Thursday, 8 April 2021

WWE NXT Takeover Stand and Deliver Highlights

 

WWE Nxt TakeOver: Stand And Deliver Night 2 4/8/21 April 8th 2021

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WWE NXT Stand & Deliver Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and More from Night 2

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver started off the Road to WrestleMania with incredible physicality. Night 1 included an incredible match between Walter and Tommaso Ciampa as well as an impactful main event where Io Shirai was dethroned by Raquel Gonzalez.

    Night 2 had a dual main event. Finn Balor put his title on the line against the man that was never defeated for the NXT Championship, Karrion Kross. While The Prince has been dominant as champion, the former champion is completely undefeated in singles action.

    Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly are longtime friends and allies, but their rivalry may become even bigger than that alliance. In an unsanctioned match, the two would brawl with intention to hurt one another.

    Jordan Devlin never lost the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, but NXT crowned Santos Escobar all the same when The Irish Ace could not return to the United States. The two would finally fight to crown the true cruiserweight champion in a ladder match.

    Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon have begun to define the legacy of the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships, but their major rivals would not let them rest. The Way's Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell had a plan to finally get The Poison Pixie his first taste of NXT gold.

    After an impressive Night 1 performance, Bronson Reed had a chance to finally capture the NXT North American Championship. He just needed to defeat the NXT legend Johnny Gargano.

    While Night 1 was good, Night 2 had a chance to make this an all-time-great TakeOver. It was all down to whether this packed card would deliver.

Pre-Show No. 1 Contender: Breezango vs. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain

1 OF 6

    Credit: WWE.com

    Drake Maverick was carried through the early portion of this match, often literally by Killian Dain. However, he got a chance to show off his resilience against the coordinated tag team work of Fandango and Tyler Breeze.

    This allowed The Beast of Belfast to stay fresh for an impactful late attack on the former tag team champions. Breezango had no answer for Dain, who eventually planted Maverick on Fandango with a powerbomb to earn the victory.

              

    Result

    Dain and Maverick def. Breezango by pinfall to become the No. 1 contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championships.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    This was certainly the right match to leave on the Pre-Show. While Breezango looked good together and played well off the oddball team of Dain and Maverick, this was never more than a solid NXT match rather than something that would have worked on the TakeOver card.

    It was good of WWE to add a No. 1 contender stipulation to this contest. Dain and Maverick should work well off MSK soon as they did in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. It will be a solid showcase opportunity for the team that has rarely gotten opportunities.

NXT Cruiserweight Champion Ladder: Santos Escobar (c) vs. Jordan Devlin (c)

2 OF 6

    Credit: WWE.com

    Jordan Devlin was the first to introduce a ladder to the match and the first to get whipped into one, sent clear to the floor from the ring. The domination of the former El Hijo del Fantasma continued until Devlin sent his opponent face-first into a propped ladder.

    The two continued to battle back and forth with malice and intent, ready to not just win but hurt one another in the process. After a standing Spanish Fly and springboard spinning cutter, Devlin looked ready to climb to the titles. Instead, The Irish Ace hit a moonsault off the very top of a large ladder.

    This seemed to seal the win, but Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde ran down to attack Devlin. After their job was done, they were sent to the back again, but The Irish Ace recovered in time to catch his opponent with a Spanish Fly off the ladder.

    The two stopped each other at the top of the ladder, and Escobar headbutt Devlin off the ladder through another ladder to seal his win.

              

    Result

    Escobar def. Devlin to become the true undisputed NXT cruiserweight champion.

               

    Grade

    C+

                

    Analysis

    This match had serious potential from the outset, but the pairing of Devlin and Escobar felt awkward. That became even clearer in the match. The two had clearer mapped out the match ahead of time, but they relied on that plan too heavily.

    It was not personal enough. It was tough to tell who the heel was, even after the obvious and sigh-inducing interference of the remaining members of Legado del Fantasma. The crowd had no idea who to root for as The Irish Ace is too natural a heel.

    It is very possible that Escobar and Devlin can have a great match together down the line. This was solid enough. However, this was not the epic conclusion NXT played it out to be. Escobar now needs a legitimate babyface rival as soon as possible.

NXT Women's Tag Championships: Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon (c) vs. The Way

3 OF 6

    Credit: WWE.com

    Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell struck right at the bell, getting Shotzi Blackheart alone. When Ember Moon got the hot tag, she ran over The Way until The Poison Pixie tripped her on the top rope. In a Tower of Doom position, Hartwell laid out the champions but could not take the victory.

    Blackheart had to save The War Goddess at the crucial moment, diving into both members of The Way. However, LeRae refused to lose, kicking out of an impressive tag team maneuver from the champions. Hartwell and LaRae hit The Way for a nearfall that Moon needed to break up.

    The War Goddess connected on a double Eclipse then Blackheart planted Hartwell with a diving senton to win.

              

    Result

    Blackheart and Moon def. LeRae and Blackheart by pinfall to retain the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships.

               

    Grade

    B-

                

    Analysis

    This was easily the best these teams have looked together, which was not surprising. Each match has improved as these teams grow more comfortable with one another. Even the rough moments were sold well as part of the action.

    Blackheart does need to be reined in over time as she takes a few too many risks, but she certainly knows how to make an impact. Moon was the veteran face, keeping the action moving at every stage.

    At this point, NXT must start to build fresh challengers to the NXT women's tag team champions. This feud has moved past the point that anyone will ever believe The Way can win.

NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Bronson Reed

4 OF 6

    Credit: WWE.com

    Bronson Reed looked unstoppable early. Every time Johnny Gargano hit him, the big man turned it around into a huge smash or slam. However, Gargano found a weakness, attacking the ribs of the challenger.

    The Colossal kept hitting Johnny Wrestling hard throughout this match, even hitting an emphatic Jagged Edge, but he could not get the pin. The champion took advantage by locking down Reed in the corner and hitting a backstabber.

    After a poisonrana, Gargano trapped Reed in the Gargano Escape. Reed fought to the ropes and rolled outside. After a Razor's Edge from the stage back into the ring, Reed missed the Tsunami and fell into position for a superkick nearfall.

    Austin Theory had to distract Reed a second time to avoid a second Tsunami attempt, but The Colossal landed a powerbomb all the same. Theory saved the pinfall, which set off Reed. He threw Gargano into Theory then hit a suicide dive on the outside man.

    A reverse piledriver nearly took the win for Reed, but he struggled to pin the champion. The Colossal went for a moonsault, only for Gargano to dodge. He then hit a pair of One Final Beats to win.

              

    Result

    Gargano def. Reed by pinfall to retain the NXT North American Championship.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    There were several truly great segments of this match, but they tried too hard in moments to make everything special. The botches were obvious, and it hurt the flow of the contest. That should not take away from the overall quality of this fun title clash.

    This was the best The Colossal has ever looked in an NXT ring. It was easy to question if he could compete on this level. He finally did that. However, this leaves a new question: can he do this with anyone except Johnny Wrestling?

    Gargano did some heavy-lifting in this match, sometimes literally. He kept the match going even through its rough moments. He made Reed look like a big deal.

    It was surprising for NXT to put over The Colossal so much yet have him lose at the finish line. However, it is always possible that the excuse of working two nights in a row gives a Reed a second chance he does not lose.

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

5 OF 6

    Finn Balor goaded Karrion Kross into losing his focus, and it worked. The Herald of Doomsday charged at The Prince and ran shoulder-first into the steel post. Kross recovered, but he was not ready to get dragged to the mat with an armbar.

    The Prince went after the left arm and liver of the bigger man, wearing him down with impactful strikes. Kross hit his second wind, planting Balor with a bridging suplex into a powerbomb for a nearfall.

    Balor's Slingblade set him up for a running dropkick. Instead, he ran into a running clothesline followed the Doomsday Suplex. The Herald of Doomsday prepared for his finish only to take a pele kick that set up the Coup de Grace.

    Balor landed it, but Kross turned the pinfall into the Kross Jacket. The Prince escaped and trapped his challenger in a Rings of Saturn.

    Scarlett encouraged Kross to reach deep to escape, and he heard her. He battered the champion with forearms. A Doomsday Suplex set up the rolling elbow to the back of the neck and a second to win.

              

    Result

    Kross def. Balor by pinfall to become the new NXT champion.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    The story in this match was clear. Balor explained it before they fought. He thought that The Herald of Doomsday's emotions would be his weakness. Instead, Kross was just too dominant. His otherworldly endurance allowed him to hit another gear and dominate The Prince.

    It was perhaps a little too long for the tale the two were looking to tell, but it was nonetheless strong technical work. The Prince made the challenger look vulnerable to the point, but The Herald of Doomsday was just never within his reach.

    Kross has now been established again as truly unstoppable. No one in NXT right now has the momentum and credibility to challenge Kross. He is the dominant monster of the black-and-gold brand. It will take a titan to bring him down.

Unsanctioned: Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole

6 OF 6

    Credit: WWE.com

    When the bell rang, these two men charged at each other, throwing punches. It did not take long for them to head outside. They each went after steel chairs, and Adam Cole got the upper hand. He battered Kyle O'Reilly with chair shots, especially using a chair painted with the Undisputed Era logo.

    The two went back and forth with submission holds, dragging in a chain that helped add to the carnage. O'Reilly planted his former friend with a brainbuster on the announce table but took a TV screen to the face for his trouble.

    Cole used a series of tools to nearly to maim O'Reilly. O'Reilly stopped him cold with a kneebar into a triangle choke using the chain.

    The two both attempted to stand but were left sitting on steel chairs on which they battered each other with closed fists. O'Reilly got the upperhand until Cole caught him with a low blow. Cole took out the referee for getting in his way, not allowing him to win off the Panama Sunrise.

    On the stage, O'Reilly caught Cole in a guillotine, and all that the former champion could do was careen forward through the stage with his former friend.

    Finally, to put an end to O'Reilly, Cole planted him with a brainbuster on the steel steps, yet somehow O'Reilly got his shoulder up. The former champion attempted the Last Shot, but O'Reilly ducked.

    O'Reilly answered with his own Last Shot to nearly win. The two fought near the top rope, and O'Reilly caught Cole with a low blow. Finally, he wrapped his knee in chain and sent that knee into Cole through a steel chair to finally win.

    Officials carried out a stretcher for Cole, and O'Reilly looked upon the carnage he inflicted, uncertain how to react.

              

    Result

    O'Reilly def. Cole by pinfall.

               

    Grade

    B+

                

    Analysis

    This match was paced around a variety of weapons, each defining a stage of this contest. From chairs to chain to a variety of tools that were meant to end O'Reilly's career, this match kept heightening the brutality. It was an intense story-driven hardcore war.

    While WWE was never going to let this become a bloody death match, the two sold how far they were willing to go at every stage. Cole even teased stabbing O'Reilly through the eye. The referee spot was contrived, but just about everything else escalated to the brutal finale.

    The finale did let down what came before. This match went so long that it was hard to believe that O'Reilly could possibly win. The kickouts got more ridiculous to the point of almost parody. It was such a long match that they could no longer even sell the impact to go on.

    Ultimately, it is hard to fault a match with so much good work. However, too much is certainly possible in wrestling. This may have been too much. Shave off ten maybe fifteen minutes from the run time, and it would have been everything it needed to be.

    O'Reilly needed to win here. He will benefit from the run that comes after. Most will look back on this match favorably in the long run. That's a win for NXT.

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