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    Tuesday, February 16, 2021

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day

    Finn Balor and Pete Dunne on WWE NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day

    A phenomenal wrestling show in under three hours? Is this real?

    You're god damn right, Kendra, it's real! While it's not the first time NXT has done this (especially in the COVID era) one would think that a stacked card always ran at least three hours long. We've been conditioned by years of pay-per-views from all around the world. With no match going over 30 minutes on NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day, however, Triple H proves that he now knows how to not overstay any welcomes.

    NXT continues its current run of successfully building new stars while keeping its established main event scene fresher by the day. This is exemplified best in what's going on in the NXT Championship picture right now, with Finn Balor defending against Pete Dunne—someone who hasn't really fought for the NXT Championship yet—and the Undisputed Era fracturing to propel Kyle O'Reilly as a potential singles star.

    When you've been a group for almost four years now, you're bound to get broken up sooner or later, and I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. NXT's main event scene needs a lot of help after 2020's callups and injuries drained it, and making new stars out of a dominant faction feels like the direction everyone's wanted them to take all along. (It was supposed to happen earlier, but NXT Creative apparently held off on it for WarGames.) With Finn Balor in his phenomenal run being the glue that's holding the top title scene together, we're in for a robust spring on NXT.

    If there's one thing to remember about such a dynamic roster of talents, it's that not everyone gets to take a turn when we want them to. While it's easy to be happy about the winners of this show, it's also just as easy to get sad about those who came up short. I feel bad for KUSHIDA, Toni Storm, Mercedes Martinez, Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, and the Grizzled Young Veterans, but I also remember that there's gotta be a winner and a loser. Such really is the nature of competition.

    In fact, I dare say that the best thing this Takeover pulled off is that everyone seemed to lose upwards, guaranteeing that none of them looked weak. Everyone's legit, and they make you want to tune in next Wednesday—that's not always easy to pull off, too. In comparison, though the main roster PPVs never really set out to make anyone look weak in defeat, they don't always guarantee the loser staying strong; not everyone gets to be a Kevin Owens going up against Roman Reigns.

    Wade Barrett immediately commented after the show that all matches felt like the main event, and the actual main event did its job of still coming across as the marquee match despite the tough competition. When a wrestling card could pull that off, you know the roster's motivated as hell and you're watching something special unfold in front of you. If you don't believe in NXT yet, this show really is a great time to jump in. It's the best big wrestling brand going on in America right now. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

    NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day Rating: A+

    Match of the Night

    I don't know if I'm just somehow twisted and sadistic, but my type of wrestling is the kind where the guys are in there to hurt each other. You know, still staying safe, but throwing in just a little bit of intent to hurt. It could be through a lot of strikes, or really stretching each other out with submissions—I just want to feel the pain through my screen. 

    This is exactly the kind of match Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne is, and while I know they're working in some pro wrestling magic to not really hurt each other (that bad), I know they're also going at it. (How else could Finn have injured his jaw at Takeover 31?) Real physical struggle is where it's at. Watch this if you want to see how brutal modern wrestling could still be. Show it (and WALTER vs. Dragunov) to someone who just wants to see people beat the fuck out of each other. Show it to someone who thinks pro wrestling is soft.

    Photo from WWE

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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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