NXT
TakeOver: Stand and Deliver Night 2
April 8, 2021
8:00 P.M
WWE Performance Center
Orlando Florida

Watch: Peacock & WWE Network (Non-US) 

NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wrestlers may be removed from shows due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure, so cards may be different than what is previewed below.

What’s better than one night of a potentially memorable and explosive TakeOver? How about two nights? That’s right, NXT this year has so much to offer it takes the Mania route and goes into two separate nights. I’m all here for it. Truth be told, this might be the most hyped for a Takeover I’ve been in two years. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its faults and pitfalls, I’m saying these two cards have been loaded up with potentially weekend stealing matches and NXT is making a power move to be the most memorable event of the weekend and has a great chance of once again overshadowing WrestleMania

Night two is loaded and in the following paragraphs, we will look at each match and watch as I, probably badly, predict who is going to win each match. I have high hopes for the puzzle pieces that NXT has presented for the weekend, and I sincerely hope they can put them together and we end up with a picture of an incredible event we talk about for a time afterward. It would feel good if NXT, even if just for a weekend, can capture that long-lost magic it was once able to weave. Enough being whimsical, on with the show!

NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Way (Candice Larae, Indie Hartwell) vs. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart (c)

I love all four women in this match to various degrees. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon have turned into a surprisingly fun pairing and while I wasn’t a fan of them dethroning Dakota and Raquel immediately, I do at the same time enjoy seeing them hold championship gold. Indie and Candice have fun chemistry and interactions together and are talented in their own right. This could end up being a pretty good opening match. I do not see, and I do not want a title change here. These titles need establishment and credibility so Ember and Shotzi needs to build up some successful defenses before being dethroned. This is WWE, so a title change for no reason other than to do a title change is not out of the question here. Candie and Indie could be quite the interesting insufferable tag champions, but now is now the time. Let Ember and Shotzi get a good run as champions so when they lose it’ll mean something. That’s my hope. Prediction: Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Unification
Jordan Devlin © vs. Santos Escobar ©

Whew, okay I’ll hold my tongue and not go into paragraphs of rant for the sake of this review. Know this, I have zero respect, admiration, or desire to watch Jordan Devlin succeed and excel. I could go on and on about why, but for various reasons I shall hold off for the time being. All that said, this match has a story, it has bite, it has the ladder stipulation. It has a legit recipe for success and to be a two show-stealer. My personal feelings and disrespect for Devlin aside, he’s a great talent and he’s in there with a personality and talent in Santos Escobar that can match him toe to toe. Add that there is legit stakes and bragging rights into this match, it is a recipe for success. I don’t know how to call this one. I can see it going either way and I can see myself getting drawn in despite myself as the action fires up, continues on. I can see myself at the edge of my seat as we get late into things and their fingertips reach for the title belts. I see some unique and painful-looking ladder spots, I see some excellent match-ending teases, and I personally predict, and want, Esocbar to become the undisputed Cruiserweight Champion. That’s what I want, I desperately hope I get it. Prediction: Santos Escobar

NXT North American Championship
Eliminator Gauntlet Winner vs. Johnny Gargano © 

You might remember I predicted Isiah “Swerve” Scott to be the challenger on this night. I must admit that’s more of a personal preference than anything. I won’t back down on that prediction, but I have no doubt it’s potentially wrong and we’ll get Lumis in this spot instead. I REALLY don’t want that. I have no hopes for a Lumis/Gargano match. I don’t hold hopes for a Lumis/Anyone match really. No point fretting over something that hasn’t happened yet, and there’s a lot of options that can prevent that from happening. Either way whoever ends up facing Gargano here, I smell a title change. I smell a match ranging from quality of great to meh depending on whoever is the challenger. I smell gifs of Johnny Gargano over the top facial expressions that will be ridiculed and memed. In the end of it all, I think Gargano’s time as North American Champion is coming to an end as an exhausted challenger comes in and on the biggest weekend of the year is able to score a big title win against the cocky and obnoxious champion that is Gargano. I think that’s the right call, the fun call, I just hope it’s someone I can sink my teeth into. Prediction: Eliminator Gauntlet Winner

Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly

We’re getting unsanctioned up in here! I am highly anticipating and looking forward to this match-up. This is a potential show-stealer, weekend stealer, something that can end up high on everyone’s charts and notebooks. Story, passion, hate, hype, it’s all here. We got a combination that can ignite into an explosion of pro-wrestling violence and beauty. This match has been building, bubbling, and we’ve reached the boiling point. I can’t imagine a scenario, other than WWE meddling into the affairs far too much, where this doesn’t absolutely rock my tits. This should be the match that ends the night. I hope it is, I want it to be. Nothing else is going to be able to follow it. Cole and Rielly can deliver the goods against other opponents, and there is enough evidence from the past they can kick ass when against each other.

Who should win? Who should win? It should be Kyle O’Reilly as he goes on his way to finally becoming NXT Champion at some point. That’s who I’m going with. Cole will give him a beating, Cole will give every ounce of talent, energy, and passion he has to make this match amazing. It’s a wonder that once upon a time I didn’t understand the Cole love or hype, but he’s made a believer out of me with his time in NXT. His work has been outstanding, and I feel he just gets better and more seasoned as he goes along. Adam Cole is great. Kyle O’Reilly though is also great. Kyle O’Reilly’s challenges against Finn Balor have been some of the best NXT matches in a long time and I absolutely treasure them. When I say things such as NXT could steal the weekend, it is matches like this that’ll ensure they do. This is going to rule, and I can’t wait for it to reign supreme. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

NXT Championship
Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor ©

Okay, let me get this out of my system. I’ve been holding it in for a long time. It has been bubbling and festering in the pit of my stomach and it threatens to rotten me from the inside. I don’t like Karrion Kross. I find him bland, boring, and blah. He is overhyped, over-pushed, overrated. In his position, I find that he consistently underperforms, under delivers, and is undeserving of the position he finds himself in. There is not a single instance, a single moment, a single iota of his time spent in NXT where I can point and go, that was worth my time. This is worth a rewatch, a recommendation, a reflection of the moment. The only two things I can say positively about Karrion Kross is he has a look, and…. I guess… he has Scarlett? Fall and pray? I fall and pray this match ends up actually being good because Finn Balor’s title reign is possibly ending and if it does that’ll be a damn shame if it’s a flat match.

This has been Finn Balor’s best run in WWE. By far his best work. It has been applauded, lauded, and very well received. RIghtfully so. During his NXT Championship reign, Finn Balor has presented and performed as the wrestler we all knew he could be, and once given the chance he did exactly that. It has been a pleasure watching the Finn Balor we all wanted kicking ass and not even bothering with names as NXT Champion. I don’t want it to end, at least not yet. Alas, I think it possibly will. WWE seems to really be high on Karrion Kross, and I admit he has a lot about him WWE likes to gravitate toward. I want to be wrong, I desperately want to be wrong. I have no desire to see Kross with a more extensive title reign. He does nothing for me. Wrestling lately though, has disappointed me. What is with one more disappointment eh? Prediction: Karrion Kross