Date: January 6, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
It’s a huge night this week with the absolutely stacked New Year’s Evil card. The main event is Finn Balor defending the NXT Title against Kyle O’Reilly in a Takeover rematch, which should be a heck of a fight. Other than that, we have a hoss fight between Karrion Kross and Damian Priest, plus the Cruiserweight Title on the line. Let’s get to it.
Dexter Lumis, our host for the evening, is in the empty arena to start things off. He goes to the control and hits some buttons to mess with the lights before turning everything on. What a great way to draw in viewers! A guy pushing buttons in silence!
Damian Priest vs. Karrion Kross
Scarlett is here with Kross and this is a grudge match after Kross returned and Priest said he’s in if Kross wants a fight. They go with the hard lockup to start and fight out to the floor without breaking it up. Back in and Priest kicks him into the head and starts slugging away but Kross knocks him down as well. A running clothesline in the corner has Priest in trouble again and the t-bone suplex gets two.
We hit the double arm crank for a bit before they go out to the floor. Priest kicks the steps out of his hands and slugs away back inside, even managing to kick Kross down. A spinning suplex gets two on Kross and it’s time to crank on the arm, including a reverse cross armbreaker. They trade kicks to the head until Priest hits a springboard flip dive to take him down again.
That just earns him a running clothesline for two and Priest is put on the top. The super Doomsday Saito is broken up though and a Razor’s Edge out of the corner gets two. Kross breaks up the chokeslam onto the apron so Priest knocks him to the floor for the big dive. Back in and a kick to the face sets up South of Heaven for two on Kross.
That doesn’t really keep him down as it’s right back up for a powerbomb to Priest for two more. It’s back to the floor with Kross powerslamming him onto the steps to mess with the ribs even more. Back in and Priest tells him to bring it, earning himself the Doomsday Saito and a running forearm to the back of the head for the pin at 15:29.
Rating: B. They gave us what they advertised here by having two big, strong people beat each other up for fifteen minutes. Priest losing is fine as Kross seems destined for the title scene and it’s not like losing to a former NXT Champion is going to hurt him. Good opener here, with Priest looking good on his way down and Kross looking even better.
The Undisputed Era is ready for their first round Dusty Classic match against Breezango. They may be entertaining but the Undisputed Era is that much better.
Cruiserweight Title: Gran Metalik vs. Santos Escobar
Escobar, with Legado del Fantasma, is defending and Lince Dorado is here with Metalik. They start fast with Metalik snapping off a hurricanrana out to the floor. Back in and a double springboard hurricanrana takes Escobar down again, setting up the big dive to the floor. Escobar kicks him in the head but a rope walk hurricanrana is mostly botched and they fall to the floor.
Back from a break with Escobar dropping him ribs first onto the turnbuckle. The surfboard goes on for a bit, followed by a clothesline for two. Metalik gets in a superkick into a reverse Sling Blade to send Escobar outside again. That means another step up flip dive, followed by a top rope splash for two back inside.
Escobar knees him out of the air though and now it’s Metalik getting crushed by a dive for a change. Back in again and Escobar almost knocks the mask off but Dorado has to take out the rest of Legado. Metalik’s next hurricanrana gets two but the top rope elbow misses. The Phantom Driver retains the title at 12:26.
Rating: C. There wasn’t much drama here and that’s a good thing, as Escobar isn’t going to drop the title to someone coming down from Raw for a two match run. Metalik wasn’t great here either as some of his stuff wasn’t hitting and he used that hurricanrana quite a few times. Not bad, but it wasn’t quite memorable.
Mercedes Martinez doesn’t care that Io Shirai is the Competitor of the Year. She wants the Women’s Title and she’s waiting on the champ.
Xia Li vs. Katrina Cortez
This is Li’s, with a masked man, return after being trapped in a kung fu torture movie for a few weeks. Li kicks her down to start and hits some knees to the ribs. Cortez’s strikes are shrugged off and a big kick to the face finishes for Li at 1:27. Li, especially the finish, looked awesome here.
William Regal regrets to inform us that Timothy Thatcher is injured, meaning the Fight Pit against Tommaso Ciampa isn’t happening. The match will happen when Thatcher is healthy.
We get a special look at Bronson Reed, who promises a colossal 2021 and thinks Rhea Ripley wins tonight.
Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Last Woman Standing. Ripley dropkicks her into the corner to start and hammers away with right hands to the head. Back up and Gonzalez blasts her with a clothesline, followed by the fall away slam. Gonzalez cranks on the arm and kicks away but talks a bit too much trash about their matching tattoos. That means they go out to the floor with Ripley busting out the kendo sticks to put Gonzalez in some pain.
Gonzalez chairs her out of the air though and hits a hard whip into the barricade. The handcuffs are brought in but Ripley gets them away and attaches her to the barricade. That’s fine with Gonzalez, who rips them off and hits Ripley in the face. Ripley is sent face first into the bell and a backdrop onto the edge of the announcers’ table (geez) puts Ripley down again. Ripley makes it back in and we take a break.
Back with the Gonzalez hitting her in the face with the steps on the stage and then kicking Ripley down the steps. They fight to the back with Ripley spearing her through a glass door. Gonzalez is laid on a table and hits a Swanton off a box to drive her through it. Cue Dakota Kai with a kendo stick though and Ripley is in more trouble. That’s fine with Ripley, who kicks Kai into a locker and puts an anvil case in front of her for a nice trap.
Gonzalez and Ripley go back to the stage with Ripley grabbing the Prism Trap and choking with a chair. That’s broken up though with Gonzalez kicking her into the lighting structure. Ripley goes into the LED board (messing it up for a bit on the process) and it’s the one armed powerbomb to drive them both through the stage for the huge crash. Gonzalez is the only one to climb out for the win at 18:04.
Rating: B+. These two beat the fire out of each other and that’s all you could ask for here. The only thing that worries me is Ripley losing AGAIN because that seems to be the case almost all the time these days. The ending looked great though and Ripley locking Kai in a locker was funny so the whole thing was a success. Ripley almost has to be heading to the main roster now though right?
The Way, with a police escort, arrives for their latest celebration. They get in the ring, where something is under a sheet for them. Johnny Gargano talks about reversing the curse last week, just like the Cleveland Browns. Gargano: “YO CANDICE! I DID IT!” Candice is proud of him and has a plaque commemorating the curse being broken.
Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell offer their own praises and have a gift for him: a portrait of the Way as superheroes. Gargano is touched and announces that he and Theory are entering the Dusty Classic. Cue Shotzi Blackheart with the tank, which she fires at Theory’s crotch. As Theory is writhing in pain, here’s Kushida to go after Gargano. Lumis shows up to ring the bell.
Johnny Gargano/Candice LeRae vs. Kushida/Shotzi Blackheart
Gargano and Candice, in street clothes, rant on the floor before Shotzi kicks Candice in the head to start. We take an early break and come back with Shotzi getting kicked out of the corner as Lumis sits on commentary in silence. Blackheart snaps the arm down and it’s off to the men to pick up the pace.
Kushida goes for the cross armbreaker but Gargano gets his foot on the rope. Candice comes in for the save and offers to fight Kushida herself but Blackheart cuts her off in a hurry. Gargano and Candice are knocked outside so Shotzi can hit a big dive onto LeRae. A Theory cheap shot gets him pulled inside and kicked down, leaving Kushida to grab a rollup for the pin on Gargano at 9:05.
Rating: C. I’m still looking forward to both singles matches but this was just kind of there as a tag match. I love the Way’s wacky devotion to Gargano and Candice sells everything rather well, but the matches are only ok for the most part. Nothing too bad here, but not exactly must see stuff.
Takeover is back on Valentine’s Day.
The Dusty Classic is back next week, with the Undisputed Era vs. Breezango and the Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Ever-Rise.
William Regal announces the first ever women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. That could actually work.
NXT Title: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Finn Balor
Balor is defending and they’re both on their own. After the Big Match Intros, O’Reilly shoulders him down to start and Balor touches the previously broken jaw. A headscissors doesn’t go anywhere and it’s the threat of a kick to the head to shake Balor again. The second headscissors keeps Balor down and O’Reilly starts in on the arm. Balor tries to get up and grabs an abdominal stretch, sending O’Reilly to the ropes, which he bites for the break.
The trainer checks on O’Reilly’s mouth but Balor pulls O’Reilly into a headlock to stay on the jaw. O’Reilly fights up and starts in on the arm, including twisting it around the ropes. Balor goes back to the jaw and then stomps away, setting up a Crossface. That sends O’Reilly feet first to the rope for a change so Balor elbows him in the face and drives the forearm into the jaw.
Back up and O’Reilly kicks him down and goes for the arm, earning another shot tot he jaw for a breather. Balor hits the kick to the head to send O’Reilly outside and he has to beat the count. O’Reilly gets back in and it’s time to go after the leg, earning O’Reilly another kick to the face. Balor goes right back to the Crossface and hits the Sling Blade into a jumping stomp to the chest.
The shotgun dropkick puts O’Reilly in the corner but Balor gets crotched on top. A superplex into a brainbuster gets two and it’s back to the arm. A foot on the leg gets Balor out of trouble, even though his eye is cut. O’Reilly charges into a kick to the side and collapses, allowing Balor to put on something like the Rings of Saturn with a Crossface to make O’Reilly tap at 17:27.
Rating: A-. These guys were fighting an uphill battle as they had to live up to some unbelievable hype. Somehow they managed to have a heck of a match with Balor going after the jaw to mirror what happened last time. There wasn’t a lot of drama about the winner, but watching these guys beat the fire out of each other for about eighteen minutes was all you needed, and Balor looks all the more ready for Kross.
Medics and the Undisputed Era check on O’Reilly as Balor poses to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. This lived up to the hype and that’s a heck of a trick given how much this show was built up. You could have passed this off as a slightly weaker than usual Takeover and it would have worked just fine. There are some very good matches up and down the card and a limited use of Dexter Lumis makes everything better. Check this one out as it was a great show, with the main event and Last Woman Standing being some hard hitting fights.
Karrion Kross b. Damian Priest – Running forearm to the back of the head
Santos Escobar b. Gran Metalik – Phantom Driver
Xia Li b. Katrina Cortez – Spinning kick to the face
Raquel Gonzalez b. Rhea Ripley – Ripley could not answer the ten count
Kushida/Shotzi Blackheart b. Johnny Gargano/Candice LeRae – Rollup to Gargano
Finn Balor b. Kyle O’Reilly – Rings of Saturn with a Crossface
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