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NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day - 2/14/2021


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Meltzer:

If you didn't see last night's Takeover, I'd go out of your way to see it.  It was an outstanding show. Takeover didn't make the Google search list yesterday. It rarely does but No 20 was only 50,000 and it didn't crack that.

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This was overall an excellent show. The opener was a thriller and it told a nice side story of Gonzalez & Kai being such a good team together that they could overcome several heel miscommunication spots and still come out on top. In fact, I was thinking that I haven't seen a more effective heel push towards the top since Shield-era Reigns, than what Raquel is getting right now. If they are giving hope/shine spots to you as a heel, you are definitely on your way!

I don't remember the exact spot after just one watch, but something Gonzalez did made me think of that desperation/fuck you -Spear Roman did in that all the faces of SD vs The Shield (to Kofi, maybe?) that implied "If I'm going down, I'm taking one of you fuckers with me!"

I wonder how Wes Lee feels on the inside for being in THAT kind of shape on the outside? Match was bonkers and the winners were a surprise.

Gargano vs Kushida's excessive mat wrestling segments were nice, but kinda took away from the excellent main event. Kushida losing made me think of when KENTA "Hideous" Itami lost to Bobby Roode. Match was really good, but bit much, as others have pointed out.

Need to watch the Womens title match again to form a better opinion, but Io is becoming about as dominant as Asuka and Bazler as champion.

The main event was just stellar. Too bad Dunne lost, but I never REALLY thought he would win, so. Cole taking Dunne's heat after the match was not very cool, but I guess you needed to turn him back at some point, because he's, you know, Adam Cole. Strong didn't make up his mind yet on the situation, which is cool, but I see him siding with Cole, eventually.

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Fuller thoughts will eventually go up on my blog, but two things I thought might be worth further discussion...

 

- MSK winning the tournament makes sense to me. They have an undeniable "It" factor to them - they feel like a real team, are fun to watch, and are natural babyfaces. I'm not sure what they need to do on NXT except get stale like, well, everyone else that has languished there for longer than they should *for example, Pete Dunne.* It just doesn't make much sense to me why a team like MSK would need to spin their wheels when RAW desperately needs some fresh acts and while SmackDown is in better shape, its not like either show is really "hot" right now. 

 

- I can appreciate Io Shirai's ability and the talents of many of the other women, but the NXT Women's Division doesn't "click" for me and hasn't for about a year now. I'm not sure what Shirai's actual gimmick/personality is. Toni Storm seems like a mix of a bunch of different wrestlers without having her own defining character. Mercedes Martinez was impressive, but also seems like she was thrust into the match based on a reputation as a "journeyman"/"veteran" that wasn't adequately presented because WWE/NXT still treats other companies like the minor leagues - except when they don't. For example, for Asuka and Kairi Sane, they really pushed the notion that they were already the best women's wrestlers in the world when they came to NXT. For Martinez, they talked about her experience the same way they would Natalya or Kane. And Io retained anyway, further making Storm and Martinez feel like nothing special, just another pair of interchangeable challengers in another multi-person match where nobody ends up standing out save for a crazy spot or two. 

I'm going to risk all my credibility here by admitting that I am not a weekly NXT viewer so it is entirely possible that I've missed lots of great character development and whatnot - but I also wasn't a regular NXT viewer in 2015 or 2016 or 2017 or 2018 or ever and I still understood and fully got invested in the title picture when Sasha, Charlotte, Bayley, Asuka, Baszler, Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, The IIconics, Ember Moon, and Nia Jax were involved. You used to be able to just watch the Takeovers and know all you needed to know to get invested in most every match on the card. The women mentioned above were all definable characters, with clear, recognizable traits, and they each had unique skill sets and styles. Now...I don't know. It feels like they've got a roster of talent but nobody has any direction.

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Two questions:

1. How in the hell does Pete Dunne not destroy your fingers when he does that?

2. Is Vic Joseph saying “deep cleaning” or “de-cleating?”

The three way tandem of Beth, Barrett, and Joseph is really growing on me. 
Goddamn that main event was dope and MSK is tearing it up. I have to give a lot of love for GYV too. I think the NXT tag division is really starting to heat up again and I love it.

 

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34 minutes ago, WholeFnMachine said:

Two questions:

1. How in the hell does Pete Dunne not destroy your fingers when he does that?

2. Is Vic Joseph saying “deep cleaning” or “de-cleating?”

The three way tandem of Beth, Barrett, and Joseph is really growing on me. 
Goddamn that main event was dope and MSK is tearing it up. I have to give a lot of love for GYV too. I think the NXT tag division is really starting to heat up again and I love it.

 

1. He's not very good at snapping fingers? Also, I saw PAC vs WALTER where PAC accidentally dislocated his (index?) finger when landing highspot and it twisted a gross 90 degrees sideways. He pulled it back in place and continued for 20 minutes. So it wouldn't be a big deal, if guys remembered to pull the fingers back in place before they try to do something with them during the match. Tyler Bate did this and it was awesome. Alesteir Black did it during a Rumble and hit a Black Mass on Dunn (before or after, I'm not sure). To his credit Balor was pulling the fingers back in place after the victory.

2. Your guess is as good as mine, better in fact, since I've got nothing.

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3 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

You mean the finger break spot is real? If I was working with someone that expected to do that to me I'd tell them no fucking way. 

No, I'm sure it's not real at all, but I saw it happen by accident and since that was legit no big deal to PAC  (I'm sure it hurts like mofo, tho) and it didn't end the match, one could then plausibly suspend disbelief, if the guys who get that done to them remember to sell the injury and pull the fingers back into place before they attempt more offence with the "injured" hand. This was all I was getting at. It would take one twisted individual to agree to purposely get their fingers dislocated for show, but I'm sure that someone would agree to it.

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I liked Finn not straightening out his fingers for his pose after the match.

Gargano is so incredibly talented, but the longer Shawn Michaels has influrnce on him, the more self indulgent the matches get. Also, running a several weeks long story where Gargano is terrified of Kushida, then having Theory kidnapped leaving Johnny by himself... You then have Johnny take everything Kushida throws at him for twenty minutes before hitting a move and winning clean? Jesus, that's one way to kill off a babyface.

MSK/GYV was fucking awesome.

The women's tag had a ton of cool stuff but, like, no structure and they seemed outright unsure who the heels were in the match.

Women's title... Fuck I hate triple threats. Again, some cool spots but this was nothing but moves and a collapsing table and short. Hopefully we get Storm/Shirai one on one now though.

Main was excellent, post match was long overdue, Cole and KoR are always great against each other. Bàlor vs Kross is whatever, but Bàlor vs the winner of the UE explosion will be fun either way.

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Just caught up on this, first time watching a full NXT show since about May last year so this may turn into a bit of an essay.

Maybe I’m just an old man but found it literally difficult to watch during entrances, just far too much going on with all the lights.

Really liked the women’s tag. Gonzalez looked great, I though Shotzi looked a lot smoother compared to her earlier appearances, seems to have improved. A decent women’s tag division could really help the likes of Moon, who looked good, but otherwise is usually a bit of an afterthought. I liked the early face leg work, nice to see the format mixed up a bit, although there wasn’t much pay off in terms of Kai’s selling later.

Gargano/Kushida was typical Gargano, some good stuff but just overkill. Never been impressed by Gargano’s character work but stands out more as a heel. He’s not outright bad, but is just so obviously playing a character, comes off really inauthentic. He suffers from the weird limbo between developmental and third brand that NXT is in, feels like he’s been around far too long without moving ‘up’.

I don’t get why I’m supposed to care about Kushida. He’s good at wrestling and that seems to be about as deep as his character goes, but he hasn’t won any big enough matches for that to be his whole thing. Then he has this dorky, gimmicky look that’s never really been explained as far as I know. Just seems to be a disconnect in his whole presentation.

Liked the men’s tag but went a couple sequences too long for me. Thought the Swanton-spiral tap looked better than the eventual finish. First time properly seeing MSK and was impressed, some cool stuff. GYV are a great sum-is-greater-than-the-parts team. I like Gibson but don’t think he’d have got beyond NXT UK as a solo act and Drake is solid but lacks charisma, which is well hidden in the team.

Triple threat was fine, thought this was a good length for the style of match.

Liked the main, don’t think it was a forced epic, some nice limb work and never went into near fall overkill, even the submission ‘near fall’ was well done with Finn basically passing out and just about flopping his foot on the ropes. Really liked the spot where Dunne slipped on the flip out of the corner, thought it was a botch initially but they moved straight into a sequence so I assume it was deliberate, nicely done either way.

O’Reilly comes off as a legit singles star from the little I’ve seen (at least at the NXT level), wouldn’t have expected that a year ago.

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Dave Meltzer star ratings:

Kai/Gonzalez vs. Moon/Blackheart, ****.

Gargano/KUSHIDA, ****3/4.

MSK vs. GSV, ****1/2.

Shirai/Storm/Martinez, ***3/4.

Balor/Dunne, ****1/2.

Edited by The Natural
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On 2/17/2021 at 8:12 AM, WholeFnMachine said:

Two questions:

1. How in the hell does Pete Dunne not destroy your fingers when he does that?

 

Same way your face doesn't get destroyed taking multiple bare-knuckle punches.

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