NXT General Manager William Regal Announced NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and Crowned Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez the First-Ever NXT Women's Tag Team Champions
Both of these announcements from Regal were touted as being "landscape-changing," but I don't know if I'd go that far after hearing them. Sure, giving the NXT women their own set of tag titles is a big deal, but it's also vastly unnecessary. There's so many women in the division that it gives those not in the main title picture something to fight for, but that's what the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship should have been for, especially since the main roster has so few female teams. The other announcement had to do with TakeOver being two nights for the first time ever over WrestleMania weekend, which is cool but not that major. Kai and Gonzalez being crowned the inaugural NXT Women's tag champs made sense given their win in the women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but I would've saved their match with Moon and Blackheart for next week.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai def. Toni Storm
This was certainly TakeOver-worthy, but I understand NXT wanting to do it on TV with Shirai vs. Gonzalez being the TakeOver match instead. As expected, this was very good. Storm is a star and is finding her footing as a heel, while Shirai continues to kill it. They told a simple story of how Shirai has never beaten Storm in WWE and she was ultimately able to avenge the loss despite Storm's best efforts. My only complaint is that they should have gotten more time.
Pete Dunne def. Jake Atlas
Didn't Dunne pin Finn Balor in six-man tag team action a few weeks ago? I understand not wanting to go back to him and Balor right away, but I'm surprised that hasn't been acknowledged since then. Nonetheless, this was a very fun match with Atlas having one of his best bouts to date. He's essentially in the stepping stone role right now on NXT (despite being a bit higher on the card on 205 Live), but at least he looked good in defeat. Dunne said in a post-match promo that he wants the best in the world, so I'm curious who his next opponent is going to be.
Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon def. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to Win the NXT Women's Tag Team Champions
Much like their original encounter from TakeOver: Vengeance Day, this was a terrific match. Kai and Gonzalez are probably the best women's team in WWE while Blackheart and Moon have developed strong chemistry together. That said, Kai and Gonzalez dropping the tag titles an hour after being awarded them felt way too rushed. I know they want to begin the build for Shirai vs. Gonzalez, but they couldn't have waited until next week to do the title change? And will The Way be next in line for a title shot, despite already being beaten by Blackheart and Moon twice? As I alluded to earlier, this whole NXT Women's Tag Team Championship situation is a mess.
Xia Li def. Kayden Carter by Disqualification
I was expecting a straightforward squash here, but Carter ended up scoring some offense before Kacy Catanzaro intervened for the disqualification. It was fine for what it was. While I can't say this feud has done anything for me, it's at least something for Li to do instead of just beating enhancement talent. As I've said before, her transformation has been fun to watch and she's coming along very well in the ring.
Legado del Fantasma def. Grizzled Young Veterans
Santos Escobar was busy arguing with Regal backstage over the announcement that Jordan Devlin will be back next week (!!), so Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde went at it alone here. They still managed to pick up the win, but it was still weird to have that heel vs. heel dynamic. MSK came out to distract Grizzled Young Veterans and cost them the match. Additionally, Fandango came out afterward to brawl with Legado del Fantasma. NXT's tag team division is growing and that's a plus, but this was a throwaway segment to me.
NXT Champion Finn Balor def. Adam Cole
The two previous matches these two had were excellent and this was no exception. I didn't really buy into the idea that Cole could become champion, mind you, but both guys put in a hell of an effort nonetheless and the action was very entertaining. I realize Cole was protected in defeat with the Kyle O'Reilly distraction at ringside, but I wish Balor had just won clean on his own because distraction finishes are almost always lame. Cole and O'Reilly brawling sets the stage for their likely TakeOver match, and Balor vs. Karrion Kross also looks to be a lock based on their post-match interaction. I'm super stoked for both bouts.
Between the three title matches, a new championship being introduced, (technically) two title changes and Devlin finally resurfacing, this was definitely a newsworthy edition of NXT. The two main matches delivered and we also got matches announced for next week. Plus, more matches were teased for the TakeOver that we now know is happening on the Wednesday and Thursday before WrestleMania 37. The Legado del Fantasma vs. Grizzled Young Veterans and Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter matchups were whatever, but everything else was enjoyable and made for an above-average episode.