Reviews

The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review – Night 2

Welcome to the WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver Review here on TJRWrestling for night two. My review of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver Night One from Wednesday is right here. There were five matches last night and five more matches tonight. I think the card is a bit better on paper tonight, so it might top what they did on Wednesday and that’s saying a lot because night one was very good. Let’s get to it.

The Kickoff Show match saw Killian Dain and Drake Maverick defeat Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango). Dain did a Powerbomb to Maverick on Fandango and Maverick pinned Fandango. Dain and Maverick are a unique team that way. The win means that Dain and Maverick will challenge MSK for the NXT Tag Team Titles in the future. The announcers for this match were Vic Joseph and guest, Mickie James. That was the only Kickoff Show match.

WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver – Night 2
From Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida
April 8, 2021

The show began with Poppy performing a song. They have used Poppy several times in the past and she’s popular with the NXT crowd.

There was no opening video package. It was time for the first match with Santos Escobar up first in the match between two men that claimed they were the NXT Cruiserweight Champion. Jordan Devlin made his entrance and he was the second man to claim that he was the NXT Cruiserweight Champion. There were ladders by the entrance area. Both Cruiserweight Titles were hanging from above the ring.

The announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were on hand to call the action on night two.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Ladder Match: Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin

It started with punches followed by Devlin hitting a running back elbow. Things were pretty even for a bit with Devlin hitting a slam and then using his knees on a splash. Escobar was on the floor and Devlin hit an impressive moonsault off the middle ropes onto Escobar. Devlin grabbed a ladder from under the ring and hit a charging Escobar with it. Devlin tried to climb the ladder, but Escobar was back in to throw Devlin into the ladder. Escobar tried for a move into the ladder against the turnbuckle, but Devlin fought back. Escobar whipped Devlin hard into the ladder that was against the turnbuckle with Devlin bumping to the floor. Escobar charged with a double knee attack that sent Devlin into the barricade. Escobar brought out a ladder from under the ring. When Devlin was back in the ring, Escobar dropkicked a ladder into Devlin. Escobar drove the ladder into the ribs of Devlin repeatedly. Escobar also dropkicked the ladder into the ribs of Devlin with Escobar laughing about it. Escobar set up the ladder, Devlin grabbed the foot of Escobar and Escobar stomped on Devlin a bit. My WWE Network feed paused a bit and then I came back to Escobar hitting a running dropkick. Devlin climbed up the ladder, Escobar pulled him down and Devlin hit an impressive DDT. Escobar with a hiptoss that sent Devlin over the top to the floor followed by Escobar hitting a suicide dive on the floor. Escobar brought a ladder into the ring and placed it on the mat. Devlin did a back body drop that sent Escobar back first onto the ladder. They exchanged strikes, Escobar hit a rising knee to the face and Escobar ran right into a Spanish Fly slam. Devlin hit a Cutter off the ropes to fully take control followed by a headbutt that knocked down Escobar. Devlin was at the top of the ladder, Escobar went up the other side and Devlin knocked him down. Devlin climbed to the top of the ladder and hit a moonsault off the top of ladder onto Escobar! That was awesome and it led to “NXT” chants. The replays were even more impressive.

Devlin set up the ladder in the middle of the ring and he climbed up, but Legado del Fantasma members Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde showed up to knock Devlin down. They sent Devlin from the ring all the way to the floor. Wilde and Mendoza punched Devlin on the floor and then whipped Devlin into the steel steps. Escobar sent his guys to the back, so Barrett called him for an “honorable man” for that. That was funny by Wade. Escobar climbed the ladder, but Escobar threw another ladder at Escobar to stop Santos from getting the titles. Devlin was on top of a ladder right beside Escobar and Devlin hit a Spanish Fly slam off the top of the ladders that put both guys down in the ring. That drew a “Holy Shit” chant leading to a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Devlin had a cut on his upper left arm. Devlin climbed up, Escobar stopped him with punches and Escobar did a headbutt that knocked Devlin off the ladder onto another ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Escobar looked up to both Cruiserweight Titles, Devlin was down on the broken ladder and Escobar took down both titles to win the match at 18:08.

Winner and Undisputed NXT Cruiserweight Champion: Santos Escobar

Analysis: **** It was a very good match with the NXT regular champion Escobar beating the guy (Devlin) that is usually in NXT UK. Devlin had a lot more high spots in the match with the moonsault off the ladder and the Spanish Fly off the ladder. Those moves looked incredible, which is no surprise because Devlin makes everything look easy. Even though Escobar got some help from his Legado buddies, he did not win the match because of the help. They just prevented Devlin from winning during Devlin’s best chance at winning the match. I liked the final bump by Devlin with Escobar shoving him off the ladder and then Devlin took a hard bump through the ladder. It was a big spot to give Escobar a decisive win. I got this prediction wrong because I picked Devlin to win, but I didn’t think it was an easy match to call. Escobar as champion is cool with me.

Santos Escobar celebrated with the NXT Cruiserweight Title on the stage with his Legado del Fantasma allies along with his son. That was a cool moment for Santos.

They showed some earlier today arrivals for Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly with both wrestlers being escorted into the building by security guys, who are really just trainees at the WWE PC.

The MSK duo of Wes Lee and Nash Carter were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Carter being happy about how they had nameplates on the titles. They will defend the titles against Killian Dain and Drake Maverick soon. They said they’re not losing the titles any time soon. They split on their predictions on O’Reilly vs. Cole and Balor vs. Kross. Then they reminded eachother that they are both champions.

A commercial aired for Peacock.

The entrances took place for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles with challengers Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell of The Way group entering first. The NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon were up next.

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs. The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell)

The heel challengers were aggressive right off the bat as they attacked Blackheart and Moon before they were ready. LeRae and Hartwell were focused on Blackheart early on with both women getting nearfalls. LeRae hit a flipping neckbreaker for a two count. LeRae slapped on an armbar on the left arm and then pulled down Blackheart by the hair. Hartwell was back in with a forearm, a kick to the face and LeRae stood on the ribs of Blackheart for a two count. Blackheart with a forearm to LeRae and then Shotzi kicked LeRae into the corner. Blackheart hit a step-up enziguri and Moon tagged in for the first time. Moon was on fire with kicks, punches and a bit of a Road Dogg shuffle leading to a punch to the face. (Road Dogg had a heart attack recently, so that was a nice nod to him.) Hartwell distracted Moon, so LeRae hit the ropes while Moon was going for a move off the top. Blackheart went into the ring to save her partner from a double team move. They ended up doing a Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Hartwell doing the Powerbomb part of the spot leading to Hartwell getting a two count on Moon. I guess Indi was legal at that point. Hartwell sent Moon into the ropes leading to a spinebuster for two. LeRae was back in, Moon shoved LeRae into Hartwell and Blackheart got the tag with a cross body block off the top. Blackheart with a forearm and a Tiger Suplex that sent LeRae out of the ring. They did a spot where Blackheart did a suicide dive while Moon held open the ropes and Blackheart landed hard on the floor. The women on the floor didn’t catch her because I guess Shotzi missed her spot by jumping too far, but Shotzi was okay. Good job by the referee talking to them although the camera wasn’t showing that part. Moon hit a dive off the turnbuckle onto both opponents. Moon and Blackheart did a double team Powerbomb front slam for a two count. LeRae got a rollup for two and then a superkick on Blackheart. LeRae knocked Moon off the apron. Hartwell and LeRae hit a double team flapjack for a two count with Moon saving Blackheart. Moon delivered a knee to the head of LeRae. Blackheart with a step-up enziguri on Hartwell, Moon made the tag and hit a double Eclipse on both opponents. Blackheart went up top and hit a Senton Splash onto Hartwell for the pinfall win at 10:32.

Winners by pinfall: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon

Analysis: **3/4 It was a good tag team match with the champs retaining as expected. There was a scary moment with Shotzi missing that dive on the floor, but I’m glad she was okay and able to continue. There were a couple of decent spots with Candice/Indi getting some nearfalls although I think most people watching assumed the champs would retain. This was the shortest match on the show, which is not a surprise. There wasn’t much of a build to this match compared to others on the card.

They showed NXT Champion Finn Balor seated backstage with the NXT Title by his side.

Karrion Kross was shown warming up with the lovely Scarlett by his side.

A WrestleMania commercial aired promoting Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women’s Title.

There was a graphic reminding us that NXT moves to Tuesday nights starting next Tuesday, April 13.

There were highlights shown of Bronson Reed winning the gauntlet match to earn this US Title match.

They showed NCAA Wrestling Champion Gable Steveson at ringside with Stephanie McMahon there applauding him. Steveson also earned a spot in the Summer Olympics this year. There was also Canyon Ceman seated there and he’s one of the guys in charge of signing talent in WWE.

Analysis: Steveson is a huge WWE fan that has talked about wanting to be in WWE and he likely will be signed to a WWE contract whenever he’s done as an amateur wrestler. Steveson could be a major star in WWE, but he’s still a junior in college, so it will be a few years at least. Gable is not shy about talking about wanting to be in WWE in the future. Gable’s older brother Bobby signed with WWE earlier this year and started training a few months ago.

Bronson Reed entered first as the challenger with Johnny Gargano up next as the NXT North American Champion with Austin Theory by his side.

NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (w/Austin Theory) vs. Bronson Reed

Reed was using his size advantage wisely early on and he connected with a fallaway slam. The fans were chanting for both guys. Gargano stunned Reed a bit and hit a slingshot Spear to the ribs, but Reed didn’t go down. Reed with a hard chop that knocked down Gargano. Reed with another hard chop. Gargano managed to send Reed out of the ring leading to Johnny hitting a baseball slide dropkick. Reed caught Gargano on a dive attempt, so Gargano raked the eyes and then Gargano shoved Reed ribs first into the corner of the announce table. Back in the ring, Gargano worked over the ribs/back with a forearm to the back followed by a splash off the ropes for a two count. Gargano applied an armbar while delivering knee strikes to the ribs. Gargano jumped off the middle ropes, Reed caught him and hit a powerslam with Reed selling the ribs after delivering that move. Reed with a running body attack to knock Gargano down and a running splash against the turnbuckle. Reed with a Chokeslam that drove Gargano down into the mat. Reed with a slam off the shoulders for a two count. Reed went for a suplex by the apron, Gargano got out of that, Gargano kicked Reed in the face and Gargano hit the Backstabber double knees to the back for a two count. Gargano hit a superkick to the ribs, but then Reed came back with a big suplex that was almost like a brainbuster to take control again. Reed wanted to climb to the top, but Gargano rolled across the ring. Reed missed a senton splash, so Gargano got a crucifix pin for two. Gargano with a kick to the head with a loud leg slap. Gargano did a reverse rana that was very impressive and Gargano drove the knee into the ribs. Gargano slapped on the Gargano Escape submission on the left arm/shoulder/neck with Reed getting his hand on the bottom rope to break the hold.

Gargano went for a diving attack on Reed, who was on the ramp, but then Reed decked him with a punch. Reed picked up Gargano with a Razor’s Edge Powerbomb back into the ring. Reed went up top with the Tsunami splash, Gargano moved and Reed hit the mat hard. Gargano hit a superkick for a two count. Gargano charged forward, Reed blocked it and hit a headbutt. Reed went to the top, Gargano distracted the referee, Theory on the apron, Reed punched Theory down and Gargano tripped up Reed on the turnbuckle. Gargano tried for a turnbuckle, but Reed slipped out of it and Reed hit a Powerbomb for two because Theory put Gargano’s right leg on the bottom rope. That was obvious based on where Gargano rolled in the ring. Reed went after Theory and Reed caught Gargano with Reed tossing Gargano onto Theory on the floor. Reed ran the ropes with a suicide dive onto Theory into the barricade near where Gable Steveson was sitting. Back in the ring, Reed countered Gargano, Reed had Gargano on his back and Reed slammed Gargano into the mat. Reed went for another Powerbomb, Gargano with a headscissors into the ropes and Gargano hit two superkicks. Gargano walked right into a superkick by Reed. Reed went up top, he went for a moonsault off the top and Gargano moved. Gargano hit the One Final Beat DDT off by the apron and then Gargano hit the One Final Beat DDT for the second time. Gargano pinned Reed to win the match at 16:26.

Winner by pinfall: Johnny Gargano

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a very good title match. It’s no surprise that Johnny Gargano had a great match at a Takeover. I really liked this match. I liked the story of the match with Reed using power moves as the big man in the match while Gargano focused on the ribs throughout the match. Reed sold the rib injury very well whenever he was selling moves and when he was on offense too. Sometimes wrestlers forget to sell even on offense, but Reed did his part to sell that injury the whole time. It was a battle to see who would hit their finisher first and it was Gargano with the One Final Beat DDT two times in a row. If Reed won the title I would have had no problem with that, but I think Johnny is more likely to lose the title to Dexter Lumis at some point in the future. That’s just my guess at this point.

Gargano celebrated with the NXT North American Title while on the shoulders of Theory.

A WrestleMania commercial aired followed by a WWEShop commercial promoting NXT merchandise.

They showed Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly separately in their dressing rooms getting ready for the main event.

There were highlights shown from NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver night one with WALTER beating Tommaso Ciampa to retain the NXT UK Championship.

A video package aired for the NXT Championship match with Finn Balor defending the title against Karrion Kross. Kross won the NXT Championship at Takeover 30, but Kross had to forfeit the title due to a shoulder injury. Balor won the vacated title and defeated guys like Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and Adam Cole in the last few months. Now it’s time for Balor to meet Kross with Kross saying that NXT needs to know who the real champion is. Balor said that he was expecting Kross for a long time. They did a nice job of setting up this match with the video package.

The trio of Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (with right arm in a sling) were shown watching at ringside. Most of the time the people shown at ringside don’t stay there the whole match. They are just shown ringside and then they go backstage.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett were shown walking backstage. Finn Balor was also shown walking backstage with the NXT Championship on his shoulder.

Karrion Kross made his entrance with the lovely Scarlett by his side. Scarlett entered the ring first while mouthing the phrases “The End is Here” and “Fall and Pray” that are part of Karrion’s entrance. It’s one of the more spectacular entrances in NXT these days. It would probably look even cooler on a bigger stage one day.

Finn Balor made his entrance as the NXT Champion. There’s no more Demon Balor gimmick, but it’s still the same great theme song for Balor, who is having the best run of his career. They did a nice job of taking their time getting into the ring and having a long staredown in the ring. The ring announcer Alicia Taylor did the championship introductions with both men in the ring. Balor is 14-1 in Takeover matches. Balor had a big red X painted on his left shoulder above the heart.

NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett)

Balor was in control early on with a tight headlock with Karrion’s head right against the red X that Balor had on his chest, so Kross had some red paint on his face after that. Balor was laughing at Kross a bit, so Kross laughed after Balor did a kick. Balor with a hard chop to the chest, which led to Kross tossing Balor across the ring. Balor with a hard slap to the face. Kross yelled as he drove Balor into the turnbuckle and Kross rocked Balor with a hard forearm to the face. Kross charged at Balor, who moved and Kross hit a shoulder tackle into the turnbuckle. Balor pulled back on the left arm of Kross against the ropes followed by Balor slapping on an armbar on the left arm. Kross got going again with elbow strikes followed by a clothesline and Kross was favoring the left arm injury. Kross with a release suplex across the ring. Kross set up Balor against the turnbuckle and Kross hit a running knee to the ribs. Kross took his time standing over Balor, so Balor took down Kross with an armbar on the left arm. Kross managed to flip out of that, which was pretty impressive, but then Balor did a single-arm takedown almost like a DDT to the arm as Barrett said accurately. Kross was selling the left arm/elbow a lot as Balor wrenched back on the left arm. Balor pulled on the left arm against the ropes. Balor with a spin kick to the ribs with Kross collapsing to the mat and Barrett said that reminded him of when Balor did a similar kick to Kyle O’Reilly at NXT Takeover 31 with the liver kick. Good call there. Balor set up Kross against the ropes with Balor delivering forearm smashes to the ribs. Balor ran the ropes with Kross hitting a kick to the head. Kross gave Balor two powerslams into the turnbuckle, but then Balor came back with an elbow drop to the chest that drove Kross into the mat. Kross hit an impressive Northern Light Suplex and rolled through into a clothesline. Kross with a Powerbomb for a two count. Kross was selling the left arm and the ribs. Balor slapped on a tight headlock, then a trip and a double stomp to the chest.

Balor applied an abdominal stretch and then some punches to the ribs. Kross with a hiptoss to get out of that hold, but Balor came back with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor charged with Kross stopping the momentum with a clothesline. Kross hit a Doomsday Suplex that sent Balor across the ring. Kross set up for the big forearm shot, he charged and Balor hit a Pele Kick! That was great. Balor with two dropkicks in a row that sent Kross into the turnbuckle. Balor up top and he jumped off with a Coup de Grace (double foot stomp) for the two count. Kross turned it around with a Straightjacket submission, but Balor rolled out of it and hit a double foot stomp to the ribs again. Balor with another kick to the ribs and Balor went for another abdominal stretch on the mat. Scarlett was shouting something to Kross to encourage him and Kross powered out of it. Kross beat on Balor with repeated forearms to the back. Balor sold it like he was knocked out. Kross with a release German Suplex. Balor was back up with Kross hitting a Doomsday (Saito) Suplex dumping Balor on his head/neck. Kross charged in with the running forearm to the back of the head of Balor. Kross with another running forearm smash to the back of Balor’s neck and Kross pinned Balor to win the match. Karrion Kross is the new NXT Champion for the second time in his career. This match went 17:09.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Champion: Karrion Kross

Analysis: **** I thought it was a great match that was probably the best match I’ve seen from Kross in NXT. I don’t know if he had better matches in other companies, but Balor brought the best out of Balor here. It was a very physical match with hard strikes from both guys, the story was about Balor focusing on the left arm and ribs of Kross, yet Kross was able to overcome it after Balor had him trapped in an abdominal stretch. Kross fought his way back with the repeated forearms to the back and then he was eventually able to finish off Balor to win back the title. It was an onslaught of offense by Kross in the final few minutes of the match. It wasn’t about getting a bunch of nearfalls to wear a guy down. It was all about telling the story of a physical brawl and I think they did it very well. I picked Balor to win. I just thought he would keep his reign going, but I like Kross’s presentation with Scarlett a lot, so I’m happy for Karrion winning the title again.

Karrion Kross posed in the ring with the NXT Title and Scarlett in celebration of the victory.

Analysis: Congrats to Kross on the win. I thought Finn Balor was a tremendous champion that did a lot for that title. Now we get to see what Kross gets to do as champion after his last reign was cut short.

They showed the cute dog running around the Performance Center once again. The dog ran up to Franky Monet, who is Taya Valkyrie making her NXT debut.

There was an interview with Santos Escobar with both Cruiserweight Titles. Santos just talked about how he proved he was the champion.

Raquel Gonzalez, the NXT Women’s Champion, was at ringside with her title. They said we’ll hear from her on NXT on Tuesday.

There was a video package showing the history between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly building up their Unsanctioned Match. They were allies in the Undisputed over the last four years, but then Cole turned on O’Reilly because Cole was tired of O’Reilly getting title shots instead of Cole. That led to some personal attacks between them. The build has been amazing.

Kyle O’Reilly was shown walking backstage with security behind him and Adam Cole was also shown walking with security behind him. As I mentioned earlier, the security guys are NXT trainees that haven’t debuted on TV yet. The security guys walked onto the stage.

Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance first with some brand new theme music. Adam Cole made his entrance next with some new music for him as well. I guess nobody claimed the Undisputed Era music in the breakup of the group. Cole still did his “Adam Cole bay-bay” pose in the ring. They had security guys in the ring as the ring introductions took place.

Unsanctioned Match: Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly

To give the match a different kind of feel, NXT referee Darryl Sharma was wearing a regular black t-shirt instead of a referee shirt. That is being done because it’s an Unsanctioned Match. The referee is there to count the pinfall or the submission. They are also saying Kyle is not medically cleared. I normally write the person’s last name during matches, but for O’Reilly, I put Kyle just because it’s shorter and easier.

Kyle attacked with running kicks to the face. Cole came back with a kick of his own. Kyle sent Cole out of the ring and Kyle hit a dive over the top to the floor. Cole broke free to whip Cole into the barricade. Kyle came back with a slingshot that sent Balor into Cole into the barricade. Kyle whipped Cole into the barricade again. Kyle countered a move on the floor with a back body drop on the floor. They were back in the ring going for a guillotine choke, Kyle was on the turnbuckle and then Cole shoved Kyle off the turnbuckle onto the apron to the floor. Kyle was selling the neck injury that he has been dealing with for several months. Cole whipped Kyle into the barricade at ringside. Cole sent several chairs into the ring, Cole with a chair to the ribs and a chair shot to the back. The chair Cole was using had the Undisputed Era logo on it. Cole whipped Kyle into a steel structure at ringside. Back in the ring, Cole drove the point of a steel chair into the back of Kyle’s head. Cole with a hard whip that sent Kyle into the turnbuckle. Cole with a neckbreaker onto the Undisputed Era chair that was in the ring. Cole sent Kyle into the turnbuckle with Kyle taking a sternum bump. Kyle tried to get some offense going with a wristlock, but Cole came back with a slam off the shoulders with Cole driving the knee into the back. Cole trash-talked Kyle saying he would be nothing without Cole. Kyle made a bit of a comeback with knees to the ribs, Cole with a kick and Kyle with another knee strike to the ribs. Kyle delivered kicks followed by a leg trip. Kyle with a running forearm and then a suplex onto a steel chair. Kyle turned it into a kneebar with Cole rolling out of the ring to break the hold. There are no rope breaks in a match like this. Kyle with a running dropkick off the apron onto a seated Cole at ringside. They were back in the ring with Cole holding a chair and Kyle punched it (or used a forearm) to hit the chair into Cole’s face for a two count.

Kyle left the ring and grabbed a steel chain from under the ring. Cole managed to get back and delivered a neckbreaker off the ropes onto the steel chain for a two count. Cole tied part of the chain to the top rope and they exchanged forearms with Kyle hitting Cole with a forearm to the face. Kyle wrapped some of the chain around his right foot followed by kicks to the face. Cole tripped up Kyle and turned it into a Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring. Kyle turned over to put the pressure on Cole, then Cole turned it back around and they punched eachother at the same time. They did a spot where Kyle ran the ropes and Cole grabbed the steel chain that he used to clothesline Kyle to take down Kyle aggressively. Cole with a Backstabber using the chain as well and that got a two count. Cole opened up two chairs back to back near the turnbuckle. Cole with a German Suplex, Kyle landed in a chair and Cole hit a Shining Wizard knee to the face for a two count. Cole pulled Kyle out of the ring to the bottom half of the steel steps. Cole teased a brainbuster on the steps like he did several weeks ago, but Kyle slapped on a Guillotine Choke followed by Kyle hitting a knee to the face. Kyle thought about doing a brainbuster on the steps, then he chose not to do it and Cole drove Kyle into the barricade. Kyle came back with a running kick that knocked down Cole on the floor. Kyle cleared off the announce table. Both men stood on the announce table with Cole delivering forearms, but then Kyle came back with a brainbuster on the table. That did not break the table because it might be a stronger announce table than what we might see at other WWE shows. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as the match reached the 20-minute mark. Cole crawled over to an area outside the ring and Kyle walked over with Cole hitting Kyle with a TV monitor to the head! Ouch. That was loud.

Cole sent Kyle into the ring and Cole dumped out a toolbox from under the ring. Cole got his hands on some pliers. Cole tried to attack, but Kyle blocked it, so Cole kicked him in the head. Cole sent the pliers out of the ring. Cole had a tire iron, Kyle kicked him in the leg and Cole came back with an enziguri kick. Kyle bounced off the ropes with a rebound clothesline. Kyle continued the offense with a brainbuster for a two count. Kyle wrapped the steel chain around the left arm of Cole leading to a cross armbreaker submission. Kyle applied a Triangle Choke submission, Cole almost passed out and then Cole had something left. Cole grabbed the tire iron and hit Kyle in the left side of the ribs with it. Good job of selling that by Kyle. The fans chanted “fight forever” as they reached the 25-minute mark in the match. There were also “this is awesome’ chants as both guys were seated on chairs in the ring. Kyle with a kick to the face, Cole with a forearm, then they stood back up to exchange forearms and Cole hit a low blow uppercut punch, which is legal in a match like this. Cole got back up and Kyle walked right into a Cole superkick for one…two…and no because Kyle got his shoulder up right before the three count. Cole wrapped a chair around Kyle’s head, he wanted to attack with another chair and the referee tried to stop Cole, so Cole decked the referee Darryl Sharma with a forearm. The referee is a former wrestler, so he did a great bump. Cole jumped off the ropes with the Panama Sunrise and he covered with no count because the referee was out. The fans counted the pinfall, but that’s not legal. Cole told the referee he had one job and Cole was frustrated by it. Kyle rolled out of the ring and he was on the stage. Cole whipped a chair at Kyle, who bumped off the ramp to the floor. Cole sent Kyle into the barricade and then Kyle sent Cole into the barricade. Kyle slapped on a tight guillotine headlock, but then Cole drove Kyle back first into the barricade. Cole picked up Kyle, who slapped on a Guillotine Choke and then Cole tackled Kyle forward and they went crashing through a part of the ramp. Cole managed to get back within about 30 seconds. Cole’s left hand was bleeding from that fall through the ramp. Cole kicked a hole in the side of the stage and brought Kyle out of the ring. Kyle crawled back into the ring with Cole following him into the ring. The referee was back on his feet while Kyle fell out of the ring. Cole delivered a brainbuster onto the bottom half of the steel steps just like he did at the start of this feud. Kyle had some cuts on his back after that big bump they took.

They went back into the ring with Cole covering for a two count with Kyle shooting his left shoulder up at the last possible moment. Cole set up for the Last Shot Knee to the head, but Kyle collapsed onto the mat. Cole went for the Last Shot knee, Kyle ducked it and Kyle slapped on a kneebar on the left knee. Cole was pulling on both legs of Cole and then Cole used a chain to punch Kyle to the head. Cole went to the middle ropes, he jumped off, but Kyle caught him on his back and hit a slam into the knee. Kyle off the ropes with a running kick to the chest. Kyle delivered his own version of the Last Shot knee to the back of the head for one…two…and no because Cole got his right shoulder up. Kyle grabbed the steel chain to try to use it as a weapon and Kyle went up top, but Cole hit him with a chair to the body to knock Kyle down. Cole set up a steel chair upside down in the ring. Cole had Kyle seated on the turnbuckle, Cole was doing some trash talking and Kyle hit an uppercut punch to the groin as payback. Kyle wrapped the steel chair around his right knee and jumped off the top rope with a knee onto Cole through the steel chair that was in the ring! That looked brutal as Cole collapsed on top of the chair. Kyle covered Cole for the one…two…and three! Kyle O’Reilly gets the win at 40:08.

Winner by pinfall: Kyle O’Reilly

Analysis: ****1/2 Wow! What a great match that was. They really did a fantastic of telling a story throughout the match with Cole getting a lot of offense and nearly winning several times, but O’Reilly kept coming back for more. The key thing towards the end was O’Reilly hitting that low blow while he was on the ropes because it was payback for Cole doing it to Kyle earlier in the match. There was also the key moment in the match where Cole could have had it run after hitting the Panama Sunrise, but Cole screwed himself because Cole knocked down the referee moments before that, so Cole prevented himself from winning. I thought that was a brilliant spot. I don’t know if the steel chain was a great idea as a weapon for the whole match, but it was used very well towards the finish. I’m going a bit below five stars because I thought it dragged on a bit too much towards the end and I don’t know if they needed that spot where they broke through the ramp. It just seemed like something to do to keep the match going for several more minutes that didn’t seem necessary to me. Maybe if I watch it again I’ll boost it up to five stars, but my initial thoughts after writing about five hours of NXT for two nights is that it’s below five stars. O’Reilly getting the win made sense for the story since Cole attacked him in the first place and this was about Kyle getting his babyface retribution, so that’s what happened here. It was the right call.

After the match was over, the medical team went into the ring and put Kyle O’Reilly on a board with a stretcher nearby to sell the brutality of the match. Kyle O’Reilly was on his feet and looking down at what he did to Cole. Kyle slowly walked towards the back and then looked on as Cole was placed on the board. They showed Kyle continuing to look towards the ring and Kyle had his hand in the air as the winner. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: Doing a stretcher job puts over the physicality of the match and especially the big finish.

This event had a runtime of 2:40:48 on WWE Network.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Kyle O’Reilly
  2. Adam Cole
  3. Johnny Gargano
  4. Finn Balor
  5. Karrion Kross/Bronson Reed

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 9 out of 10. I rated Night One a score of 8.75 out of 10. I’m going to bump that up for the combined score to make it a 9 out of 10 for both shows together.

There were three matches at four stars or higher and then the main event was one of the best matches of the year so far. It was an outstanding show overall. I loved it. Great job by the NXT crew. I don’t feel like writing a lot for the final thoughts because there’s been a lot of writing for me, so I’ll wrap it up to say it was another successful Takeover. That’s for sure.

Here are my NXT Takeover rankings in 2020 (out of 10):

NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver (April 7 & 8) – 9

NXT Takeover Vengeance Day (February 14) – 9

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John Canton

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