I know this kind of happens most years at this point, but NXT Takeover has a far more enjoyable card than WWE WrestleMania this year, right? All the matches have backstory that seem to go back at least the last six months of shows (okay, maybe not so much KUSHIDA/Pete Dunne), and with Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly they're material goes back 4 years just in NXT - if we count Ring of Honor, it goes back 10 years! They started as a tag team! Seriously, check out this sweet background package WWE put together:
The Undisputed Implosion and Adam Cole vs Kyle O'Reilly is pure emotion and the endgame of the last nearly four years of NXT storytelling. Nothing over on the WrestleMania card comes anywhere near this. Even other matches, like Karrion Kross vs Finn Bálor goes back to eight months to when Kross won the title but was injured and had to vacate the title. The entire women's division, both singles and now tag teams, have been beautifully entangled since they got the title off of Charlotte Flair which I am still angry at them for doing in the first place. The stories going into the other big show this weekend seem far more rushed and short sighted, but I'll complain more about that next time. NXT is killing it and is awesome.
I was going to do a bit about the 1988 Edward James Olmos classic Stand and Deliver, but honestly I'm tired and still need to work on fantasy booking WrestleMania (again). Let's just check the standings for the Quixotronic's Wrestling Shame Challenge™. This is the final check-in before the final tally since my goal will be to have my preview for WrestleMania be written before Takeover, so I don't plan on adding Takeover's results until our first post-Mania preview. Don't worry, nothing matters anyway.
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic…
Standings going into WWE Fastlane 2021
First Place: Kyle 64.7% (97-53)
Second Place: Tim 58.4% (59-42)
Third Place: Ryan 30.8% (24-54)
WWE Fastlane 2021 results:
WWE United States Title Match: Mustafa Ali vs Matt Riddle ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE United States Champion: Matt Riddle
Kyle: n/a (0-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-0)
Tim: n/a (0-0)
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler ©
Your Winners, and STILL WWE Women's Tag Team Champions: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Kyle: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (1-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-1)
Tim: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (1-0)
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Apollo Crews vs Big E ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E
Kyle: Big E (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: Big E (2-0)
Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon Elias
Your Winner: Braun Strowman
Kyle: n/a (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: n/a (2-0)
Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Your Winner: Seth Rollins
Kyle: n/a (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: n/a (2-0)
No DQ Match: Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus
Your Winner: Drew McIntyre
Kyle: Drew McIntyre (3-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-3)
Tim: Drew McIntyre (3-0)
Alexa Bliss vs Randy Orton
Your Winner: Alexa Bliss
Kyle: Alexa Bliss (4-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-4)
Tim: Alexa Bliss (4-0)
WWE Universal Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Kyle: Roman Reigns (5-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-5)
Tim: Roman Reigns (5-0)
And now the conclusion…
New standings after WWE Fastlane 2021
First Place: Kyle 65.8% (102-53)
Second Place: Tim 60.4% (64-42)
Third Place: Ryan 28.9% (24-59)
Who will survive!?
If you want to watch NXT Takeover Stand and Deliver live on Wednesday and Thursday, you’ll want to watch on the USA Network on Wednesday however you access your cable channels and then on Peacock on Thursday (and maybe also Wednesday, I'm not sure). Don't go back to the WWE Network as it has been sent to the great Dungeon in the sky where it's getting stretched by Stu Hart until it screams. On second thought, that Dungeon may not be in the sky. Until then, here’s your Quixotronic preview of the show.
NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver
KUSHIDA vs Pete Dunne
The Background: KUSHIDA and Pete Dunne were both particpants in the 11-man battle royal on the March 31st NXT to determine who would enter the gauntlet match on night 1, Stand. Unfortunately for both men, they eliminated eachother while KUSHIDA had Dunne in a Hoverboard Lock and refused to break the move. After referees finally broke the two up, it was announced they would face eachother at Takeover. Sometimes you don't need a story. This match is scheduled for Stand.
Fanboy Fantasy: Despite my better judgment, I'm going to try an avoid a time travel plot for this one. It's rare when I get two KUSHIDA Takeover matches in a row, so we'll skip this one. His next Takeover? You bet your ass it's going to have the standard time travel schtick. KUSHIDA and Dunne just beat the ever loving shit out of eachother and refuse to tap. Dunne breaks some fingers, KUSHIDA just gets angrier. KUSHIDA hits buzzsaw kick after buzzsaw kick, Dunne just shrugs them off. Finally KUSHIDA refuses to break the Hoverboard Lock again and Dunne gets a win via DQ. Oney Lorcan tries to make the save but eats a Hoverboard Lock as well and sells it like murder - if we need to write Lorcan off while Burch heals up, then here we go. Otherwise have him moonlight on 205 Live for a bit? Either way, this feud is only just beginning.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: KUSHIDA - I think this will reenergize him after his loss to Gargano and potentially set him up to defeat Gargano for the title down the line.
NXT UK Title Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs WALTER ©
The Background: Tommaso Ciampa became forever-friends with Timothy Thatcher after the two fought in a FIT PIT on the January 20th NXT so they entered the men's Dusty Rhodes Classic and made it all the way to the semi-finals before losing to the Grizzled Young Veterans. They were able to get a non-title match with the NXT Tag Team Champions Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan on the March 3rd NXT, but lost due to a distraction by NXT UK's Imperium. After Imperium took out Thatcher, Ciampa defended the honor of his forever-friend by defeating Marcel Barthel on the March 17th NXT. But then WALTER showed up. That sentence is literally etched on men's graves. WALTER proved himself a bully on the March 24th NXT by murdering poor Drake Maverick who is roughly 1/8th the size of WALTER. Old Man Ciampa challenged WALTER to a match afterwards, and had to slap him to get him to respond to the request. WALTER responded in kind by powerbombing Ciampa. While we want this to be a Wolverine vs Hulk situation, we fear this will be an Ultimate Wolverine vs Ultimate Hulk situation. That is bad news for Old Man Ciampa. This match is scheduled for Stand.
Fanboy Fantasy: Ciampa leaps at WALTER to start but is swatted away. Ciampa attacks again but is caught and slammed to the mat. WALTER goes for a quick pin but Ciampa headbutts him right in his baby face. This angers WALTER. The two go for a while with WALTER hitting power move after power move and Ciampa somehow kicking out. Ciampa tries to gain the advantage and tries for a Fairy Tale Ending but quickly discovers there's no way that move will work with the size difference. At this point Imperium slowly starts heading to the ring, but before they make it Timothy Thatcher returns and dismantles Aichner, Barthel, and Wolfe. Thatcher stands guard while Imperium tries to collect themselves and WALTER is distracted by his goons being dispatched like goons. Ciampa is able to get WALTER into a Willow's Bell for 2.9999 count. WALTER is angry again. WALTER sprints out of the ring (which in itself sounds frightening), grabs Marcel Barthel, drags him into the ring, and throws him at Ciampa. Ciampa is able to dodge and hit Barthel with a Project Ciampa and he rolls out of the ring. WALTER heads back to the outside, headbutts Thatcher, grabs Alexander Wolfe, and throws him at Ciampa, but this time he hits the referee. With the adult wrestler he threw. WALTER goes to grab Fabian Aichner but Thatcher has recovered and has Aichner locked into a sleeperhold and pushes Aichner into WALTER and then European uppercuts them both. Thatcher tosses WALTER into the ring where Ciampa hooks in for the Fairy Tale Ending again but Thatcher helps lift WALTER to hit the move. Thatcher drags the referee over and and Ciampa gets the 1, 2, 3 for the win and the title! Thatcher grabs the title from the referee and slams it into Ciampa's arms as the two brielfy smile, but then stare eachother down. This leads to Ciampa and Thatcher heading out to NXT UK where we have some Bro-serweight style fun. Except neither man is fun? NXT UK Takeover Dublin gets the main event of Ciampa vs Thatcher for the title.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: WALTER - Despite my want/need to see Ciampa reinact An American Werewolf in London on NXT UK, I don't think I'll be granted my wish.
Ryan: Tommaso Ciampa
Tim: Tommaso Ciampa
NXT Men's Tag Team Titles Match: Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza) vs MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee)
The Background: MSK debuted in this year's men's Dusty Rhodes Classic and won the damned thing at NXT Takeover Vengeance Day when they defeated the Grizzled Young Veterans - making it the second year in a row that the Vets made it to the final but came up short. Gibson and Drake got some heat back by defeating Drake Maverick and Killian Dain on the February 24th NXT. Meanwhile, semi-final team Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza of Legado del Fantasma restablished their dominance by destroying both Breezango and Ever-Rise on the March 3rd NXT. Legado del Fantasm defeated the Grizzled Young Veterans on the March 10th NXT after MSK destracted the Vets and picked up another win against Breezango on the March 17th NXT. Unfortunately on that same show, NXT Tag Team Champion Danny Burch was injured in a match with Oney Lorcan against NXT Champion Finn Bálor and Karrion Kross. With the titles now vacated, a triple threat match has been set up with the three top teams. After a match that saw Santos Escobar defeat Tyler Breeze on the March 31st NXT, Mendoza & Wilde tried to continue Breeze's beating only for MSK to make the save while the Vets looked on. Confidently. This match is scheduled for Stand.
Fanboy Fantasy: This one, as it should be, is just a giant flippy floppy mess with all six men leaping and diving and jumping all over the place. MSK gets the win and the titles when Wes Lee pins Zack Gibson but the Vets flip out. They steal the titles from the referee and clock all four members of MSK and Legado del Fantasma. They grab the men's Dusty Rhodes Classic cup that was out by the announcers desk because MSK is still celebrating and break it over MSK. With all four men legally dead, the Vets walk out with the stolen titles.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: MSK - they seem to be the safe answer since they won the Dusty Rhodes Classic, yeah? Am I going to get fucked with this choice?
Ryan: Grizzled Young Veterans
Tim: Legado del Fantasma
NXT Women's Tag Team Titles Match: The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart ©
The Background: Three of these four women were already in eachother's business in the lead up to NXT Takeover WarGames IV with champions as member of Team Shotzi (along with NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai and challenger to the WWE Raw Women's title Rhea Ripley) facing off against the evil Team Candice (LeRae heading up a team with Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, and NXT Women's title challenger Raquel González). Team Candice came up on top with González pinning Shirai - more on them later. Not too long after that, it was time for the Dusty Rhodes Classic finally featuring a women's tournament. Everyone powered up, with Moon and Blackheart getting to the finals by beating LeRae and fellow The Way member Indi Hartwell in the semi-finals but losing again to González and Kai at NXT Takeover Vengeance Day. The winners received a titles shot at the WWE Women's Tag Team titles, but that was ruined on the March 3rd NXT when WWE Commissioner (yes?) Adam Pearce showed up with a WWE referee who made a fast count to let Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler keep their belts. NXT General Manager (is that his title?) William Regal was none too happy about this development so decided fuck it, NXT can have it's own and obviously better women's tag team division. He opened the March 10th NXT by introducing the new titles and awarded them to Kai & González - who were immedietly challenged and finally beaten by Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart. Meanwhile, The Way was spending time in group therapy due to one of their members being kidnapped by a serial killer/artist - more on that later - but now they're back and on the March 31st NXT Candice formally announced their intentions on taking the NXT Women's Tag Team titles. Even after group therapy, all these women have been connected enough in the last 6 months that it still makes perfect sense. This match is scheduled for Deliver.
Fanboy Fantasy: Ember and Shotzi get to ride the Rusev tank to the ring, somehow, and now it's painted up to be full Blackheart. Wait, Goldheart? Because they're champions? Sure. LeRae and Moon start off and are evenly matched. Hartwell tags herself in early and gets dominated by both Moon and Blackheart. LeRae is able to get back in for a while but Hartwell eventually eats the pin. LeRae leaves the ring before Hartwell before she can recover as the champions celebrate. Maybe more group therapy is needed?
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart - no reason for another title change this soon into the run.
Ryan: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Tim: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
NXT Cruiserweight Title(s) Ladder Match: Jordan Devlin © vs Santos Escobar ©
The Background: Jordan Devlin won the NXT Cruiserweight title in the beforetimes back on the January 25th (2020) Worlds Collide special by defeating NXT Cruiserweight Champion Angel Garza, Isaiah Scott, and Travis Banks, taking the title to NXT UK. Devlin retained the title against Travis Banks on the March 26th NXT UK, but by that point the #quixotine had started and Devlin (and the title) were locked down in England. NXT UK wouldn't come back with new episodes until September 2020. Over on NXT Domestic, a tournament was held to crown an interim NXT Cruiserweight champion that saw El Hijo del Fantasma defeat Drake Maverick on the June 3rd (2020) NXT. Unfortunately for Maverick, he was attacked the next week on the June 10th (2020) NXT by masked men who revealed themselves to be former abductees Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza while El Hijo del Fantamsa unmasked himself and revealed himself to be Santos Escobar, leader of the new Legado del Fantasma. Yes we discussed them as a standard thing above because this was ten calendar months ago but who-knows-how-many in 2020 months ago. Escobar has held the title as the NXT Cruiserweight champion with no dispute until Jordan Devlin was finally able to break #quixotine and appeared on the March 17th NXT to confront the interim champion. Escobar made the formal challenge while Devlin headbutted him in response. Devlin defeated KUSHIDA on the March 24th NXT to show American audiences why he's the champion, though Escobar confronted him post-match. All was fine and dandy until Shawn Michaels showed up, brought himself a ladder to the ring, tipped his hat to the gentleman, and walked away. Sometimes words aren't needed. This match is scheduled for Deliver.
Fanboy Fantasy: With Legado del Fantasma members Mendoza and Wilde taken to Local Medical Facility, Santos Escobar must go it alone against Jordan Devlin. The two do all the ladder things, we all know how these matches work now. Escobar gets the win to finally be the true NXT Cruiserweight champion. On the next NXT, Escobar celebrates his win until Devlin and the entire 205 Live roster all show up and ask why he doesn't defend his title on the actual cruiserweight show. Devlin at least had a reason - he was on lockdown in another country. NXT and 205 Live film in the same damn building and the cruiserweight champion doesn't bother to show up to the cruiserweight show. William Regal and Drake Maverick appear to agree with the concerns of the entire division and inform Escobar he will need to defend the title at least once a month on 205 Live, but the show is open to any wrestler of NXT and NXT UK who qualify the weight requirement. At this point hopefully more of the NXT cruiserweights can appear on 205 Live and vice versa with cruiserweight matches being billed as such on NXT and NXT UK. Either all of this, or just cancel 205 Live. Just pick one.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Jordan Devlin - I think WWE will double down on the man who originally won the belt and had his run sort-of cut short. Sort-of.
Tim: Santos Escobar
Gauntlet Match for #1 Contendership to the NXT North American Title: Bronson Reed vs Cameron Grimes vs Dexter Lumis vs Isaiah Scott vs LA Knight vs Leon Ruff
NXT North American Title Match: Winner of Gauntlet Match vs Johnny Gargano ©
The Background: Johnny Gargano retained his NXT North American title at NXT Takeover Vengeance Day by defeating KUSHIDA, but prior to the match, his posse the Way (Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, and Austin Theory) lost Theory on their way to the ring. It turns out Dexter Lumis, who's character is most likely a quiet serial killer but he's a good guy because wrestling (!) had abducted Theory because... well, see earlier in the sentence? He's also an artist, I guess? Kidnapping earns you only a non-title match with the champion but Lumis defeated Gargano on the February 24th NXT. After recovering Theory, the Way went to group therapy to fix Theory's stockholm syndrome. Again, wrestling. At least Lumis defeated Theory in singles action on the March 17th NXT so he's cured now. That's just science. While the Way worked on their feelings, the NXT North American title division grew - LA Knight (formerly Impact World Champion and NWA Tag Team Champion Eli Drake) recently debuted and has become entangled in a feud with Bronson Reed and the Million Dollar Hillbilly Cameron Grimes. Grimes defeated Reed with help from Knight on the March 3rd NXT, while Reed defeated Knight on the March 24th NXT. An 11-man battle royal was held to determine the six entrants into a gauntlet match on the March 31st NXT - it would have been 12, but Roderick Strong declared that he "was done" earlier in the night. Of the eleven entrants, five were eliminated and will not be in the match (including KUSHIDA and Pete Dunne as mentioned above), and the final six in order of elimination and thus guantlet order: Leon Ruff, Isaiah Scott, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Dexter Lumis, and LA Knight. The guantlet match is scheduled for Stand, the title match with Gargano is schedule for deliver.
Fanboy Fantasy: Leon Ruff and Isaiah Scott start and go longer than you would think for a gauntlet match so we can establish both men. Scott has been working as a heel lately and Ruff is a former NXT North American champion already but I feel like they're the least likely to win so let them have some fun. Plus, they're feuding a little bit? Just a little? Swerve puts Ruff away and next comes Bronson Reed. Reed does his best to overpower Scott but Scott is able to sneak a pin with his legs on the ropes to advance again. Out comes the Million Dollar Hillbilly Cameron Grimes and his magic hat. Grimes right away goes for offering money and Scott considers it. Grimes pulls out more money and Scott looks even more intrigued. Scott wants the magic hat also. Grimes looks horrified at the prospect but Scott insists - he wants both the money and the hat. He could buy a new one, right? Grimes gives in and Scott lays down for a 3-count. Scott collects his money and his new hat, but when he tries it on - it doesn't fit! No! He throws the hat back at Grimes and dropkicks it into his face before Dexter Lumis calmly walks to the ring. Grimes tries to offer Lumis money but he knows deep down that Lumis won't take it. Lumis slowly pulls what looks like a dollar out of his pocket and offers it to Grimes - the camera is able to zoom in and it is a hand-drawn picture of Grimes's face with X's over the eyes. Once Grimes gives us a reaction shot, Lumis attacks. The two get a minutes or two but Lumis is able to pin Grimes and then out comes LA Knight. Like with Ruff and Scott in the beginning, Lumis and Knight get a solid ten minutes, far more than you want for a gauntlet match. Lumis gets the win and moves on to Deliver to face and defeat Gargano for the NXT North American title. With LeRae and Gargano both without gold, after WrestleMania they get bumped up to Smackdown while Theory and Hartwell deal with how to wrestle without their parents around anymore. Perhaps some sort of House Party situation can play out? Yes, let's do that.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Dexter Lumis, Dexter Lumis - he's been living rent free in Gargano's head, so he has the best shot. Also, I'm calling Johnny in a Winter Soldier outfit.
Ryan: TBA, Johnny Gargano
Tim: Cameron Grimes, Johnny Gargano
Adam Cole vs Kyle O'Reilly
The Background: Oh my god. Technically this all started a decade ago (a real decade, not a #quixotine decade) back in Ring of Honor when young pups Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly debuted as the tag team Future Shock. It did not go well and the two split up, O'Reilly moving on to team with Bobby Fish to form reDRagon and Cole moving over to the original Kingdom along with Matt Hardy, Mike Bennett, and Maria Kanellis. Fast forward a few years and the two even traded the ROH World title, with O'Reilly defeating Cole for the belt at ROH Final Battle 2016 and Cole regaining the title a month later at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11. Cole would soon drop the title to Christopher Daniels two months later at the ROH 15th Anniversary Show. Why the short title reigns? Because he and O'Reilly (and Bobby Fish) were both NXT-bound, duh. Bobby Fish debuted first in a loss to Aleister Black on the July 12 (2017) NXT while Kyle O'Reilly debuted in a loss to Aleister Black on the August 2nd (2017) NXT. Was that foreshadowing of their connection? Two weeks later at NXT Takeover Brooklyn III, WWE World title challenger Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Roode to win the NXT title. Post-match, reDRagon showed up to distract McIntyre while Adam Cole debuted and attacked the NXT champion. After that, dear readers, we were off to the races. The three established themselves as "The Undisputed Era," and soon started collecting all the gold. The three competed in the first NXT Takeover WarGames match against the teams of Sanity (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain) and the Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) with Roderick Strong - were you wondering when he'd show up? O'Reilly and Fish won the NXT Tag Team titles by beating Sanity on the December 20th (2017) NXT and soon Cole was subbing in with the titles under the Freebird rule. Cole won the new NXT North American title at NXT Takeover New Orleans and also successfully defended the NXT Tag Team titles with O'Reilly to both retain and also win the 2018 Dusty Rhodes Classic by beating the Authors of Pain and Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong when Strong finally defected to the Undisputed Era. Double gold, bay-bay. The four lost the second NXT Takeover WarGames match to Pete Dunne, Ricochet, and the War Raiders (Hanson and Raymond Rowe), though were finally gold-less after loses to Ricochet and the War Raiders in title matches. Finally at NXT Takeover XXV, Cole won the NXT World title by defeating Johnny Gargano. The other three did their best to fulfill the Prophecy of Gold and finally did when O'Reilly/Fish defeated the Street Profits on the August 28th (2019) NXT and Roderick Strong defeated Velveteen Dream on the September 18th (2019) NXT, the first live-on-USA episode. They collective defended the honor of the USA (I guess?) against their NXT UK counterparts Imperium at the January 25th (2020) Worlds Collide special, though lost. Was that a sign the #quixotine was coming? The gold started dropping as Strong lost his title to Keith Lee on the January 22nd (2020) NXT while O'Reilly and Fish lost their titles to the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Classic winners Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle at NXT Takeover Portland (the last Takeover of the beforetimes). Cole, who was now the longest-reigning NXT champion in brand history, lost his title to Keith Lee at the July 8th NXT Great American Bash special. With no gold, the Era tried to stay positive, and were even victorious at last year's NXT Takeover WarGames IV when they defeated Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, Oney Lorcan, and Pat McAfee (who had previously lost to Cole at NXT Takeover XXX). With Team McAfee defeated, it was time to try and reclaim gold, except now it was Kyle O'Reilly who had stepped up as the newest NXT challenger. He faced NXT Champion Finn Bálor both at NXT Takeover 31 and the January 6th NXT New Year's Evil and lost both matches, but gained the respect, and dare I say friendship, of Bálor. Cole did not approve of this new condidate of the Undisputed Era - this was his group. At NXT Takeover Vengeance Day, Bálor defeated Pete Dunne to retain his title, and O'Reilly came out to defend Bálor from Dunne-allies Burch and Lorcan. Strong and Cole joined and posed as what could have been the newest version of the Era, but Cole ruined everything by first superkicking the champion... and then O'Reilly! Yes, I know that's shocking after everything that we've been through in this background segment. O'Reilly and Strong teamed with Bálor in a losing effort to Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch on the February 17th NXT and Cole made his return to both attack Bálor but also turn on Strong, finalizing the end of the Undisputed Era on the February 24th NXT. Bálor defeated Strong on the March 3rd NXT and then Cole in a title match on the March 10th NXT when O'Reilly caused a distraction. Cole and O'Reilly had further workplace issues on the March 17th NXT when they couldn't even get out of the parking lot withought fighting and were arrested. You're not allowed to do that without Commissioner Regal's permission, you know that. On the March 24th NXT Regal determined that their issues could not be contained in a singles match or be recognized by NXT as a whole - so they will face off in an unsanctioned match. That will still be televised. This match is scheduled (but not sanctioned) for Deliver. Also despite the fact the morally must but the men's and women's titles above this, I fully expect this to be the main event.
Fanboy Fantasy: Adam Cole hits the ring first still using the Undisputed Era music. Kyle O'Reilly makes his entrance second to "Lightining and Thunder" which Google and YouTube tell me was his first NXT entrance music... so for his match with Aleister Black before Takeover Brooklyn III? He's accompanied by Bobby Fish who has been injured (sadly again) this whole time and has so far missed the Undisputed Implosion. Cole gets in his face but Fish socks him right in the face before the match starts, shakes O'Reilly's hand and heads to the back, securing himself as Team O'Reilly as he should be. The bell rings and the two do a speed jump at eachother and just start beating eachother. Cole gets the early advantage because he needs to be cocky early and O'Reilly needs to fight from underneith. Cole does his best to keep O'Reilly down but O'Reilly keeps kicking out at two. Cole goes for a Panama Sunrise but O'Reilly is able to reverse it into a piledriver of his own but only gets a two count. As the both recenter themselves, Cole is cracked in the back by a chair by Roderick Strong out of nowhere. O'Reilly tries to stop Strong but is smacked with the chair as well as Strong leave both men laying. With the match as unsanctioned, the referee can do nothing but watch as Strong hits each men with another chair shot before leaving through the screen-filled back area of the Capital Wrestling Center. After a bit of stalling by the announcers, both men finally make it to their feet and start that slow punch bit where they each try to knock the other one down. Cole hits a superkick but when he goes for the pin O'Reilly is able to sneak him into an ankle lock. Cole is able to escape but O'Reilly gets him down with a Nigel for the three count and the win. Post-Mania, Cole debuts on Raw since he's clearly not wanted on the yellow and black brand anymore while O'Reilly truly starts a singles run in NXT. Strong shows up in 205 Live and if/when Bobby Fish is healthy enough for another match, we get a final Undisputed Era match with Fish and Strong with Fish likely taking the pin before moving into coaching. Strong sets up as a top hand in the rebuilding of 205 Live and the cruiserweight division.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Kyle O'Reilly - gotta stick with a fellow Kyle, and I think he needs the big win more so hopefully WWE will see that also.
Ryan: Adam Cole
Tim: Kyle O'Reilly
NXT Women's Title Match: Raquel González vs Io Shirai ©
The Background: Way back at NXT Takeover WarGames IV, Team Candice defeated Team Shotzi when Raquel González pinned NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai. However the two went their separate ways for a while - Shirai was challenged by women's Dusty Rhodes Classic teammates Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez as they worked through their frustration over a first-round loss while González and partner Dakota Kai won the whole damn thing at NXT Takeover Vengeance Day while Shirai retained her title by pinning Martinez. González and Kai earned a title shot at WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler though they were screwed out of a win when WWE Commissioner (right?) Adam Pearce showed up with a WWE referee who made a fast count for the champs on the March 3rd NXT. This led the best WWE/NXT official, William Regal, to create the NXT Women's Tag Team titles and award them to González & Kai... who lost them later that night to Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart. On the same March 10th NXT episode Io Shirai retained her title against Toni Storm in a singles match. With both now free of their prior commitments, Shirai cut to the chase and challenged González on the March 17th NXT. The two met in tag team action on the March 24th NXT when González and Kai defeated Shirai and newcomer Zoey Stark, and González maintained her momentum by murdering Stark on the March 31st NXT, causing Shirai to call her out at the close of the go-home show. González came out while the entire womens division tried to get between the two. It was bananas. This match is scheduled for Stand.
Fanboy Fantasy: Shirai and González start out slow and feel eachother out. González has the power advantage and has already pinned the champ, but Shirai has... spunk? Awesomeness? Everything but power. Dakota Kai does her best on the outside to occasionally trip Shirai or distract Shirai and is able to stay out of the referee's gaze. It's two-on-one like Shirai dealt with last Takeover with Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm, but occasionally Martinez and Storm turned on eachother - González and Kai are on the same page here. The numbers game proves to be too much unfortunately and González is able to pin Shirai after an unseen kick to the head from Kai into a Tequila Shot. On upcoming NXT episodes, González is mocked for not being able to beat Shirai on her own, but González and Kai say it doesn't matter - they have the title now. From there we have an easy roadmap with the old Diesel and Shawn Michaels story from the mid-90's - Kai eventually gets jealous, wins the Royal Rumble, and loses to González in the main event. Or something like that. Fuck it, let's give Kai the win, she's been fun as hell since she turned heel and murdered Tegan Nox. Plus, Kai vs Nox for the title? Yes, please.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Io Shirai - I suspect Dakota Kai may spoil things for González.
Ryan: Io Shirai
Tim: Io Shirai
NXT Men's Title Match: Karrion Kross vs Finn Bálor ©
The Background: Karrion Kross made his NXT debut a year ago when he attacked Tommaso Ciampa on the April 15th (2020) NXT after Ciampa finally ended his feud with Johnny Gargano. Kross, the new-hotness to Ciampa's old-and-buster -this is right before he evolved into his next form of Old Man Ciampa, went on to defeat Ciampa at NXT Takeover In Your House to establish his new dominance. That wave carried him all the way to NXT Takeover XXX where he pinned then-NXT Champion Keith Lee to win the title only four months after he appeared. Unfortunately, Kross separated his shoulder in the match and had to vacate the title the very next week. A champions iron man match was set up for the September 1st (2020) NXT with former champions Adam Cole, Finn Bálor, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa with Cole and Bálor going on to a singles match on the September 8th (2020) NXT where Bálor became only the third two-time NXT champion (behind Samoa Joe & Shinsuke Nakamura). Kyle O'Reilly stepped up as Bálor's first challenger and the two fought so hard at NXT Takeover 31 that both walked out with injuries - Bálor with a broken jaw. Because the NXT title was clearly cursed for the second half of 2020, which really shouldn't have been surprising all things considered, Bálor and the title took a break until the January 6th NXT New Year's Evil where he defeated O'Reilly again uninjured, thus hopefully breaking the curse. Bálor's next suitor was the bruiserweight Pete Dunne, now flanked by the former NXT Tag Team champions Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan. Bálor's retained his title at NXT Takeover Vengeance Day and was superkicked by Adam Cole after joining the Undisputed Era literally 3 seconds before it finally imploded. Meanwhile, Karrion Kross returned from injury to destroy Santos Escobar on the February 24th NXT simply because he could. Bálor challenged Adam Cole to a title match and defeated him on the March 10th NXT with a final shot of Kross materializing behind the Prince post-match, both understanding the implication. The two teamed-up thanks to Scarlett's mad visions to face (and lose) to the NXT Tag Team champions Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan on the March 17th NXT, though they were able to injure Burch in the process. Bálor called out Kross on the March 24th NXT for being like he was in his younger days - too emotional - but he killed his demons long ago now and has become like ice. Now he is cold and calculating, and he will destroy Kross without a second thought. Hooray for literally one throw-away line to explain why Finn has evolved from the Demon into the Prince more than a year after he rejoined NXT. Continuity! This match is scheduled for Deliver.
Fanboy Fantasy: The two fight while Scarlett dances and laughs maniacally on the outside. It's a far more even match that one would think with how dominant Bálor has been because it needs to be - Kross lost ground when he was injured and needs to be shown mon equal footing as Bálor if he's going to win the match. Bálor, just through his standard moveset, attacks Kross's repaired shoulder, so Kross explodes and attacks Bálor's shoulder as well - the announcers point out that just as Kross had to relinquish his NXT title due to shoulder injury, Bálor had to do the same with the WWE Universal title back in 2016. The more they attack eachothers' shoulders, the more delighted Scarlett gets. The two beat on eachother for 20 more minutes but Kross finally hits Doomsday Saito to win back the title he never lost. Kross goes on to have feuds with Kyle O"Reilly, KUSHIDA, LA Knight, and maybe Velveteen Dream? Bálor bids NXT goodnight once again and heads for Smackdown where he immedietly starts eyeing up the same WWE Universal title that he never lost, though who we're booking to be holding that title? You'll have to check back in in a few days to find that out, dear reader. Cliffhanger!
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Karrion Kross - I can really see this one going either way, but now that Bálor's been healthy for a few months, I can see him dropping the title to Kross now.
Ryan: Finn Bálor
Tim: Finn Bálor
That’s it for our NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver preview and fantasy booking. We'll be back in a few days (!?!?!?!) with a preview/booking of WWE WrestleMania 37. This was much easier last year when it was just WrestleMania.
In the meantime, if you haven't already, please checkout the our version of WWE, first in Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 and next in Quixo-Great American Bash 2021! What's better than some fantasy booking? All fantasy booking.