Here we are for the first night of TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. The build has been rather nice and the matches should certainly deliver because TakeOvers rarely miss. The match for tonight that I am most looking forward to is certainly the WALTER/Ciampa match. I am excited to be writing night one and let us jump right in and see what TakeOver brought for night one.
Zoey Stark vs Toni Storm
This was a late addition and the lone kickoff show match. Stark has been nothing but impressive since making her NXT debut and I was interested to see how she would do against Toni here. Toni has been great but the thing that ended up taking away from this match was the finish. The match itself was good but Toni really could have used the win here. There was solid back and forth and I enjoyed the good chemistry these two had in the ring. Zoey is early in her NXT run so she could have taken the loss here and rebounded but Toni really could have used the win. Zoey winning with the rollup has me optimistic we will see a rematch on NXT, maybe even on Tuesday’s episode, and that is where she gets her win back. Either way, solid match but the finish brings the grade down a bit.
Pete Dunne vs KUSHIDA
Both men declared themselves to be the best technical wrestler in the world and this was a good showcase for them to prove it. The technical wrestling provided some great back and forth and this was a banger of an opener. KUSHIDA would make use of the ramp that they had for the occasion and came up with some nice offense. The grappling these two did was great and they even exchanged some nice chops as well. I also loved Dunne’s counter to KUSHIDA’s handspring off the ropes because it was something I had not seen before. This match really had all the things you think of when it comes to technical wrestling and Dunne was able to pick up the win here. I honestly hope this leads to a best of 5 or 7 series because that would be awesome and it is something I do not think NXT has done yet. Very good opening match to night one.
I thought this would be a standard gauntlet match but I am glad that it wasn’t. I liked that the participants would come in at different time intervals because that added something to it. Ruff and Swerve were the first to enter and Swerve attacked Ruff while he made his entrance. These two have some great chemistry and then Bronson Reed would be the next one out. Bronson would use his size to his advantage and I loved the German Suplex spot with all three men. Bronson was really made to look like quite the force in this match. Cameron Grimes was next and I loved how he was ready to offer money to anybody who would help him. Dexter Lumis would be the next one out and Ruff would be the first one eliminated. Speaking of Lumis, I hope he is okay after that spot that saw his leg and knee get stuck on the rope and it looked like he really hyperextended it. I do not know if that changed the finish but he definitely was not in the match much after. LA Knight would then come out and Lumis would end up being the next eliminated. Knight would then be next and it was down to Grimes, Reed and Swerve. Grimes would be the next eliminated and it was down to Swerve and Bronson.
These two had some great back and forth and I really did not know who would come out on top here. Bronson took a nasty bump on the edge of the apron with his back and that had me grabbing at my own back. Swerve really put the offense in on Bronson but he would not go down. Swerve would start showing frustration at Bronson’s resilience and would end up eating the pin here as Bronson hit him with his ever-impressive Tsunami splash to earn a title shot against Johnny Gargano tomorrow. Really fun match and I hope we see more of these down the line in NXT because this was a fun version of a gauntlet that made me like this more than the traditional one.
WALTER vs Tommaso Ciampa (NXT UK Championship)
This was not only the match of the night; this was a match of the year contender like I thought it would be. If the American audience had no idea how amazing WALTER is, they now know exactly why I call him the best in the world. Ciampa is amazing too and played his part to perfection but WALTER really showed why so many believe he is that top tier talent. I had fully expected to see Ciampa’s chest to be red as heck due to WALTER’s chops but it was WALTER whose chest was red from Ciampa’s chops. Both men brought the stiffness in their strikes and I loved every minute of it. I also loved how they sold the damage done to WALTER’s main chopping hand after he slammed it on the announce table when Ciampa moved out of the way. So much greatness happened in this match and I saw the grade rise and rise until I had to max it out. This is one of those matches that needs to be seen with your own eyes because is truly is that amazing. Both men delivered and WALTER would continue his reign. This is my leader for NXT match of the year and we shall see if anything can top it this week and weekend.
MSK vs Grizzled Young Veterans vs Legado del Fantasma (Vacant NXT Tag Team Titles)
I had no idea how these three teams would follow that masterpiece but boy did they do a great job at it. I knew there was a potential for some fast-paced action because of MSK and Legado but I did not expect to see some from GYV as well. This match started off a bit slow but I find that usually happens in triple threat tag matches. Once the match picked up, boy did it pick up. All three teams had their moments to shine and they looked so dang good. I think these three are really the top teams in NXT right now, all respect to Imperium, Breezango and Lorcan/Burch, because they seem to bring it each and every night. Wes Lee was a house of fire at one point and was hitting just move after move after move. If it wasn’t for the previous match, this definitely would have been the match of the night. Really amazing stuff and I loved the story of Nash holding Wes’ hand so he didn’t tap out. It brought me back to the matches between DIY and the Revival and I think GYV and MSK are heading towards that kind of rivalry. MSK would survive and then hit their finisher on GYV for the win and became the new tag team champions in NXT. Every match MSK has had so far in NXT have been bangers and I really believe they have a chance to reach the levels of popularity that DIY once held.
Io Shirai vs Raquel Gonzalez (NXT Women’s Championship)
This match had to follow two amazing title matches and this was pretty good. It is a shame it didn’t get more time but it was still a really good match and a great main event. I think had TakeOver aired exclusively on Peacock TV, this would have gotten more time. The story was simple of Io using her speed advantage and Raquel using her size and strength to her advantage. Those stories are simple but when told well, they deliver and this was one of those cases. I will say that I think that Raquel was supposed to catch Io on the moonsault to the outside because of how Io landed on her but she wasn’t able to and that is why Io went back up on the apron so they could do the spot they intended. Dakota would get ejected to the back when the referee spotted her attacking Io and I thought that this may be the start of some tension between Dakota and Raquel but I am glad that was not the case. Raquel was a force in there and even kicked out of Io’s beautiful moonsault. I loved how Io sold her shock at that and the Raquel was able to hit Io with her awesome looking one-armed powerbomb to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. Raquel has been built so perfectly as a dominant force and it does not look out of place for her to win the title. This was a great main event and I loved how Raquel could not hold anything back while she celebrated the biggest win of her career to date.
Genius of The Skull
Overall, this was quite the fun and amazing night one of TakeOver. Nothing to really complain about other than the questionable loss Toni suffered to Zoey and the fact the main event could have used a bit more time. Other than that, this was awesome on every level. Dunne and KUSHIDA got the night started with a technical showcase and the gauntlet eliminator showed us a different and, for me, more fun way to do a gauntlet. WALTER and Ciampa delivered on what I knew could be a match of the year contender and it most definitely is the leading candidate for me and will be hard to top for Mania week. The triple threat match was tons of fun and it was great to see MSK win gold. Raquel and Io delivered a solid main event and I am happy that Raquel has worked her butt off to become champion. I have a feeling this may have been Io’s last match but we shall see if it is next week. All in all, amazing night for NXT and this is why I love NXT and TakeOvers. I cannot wait for night two and our Queen will have the pleasure of writing up that night.