For the first time, NXT TakeOver takes place over two nights, making WrestleMania week one of the must-see events of the year. Each match has the potential to be incredible. Even the two matches added on Wednesday night include some of the finest talent the black and gold brand has on offer. It’s been a weird year since WrestleMania 36, but NXT has stayed consistent in its programming. This time last year, Adam Cole was the NXT Champion, Keith Lee and Damian Priest were still a major part of the company, and Karrion Kross was yet to make his debut. A lot has happened since then, but it has been one wild ride. Going into TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, every single title is on the line, with plenty of opportunities for each belt to change hands.
Since Adam Cole lost the NXT Championship, we’ve seen Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, and Finn Balor hold the belt. If it wasn’t for Kross’ injury, he could still be holding it, but Balor’s reign has been nothing short of sensational. Io Shirai has been dominant since she won the NXT Women’s Championship last June, but since Raquel Gonzalez debuted, she’s risen to potentially be the only person worthy of taking the belt from her. Shotzi Blackheart has had a huge push in NXT, and since Ember Moon returned, they’ve been a force to be reckoned with. Johnny Gargano has been on fine form both in the ring and in promos ever since he turned heel, but there’re six men ready to fight to the death in order to get a shot at his North American title.
MSK, Grizzled Young Veterans, and Legado Del Fantasma will face off for the NXT Tag Team Championships, Tommaso Ciampa goes one-on-one with WALTER for the NXT UK Championship, and the unification of the Cruiserweight title looks set to be incredible as Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin attempt to climb the ladder and show who deserves it more. Of course, there’re non-title matches that’ll no doubt be special. Pete Dunne and Kushida will be a technical masterclass, and the unsanctioned match between Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole will be brutal, emotional, and downright amazing.
NXT has undergone some big changes over the last year, but the future of the company looks set to change at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. Whatever happens, we can’t wait. We never thought we’d see Undisputed Era split up, Eli Drake join the roster, and Leon Ruff be a prominent figure in NXT, but here we are.
Note: Predictions are pure that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard anything ahead of time, we promise.
Night 1: Wednesday, April 7
Kushida vs. Pete Dunne
Whilst this match was only made official this week, both Superstars have had an interesting year. For most of it, we didn’t see Pete Dunne. The Bruiserweight has been one of the most consistent performers in both NXT and NXT UK, and when he returned as a heel to aid Pat McAfee, it was just wrong. Dunne has always been a bit miserable, but he’s so likeable because of it, and sharing the ring with that loud-mouthed podcaster should never have happened. However, he’s since broken away from the makeshift faction and is now solely focused on showing the world he’s the best technical wrestler in NXT.
Kushida is intending to prove he’s no pushover. Not only has he become more aggressive in the ring, but he’s also shown how good he is on the mat. His match with Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day was the match of the night, and although he lost, he proved he can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the business. The Hoverboard lock is devastating, and if he manages to lock it in against Dunne, there could be no way out for him. regardless of the outcome, this is a great way to kick off Night 1 of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
Chris White’s Prediction: Kushida – as much as I love Pete Dunne, I think it’s about time Kushida gets a big win under his belt.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: That’s the kind of match that had so much potential. But Kushida has probably more to win than Pete Dunne here.
Gauntlet Eliminator for an opportunity at the NXT North American Title on Night 2
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Leon Ruff vs. Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Dexter Lumis vs. LA Knight
The six Superstars qualified based on their performance in an 11-Man Battle Royal on the March 31 edition of NXT, with LA Knight winning to score himself a huge advantage as the final entrant in the bout. Only one man will claim victory and a potential golden ticket.
We all know Reed and Knight are not the best of friends. Same for Ruff and Scott. Grimes is now swimming in a pool of dollars and that would probably not help him win that one. And there’s Dexter Lumis, fascinating and scary, silent but totally noisy in the ring. Only Ruff is coming to that match as a former Champion but that doesn’t mean he has an advantage because of that. There will a surprise, and a good one, I hope.
Gauntlet Eliminator rules
- Two men will start in the ring.
- Every four minutes, another competitor will enter.
- The only way to be eliminated is via pinfall or submission.
- The last man remaining will challenge Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Title on Night 2 of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
- Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
- Leon Ruff
- Bronson Reed
- Cameron Grimes
- Dexter Lumis
- LA Knight
Chris White’s Prediction: LA Knight – whilst it might be too early in his NXT career to hold the North American Championship, watching him take on Gargano would be a dream match.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: In these situations, I’m unable to choose one… If not LA Knight, that will be Lumis because of Austin Theory.
NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma
Other than the NXT Women’s Championship match, this will probably be a potential match of the night. Ever since MSK debuted, they’ve been electric in the ring. They were due to face former Tag Team Champions Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan before Grizzled Young Veterans injured Wes Lee. so they’ll be looking for payback for GYV squandering their opportunity, but we shouldn’t discount Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde either.
Sure, they’ve often appeared as sidekicks to their fearsome leader Santos Escobar, but their teamwork in the ring is second to none. Bodies are going to be flying everywhere, and it makes this one a difficult match to call. MSK’s agility, GYV’s technicality, and Legado Del Fantasma’s work rate are going to be the biggest factors to see who will walk out NXT Tag Team Champions.
Chris White’s Prediction: MSK – They’ve been on fire since their debut, and I can see them outclassing both teams on the night.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: My men Breezango said it, I say it too, MSK.
NXT United Kingdom Championship
WALTER (C) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
When Imperium took an interest in Timothy Thatcher because of their history outside of NXT as the group, Ringkampf, one had to think Thatcher’s new partner Tommaso Ciampa was going to take exception. And since then, Thatcher has seemingly disappeared from television while Ciampa has made it his goal to take out all of Imperium.
And he came pretty close, taking out Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner, and defeating Marcel Barthel in singles action. But little did he know that NXT United Kingdom Champion, WALTER, was in the United States to take care of his group, That has led to this first-time-ever matchup. Ciampa has quickly become interested in the championship that WALTER has held for over 700 days.
And for good reason, considering WALTER ripped off the necklace of Ciampa and disrespected him in the middle of the ring. Ciampa has an opportunity to become the first man to hold both the NXT and NXT UK Championships on Wednesday night. That being said, WALTER has yet to be defeated and will more than likely walk out still champion.
Chris White’s Prediction: WALTER – I adore Ciampa, but WALTER isn’t going to end his historic reign on American soil. I can see a Thatcher heel turn costing him the gold.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: WALTER, quite simply because I don’t see Ciampa moving to the UK to defend it on a weekly basis.
NXT Women’s Championship
Io Shirai (C) vs. Raquel González
Raquel Gonzalez started as more of a bodyguard to Dakota Kai, but from the moment we witnessed her ability in the squared circle, it was obvious she has a whole load of talent. She’s powerful, athletic, and surprisingly agile, and after her reckless assault on Io Shirai this past week, she’s definitely got the advantage going into the match. This could of course be NXT’s way of playing the underdog card for Shirai, but it could very well just be signalling the end for the Genius of the Sky. Shirai has defended her gold against the best women in the entire division. She’s defeated Toni Storm, Mercedes Martinez, Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai, but Gonzalez could be the one to rip it from her waist.
Chris White’s Prediction: Raquel Gonzalez – she’s an amazing in-ring competitor, and I believe she’ll make a better champion in the long run.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Raquel González – Io Shirai has been an amazing Champion but it’s time for a new face to hold the belt. I expect a heel turn from Dakota Kai and a match between both in the future but also way more great matches coming.
Night 2: Thursday, April 8
Ladder Match for the Undisputed NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Santos Escobar (C) vs. Jordan Devlin (C)
Who is the true NXT Cruiserweight Champion? That question will be answered on Night 2 of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver when Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin face off for the coveted title in a Ladder Match. Escobar made an instant impact upon his arrival on the black-and-gold brand, winning last year’s NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament before unmasking and forming Legado del Fantasma alongside Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza.
However, Devlin also never lost his title after capturing it last January at WWE Worlds Collide. Since returning to action on NXT UK, The Irish Ace has been at the top of his game and willing to prove it on any given day, launching an open challenge initiative. He most recently conquered the likes of Trent Seven and even the much larger “Bomber” Dave Mastiff in a non-title bout.
They’ve exchanged barbs for months, but they finally came face to face on the March 17 edition of NXT, with Devlin deriding Escobar as merely a “fill-in.” Escobar responded by laying down the challenge for this bout, and The Irish Ace answered with a devastating headbutt and the Devlin Side before Wilde and Mendoza could intervene. A week later, WWE Hall of Famer and Ladder Match pioneer Shawn Michaels symbolically introduced a ladder into the equation, and without a word, both Escobar and Devlin understood exactly what was before them.
Chris White’s Prediction: Jordan Devlin – only because I want to see Santos Escobar move into the North American Championship picture.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Santos Escobar.
NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (C) vs. The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell)
Shotzi Blackheart has had one hell of a year. From facing the best in the division to presenting NXT: Halloween Havoc, Blackheart has been a superb athlete and personality. Her feud with Candice LeRae really brought her into the big leagues, and ever since teaming with the returning Ember Moon, they’ve been a force to be reckoned with. It was surprising to see them defeat Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships, but they’ve got great potential to build a legendary run with the newly created titles.
It’s impossible to discount Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. Ever since The Way became a faction in NXT, Hartwell has gone from strength to strength. It was the push she needed to elevate her from enhancement talent to NXT Superstar, and teaming with LeRae has already shown they’re capable of winning the titles. It’s going to be a solid match, but I can see some dirty tactics being used by Hartwell and LeRae. It just depends on how they play into the match and whether that’ll be enough to win them the belts.
Chris White’s Prediction: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon – it’s too early for them to lose the belts, but I also think they’re the better tag team.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Blackheart and Moon.
NXT North American Championship
Johnny Gargano (C) vs. Winner of Night 1 Gauntlet Eliminator
Recent booking pushes the idea that Dexter Lumis will come out of the Gauntlet Eliminator to face Johnny Gargano on the second night for the NXT North American title. Even when KUSHIDA was facing Gargano, it was clear that the creative team had plans for Lumis, as he was a central part of that storyline. But Lumis will have to defeat 5 other men to reach Night Two.
If Damian Priest wasn’t called to the main roster, he would, of course, still be the Champion. Despite The Way, despite the Dinners with The Gargano’s, Johnny Wrestling has been able to find a Way to make us tired of him. NXT had missed some contenders for the US title for a long time. Now, the locker room is literally stacked with talented Superstars ready to defend it proudly. The time to find a contender worthy of taking that title from Gargano and moving the belt forward is over.
Chris White’s Prediction: Winner of Night 1 Gauntlet Eliminator – It’s time Gargano was in the NXT Championship picture again. Whoever wins the Gauntlet Eliminator will capture the gold.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Title change, whoever is the contender.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
This is the match I’m most excited about. When Undisputed Era split up, it broke many fan’s hearts around the world. No matter how many times they’d lose, they were a brotherhood. Poor Bobby Fish. He’s going to get a big shock when he returns. As for the match itself, it’ll be a brutal and bloody affair. There’s so much emotion in this match that there’s no way it’ll stay in the ring. Two weeks ago, O’Reilly and Cole cut incredible promos that highlighted just what this meant to the both of them. Cole is clearly the heel of the match and the guy that no longer needs his former friends. O’Reilly on the other hand has shown that their break up upset him greatly.
Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish could very well be involved in some way. It’ll be interesting to know whether they help Cole or O’Reilly, but UE was such a big part of NXT and this match is the final nail in the coffin for the faction. Who knows, one of these guys could continue the UE legacy with Fish and Strong. Regardless, this match has the hallmarks of a historic match. Not just for NXT, but for the entire professional wrestling world.
Chris White’s Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly – a victory will mean everything to him, but he also has the ability to beat Cole as well.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Adam Cole.
Finn Bálor (C) vs. Karrion Kross w/Scarlett
Who is the true NXT Champion? That answer will come on the final night of TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, as Karrion Kross takes on Finn Balor. The two immovable objects will clash for the gold in the night’s final title fight. Kross is looking to reclaim the title he never lost. Much like Devlin, Kross was subjected to forces beyond his control. When he fought Keith Lee for the belt (and won), he tragically dislocated his shoulder and had to vacate his title.
Since then, it has been the reign of The Prince. Balor has never looked more dominant in his WWE career. His new no-nonsense attitude has led to great success as a champion. Both men have been booked as a dominant force. It’s hard even to remember a time when one of these guys lost.
Kross and Balor should be a banger of a match. Kross has not done much selling for individuals in one-on-one matches. When he battled all three members of Legado del Fantasma, it took all of them to even put any damage on him. So how will Balor do against Kross on his own? That is the thing to watch for because it sets the tone for this match and perhaps what will come next.
Chris White’s Prediction: Karrion Kross – Finn Balor has been an incredible NXT Champion, but I’d love Kross to regain what he never lost in the first place.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Karrion Kross – I take a deep pride saying I am a huge fan of Kross, man and character. I saw him debut on another promotion, that character is his creation, something he has been able to take with him everywhere he has wrestled. The gold is his.
NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver comes your way with Night 1 on Wednesday, April 7, at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) on USA Network and streams exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network. Don’t miss Night 2 on Thursday, April 8, at 8 PM EST on Peacock and WWE Network. A pre-show will air both nights on WWE Network and WWE social media at 7 PM EST (midnight BST).
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE