The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review (Night 1 and Night 2)

The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review (Night 1 and Night 2)

This is a combination of both nights of NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver. It’s Night 1 on Wednesday, April 7 and Night 2 on Thursday, April 8 back to back all in one spot for anybody that wants to see my reviews in one post. This doesn’t include the Kickoff Show matches. This is nearly 12,000 words long. Let’s roll.

WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver
From Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida
April 7, 2021

The show began with guitarist Nina Strauss performing the American national anthem. They did some wide shots of the building that showed off the crowd that was in attendance and it was a bigger group than what we have been used to over the past year. Nita Strauss did an awesome job with the anthem as usual.

Nita Strauss rocks the National Anthem: NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, April 7, 2021

There were loud NXT chants as the show began in the Capitol Wrestling Center. The setup looked impressive. They had a ramp from the entrance to the ring, which they have done at past Takeover events. It means you can’t do dives onto that side of the ring and I’m sure the wrestlers will adjust.

Pete Dunne made his entrance for the first match. The NXT announce team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were at ringside to call the action. Kushida entered as the opponent in the opening match.

Pete Dunne vs. Kushida

It started out as a technical wrestling battle as expected with Kushida going for an armbar, Dunne managed to flip out of it and then Dunne managed to pull Kushida out of the ring. Dunne with an explex suplex onto the ring apron. Dunne pulled back on Kushida’s right arm against the ropes to try to hyperextend the elbow. Dunne stomped on the back of Kushida followed by a hard hop and kick to the face. Kushida came back with strikes of his own and Kushida hit a low dropkick. Dunne left the ring where the ramp was. Kushida jumped off the top, Dunne moved and kicked the leg. They went back into the ring as they battled over submissions again. Kushida hit a jumping back elbow, but Dunne got him and pulled on the fingers. Kushida hit a slam for a two count. Dunne managed to get a hold of the arm followed by repeated stomps to the face. Dunne with a kick to the head for a two count. Dunne charged, Kushida moved and Kushida kicked the arm of Dunne. Dunne rolled out of a cross armbreaker, then a double underhook suplex into an armbar, but Kushida broke free. They exchanged forearms, Dunne with a kick to the head and Kushida hit a forearm to the head as both guys were down with Kushida selling his finger injury. Kushida delivered a kick to the left arm followed by a running dropkick into the left arm. Kushida with a handspring where he used his legs to knock Dunne off the turnbuckle to the apron. Kushida with a slam off the top rope with a Hoverboard Lock submission on the left arm. Dunne managed to get to the ropes, so Kushida twisted the arm into another submission, but Dunne got his foot on the bottom rope. Kushida jumped off the top with a double knee across the arm. Kushida with another armbar on the arm with Dunne getting his foot on the ropes to break it. Dunne pulled on the fingers on Kushida again, then a stomp on the fingers and Dunne used both feet to jump on the hands. Dunne with a hard kick to the head. Dunne with the Bitter End slam for the pinfall win at 10:39.

Winner by pinfall: Pete Dunne

Analysis: ***1/4 This was very good with Kushida going for submission moves the whole way, he was relentless and Dunne kept having to get to the ropes to break free. I like how Dunne kept going back to his dreaded finger pulling moves to cause damage to Kushida enough to set up for the Bitter End to win. It would have been nice if they got some more time to tell even more of a story, but you can’t give everything 20 minutes. They did the best they could in the ten minutes they got. I just wish they got more time.

They showed Io Shirai arriving earlier today with Zoey Stark. Raquel Gonzalez was shown arriving earlier in the day with Dakota Kai by her side. That’s the main event.

There was a WrestleMania commercial for the Universal Title with Roman Reigns facing Edge and Daniel Bryan.

The announce team was shown on camera talking about how you are supposed to win a gauntlet match like this. Here are the rules.

Leon Ruff was up first with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott appearing on the stage behind him and Ruff was attacked by Scott before the match began. They fought around the ringside area. When both guys got into the ring, Ruff hit a dropkick on Scott and the match began.

Gauntlet Eliminator Match: Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Dexter Lumis vs. LA Knight

The winner gets a US Title shot on Night 2. The order of entrants was determined last week in the battle royal.

Scott was out on the floor, Ruff went for a dive, Scott moved and Ruff was up against the barricade. Scott hit a running dropkick on Ruff, who was on the barricade. They battled on the floor some more with Scott trying a slam, but Ruff slipped out and jumped off the announce table with a Cutter on the floor. Back in the ring, that got a two count. Scott got a hold of Ruff’s legs and sent Ruff throat first into the ropes. Scott went for a Powerbomb off the ropes, but Ruff countered it into a hurricanrana! That was so great. They executed it perfectly.

The three minutes were up with Bronson Reed in as the third man. Reed with a press slam on Ruff and a shoulder tackle on Scott. Reed with a running splash on Scott, then Ruff jumped off the top into a suplex/cross body block on Scott. Ruff tried to attack Reed, but that was a mistake as Reed sat on Ruff twice. They did a double German Suplex spot with Reed suplexing both guys across the ring leading to some “NXT” chants. A bit of a rough landing for Ruff, but I think he’ll be okay. The next three minutes were up.

It was Cameron Grimes as the fourth man with Scott and Grimes working together to knock Reed out of the ring. Grimes hit a moonsault on Reed. Grimes offered Scott some money, Scott agreed by putting the money in his tights and they attacked Ruff together. Grimes and Scott took turns delivering forearms on Ruff, but Ruff came back with kicks, then he avoided Grimes, but Scott suplexed Ruff hard into the turnbuckle. Scott kicked Reed to keep him out of the ring. Grimes knocked down Ruff with a clothesline and Scott hit a clothesline on Ruff too. Dexter Lumis was the fifth man in the match. Scott pinned Ruff to eliminate him. I missed what happened, but Ruff is out.

Leon Ruff eliminated by Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Lumis went into the ring with suplexes on Scott and Grimes. Lumis with a clothesline followed by a bulldog and a clothesline. Reed faced off with Lumis in the ring as they exchanged punches and Lumis did a thrust into the throat. Reed was knocked out of the ring and then Lumis hit a running clothesline on Grimes to knock both guys over the top to the floor. The final three minutes were up.

LA Knight was the sixth and final man in the match. Knight did a promo on the ramp talking trash about the other guys, but then Reed tossed Knight into the ring. Knight sent Reed into the ropes, then he hit a knee to the face and Knight jumped over the top onto Reed, who hit a Samoan Drop. Grimes jumped off the top with Reed hitting him with an elbow. Reed with a hard whip that sent Grimes over the top to the floor. Reed whipped Scott hard into the turnbuckle. Drake ran right into a body attack by Reed. Knight avoided a charge by Reed leading to a neckbreaker. Knight with a powerslam on Grimes. Knight jumped off the top with a superplex off the top. Lumis with a sitout slam on Grimes and the Silence submission move. Knight got involved with a jackknife pin where he was able to pin Lumis to eliminate him. I thought Lumis would win, but he’s out.

Dexter Lumis eliminated by LA Knight

Grimes hit a spinning slam on Knight and then Reed hit a running splash on Knight for the pinfall to eliminate him.

LA Knight eliminated by Bronson Reed

Lumis grabbed a hold of Knight and gave him the Silence submission move on the floor. The final three men were Reed, Grimes and Scott with Reed as the only face left in the match. The three men exchanged punches, kicks and Grimes superkicked Reed, who had caught Scott. They did a spot where Scott hit a jumping flatliner on Grimes, but then Reed fell on top of them after the superkick that Reed received. Reed got back up with chops for both guys, then he walked into a double superkick. Grimes managed to hit his running cross body block on Reed. Scott and Grimes battled eachother over pinfalls with rollups where they grabbed the tights and Scott managed to stay on top while holding the tights to pin Grimes.

Cameron Grimes eliminated by Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Reed with a running body attack to knock down Scott, who had been in the match for about 20 minutes at this point. Reed went up top, but Scott met him with a jumping kick. Scott slammed Reed off the turnbuckle onto the edge of the ring apron. Back in the ring, Scott hit the 450 Splash for the two count with Reed kicking out at the last second. Scott with a running House Call kick to the head and then he did the House Call kick again. Reed grabbed Scott, but the throat, Scott with a kick to the body and then another House Call kick to the head got a two count. Reed got back up, they exchanged hard slaps to the head. Reed with a Powerbomb and then a jumping slam off the back. Reed jumped off the top with the Tsunami splash on Scott for the pinfall win at 23:14.

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott eliminated by Bronson Reed

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

The win by Reed means he faces Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Title at NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver night two.

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great gauntlet match with Isaiah “Swerve” Scott having an impressive showing by working over 20 minutes of the match and nearly getting the win. I hope they have something cool planned for Scott after this because he was the star of the match. Reed winning makes more sense since he’s a babyface that will challenge the heel champion Gargano. I was surprised that LA Knight was only in the match for a few minutes while Dexter Lumis was beaten in an easy way although you could say Knight outsmarted him since Lumis had a submission move on at the time. Cameron Grimes fit in well and is very capable in the ring. My pick was Lumis, but I have no problem with Reed winning since he’s very talented as well.

Johnny Gargano appeared with the NXT North American Title on the stage to stare down Reed.

The video package aired to set up WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa.

Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance as the challenger looking ready to go. The NXT UK Champion WALTER was up next with a serious look on his face. WALTER has been NXT UK Champion for two years and two days, so that’s a very impressive title reign. There were no NXT UK matches for about six months last year, but WALTER’s title reign still counts. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions from ring announcer Alicia Taylor. The fans were getting loud for this match. Walter is 96 pounds heavier than Ciampa based on the pre-match graphics.

NXT UK Championship: WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa was wrestling in trunks after several years of wrestling in tights, which Wade Barrett pointed out. Ciampa with a kick that rocked Walter a bit and then some hard shots to the head by Ciampa. When Ciampa went running into the ropes, Walter was there to crush him with a hard chop to the chest. Walter set up Ciampa across the top rope and used his foot to kick Ciampa off the turnbuckle to the floor. Walter went after Ciampa on the floor, Ciampa moved and Walter chopped the hood of the announce table. Ciampa capitalized with some punches, but then Walter suplexed Ciampa onto the apron. Walter’s chop on the hood of the announce table split it in half. That was crazy. Back in the ring, Walter worked over Ciampa with forearms and Ciampa blocked a chop with his elbow. Ciampa tried to lift Walter, who got out of it and Ciampa kicked the right arm of Walter repeatedly. Walter came back with a running boot to the face! That was huge. Walter took down Ciampa with a half crab submission into an STF, but Walter was selling a right hand injury after chopping the announce table. Walter with another boot to the face. Walter put his throat across the throat of Ciampa, who was on the apron, so Walter suplexed Ciampa back into the ring. Walter with a rising knee to the head of Ciampa with some fans chanting “you suck” at Walter. There was a hard punch to the face by Walter. The crowd was chanting for both guys, Ciampa came back with six clotheslines that rocked Walter a bit and a jumping clothesline sent Walter into the ropes. Ciampa with more clotheslines while Walter was against the ropes. Ciampa with about five more clotheslines, then a forearm to the chest, Ciampa kept on running with clotheslines and it kept on going with Barrett talking about how much running Ciampa was doing. Walter with a hard chop to the face and then Ciampa came back with a clothesline that finally knocked Walter down. Ciampa lifted Walter on his back leading to a slam on the mat for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” and they were right.

Ciampa with knees to the chest, Walter countered a move and did a back body drop into a pin attempt for two. Ciampa hooked the arms and hit the sitout Fairytale Ending for the two count. That was a very close two count with Walter kicking out at the last moment. Ciampa with a running knee to the face, Walter kept on selling the hand injury and Walter went for a sleeper, but Ciampa pulled on the fingers on the right hand. Walter came back with a release German Suplex and a huge clothesline for two. Walter kept on selling the right hand injury. Walter with a clothesline, but then Ciampa took down Walter by the right arm and Ciampa was pulling on the fingers on the right hand, but Walter got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Barrett was amazed that Ciampa wasn’t even breathing heavy. Ciampa went for a move off the apron but Walter pulled Ciampa’s neck against the ropes. Walter three left-handed forearm smashes and Ciampa went back to attacking the right hand of Walter. There was a headbutt by Walter to rock Ciampa again. They battled on the turnbuckle with Ciampa holding onto Walter on his back and dropping off the turnbuckle to the mat. That led to a two count. Great nearfall there. The fans chanted “fight forever” as they reached the 15-minute mark of this match. Ciampa unloaded with hard chops to the chest, Walter stepped through a chop and Walter hit left-handed chops since he was selling the right hand. Ciampa with more chops, but then Walter did an STO trip into a pin for two. Walter stomped on the head followed by a neck twist using his feet. Walter with a Powerbomb and another Powerbomb with a tight pin, but Ciampa kicked out at two! The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Walter hit a head/arm German Suplex with Ciampa flipping over onto the chest and then a hard right-handed chop to the chest for the pinfall at 17:02! What a match!

Winner by pinfall: WALTER

Analysis: ****1/2 This was an outstanding match. The fans were right because this was awesome! I loved the story they told with Walter selling the right hand after he chopped the announce table, which is what led to Ciampa getting a lot of offense throughout the match. The key thing is that Walter kept on selling the right hand injury while he was on offense and then he had to do stuff with the left hand because he was selling so much. I just loved the story of the match. That part where Ciampa was doing about 15-20 clotheslines seemed a bit excessive to me, but I understand why it was done to show that Ciampa was full of energy and he was trying to tire out Walter throughout the match. Barrett was telling us that story as well while telling us that Ciampa wasn’t even winded in the match while Walter was battered, so that fatigue factor was part of the match. I think the finish could have been a bit more decisive for Walter and that he could have won with something more than suplex into a chop, but I understand wanting to put over Walter’s power as a big deal. Anyway, it lived up to the immense hype. It really was one of the best WWE matches this year so far.

Post match, WALTER was joined on the ramp by his Imperium allies Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner and Alexander Wolfe. Ciampa was getting back to his feet in the ring. That was the end of that.

They showed the cute dog that was on the show last week running up to a woman with boots. Franky Monet will be on NXT next Tuesday. That’s Taya Valkyrie with her NXT name.

The announcers talked about some WrestleMania things. I was still writing about the previous match.

The NXT Tag Team Titles were up next.

Bronson Reed was interviewed backstage by Mckenzie Mitchell. Reed said he felt fantastic and that it was 14 years of hard work to get to this title match. Johnny Gargano congratulated Reed and told him that he has to get in the ring with the greatest Takeover performer of all time. Gargano told Reed to enjoy the night, but tomorrow is a different story.

The entrances took place for the vacant NXT Tag Team Titles that were on the ramp. MSK (Wes Lee and Nash Carter) were up first as the only babyface team in the match. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) were up next with the fans booing them. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) were last as another heel team in the match.

For the Vacant NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (Wes Lee and Nash Carter) vs. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)

Three guys are in the ring while the other partner is on the apron. The first pinfall or submission wins. No countouts or disqualifications. I missed the first few minutes. Sometimes a man has to listen to his body. When I got back to the match, Grizzled Young Veterans were in control with Drake grabbing a headlock on Carter. Mendoza was on the apron with Drake kicking him off the apron to the floor. Drake with a body slam on Carter for a two count. Drake went for a suplex, Carter broke free and Lee was back in as MSK hit repeated kicks to Drake and Carter hit a double foot stomp to the back. Carter tagged back in with a leap off MSK’s back and then landed on GYV on the floor. Mendoza kicked Lee to the floor. Mendoza hit a twisting splash onto the guys on the floor while Wilde hit a suicide dive at the same time to give Legado the advantage. Mendoza and Wilde each hit coast-to-coast dropkicks on Carter for a two count as Gibson broke up the pin. Legado double-teamed Gibson with stomps and they tossed Gibson over the top to the floor. Mendoza with a suplex on Carter for two. Mendoza with a dropkick, Wilde tagged in with an assisted moonsault on Carter for a two count. Wilde with a kick to the back followed by a running cross body block on Carter for a two count. Mendoza and Wilde did repeated clotheslines on Carter against the turnbuckle while tagging eachother legally. Double team suplex by Legado on Carter and then a moonsault off the middle ropes by Mendoza got a two count. Drake was back in with a rollup on Mendoza for two. Carter with a back elbow to Drake, Lee tagged in with kicks on everybody in the ring and a dropkick to the back of Drake. Lee with a suicide dive on Gibson the floor. Lee with a somersault dive onto Legado on the other side of the ring. Lee with a cartwheel into a Pele Kick on Drake for a two count. Carter in with a moonsault after Lee pushed him and that got a two count. Gibson grabbed Lee on the apron, but Carter hit a knee on Drake. Lee took down Gibson on the floor. Mendoza was back in with a twisting suplex on Carter. Lee hit a double reverse DDT on Legado. Lee with an overhead suplex across the ring on Drake. Lee went up top, but Gibson with a chop to the throat. Gibson held Lee’s hand against the turnbuckle and Drake hit a running dropkick into lee’s injured hand. Gibson hit a DDT on Lee. Gibson with the submission on the left arm, Lee almost tapped and Carter held the hand of Lee to stop the tap out.

Mendoza was back in with a slam on Drake and Wilde jumped off the back of Mendoza onto Gibson. Legado hit a legsweep/running kick double team move for a two count on Lee, who kicked out at the last possible moment. The match broke down at this point with GYV hitting a Doomsday Device clothesline on Wilde on the floor. Carter had Mendoza on the shoulders leading to Lee hitting a double foot stomp, so Carter slammed Mendoza on the floor. That led to GYV having a showdown with MSK since the Legado guys were out on the floor. They exchanged punches, Gibson sent Lee out of the ring and Carter avoided a double team move leading to Carter hitting a double Cutter on both guys. Lee tagged back in and they hit a double team Blockbuster into a slam for the pinfall win at 15:24.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: MSK

Analysis: **** This was a chaotic match with a lot of action from the moment the bell rang and I’d call it a great tag team match. They made it work. There were times when they ignored tag team rules for sure, but I think it’s okay to do it once in a while in a triple threat match where there are no disqualifications. You could also say that they don’t have to do any tags since there are no disqualifications and I would see your point. This is just how it is in WWE. There were plenty of exciting moments in the match with Legado del Fantasma coming close to winning especially after hitting their finisher, but then they were taken out of the match leading to MSK vs. GYV having a showdown. I liked that aspect of the match a lot with Lee and Carter working together to get the win. I was a little surprised that Grizzled Young Veterans didn’t have more moments where it looked like they might win although that spot with Zack Gibson putting on the arm submission was a clever near submission tease with Carter saving Lee from tapping out. I thought GYV might win because I thought maybe they wanted to have a heel team as champions again, but I certainly don’t mind seeing MSK winning the gold.

The MSK duo of Wes Lee and Nash Carter celebrated with the titles.

Analysis: I’m happy for them. They are easy to like and support. I can see them feuding with GYV or Legado in the months ahead and NXT can also build up other teams. The tag team division has been improved this year compared to last year.

The announce team did a rundown of the five matches at NXT Stand & Deliver Night 2 on Thursday night.

* United States Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Bronson Reed

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

* Ladder Match for the Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar (c) vs. Jordan Devlin

* NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Karrion Kross

* Unsanctioned Match: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole

The NXT Women’s Championship is up next in the main event.

A video package aired to set up the main event that showed Raquel Gonzalez dominating a lot over the last year while Io Shirai has been the NXT Women’s Champion for nearly one year.

They showed Stephanie McMahon and new women’s wrestler Sarray at ringside.

Raquel Gonzalez made her entrance with her best friend Dakota Kai by her side. They have been paired up for over a year. The NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai made her entrance as well. She has been the champion for over 300 days.

NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez (w/Dakota Kai)

Gonzalez was dominant early on as she drove Shirai into the turnbuckle and then hit a boot to the face. Shirai was able to come back with a kick to the head and a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Shirai jumped off the top leading to a headscissors across the ring and then some hard chops to the chest. Shirai went for the double knees, but Gonzalez blocked that and Shirai still managed to sed Gonzalez to the floor. Shirai with a suicide dive onto Gonzalez on the floor. The referee checked on Gonzalez, so Kai attacked Shirai and the referee got back into it to see Kai’s attack. The referee ejected Kai to the back. Shirai with a back heel kick on Gonzalez on the floor. Shirai hit a moonsault onto Gonzalez on the floor. Gonzalez managed to get hold of Shirai and drove Io shoulder first into the ring post. That got a two count for Gonzalez. They did some spot where Gonzalez did a slam off the shoulders and it was essentially a backflip by Shirai for a two count for Raquel. Shirai charged with Gonzalez against the ropes, but Gonzalez got a hold of Shirai and hit a Powerbomb release where she sent Shirai throat first into the top rope. Gonzalez with repeated elbow drops for a two count. Shirai was on her feet, she chopped Gonzalez and then Gonzalez hit a forearm to the face. Gonzalez stretched Shirai across the back while pulling on Shirai’s arms. Shirai was able to get out of it with a hurricanrana into a double stomp to the chest. Shirai with an armdrag takedown leading to the 619 kick while Gonzalez was against the ropes. Shirai with a springboard missile dropkick and a Sunset Bomb got a two count. Shirai went up top, Gonzalez went for her Powerbomb finisher, but Shirai countered and applied a Crossface submission. Gonzalez managed to crawl towards the ropes with Raquel getting her hand on the bottom rope. Shirai was up top and she hit a moonsault onto a standing Gonzalez on the ramp. Shirai ran across the ramp with a running double knee attack on Gonzalez to knock the challenger down. The referee checked on Gonzalez, which led to Shirai climbing the skull that was about 15 feet high or so and she jumped onto Gonzalez with a cross body block. Good catch by Gonzalez and the landing was about as good as it was going to be. It sounded loud. There were a lot of replays from different angles. Io Shirai is an incredible athlete. That was so impressive.

Shirai brought Gonzalez back into the ring. Shirai jumped off the top with her Over the Moon moonsault and it only got a two count. Raquel kicked out. The announcers were shocked because nobody kicks out of that move, but Raquel just did. Gonzalez was on the floor, Shirai charged and Gonzalez knocked her down. Gonzalez hit her one-handed Powerbomb on the floor. Gonzalez brought Shirai back into the ring and told her to stay down. Shirai with an uppercut strike, but Gonzalez came back with a running clothesline with Shirai doing a flip bump. Gonzalez hit a one-armed Powerbomb in the middle of the ring and covered for the pinfall at 12:58.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Raquel Gonzalez

Analysis: ***1/2 They did a nice job here with Shirai coming so close to winning with the moonsault that nobody usually kicks out of, but of course, Gonzalez kicked out of it and then hit two of her huge Powerbombs to win the title. I thought Shirai was outstanding in the match with the moves she did, the way she sold to make Gonzalez look even more dominant. I think they were smart to do some different near finishes as well with Shirai nearly winning by submission at one point, which just shows how capable Shirai is in terms of being able to win a match in multiple ways. Gonzalez winning made sense just based on her push over the last six months and Shirai having a very long title reign. It just felt like the right time, so that’s why I predicted it and I’m sure a lot of fans did too.

Raquel Gonzalez celebrated with the NXT Women’s Title. Gonzalez was on the rope as some pyro went off around her along with some special effect smoke. Shirai was down in the ring selling her back. Gonzalez continued to celebrate. There was a plug for NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver night two on Thursday. The show ended at 10:05pmET, so they went about five minutes past the top of the hour.

Analysis: I was a bit surprised to not see Dakota Kai celebrating with Gonzalez, but I think it’s a case of NXT wanting to keep the spotlight on Gonzalez in her big moment. As for Shirai, they could certainly keep her in NXT long term and keep her in the title picture although I think a move to Raw or Smackdown is possible. I don’t know what the plans are. I just hope they would book Shirai strong.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. WALTER
  2. Tommaso Ciampa
  3. MSK
  4. Io Shirai
  5. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott/Pete Dunne

 

Final Thoughts

It gets an 8.75 out of 10. A notch below 9. Night 2 might reach that level.

I thought it was a great show for NXT’s finale on Wednesday night. Everything was good at least and I think WALTER/Ciampa was one of the best matches of the year so far. They had a Takeover classic as a lot of us probably expected because of the caliber of performers that they are. I really liked the story with WALTER selling that right hand injury throughout the injury, Ciampa came close to winning a few times and then WALTER found a way to win with one final chop to the chest.

After that, I think the Tag Team Title triple threat match was the second best with MSK winning the titles. It was certainly crazy at times, but I appreciated the effort of everybody involved. Lots of great near finishes in that match too. Raquel Gonzalez beating Io Shirai to win the NXT Women’s Title in the main event was pretty good too with Shirai putting on an incredible performance as usual. Io is so great at all the little things and also throwing in that huge high spot that she did. Gonzalez is the new champion that has improved a lot in the last year. I’m fine with the title change. I would have liked to see the opener with Dunne and Kushida get more time. They got just over ten minutes, but if it was in the 15-20 minute range they could have had one of the better matches of the night.

I enjoyed it overall. It was also cool that they set up more seats in the building and the fans were very loud throughout the show, which helped with the atmosphere especially in that WALTER/Ciampa match. The two hours flew by quickly. Bring on night two on Thursday!

===

 

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 2021 (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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