NXT recap & reactions (June 22, 2021): Diamond Mine get props like a cop

NXT returned last night (June 22) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

The “enforcer” era for Samoa Joe has begun

After William Regal agreed to make Samoa Joe his right hand man to ensure he was afforded the proper respect, NXT wrestlers started lining up to either suck up to Joe and get in his good graces or try to “provoke” him into getting physical. Here’s a quick example of the former as opposed to the latter.

Joe was not interested in any ass kissing, and the one time Adam Cole laid hands on him, he quickly wound up face down on the floor unconscious after Joe choked him out.

At the end of the show Regal and Joe promised it was “the first of many” nights to come with authority finally being restored. How did this new powerful duo whip the NXT roster into shape this week?

Unfortunately Joe didn’t get to choke anybody out this week, but he did have his hands full commanding the security team to break up multiple incidents, each of which we will cover in the notes below. In between those times Karrion Kross dared him to get “provoked” but Joe didn’t take the bait. As he let Kross walk by, Pete Dunne was waiting behind Joe to stare a hole through him for the second week, building up to a match that for medical reasons we may never ever get to see — and that’s a damn shame.

The Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly sandwich

Speaking of Cole and O’Reilly though, they were the two ends of a NXT sandwich this week and the rest of the show was the fillings. Seven days ago William Regal informed Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly that they would have to settle their differences at the Great American Bash on July 6th, but in the meantime they would have one-on-one matches with the opponent of their choosing. Cole would be too busy recovering from Joe’s choke to make his pick last week, so we’d get his answer this week!

We already knew who O’Reilly wanted to face though — cruiserweight champion KUSHIDA.

First up though was Adam Cole (bay bay), who came out to open the show and informed us that he would be facing… no one, because he doesn’t play by anybody’s rules but his own. As it turns out though he didn’t have to choose because Carmelo Hayes interrupted, did his best John Cena imitation by declaring his “ruthless aggression” and slapping Cole in the face. The ref already knew what Cole wanted after this disrespect and called for the bell.

Given his “rookie” status you’d probably be surprised by how much Cole gave Hayes in this match. This could have easily been treated like a squash, but it was as close to 50/50 as Hayes was going to get in a losing effort. Once the fireman’s carry was countered into a backstabber from Cole though it was the beginning of the end, and despite several attempts to put Cole away, his superkick was better and his Panama Sunrise was the nail in the coffin. He’s worked with both KUSHIDA and Cole in matches on NXT and looked good both times, so that speaks to the quality of people he’s working with, but it just might say that Hayes is a future star in the making to keep your eye on too.

At the…

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