The first NXT TakeOver of 2021 became one to remember as NXT TakeOver; Vengeance Day delivered everything wrestling fans could want in less than three hours of action at the Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida. Not only was there tremendous wrestling throughout all five matches, a number of talents got put over in a major way, and a major storyline was setup for the brand going forward.
Finn Balor, Io Shirai and Johnny Gargano all put their titles on the line with the Balor and Gargano matches standing out as the two best on the show. Both of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals also delivered in a major way.
Keep on reading for a complete set of results and grades from NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day. Scroll after that for a significant set of highlights from the event.
CBS Sports will be back next week with live coverage of Elimination Chamber as WWE continues its Road to WrestleMania 37. Keep it locked here for the latest and greatest in the world of professional wrestling.
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day results, grades
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart (Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals): The referee was distracted as Moon was looking for a tag, allowing the heels an extended shot at battering her. Gonzalez hit two fallaway slams on Moon and then dragged Blackheart into the ring anyway for a fallaway slam and then a sit-up powerbomb into the hockey glass at ringside. Moon got beaten for a while but eventually overcome the two-on-one for an Eclipse on Gonzalez; she wasn't able to capitalize because Kai distracted the referee. Blackheart finally got the hot tag and went on a great run, including an avalanche Sliced Bread on Gonzalez. Blackheart put Kai on her shoulders at ringside as Moon leapt off the top rope for a thunderous splash.
Moon nearly submitted Gonzalez by wrenching her head backward, but Kai broke it up and then hit a Chiropractor on Blackheart for a near fall. Gonzalez tagged in and the heels combined for an assisted GTK for another near fall before Gonzalez power-lifted Moon out of the ring onto the elevated stage and then shoulder-tackled her off it to the floor. Shotzi capitalized by blasting Gonzalez when she reentered the ring and tossed Kai over the top rope into Gonzalez. However, as Blackheart went to the top rope for a splash, Gonzalez tossed her off, then pressed Kai onto Blackheart and followed with her choke bomb with a double cover for the 1-2-3. This was an incredible opening match to the show and some of the best women's tag team wrestling we've seen in WWE. While the faces may have made more sense as winners, there's no doubting that Gonzalez & Kai are strong victors and No. 1 contenders for the women's tag team titles. Kai & Gonzalez def. Moon & Blackheart via pinfall to win the Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Grade: A-
North American Championship – Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Kushida: Kushida hit a chicken wing suplex on Gargano, who was wearing Wolverine-inspired gear, outside the ring after the match started with a ton of mat wrestling -- counters and submission moves. Technical wrestling was a theme throughout. Kushida connected with his signature moves and then stomped on Gargano's head while wrenching his arms backward. Kushida caught Gargano on the middle rope for a double-underhook roll-through suplex with a bridge for a near fall. Then he countered One Final Beat with a clothesline and drove Gargano's left arm into the post. Gargano countered off the ropes with a twisting suplex and springboard tornado DDT for a near fall. Gargano and Kushdia traded submissions and pinning combinations before Kushida was lawn darted into the middle turnbuckle.
Kushida hit a chicken wing suplex into the corner and then an avalanche Spanish Fly into an arm bar. Gargano clenched his fists but Kushida broke it, nearly forcing Gargano to tap out three times before he finally reached the ropes. Kushida got a running start from the top of the stage to boot Gargano's arm and then locked in the Hoverboard Lock, but Gargano broke it by forcing Kushida's neck under the top rope. Gargano followed with One Final Beat onto the ramp and another back inside ring for the clean win and title retention. This was another barn-burner with both men completely showing out. The result was surprising, but there's no discounting the top-tier wrestling and storytelling throughout. Gargano (c) def. Kushida via pinfall to retain the title – Grade: A+
Grizzled Young Veterans vs. MSK (Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals): MSK went on a run early with Wes Lee hitting springboard double back handspring tope con hiro onto the Veterans. With the referee distracted, the Veterans hit a dropkick flatliner on Nash Carter. Lee got the hot tag and hit a tope con hiro over the ring post to splash both Veterans followed by a double backflip heel kick. Carter lost his mind and brawled with Zach Gibson before hitting a springboard cutter. Lee was caught backflipping by Gibson, who hit Helter Skelter before James Drake followed with a 450 splash for a near fall. Lee escaped a Doomsday Device, MSK hit their shove moonsault and then they combined for a flying senton and corkscrew senton for a 2.8 on Drake.
Gibson put Lee on his shoulders as Drake hit a tope suicida Doomsday Device outside in a ridiculous spot. Carter got singled out inside but survived an assisted backbreaker at 2.9. MSK countered Ticket to Mayhem, knocked Gibson outside and hit their springboard assisted neckbreaker for the absolutely shocking 1-2-3. MSK not only proved to be an exciting, innovative tag team, but they got a rocket strapped to them by NXT with this victory over a veteran team expected to win. This was a star-making moment and the continuation of an incredible show. MSK def. Grizzled Young Veterans via pinfall to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Grade: A
Women's Championship – Io Shirai (c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez: Martinez hit Storm with an elevated swinging neckbreaker to the outside early. The women tied each other up with simultaneous submissions before Shiari hit a 619, springboard missile dropkick and double stomp from a tree of woe on Martinez. Shirai then climbed the light scaffolding for a double splash outside. Martinez ruined Storm with knees and a fisherman's buster. Storm came back and hit Martinez with Storm Zero, but she kicked out at 2.8. Storm followed with a flying headbutt, and Shirai came out of nowhere with her moonsault onto both women for the win.
Despite being extremely entertaining, this was a huge step down from the first three matches on the card. One spot was missed early due to a collapsed table, and the finish was clunky as it did not sync up properly with the camera missing half of Shirai's moonsault. Nevertheless, a strong match that let all three women shine. Shirai (c) def. Martinez (via pinfall) and Storm to retain the women's championship – Grade: B
NXT Championship – Finn Balor (c) vs. Pete Dunne: After extended sequences of technical wrestling and submission attempts, Dunne focused on snapping Balor's fingers. Balor came back and worked Dunne's knee, which Dunne sold on a twisting front slam. Dunne snapped Balor's fingers to break the STF and sold the knee frequently by failing with offensive moves. Dunne got a near fall with a sit-down powerbomb and stomped on Balor's fingers. Balor hit a backstabber, slingblade and missile dropkick, but Dunne countered the Coup de Grace with a triangle. Balor reached the ropes just as he was knocked out cold, but the referee didn't call the knockout.
Dunne broke Balor's fingers to escape an abdominal stretch on the ground, and he hit Bitter End only for Balor to kick out at the last second. Dunne again stomped on Balor's fingers, but Balor countered a powerbomb into a DDT and a Bitter End into an inverted DDT. Balor stomped Dunne's back and ripped out his mouthpiece, hitting a basement missile dropkick into his face followed by Coup de Grace and the 1916 for the clean win. Balor continued his incredible championship run with a technical wrestling masterpiece. Both men sold for each other incredibly well, and this was a perfect main event for an epic edition of NXT TakeOver. Balor (c) def. Dunne via pinfall to retain the title -- Grade: A+
After the main event, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch attacked Balor: Undisputed Era came in for the save eventually with Kyle O'Reilly telling Balor he can trust them and offering a hand. They all stood next to each other with it looking like Balor may join Undisputed Era, but just as he was about to, Adam Cole superkicked the champion in the head. When O'Reilly started to argue, Cole followed with another. Roderick Strong was unsure of what to do as NXT TakeOver went off the air. This was a tremendous finish to the show with a big-time angle coming after a main event. Overall, this was the best TakeOver since the Portland show a year ago and perhaps even beyond that dating back to New York in 2019.