Takeover: Stand & Deliver Night One
Date: April 7, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida|
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
Things are changing a bit here as we have the first ever two night Takeover. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can make a two night event work, but I have learned never to bet against NXT. Hopefully they can make that work here, with Io Shirai defending the Women’s Title against Raquel Gonzalez in the main event. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Zoey Stark vs. Toni Storm
The fans are split on this one to start. They trade headlocks to start with Toni getting the better of things early on. Stark drives her down with a knee into the arm but Storm is back up with a shoulder. Stark gets away and hits a quick missile dropkick to rock Storm. That’s enough for Stark to go up but Storm pulls her off of the middle rope for a crash. Storm knocks her into the corner and stomps away a bit, followed by a slap out of the corner.
This time it’s Storm going up but Stark catches her with an enziguri, setting up a superplex for the double knockdown. A kick to the face rocks Storm and a half nelson suplex makes it even worse. Stark’s running knee to the face gets two but Storm is right back with an electric chair faceplant for two of her own. Storm Zero is blocked and Stark hits a heck of a superkick for another near fall. A pair of quick German suplexes drop Stark but she counters Storm Zero into a small package to pin Storm at 9:49.
Rating: C+. I’m surprised that it happened but Stark had to win something at some point. You can only be the one who comes close so many times while still losing for so long so the win is a good sign for her future. I’m not sure how much doubt there was that NXT wanted to push her, but now they are actually giving her a little something. Somehow Storm now needs a win to stop her downward slide, but I’m not sure when that is actually going to come.
Nita Strauss plays America the Beautiful to open things up.
A bunch of lightning goes off and the voiceover says welcome to the show. There are a lot more fans here here than there have been in recent weeks and you can feel more energy than NXT has had in a very long time.
There is even a ramp to the ring to make things feel even more unique this time around.
Pete Dunne vs. Kushida
Kushida takes him straight to the mat for a failed cross armbreaker attempt. A kneebar doesn’t work either but Kushida ties up the legs and grabs the arms. They get back up to fight over arm control with Dunne not being able to keep a hammerlock. Kushida tries a Tajiri handspring but Dunne cuts him down and starts in on the fingers. Dunne snaps the arm across the bottom rope for a nasty visual, followed by a painful looking stomp to the head.
Back up and Kushida kicks him in the arm, setting up the cartwheel dropkick to put Dunne on the ramp. Kushida misses a dive but manages the handspring elbow on the ramp instead. Back in and Dunne jumps onto Kushida for a Hoverboard Lock of his own but Kushida reverses into a quickly broken real thing. Kushida hits a fisherman’s buster for two and we take a break.
We come back with Kushida grabbing a Falcon Arrow into the cross armbreaker but Dunne is out in a hurry. Dunne’s armbreaker is broken up as well and they trade headbutts on the mat. Kushida hits a running dropkick to the arm and there’s a running flip kick to send Dunne to the apron.
The Hoverboard Lock goes on on top and Kushida flips him down into the full version on the mat. Kushida reverses into another arm crank, forcing Dunne to have to reach the ropes with his foot. A hard knee to the arm sets up another Hoverboard Lock but Dunne makes the rope. That’s fine with Kushida, who grabs the Hoverboard Lock on the other arm instead. Dunne escapes again and stomps on the hand, setting up the Bitter End for the pin at 10:41.
Rating: B-. I was getting into this one near the end and then it just wrapped up all of a sudden. They were getting somewhere with all of the arm work and building to a big submission battle but it felt like the match needed another five to six minutes to really hit that other gear. It’s good and Kushida was doing better than he usually does, but it just didn’t have the time to reach that next level.
There are six people involved here and a new entrant comes in every three minutes. Pinfall and submission only for eliminations and the winner gets a North American Title shot against Johnny Gargano for tomorrow night. We come back from a break with Leon Ruff in at #1 and Isaiah Scott in at #2, with both guys already fighting in the ring (possibly because the Peacock feed is continuing during the commercials). Thankfully we get the opening bell here and they fight to the floor in a hurry.
Ruff is dropped onto the barricade but comes back with the twisting cutter off the announcers’ table. Back in and Scott sends him into the corner but a superbomb is countered into a good looking hurricanrana to put them both down again. Bronson Reed is in at #3 so Ruff dives at him on the ramp, only to get thrown back in over a ducking Scott. Reed sits on Scott’s back to put him down and then German suplexes both of them at the same time.
Cameron Grimes is in at #4 and a quick triple team knocks Reed to the floor. Scott and Grimes start double teaming Ruff but he bounces off the ropes in the corner (that was cool) and slides between Grimes’ legs. That doesn’t work to get rid of Scott though and a faceplant puts Ruff down again. Scott goes outside to kick Reed in the face and keep him down.
Back in and a hard clothesline puts Ruff down and it’s Dexter Lumis is in at #5. During the entrance, Scott pins Ruff for the first elimination at 9:46. Lumis gets in and fires off the suplexes to everyone but Reed, meaning it’s time for a staredown. Back up and Lumis manages to lift him up in a fireman’s carry but that doesn’t quite last. Instead Reed is thrown outside with Lumis and Grimes being knocked down as well. LA Knight completes the field at #6 and it’s time to talk a lot of trash on the mic. Reed scares him down though and we take a break.
We come back with Lumis grabbing the Silence on Grimes but Knight grabs a rollup to pin Lumis at 14:50. Grimes plants Knight though and Reed adds a backsplash to get rid of Knight at 15:25, much to Barrett’s annoyance. Lumis Silences Knight after the elimination and it’s a three way slugout inside. Grimes puts Scott down but a staggered Reed falls onto both of them to leave everyone on the mat for a breather. Back up and Grimes manages to counter Reed’s crossbody with the flipping powerslam (that was impressive) but Scott rolls Grimes up with trunks for the pin at 18:29.
Reed knocks Scott down and goes up but Scott catches him with a running kick to the head. Scott manages something like a Death Valley Driver onto the apron for a big knockdown, followed by a 450 for two back inside. The House Call rocks Reed again but another attempt is countered with a grab to the throat. Scott isn’t having that and hits another House Call for another two. Reed is back up with a powerbomb into something like White Noise. The Tsunami sends Reed to tomorrow at 22:25.
Rating: B. This was another good one but it never came close to that top level. That being said, Reed is a very fresh name to push in this spot and that is something interesting. There is something to be said about a monster who can hit a heck of a splash like that and I could go for Gargano seeing what he can do with Reed. If nothing else, it isn’t Lumis and I’ll take that pretty much every time.
Post match Gargano comes out for the staredown.
United Kingdom Title: Walter vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Walter is defending and Ciampa is in trunks for the first time in a long time. Ciampa’s headlock doesn’t last long as the much bigger Walter drives him into the corner. You don’t do that to Ciampa, who goes into Blackheart mode and stomps Walter down into another corner. A running boot is cut off by a big chop though and they head outside, where a missed chop sends Walter’s hand through the announcers’ table.
The arms are fine enough to drop Ciampa onto the apron though and they head back inside. A big chop is cut off with a raised elbow and Ciampa kicks away at the bad hand. Walter kicks him down for a breather and a half crab has Ciampa in more trouble. That’s broken up so Walter kicks him in the face again. Walter slowly knocks him around but Ciampa gets in a few shots of his own and we take a break.
Back with Ciampa managing to hit the Fairy Tale Ending and not being able to believe the kickout. Walter can’t get the sleeper but he can hit a release German suplex into the huge clothesline….for two. Back up and Ciampa pulls another clothesline into a Fujiwara armbar with the hand being bent back as well. The rope is grabbed so Ciampa unloads on Walter, who can only cover up until he makes the rope again.
Walter gets up on the apron and headbutts Ciampa down but he is right back to catch Walter on the top. That means a super Air Raid Crash gets two and they’re both down. Walter is back up to chop him down again and the powerbomb plants Ciampa one more time. Then it’s another powerbomb with Walter stacking up the cover for two. A sleeper suplex drops Ciampa again and the big chop is finally enough to put him away at 16:05.
Rating: B+. These guys beat the fire out of each other and that’s what you want from Walter. I don’t think there was any drama over who was leaving with the title here, due to a combination of Rampage Brown already having a title match tomorrow at Prelude and, you know, Walter doesn’t lose. The hand injury being kind of forgotten near the end hurt things a bit, but these two beat each other senseless and that’s all this was for a good while. Pretty awesome stuff.
The dog from last week runs into an elevator, comes out of an elevator, and then runs into the ring where a woman (or at least her legs) are waiting. The name is confirmed as Franky Monet.
Tag Team Titles: MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma
The titles are vacant coming in. Legado elbows Lee down to start and drop Gibson as well. There’s a double basement dropkick to Lee but the Veterans get together to dropkick Wilde in the knee and the head to send him outside. Caster comes back in with a high crossbody to Gibson but Drake hits a clothesline to take him down. Drake stomps Carter down in the corner and we hit the chinlock.
That’s broken up as well so Lee comes back in to double team Gibson to the floor. Carter hits a step up dive to take the Veterans down again but Mendoza kicks Lee outside. Legado hits stereo dives (one of which included a flipping springboard) to take everyone down at once and we take a break. Back with Carter in trouble in the corner as Legado keeps up the double teaming.
Some running charges in the corner set up a double a suplex, followed by a moonsault to give Wilde two. Carter manages to get in a shot of his own though and the hot tag brings in Lee to clean house. The big flip dive takes out Legado on the floor and there’s the moonsault kick to Drake’s head. The push moonsault gets two more on Drake but Gibson is right there to pull Lee off the apron. Carter knees Drake but Legado is back into drop Carter again.
Lee hits a springboard moonsault into a double reverse DDT to put Legado back on the floor. Gibson is right back up to tie Lee’s hand in the turnbuckle, with Drake adding a running dropkick to crush the hand. The Shankly Gates has Lee in trouble but Carter grabs his hand to break up the tap. Gibson chokes Carter out but Mendoza breaks it up. A Death Valley Driver plants Drake and Wilde hits a top rope splash on Gibson.
The Russian legsweep/clothesline combination gets two on Lee and Legado can’t believe it. The Veterans load up the running Doomsday Device to Wilde and Carter Racks Mendoza for a running knee from Lee. That leaves us with MSK vs. the Veterans in the big showdown into a slugout. Carter hits a double cutter to put the Veterans down again and the flipping neckbreaker Hart Attack finishes Gibson for the titles at 15:29.
Rating: B. Yeah this was exactly what it needed to be here and that is all you can ask for. They had three teams going nuts for fifteen minutes and the young team won. I would assume that they were going to win the titles here anyway, so maybe we can see them face Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch when they get back. If nothing else, NXT just did what Impact Wrestling didn’t do in the years the team was there as the Rascalz: win something important. This was the high energy match that you would expect it to be and I’ll certainly take that.
We run down the night two card, which does look a lot better.
Stephanie McMahon and Sarray are here.
Women’s Title: Io Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Shirai is defending and Dakota Kai is here with Gonzalez. We get the Big Match Intros and Shirai charges straight at her, only to get sent into the corner. A hurricanrana doesn’t work for Shirai so she slaps her legs around Gonzalez’s head instead. That sets up a good looking top rope hurricanrana but the slingshot knees are blocked with straight power. Shirai sends her outside and hits the suicide dive against the barricade to keep the pace up.
Kai goes after Shirai though and that means the big over the top ejection. A kick to the chest sets up a Lionsault to drop Gonzalez again but she blocks another one. Gonzalez lawn darts her shoulder first into the post for two, followed by a powerbomb flipped forward into a kind of spinebuster for the same. Another powerbomb is dropped backwards to send Shirai throat first onto the top rope for two more.
Gonzalez drops some elbows for three but Shirai kicks out at four (that was a REALLY bad mess up as the referee clearly knew something went wrong) so we can keep going. Back up and Gonzalez puts on something like a Gory Stretch but Shirai reverses for a hurricanrana. A double stomp has Gonzalez in more trouble and the 619 makes it even worse. The springboard missile dropkick into a Code Red gets two on Gonzalez so Shirai goes up top.
Gonzalez catches her in the lifting powerbomb but Shirai slips out into a Crossface to have Gonzalez in trouble again. The rope is finally reached and the moonsault onto the ramp drops Gonzalez again. Shirai hits some running knees to leave Gonzalez mostly done. Naturally Shirai has found a way to climb onto the skull set and hit a HUGE high crossbody to crush Gonzalez for about the ninth time.
Back in and Shirai hits the moonsault for two. Gonzalez is down on the floor so Shirai goes after her, only to get caught in the lifting powerbomb. Back in and Gonzalez blasts her with a clothesline to turn Shirai inside out. One heck of a lifting powerbomb gives Gonzalez the pin and the title at 12:54.
Rating: B. Gonzalez winning was the best way to go here as Shirai is all but out of challengers after holding the title for over ten months. I’m not sure if Shirai is on her way to the main roster, but she didn’t need to have the title any longer. You also needed a big moment to end the night here and Shirai was doing everything she could here. They told a nice story of having Shirai try everything she could, only to come up short in the end. This felt like a main event and that’s a nice way to wrap up the show.
The long celebration ends the show.
Overall Rating: A-. It says a lot when the worst match on the show would be one of the best matches of the month on Raw. I’m not sure if it felt like a Takeover (the commercials on the TV version took a lot out of it) but they kept things going here and it was a very entertaining show. Above all else, it was an awesome start to Wrestlemania weekend and I had a great time. Tomorrow night awaits us though and that’s when the big stuff goes down. For now though, more Takeover awesomeness, which really shouldn’t surprise you.
Pete Dunne b. Kushida – Bitter End
Bronson Reed won a Gauntlet Eliminator last eliminating Isaiah Scott
Walter b. Tommaso Ciampa – Chop
MSK b. Grizzled Young Veterans and Legado del Fantasma – Flipping neckbreaker/spinebuster combination to Gibson
Raquel Gonzalez b. Io Shirai – Lifting powerbomb
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