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Immediate NXT TakeOver 36 Thoughts

I've been on vacation this week and missed last night's SummerSlam (have it PVR'd, but from everything I've heard, it's very much a "fast forward through the highlights" kind of show. Regardless, this NXT TakeOver is in, many ways, more intriguing and hopefully will be more interesting. Let's see what goes down...

Ridge Holland vs. Trey Baxter was just a squash, but it was still kind of fun to see.

Cameron Grimes vs. LA Knight was about as good an opener as one could ask for. Obviously, both guys have tremendous chemistry and their story - while a bit long in the tooth at this point - came to a very logical conclusion. Would love to see Knight on the main roster soon... but I'm not sure whether Grimes would be too niche to flourish in that environment or not, so he's probably fine where he is right now.

Dakota Kai vs. Raquel Gonzales was a bit underwhelming. Perhaps it was because of the "meh" buildup or because I didn't take Kai that seriously as a challenger... but apart from the finish, I wasn't feeling it. Kay Lee Ray as the next challenger is interesting, though.

Ilja Dragunov vs. WALTER was the rematch we all needed. It was just a hard-hitting, unapologetically stiff, gutsy contest throughout the duration and had Dragunov lost, I don't think anyone would have truly been disappointed. But to have WALTER lose after 870 days as champion? This clearly has to be one of the wrestling highlights of 2021.

Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole was a satisfying (yet long) match and once again feels like it could be the end of their issue. And if this was it... a great way to go out. I do wonder what happens next with both men, however. It sounds like Cole is AEW bound. But assuming Kross retains in the next match, will O'Reilly be his challenger?

Samoa Joe vs. Karrion Kross didn't feel as.... big as comparable NXT TakeOver main events have been over the years. Perhaps it's the pandemic era; perhaps it's because of the new NXT direction being promised and perhaps it's because the bloom is seemingly off the rose for Kross in NXT. I'm not sure. But while the match was fine for what it was... it could have been so much bigger and more awe-inspiring. Despite that, you have to give Joe tons of credit; the first-ever three time NXT Champion. A happy ending to a decent show.


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