DATE: April 7, 2021
VENUE: Capitol Wrestling Center (Orlando, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, & Beth Phoenix
VIEWING METHOD: Peacock (Livestream)
Night 1 of NXT TakeOver features the Women’s Championship in the main event as Io Shirai defends against Raquel Gonzalez. Also on the show WALTER defends his NXT UK Championship against Tommaso Ciampa, new Tag Team Champions are crowned, and a #1 contender to the North American Championship is decided for tomorrow night. If they can’t win their final Wednesday Night “War” with this lineup I am going to be SHOCKED.
- NXT CHAMPION: Finn Balor
- NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Io Shirai
- NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION: Johnny Gargano
- NXT CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION: Santos Escobar
- NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Vacant
- NXT WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
- KUSHIDA vs. Pete Dunne (***1/4)
- #1 Contender’s Eliminator Gauntlet (***1/2)
- WALTER [c] vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT UK CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/2)
- MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma for the vacant NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
- Io Shirai [c] vs. Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
–Nina Strauss opens the show with the National Anthem on her electric gee-tar. Holy sh*t there are more fans in here than usual, did they dump the screens for WrestleMania week? I might’ve missed the Pre-Show. After Strauss concludes we get some fake lightning and a BIG OL’ SKULL is revealed on the entrance stage. YESSSSS.
KUSHIDA vs. “The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne
Dunne goes right for a triangle, KUSHIDA counters and goes for an armbar, Dunne escapes and they reset. KUSHIDA and Dunne trade leglocks, KUSHIDA goes back to the arm. Dunne flips through a wristlock and counters, KUSHIDA tries for a back handspring but Dunne grabs him by the end, pulls him out to the floor, and drops him on the apron with a suplex throw. Nice. Dunne hyperextends KUSHIDA’s elbow and snaps the fingers back, manipulating all sorts of joints. Dunne and KUSHIDA trade chops, KUSHIDA connects with a cartwheel armdrag into a dropkick, Dunne bails to the ramp and eats a back handspring elbow. Dunne connects with a chop, KUSHIDA responds with a Pele Kick, Dunne catches a back handspring elbow and SNAPS THE FINGERS, KUSHIDA escapes the Bitter End and rolls him up for the 1…2…not yet. Dunne brings KUSHIDA to the mat with a headbutt and tries to turn his skull into paste with a series of rapid stomps as he ties up the hands to prevent any block attempts. KUSHIDA stuns Dunne with a kick followed by a sitout slam into a cross armbreaker, Dunne breaks out and connects with a double underhook slam into a cross armbreaker. KUSHIDA escapes, Dunne connects with a kick and KUSHIDA drops him with a right hand. KUSHIDA dropkicks Dunne in the left arm, Dunne climbs the buckles but crumples to the apron after a cannonball kick. KUSHIDA brings Dunne back to the top and connects with a Hoverboard Lock super-slam, keeping the hold applied as they hit the canvas. Dunne makes it to the ropes, KUSHIDA twists the arm with his legs and pulls back on the other arm, but Dunne gets the top of his boot on the ropes to force another break. KUSHIDA hits Dunne’s exposed arm with a flying knee and grabs a Hoverboard Lock, Dunne falls on top for the 1…2…Dunne gets to the ropes so I guess it wasn’t a pin attempt after all. Dunne snaps some more fingers, stomps on both hands, KUSHIDA responds with a forearm, Dunne stomps the hand again and connects with a kick followed by the Bitter End for the 1…2…3.
Pete Dunne defeated KUSHIDA via pinfall (10:39)
- KUSHIDA and Dunne spent 10 minutes trading holds, the commentators putting over both men’s technical prowess, and it ended in a pinfall. That’s pretty funny. Great match overall, I just found that strange. (***1/4)
#1 CONTENDER’S GAUNTLET ELIMINATOR MATCH (NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP)
The winner challenges Johnny Gargano tomorrow for the North American Championship. Leon Ruff’s music hits and he stumbles out, a smirking Isaiah “Swerve” Scott stalking him from behind. Ruff fights back and sends Scott off the ramp and into the barricade. Scott fights back, dropping Ruff across the barricade, the only part that apparently doesn’t have plexiglass set up. That the special vaccine section or something? Ruff rolls Scott into the ring and connects with a missile dropkick, the match beginning officially. Ruff sends Swerve back to the floor, Swerve hangs him over the barricade and connects with a running dropkick to the side of the head. Ruff dodges Swerve and connects with a twisting cutter off the announce desk, much to Barrett’s surprise. Ruff rolls Swerve into the ring and covers for the 1…2…not yet. Swerve regains control, sending Ruff into the top rope with a slingshot. Ruff counters a superbomb attempt with a hurricanrana and both men writhe on the canvas as the countdown begins for the next entrant.
“The Colossal” Bronson Reed is the third entrant, Ruff tries to splash him as he enters but Reed catches him and throws him back into the ring. Swerve attacks Reed, Reed drops him with a back elbow. Reed picks Swerve up in a suplex position and Ruff comes flying off the top with a crossbody, one of the coolest tag team moves ever that more people should use. Reed straight up SITS on Ruff when he tries to slide under his legs, then does it again Earthquake-style. Ruff tries a German suplex but he doesn’t budge so Swerve joins in; Reed slips out and goes behind Swerve for a DOUBLE GERMAN SOOOO-PLAY. Aw yeah.
Reed awaits the next entrant, who happens to the FILTHY RICH hillbilly Cameron Grimes. Grimes and Swerve work together to send Reed to the floor, then Grimes pays Swerve a stack of bills to team up with him. They turn their attention to Ruff, Ruff fights them off but gets thrown into the buckles off a Death Valley Driver. Swerve dazes Reed with a pump kick from the apron. Ruff charges, Grimes drills him with a clothesline then Swerve hits a clothesline of his own.
Next competitor is Dexter Lumis, Swerve tosses Grimes out of the ring and covers Ruff for the 1…2…3. LEON RUFF HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Lumis DDTs Reed on the ramp and clears both Grimes and Swerve from the ring with slingshot suplexes and clotheslines. Reed re-enters the ring and they trade bombs, LUMIS PICKS REED UP but Reed escapes, Lumis tosses him to the floor then he and Grimes crash to the floor and it’s a whole car crash looking thing.
LA Knight is the final entrant and he brings a mic with him to throw shade at everyone until Reed tosses him into the ring from behind. Knight lures Reed in and drops him across the middle rope, following up with a knee strike. Reed catches Knight in mid-air with a Samoan Drop, Knight going full Ric Flair with his yell-sell. Grimes flies off the top, Reed greets him with a Bionic Elbow and sends him crashing to the ramp. Knight charges, Reed BODIES him and hammer throws his carcass into the corner. Knight dodges a corner splash and connects with a neckbreaker. Grimes runs in, Knight drives him to the canvas with a slam. Swerve climbs the buckles, KNIGHT HOPS TO THE TOP IN ONE FELL SWOOP AND CONNECTS WITH A SUPERPLEX. F*ck yeah, dude.
Lumis stares Knight down and sends Grimes into him and locks in the Silence, Knight rolls Lumis up for the 1…2…3. DEXTER LUMIS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Swerve hits Knight with a knee, Grimes drives him into the canvas, and Reed squashes him with a senton for the 1…2…3. LA KNIGHT HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Knight complains and Lumis knocks him out with the Silence on the floor. Grimes tosses Swerve into Reed’s arms, Grimes connects with a superkick, Swerve drops Grimes with a flatliner and REED FALLS ON BOTH OF THEM, essentially putting everyone back to square one. Grimes and Swerve work together to try and wear Reed down, Reed absorbs it all and lays into them with chops but runs into a double superplex. Grimes rolls Swerve up with the tights, Swerve rolls through and grabs the tights for the 1…2…3! CAMERON GRIMES HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Swerve and Reed are the final two. Reed bodies Swerve and heads to the top, Swerve stuns him with a running kick. Swerve peels Bronson off the top buckle and SLAMS HIM OFF THE APRON, GODDAMN. Swerve rolls Reed in and hits a 450 Splash for the 1…2…REED KICKS OUT. Reed wants more, Swerve hits a House Call, Swerve picks him up for a third but Reed goozles him. Swerve kicks him off and hits the third House Call for the 1…2…REED KICKS OUT AND SWERVE CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Reed slaps the taste out of Swerve’s mouth and connects with a powerbomb followed by a backdrop driver and the TOP ROPE SPLASH for the 1…2…3!
Bronson Reed won the #1 Contenders Gauntlet Eliminator Match, last eliminating Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (23:15)
- My attention span sucks so after fifteen minutes my mind started to wander a bit but for the most part I really liked this. Each guy got some shine and there were some INSANE spots throughout, even from Reed who took a nasty bump off the apron towards the end. Great showing from Swerve as well who I didn’t think would make it this far. He’s underutilized for sure. (***1/2)
Johnny Gargano comes out to jaw jack with Reed ahead of their match tomorrow night. Inaudibly though.
WALTER [c] vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT UK CHAMPIONSHIP
Ciampa has cleaned up compared to the last few months, shaving his head and wearing his old ring gear from his NXT Championship days. He has RETURNED to get REVENGE on WALTER for TOUCHING the NECKLACE his DAUGHTER gave HIM. I love capitalizing words. Apparently the story is Ciampa lost his way because he has a family and now it’s the return of the Blackheart.
Ciampa wrestles WALTER into a front chancery, WALTER escapes and drops Ciampa with a shoulder tackle. WALTER backs CIampa into the corner, Ciampa lays into him with open-hand strikes and stomps. WALTER puts a stop to that mess with just ONE chop. WALTER lays Ciampa across the top buckle and snaps off another, Ciampa falls to the floor. Ciampa dodges a chop so hard IT GOES THROUGH THE F*CKING ANNOUNCE DESK, WALTER slams Ciampa on the apron (hardest part of the ring btw). Ciampa goes for Widow’s Bell, WALTER climbs in and sends him into the corner, bullying him with forearms. Ciampa blocks a chop and tries to pick him up but WALTER overpowers Ciampa. Ciampa goes after WALTER’s injured hand, kicking it repeatedly. WALTER whips Ciampa off and GODDAMN WRECKS CIAMPA WITH THE BIGGEST BOOT EVER. WALTER tries to grab an STF but his right hand continues to bother him so he goes back to his kicks which are powerful as f*ck. WALTER kicks at Ciampa telling him to get up, Ciampa responds with a chop and WALTER immediately drops him with a knee strike. Ciampa lays into WALTER with so many lariats, reddening his chest. WALTER chops Ciampa down, Ciampa GETS RIGHT BACK UP and connects with a driver for the 1…2…WALTER kicks out. Ciampa connects with the Fairy Tale Ending for the 1…2…WALTER KICKS OUT. WALTER absorbs a knee strike and grabs a sleeper, Ciampa goes after the injured hand, Ciampa gets to the ropes and WALTER sends him crashing with a release German suplex, following up with a lariat for the 1…2…CIAMPA KICKS OUT. Ciampa blocks a power bomb and bites the hand, WALTER kicks him in the spine, Ciampa catches a right and applies a Fujiwara Armbar, BENDING THE FINGERS BACK, but WALTER makes it to the ropes. Ciampa goes after the hand again, WALTER sends him to the canvas with a headbutt and climbs the buckles, Ciampa stuns him with a chop and connects with a SUPER AIR RAID CRASH for the 1…2…WALTER KICKS OUT. My wooooord.
Ciampa lights WALTER up with a series of chops as he clutches his injured hand. WALTER fights back with chops of his own from his left, WALTER drives Ciampa to the mat for the 1…2…CIAMPA BRIDGES UP…then gets stomped. WALTER connects with back-to-back powerbombs, jackknifing Ciampa for the 1…2…CIAMPA KICKS OUT. WALTER flings Ciampa overhead with a sleeperplex followed by a desperation chop with his right hand for the 1…2…3!
WALTER [c] defeated Tommaso Ciampa via pinfall to retain the NXT UK CHAMPIONSHIP (16:59)
- I only see 1-2 WALTER matches a year and every time I do I am blown away by how amazing he is. The physicality, the presence, he’s got everything going for him. Feels almost like a waste to keep him on NXT UK. This match is f*cking amazing, real hard-hitting with some truly INSANE moments and great drama. Ciampa held his own and looked great here, but WALTER has the aura of invincibility and showed why. Holy sh*t. (****1/2)
WALTER poses with his Imperium mates on the ramp as Ciampa struggles to recover inside the ring.
–Bronson Reed gets interviewed backstage. Reed vows to beat Johnny Gargano tomorrow night. Gargano interrupts and tells Reed to enjoy the night because tomorrow is going to be a different story.
MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza) for the vacant NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Lee, Wilde, & Gibson start the match off for their respective teams. Oh boy this is going to be a big ol’ pile of chaos isn’t it? Legado drill Gibson with a double spinebuster and wishbone, then flapjack Lee and hit a double dropkick. Mendoza covers Lee, Gibson breaks it up and slams Mendoza. Gibson goes after Lee’s once-injured hand, Lee kicks him away and gets sent to the apron. Carter tags in and hits a Bronco Buster, Mendoza hits him from behind. Gibson tags in Drake, GYV take out both Legado members with double team moves. Carter flattens Gibson with a springboard corkscrew splash, Drake drops him with a clothesline. Mendoza tries to re-enter the ring, Drake kicks him back to the floor and drills Carter with a scoop slam for a two-count. Carter escapes a suplex, Lee tags in and MSK wreck Drake with double team kicks. Drake rolls to the floor, Carter tags back in and hits a double splash-ish on the Grizzled Young Veterans (he hit their arms Red Rover-style). Legado del Fantasma finally get involved once again, sending MSK to the floor and hitting stereo splashes on the other two teams. NOICE. Carter gets put in a tree of woe, Wilde and Mendoza hit back to back Van Terminators for the 1…2…Gibson breaks it up and Legado wreck him with boots and send him to the floor.
Mendoza connects with a dropkick, Wilde tags in and hits a slingshot moonsault on Carter for the 1…2…not yet. Wilde with a sliding crossbody for the 1…2…Carter kicks out once again. Legado isolate Carter in their corner, quick tagging as they repeatedly splash him. Legado hit a double suplex, Mendoza follows up with a Lionsault for the 1…2…Carter still manages to kick out. Drake runs in and surprises Mendoza with a rollup for the 1…2…Mendoza kicks out. Lee gets the tag, strikes and kicks for everybody. Dropkick to Drake, tope suicida to Gibson, tope con hilo for Legado del Fantasma! Hell yeah. Lee flips back into the ring, PELE KICK. Carter gets the tag and hits the Thing of Beauty for the 1…2…Drake kicks out! Carter surprises Drake with a knee strike, Mendoza connects with a twisting suplex, Lee drops them both with a backflip into an inverted DDT. Lee suplexes Drake out of the corner, Gibson cheap shots Lee and TRAPS IT IN THE TURNBUCKLE which DRAKE DROPKICKS. Goddamn. Gibson tags in and hits a hammerlock driver followed by the Shankly Gates. Drake traps Carter in a submission as well, Carter stops Lee from tapping out. Legado get involved and break it all up, KICK/RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP COMBO for the 1…2…LEE KICKS OUT AND THEY CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Things break down, GYV with a Doomsday Device to Wilde on the floor, MSK with a driver/kick combo on Mendoza on the opposite side of the ring. MSK and Grizzled Young Veterans throw bombs, Carter hits a double cutter, Lee tags in and MSK hits a Hart Attack Blockbuster for the 1…2…3!
MSK defeated Grizzled Young Veterans and Legado del Fantasma to win the NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (15:25)
- Really fun car crash of a triple threat match. Unreal athleticism from everyone involved, I loved the ending too of Legado getting systematically eliminated leading into the final stretch. That was great. MSK has been killing it for a long time on a show no one watches so it’s nice to see them get the nod on NXT. Hats off to ‘em. (****)
William Regal presents MSK with the NXT Tag Team Championship belts and they are officially announced as champs.
–Stephanie McMahon and new signee Sarray are in the crowd watching things.
Io Shirai [c] vs. Raquel Gonzalez [w/ Dakota Kai] for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Shirai charges right at Gonzalez, Gonzalez throws her off and follows up with a big boot. Shirai goes for a rana, Gonzalez blocks it so Shirai changes gears and rings her bell instead. Shirai connects with a kick and a flying rana from the top followed by a corner crossbody. Gonzalez BLOCKS double knees, Shirai sends her crashing to the floor and connects with a crossbody thru the ropes. Kai gets involved, the ref catches her and KICKS HER OUT OF THE RINGSIDE AREA. What a dummy. Shirai catches Gonzalez with a springboard moonsault and they CRASH into the guardrail, damn. Shirai goes for another, Gonzalez peels her off and LAUNCHES her shoulder-first into the post. Gonzalez catches a charging Shirai with a knee followed by a power bomb throw ONTO THE ROPES for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Shirai escapes a suplex and connects with a pair of chops, Gonzalez catches a third chop attempt and drills her. Gonzalez bends Shirai in half over her shoulder, Shirai flips out and connects with a hurricanrana, rolling into a double stomp. Shirai hits Gonzalez with a 619 followed by a springboard missile dropkick. Shirai connects with a Code Red for the 1…2…Gonzalez kicks out! Gonzalez peels Shirai off the buckles, Shirai slips out and locks in a Crossface! Gonzalez struggles and makes it to the bottom rope.
Gonzalez rolls to the ramp, Shirai flattens her with a top rope moonsault. Shirai charges at Gonzalez, laying her out with running knees. Gonzalez gets to her feet and turns right into A FLYING CROSSBODY FROM SHIRAI FROM THE TOP OF THE NXT SKULL HOLY SH*T. Shirai rolls Gonzalez into the ring and connects with a moonsault for the 1…2…GONZALEZ KICKS OUT AND SHIRAI CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Gonzalez rolls to the floor, Shirai goes after her and gets slammed on the ground. Gonzalez takes time to recuperate and rolls Shirai in, asking when she’ll learn to stay down. Shirai hits a Shotei, Gonzalez responds with a lariat and the one-armed powerbomb for the 1…2…3! YEEEEAH!
Raquel Gonzalez defeated Io Shirai [c] via pinfall to win the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (12:55)
- A match worthy of the main event. Helluva match, that skull splash spot f*cking owned. Gonzalez looked like a wrecking ball here, taking the best Shirai had and powering through to become the new champ. Great win and a great spotlight for Gonzalez. Nice to see a legitimate homegrown talent win an NXT Title again. (***1/2)
Excellent first night for NXT Stand & Deliver. Not a bad match on the show, with WALTER/Ciampa and the Tag Team Title triple threat match being the standouts. Shirai/Gonzalez was a worthy main event as well, Gonzalez getting that shine with a big win in the top match of the show. WWE must have big plans for her and goddamn did she earn them. F*ck yeah. WrestleMania Week is the best.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Walter vs. Tommaso Ciampa
- FAVORITE MOMENT: Io Shirai’s skull dive. The camera work was excellent here too, which is a rarity to say for a WWE production.