Takeover: Vengeance Day
Date: February 14, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
It’s time for the next big one and this time around, it means a rather strange name as St. Valentine’s Day something isn’t allowed anymore. Fair enough, but it’s not like it matters if the show winds up being great and the potential is there this time around. The card is stacked and hopefully it lives up to the hype. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is a Valentine’s Day rap about how much this place is loved, including a rundown of the card.
There’s a ramp instead of an aisle for a change.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai/Raquel Gonzalez
Gonzalez powers Blackheart around with ease to start and does the same to Moon. It’s already back to Blackheart, who is driven into the corner for a hard ram into the buckle. Kai comes in and gets two off Gonzalez’s knockdown. The running kick in the corner misses though and Blackheart gets in a kick to the leg. The Texas Cloverleaf goes on but Kai is all of eight inches from the rope for the easy break.
Blackheart hits the reverse Cannonball against the ropes and it’s Moon coming in with the slingshot splash for two. A double takedown slams Kai down and Moon cranks on the leg for a bonus. Moon pulls her back in to stay on the leg so Kai uses the free leg to kick her way to….well nothing actually as Moon drags her away again. Gonzalez comes in to yell so Blackheart switches without a tag.
Moon is smart enough to knock Gonzalez off the apron to break up the tag though and the ankle lock goes on. Kai finally sends Moon into the corner and the (Hot?) tag brings in Gonzalez to clean house. Some rams in the corner set up a fall away slam to drop Moon and Gonzalez drags Blackheart in for the same. Gonzalez is knocked outside so Blackheart tries a hurricanrana, only to get swung into the barricade.
Back in and Moon dropkicks Gonzalez off the apron but gets taken into the corner again. Kai hits the running kick to the face for two but Moon manages a leg lariat to Kai, causing her to DDT Gonzalez. Moon goes for Kai, only to get picked up by Gonzalez. That’s broken up by Blackheart’s missile dropkick to give Moon two and it’s Blackheart coming back in to clean house. Sliced Bread gets two on Gonzalez with Kai making another save. Blackheart hits a suicide dive to take Kai down again and then puts Kai up in an electric chair.
Moon dives off the top with a crossbody for a modified Doomsday Device and then kicks Gonzalez in the face. Back in and the STF has Gonzalez in trouble so Kai makes another save. Blackheart gets the tag so Kai takes her down with the Kairopractor for two. The assisted GTK gets two on Blackheart with Moon making another save. Gonzalez LAUNCHES Moon onto the ramp but Blackheart dropkicks her down. Kai is tossed onto Gonzalez, who is up to shove Blackheart off the top. A very high powerbomb finally puts Blackheart away to give Gonzalez the pin at 15:45.
Rating: B+. This was a lot better than I would have bet on here with straight action throughout. I’m rather happy to see the established team beat the thrown together team for a change, even though I can’t really imagine Kai and Gonzalez against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. What matters here though is the match itself, as these four beat the fire out of each other with some great saves and near falls.
William Regal comes out for the trophy presentation.
We recap Kushida vs. Johnny Gargano for the North American Title. Gargano won the title back a few months ago and Kushida has given him trouble since. Title match set.
Johnny Gargano and the Way do their pre-match dance and cheer for Gargano to retain the title.
North American Title: Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida
Gargano is defending and sends the rest of the Way to the back. Kushida goes straight for the Hoverboard Lock to start but Gargano is out in a hurry. They head to the mat with an exchange of armbars, followed by an exchange of front facelocks. Gargano tries the Gargano Escape but Kushida gets it on him instead, with Gargano escaping in a hurry. They head outside with Gargano sending him into the steps but getting caught in the cross armbreaker.
Gargano is in trouble but manages a neckbreaker over the ropes to cut Kushida off again. A floatover suplex gets…nothing actually as Kushida is up before one. Gargano hits a gordbuster into a kick to the arm (Barrett: “That’s a receipt!”) but Kushida manages an Octopus out of nowhere. That’s broken up and they hit the pinfall reversal sequence for a series of near falls until a double clothesline puts them both down. Back up and Kushida strikes away but can’t get one of the holds.
Instead it’s a German suplex into a kick to the back of the head for two on Gargano. A chickenwing northern lights suplex gets two on Gargano so he heads to the apron. That’s fine with Kushida, who breaks up a springboard and sends him shoulder first into the post. Kushida puts him on top but Gargano hits a swinging superplex, followed by a tornado DDT for two of his own. Back up and Gargano can’t get the Escape but neither can Kushida.
Instead Kushida goes for the arm again, only to get stacked up for two. Another double shot to the face gives us a double knockdown and the NXT chants strike up again. They slug it out from their knees with Kushida getting the better of it. The handspring elbow is countered into the Gargano Escape but Kushida goes for the bad arm and gets the Hoverboard Lock.
That’s escaped as well and a bridging rollup gives Gargano two. A superkick into the lawn dart knocks Kushida silly though and they’re both down again. Kushida manages a chickenwing suplex into the corner and they go up top, with Kushida flipping him down into the cross armbreaker. Gargano is about to tap but rolls over and gets the feet in the ropes. They head outside with Gargano sending him into the barricade for a breather but Kushida slips around to the stage.
That means a running kick to the arm and the Hoverboard Lock goes on, with commentary taking away the drama by declaring it over. Gargano drives him neck first into the rope for the break and One Final Beat onto the ramp knocks Kushida silly. Another One Final Beat back inside retains the title at 24:47.
Rating: A-. This got some serious time and the action worked well as both guys beat the heck out of each other. I’m not sure how many people were expecting a title change here but it’s by far Kushida’s best match in NXT. The biggest problem here was a lack of drama near the end, as Gargano getting out of the cross armbreaker cut off any real drama about a title change, but it takes something pretty great to make about 25 minutes fly by this fast. Awesome stuff here in a Takeover worthy match.
We recap the Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with MSK and the Grizzled Young Veterans meeting in the finals.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
That would be Nash Carter/Wes Lee vs. Zack Gibson/James Drake. The Veterans do their usual intro and it’s Gibson cranking on Carter’s arm to start so it’s off to Drake for a headlock on the mat. Carter fights up and brings Lee in though and the pace picks up. The Veterans are sent outside with Lee hitting a cartwheel into a dive to take them out, followed by Carter’s dive to hit Drake.
Gibson gets away though and blasts Carter with a clothesline to take over again. Back in and Drake gets a series of near falls before slapping on a chinlock. That doesn’t last long either so Drake runs Carter over with an elbow for two more. It’s back to Gibson to work on the arm before switching to a front facelock. Drake comes back in but Carter manages a suplex for a breather.
Gibson breaks up the tag by pulling Lee to the floor though and it’s a Downward Spiral/missile dropkick combination (or “Maximum Skullduggery” according to Barrett) for two on Carter. The chinlock goes on for a bit but Carter ducks a spinwheel kick and brings in Lee to clean house. A big dive to the floor takes out the Veterans and then faceplants Gibson back inside.
Carter comes in for a running dropkick to Drake and some rather questionable language to Gibson. A bunch of right hands and a cutter out of the corner gets two on Gibson and they’re both down. Lee’s backflip kick to the head is cut off with a knee though and Helter Skelter into Drake’s 450 gets two with Gibson not believing the kickout. Lee rolls Gibson up for two and sends the Veterans into each other. The push moonsault his Gibson and a poisonrana hits Drake, setting up the Spinal Tap (Lee called it the Final Flash in Impact) gets a very close two.
Lee is sent outside where Drake puts him in an electric chair for the suicide Doomsday Device and a nasty landing. That leaves Carter to fight them both off but it’s a powerbomb/Backstabber combination for a rather close two. Lee is back in though and it’s a spinebuster/middle rope spinning neckbreaker for the pin and the tournament at 18:45.
Rating: B+. And that’s how you pull the trigger on someone, which Impact Wrestling didn’t do for the Rascalz in the two or so years they were in the company. They had one crazy spot after another here and that’s all it needed to be. There’s something awesome about seeing a new team come in and tear the house down like this and it worked to near perfection. Great match and there is going to be a heck of a moment when the Veterans finally win something. The Tag Team Title match should be great too so everything works out.
William Regal comes out for the trophy presentation.
Video on Cameron Grimes being rich, complete with him rolling around in cash in his underwear. This might be the best thing in NXT today.
We recap the triple threat match for the Women’s Title. Io Shirai has been champion since June and Mercedes Martinez attacked her. Then Toni Storm decided she wanted the title too. The triple threat was on.
Women’s Title: Mercedes Martinez vs. Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai
Shirai is defending. Martinez isn’t waiting around to start and jumps Shirai during the Big Match Intros to get things going fast. Shirai is right back in to put Martinez down but Storm shoulders her over. Another shot knocks Martinez off the apron and Shirai plants Storm. A slingshot dropkick hits Storm in the corner but she’s back up with a basement clothesline to knock Shirai against the ropes.
Martinez takes Storm to the floor so Shirai loads up an Asai moonsault…but Martinez just steps to the side so it’s a crash landing. Makes sense. Back in and Martinez plants Storm for two more but Shirai is back in with a missile dropkick to Martinez. Storm cuts Shirai off with a Boss Man Slam, only to walk into Martinez’s spinebuster for two. Shirai takes Martinez down though and it’s a Crossface to Storm, but Martinez adds a Dragon Sleeper on Shirai at the same time.
The holds are both broken up and Martinez hits a reverse suplex on Shirai. That’s fine with the champ, who is back up with a 619 and missile dropkick to put Martinez down again. Storm and Shirai go up but Martinez German superplexes Storm off. The Alberto double stomp hits Martinez, leaving Storm to get back up. They head outside with Storm clearing off the announcers’ table….which breaks after she just touches it a bit.
Storm Zero onto the wreckage is countered into a DDT from Martinez but Shirai climbs onto the lighting structure to dive onto both of them. Shirai is done so Martinez takes Storm back inside for some knees to the face. A fisherman’s buster gets two on Storm and Storm Zero gets two on Martinez with a pair of shocked faces in between. Storm adds a top rope headbutt to Martinez but it’s Shirai moonsaulting in for the pin to retain at 12:42.
Rating: B. This was another match that was almost all action and it worked out well, though I’m not sure who is going to take the title from Shirai. She is coming up on nine months as champion and could hold onto the thing for a lot longer to come. Maybe she drops it to Storm in a singles match, or maybe it is someone else coming up to go after her. Either way, good match here and Shirai’s reign is starting to get kind of historic.
We look at LA Knight (Eli Drake) signing with NXT earlier tonight and then interrupting the Kickoff Show.
We recap Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Title. Balor has been champion for a few months now and bumped into Dunne in the back one night on TV. Dunne seemed interested in the title and they have brawled a few times, setting up a UK dream match for the title.
NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne
Balor is defending and they take their time on the entrances. Dunne takes him down by the arm to start but Balor reverses into an armbar of his own. A monkey flip can’t get Dunne out of trouble so Balor works on a headlock on the mat. The grinding continues until Dunne finally counters with a headscissors to work on the neck. That’s broken up as well and we’re at a standoff as second gear continues.
Dunne starts in on the arm so Balor tries to flip out, only to get pulled into a triangle choke. That’s escaped as well and Balor cranks on the arm to keep Dunne in trouble. Dunne reverses as well and starts cranking on the arm to put the champ in more trouble. This time Balor reverses into a leglock so Dunne tries for the arm again, only to have his leg kicked out again. Another leglock goes on but this time Dunne reverses into a front facelock to work on the neck a bit.
The X Plex gets two on Balor and it’s time to slug it out. Balor blasts him with a clothesline for two and it’s back to the leg. An STF has Dunne in more trouble but he sends Balor’s fingers into the mat for the break. Back up and Balor goes for the knee again but 1916 is broken up. Dunne stomps at the face and plants him with a sitout powerbomb for two more. The big stomp on the arm has Balor in more trouble and there’s a German suplex, only to have Balor kick the knee out again.
A Backstabber to Dunne sets up a shotgun dropkick in the corner but Dunne pulls him into a triangle choke. Balor can’t roll free and is knocked out…but his foot is in the rope. Balor can’t stand but he can counter the Bitter End into an abdominal stretch of all things. They go to the mat with the hold still on but Dunne gets to the fingers for some snapping. Dunne holds the hand and avoids a stomp, meaning the Bitter End can connect for two. The kickout stuns Dunne and they’re both down for a bit.
Another powerbomb attempt is countered into a DDT from Balor but Dunne is back with an enziguri. The Bitter End is countered into the reverse 1916 for another near fall and they’re both down one more time. Dunne grabs the hand and bends the fingers back so Balor double stomps him in the back. Balor ribs Dunne’s mouthpiece out and nails a basement dropkick. The Coup de Grace connects but Balor can’t immediately cover. 1916 retains the title at 25:17.
Rating: A-. This took its time to get going but then they beat the heck out of each other, which has been a theme tonight. Dunne losing still feels weird but it also comes off as a huge deal because he barely ever gets beaten. Balor is a full on legend in NXT and whoever takes the title from him is going to be an instant star no matter who it is. They could have gone either way here as the winner is going to be facing Karrion Kross for the title anyway.
Post match Balor poses but here are Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to jump him from behind. The three on one beatdown is on but the Undisputed Era runs in for the save. Balor isn’t sure what to do and is scared to accept Kyle O’Reilly’s help up. Eventually he does though and they respect each other….and then Adam Cole superkicks Balor. The rest of the team asks what he’s doing so Cole lays out O’Reilly as well. Roderick Strong isn’t sure what to do and looks back and forth from O’Reilly and Balor on the mat to Cole to end the show. It might not be popular, but was there anything else for the Era to do?
Overall Rating: A. The worst match on the show would have been the match of the week 90% of the year so I’m not sure what there is to complain about here. This was five straight awesome matches because that’s what Takeover does. The ending was a surprise but a necessary one to give it a big moment that carries things into the next cycle. As usual, the action was great and they gave you a reason to come back, which are two of the most important things a show can do. Outstanding stuff here, in case there was any doubt there would be for some odd reason.
Dakota Kai/Raquel Gonzalez b. Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart – Powerbomb to Blackheart
Johnny Gargano b. Kushida – One Final Beat
MSK b. Grizzled Young Veterans – Spinebuster/Spinning middle rope neckbreaker to Drake
Io Shirai b. Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm – Moonsault to Martinez
Finn Balor b. Pete Dunne – 1916
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