NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day
February 14, 2021
Capitol Wrestling Center
Orlando, FL

Watch: WWE Network

Meet Our Reviewers

Sean Sedor: The Daytona 500 got off to a rough start today (a big crash sixteen laps in followed by a lengthy rain delay that’s still ongoing), so Sean decided to hop on this review of NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day. You can follow me on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out my YouTube channel for some F1 video game content.

Suit Williams: 22 Sundays until September. Guess I’ll watch a Takeover. Follow me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams. If you would like to hear my thoughts on this show, check out the @SmarkSports podcast every week wherever podcasts can be heard.

Women’s Dusty Tag Team Classic Finals
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez def. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart

Sean: I didn’t do my grocery shopping today, so I scarfed down a haphazard dinner (a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich on toasted whole wheat bread) right before this match started. After the initial opening exchanges, we got into a portion of the match where Dakota Kai was playing the babyface in peril….despite the fact that Kai’s team is the heel team and Ember/Shotzi duo are the babyface team. Once Raquel got tagged in, she dominated for a few minutes, but once the second half really got going, this turned into a very strong match. All four women worked pretty hard, and the action in the closing stretch was really good, with a number of big spots. They got a fair amount of time as well, which was cool to see. Not shocked at the result. We all know that Raquel Gonzalez is bound for a big push in the women’s division, and this is just another scalp on her ascent. ****

Suit: I like Raquel’s gimmick of having a big back. You know Triple H pops for that every time. One problem I had with this match is that I couldn’t tell if they were making history or not. Maybe the announcers needed to bring that up a little more. The match itself was very good, with the babyfaces first trying to isolate Kai before teaming up to try and take out Gonzales. There were several car crash spots, and surprisingly, Shotzi wasn’t the one to take all of them! Don’t worry, she took her fair share of them, including a powerbomb to the fencing on the outside. Gonzales ended up being too much to handle, as she took out Ember Moon on the outside and got the pin on Shotzi with her massive powerbomb. This was the best version of this match, as all four women were on their A-Game tonight. ****

NXT North American Championship
Johnny Gargano (c) def. KUSHIDA

Sean: Imagine how excited we would all be for this match if it was taking place in 2015. That’s not to say I didn’t think these two could have a great match in 2021, but MAN…..in modern NXT, I couldn’t give a single shit about these two wrestling on a TakeOver. We got some exchanges on the mat to start off, which I have to say….it’s hilarious that the guy wrestling in jeans and a T-Shirt started this match by doing some mat wrestling. Gargano ultimately retained in a bout that was both great, but also kind of soulless at the same time. The actual bell-to-bell wrestling was exactly what you would expect from these two, with awesome wrestling throughout. We got a clean finish as well, with almost no outshine shenanigans, which was also a big plus. It was indeed a great match, but I just…..struggled to care about it. I have almost no reason to be truly invested in it, and is that simply the product of the malaise that surrounds NXT right now? Is it the fact that I don’t give a shit about these versions of Johnny Gargano and KUSHIDA? As I said earlier, if this was four or five years ago, I think the entire wrestling world would be hyped for this match, and in front of a crowd? This is probably an early MOTYC for some people. For me? It was an incredible match, without question….but I can’t imagine I’ll even remember this one by the time MOTY discussions roll around in December. ****1/4 

Suit: Before the match, Dexter Lumis kidnapped Austin Theory. If you needed a sentence to describe why I’ve been out on NXT lately, there you go. Luckily, the shenanigans were kept to before the bell, as these two came out here and had the match you would want these two to have on a big show like this. KUSHIDA was in control for most of the match, focusing his attack on Gargano’s arm. He was like a dog with a bone, never taking his focus off of Gargano’s left arm. But it wasn’t just the arm work, there were constant spots where KUSHIDA got the better of Gargano. But Gargano found his spots and made the most of them, drilling KUSHIDA with two One Final Beats to retain. My only concern coming into this match was Gargano’s penchant for excessive drama, but there was none of it. Excellent work from these two. ****1/2

Men’s Dusty Tag Team Classic Finals
MSK def. Grizzled Young Veterans

Sean: I still can’t believe that Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz were renamed as Wes Lee and Nash Carter respectively. We got some high-flying from MSK early, but it didn’t take long for Grizzled Young Vets to gain control of the match. They manage to isolate Carter for a few minutes before Lee eventually makes the hot tag and runs wild. Lee had a really awesome hot tag as he nailed some incredible high-flying offense. From there, we got another strong closing stretch that saw a number of great double team moves and an assortment of amazing back and forth action. In the end, MSK managed to connect with their tag team finisher (don’t know what it’s called, but it’s not the pushing shooting star) to capture the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic crown. This was my Match Of The Night thus far. Two great tag teams going out there and having a kick-ass match. Can’t ask for much more than that. This won’t come close to making my Match Of The Year list by the time December rolls around, but it absolutely delivered. ****1/2 

Suit: I missed Zack Gibson promos. This match was a lot of fun. It lacked the structure that most Grizzled Young Veterans matches have, but it was still good as the two teams just threw bombs at each other for 15 minutes. MSK come off so much better than they ever did as Razcals, and I can’t really explain why. Maybe they all just needed the fresh coat of paint, because their old partner Trey Miguel has looked a lot better in Impact as well. MSK gets the win as they are getting the rocket pack in NXT. If it’s them vs Lorcan and Burch, I’m hyped for that one. ***3/4

NXT Women’s Championship
Io Shirai (c) def. Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez

Sean: I’ve got nothing against Mercedez Martinez at all, but why is she in this match? Can’t we just get a singles match between Io Shirai and Toni Storm? You already have the built in story right there, with Io looking to avenge her loss to Toni from the Mae Young Classic three years ago. Why is Mercedes in here? Anyway, when the dust settled, this turned out to be a pretty good match, but it was easily the worst thing on the show thus far. There was a lot of action right from the opening bell, though it never really came close to being great. I guess the two big spots that were memorable were the Io Shirai leap off the steel support column to the floor, and the announcer’s table falling apart when Toni tried to set it up for something. I’m sure that screwed up whatever spot they had planned there. The final moments saw Toni and Mercedes trading near falls back and forth, before Io eventually came in with a moonsault and pinned Mercedes to retain. Again, this was good, but not anything super memorable. ***1/2 

Suit: As Sean said, this match probably would’ve been better as a singles defense. This was fine, but it wasn’t in the position to steal the show or anything. Storm hit a flying headbutt, but Io broke the pin up with a moonsault to get the pin on Mercedes. If they want to use that finish to move into an Io/Toni feud, that would be fine with me. But there was nothing to this one. **1/2

NXT Championship
Finn Balor (c) def. Pete Dunne

Sean: It’s pretty crazy that (unless I’m forgetting something obvious) these two have never wrestled each other before in a singles match. Right around when this match was getting started, they FINALLY got the Daytona 500 back underway after a lengthy rain delay, so my attention was understandably diverted from this match somewhat. The first half of this main event was very methodical, but the pace slowly picked up as the match progressed. Dunne was particularly great in this bout, as he worked over the fingers of Finn Balor. Speaking of Balor, he did an awesome job selling his injured fingers in the latter stages. The closing stretch was pretty strong, as you would expect with a match involving these two, and Balor overcame the injured fingers to retain his NXT Title. The closing angle that followed (Undisputed Era saving Balor from a post-match beatdown from Dunne’s crew, only for Adam Cole to later superkick Balor and attack his own stablemate Kyle O’Reilly) will get a lot of attention, but the match itself definitely delivered. ****1/2 

Suit: This match was absolutely top notch. Pete Dunne is so good when he’s getting heat. He never grabs one particular hold and just sits there until the babyface starts his comeback. He’s like a rabid dog, always grabbing and scratching and clawing at his opponent. Moving from hold to hold, or using his free hand to grind or twist another body part. That’s something Zack Sabre Jr does expertly as well, and I love that kind of heat. The story here was that Balor’s injuries were starting to pile up, with the broken jaw and the arm that Dunne had worked on during the build of this show. Dunne worked on both during this match, relentlessly wearing down Balor. It was worked the same way as Gargano/KUSHIDA, but Dunne being such a dynamic heel really enhanced this one. Balor worked on Dunne’s knee and took his shots, but it always came back to the arm and the hand of Balor. Balor was finally able to take advantage of a mistake by Dunne and got his big shots off before hitting the 1916 to retain. Strong performances from both men, as Balor’s selling was fantastic here as well. I’ll be honest, if Dunne had won this match, I might have gone the full five on it. Post-match, the Pat McAfee Unit (minus McAfee) took out Dunne until the Undisputed Era ran them off. Then Adam Cole laid out both Balor and O’Reilly with superkicks. I haven’t exactly missed Adam Cole main events, but I’ll count my blessings that it wasn’t Karrion Kross. ****3/4