After another great NXT Takeover event last night, it’s time to do it all over again tonight. Folks, it is time for night two of NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver!
Are you ready?
You know the routine, so say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:01) Poppy is out to get things started with a performance. Like Nita Strauss yesterday, Poppy is an NXT favorite who has made numerous appearances for the brand.
(0:04) Yeah, this… isn’t my thing. Kudos to you if you enjoy Poppy’s music. I just can’t get into it.
(0:05) We’re starting things off with a bang yet again. Jordan Devlin vs Santos Escobar in a Ladder Match to crown an undisputed Cruiserweight Champion.
(0:07) Something something body shaming is bad something something, but Jordan Devlin is the strangest looking wrestler I’ve seen in a long time. His head is fucking huge, but it’s shaped like a damn Lego piece. That massive head is atop a body that holds arms that are the same length as my daughter’s. Mind you, none of that affects his in-ring work. It’s just fun to point that out.
(0:10) Devlin with a moonsault to the outside, nailing Escobar and then hitting his head against the announce table. Honestly, I’m surprised ol’ Mo’ai Dome didn’t turn the table into firewood.
(0:12) Devlin is the first to taste the ladder, sent into the corner via Irish whip, ironically enough.
(0:14) It appears Escobar is the “face” here, as far as crowd response is concerned. Makes sense. Even in a Heel vs Heel match, you’re going to root for the person you’re most familiar with.
(0:18) There have been a few times already where the cameras have zoomed in to catch Devlin and Escobar talking to each other after a spot has them down and selling. It’s weird to keep zooming in on that.
(0:19) lol @ Escobar yelling out “Ay, cabrón” after he was slammed, back-first, onto the edge of a ladder.
(0:22) Picture perfect moonsault by Devlin from the very top of a ladder. The ladder was weebling and wobbling as Devlin climbed to the top, and I was worried about him jumping off for a moment, but he made it look great.
(0:22) Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza make their presence felt, running to the ring and knocking Devlin off a ladder as he was about to win the match. It’s all legal.
(0:24) Escobar sends Wilde and Mendoza to the back, and it immediately backfires, as it allows Devlin back into the ring to stop Escobar from winning.
(0:24) Spanish Fly from the middle of the ladder!
(0:26) Both men battle atop the ladder, but Escobar sends Devlin flying! Minecraft Head slams through another ladder on the way down, and Escobar is able to grab the titles to win the match. We finally have an undisputed Cruiserweight Champion. Very good match. I’ll go 4 stars, but I think I’m going to have to watch it again to see if I change that.
(0:28) Escobar celebrates at the top of the ramp with Wilde and Mendoza, but also with his son. He and his son each raise one of the title belts in the air. Nice moment.
(0:29) Next up, the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles are on the line, with Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon defending against Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. This is the Takeover match I’m least looking forward to. I don’t think it’s going to be a bad match or anything. I’m just not as invested in these four as I am everyone else on the Stand & Deliver card.
(0:35) Shotzi was breathing hard before the match even started. Might need to tone the entrance down a bit if that’s going to be the case.
(0:37) I don’t think there’s anybody in wrestling who screams louder during a sell than Shotzi Blackheart. She’s like a modern-day Lex Luger.
(0:40) Ember Moon with a tribute to Road Dogg. She throws punches and starts breakdancing, even throwing in a DX “SUCK IT” for good measure.
(0:43) A suicide dive to the outside almost became literal for Shotzi Blackheart, as LeRae and Hartwell fail to catch her. I have never seen a Shotzi match that didn’t feature a spot where she nearly ended up dead or paralyzed. Sometimes, it’s a botch on her part. Sometimes, it’s the fault of her opponent. It always happens, though. She’s like a magnet for it.
(0:46) Shotzi and Ember retain. The match was a bit clunky at times. Nothing too offensive. Just… there. Let’s say 2.5 stars and move on.
(0:50) Current NCAA Division 1 National Champion, Gable Steveson, is shown sitting in the crowd. Looks like he’s making a transition from amateur wrestling to the professional world. He could be a stud down the road.
(0:51) Things are moving quickly on the show, and it’s already time for our next match. Johnny Gargano defends the North American Title against Bronson Reed, who was the winner of last night’s Gauntlet Eliminator to earn this shot.
(0:57) This is the 16th consecutive Takeover event that Johnny Gargano has wrestled at, according to commentary. That’s quite the stat.
(1:01) Gargano is bumping like a pinball for Reed, making The Colossal look like a million bucks.
(1:03) Gargano delivers a Backstabber to Reed, and Johnny Wrestling immediately begins selling injured knees. Good touch.
(1:06) Reed hits Gargano with a Razor’s Edge from the entrance ramp into the ring. Quite the splat landing. Ouch.
(1:09) Austin Theory is REALLY entertaining in his new role as Gargano’s “son” in The Way. Just throwing that out there.
(1:10) One Final Beat… but the name was A LIE, as Gargano delivers another One Final Beat… and the champion retains. Honestly, I’m a little surprised at the result. I thought we were getting a new champion. I still don’t know why Gargano is even in NXT anymore. He accomplished everything there was to accomplish in NXT a long time ago, and he’s still putting around. This was a 3.25 star match. I’ll let it slide if you wanna go to 3.5 stars, though.
(1:15) Next up, Finn Balor defends the NXT Championship against Karrion Kross. This is going to be another physical war.
(1:24) Lengthy video package, followed by a lengthy entrance, followed by another lengthy entrance… and we go damn near ten minutes between entries for me.
(1:28) A very methodical pace to start the match, but then Balor delivers a chop that sounded like a gunshot. He then slaps Kross in the face. The challenger is pissed off, but it’s playing into Balor’s plan. He has made mention that Kross will make mistakes when he wrestles with too much emotion. On cue, Kross charges at Balor, who steps aside, and the challenger crashes into the ringpost.
(1:31) Balor had red paint on his chest and shoulder for the match, and it is now all over Kross’ face and hand after multiple lockups. Makes it look like Kross is bleeding down the side of his head and all over his wrist tape. Kinda distracting, if I’m honest.
(1:34) Balor is one of those smaller wrestlers who has no fear of bigger opponents. Not only is he taking it to Kross, who outweighs him by 75 pounds, but he has, on multiple occasions, laughed off some of Kross’ strikes.
(1:36) A very back-and-forth match between these two so far. Nobody is on offense for too long, and there are lots of nice reversals and counters. This is already one of Karrion Kross’ best performances in NXT.
(1:42) We have a new NXT Champion! After nearly rendering Balor lifeless with numerous stiff forearm shots to the back of the head and then planting him with a German suplex, Kross hit another running forearm shot to the back of Balor’s head for the win. Kross wins back the title that he never lost to begin with, and now, he might get to have an actual title reign. That was a pretty good match. If you have it anywhere from 3.5 to 4 stars, you’re right. I have it at 4, personally.
(1:44) If you go by what is said on social media, Karrion Kross is like John Cena and Roman Reigns when it comes to divisive opinions about his in-ring work. I’m not comparing them. I’m not saying Kross is going to be a future Hall Of Famer or any of that. I’m just saying that there’s usually more of a formed thought when you’re talking about a wrestler’s skills. If a wrestler sucks, you generally see more people say so. If a wrestler is great, you generally see more people say so. With Kross, it seems to be split down the middle. Half of the tweets and posts I see say that he’s boring and that his matches suck, and the other half talk about how amazing he is and how he’s going to be a star on the main roster one day. Interesting to see.
(1:52) Main event time. Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole in an Unsanctioned Match. This is going to be FUN.
(1:59) These two are already trying to destroy each other.
(2:05) It has been mentioned on commentary several times that O’Reilly is “not medically cleared” to compete in this match. Cole has been working his neck pretty much from the opening bell. Stiff match so far.
(2:09) Time for some more plunder! After a few different chairs have been used in the match, KOR goes under the ring and pulls out a steel chain.
(2:10) Cole is the first to use the chain, though, tying one end to the ropes and using the other end to wrap around O’Reilly’s head.
(2:11) After regaining the momentum, KOR wraps the chain around his boot and proceeds to kick Cole in the head a few times. Simple. Effective.
(2:14) More offense to the neck and head of O’Reilly. He’s going to be in need of some ice later.
(2:17) KOR delivers a suplex onto the announce table… and it doesn’t break. Cole landed with a huge THUD and bounced off.
(2:18) O’Reilly goes to stalk Cole, who turns around and hits KOR in the face with a fucking TV! Not the little monitors that the announcers use. Like… a 27″ flat screen TV right to the face. Cole just happened to find out sitting behind the barricade.
(2:22) Multiple chain-assisted submissions by KOR nearly win the match, but Cole breaks it up with a tire iron shot to O’Reilly’s ribs.
(2:23) Two chairs are set up in the ring, and both men have a seat. The use the old Necro Butcher spot of delivering seated punches and forearms to each other for a bit.
(2:25) Cole goes to deliver a Con-chair-to to KOR, who has his neck wrapped up in a chair, and the Referee demands Cole stop. So, what does Cole do? Of course, he knocks the Referee out. lol @ the crowd chanting “You deserve it” as Cole just yells at a dead person.
(2:25) In a dumb spot, Cole is angry that there’s nobody to count his pin attempt on O’Reilly. You know, mere seconds after he took the Referee out.
(2:29) KOR locks a guillotine choke in on the entrance ramp. In a bit of desperation, Cole jumps forward and sends both of them crashing THROUGH the ramp.
(2:32) After a suplex onto the ring steps, Cole gets a 2.99999 count. O’Reilly is an absolute selling machine here.
(2:33) lol @ the camera angle showing Vic Joseph, Woi Bar-ruh, and Beth Phoenix all huddled around the only monitor at the table that works so they can watch the match… that is taking place mere feet in front of them.
(2:37) JESUS CHRIST! A chair is in the ring, upside down, with the legs sticking up. Cole, after taking a nut shot, is draped over the chair. O’Reilly is on the top turnbuckle, with the steel chain wrapped around his knee. KOR comes flying down, hitting the back of Cole’s head with his knee, breaking the chair into several pieces. O’Reilly gets the win. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. That was every bit as insane a match as everyone expected, and then some. Incredible match. I don’t think I can give a match 5 stars off of one viewing, especially when I have to focus on writing a column at the same time, but that was close. 4.75 stars is what I’ll give it. That was 40 minutes of art. We go off the air with medics tending to Cole in the ring, putting him on a stretcher, as O’Reilly watches from the top of the ramp.
Another great night of action. Two nights, 12 matches… three new champions crowned (four if you count Escobar becoming the undisputed Cruiserweight Champ)… a Match Of The Year candidate on each show. What a ride.
What says you, ReaderLand? I gotta know what you thought about Takeover: Stand & Deliver. As always, hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what you think. I’ll see you all again on Saturday for night one of WrestleMania 37.