Date: May 25, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
It’s time for the big fight night with a Takeover: Stand & Deliver rematch between NXT Champion Karrion Kross and Finn Balor. Kross took the title from Balor last month and it is time for Balor to get his rematch. This is being treated as the big dream rematch and hopefully they live up to the hype. Let’s get it.
The opening video looks at Kross vs. Balor and makes it feel like the biggest match in a pretty long time.
Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon vs. Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai
Blackheart can’t roll Gonzalez up to start so it’s off to Moon, who can roll Gonzalez up for two. Kai comes in and sends Moon into the corner but Blackheart makes a blind tag. A running splash in the corner sets up the reverse Sling Blade to Kai and it’s back to Moon for two off the standing moonsault. Blackheart puts on a Texas Cloverleaf but Gonzalez breaks it up from behind, setting up some big elbows.
We take a break and come back with Moon and Gonzalez coming in off a double tag, meaning Moon can come in and clean house. Some slingshot knees to the ribs set up the middle rope Codebreaker but Kai cuts Moon off on the way back up. Blackheart has to make a save and then comes in to kick away at Kai. A fireman’s carry facebuster gets two on Kai but something like a Doomsday Device is broken up. Moon pulls Kai into a modified STF until Gonzalez makes the save. Gonzalez’s lifting powerbomb is countered though and Moon grabs a modified Eclipse. The Dominator/sliding cutter finishes Kai at 10:26.
Rating: C+. Energetic match here and I’m a bit surprised by the ending. The match would seem to have been there to also set up Moon as the next challenger to Gonzalez, which would be a good way to go. Kai being there to take the fall for Gonzalez is a formula which could work if they are going to be a team, so nice job of setting things up for the future and keeping the right people strong.
Post match Gonzalez jumps them both so Moon can be choked on the rope. Gonzalez sends Blackheart into the barricade, the post, and the barricade again. Moon vs. Gonzalez works for me.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher are ready for the Grizzled Young Veterans and promise a round three. They both throw chairs and Thatcher wants to break some limbs.
NXT is excited to have fans back.
Video on Bobby Fish vs. Pete Dunne, with Dunne injuring Fish at Takeover: WarGames.
Bobby Fish vs. Pete Dunne
Oney Lorcan is here with Dunne. Fish goes right after him at the bell and tries for the leg. That earns himself a heck of a chop and a kneebar from Dunne, who is fine with cutting someone to pieces. Dunne cranks on the arm a bit before taking Fish into the corner. The chinlock is countered into a Fujiwara armbar but Dunne fights back up.
That’s fine with Fish, who drops him arm first onto the top. Dunne gets sent outside and we take a break. Back with Dunne working on the leg before switching over to the arm. Fish fights up and hits a spinebuster but gets taken right back down by the arm. Dunne sends him outside to drop him again, but Fish manages an exploder suplex into the ropes back inside.
Some knees to the ribs have Dunne rocked in the corner but he snaps off a German suplex. There’s a big kick to the head but Fish hits a jumping elbow for two. The seated armbar goes on but Dunne rolls through into the Bitter End (what a sweet counter) to put Fish away at 12:12.
Rating: C+. That’s the only way to go here as Fish is going to mostly be a good hand around here. Dunne seems primed for a main event run so there wasn’t much of a choice to this one. There is nothing wrong with a competitive match where you know how things are going to go and they made it work.
Post match Lorcan jumps Fish and stays on the arm, including putting him on the apron to stand on it, with the arm being bent down towards the floor.
We look at Bronson Reed winning the North American Title last week.
Mercedes Martinez is ready to start her road to redemption. Boa is behind her, unseen.
Hit Row knows this is the land of opportunity and it is time to go gold. They’re watching the champions and are ready to put an L on their heads like they’re Mario’s brother. Everyone is on notice and if you didn’t know, now you know.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Zayda Ramier
Martinez’s entrance has some Glacier elements. Ramier gets taken down in a hurry but she moonsaults over Martinez in the corner. Some shots to the face give Ramier a quick two but Martinez knocks her down. Some rolling butterfly suplexes give Martinez two and there’s a spinebuster for the same. Ramier manages a hurricanrana into a choke but Martinez drives her into the corner for the easy break. A press slam off the top sets up a running knee into the Air Raid Crash to finish Ramier at 3:22.
Rating: C. This was more competitive than I would have bet on but Martinez survived everything that was thrown at her to win in the end. That’s all this needed to be, through Ramier got in a little bit of offense to give her a bit of a rub as well. She might turn into something later, so that was a nice bone to her here.
Post match the lights go out and we get a lot of red smoke. The blue lights come back up and Tian Sha’s symbol is on Martinez’s hand.
Ted DiBiase is in the back and the Robert Stone Brand comes up to him. DiBiase throws money at them and walks away.
Here are Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase for the Million Dollar Faceoff. Grimes talks about how he hasn’t always had money and how he looks up to DiBiase. Money lets Grimes treat people horribly and get away with it, because he has so much money to do whatever he wants. DiBiase says he likes Grimes because he is looking for the best person to personify the Million Dollar Man.
It isn’t all about money, because there is also everything that happens in this ring. Grimes has lost his focus since he got his money….and here is LA Knight to interrupt. Knight talks about how much of an opportunity there is here because he is perfect for something like this. Grimes says Knight needs to stay out of this talk between millionaires but DiBiase wants to hear what he has to say.
Knight talks about needing DiBiase as the final piece of the puzzle. That sounds appealing to DiBiase, who praises Knight’s million dollar body and mind but Grimes says this is between himself and DiBiase. Knight needs to leave, but he decks Grimes instead. DiBiase says Grimes is never going to get it and laughs before leaving with Knight. This is intriguing, for the talking possibilities alone.
Indi Hartwell is looking for Dexter Lumis but runs into Ever-Rise instead. Drake Maverick tries to calk things down and says Lumis was in that room over there a few hours ago. Hartwell goes in and finds a room with the walls covered in pictures of sad things, mainly themed around broken hearts. One of them has Dexter with a knife through his heart, leaving Hartwell freaked out.
Frankie Monet vs. Cora Jade
Monet takes her into the corner to start and the chops are on in a hurry. Some running knees to the back set up a running hip attack in the corner, followed by the running knees to the face. A hard knee drops Jade again but she gets in some forearms, which surprise Monet more than anything else. Jade grabs a Russian legsweep for two but a spear cuts her off. The yet to be named Road To Valhalla (Beth: “That looked familiar!”) finishes Jade at 3:08.
Rating: C. Another effective squash here, with Monet looking confident and dominant at the same time. Jade’s offense meant nothing and served to make Monet all the more angry so she could finish things off. Monet feels like a complete product already, but a little more seasoning never hurt anyone.
The Grizzled Young Veterans want the Tag Team Titles so they’ll be watching MSK’s Tag Team Title defense next week.
We look at Bronson Reed winning the North American Title and talking about how much it means for Australians.
Walter yells at Imperium about how Alexander Wolfe is gone for good and now it is time to show how sacred the mat is again. They start by making up for losing the Tag Team Titles to Breezango.
Here is Bronson Reed to celebrate his title win. After soaking in some tears, Reed talks about how the title represents being willing to fight for what you want. Now that he has this, try to take it from him. Cue Legado del Fantasma (this could be interesting), with Santos Escobar talking about how this business was born to him. That title has Escobar’s attention and it is why he took the Cruiserweight Title in the first place. He likes being the champion of Mexico and the United States (Joaquin Wilde: “What about Canada?” Escobar: “I told you Canada doesn’t count!”) so the beatdown is teased, but MSK runs in for the save.
William Regal sets up a triple threat match for next week between Kyle O’Reilly, Johnny Gargano and Pete Dunne, with the winner getting an NXT Title shot at Takeover.
NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross
Kross, with Scarlett, is defending. Balor starts kicking at the leg and grabs a headlock for some early control. Kross sends him outside but they switch places, with Kross being frustrated as we take a break. Back with Kross kicking away at the legs and planting Balor for daring to try a comeback. Some shoulders to the ribs and more to the back have Balor in trouble in the corner and there’s a big shot to the back to make it worse.
Kross sends him flying again and a German suplex has Balor reeling. Balor finally manages to take him down though and rolls into the jumping double stomp. Kross knocks him outside but Balor manages to tie things up in the ring skirt. That means a bunch of stomping to the back and we take another break. Back again with Kross hitting a powerslam for two but Balor grabs something like the Nightmare on Helm Street.
Another double stomp is pulled into a rear naked choke and Balor takes his time to get to the rope. They head outside with Kross sending him into the barricade over and over to stay on the back. Once back inside, Balor manages a quick DDT into the Sling Blade. With Kross being sent back outside, it’s a big flip dive to take him down…for all of a few seconds, as Kross drops him onto the announcers’ table.
Back in and Balor hits a double stomp into the shotgun dropkick but the Coup de Grace misses. A release German suplex drops Balor and there’s a Doomsday Saito to put him down again. The running elbow is countered into a cradle for two but Balor’s seated abdominal stretch is countered into some forearms to the back of the head. Balor slips out and hits his own forearms to put Kross in trouble for a change.
A straitjacket choke has Kross in trouble and Balor switches over to a triangle choke. Kross grabs the referee to save himself though and there’s a powerbomb to put Balor down hard. A forearm to the back sets up the running elbow to the back of the head, setting up a bunch of stomps to Balor’s head. The Krossjacket Choke ends Balor at 22:41.
Rating: B. This took some time to get going but the last few minutes were the intense stuff you would expect from these two. I’m curious if Balor sticks around NXT at this point, as there is nothing left for him to do and the main roster could certainly use him. They didn’t get to the same level that they did at Takeover, but this was quite good for a big time TV main event.
Kross and Scarlett pose as Balor rolls away to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. This show was another good one up and down but it wasn’t quite to the same level as some of their recent efforts. The action was good and the main event felt important, but the rest of the show was just kind of there. The good thing is that they have started the build towards Takeover though, which is coming up pretty quickly. NXT are the masters of slow and steady, though this one, while good, was more of the former.
Shotzi Blackheart/Ember Moon b. Dakota Kai/Raquel Gonzalez – Dominator/sliding cutter combination to Kai
Pete Dunne b. Bobby Fish – Bitter End
Mercedes Martinez b. Zayda Ramier – Air Raid Crash
Frankie Monet b. Cora Jade – Road To Valhalla
Karrion Kross b. Finn Balor – Krossjacket Choke
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