Buckle up wrestling fans! WrestleMania Week officially got underway on Tuesday with the enshrinement of both the 2020 and 2021 WWE Hall of Fame classes. Now that the former greats have been recognized, it’s time to get some in-ring action. While WrestleMania doesn’t start until Saturday (Friday if you want to include “WrestleMania SmackDown”), fans can get their fix starting tonight. The black and gold brand, NXT, is set to host a two-night event of its own Wednesday and Thursday. The card for NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver is absolutely stacked.
Although Night 2 is the only one that will require a paid Peacock subscription, Night 1 promises to deliver in its own right. Read on for a full preview and predictions for the first night of the NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver event.
WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver Info | Night 1
Date: Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2021
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center – Orlando, FL
Coverage: USA Network, Peacock
Main Event: Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Women’s Championship
WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver Odds and Predictions | Night 1
All odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai (c) vs Raquel Gonzalez
The main event for Night 1 of TakeOver shapes up as a major contrast of styles and physicality. In somewhat surprising fashion, Io Shirai’s reign as NXT Women’s Champion is fast approaching one year. She won the title last summer at NXT TakeOver: In Your House and has successfully fended off all prospective challengers since. In fact, one could argue that Raquel Gonzalez is the only legitimate women’s contender in NXT that Shirai is yet to conquer. Will the “Genius of the Sky” be able to overcome the major disadvantages she faces in terms of size and strength.
When looking at both the build towards this clash and the matchup itself on paper, it’s hard not to give the nod to the challenger. At 6’0″ and 176 pounds, Gonzalez simply dwarfs the 5’1″ Shirai. It will take a breakneck pace and a Herculian effort for Shirai to take Gonzalez down. Although the challenger is technically the heel in this matchup, it was Shirai who did all of the ambushings on the go-home edition of NXT last week. Gonzalez had an answer for her every time until the final ringside assault. Shirai may be willing to fight anyone, anywhere, but she has bitten off more than she can chew with this one.
Prediction: Raquel Gonzalez (-230 at Bovada Sportsbook)
NXT UK Championship Match: WALTER (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa
There’s plenty of fire and emotion in both of these superstars, even if WALTER masks it on the outside. It was very clear that Tommaso Ciampa succeeded in getting into WALTER’s head, with this NXT UK Championship match being the result of those mind games. The champ got the last laugh in the final face-to-face meeting between the two before TakeOver two weeks ago. With the help of his Imperium brethren, WALTER was able to secure a beatdown of Ciampa in the middle of the ring.
The 6’4″. 297-pound WALTER has held the NXT UK title since January of last year. He will have the size and power advantage over the 5’11”, 201-pound Ciampa in this match, but what Ciampa lacks in size, he more than accommodates for in heart. These are arguably two of the best wrestlers in all of NXT and this match could easily steal the show on night one of TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. While Ciampa has the majority of the NXT Universe on his side, it’s hard to envision him becoming a regular fixture on NXT UK. With the regular show moving to Tuesday’s following WrestleMania, it would make sense to have familiar faces and supreme talents like Ciampa around to help create buzz. This will be a great match, but look for WALTER to continue his title reign.
Prediction: WALTER (-950 at Bovada Sportsbook)
NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match: MSK vs Grizzled Young Veterans vs El Legado del Fantasma
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were forced to vacate the NXT Tag Team titles due to the latter sustaining an injury in an assault by Karrion Kross. As a result, NXT general manager William Regal moved to create this enticing triple threat match for the belts at TakeOver between three worthy tag teams. MSK will have the crowd on their side and are rightfully considered the betting favorites. Wes Lee and Nash Carter burst onto the main NXT scene earlier this year by winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Unfortunately, the resulting title opportunity that they earned never happened as Lee suffered a broken hand in the Dusty Cup Final.
In order to capture the tag team gold, MSK will have to contend with a familiar foe in the Grizzled Young Veterans. James Drake and Zack Gibson finished runner-up in the Dusty Cup for the second straight year after losing to Lee and Carter at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day. Add in the ever-confident duo of Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde and this triple threat could easily be a show-stopper. Mendoza and Wilde have been successful in doing the bidding of El Legado del Fantasma leader Santos Escobar, but it’s hard to envision them capturing the tag titles. The Grizzled Young Veterans are a much more appealing plus-money pick, but that result would completely go against the build. MSK should be able to finish what they started with their Dusty Cup win.
Prediction: MSK (-165 at Bovada Sportsbook)
NXT North American Championship No. 1 Contender Gauntlet Match: Leon Ruff vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Bronson Reed vs Cameron Grimes vs Dexter Lumis vs LA Knight
A 12-man battle royale on NXT last week set the field and entry order for this TakeOver gauntlet match. The winner will turn around and be right back in action on Night 2 of NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver with a shot at the North American Championship, currently held by Johnny Gargano. Given that Gargano has transformed into one of the biggest heels on NXT, one would have to think that a fan-favorite will emerge from this gauntlet match victorious. If that is the case, we can rule out heel superstars Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Cameron Grimes and the final entrant to the match, LA Knight.
We can quickly whittle the three remaining superstars down to two with the assumption that Leon Ruff won’t survive the entire gauntlet match. He and “Swerve” Scott will beat the hell out of each other as the first two entrants, a continuation of their ongoing feud. That leaves the powerhouse Bronson Reed and the slithering Dexter Lumis to choose from as potential winners. Reed would have to survive a lot longer, given that he is the third entrant in the match. While that’s not impossible, it’s also not likely.
Lumis has been a thorn in the side of Gargano and “The Way” for the better part of the past two months as well. He earned a pinfall win over Gargano a few weeks back and has been building toward a title opportunity for some time. Regal’s gauntlet match format is great in that more superstars are showcased, but the betting odds give a pretty good indication of who is most apt to come out on top.
Prediction: Dexter Lumis (-230 at Bovada Sportsbook)
Pete Dunne vs Kushida
Two of the best technical wrestlers in NXT are set to go one-on-one at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. With Danny Burch on the shelf and Pat McAfee MIA (at least for now), Dunne is seemingly back to standing on his own for the time being. After coming up short in his quest to win back the NXT Championship from Finn Balor, this feud with the red-hot Kushida has developed. Expect plenty of grappling and submissions throughout.
I have to preface this pick by saying that I do believe the betting odds are correct in naming Dunne the favorite. He certainly has the more extensive resume and has been front and center at several NXT TakeOver events prior. While Kushida did hold the NXT Cruiserweight Championship for a time, his career is still waiting on a defining victory to really put the rest of the locker room on notice. This is exactly my reasoning in electing to pick Kushida to spring this upset. Dunne can rebound just fine from a loss moving forward whereas this is a measuring stick match for Kushida. In what figures to be an excellent display of grappling, perhaps the real bet to make here is over/under on times Vic Joseph says “joint manipulation” during the match.
Prediction: Kushida (+160 at Bovada Sportsbook)