Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Reviews
North American Ladder Match (NXT North American Title) 9.3/10 A
The North American championship was definitely the match of the night. The MVP of the match was Santos Escobar. In a match where everyone took insane risks and created huge spots, he did it most consistently. His best match spot was head-scissoring his opponent off the top of the ladder. The match was fun to watch and highlighted everyone involved, including Elektra Lopez giving more legs to my claim that she and Fallon Henley remind me of Trish and Lita.
Also, Cameron Grimes got his emotional first NXT title win. From start to finish, this was a perfect tone-setter for WrestleMania weekend. The only critique I have for the match is Grayson Waller's spot. He jumped off a very high ladder onto two ladders after Carmelo Hayes moved. However, Melo planned to move, so how was Grayson Waller jumping arm first into the ladders supposed to go right? Grayson ended up injured, and the jump looked cool, but it was too dangerous and should have been left in mothballs.
Tony D'Angelo vs. Tommaso Ciampa 8/10 B-
I thought this match delivered as much as it could have. However, as you can see from my rating, I didn't have a high ceiling for it. The spot of the match was definitely Ciampa getting slammed on the concrete. Ciampa put over Tony, which was the right result regardless of how you feel about either superstar. Also, I feel like the concrete spot made Tony look good because he was strong and intelligent enough to DDT Ciampa into it. Also, that spot gave Ciampa significant protection in staying down for the three count.
MSK vs. Diamond Mine vs. Imperium (NXT Tag Team Championship) 8.45/10 B
This match was up and down in terms of pacing. It was up and down, slow and fast, but it eventually got to where it needed it to be. Also, when the match was going fast-paced, each team had great moments. Imperium were great workhorses during the match, putting everyone down when they needed to and doing a great job selling as well. Diamond Mine had the spot of the match when they dove off the top rope to the outside. Brutus' cannonball was especially memorable. Also, Diamond Mine didn't take the pin, which was wise. MSK shocked everyone by beating Imperium with head scissors off the top rope into a powerbomb. The match ended on a high point, and really any team winning would have been fine after that excellent match.
Mandy Rose vs. Kay Lee Ray vs. Cora Jade vs. Io Shirai (NXT Women's Championship) 8.5/10 B
It's time to put some respect on Mandy Rose's name. She beat the longest reigning champion, Kay Lee Ray, and one of NXT's greatest women's champions and the hottest young star in NXT, Cora Jade. What this match did best was constantly switch momentum. It felt like watching a tennis match back and forth, back and forth. I was heavily invested, wondering what would happen until the last second when Mandy hit the knee and won the match.
Gunther vs La Knight 7.7/10 C
I wasn't very invested in this feud. It was a pretty last-minute feud, and it felt forced. Gunther and LA Knight just don't seem like they have great chemistry. However, in my opinion, they had as good a match as they could have had. However, as you can see by the grade, that's not a very high bar. LA Knight and Gunther are both talented in-ring, and they showed that at Stand & Deliver. I just didn't think they meshed particularly well.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bron Breakker (NXT Championship) 9.2/ 10 A
Dolph gave Bron the best match of his career. I like Bron and explosive moveset, but Dolph helped Bron put it all together in an excellent match. Dolph finally got a chance to have a singles match as world champion on WrestleMania weekend, and Dolph stood and delivered right in front of his idol Shawn Michaels. Dolph shocked the world and retained his title against Bron with a superkick. I loved all the false finishers, and the interferences by Bobby Roode that both protected Bron and added to the tension of the match. This was the perfect match to close the Stand & Deliver card.
North American Championship Ladder Match
This was a hot way to start the night, and I think it added to the stipulation that any one of the superstars was a believable option to win the championship. There were good sequences and brutal spots. Everyone got their moment to shine, but my personal favorites were the sunset flip powerbomb by Santos Escobar and the character work by Grayson Waller. Waller first agonizes over whether to go for the high spot or try to win the match and then later actually goes for the high spot that ended up costing him.
I will say this was maybe the most dangerous ladder match I've seen, and that's not necessarily a compliment. Some bad catches, particularly by Sanga, made him look too green to be in the ring, and I think Waller may have been legitimately hurt in his elbow drop through the ladder. The finish was good to recognize Cameron Grimes as one of the best in NXT's midcard, and since it was a ladder match, it protects Carmelo Hayes, who may go on to Raw/SmackDown or the NXT Championship now.
Final Grade: 8/10 Great
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tony DiAngelo
It was cool to see Tommasso Ciampa's career unfold in the promo segment, entrance, and match. He truly has been the face of NXT for all these years. This match was nothing special otherwise. I like Tony DiAngelo's character and fighting style in-ring, but it doesn't lean itself to 5-star matches. It was disappointing in that regard to see Ciampa go out this way. It was still the right decision to give DiAngelo the win if Ciampa is on his way out of NXT. I like that DiAngelo can maintain a gimmick of retiring some NXT favorites after banishing Pete Dunne and now Ciampa.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Imperium vs. MSK vs. the Creed Brothers (NXT Tag Team Championships)
I loved the special entrances for this match, but I hate that Imperium changed their iconic theme that was already classical music in the public domain. It meant that the largest NXT crowd in a few years didn't get to sing along. Maybe that was the point for the heels, and it is genuinely hard to cheer for Imperium without the music. This match was very good wrestling, and it was just short of hitting a point where I could call it match of the night. I thought everyone looked good, and I like the decision to put the titles back on MSK since I think they are the most entertaining team in the division.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Mandy Rose vs. Cora Jade vs. Io Shirai vs. Kay Lee Ray (NXT Women's Championship)
This was another match with great entrances and ring gear that showed off the personality of everyone involved. There weren't any super-memorable spots in this match, but I think the fatal four-way gimmick gave enough suspense to the crowd wondering who was going to win. The go-home sequence was well executed to make another frustrating win for the heel champion Mandy Rose. In my head, I really thought this was the time to pull the trigger on Cora Jade, but it seems like NXT is committed to Rose heading the division for the time being. Where all the women go from here will decide if this was a solid final chapter or a dead-end for Rose's title reign.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
LA Knight vs. Gunther
I would have preferred this match be on the pre-show, and we see the Women's Tag Match on the main card. Sort of thrown together, these two were forced to do most of the work in the ring. LA Knight is a great persona, but I think he is just an okay wrestler. Gunther is a spectacle of a wrestler, and without someone to push him, I think this match was just okay. Gunther is the right person to go over, and he should work toward the NXT Championship now.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bron Breakker (NXT Championship)
This almost didn't feel like the main event, but the entrances and promo packages did a good job of building it up. Dolph Ziggler and Bron Breakker worked a very WWE main event style. They had a lot of near falls, and it was more based on pacing and working the crowd than work rate or in-ring athleticism. I think that also made it unique of everything else on the card, but it's not my personal favorite style. Ziggler going over makes sense since he just won the championship. The Ziggler/Mandy Rose combo seems to be succeeding in putting more eyes on NXT, and I think Breakker is ready to dominate on the main roster.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Stay tuned to find out the overall grades of the week.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
Find out who I would book to win the Royal Rumble. Also, have you ever wondered what would happen if Brock Lesnar won the IC Championship? Find out the answer to this question as well as how I would book the Bloodline and Women's Tag Titles at Royal Rumble on Patreon. Join the Patreon, support the blog, and get access to this long-term fantasy booking of The Bloodline that will conclude at WrestleMania.
Rob's Final Thoughts
I had really high hopes for this NXT show. They did a great job in the build, and I think the matches delivered on those builds, but it didn't do too much to exceed my expectations. Nothing was bad, but NXT is going to have to be careful about continuing to put green wrestlers in big matches on these shows. If they didn't have some of the veterans in here, the overall grade could have suffered significantly. Since they didn't, I still think this was a good show.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Reverse Hipster's Final Thoughts, 85.25 B Overall
I really enjoyed this show. I think the women's tag team title match should have been on the main card instead of LA Knight and Gunther, but I still enjoyed the show. Every match had some level of intrigue and delivered an entertaining match. Stand & Deliver set the tone for WrestleMania, and gave us career-defining moments and matches like it was supposed to.