What Took You So Long? (WWE NXT Review)

This week’s episode was shaping up to be a doozy of one. Two title matches were set and William Regal had two major announcements to make as well. Plenty to look forward to this week so let us just jump right in to see what the black and gold brand had for us this week. 

 

William Regal’s Announcements 

We all heard the rumors that the announcements would be that TakeOver would be two nights this year and that they would be introducing Women’s Tag Titles to the brand. Even though I knew of those rumors, that did not take from my excitement over hearing the news. The first announcement would be that TakeOver for Wrestlemania week would in fact be two days. The event will be called “Stand and Deliver” and the best part is that the first night will be free to watch on the USA Network as it will be on Wednesday. The following night will be on Peacock TV and I loved the video package they had for this. TakeOver has certainly come a long way and I cannot wait to see what matches will be announced for each night.  

Regal would then go on to make the second announcement and he called for Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to join him in the ring. He spoke about how Adam Pearce screwed them out of the titles and that they deserved to be champions. He would unveil the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles and they looked amazing. He said they would be the first champions and they wasted no time in bragging about how they are the best team. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon would come in and issue a challenge for the titles that Regal would make official for later in the night. Two expected announcements but still great nonetheless. 

 

Io Shirai vs Toni Storm (NXT Women’s Championship) 

This match started off a bit slow and I was wondering if we were in for an underwhelming match. Both women are amazing in the ring but I have noticed that Toni has sometimes had some underwhelming matches in NXT. This was not the case though as this was probably Toni’s best match in NXT to date. I am not counting NXT UK in this and am just talking about NXT prime. Great back and forth in this match and you could just see years and years of chemistry in this match between the two given their long history. Toni also changed things up in her gear and I am not quite sure how I feel about it yet. Again, great back and forth in this match and Io would end up winning with a crossface, not her patented moonsault, to retain her title. I think Io may very well be the best women’s wrestler in the world right now and it is easy to see why. 

 

Finn Balor Promo 

Solid promo by Finn here as he talked about his title match with Adam Cole. He mentioned how Cole is all alone now that he kicked Kyle and Roderick out of the Undisputed Era and he has to go it alone in their match. He is confident he will win and you cannot blame him since Cole did rely mych on the UE during his reign as champion. 

 

LA Knight Interview 

I am loving Knight so far in NXT and the man is truly gifted on the mic. He was interviewed about what happened last week and I liked how he said he wasn’t making his in-ring debut last week. He talked about how he may make his debut next week and that is when Bronson Reed would come from behind and grab him. Bronson is clearly ticked off over what happened last week and he wants a piece of him. Looks like Knight has his first opponent and it should be a good match. 

 

Jake Atlas vs Pete Dunne 

I already knew once Dunne’s music hit that Atlas would be in for some joint manipulation here. Atlas put up some fight but Dunne was clearly too much for him. Dunne has been extra vicious since his return and Atlas was another victim to that viciousness. Dunne made him tap and I always love that shoulder shrug he does. Dunne would get on the mic after the match and talk about how he is the best right now and there is nobody that is as gifted of a technical wrestler as he is. He is looking for someone to step to the challenge and all I can think about is how KUSHIDA would make a great opponent for him. 

 

Imperium Promo 

Imperium’s intentions have become a bit clearer now and their message is clear. I love how Barthel referenced his relationship with Thatcher prior to them being in NXT and how he needs to come home to them because he is one of them. Aichner would chime in as well to say that they would even take in Ciampa if that is what Thatcher would need to take the invite. They have plans to takeover and they want Thatcher to be a part of those plans. This story is developing quite nicely and I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

 

Leon Ruff Promo 

Solid enough promo by Ruff here but he did sound like he was speeding through it. I am sure there may be some nerves talking that close to the camera but it was a bit noticeable. He is tired of everybody saying that he is “lucky” and that includes Swerve. He said he wasn’t lucky when he beat him before and is out ot prove that he can do it again in their match next week. Solid stuff by Ruff and I like the fire coming out of him.  

 

Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles) 

These two teams had a killer match at TakeOver and this was another one. This one had slightly bigger stakes as Kai and Gonzalez were putting their titles on the line. Just like their match at TakeOver, this had a great back and forth. I love Shotzi’s cloverleaf and she did a good job in cranking it on Dakota. Shotzi and Ember have really come together as a team and I like hopw Shotzi has brought something out of Ember. Ember is great in the ring but she hasn’t been all that great with her persona. Being with Shotzi has really brought it out of her and she looks like she is having wicked fun with Shotzi. Dakota did take plenty of offense and Raquel did her job in using her size to get them the advantage. The pace really picked up in the match and I had no idea who would win here. Shotzi and Ember would end up pulling up the win as Dakota would take the loss and we have new champions. I am a bit shocked by this but it will all be made clear why this happened in due time. 

 

Adam Cole Promo 

It was Cole’s turn to speak on the title match and he nailed it like he usually does. He spoke a bit as to why he attacked Kyle and Roderick and said it was simply to remind them of the hierarchy in the Undisputed Era. He said it was always about the title and he is ready to take it from Finn. He wants to prove that he is the greatest NXT Champion in the history of NXT and we shall see how that pans out. 

 

Shotzi & Ember Backstage and The Way Backstage 

One segment flowed right into the other so it makes sense that I group them together. Shotzi and Ember made their way through the curtain where they were greeted by the women of the locker room. They were congratulating them and cheering for the new champions. The camera would then pan over to show Candice and Indi doing the opposite and I loved how Indi was booing them. Johnny would then walk up to them and would ask if they have seen Austin. Austin would then turn up and question Johnny about the therapist from last week’s therapy session. Johnny continued to ruse and would reiterate the clear lies the therapist told Austin about what Lumis thinks of him. Theory would leave full of anger and Indi and Johnny would follow him. Candice would linger a bit as she was looking back at Ember and Shotzi and it feels clear that we are getting the Way versus Shotzi and Ember and it will probably be on one of the TakeOver nights.  

 

Kayden Carter vs Xia Li 

I liked how Kayden did not wait for Xia to do something and got on her right out the gate. Kayden wants revenge for what Xia did to Kacy and she was not about to wait for it. This was a solid enough match but it is clearly more about the story of Xia’s new attitude that Mei Ying has brought out of both her and Boa. Xia would start taking control and Kacy would make her way down to ringside in crutches. Xia looked to be ready to injure Kayden when Kacy had seen enough and would attack Xia with a crutch. That caused a DQ but Kacy would not stop attacking Xia with her crutch. Boa would end up getting in the ring and took the crutch from Kacy. He would look over at Mei and she gave him the sign to punish her for what she did. Kayden would hit Boa before he could do anything and she would leave with Kacy. I really am digging this and I am interested in seeing where they go next with it. 

 

Jordan Devlin Promo 

Devlin is a Cruiserweight champion and we have all been wondering if he would ever cross the pond to unify the titles with whoever was the champion in the States. It seems like we finally got our answer as he said he does not have a travel ban and is coming to NXT to show Santos Escobar who the real champion is. We are getting a unification match and I cannot wait to see it as it should be a good one. 

 

Zoey Stark Video Package 

It really has become clear that NXT has big plans for Stark by the way she is being booked and treated. She really must be impressing them because this was quite the video package for her. This reminds me of Shotzi’s rise as they treated her in a similar way and it would not surprise me if Zoey ends up being a breakout star in 2021. She spoke about what wrestling means to her and her journey to NXT. I am a fan of Stark and I think she could be a player in the women’s division so long as she keeps growing and defining her character. 

 

Legado del Fantasma vs Grizzled Young Veterans 

Prior to the match, Santos was seen talking with William Regal over what Devlin had to say. He feels like he is the real champion and does not need to take on Devlin. I loved Regal’s face during this because you could tell he did not want to hear what he had to say but still did so as an authority figure. Wilde and Mendoza would show up to tell him their music hit but Santos would tell them to go on ahead because they can handle it. Grizzled Young Veterans would then make their entrance and Gibson cut another one of his fabulous promos. Drake chimed in as well but Gibson is the real star on the mic between the two of them.  

I will say this match intrigued me because it was heel versus heel so I wondered if something would happen. Something would indeed happen as it seemed like Breezango was coming out for a distraction but it was actually MSK in disguise. Legado would take advantage and pick up the win. MSK would then come down and beat up GYV after the match. Legado laughed at the scene but would stop because Breezango would appear and attack them to get revenge from when they did the same to them. MSK and Breezango would celebrate in the ring and I totally want to see a segment with those two teams because it could be magical. 

 

Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez Interview 

Raquel and Dakota are clearly upset over losing but I like that they aren’t blaming each other for the loss. They said nobody can take away the fact that they are the first-ever NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions and it looked like they had more to say but Io Shirai would come in. She would issue a challenge to Raquel to be her next opponent and I liked how Raquel warned her about that request. Raquel eyed the title and my early feeling is that Raquel will be the one to dethrone Io and it will be during one of the nights of TakeOver. 

 

Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa Interview 

The furthering of the story between Thatcher and Imperium happened here and I loved that Thatcher did not say anything. Thatcher was being interviewed but Ciampa would quickly come in and say that he declines Imperium’s offer and is hoping that Thatcher has the same thing in mind. Thatcher said nothing during this but you could read through his body language that he is clearly struggling as to which direction to go in. I also dug how Ciampa kind of called out WALTER and I am all for a match between those two. WALTER can work with anybody and a match with Ciampa could be an instant classic.  

 

Adam Cole vs Finn Balor (NXT Championship) 

This was the third title fight of the night and this was another great one. The buildup was slow but like what you do with smoking meat, it took its time and really became quite the fun match. Cole and Balor have had encounters in the past and this might be my favorite of the bunch. Both men worked over different parts of the other and they even busted out some things I didn’t think of. Cole used his superkick to attack Finn’s previously injured jaw and would even put him in a crossface. Finn would fight back and would even kick out of Cole’s best moves. Cole’s face after every kick out was perfect and he would eventually be outside the ring. That is when things got even better as Kyle O’Reilly would show up dressing like quite the metalhead and that was enough of a distraction for Finn to take control. Finn would hit him with 1916 on the outside and then the Coup de Grace in the ring to retain his title. 

This is when things got even better as Finn motioned to Kyle that Cole was all his and Kyle would get in the ring. There was no smiling from Kyle here and he was all business. Cole tried to low blow him but Kyle was ready for it and would beat down Cole. Cole tried to escape but Kyle would not let him. The referee tried to stop Kyle but he couldn’t do a thing. Cole would eventually get enough space between the two and would flee to the back but Kyle was right behind him. Things looked to be over as they cut back to Finn but Finn would look over his should and say, “what took you so long?” and Karrion Kross would appear. They would have a stare down and it is clear that Kross versus Balor for the NXT Championship will be the match for one of the TakeOver nights. I am actually excited for the match because NXT has done a great job in rebuilding Kross and making him much more interesting since he came back from injury. Great way to end a fantastic episode of NXT.  

 

FInal Thoughts Bay Bay!  

I tweaked the naming of this again and I think I will stick with this one. Overall, this was a fantastic episode of NXT and they really brought it. I loved Regal’s announcements and I am really excited for two nights of TakeOver. I am sure I will be tired during that week because of all the wrestling WWE will put out but it will be worth it. I also dug that the women have tag titles in NXT because they certainly have the roster to make it work. All three title matches were fantastic and also did a great job in setting up who the next challengers will be. Dunne has laid down a challenge and it will be interesting to see who accepts because my money is on KUSHIDA. The Imperium stuff with Thatcher and Ciampa continues to build nicely and NXT continues to be in an awesome groove. All in all, awesome showing by NXT this week and I cannot wait to see what they bring next week.