NXT TakeOver 36 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their NXT brand division. It took place on August 22, 2021 and was broadcast from the Capitol Wrestling Center, hosted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. As the name implies, it was the 36th NXT TakeOver event.
TakeOver is a series of professional wrestling shows that began on May 29, 2014, as WWE's NXT brand held their second WWE Network exclusive live broadcast, billed as TakeOver—at that time until September 2019, NXT was the promotion's developmental territory. In subsequent months, the "TakeOver" moniker became the brand used by WWE for all of their NXT live WWE Network specials. While originally exclusive to the WWE Network, NXT TakeOver events also became available on traditional pay-per-view (PPV) beginning with TakeOver 31 in October 2020.
As the title implies, TakeOver 36 was the 36th NXT TakeOver event. It was held on Sunday, August 22, 2021, the night after WWE's SummerSlam PPV for Raw and SmackDown. This in turn makes TakeOver 36 the first TakeOver to air the night after one of WWE's main PPVs instead of the night before. Additionally, while Raw and SmackDown resumed live touring during the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-July, NXT continued to run its shows from the Capitol Wrestling Center, hosted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The Capitol Wrestling Center was initially NXT's version of the WWE ThunderDome bio-secure bubble that had been used for Raw and SmackDown during the pandemic; however, the arena has now become the brand's home base, with nearly all COVID-19 restrictions having been lifted with the previous TakeOver event, TakeOver: In Your House.
The card included several matches that resulted from scripted storylines where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters to build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the NXT brand, while storylines are produced on their weekly television program, NXT.
In October 2020 on NXT UK, Walter defeated Ilja Dragunov to retain the United Kingdom Championship. In June 2021, Dragunov earned another opportunity to challenge Walter for the championship by defeating Rampage Brown and Joe Coffey in a triple threat match. The title match was then scheduled for the July 22 episode of NXT UK. A contract signing for the match was held during the July 15 episode, but later that same episode, Walter injured his hand in a backstage altercation. It was then announced that the championship match had been postponed. During the July 22 episode, NXT executive Triple H, NXT UK producer Shawn Michaels, and NXT General Manager William Regal announced that the NXT United Kingdom Championship match would take place at TakeOver 36.
After being released from his WWE contract in April 2021, Samoa Joe re-signed with NXT that June. Joe made his formal return to the brand during the June 15 episode of NXT under the agreement that he would be the enforcer for NXT General Manager William Regal and would not be an active wrestler. He also could not attack any member of the active roster unless provoked. That same episode, Joe came face-to-face with NXT Champion Karrion Kross. Over the next few weeks, Kross would attempt to provoke Joe. During the July 13 episode, Kross defended the NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano in which Joe served as the special guest referee. After Kross retained the title, he attacked Joe. The following week, Joe called out Kross, who appeared backstage, showing that he had attacked Regal; Joe headed backstage but Kross retreated in a car when he got to Regal. On the July 27 episode, Regal had intended to fire Kross for his actions, but Joe had a different plan. Joe resigned as Regal's enforcer, was reinstated as a member of the active roster, and was scheduled to face Kross for the NXT Championship at TakeOver 36, marking Joe's first match since February 2020.
At NXT TakeOver: Portland in February 2020, Raquel González made her NXT debut, helping Dakota Kai defeat Tegan Nox. Over the following months, González would accompany Kai to her matches, forging an alliance and becoming Kai's "bodyguard". During the 2020 Women’s WarGames match at TakeOver: WarGames, González picked up momentum after pinning reigning NXT Women's Champion, Io Shirai. She then continued racking up victories with Kai by her side. Kai and González then won the inaugural women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, becoming the first-ever NXT Women's Tag Team Champions, although they lost the title the same night they were awarded them. González then entered into a feud with Shirai and defeated her at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver to win the NXT Women's Championship. On the July 27 episode of NXT, González, with Kai by her side, issued an open challenge for the championship but no one answered. Kai then praised González but then attacked her from behind, subsequently turning González face in the process. Kai then said she would challenge González for the title, which was scheduled for TakeOver 36.
At TakeOver: In Your House, LA Knight defeated Cameron Grimes in a ladder match to win the vacant Million Dollar Championship that had been reintroduced by WWE Hall of Famer and "The Million Dollar Man", Ted DiBiase. On the following episode of NXT, DiBiase formally presented the Million Dollar Championship to Knight. After an emotional promo, Knight turned on and attacked DiBiase, who was saved by Grimes; in a video uploaded to WWE's YouTube channel, it was shown that Grimes had apologized to DiBiase following the match at In Your House. Knight then defeated Grimes in a rematch at The Great American Bash; as per the stipulation of the rematch, Grimes became Knight's personal butler. Grimes, however, would annoy Knight during this time. DiBiase then returned, encouraging Grimes to go after the Million Dollar Championship. During the August 10 episode of NXT, Knight agreed to defend the championship against Grimes at TakeOver 36 under the condition that if Knight won, DiBiase would replace Grimes as Knight's personal butler. Although Grimes was against it, DiBiase agreed to the terms.
During the kick-off show, Ridge Holland took on Trey Baxter. Holland quickly won the match after hitting a Headbutt and a Brainbuster on Baxter. After the match, Holland challenged Timothy Thatcher for a match on the upcoming episode of NXT.
In the opening match, LA Knight defended the Million Dollar Championship against his butler Cameron Grimes with a stipulation that Ted DiBiase would become Knight's butler if he won. Grimes tried to win with the Dream Street, but Knight escaped. Knight tried to leave with the title, but DiBiase stopped him and threw the title into the ring. While the referee was trying to take the title away from Grimes, DiBiase locked in Dream Street on Knight and threw him back into the ring. Grimes hit a Cave In Stomp on Knight to win the title, becoming free from being Knight's butler, and keeping DiBiase from becoming the butler.
Next, Raquel González defended the NXT Women's Championship against Dakota Kai. Kai hit a Codebreaker on González for a nearfall. In the end, Dakota went for a Yakuza Kick, but Raquel caught the foot and dragged Kai to the top rope with her and hit a Powerbomb off the top rope to retain the title. Afterwards, NXT UK's Kay Lee Ray returned and confronted González from the stage.
Then, WALTER defended the NXT United Kingdom Championship against Ilja Dragunov. The match included chops, slaps, kicks, and punches. WALTER locked in a Boston Crab and an STF, but Dragunov escaped. Both men tried to win using the Sleeper Hold, but both were unsuccessful every attempt. Dragunov hit a Torpedo Moscow twice on WALTER for a nearfall. WALTER hit a Frog Splash for a nearfall. Dragunov locked in a Sleeper again, but WALTER escaped. Dragunov hit WALTER with several club shots and locked in the Sleeper and forcing WALTER to submit to win the title, ending WALTER'S 870 day reign as champion.
In the penultimate match, Adam Cole took on Kyle O'Reilly in a Three Stages of Hell match, a type of a 2-Out-of-3 Falls match in what was called The Undisputed Finale. The first fall was a Singles match. O'Reilly quickly won the first fall after countering a Panama Sunrise into a Roll-Up. The second fall was a Street Fight. O'Reilly sat Cole in a steel chair and placed a trash can over his head and hitting a Running Dropkick off the apron. As O'Reilly went to the top rope, Cole kicked him off and Kyle hit his ribs on the apron. The two fought to the stage where Cole locked in a Guillotine Choke, but O'Reilly escaped and threw Cole off the stage into the plexiglass. As O'Reilly went for the Top Rope Knee Drop, Cole threw O'Reilly onto two standing chairs and hit a Last Shot to win the second fall. The final fall was a Steel Cage match. Cole threw O'Reilly into the cage multiple times and Kyle would catapult Cole into the cage as well. Cole had a pair of hand cuffs and attached O'Reilly to the top rope. Cole hit a Superkick, but O'Reilly grabbed the foot on a second attempt and locked in a Heel Hook, forcing Cole to submit to win the match. Afterwards, Cole was helped to the back by officials.
In the main event, Karrion Kross defended the NXT Championship against Samoa Joe. Joe hit a Suicide Dive on Kross on the outside. Joe hit a Senton off the top rope for a nearfall. Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch, but Kross escaped. Kross locked in the Kross Jacket, but Joe escaped as well. Joe hit a Urange and placed Kross on the top rope. Joe hit a Muscle Buster on Kross and pinned him to win his record-setting third NXT Championship.
The event was met by critical acclaim. 411Mania gave the entire event a 8.5 out of 10 ratings and gave the WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov match a perfect 5 star out of 5 ratings, with the reviewer declaring WALTER as "the best wrestler on the planet". Bleacher Report praised all the matches except the Ridge Holland vs. Trey Baxter which was graded C, their lowest graded match from the event. Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai, WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov, and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole were particularly praised, with WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov being awarded the highest grading of A+ and being called the potential match of the year. WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov became the highest-rated WWE match of all times according to Cagematch.net, with a rating of 9.69 out of 10, surpassing the previous record held by Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. Fans all over the world took to Twitter and praised the WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov match. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter praised the event and gave the Ilja Dragunov vs. Walter a rating of 5.25 stars, making it only the fourth match in WWE history to exceed the 5 star ratings system.
|Ridge Holland vs. Trey Baxter||Preview|
|Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov||Preview|
|Karrion Kross vs. Samoa Joe||Preview|
|LA Knight vs. Cameron Grimes||Preview|
|Raquel González vs. Dakota Kai||Preview|
|Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole||Preview|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Pre-Show: Ridge Holland (w/ Pete Dunne) defeated Trey Baxter (1:46)
- Cameron Grimes (w/ Ted DiBiase) defeated LA Knight (c) to win the Million Dollar Championship (16:32)
- If Grimes loses, Ted DiBiase becomes Knight's butler.
- Raquel González (c) defeated Dakota Kai to retain the NXT Women's Championship (12:27)
- Kyle O'Reilly defeated Adam Cole in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match (22:03)
- Ilja Dragunov defeated Walter (c) to win the NXT UK Championship (25:21)
- Samoa Joe defeated Karrion Kross (c) to win the NXT Championship (12:25)
Other on-screen talent
- NXT TakeOver 36 Official Website
- NXT TakeOver 36 Kickoff on WWE Network
- NXT TakeOver 36 on WWE Network
- NXT TakeOver 36 Kickoff at CAGEMATCH.net
- NXT TakeOver 36 at CAGEMATCH.net
|NXT TakeOver 36 previews|
Takeover • Fatal 4-Way • R Evolution • Rival • Unstoppable • Brooklyn • Respect • Dallas • The End • Back to Brooklyn • Toronto • San Antonio • Orlando • NXT TakeOver: Chicago • Brooklyn III • WarGames • Philadelphia • New Orleans • Chicago II • Brooklyn IV • WarGames II • Phoenix • New York • XXV • Toronto II • WarGames III • Portland • Tampa Bay • TakeOver: In Your House • XXX • XXXI • WarGames IV • XXXIII • Vengeance Day • Stand & Deliver • NXT TakeOver 36 • WarGames V •
|2021 NXT pay-per-views|
|2021 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
Royal Rumble • TakeOver: Vengeance Day • Elimination Chamber • Fastlane • TakeOver: Stand & Deliver • WrestleMania 37 • WrestleMania Backlash • NXT: In Your House • Hell in a Cell • Money in the Bank • SummerSlam • TakeOver 36 • Extreme Rules • Crown Jewel • Survivor Series • WarGames