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    Tuesday, June 15, 2021

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: In Your House 2021

    NXT TakeOver: In Your House 2021 marks my first PPV review since I stopped writing NXT reviews last year. I'm not totally sure if it's just me feeling out the new NXT atmosphere, or if it's really a different vibe from the old TakeOvers that I used to review.

    Before we go on to the actual review, let me just acknowledge the fact that from my previous article, we got five out of five predictions correctly. In a way, my fantasy-booking mood lit up and we'll probably discuss a lot of assumptions for the future as well for this article.

    Kross Is King

    The main event wasn't your usual Karrion Kross match. Yes, it was hard-hitting and brutal to watch—which is starting to become a norm in NXT—but since there were five competitors facing off, the downtime for the action was little. Every second felt like there was some stiff action happening. It allowed the smaller guys to carry the match since they were mostly the source of all the heavy exchanges, and then, when the time came, Kross was able to dispose of everybody in convincing fashion. In fact, I'd love to think this match was made just so Kross could dominate everybody and call on the new era of NXT.

    Personally, I'd love to see some new faces step up to Kross. Hey, maybe a certain Samoan Submission Machine can come back to NXT and just lay the champ out. Even in a losing capacity, I'd be down to see Samoa Joe confrontation. Or maybe we can see more NXT UK transfers to the black-and-gold? Tyler Bate vs. Karrion Kross maybe? 

    As for the four challengers, I have a feeling a certain mix of match-ups from these names will be part of our regular programming in the coming months. If they could somehow help continue keeping the brand action-packed while also helping build new top names, I'd be totally down for that. Otherwise, I just want to see new names rise to the top—or new feuds at least.

    Million Dollar, Baby

    In perhaps my favorite match from the show, LA Knight captured the Million Dollar title in a ladder match that didn't feel like most of its kind. I'm not sure if that was a good or a bad thing, but the entertainment value of the storyline was able to keep my attention up during this bout. The exchanges were, let's say, slower than what we're used to and it felt more methodical than spontaneous.

    While I already expected the result, I wonder what this title brings to Knight as I feel it will eventually fall back into Cameron Grimes's hands. I suppose this championship will serve as Grimes's character-building tool while in Knight's hands, it's a stepping stone to his main event run—at least while the other title scenes are busy.

    Must-See Kids In A Must-See Match

    As I've stated during my predictions, I didn't really see Legado del Fantasma winning this match if only because MSK seems to have a rocket strapped to the moon in terms of how they're being booked. And gladly so, as I think that Nash Carter and Wes Lee are highly talented individuals who could take the championships to new heights.

    All six competitors stole the show and I felt this was a really good opener—albeit with what seems like a few botched spots. Heading in, we already knew MSK would innovate, however, it was quite surprising to see Bronson Reed mix it up with some crazy tag team maneuvers. Legado also didn't hold back and did a lot of memorable spots, however, I would like to give props to Santos Escobar's performance.

    While we already know how talented the former El Hijo del Fantasma is, he really does fit the cult leader role well. I think it's the way he carries himself and I wouldn't be surprised to see him carry more prestigious gold or even graduate to the main roster soon—although I hope they don't give him the Andrade treatment.

    Moving forward, I'd say while it isn't the five-star match I expected it to be, it's a good match that looks to lift Escobar's stock while giving MSK and Reed the wins needed to give credibility to their reigns. I'm not too sure what Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza got out of that much but they did server their role well as Escobar's lackeys.

    Big Mami Cool

    I hate to say it, but this was my least favorite one on the card. Nothing against Ember Moon or Raquel Gonzalez—in fact, I would say they had a good match in general. Maybe I disliked the fact that the expected Shotzi Blackheart and Dakota Kai involvement took a little away from the action. I think they're probably planting the seeds for an eventual four-way in the future but at this point, I wish they should've just focused on Moon vs. Gonzalez even as it was starting to feel repetitive in nature.

    Considering that most of the night already felt like match-ups we'd regularly see on a weekly basis, perhaps this face-off (which has already happened before albeit in tag matches or a mix of singles matches) didn't feel as special as it was supposed to be. To be honest, I'd like to say that this is the case for some of the names in the brand. We've seen variations of the match-ups that I really want to see something fresh so I can further appreciate the talent that all the Superstars involved possess.

    Kung Fu Theater

    Let's admit it, the Tian Sha storyline is silly as hell. But then again, as crazy as it sounds, I'm enjoying how Xia Li (and to some extent, Boa) is running with it. That was a Mortal Kombat-worthy presentation during her entrance and it's a fun change of pace to what we normally see in NXT.

    The praises don't stop there. I admit I wasn't the biggest Li fan when she started appearing on NXT. However, she's shown to have improved greatly since then. Watching the match against Mercedes Martinez made me appreciate her skills (and even her reactions). It was the right decision to give Li the win here—as I really think Martinez could be going on to the main roster. Meanwhile, the match itself, while entertaining, was quite average. Nonetheless, I'm looking out for what Li can do in the future.


    I loved the main event. As much as it is an overbooked, overblown mess, I think it really showed how much Kross is going to be king of NXT for a long time. However, the other matches felt more like the normal matches that we see on NXT's weekly showing with more theatrics and special attires added to it. In a way, without the main event, this would have been just another "special" episode—like the upcoming Great American Bash.

    In fact, I'm actually starting to wonder why the special episodes themselves aren't just TakeOvers instead. I'd say that we either promote the specials to actual PPVs or remove the concept of TakeOver because in this, we're starting to blur the lines, and then everything becomes the norm eventually.

    Show Grade: B


    • That was a cool entrance by Legado Del Fantasma but something with the beat lacks the oomph I need to get me pumped up.
    • Not sure if it was a coincidence or intentional, but Joaquin Wilde's attire gave me serious King (Tekken) vibes.
    • I'm still not sure what Mercedes Martinez's character is supposed to be.
    • Boa probably needs to work on his acting skills a little more.
    • The rafter graphics displaying Kross's name as the champion (along with the challengers' names) added to the big fight feel.
    Photos and videos from WWE


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your resident Young Rock and NXT reviewer here at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) Instagramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz), and streaming videogames on Twitch (@the_migz) while he pursues his musical career via his YouTube channel (Migz Llado) and courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxGarageRock). You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE 2K (or any PS4) skills.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: In Your House 2021 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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