Date: March 10, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph
This is one of the most stacked shows that NXT has had in a long time, with a pair of title matches to cap off the show. In addition though, General Manager William Regal is making two major announcements this week, both of which could be quite the game changers. Or they are either short term or not overly interesting ideas. Let’s get to it.
The champions and the challengers arrived earlier today.
Here’s William Regal to make the big announcements to start the show. First up, we go to a video on the history of Takeover, which is coming back over Wrestlemania weekend….for two nights, Wednesday and Thursday, on USA and Peacock respectively. This one is called Takeover: Stand And Deliver, which is at least better than Vengeance Day. Back in the arena, Regal has asked the women’s division to stand in the aisle. These women have proven themselves over and over, week in and week out, so Regal would like Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to come to the ring.
They got cheated out of their Women’s Tag Team Titles last week, so Regal is making his own move. Therefore, the two of them are the first ever NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions. Kai is rather proud and thanks Regal before bragging about running through the tournament to win the titles. Cue Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon to say if we have champions, we are going to have some challengers. Regal agrees and makes the match tonight. Well that was fast. These titles absolutely do not need to (and should not) exist, but at least it was fast.
Women’s Title: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm
Storm is challenging and takes her up against the ropes for an early slap. They go to the mat to slug it out with Shirai being knocked into the corner. Shirai manages a shot to the ribs and hits a slingshot double stomp to the back. A rollup gives Shirai two and we hit the abdominal stretch with an elbow into Storm’s ribs. They head outside with Shirai being whipped into the steps as we take a break.
Back with Shirai hitting a flapjack, followed by the springboard missile dropkick for two. Storm nails a sliding clothesline into a bridging German suplex for two of her own. Another sliding clothesline against the ropes but Shirai backdrops her onto the apron. That’s enough to send Storm to the floor and there’s the big moonsault to drop her again.
Back in and another moonsault is broken up, setting up a sitout powerbomb out of the corner for two. Shirai snaps on a Crossface but Storm makes it over to the ropes in a hurry. Another moonsault misses and now Storm Zero connects for a rather near fall. Shirai is right back with the Crossface….and Storm actually taps at 12:00.
Rating: B-. I was surprised by the ending, though I do like the idea of Shirai having another finisher. She has been the champion for a very long time now and I’m not sure who is going to take the title from her this time around. Storm losing actually threw me here and I’m not sure where the two of them go from here.
Finn Balor wants tonight to be him and Adam Cole one on one and face to face for that title.
LA Knight says he’s ready to debut next week but here’s Bronson Reed to grab him by the throat. Drake says this is his time and I think we have a showdown for next week.
Pete Dunne vs. Jake Atlas
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch are here with Dunne. Atlas starts with a cartwheel and gets hammerlocked down to the arm for his efforts. Back up and Atlas snaps off a hurricanrana, followed by a springboard armdrag. Dunne isn’t having any of this and kicks the arm in. There’s a knee to the arm to put him down again and the armbar goes on. Atlas is right back with a snap German suplex for two and a discus lariat drops Dunne again. The cartwheel DDT is broken up though and Dunne snaps the fingers into the armbar to make Atlas tap at 4:26.
Rating: C-. This was all about making Dunne look like a monster who picked Atlas apart. Dunne not having any time for Atlas’ flips and ripping him to pieces was great. I’m not sure what is next for Dunne, but he is the kind of guy who could face anyone in NXT today and have a great match. This wasn’t a squash, but it was a heck of a beating.
Post match Dunne says he made his name in the UK but he is the best technical wrestler in the world today. Prove him wrong.
Imperium says that they are awesome and want Timothy Thatcher to join them.
Leon Ruff is tired of being told that he lucked into the title so now he’s ready to prove that Isaiah Scott is in for another rough landing.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai vs. Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon
Moon and Blackheart are challenging. Shotzi wastes no time in grabbing the Cloverleaf on Kai, which is pulled into the middle of the ring. Kai finally makes the rope so they can both hit kicks to the face at the same time. We take a break and come back with Gonzalez dropping Kai into a double stomp onto Blackheart. Back up and a quick enziguri allows the hot tag off to Moon to clean house.
Moon picks Kai up for a powerbomb and spins her down into a faceplant (that didn’t look good), followed by the middle rope Codebreaker on Gonzalez. Blackheart dives onto Gonzalez and Moon throws Kai back in. Kai nails a running boot to the face in the corner and Gonzalez comes in for a gorilla press into Kai’s bicycle kick.
Gonzalez knocks Blackheart off the apron but Moon slips out of a powerslam and brings Blackheart back in. Blackheart dives onto Gonzalez off the top as everything breaks down. Moon comes back in but Gonzalez blocks the Eclipse with straight power. A hurricanrana sends Gonzalez and Moon to the floor though, leaving Blackheart to roll Kai up for the pin at 12:16.
Rating: C+. The match was kind of all over the place but the title change on the night the titles debuted is certainly an exciting way to go. Moon and Blackheart had potential as a team so it’s nice to see them getting a chance as a team. It’s a better fit for the titles anyway and maybe this can finally get Moon some momentum after the first few months of her rather uninspiring return.
Adam Cole talks about how he got rid of the dead weight in the Undisputed Era. Then he played Finn Balor like a fiddle because it was always about getting the NXT Title back. Tonight, the next reign begins.
Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon get a standing ovation in the back but the Way walks off. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell find Johnny Gargano, who is looking for Austin Theory. They can’t believe he paid off the therapist last week. Gargano says he did it to show Theory that Dexter Lumis does not care about him. Theory comes in and starts to cry, before ripping his shirt off and saying that Lumis has crossed the line. Storming off ensues.
Video on WWE working with Girl Up.
Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter
They start fast with Carter kicking her down and hitting some clotheslines. A scissors kick into a running boot in the corner gets two on Li but Carter misses a charge. Cue Kacy Catanzaro on crutches as Li loads up the leg in the corner. Li says this is for Catanzaro, who hits her with the crutch for the DQ at 2:04.
Post match Boa comes in and blocks the crutch shot from Catanzaro. Carter gets in a cheap shot on Boa so she and Catanzaro can escape.
Jordan Devlin says his travel ban is lifted and he is coming back for Takeover because the Cruiserweight Champion should be on the card.
Video on Zoey Stark, who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and used wrestling as her escape. It lets her focus and then she got a job here through hard work. It’s cool to see her getting some focus like this because she certainly impressed in her early matches.
Santos Escobar yells at William Regal about Jordan Devlin and stays backstage during Legado del Fantasma’s match.
Legado del Fantasma vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Before the match Zack Gibson asks what it feels like to be Santos Escobar’s goons. What they did to Wes Lee’s hand is going to be nothing compared to what they do to these two. Gibson gets knocked to the apron to start so Drake comes in and gets knocked into the wrong corner. A hiptoss into the ropes sets up a splash for two on Drake. Back up and an enziguri gives Drake a breather….and we’ve got astronauts ala Breezango last week. It’s MSK though, and the distraction legs Wilde sunset flip Drake for the pin at 1:43.
Post match MSK take off the helmets and smash Legado’s hands. Breezango runs in as well and the beatdown is on. With Legado done, dancing ensues.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez are livid but they were the first champions. Io Shirai comes in to challenge Gonzalez, who says be careful what you wish for.
Timothy Thatcher is asked about Imperium but here’s Tommaso Ciampa to interrupt. Ciampa doesn’t want to put the cart before the horse and since they’re against Imperium, it’s a tag match next week. Thatcher doesn’t seem sure about this.
Here’s what’s coming next week.
NXT Title: Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor
Balor is defending. They start fast with the takedowns to the mat and an exchange of headlocks. Balor holds a headlock for a bit and then Cole holds one for a bit, followed by a standoff to send us to a break. We come back with Cole unloading in the corner Cole unloading in the corner but walking into a dropkick. Balor grabs a chinlock for a bit so Cole fights up, only to have his leg dropkicked out.
A shinbreaker can’t quite set up a half crab so Balor settles for a double stomp to the chest instead. The Nightmare on Helm Street gets two on Cole and he gets kicked outside, where he manages a quick pump kick. Cole loads up the steps but Balor manages a suplex onto the ramp to send us to another break. Back with Balor hitting a brainbuster onto the knee for two but the Panama Sunrise misses. Balor nails the Sling Blade, only to miss the Coup de Grace.
Cole’s superkick gets two and he grabs a Crossface of all things. They roll into the middle with Balor in trouble until he rolls back to escape. Cole is right back with the Crossface so Balor goes to the rope this time around. Cole kicks the knee out and the Last Shot connects for two, followed by the Panama Sunrise for the same. Another Last Shot is countered with a toss to the floor and Cole winds up in front of Kyle O’Reilly. The distraction lets Balor hit the big flip dive and 1916 on the floor knocks Cole silly. Back in the Coup de Grace retains the title at 20:07.
Rating: B+. They surprised me again as I would have bet on Cole taking the title here. That being said, I’m kind of glad that they didn’t because Cole as champion has been done, even if he was transitioning it to O’Reilly at Takeover. Balor is all but guaranteed to face Karrion Kross so they’re both set. As for the match, what else were you expecting? They’ve had great ones before and they had time on the big stage here. How else was this going to go?
Post match O’Reilly gets in the ring so Cole begs off but his low blow is blocked. O’Reilly shouts that Cole did this to him but referees break up the brainbuster onto the steps. The fight heads up the ramp and Balor is left in the ring….with Karrion Kross behind him. Kross asks what took him so long and the staredown ends the show.
Overall Rating: B+. If there is one thing that NXT knows how to do, it is turn on the jets and crank things up on the big stage. That is what they did here as this show was billed as a big deal and then wound up being a big deal. There were two major announcements, three title matches and a bunch of stuff set up for Takeover. That’s a heck of a way to use two hours and I had a great time with this. Awesome show and Takeover is looking great already.
Io Shirai b. Toni Storm – Crossface
Pete Dunne b Jake Atlas – Armbar
Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon b. Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai – Rollup to Kai
Xia Li b. Kayden Carter via DQ when Kacy Catanzaro interfered
Legado del Fantasma b. Grizzled Young Veterans – Sunset flip to Drake
Finn Balor b. Adam Cole – Coup de Grace
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