NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day took place from the Capitol Wrestling Center on Valentine’s Day. The three major titles were on the line, a grand debut took place and tag teams paid homage to Dusty Rhodes in the Men’s and the inaugural Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic events.
There was plenty to talk about after the show, which overall hit the mark once again. The Takeover quality has arguably dwindled a bit, but this was straight out of the glory days of the black and gold brand.
We’ll run down the card for the event which went down last night and give our thoughts and analysis on the PPV.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals | Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon
The match started off with the heels, especially Gonzalez, dominating the much smaller frames of Blackheart and Moon. Gonazlez threw Blackheart into the guardrail and teamed up with Kai to isolate Moon for a lengthy period. A babyface comeback ensued after Blackheart returned, and almost secured a win.
Kai saved the match after breaking a submission attempt, which led to Gonzalez destroying Moon and then delivering a double team maneuver on Blackheart to win the match.
Result: Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez win the inaugural Women’s Dusty Classic
Analysis: WWE has given time to the Women’s Tag Team Division on the main roster, but they haven’t been able to replicate the wonderful action that ensued on NXT. Kai and Gonzalez deservedly took home the honors after being a dominant team in the division for several months now. NXT has a bad reputation of giving makeshift teams the Dusty Rhodes Classic trophy, but this was a change for the better.
NXT North American Championship | Johnny Gargano(c) vs. Kushida
Gargano and Kushida starred in a great technical battle in the early part of the match, with Kushida focusing his attention on the left arm of the champion. Gargano’s One Final Beat DDT attempt was countered with a clothesline, as the duo brought out several suplexes and DDTs to find an opening.
Kushida hit a Spanish Fly into the armbar, almost forcing the tapout. Kushida locked-in the Hoverboard Lock as well, but Gargano somehow survived. The champion recovered and went on to drop the challenger with two DDTs, one on the ramp, the other in the ring, and pinned Kushida clean to win the match.
Result: Johnny Gargano retains.
Analysis: This match was everything people associate NXT with. A match full of technical wrestling combined with some jaw-dropping maneuvers. Mr. Takeover surprisingly won the match clean as a whistle, without any interference from Austin Theory or any underhanded tactics, but Kushida came out of the match looking mighty fine as well.
It is unlikely that this rivalry will die down so soon, and Dexter Lumis could play a part in the coming weeks.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic | MSK vs. Grizzled Young Vets
After the high-flyers dominated, Grizzled Young Vets quickly isolated Carter and worked on him for a bit. Carter avoided a kick by Drake and brought in Wes Lee, who went on a rampage. He delivered a tope con hiro, followed by a backflip heel kick on the heels.
The two teams exchanged plenty of ridiculous moves, including a Doomsday Device to the outside by the Young Vets. MSK prevented a Ticket to Mayhem attempt and delivered their double team neck breaker to win the tournament.
Result: MSK wins the Men’s Dusty Classic
Analysis: NXT was on an absolute roll with yet another fantastic encounter between two quite different, yet so similar teams. Grizzled Young Vets will feel cheated for losing the finals two years in a row, but it’s great to see NXT strap the rocket on two highly promising talents.
MSK still has no character or promos apart from two dudes who are really athletic, and hopefully, the company gives them more to do apart from doing jaw-dropping maneuvers. It doesn’t always work out (Ricochet).
NXT Women’s Championship | Io Shirai(c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez
The three superstars tried to destroy each other as soon as they got in the ring, with Martinez taking the upper hand in the early parts of the match, using her veteran instincts to lay the smackdown on Storm. Shirai took advantage and tried to submit Storm, but Martinez broke it up.
The three women continued to brawl outside the ring, with Martinez slamming Shirai into the plexiglass with a Death Valley Driver.
Storm hit a Storm Zero on Martinez but she somehow kicked out at the last moment. Storm went and delivered a headbutt, but Shirai appeared out of nowhere to hit her trademark moonsault for the win.
Result: Io Shirai retains.
Analysis: This was a solid match, which felt too clustered at times. NXT is much better with one-on-one action, as multiple competitors just add more complexity to the match, making it difficult to follow at times.
Mercedes Martinez stole the show with her resolute performance, but Shirai continued her dominant run by taking out both the heels. At this point, Shirai is running out of viable competitors, and it will be interesting to see who steps up to her next.
NXT Championship | Finn Balor(c) vs. Pete Dunne
The two stars engaged in a grappling battle to start things off and went on to work on specific parts of each other’s bodies. With Dunne’s knee damaged, he broke Balor’s fingers while he was locked in the STF. A powerbomb by Dunne couldn’t keep the champion down, who recovered to hit a series of moves and lined up for his Coup de Grace. Dunne countered it into the triangle, almost winning the match.
Dunne once again damaged Balor’s fingers during a submission attempt and could hit a Bitter End only for a nearfall. Balor hit a series of moves, culminating in the Coup de Grace and 1916 to retain his championship.
Post-match, Undisputed Era saved Balor from an attack by Dunne’s goons, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. However, Cole ended up super kicking Balor and turned on O’Reilly to end the show.
Result: Finn Balor retains.
Analysis: Another technical masterpiece to close out the show, this was rather expected given the quality of the participants in the match. Balor continued his dominant run on the third brand, while Dunne showed that he has a long career ahead of him as he is just 27 years of age.
The match was fantastic, but the post-match shenanigans will surely be a major storyline going forward in NXT. The Undisputed Era is finally done and dusted, and this will cause great chaos in the black and gold brand.