By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Takeover Vengeance Day Hits
Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship: An excellent Takeover main event. It’s unfortunate that NXT never sold me on the possibility of Dunne actually winning the championship. Had the creative forces developed his character rather than making him a near mute over the years, this would have felt even more special. And it was a special match, but I just couldn’t buy into Dunne’s near falls, which worked against my enjoyment. The post match with Adam Cole taking out Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly with superkicks was a hot ending to the show that left me anxious for the next chapter on Wednesday night.
“MSK” Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic men’s final: An awesome tag team match with nonstop action from bell to bell. MSK filled a major need by giving NXT a strong babyface tag team, so having them win the tournament in their first three matches in the promotion was a logical move. Hopefully Gibson and Drake gained something in defeat after playing the bridesmaids for the second tag tournament in a row.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic women’s final: The first women’s version of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic was really fun and was capped off by a terrific match in the finals. The women’s tournament did more in a matter of weeks to showcase women’s tag team wrestling than Raw and Smackdown have produced with the WWE Women’s Tag Titles over the last two years. I love that the heel duo went over, as they have been the best women’s tag team in NXT, but I could have done without the referee counting while both women made the cover that resulted in the pinfall. I wonder if Kai and Gonzalez winning means a WWE Women’s Tag Title change is coming to avoid the heel vs. heel match, particularly with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair getting the better of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler on Smackdown. Either way, I hope for a disputed finish so that NXT has a reason to add their own women’s tag titles.
Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida for the NXT North American Title: A match between two of the best in the business. I enjoyed the way Kushida pushed Gargano to the limit, yet ended up taking a clean loss. Similar to the main event, the only thing that could have made this more enjoyable would have been if NXT creative had done a better job of getting Kushida over. He has done a lot of wheel spinning in NXT and hopefully there’s a plan in place for him to regain the momentum he develop going to this match. On a side note, I originally liked that Kushida changed his look to coincide with his character showing more of an edge. Can he keep the edge and lose the low budget denim look?
Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez for the NXT Women’s Championship: Randy Orton had to be shaking his head when the table broke before the planned spot considering how many times the tables have remained intact following some of his big spots. Bad table aside, this was a solid Triple Threat that didn’t go long enough to feel special. I thought they might have gone with a three-way so that Shirai could drop the title without being pinned. Instead, it’s another win for her, and now NXT creative is once again tasked with the increasingly difficult chore of coming up with a contender who feels like an actual threat to her championship.
NXT Takeover Vengeance Day Misses
None: The streak of strong Takeover specials continues. I feel like I could have just written this section before the actual show (and maybe I did, you’ll never know). At this rate, we may need to update the old saying that the only things certain in life are death and taxes to include Takeover events delivering in a big way. This was a thoroughly enjoyable event and easily the best Takeover of the pandemic era.