NXT Aug. 3, 2021: Listing three things they got wrong

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By now, everyone knows that NXT has lost its creative fastball since moving to the USA Network, and boy, did those cracks show themselves on this week’s episode. The two-hour show was filled with baffling decisions.

To be fair, it was still an easier watch than Raw, but that gap in quality continues to narrow by the week, and knowing the heights this show has reached in the past makes that fact even more frustrating.

So, which aspects of the show stood out for the wrong reasons? Well, let’s dive in and see what we find.

These are the three things that went right on the Aug. 3 episode of NXT.

The “Love Her or Leave Her” match.

This is what the “alternative” brand in WWE that is so different from the main roster has to offer as a television main event? A match where a woman’s right to date someone is at stake?

Listen, I understand that a lot of people are into this Dexter Lumis/Indi Hartwell romance storyline, and this isn’t to say that these sorts of angles never work (clearly this has worked with plenty of fans), but featuring this as one of the prominent storylines on the show illustrates what things have come to, creatively.

Also, Gargano won this match to ensure that Lumis couldn’t date Hartwell, a stipulation that they immediately rendered pointless by having Hartwell rush to Lumis after the match. Sure, you could argue that this was meant to highlight Hartwell’s newfound autonomy, but it also showed how silly it was to have booked this match in the first place.

By the way, shouldn’t Hartwell be more upset about the numerous times Candice LeRae tried to sabotage her chances with Lumis?

Io Shirai and Zoey Stark’s bonding exercise.

With the Cameron Grimes/LA Knight skits garnering acclaim, the NXT creative team went to the well again, this time with NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Io Shirai and Zoey Stark. Unfortunately, the two were given material from a bad 90s sitcom.

The segment was designed to present Stark as being so desperate to spark a friendship that she’s willing to roll with whatever Shirai does, but this attempt to have her do “wacky” comedy by having her order what Shirai ordered without looking at the menu (there was literally no reason for her to do this outside of COMEDY) and doing the lame “dump out the nasty food and pretend that you ate it” bit led to far more groans than laughs (Stark better hope that Shirai doesn’t rewatch this episode), especially when you factor in the “look at how weird this food is” vibe the whole thing gave off.

Hopefully, the other skits that are surely coming don’t follow this same pattern.

Legado del Fantasma vs. Hit Row ends with a disqualification.

Hit Row and Legado del Fantasma continued their feud this week with a tag team bout pitting Ahante Thee Adonis and Top Dolla against Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. To no one’s surprise, the four put together an entertaining opener, but it didn’t take long for that momentum to halt thanks to a lame DQ finish.

It’s been said in plenty of pieces on this site and elsewhere, but these finishes suck. Main roster WWE often relies on these as an escape hatch to avoid having wrestlers take a pinfall loss, but all it does is tell the viewers that investing in who wins and who loses these matches is a futile pursuit.

dark. Next. WWE NXT: Johnny Gargano defeated Dexter Lumis in main event

This tag match served as the means to get to the post-match angle the writers ACTUALLY cared about. To be fair, the extracurriculars were good, but it would’ve been nice to see a definitive finish to the tag match before fans got their dessert.