It’s WrestleMania, so why couldn’t there be an NXT TakeOver? NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver Night 1 set a high ladder for Night 2 to clean up, including new champions and an absolutely fantastic match in Walter against Ciampa. It’s the first of four major wrestling shows this week, with Night 2 on Thursday followed by WrestleMania on Saturday and Sunday.
Night 1 was broadcast on both Peacock and the U.S. network, although Night 2 will be exclusive to Peacock. That. At the main event, Io Shirai lost her NXT Women’s Championship, and the match before that crowned the NXT Tag Champion.
Raquel Gonzalez is the new NXT women’s champion
In the main event of NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, Raquel Gonzalez defeated Io Shirai to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Gonzalez ended Shirai’s 305-day reign as champion, the third longest ever.
These two women had less time than the main events of NXT TkaeOver usually have, but they made good use of it. Shirai is so great, and tonight she was in great shape with fun moves (nothing is called the Genius of Heaven) and incredibly smooth contrasts. She is much smaller than Gonzalez, but she is so good that the insult seems credible to her. The pace was relentless, and the action included a multitude of overturns and dives, submissions and fights from the outside.
The highlight of the match was when Shirai hit a flying cross body with a huge decorative skull at the entrance – a really high dive. She then dragged Gonzalez into the ring, scored a moonsault, but only got two counters – which made Wade Barrett absolutely insane.
Gonzalez rolled out of the ring and then broke off as Shirai followed him. She then hit a brutal bomb with force on the floor. Returning to the ring, Gonzalez gave Shirai a hug and then hit another one-handed bomb to win.
Rating: 3.75 stars. This was all Io Shirai, who is great.
MSK won the NXT title tag
After a brilliant title game with a triple threat, Wes Lee pinned Zack Gibson to win the match for MSK.
This is placed in a kind of place of death. It’s hard to follow Walter and Ciampa, but these six did it in a smart way: from place to place. It’s usually an insult, but it’s not here. MSK and Legado Del Fantasma exchanging dynamic, fast fouls was fun to watch. You didn’t need too much drama or story, just beautiful acrobatics that you can admire.
But as the game went on, there was less of it and more of psychology. Wes Lee excellently bypassed all the people, who broke everything with strikes and then hit multiple dives. After Wes Lee cleaned the house, he was eventually double-joined by the Gray Young Veterans. They attacked his injured arm, and then Zack Gibson locked the submission. Nash Carter tried to save, but James Drake caught him with the last naked choke. Wes Lee tried to tap, but Carter managed to hold Lee’s hand off the mat long enough for Legado Del Fantasma to interrupt the surrender.
Moments later, the Grizzled Young Vets hit the Doomsday device on one half of the Legada Del Fantasma, and MSK performed the other with a tandem foul. This led to a showdown in the middle of the ring between the Gray Young Veterans and MSK, which was eventually won by MSK, which achieved its goal of victory.
Rating: 4 stars. Great match in a tough place.
Walter beats Ciampa
After one of the best WWE matches of the year, Walter pinned Tommaso Ciampa to keep his NXT UK championship.
Just as it is no surprise that this match was great, it is no surprise that this match was extremely difficult. Ironically, Walter’s breasts were completely armored and blood red. The story was that Walter wanted a wicked, ruthless Ciampa, he wanted to fight the Black Heart. Ciampa played his role perfectly, an outsider with a vicious streak. He fought hard all the time — like a great place where he tried to knock Walter down for two consecutive minutes with running punches — and Walter played a dangerous big man.
That’s why this match worked so well. The action was fresh and exciting, but these two simply played their roles so well. Walter is such an outstanding wrestler of great men. He’s athletic, but he doesn’t do a lot of acrobatics, and when he hits someone, you wince because he looks like he just knocks him down.
At the start of the fight, the two of them were arguing from the outside, and Walter tried to slap Ciampa while she was scattered across the speaker’s desk. Ciampa shifted, and Walter halved the top of the speaker’s desk. By the end of the match, he struggled with the use of that hand, selling the fact that he was injured. This gave him a probable weakness, and he and Ciamp were able to take advantage.
But Ciampa could have avoided the titans for so long. After an intense exchange of slaps, Walter exploded Ciampa with two vicious bombs, then struck a dragon suplex and a huge punch to the chest to score a point. It’s proof of how great Walter is that a punch to the chest is a likely final move, but it’s safe.
Rating: 4.75 stars.
Bronson Reed won the six-man Gauntlet match
Bronson Reed will face Johnny Gargan for the North American Championship in Night 2 of TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, after winning a six-player match for the occasion. He won the fight by eliminating Isaiah “Swerve” Scott.
Scott attacked Leon Ruff before the match started, but Ruff got the advantage before bringing Swerve back into the ring. The match then started when we were returning from a commercial break. They wrestle for a few minutes, including a wicked flying cutter from Ruff to Scott from the speaker’s desk, before a third man, Bronson Reed, enters the competition. A big muscle man of two high-flyers, culminating in a cold double German suplex on both. Then Cameron Grimes enters as the fourth participant.
Grimes and Scott make an alliance – after Grimes pays it off – and remove both Ruff and Reed. Ruff uses some great acrobatics to avoid Grimes ’claws, but he can’t beat both, and Scott catches him with a suplex. Scott then hits a nice kick from Reed from the outside. Then, as Dexter Lumis enters as the fifth contestant, Scott pinned Ruff after an unseen move by Grimes. Lumis then clears the house, including himself as he dresses himself and Grimes out of the ring while flying over the ropes. LA Night then enters as the final contestant.
Night scored the second elimination of the fight by hooking Lumis. Lumis had The Silence ballast on Grimes, but Night came in and inserted Lumis into the middle of the needle application. Night was quickly eliminated after that, Scott and Grimes passed him, then Reed hit hard and got 1-2-3. As Night rolled out of the ring, Lumis strangled him with The Silence.
We had great action from the final three – so much happened that it would be impossible to summarize. But Scott got another elimination when he opposed a roll-up from Grimes, pinning Grimes with his roll-up. Scott and Reed were the last two. Reed scaled the rotary switch, which led to an absolutely solid point where Scott Powers cut a much larger reed at the corner of the ring. He then shoved Reed into the ring and hit 450 Splash for two counts.
As Scott trash talks to Reed and swings him with a series of punches, Reed feeds and plants Scott with a powerful bomb – and nails him after spraying from the top rope.
Rating: 3.75 stars.
Pete Dunn collects Kushida
The dissatisfaction of Pete Dunn and Kushide opened the show. It opened fantastically, with great wrestling and pleasant punches, and was won by Pete Dunn after hitting the Bitter End at Kushida.
It started hot, and Kushida headed for the flying barn straight off the stick. That set the tone for much of the action: The two of them were trying to get out wrestle each other during. There were constant attempts at surrender and surrender counters. A great place came when Dunn tried to jump Kimura’s lock on Kushida, only for Kushida to oppose her own Kimura. Later, Kushida tried the same move on Dunn – Kimura jumping, or in his case Hoverboard Lock – but Dunn grabbed the ropes with his free hand. Kushida then switched and attacked that arm with a Hoverboard Lock. Great place.
Not only were they submissions, but they also contained a lot of punches. They both tried to weaken the other’s arms – since they were very hot in this attack – so frequent blows to the elbows, arms and shoulders were frequent. Dunn also used his joint manipulation attacks a lot, and there was a brawl on the entrance ramp that saw Kushida nail his elbow to the springboard with the ropes.
The finish followed after Dunn stepped on both of Kushida’s hands. Kushida fueled and punched Dunn, but was then stunned by this injured hand. Dunn then struck the Bitter End with a needle.
Grade: 3.75 stars.