NXT Takeover Vengeance Day results: Moore’s live review of Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship, Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida for the NXT North American Title, Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez for the NXT Women’s Championship, Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day
Aired February 14, 2021 on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE PC)

Pre-show notes

Sam Roberts, Wade Barrett, and Barstool Sports’ Brandon Walker hosted the pre-show. The hosts ran through the advertised card. McKenzie Mitchell talked about how she had talked to the teams in the Dusty Classic and how they were all confident at winning. They transitioned to a recap package of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic…

After showing Io Shirai, Mercedes Martinez, and Toni Storm pull up to the WWE Performance Center, the show cut to a hype package for the Women’s Championship Triple Threat…

Roberts thanked the band Bring me the Horizon for providing the song “Obey” as the theme song for Takeover: Vengeance Day. Roberts then sent the show to the men’s Dusty Classic recap package. McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Wes Lee and Nash Carter after the video and the former Rascalz were super hyped to start their WWE career by making it to the final of the Dusty Classic. MSK mocked the Grizzled Young Veterans mannerisms and then left the set…

Wade Barrett tried to to talk about his early success on the NXT game show, but he was interrupted by former Impact and NWA wrestler, Eli Drake. Drake cut one of his usual Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sounding promos. Drake talked about coming for all the wrestlers in NXT. Drake revealed his name was LA Knight.

The pre-show panel discussed the Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida and the Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne matches, both having accompanying hype video packages. After the last video package, the pre-show panel transitioned the pre-show to the main card…

John’s Thoughts: Holy shoot! That was an unexpected surprise. Drake is someone I never would have expected to show up in WWE anytime soon. This was a nice twist. Drake’s an amazing talker, albeit he does tend to rely too much on emulating Dwayne Johnson’s promos. His promo ability alone will elevate NXT in terms of entertainment level. Don’t sleep on his in-ring ability either, because this guy is surprisingly athletic and crisp when he’s in the ring with a good opponent, especially when he’s countering high flyers. What is going to take some getting used to is the name “LA Knight” which sounds like it could have been a rejected Arena Football League team name from my home town of Los Angeles.

Main Show

WWE backstage producer, Josiah Williams, provided a custom-made hip hop slow jam to open up the main show. The song was Valentines Day themed…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from ringside for commentary…

Entrances for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic women’s final took place. Both teams wore color coordinated ring gear…

1. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Beth talked about how far the women in WWE have come and this revolution starting with the “Give Divas a Chance” hash tag (which was started by AJ Lee I believe). Blackheart and Gonzalez started out the match and Gonzalez utilized her size and strength advantage to woman handle Blackheart. Kai tagged in and kicked Blackheart for a two count. Blackheart reversed Kai in the corner and then power bombed Kai, seamlessly transitioning to a Texas Cloverleaf.

Moon tagged in and hit Kai with a slingshot splash for a two count. Blackheart and Moon cut the ring in half on Kai. Beth noted that it was smart for the face team to target Kai’s knee due to Kai’s past knee injuries. Moon and Blackheart traded tags and kept Kai away from her corner using leg submissions. Kai and Moon had a fun boot battle while Moon had a heel hook locked in. Blackheart tagged in, but the referee missed it, forcing Moon to get back in. Moon quickly ran to knock Gonzalez off the apron to make sure Kai couldn’t get a tag.

Moon put Kai black in a submission. Kai whipped Moon into a perpendicular turnbuckle to free her leg. Gonzalez tagged in and went on to womanhandle Moon with power moves. Kai tagged in and leapt off of Gonzalez’s shoulder to hit Moon with a flying lariat. Blackheart ran in and took down Kai. Blackheart tried to huracanrana Gonzalez at ringside, but Gonzalez kept a wide base to reverse the move into a power bomb on the apron to Blackheart.

Kai dropkicked Moon in the ring to give Gonzalez a two count. Moon shook up Gonzalez with a jawbreaker, who came back with a forearm and tag to Kai. Moon was dropped to the corner and hit with a bottom rope face wash for a two count. Moon used a few sidesteps to trap Kai in DDT position on Gomzalez. Moon hit Gonzalez with a Fameasser. Moon hit Gonzalez with The Eclipse. Kai distracted the ref from the pin attempt. Moon broke up her own pin to get the referee’s attention.

Gonzalez recovered enough to kick out of Moon’s pin. Blackheart used a dropkick to prevent Gonzalez from hitting Moon with her finisher. Blackheart had a rally in the ring. Blackheart hit Kai with a TKO facebuster for a two count. Blackheart and Gonzalez brawled to the corner. In the Shotzi Blackheart wipe out of the match, she sort alanded awkwardly after hitting Gonzalez with Sliced Bread #2. Blackheart hit Kai with a Suicide Dive. Moon and Blackeart hit tandem moves on Gonzalez for a two count.

Moon and Blackheart hit Kai with a Doomsday Device Crossbody at ringside. Gonzalez wiped out Blackheart with a pounce. Moon hit Gonzalez with a dropkick. Moon locked Gonzalez in a fishhook STF. Kai broke up the submission with a kick. Kai and Blackheart tagged in. Kai hit Blackheart with a Scorpion Kick and Code Red Lungblower for a two count. Gonzalez tagged in and hit Blackheart with an assisted GTK. Gonzalez shoved Moon into the elevated Stage and then shoved Moon into the plexiglass.

Blackheart surprised Gonzalez with a splash to the back. Blackheart backdropped Kai onto Gonzalez. Gonzalez gave Kai a military press onto Blackheart. Gonzalez then hit her finisher, the delayed Uranage, onto Blackheart. Gonzalez and Kai both pinned Blackheart for the victory.

Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai defeated Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon via pinfall in 17:40 to become the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 

William Regal have Kai and Gonzalez handshakes in front of the Dusty Rhodes cup. Vic Joseph said that Shayna Bazler better be ready to face Kai and Gonzalez down the road. Alicia Taylor formally introduced Kai and Gonzalez as the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Classic…

We got videos of Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, and Finn Balor pulling up to the WWE Performance Center parking lot…

A video package aired to hype Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida…

John’s Thoughts: An amazing tag team match that was defined by a lot of effort from both teams. Going with Kai and Gonzalez as the winners was the only way to go. Blackheart and Moon are very makeshift and were kinda just the token babyface team to face the established team in Kai and Gonzalez. This was a good payoff to a year of amazing chemistry between Kai and Gonzalez and I’m happy that their union has produced an accolade. Let’s not stop here, Kai and Gonzalez (with Bayley and Sasha no longer being a thing) are the most established women’s tag team in all of WWE and arguably all of pro wrestling. Let’s go all the way with this duo!

Kushida made his usual Marty McFly entrance. Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, and Austin Theory all shared a group hug before Johnny made his entrance. Dexter Lumis ended up “kidnapping” Johnny’s spiritual son, Austin Theory. Gargano sent Hartwell and LeRae to the back to try to find Theory. Johnny Gargano’s usual Marvel Themed in-ring gear was X-Men themed (which also reminded me of Leva Bates’s old Blue Pants X-Men gear that she wore when she was in NXT)…

2. Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida for the NXT North American Championship. Wade Barrett noted that Kushida vs. Gargano can be considered a independent wrestling dream match on the internet. Kushida dominated Johnny early on with ground submissions. Gargano crawled to ringside to prevent Kushida from locking in a GargaNo Escape on him. Kushida softened up Gargano’s arm with a Juji Gatame at ringside and then hit Gargano with a Suplex on the ringside mat. Joseph noted that Gargano is at a disadvantage without The Way at ringside, who are still looking for Austin Theory.

Kushida focused his methodical offense on Gargano’s dominant, left, arm. Gargano recovered and hit Kushida with right arm elbow strikes. Kushida almost locked in a octopus hold, but Gargano reversed it and both men traded small packages. Kushida and Gargano wiped each other out with a lariat. Kushida dominated Gargano with rapid curbstomps. Gargano blocked a Chickenwing Suplex. Gargano ducked an enzuigiri. Gargano used the ropes to break an ankle lock, but Kushida hit Gargano with a German Suplex and roundhouse for a two count.

Gargano went for One Final beat, but Kushida reversed it into a DDT and Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Gargano went for another One Final Beat, but Kushida punched Gargano out of the air. Kushida gave Gargano an impressive shoulder buster into the ringpost from the apron. Gargano shoved Kushida off the top rope but Kushida came back with double boots. Kushida went for a Superplex, but Gargano reversed it into a Super Final Cut Suplex. Gargano hit Kushida with a Tornado DDT for a two count.

Kushida hit Gargano with La mistica. Gargano and Kushida then traded counters which ended with Kushida landing a Fujiwara armbar. Kushida went for a Juji Gatame, but Gargano reversed it into a rollup. Kushida kicked out. Gargano and Kushida took each other out with stereo punches. Gargano went for a handstand elbow on Gargano, but Gargano reversed the move into a GargaNo Escape. Kushida escaped by pulling at Gargano’s injured arm. Gargano escaped a Kimura.

Gargano kicked out of Kushida’s jackknife pin. Kushida hit Gargano with a haymaker. Gargano lawn darted Kushida into the second buckle when Kushida tried to go for Gargano’s dominant arm again. Kushida dragged Gargano to the top rope and hit Gargano with a sweet looking (but a bit contrived) Spanish Fly right into a Juji Gatame. Gargano milked the submission, teasing tapouts for a few minutes. Gargano got a foot to the bottom rope. Kushida tried to lock in the Hoverboard lock at ringside, but Gargano tackled Kushida into the barricade.

Gargano tried to climb up the ramp, but Kushida was at the other end, who gave Gargano a running punt kick to Gargano’s dominant arm. Kushida locked Gargano in the Hoverboard Lock, but Gargano escaped quickly by ramming Kushida’s head into the top rope. Gargano surprised Kushida on the stage with One Final Beat. Gargano took time to recover, but so did Kushida. Gargano ended up hitting Kushida with another One Final Beat DDT in the ring for the clean win.

Johnny Gargano defeated Kushida via pinfall in 24:51 to retain the NXT North American Championship. 

Gargano posed in the ring  with the title belt while the crowd (or caned cheering) chanted “Johnny Sucks”…

John’s Thoughts: Color me surprised. Gargano has played the role of Chicken[bleep] heel so well that it was a bit surprising, and overall refreshing, to see him (or any chicken heel for that matter) get a win. This was made even more shocking due to Kushida being such a dominant babyface who never loses singles matches clean. I wonder where they go from here with Kushida? Maybe they’re having him bypass to Balor (which would be a bit odd after losing a main event level match to Gargano)? I only see that in the cards because they can get to their “New Japan Ace of the Junior Division” dream match that they looked to be have building towards at one point. That combined with Karrion Kross possibly turning babyface. As for the match, It’s been a while since we saw the “Johnny Gargano” formula match where it started out very slow (which had me scared for a bit) but then picked up immensely by the end. Great match!

Io Shirai, Toni Storm, and Mercedes Martinez were shown, in different locations, getting ready for their match…

A Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic video package aired…

MSK made their entrance wearing nice looking green matching ring gear (which also reminded me of the weed themed gear that The Hybrid 2 wears). The Grizzled Young Veterans made their entrance with Gibson trash talking his way to the ring, saying that MSK isn’t taking the match seriously. Gibson told MSK to take their filps and ring gear and shove it up their ass. Gibson then went into his usual “Soon to be recognized” formula…

John’s Thoughts: It’s such an improvement to see Gibson finally tearing into his opponents during his formula “Soon to be recognized” promos. I also get a chuckle out of Gibson telling his opponents to randomly shove random objects up their asses.

3. “MSK” Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” James Drake and Zack Gibson in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Drake dominated Carter early on with chain wresting, but Carter got control with a crossbody. The former Rascalz then swarmed the GYVs with their signature fast strikes. Lee hit both opponents with a Fosbury Flop. Carter then hit Drake at ringside with a diving Poetry in Motion, which Beth said reminded her of Jeff Hardy (I’m assuming they can’t mention Matt. I’m kidding). Carter was then wiped out by a Gibson lariat.

Drake and Gibson used tags and methodical offense to isolate Carter away from Lee. Carter got a window of opportunity after a few minutes with a Suplex on Drake. Gibson yanked on Lee’s leg to distract him enough to enter the ring illegally. This allowed the GYVs to hit Carter with a double team move for a two count. Drake went back to his isolation offense on Carter. Carter ducked a lariat from Gibson and then got the hot tag to Lee.

Lee cleaned house. He hit Gibson with a punch combo and a dropkick. Lee hit both opponents with a ringpost clearing Tope Con Hilo. Lee hit Gibson with an Eddy Gordo Waterfall Kick for a two count. Carter tagged in and Lee catapulted Drake into Carter’s superkick. Carter then started slapping himself, enraged. Carter then gave Gibson some ugly and effected brawling offense. Carter hit Gibson with a springboard twisting cutter for a two count.

Barrett noted that MSK is one of WWE’s best signings in a long time. Gibson recovered after Lee tagged in. Lee took a throat punch from Gibson, but came back with a enzuigiri. Gibson blocked the Eddy Gordo kick with a kick. Gibson hit Lee with a Helter Skelter. Drake tagged in and hit Lee with a 450 for a two count. Lee reversed a Doomsday Device into a rollup. Drake broke up the pin on Gibson. Lee shoved Drake into Gibson. Lee shoved Carter onto Gibson with the Hot Fire Flame.

Carter hit Drake with a moonsault. Lee hit Drake with a Spiral Tap for a two count. Gibson dragged Lee to ringside and put him in a Electric Chair position. Drake then hit Lee with a Tope Doomsday Device. Carter fought away both opponents with strikes. Joseph noted that Carter was fighting for his family. Gibson and Drake hit Carter with a double team lungblower for a two count. Lee showed up to help Carter escape a Ticket to Mayhem. Drake was cleared from the ring. Carter held Drake in place while Lee hit Drake with a springboard into a Corkscrew Neckbreaker for the victory.

MSK defeated The Grizzled Young Veterans via pinfall in 18:26 to become the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 

Vic Joseph noted that Nash Carter made his dad proud as Nash’s father was his inspiration to become a pro wrestler…

John’s Thoughts: Welp, Impact Wrestling dropped the ball again. The former Dezmond and Wentz had this match in them all this time and this is the best match I’ve ever seen the Rascalz wrestle in, and I’ve seen these guys wrestle a ton of matches. I’m happy WWE decided to go all the way and go strong with the fresh and young tag team. There was actually an arguement to be made that the Grizzled Young Veterans should have won to and them winning would have helped them, but I think that they shouldn’t put the brakes on Carter and Lee and just have them hit the ground running. Not to mention, I think the key to the GYVs is having them have matches like this last one while also giving Gibson plenty of mic time. This was also the best GYV match we’ve seen in a long time. We got two strong Dusty finals tonight with the Men having the better match in the end.

A Lonely-Island-esque montage aired for the now-rich Cameron Grimes. Clips of Grimes tossing around Benjamins while running around in his underwear and a top hat. He was also making snow angels with his cash. The music included his new catchphrases “kiss my grits” and “to the moon”…

John’s Thoughts: I still can’t wait until this guy flips the switch on his character, but he has been winning me over with his goofball character. Speaking of Impact dropping the ball, his comedy always sucked there. He’s turned it to another level in NXT. I never thought I would see a Dogecoin and Game Stop joke pulled off so well in WWE. Let’s not forget, Grimes is also very good in the ring, almost Daniel Bryan good.

Vic Joseph thanked Tencent for showing NXT Takeover in China. Pete Dunne and Finn Balor were shown backstage, prepping for their match…

A video package aired for the women’s championship match…

Mercedes Martinez made her entrance with her Mortal Kombat inspired gear. Beth Phoenix noted that she’s known Martinez since Martinez started her career 20 years ago, and how there weren’t as many opportunities for women in wrestling back then. Beth noted that she weathered the storm to make it here tonight. Toni Storm then made her entrance.  Io Shirai made her entrance now wearing a different color scheme to her ring gear (with all the shades of red, it might be a Kamen Rider Saber reference as opposed ot her Kamen Rider Zero One reference in her last gear set). Alicia Taylor tried to handle the formal in ring introductions, but the women jumped the gun and started to brawl to invoke the bell…

4. Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez for the NXT Women’s Championship. Each woman ended up taking turns in the ring with one-on-one moments. The first initial moments of the match had all three women pretty even, even all locking in a single submission on each other (with Storm on the bottom). Shirai escaped and hit Martinez with a 619. Martinez shoved Shirai to ringside and hit Storm with a Super German Suplex. That put her in the Tree of Woe so Shirai could hit Martinez with a Del Rio double stomp. Martinez hit Shirai with a Death Valley Driver into the barricade.

Storm hit Martinez with an Ace Crusher. Joseph reminded viewers that Triple Threat matches are no-DQ. Martinez reversed a Storm Zero with a DDT at ringside. Shirai climbed to the side of some scaffolding and then hit both of her opponents with a crossbody. Martinez hit Storm with a running knee and then followed up with badass shortarm knees to the chin of storm. Martinez hit Storm with a Fisherman Buster for a two count. Storm hit Martinez with a Storm Zero. Martinez kicked out of Storm’s finisher. Storm hit Martinez with a diving headbutt to the gut. Shirai broke up the pin with a Moonsault. Shirai pinned Martinez for the win.

Io Shirai defeated Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez via pinfall in 12:13 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.

John’s Thoughts: Very odd by Takeover standards. This wasn’t a horrible match by any means. The match was good. But it felt like it was cut short. I say this because we know Storm, Shirai, and Martinez are marathon women who can put on an amazing 15+ minute match to tell a good story. I mean, I like Shirai continuing to look dominant but this felt a bit too quick. I’m also surprised that they had Martinez take the pin in the end. I would have thought that Toni Storm was in this match solely to take the pin from either Shirai or Martinez. This match also felt very filler. Not the women’s fault, that was a fault of this Takeover being so hot so far (which is a good consequence, I guess).

Wrestlemania is 55 days away according to the graphic…

The camera cut to backstage where William Regal was signing Eli Drake to his NXT contract. Drake’s name is now “LA Knight”. They then cut to the pre-show where LA Knight cut one of his usual Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sounding promos…

John’s Thoughts: Huge signing for WWE that I never expected to happen due to his failed first stint of NXT where he went by the name Shaun Ricker (but I guess his problems were during the Bill DeMott era of NXT). If he’s allowed plenty of mic time, he can be a game changer in WWE, but I do also hope that his time in NXT leads to him not coming off as a Dwayne Johnson emulator. It’ll also take time to get used to LA Knight as a wrestling name. Seriously, it sounds like name of a potential Arena Football team from Los Angeles (I do know that Drake ended up living in LA and wrestling for NWA Hollywood and in BTW in Fremont, CA so maybe it is a hometown reference).

A video package aired for the Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne match…

Entrances for the main event took place (complete with NXT’s tradition of having the camera follow the wrestlers walking past the Gorilla Position as the build-up). Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the world championship match…

5. Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship. Both men started off with a few minutes of mat and chain wrestling. Joseph noted that he’s seen Dunne in a lot of big matches due to being the play-by-play guy of NXT UK at one point. Joseph also noted that Paul Heyman tweeted that Heyman and Roman Reigns are watching this match. The match got vertical after about 5 minutes. Dunne worked on Balor with joint manipulation. Dunne worked on Balor with manipulation for a good 3-plus minutes.

Balor ended up reversing Dunne into his own armbar, and right into a half crab. Dunne tried to drag Balor to the mat, but Balor locked in a heel hook. Dunne used punches and headbutts to soften up Balor’s back and neck while Balor had the submission locked in. Dunne ended up getting to his feet and hit Balor with an awkward looking X-Plex on Balor. The commentators said that Dunne’s targeted knee might have gave up on him. Balor suplexed Dunne’s injured knee on the buckle.

Balor took down Dunne with a lariat for a two count. Balor pummeled Dunne with rear mount strikes. Balor locked Dunne in a Crippler’s crossface. Dunne escaped by jabbing Balor’s own fingers into the mat in painful looking fashion. Balor and Dunne traded chops. Dunne had an awkward backflip (due to him selling the knee). Dunne hit Balor with curbstomps and a sitout bomb for the win. Balor got momentum after hitting Dunne with a German Suplex. Balor hit Dunne with a Shotgun Dropkick. Dunne reversed a Coup de Grace by locking Balor’s head in a leg triangle (Wade Barrett hilariously prounciates this is “Coup The Grass”)

Dunne added more punishment by punching out Balor’s head in the submission. Balor passed out, but he got the rope break due to getting a foot on the bottom rope. Dunne tried to follow up, but the referee pulled him off to test for the TKO. Balor woke up and said he could continue. Dunne reversed Bloody Sunday into joint manipulation. Balor reversed into a modified Koji Clutch. Dunne got to Balor’s fingers and “broke” them with his wishbone snap. Balor got to his feet and stomped on Dunne a few times. Dunne hit Balor with an elbow.

At around the 21 minute mark, Dunne hit Balor with his finisher, the Bitter End. Balor kicked out of Dunne’s finisher. Dunne hit Balor’s hands with a few stomps. Balor came back with a snap suplex. Dunne blocked a Shotgun dropkick with a enzuigiri. Balor hit Dunne with a Reverse Bloody Sunday. Dunne kicked out of Balor’s (older) finisher. Balor and Dunne went after each other’s injured body parts.

Balor yanked out Dunne’s mouth guard and then hit Dunne in the mouth with a shotgun dropkick to the face. Balor hit Dunne with a Coup De Grace. Balor hit Dunne with a 1916 for the victory.

Finn Balor defeated Pete Dunne via pinfall in 25:24 to retain the NXT Championship. 

Barrett noted that the Island of Ireland beat England here, but he still really likes the beautiful and brutal battle. Balor posed on the ramp. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch showed up and attacked Balor from behind. Dunne, Burch, and Lorcan put the boots to Balor in the ring. Pete Dunne punched the referee out (Post-match REF BUMP!!!). The Undisputed Era entrance music played as Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong rushed the ring to clear the heels. Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch retreated to the back.

Kyle O’Reilly stood in the center of the ring to help Balor to his feet. Balor accepted O’Reilly’s help, which drew cheers. O’Reilly gave Balor congratulations. The WWE Signature appeared on the screen to close the show.

But wait? There’s more. In DIY betrayal fashion, Adam Cole clocked Finn Balor and knocked him out with a superkick. Kyle O’Reilly got in Cole’s face, saying what Cole did was bullshit. Cole then superkicked Kyle O’Reilly to leave him lying. Adam Cole showed minimal emotion as he made his way to the back. The show closed with Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly left on the mat. Roderick Strong looked empathetic towards O’Reilly while also looking conflicted…

John’s Thoughts: Good match, but even hotter finish with Adam Cole seemingly turning back heel. I’m okay with this, especially since babyface Cole hasn’t done much aside from face Pat McAfee, play video games on Twitch, and be put on ice essentially for a few months as NXT built up Kyle O’Reilly as a main eventer. My guess is that this leads to a feud between the old Future Shock tag team partners of O’Reilly and Cole. If that’s the case, then it should be an amazing match. O’Reilly and Cole have had a match before on the big stage, Wrestle Kingdom, for the ROH title; but sadly that match felt like it was cut short for time and they didn’t get the most out of it. I feel like Cole vs. O’Reilly can be a match of the year now that Cole and O’Reilly are on the show that has 20-plus matches on the regular.

As for the Balor vs. Dunne match, it was ugly, but the good kind of ugly. I point out how I love this type of grinding match and Balor as world champion really makes these matches very practical. As a person who fights in the gym on the regular , I respect the closeness to realistic combat sports. Dunne delivers no matter what position you put him in. That said, there was zero reason to think that Dunne had any chance of winning, and that honestly took away some of the drama from Dunne’s nearfalls. That said it was still good stuff. I wonder where they go with Balor from here? The only reason things stay confusing is because of Kross’s weird babyface thing he’s doing against Escobar.

This was one of the better NXT Takeovers of the COVID era, and one of the hottest overall shows in a while. This match was filled with good matches top to bottom with the exception of the oddly shortened Women’s Championship match. We did still get a great women’s match to start off the show with the women’s tag, so the women still delivered on this stacked show. I felt Shirai, Storm, and Martinez were just taken back due to the weird short length. The ending of this show even had shades of the classic Tommaso Ciampa betrayal with the fake WWE signature at the bottom of the screen.

NXT Takeover Vengeance Day Poll – Grade the overall show

 
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Readers Comments (3)

  1. I don’t mind the ‘out of the blue’ finish to the women’s match. It does wrestling good to remind us that finishes can happen any time, rather than “go make a coffee, we’re only ten minutes in”.

    • I totally agree with this and that’s actually why I like a lot of the finishes I see in MLW.

      The only odd part I see here is the composition of the finish not doing much for Toni Storm (she has her finisher get kicked out of) and Martinez takes the pin to make it look like Shirai is just leaving them in the dust.

    • Agree Bob, I thought the women’s tag-team match suffered from being overlong and having about 125 false finishes. You just tune out after a while.

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