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NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night One preview - British Invasion

NXT returns tonight (April 7) with part one of their TakeOver: Stand & Deliver event, airing on USA and streaming on Peacock.

It’s the 34th TakeOver, and to commemorate seven years of live specials (and their return to WrestleMania week after missing last year), Triple H and company have booked a show that really is too big for one night.

You can check out our predictions for both nights here, but we’re previewing this bad boy one show at a time. Let’s do Wednesday, shall we? Here’s a refresher on how we got to, and our big question for, each match.

Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel González for the NXT Women’s championship

The Genius of the Sky has taken down every challenger NXT put in front of since pinning Rhea Ripley to win the belt last June. Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Mercedes Martinez, Dakota Kai, and Tegan Nox have all failed to beat her for the title. But last November at WarGames, Raquel González did manage to pin Shirai.

Even if it weren’t for that, Io would have noticed González. The Texan has been steamrolling over everyone in her path since Halloween Havoc. And after the champ put down Storm last month, she marched right up to Big Mami Cool and laid down a challenge.

Since then, Shirai’s been inviting Raquel to do her worst, and proving she’ll get back and return fire every time. If she can do it in tonight’s main event, her epic title reign will continue.

The big question

It’s the age-old TakeOver question... which of these women is getting a call-up? The champ’s done pretty much all there is to do in NXT. But the challenger is also closer to main roster ready than some hoss-types who’ve been promoted in the past.

We’ll be watching for whoever isn’t wearing the strap after this to show up on a Monday or Friday in the not-too-distant future.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. WALTER (c) for the NXT United Kingdom title

As Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel’s stablemates made their way to the U.S., Imperium started to recruit an old ally from the indies, Timothy Thatcher. But Toothless Timmy was partnered up with Old Man Ciampa at the time, and he didn’t like the idea of his teammate having a Ringkampf reunion.

When Thatcher “disappeared”, Imperium were the likely culprits. And once the United Kingdom champion showed up to tell him (forcefully) to look elsewhere, the Blackheart had another reason to step to visitors from across the pond. Ciampa’s been looking to prove it’s too early to put him out to pasture, and there’s no bigger challenge than battling WALTER. The Ring General hasn’t been wearing that belt for two years for nothing.

Their early tussles haven’t given us much reason to think Tommaso will be the one to take WALTER down. But Willow’s dad’s been proving people wrong for years.

The big question

Is Thatcher going to show up? Will we learn he was the victim of an Imperium attack (possibly to cover for some other injury or situation) as he runs in to help Ciampa, or part of a long con as he emerges to side with WALTER?

MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado Del Fantasma for the vacant NXT Tag Team championship

Nash Carter & Wes Lee were supposed to challenge Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan for the belts after winning the Dusty Cup, but a Lee hand injury delayed that. While he was healing up, Burch separated his shoulder, forcing the champs to give up the belts.

NXT had MSK and GYV injure one another in kayfabe, so in addition to being mad they came in second in the Dusty Classic for the second year in row, Zack Gibson & James Drake have extra motivation to take out Lee & Carter.

Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde enter the picture thanks to a win over the Veterans that came after an MSK distraction, but they also have history with the former Rascalz, who eliminated them in the Dusty semis.

The big question

Will Grizzled Young Veterans ever be brides in NXT Prime? The former UK Tag champs have been on the verge of reaching the mountain top in Florida multiple times, but they always end up the proverbial bridesmaids. The slew of injury means they could finally win a big one here while MSK chase for a while longer. Or they could put another team over again and head back to London.

North American title #1 contender Gauntlet (order of entry: 1. Leon Ruff, 2. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, 3. Bronson Reed, 4. Cameron Grimes, 5. Dexter Lumis, 6. LA Knight)

The rules have been complicated, but at least they’ve ensured matches with stakes. It’s clear what whoever is standing five matches will get - a match tomorrow night against Johnny Gargano.

Outside of those basics, what you need to know is that Ruff and Scott have been feuding. Leon’s gotten the decisions, but they’ve only lead to beatings from Swerve, who’s grown increasingly more irritated that a guy he considers beneath him is getting opportunities. Knight is mad that Reed upstaged his first in-ring promo, then ripped up his jacket and cost him his debut match against Grimes.

The nouveau riche Grimes has a long history with Lumis, and Dexter is currently tied up with Gargano’s The Way stable in all kinds of ways. Ways like Austin Theory feeling betrayed because he really enjoyed being kidnapped by the Torture Artist, and Indi Hartwell really wanting to find out what makes Sexy Dexy tick.

The big question

Does NXT see any of these guys as main eventers? They’re all talented performers the brand either has or seems poised to make use of. But will that continue to be trading wins and losses with other midcarders?

Kushida vs. Pete Dunne

The Bruiserweight declared himself the best technical wrestler in the world. The super-junior legend took exception to that. That issue led them to focus on each other in last week’s Battle Royal-to-qualify-for-tonight’s-Gauntlet (told you it was complicated), and eliminate one another before making it to the final six.

Book ‘em, Regal.

The big question

Can a story-light workrate dream match steal the show? Probably not, but wow, is this a really intriguing pairing that we never would have dreamed was possible a few years back.

WWE NXT’s Twitter

Toni Storm vs. Zoey Stark

This pre-show match was added last night. Storm’s been adrift since failing to take the Women’s title from Io Shirai. Stark’s been making waves hanging with the brand’s biggest names since joining NXT - but she has not picked up many wins.

The big question

How big is the rocket they seem to be strapping to fka Lacey Ryan’s back? When Stark signing was announced, the buzz was about her classmates Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black). But she’s the one getting consistent TV time and big spots like this one. Could the Mae Young winner and former NXT UK Women’s champ be the first big notch on her belt? And then what?

Join us in our live blog and we’ll see if we get any answers to these questions - and how blown away we are by the show - tonight.

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