Wrestling Review: NXT Great American Bash (2021)

Just two days after the 4th July celebrations across the United States, one long time grudge will be settled and three championships will be decided on a special live episode of NXT TV, as it presents the 2021 edition of the Great American Bash. In the main event, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole renew their rivalry, as Cole looks to avenge his loss from TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, while O’Reilly simply seeks to hurt Adam Cole for everything Cole put O’Reilly through. Meanwhile, the young, brash NXT Tag Team Champions of the duo known as MSK, Nash Carter and Wes Lee, will face their toughest challenge yet as the rough veterans, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher seek to make an example of the young champions. The NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions, members of The Way, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell, will defend their gold against the unlikely duo of Io Shirai and Zoey Stark, while the new Million Dollar Champion, LA Knight faces off with Cameron Grimes. LA Knight only agreed to put his title on the line on one condition: if Grimes loses the match, he will become LA Knight’s personal butler. Finally, The new NXT North American Champion, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and the rest of Hit Row will put on a performance to celebrate Swerve’s championship win.

+ Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole: despite being the only match on the show which was not for a championship, this was only match on the show that felt important. These two are both good wrestlers, and while I think it’s fair to say that O’Reilly is far better than Cole inside the ring, Cole’s mic work more than makes up for it. This was probably better than their previous unsanctioned match, if only because it didn’t go for a million hours and had a hard time limit to stick to
+ LA Knight (c) vs Cameron Grimes (for the Million Dollar Title, if Grimes Loses he must be Knight’s butler): this was very, very predictable but it was still fun on the way to that ending. This is easily the best thing both LA Knight and Grimes have done in NXT, but no matter which way this match would go, they need to try not to overplay it. Yes, I realise subtlety and long-term planning is not something WWE is known for, but I’m trying to be positive

Hit Row Championship Celebration: this was fine, but it went on for too long. I kept waiting for the big twist or set up for something in the future but it just never came
The Way (Candie LeRae & Indi Hartwell) vs Zoey Stark & Io Shirai (NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships): this was another not very good match, for reasons I could go into but for spoilers, and otherwise will just call ‘bad planning’. LeRae and Shirai is so overdone by this point that I can’t imagine even fans of theirs are glad to see them facing off against, and then adding in both Stark and Hartwell, who are each currently good and still improving and only going to get better, but it just never clicked. A bit of a surprise should have added something, but it just showed how little effort goes into these titles since their inception barely four months ago
MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher (NXT Tag Team Championships): Ciampa, Thatches and Wes Lee all were geat in this, but Nash Carter looked really horrible, with numerous whiffed punches and funny looking kicks. The team of MSK are really not doing it for me and I can’t quite put my finger on why, but Ciampa and Thatcher are great and I’d watch Ciampa at least do almost anything. Still, this was a misfire and I am happy to put the blame almost solely on MSK

> General Manager William Regal and his enforcer, Samoa Joe, had an announcement for next week. It’s a big announcement, sure, but who could possibly care?

Should you watch this event: Outside of Cole/O’Reilly’s second meting, this was a forgettable show. NXT needs to start planning things long term, and building up wrestlers with wins before their championship matches, because otherwise it just makes everybody on the show look like a loser, not least of all when Samoa Joe is the most credible threat going and he’s not even allowed to fight.

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