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By Dave Scherer, Mike Johnson & Richard Trionfo on 2021-04-06 09:00:00

WWE will present NXT Takeover Stand and Deliver on the USA Network and Peacock (in the United States) this Wednesday and Thursday.  Here's our take on what will happen.

Night One

NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai vs. Raquel Gonzalez 

Dave: It's time, it's time, it's RAQUEL TIME!  Seriously, Io has been a great champ but it's time to coronate the monster and continue the path of making her a star.  Raquel has grown so much this year.  It's been a lot of fun to watch.

Mike: I think Io Shirai is great but I am in complete agreement with Dave here.  A big part of the last year has been to build Raquel Gonzalez up to prepare her for the future, grooming her as a top talent.  Well, that moment is now as I can't make an argument that she would be better served to have a strong showing and lose.   It is her time to be elevated as champion.

Rich:  I thought they did a great job to make me care more about this match after last week's episode of NXT, and this is a match that I have really been looking forward to.  They have done a slow build to this match instead of forcing it on us at the last Takeover special.  They have made Raquel a star and I think they would do a disservice if they did not put the title on her.  Io has been a great champion but she has beaten everyone so there isn't much left for her to do.  While I would love to see this match get a lot of time, if they really want to make Raquel's win mean something, let it be like Drew and Brock from last year's Wrestlemania.

NXT UK Champion WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa.

Dave: WALTER is sooooooo good.  Honestly, as much as I love Ciampa he should not win this match.  WALTER has Rampage Brown waiting so I half wonder on Thursday (which is THE match I am most looking forward to this week/weekend).  He has to go into that match as champion.  Now, if he is coming to work in the US full time, I could see him losing to Rampage, but not to Ciampa.  I expect a war and for it to be great because that's what these two do.

Mike: I don't see this as anything beyond Ciampa bringing his credibility and his fighting spirit to WALTER for a great match as a way to showcase how great WALTER - and by extension the NXT UK brand is.  This will be a great brawl but in the end, WALTER wins.  Ciampa is already a made man here and it will be another chapter in a series of great showings for him, but this is about WALTER in my mind.

Rich:  Some might say that the Gauntlet Eliminator is the match that means the most for Thursday on the Wednesday card, but this one has significant implications for Thursday afternoon.  If WALTER is able to beat Ciampa, he will face Rampage Brown for the NXT UK Championship on NXT UK Prelude.  I do not know if we will see any involvement in the match from the members of Imperium during the match.  Ciampa's promo on last week's show was very good and brought back the Psycho Killer, but with a bit of a twist since he talked about his wife and daughter as well.  I wonder if we will see Timothy Thatcher show up, and if he does, will he help Ciampa or will he reunite with his former partners from their days on the independent scene.  Unfortunately, I think this will be WALTER's last night as champion because I think Rampage Brown beats WALTER.

MSK (Wes Lee and Nash Carter) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) vs. Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) for the NXT Men's Tag Team Championships

Dave: Who do I want to see win?  My boys the GYT.  Who do I see winning?  MSK.  Now, they very well could have the GYT use chicanery to give MSK the chase.  The odd team out here is Fantasma.  I don't see them coming out on top.

Mike: I think MSK have brought a fun, new momentum and energy to their WWE NXT performances and the brand has needed that interjected into their bloodstream.  While I would usually say be conservative for the long-term build, I make an exception to the rule here and say they go all the way with MSK.  

Rich:  I think there are two teams in this match who have a chance to win and the third will take the fall.  I think it is time for the Grizzled Young Veterans to win the titles and have a run similar to what they did on NXT UK.   They fell short in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic so this should not be another time they are not rewarded for their production.  I think they could give the titles to MSK but I think it would be better to give them a close loss and then have them work to improve and then get another chance in a few months and win the titles at a future Takeover.  I like Legado del Fantasma but they are the ones who pick the short straw.

Gauntlet Eliminator to Determine Opponent for NXT North American Champion on Thursday (featuring Leon Ruff, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Dexter Lumis, and LA Knight).

Dave: Ruff?  Nah.  Swerve?  Nah, not hot enough.  So that leaves the other four.  I will eliminate Knight and Grimes since they are heels and the winner faces Johnny.  So Reed or Lumis?  Me, I go with Lumis.

Mike: My heart says Bronson Reed but my head says Lumis.  I'd love to see Leon Ruff go all the way but I can't imagine NXT sacrificing everyone to him.  If it was me, I'd be going with Reed to see how Gargano deals with the monstrous force but Lumis makes the most sense from a storyline perspective.

Rich:  They will start this match off hot with Ruff and Scott since there is a history between them.  Of the six men in this match, the only one I cannot see winning is Ruff.  I would love to see Scott get the win because he has been complaining about how he hasn't been given chances, but that is probably why he won't win, even though it would be easier for Gargano to justify a victory since Scott had to wrestle at least 16 minutes.  Lumis and Gargano might be the likeliest option because of their history and then Austin Theory (who deserves a raise for his elimination and his explanation to Johnny after) can show if he loves Dad (Gargano) or Cousin Eddie (Lumis) more.  Reed and Gargano would be the matchup I want to see if they don't go with Scott, but I have a feeling it will be Knight or Lumis.  If they could do this match at Soundstage 21 at Universal, it would have been so fitting.  

KUSHIDA vs. Pete Dunne.

Dave: This should be really good and Dunne should win.  I expect this to be fantastic and booked in such a way that whoever loses gets elevated in the process.

Mike: Just give them a 30 minute draw!  I am fine with either going over but KUSHIDA needs the time to showcase what he can do more than Dunne.  Dunne has been entrenched as a top talent here.  KUSHIDA has never, in my mind, had that same sort of love and attention here in WWE.  Thus, I expect Dunne scores the win.

Rich:  When they were eliminated in the Battle Royal, I was disappointed that neither of them would be on Takeover, but we need to see who is the best technical wrestler (Thank you William Regal).  I don't expect it to be the case because they have enough titles, but if this was the way to give NXT a title similar to ROH's Pure Title or a callback to the FCW Jack Brisco 15 Title, I would not complain.  I hope this match does not get cut short due to the time constraints for the show being on USA.  I think Dunne gets the win but we are all the winners.

Night Two

NXT Men's Champion Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross with Scarlett.

Dave: Balor has had a renaissance in NXT and it's been great for his career.  He looks like he is having fun out there.  I expect a war here, and Kross comes out on top because of his size.  I am really looking forward to this as it's so legit from a booking standpoint, the guy who never lost the belt vs. the guy who won it after he was hurt.

Mike: I really enjoy Kross' presentation as a character but I feel he is still waiting for that great in-ring match that lifts him up higher.  If it's me, I have them go all out with a big physical war but Balor finally figures out the riddle of the Sphinx and scores the pin after the Double Stomp..maybe he even brings back The Demon as a surprise to show he's going to war and sees Kross as a different type of threat.  To me, Kross needs that all out physical war that fans look upon and respect afterward, especially since his big moment with Keith Lee was mitigated by the separated shoulder.  This needs to be something special.  Balor is the man here.  Well, the man used to be defined by someone raising others to the next level.  That should be the goal for Balor and Karrion here.

Rich:  The man who never 'lost' his title finally gets his chance to get the title back and I am happy they didn't rush it in February.  Balor has been great in the ring and in promos and deserves a long title reign, but I think that it ends on Thursday night.  I would have the next opponent, after a rematch, be the winner of the Kyle/Cole match.

Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole in an Unsanctioned Match.

Dave: The build for this has been so great and honestly, it should close the show.  I usually don't think that when there is a Title match as well, but this has been a war.  The Prime Target piece from last week was awesome.  To me, Kyle needs to win.  He came up short to Finn and he needs this win to ascend into the upper pantheon.  Plus, Cole is the heel and deserves the comeuppance for his heinous behavior.  

Mike: This has been the best thing week to week to watch on NXT and I am with Dave, this should be the final match of the night and it has to be about Kyle being brought up to the next level.  I wouldn't even have Roderick Strong or Bobby Fish interfere, but perhaps have them watching as spectators and reacting.  These two have torn the house down everywhere else they have fought and this should be no different.

Rich:  Do you put this match on last after the Men's Title match, like they have done before with Gargano and Ciampa.  This match will not be for the squeamish, but we have precedent with these two from their days in ROH.  Nothing will be held back by either man and they will do whatever it takes to end the other's career, or at least shorten it.  Will Roddy or Fish get involved in the match or will they leave that for the following week when NXT debuts on Tuesday?  Will Kyle's humanity be the flaw that gives Cole the victory in this match?  I think it is.

NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin vs. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar in a Unification Ladder Match.

Dave: I like both of these guys a lot, for different reasons.  Being a huge NXT UK fan, I love Devlin's journey.  He even did an open challenge and when The Bomber Dave Mastiff took him up on it, he found a way to win.  I love that he showed he is not "the small champion" he is A champion.  He too also never lost his Title.  I think he comes in and gets the duke on Escobar, who then moves out of the Cruiser division.

Mike: Devlin deserves the win here.  I like Escobar a lot but I feel he's been running on a treadmill to nowhere for months.  Get him off of that with a great showing where he loses and move Devlin on, since he's the true champion anyway.  Plus, this gives NXT UK another strong win.

Rich:  The future of the Cruiserweight Championship will be the determining factor in who wins this match.  If they want to do what I suggested about a 'Pure' Title and have KUSHIDA/Dunne be the genesis of it, I can see Devlin winning and taking the title back to the UK.  Of course that would make 205 Live a bigger lame duck show.  The creation of the Heritage Cup Championship gives NXT UK another title that means we don't need a Cruiserweight Title.  I think Devlin has been a great champion, but for the sake of the 4 people, including me, who watch 205 Live, we need Escobar to retain so he can tease maybe facing someone in the division at some point.

NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Gauntlet Eliminator Winner.

Dave: This is interesting.  Last Takeover, Johnny went into serious mode once the bell rings.  If he does that again, he retains.  If he is The Way kind of comedy Johnny, he loses the belt.

Mike: I don't see Gargano losing no matter who is involved.

Rich:  I think if it is Dexter Lumis, Austin Theory factors into the finish of the match and may cost Gargano the title once he realizes that "dad" is manipulating him.  If it is Knight, some might think they give him the title, but Knight has already lost to Bronson Reed.  I would love to see Scott get this match and show that he was right all along and that he just needed the chance and he took advantage of it and won the title.  Reed could be a good match for Gargano but I think that would feature some shenanigans from Knight to continue the Knight/Reed feud.  If it is Grimes, does he 'buy' the referee like Ted DiBiase did with the Hebners?  I think Gargano survives even if he only has 24 hours advance notice of his opponent.

NXT Women's Tag Team Champions Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon vs. The Way (Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae).

Dave: I like Shotzi and Ember but they are not really doing it for me as a team.  Candice and Indi?  They are great as a team (and by that I mean in and out of the ring).  I switch the belts here.  Candice more than deserves the gold after all she has contributed to the brand.

Mike: I like the idea of a switch here as well, especially since the babyfaces can chase the champs after.  Candice and Indi are pretty entertaining characters and they can do some fun vignettes with them as the champs.  I'd also let the belts rest on their shoulders for awhile so they aren't constantly being hot potato'ed all over town.

Rich:  I think this is the night that the Way gets to showcase their talents and we will see Indi and Candice defeat Shotzi and Ember for the titles.  I didn't like that they handed "Cobra Kai" the tag titles and have them lose their first defense.  I don't want this title to be passed around like the 24/7 Title, but I am excited for the feuds we can get unlike the 'strange bedfellow' matches that the other women's tag champs have to deal with.  

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