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NXT TakeOver Vengeance Day: Rating and Ranking Every Match

The black and gold brand of the WWE delivered their first NXT TakeOver special of 2021. The winners of the men’s and women’s Dusty Cup were decided. The North American Title was up for grabs as champion Johnny Gargano defended against KUSHIDA. In the main event, NXT Champion Finn Balor took on Pete Dunne in an instant classic. The biggest news came at the close of the show, as the Undisputed Era saved Finn Balor from a beatdown, only for Adam Cole to turn on the champion and his friends. Undisputed Era is no more.

Every NXT Takeover: Vengence Day match will be given a short review and analysis, as well as a star rating. Every match will then be ranked from worst to best.

NXT TakeOver: Ranked from Worst to Best

5) NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai d. Mercedes Martinez & Toni Storm
Mercedes Martinez attacks Io Shirai during the ring introductions as the Triple Threat Match kicks off. The action finds its way to the outside as Io attempts but kisses an Asai Moonsault and crashes into the barricade. Martinez connects with a triple suplex combo until Io hits a dropkick.

Martinez tries to clear off the announcer’s table but it ends up just collapsing. Io connects with strikes and climbs the lightning structure and hits a crossbody on both women. Back in the ring and Toni Storm nails a Storm Buster for a two count. Io then comes out of nowhere with a moonsault onto Martinez to retain her title.

Match Analysis: While it was a good match, the women’s triple threat didn’t hold up in quality to the rest of the show. If you are invested in Io’s title reign or a fan of the others, then it’s Worth a Watch. ***1/2

Women’s Dusty Cup

4) Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart
The first annual women’s Dusty Classic came to a close with the best match of the tournament. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart came out riding their signature tank which is always a good spot. Raquel uses her power early on to get the advantage over Blackheart and the match moved at a brisk paced until the bell. Both teams used solid double team moves, including Moon and Blackheart hitting a double leg rolling bomb on Kai.

At one point the action moved to the outside where Gonzalez hit a spinning powerbomb on Blackheart into the plexiglass guardrail. The action moved back inside before Dakota Kai was knocked to the outside. Kai was then on the receiving end of a suicide dive by Blackheart. The match came to a close when Gonzalez tosses Kai from the aisle way onto Blackheart who is then hit with the one-arm powerbomb for the win.

Match Analysis: The Dusty Classic on the women’s side has been pretty solid from the start but this was a step above the rest. Both teams had their time to shine, but it’s clear that Dakota Kai is a superstar with Raquel Gonzalez not being too far behind. Best women’s tag team match on NXT in some time. Great way to kick off NXT TakeOver: Vengence Day. Must-Watch. ***3/4

NXT TakeOver: Men’s Dusty Cup

3) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: MSK defeated Grizzled Young Veterans
An old school ground and pound tag team taking on a new school athletic and high flying team. MSK gets the early advantage as the GYV are unable to avoid MSK’s fast-paced offense. GYV retreat to the floor but are taken out by Wes Lee’s Sasuke Special. Nash Carter uses Lee to vault himself ala The Hardy Boys onto James Drake but is then met with a stuff closeline by Zack Gibson.

Both teams pull out all the stops as they trade taking control of the offense. GYV connect on several more double teams, including a second rope dropkick-facebuster combo. More high flying offense from MSK which leads to a running flipping senton from Lee to GYV. Back in the ring and GYV hit a Helter Skelter-450 combo but Lee is able to kick out. The match comes to a conclusion after MSK hit combo Blockbuster-Hart Attack on Drake for the win at NXT TakeOver.

Match Analysis: One of the best tag team matches in quite some time. Both teams shined at NXT TakeOver and their chemistry clicked instantly. Since each team has a drastically different style they find a way to shine without overshadowing the opposition. Check this one out ASAP. Must-Watch. ****1/4

Grudge Title Match

NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano d. KUSHIDA
The heel turn for Johnny Gargano has been met with a lukewarm reaction, but he’s really shined in recent weeks. KUSHIDA is 100 percent legit and has the resume across Japan to show for it. KUSHUDA spent nearly the entire match focusing on attacking Gargano’s arm and they stuck with it. Chain wrestling to start as KUSHUDA quickly moves from Gargano’s leg to his arm. At one point, KUSHIDA hit a flowing combo that included a hip toss, cartwheel, dropkick and a punch. Gargano goes for the Slingshot Spear but is caught by KUSHIDA who counters it into a hammerlock suplex.

KUSHIDA tries to successfully lock in the Hoverboard Lock, but Johnny Gargano continues to find a way to the rope. Outside on the entrance ramp, KUSHIDA hits a running kick to Gargano’s arm and back inside to the Hoverboard Lock. Gargano finds a way to counter with a rope whiplash onto KUSHUDA. One Final Beat from Gargano to KUSHUDA on the ramp and another in the ring to finish off the match at NXT TakeOver.

Match Analysis: KUSHIDA’S targeting of the arm of Johnny Gargano was fantastic. Too often in modern pro wrestling, wrestlers move from spot to spot or simply forget about the storytelling aspect of grabbing a body part. This match hit all the right beats while not overcomplicating things. Must-Watch. ****1/2

NXT TakeOver: Main Event

1) NXT Championship: Finn Balor defeats Pete Dunne
Chain wrestling kicks things off with Finn Balor getting the early advantage. Pete Dunne is able to briefly gain control by working on the injured fingers of the champion. Dunne locks in an armbar but then directs his focus back to the fingers of Balor. Balor is able to move into the offensive position working on Dunne’s leg before both get to their feet. Dunne connects with a spinning release suplex for a two count. A strike exchange is the spark that puts the match into the next gear.

Pete Dunne connects with a repeated headbutt into a sit-out powerbomb for a two-count. Finn Balor is able to unload on Dunne with a wide-range attack, including a back-cracker. Balor gets caught coming off the top rope with Coup de Grace as Dunne locks in a triangle choke. After another comeback from Dunne. Balor finally lands Coup de Grace and then 1916 for the win.

Match Analysis: Simplicity in pro wrestling is a beautiful thing. Pete Dunne’s obsession with breaking the fingers of Finn Balor was so important to this match. Balor working on Dunne’s leg was nearly as fulfilling. In between the story and selling of those target points, both men went all out. Starting slow and picking up the pace as they went along, Dunne and Balor put on an early Match of the Year candidate. Must-Watch. ****3/4

 

Robby Steven

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