzaro’s knee changes that. The referee stops the match and more officials come down to keep them apart. When Kayden Carter goes up the ramp to confront Mei Ying and Boa, Xia hits a roundhouse on Kacy to say goodbye.

Winner: Xia Li

William Regal checks the rear lit again to no avail.

Promo package rehashes Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez having their shot at the WWE women’s tag team championship and just what the current champs, Nia Jax & Shayna Bazsler think about that.

Cameron Grimes finds another participant in the DiBiase challenge. Like the others, he’s hep to the scenario but not to the right hook that Grimes hits him with after one dribble! Finally vindicated, Grimes says that DiBiase can kiss his grits because money can buy happiness.

Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs The Grizzled Young Veterans

On their way down the ramp, Dain strips a T-shirt with his image on it from Drake’s back. The Grizzled Young Vets announce that Wes Lee has indeed broken his hand and that they have been fined for causing the injury. They call Dain & Drake, “Shrek & Donkey” before walking right into The Beast of Belfast who tosses both out to the floor. Dain continues to punish with slams and sentinels but one man can’t beat two men. Drake gets the tag and takes it to both Vets until a blind tag sees him in trouble. Dain goes in to save him but gets neutralized on the outside. Drake Maverick gets his Ticket to Mayhem punched.

Winners: The Grizzled Young Veterans 

Legado del Fantasma arrives for our main event on NXT 2/24.

Killian Dain is looking for a trainer to take care of Drake Maverick. As Imperium walks by, Alexander Wolfe stops to wonder “Was its das?” He doubts Dain’s monster status after seeing him care for a seemingly weak partner.

Karrion Kross vs Santos Escobar in a No DQ match

Kross’ music plays but we instead see him appear in the parking lot to attack Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. This prompts Santos Escobar to come out of hiding and assault Kross from behind. Kross makes the mistake of sending Escobar into the box truck but the luchador uses it to his advantage. He slams the roller door onto Kross’ shoulder and locks himself in the cab to avoid a swinging pickax!  Wilde and Mendoza catch up and leave Kross open for a face full of trash can. 3-on-1 boot party on Kross and they repeatedly drive him into the side of the truck. 

Legado del Fantasma pull Karrion Kross back into the Capitol Wrestling Center where he finds his second wind. He buries Mendoza and Wilde beneath plexiglass and chain link. Escobar targets the injured shoulder of Kross with a steel chair and the ring post despite the announce team doing nothing to sell or even mention it. As Escobar’s flunkies recover, Scarlett comes to ringside as well. Escobar ups the ante by wrapping Kross’ arm in a steel chair and then driving that into the ring post. DDT onto the chair but that doesn’t keep Kross down. He fights off Wilde and Mendoza at ringside but Escobar’s signature tope suicida halts his momentum. Escobar tries for Three Amigos but only gets as far as Ned Nederlander before he gets tossed over head twice by Kross. 

Kross counters Escobar’s ring post attack and Mendoza’s chair swing and it’s all Joaquin Wilde can do but to keep Escobar from being decapitated! Mendoza and Wilde try to dive onto Kross but he crushes them like soda cans. Escobar gets a Saito suplex through the announce table and another dead center of the ring. Running forearm to the base of the skull and the NXT Cruiserweight Champion falls prey to the top of NXT’s food chain.

Winner: Karrion Kross

Next week, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez will face Nia Jax & Shayna Bazsler for the WWE women’s tag team titles and, two weeks from tonight, Io Shirai defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Toni Storm but the entire NXT locker room can, at any time, cashing the golden ticket to get stomped out by LA Knight.

Adam Cole comes down to the ring to explain his recent actions. He says that Kyle O’Reilly should be in the ring with him right now but he isn’t because of Adam’s stupid mistake. He’s going to do his best to make it right. Roderick Strong comes out to admonish Adam for shattering the trust that made The Undisputed Era.  Today’s not sure he can keep Come safe from O’Reilly. Finn Balor rushes the ring and Adam Cole. Roddy saves Adam but drops him once himself for good measure. The two reconcile but Cole hits Strong with a low blow and calls him “stupid” before a superkick on his knees. Somewhere, a window shatters and the barber has no idea why.

Five Takeaways from NXT 2/24

  1. The Way vs Dexter Lumis is an interesting program.  The babyface is a mute, the heels are incompetent/compromised (incompromised?,) and the matches are all good.  It seems like it has legs but does it have anywhere to go?
  2. On one hand, it seems like stop/start for MSK to be sidelined by The Grizzled Young Veterans.  On the other, it gives more time to build MSK via screen time without putting them in the ring with Burch & Lorcan just yet (and that seems to have become a lost art.)
  3. As much as I, personally, am anticipating LA Knight’s arrival at the Capitol Wrestling Center, I’m very curious as to how Taya Valkyrie gets folded into a women’s division that has already embraced Zoey Stark and may or may not be poised to shake up the championship in two weeks.
  4. Imperium’s return to NXT seems like it could be made into something big.  Alexander Wolfe as the de facto leader recruiting others or destabilizing the existing dynamics could either set the stage for dominance or dissension when Walter (and the rest of the world) is able to travel to the US with ease.
  5. The Karrion Kross/Santos Escobar match was exactly what it needed to be.  Yes, one man beat three men.  But a man that has been built as monster from day one was in real danger from the cruiserweight champion and his entourage.  Both seemed to have gotten elevated by this.  Next stop on each of their trains would have to be major stations or all this did was derail them.

NXT 2/24 is now streaming on Hulu and tonight on WWE Network.