July 20’s installment at NXT ended with Karrion Kross upping the ante in a major way in his feud with management. At the top of the broadcast, enforcer to management Samoa Joe furiously called out Kross for his recent anarchic behavior. Kross did not come to the ring. The episode ended with Samoa Joe finding a beaten and unconscious general manager William Regal, who had been attacked by Kross. The heat between Joe and Kross is building as NXT heads towards its NXT Takeover 36 event on August 22.
Spoilers from the July 20 taping of July 27’s episode taping suggest that the fever pitch between Kross and Samoa Joe is coming next week. Although he has been out of the ring since a February 2020 injury, it has been reported that Samoa Joe has been cleared for in-ring action and will be challenging Karrion Kross for the NXT championship on July 27’s episode, and the match will be held at Takeover 36.
#WWENXT spoiler: Samoa Joe will return to face Karrion Kross for the NXT title at Takeover 36
— Jay Reddick (@runninjay) July 21, 2021
While Adam Cole and Karrion Kross were both high on Joe’s list of backstage rabble-rousers to be dealt with when he became Regal’s enforcer, Kross pulled ahead as a higher-level threat. On July 13’s episode, Samoa Joe was the special ref in Kross’s match for the NXT title against Johnny Gargano. Kross won the bout, and turned his aggression on Samoa Joe, locking him in his Kross-jacket submission finisher.
If Joe wins the NXT title in his return to the ring, he will be the first 3x champion in the history of the black and gold brand. If Kross loses the title, he will presumably be free to move to the main roster full time. His Monday Night Raw debut, in a match against Jeff Hardy which Kross lost to the “Charismatic Enigma”, has been heavily panned by fans and even viewed as a deliberately discouraging message to NXT talent from WWE’s powers that be.
Online hyperbole and racing pulses on Twitter aside, if the booking was meant to signal something meaningful then Kross has a clear shot at a rematch against Hardy, and even a longer program playing the ever amiable Hardy’s nemesis. That is, if their first encounter is capitalized on, and if indeed Kross is decamping after a loss to Samoa Joe.
The women’s division at NXT also seems up for a paradigm shift. Leaked footage and reports from the taping suggest that Dakota Kai will turn on tag team partner, and current NXT women’s champion, Raquel Gonzalez. NXT’s guiding hand, Shawn Michaels, has often lavished high praise on Kai, and her turn on Gonzalez, with an unexpected superkick to her partner’s face, smacks of an allusion to Michael’s infamous parting shot to Rockers partner Marty Jannetty.
Dakota Kai has finally turned on Raquel Gonzalez.
Kai laid her out from behind with a kick.
Kai then raised the title in the air over Gonzalez
— WrestlePurists (@WrestlePurists) July 22, 2021
Kai has been solidly in Gonzalez’s corner on her rise to the top of the card, and the heat between the two will make a babyface out of the betrayed Gonzalez, and instantly cast Kai as a ruthless heel in singles competition, her first target being Gonzalez and the NXT women’s championship. Life changes fast, at NXT, and both Samoa Joe and Dakota Kai might be in for major wins at NXT Takeover 36 in August.
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