The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review – Night 1

The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver 2021 Review – Night 1

Welcome to the WWE NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver Review here on TJRWrestling. After seven years of NXT Takeover events, it’s the first time the NXT brand is doing a two-night Takeover with part one coming on Wednesday night and part two on Thursday. I’ll review both shows live on each night right here on TJRWrestling and then after the Thursday Takeover event, I’ll combine the two reviews in one post as well. It should be a lot of fun. If you’re wondering, I watched the WWE Network version of the show here in Canada. Let’s get to it.

There will be more fans in attendance instead of just the people standing against the fiberglass.  It’s nice that they were able to open up some more.

There was a Kickoff Show match that saw Zoey Stark defeat Toni Storm with a cradle. The great Mickie James was on commentary with Vic Joseph for the match.

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!

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John Canton

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