NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day was a show that felt like the network specials that helped set NXT apart from main roster WWE.
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day saw two teams emerge as the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners as well as all titleholders on the card walking in and walking out of TakeOver with their championship reigns intact.
For all the flack NXT gets for their declining weekly show quality since debuting on the USA Network, the TakeOver shows continue to draw favorable acclaim thanks to their successful less-is-more formula, giving every match a relatively equal spotlight and big-fight-feel.
On a night that culminated in an early MOTY contender and a shocking cliffhanger to end the show, here’s what NXT got right and wrong at TakeOver: Vengeance Day.
Right: Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez winning the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Both tournament final matches delivered in a big way. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez—seen as favorites to win the Classic on the women’s side from the start—played their roles wonderfully in this match.
Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart made it a point to isolate Kai and leave the heavy-hitting X-factor out of the action at all costs. The match kicked into high gear once Gonzalez got back involved, ending with the powerhouse notching another impressive win on behalf of her team.
Kai and Gonzalez’s experience as a unit over the recent pairing of Moon and Blackheart was treated as a key factor. That combined with Gonzalez’s ascent as a performer didn’t leave the result in much doubt, although the road to it was exciting.
The frequent breaking-up of tag teams—The IIconics to name one example—has left the WWE Women’s Tag Team division bereft of depth. Kai and Gonzalez as Tag Team Classic winners not only pose an immediate threat to champs Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler but also adds a unit to a division desperately needing them.