January 6th, 2021
Dexter Lumis opens the show in an empty dark arena. He finds the power and cuts it on and the arena lights up and we get into our opening music and introduction stuff. He's the host for tonight.
1) Damian Priest vs. Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett)
Good opener between these two freaks. They slugged it out and kept me invested for a heavy portion of the time despite not knowing what even led to this match, if anything. They do a spot outside with the steps which leads to Priest’s demise. Back in the ring he says “I’m still standing” and Kross responds with an insane saitooooo suplex. This leads to the finish, Kross over Priest. I guess the rumors of Priest heading to the main roster might be true?
Match rating - ***1/4
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament begins next week. They run through some teams involved and cut to Adam Cole & Roderick Strong who will face Breezango in the first round next week. Cole says they will win like always because they are on another level. He then says tonight Kyle O’Reilly will fulfill his destiny and become the NXT Champion.
Grizzled Young Veterans are at ringside and hyped up to be in the tourney next week.
2) Santos Escobar (c) vs. Gran Metallik (w/ Lince Dorado) - NXT Cruserweight Title Match
I’ve been hella into Escobar’s run as champion so to see them somehow getting Gran Metallik a title shot has me super excited. This match isn’t quite as grand as I hoped for though. There was no point in time where it felt like Escobar’s reign was in real jeopardy therefore it was hard to get super invested. Maybe it’s because I’m coming off a match as amazing Omega/Fenix from AEW, but regardless it’s a fun little match and a successful defense for Escobar.
Match rating - **3/4
Backstage, Rhea Ripley is warming up for her big Last Woman Standing Match coming up later on.
3) Xia Li vs. Katrina Cortez
This is Xia’s first match back since her big character transformation. Soooo naturally, this is a squash. She looks good though! The big mystery here is who the creepy looking person is that was a part of her entrance and remained at the top of the stage for the length of this match.
Match rating - N/R
William Regal is here to report that the Fight Pit Match between Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa will have to be post poned due to an injury on the part of Timothy Thatcher.
Bronson Reed is at ringside and says he knows what it’s like to be on the sidelines and in 2021 he is going to show everyone the aggression that it built inside of him. This is his notice to the entire roster. He then reveals his pick for the following match - Rhea Ripley.
4) Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez - Last Woman Standing Match
This rivalry has been waging on for quite some time. It finally comes to an end here and it’s a pretty fitting finale. I can’t remember the last time there was a last woman standing match, but these women did an awesome job with the stipulation. A number of crazy spots including a table bump and a glass door being broken. The finish with Gonzalez slamming Ripley through the stage was sick. Gonzalez makes it up before the 10 count and Ripley can’t even make out of the stage debris.
Match rating - ***3/4
THE WAY is here. It’s new to me also, but “The Way” is Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae’s new stable that also consists of Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory. They put together a really fun segment here. Candice gives Gargano a plaque to commemorate his title defense last week. Then, they announce that Gargano & Theory are entering the Dusty Rhodes tag team tournament next week! They all gas up Johnny before Shotzi Blackheart shows up in her tank. Theory makes fun of her and says he isn’t gonna let her ruin this moment. She shoots something out of her cannon that hits him in the dick and this ends up setting up a mixed tag match as KUSHIDA gets involved as well.
5) Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae vs. KUSHIDA & Shotzi Blackheart
What a wild match lineup! I’m here for it though. Candice & Johnny aren’t even in ring gear so this is one of those spur of the moment matches that doesn’t really slow down. KUSHIDA gets the pinfall on Gargano for the victory.
Match rating - **1/2
The next NXT Takeover is on Valentines Day February 14th!
6) Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly - NXT Championship Match
This is a rematch from one of my favorite matches of last year from NXT Takeover 31. Last time they went to war for almost 30 minutes in a grueling match that saw Balor leave with a broken jaw. This time, it was around 18 minutes and didn’t quite have the same effect as the last match. They did go hard, but it struggled to reach the same level for me. On its own, though, it’s just fine! Balor showed his viciousness early by throwing a stiff kick to O’Reilly before breaking on a rope break. Balor gets busted open above the eye late in the match which was a nice visual. In the end, O’Reilly falls just short once again :( so, although I wasn’t as into this match as the last, Balor still looks phenomenal as champion and O’Reilly is the perfect underdog and this is really gonna make for a heartwarming moment whenever Kyle does win the big one down the line. I’m just curious what’s next for everyone involved coming out of this because they all leave looking stronger than when they went in.
Match rating - ***1/2