Full coverage from the NXT TakeOver: Stand And Deliver press conference
Wade Barrett welcomes us to the WWE NXT “Takeover: Stand and Deliver” Global Press Conference. We see NXT Champion Finn Balor, NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai, NXT UK Champion WALTER, NXT Cruiserweight Champions Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin, Karrion Kross, Raquel Gonzalez, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Tommaso Ciampa sitting at a table while Barrett is at the podium. The questions have been taken from journalists ahead of time.
Cole is asked about respecting O’Reilly when it comes to his in-ring work. Cole praises O’Reilly and says it’s a shame he’s turned into such an idiot. Balor is asked about how he and Kross have both lost titles due to injuries. Balor says they do have some similarities but Kross is the one who has to prove himself at Takeover. Balor goes on about how he’s proved himself as the best wrestler in the world time and time again. Balor says you’d be sadly mistaken if you think he’s the underdog and this will be a passing of the torch to Kross. Kross simply tells Balor he’s full of shit.
WALTER is asked if Ciampa is a worthy challenger for this rare trip to the United States. WALTER says it’s an honor to be here and represent European wrestling. He wishes he could face the Ciampa from two years ago because that’s a guy he looked at and respected. He thinks it’s up to Ciampa to prove he’s still got it and can be the dangerous competitor he has been. WALTER doesn’t think wrestling is Ciampa’s #1 priority in life anymore. WALTER says what we can expect from him is the same as all the time – he will leave it on the sacred mat when he enters the ring because he owes it to himself and our great sport.
Gonzalez and Shirai are asked about their strategies. Gonzalez responds in Spanish first and then says her answer is simple – she will do whatever is necessary to win at Takeover. Shirai responds in Japanese and then has a translator speak for her. She says she can jump higher than Gonzalez, is smarter, and faster. Kross is asked how important his performance is because his previous Takeover main event resulted in injury, and how does he plan to make the biggest impact. Kross calls this the biggest opportunity of a lifetime. He says you have to find the silver lining in what happened last time. He goes on about pushing through the injury and says he will do whatever it takes to win. Escobar is asked about what he learned from the legendary Hector Garza that he still keeps in mind today. He responds in Spanish first and says may Garza rest in peace, but he was always glad to be around Garza and learned to enjoy every second he spends in the ring.
Ciampa is asked how his mindset has changed with the insanity of the world in the last year. Ciampa talks about having surgery and having a daughter, but says this is the most excited he’s been for a Takeover in a long time. He will remind WALTER and the world just who Tommaso Ciampa is. O’Reilly is asked about he and Cole possibly earning a NXT Title shot with their Unsanctioned Match win at Takeover. O’Reilly says becoming champion is always something in the back of his mind but it would be foolish to look past the match and 100% of his focus is on securing victory against Cole. Devlin is asked if he’s enjoyed anything about Escobar’s reign, and if he’s looked to an
Devlin has not enjoyed one single thing about Escobar’s reign, especially the fact he was gifted a title shot and has barely defended the title, and how he has his goons help him in every match, and how Kross swatted all three of them on national TV. Devlin is worried people will tune into WWE for the first time and think Escobar is the top cruiserweight in the world. He will leave no doubt about who The Ace is after Takeover. Regarding past champions, he’s not worried about the past, only the future. Escobar speaks up and says Devlin won’t have to worry after Takeover because he won’t have the title anymore. Escobar is asked about being the Latin face of WWE. He first responds in Spanish, then says he doesn’t know if he is the Latin face of all WWE, but he can tell us he is the face of Lucha Libre in all of WWE, and he is the Cruiserweight Champion, which he will prove again at Takeover.
Balor is asked how the Irish wrestling scene has prepared him for moments like these. Balor asks the name of the journalist again and says he got the phrasing of the question a little confused because clearly he is the person who prepared the Irish scene for moments like these. Balor says he is over-prepared, he’s been prepared for 20 years, and he’s proved it for 20 Takeovers in the past, and will do the same at this Takeover. Shirai is asked about facing a challenger with size and strength differences like Gonzalez. She responds in Japanese and has a translator speak for her. She said there are many elements she’s better than Gonzalez at, and one being champion for several hundred days. She’s also smarter and was a champion for many years in Japan. Shirai learned an English word – “meathead” and they will see if the meaning of that word applies at Takeover. Gonzalez speaks up and says we will see if Shirai really is smarter. Gonzalez is asked if Shirai bit off more than she can chew by calling her out. She gives Shirai some praise but does believe Shirai bit off more than she can handle. Gonzalez dismisses the “meathead” talk and says she hopes Shirai is rested up because she’s in for a rude awakening tomorrow.
Cole is asked how this will be different or the same than past matches with O’Reilly. Cole talks about how he’s different, he used to be out to prove he was a top star when he battled O’Reilly, but now he has nothing to prove as without question he is one of the best in the business. Cole says O’Reilly does still have a lot to prove. Cole says regarding similarities, he will beat O’Reilly just like he did 99% of the time in the past because when it comes to big matches, Kyle just can’t hang and Cole has proved that’s where he belongs. Cole says it’s not about winning or losing in a sense, it’s about hurting Kyle. Cole promises he will hurt Kyle to the point where he will never be the same again. O’Reilly is asked about using aspects of MMA in his style, which techniques work and which don’t. Kyle says he always tries to compete with authenticity in styles he’s a fan of. He names multiple styles and says if you practice them with conviction, you will do them well. Ciampa is asked about possibly defeating WALTER and taking the NXT UK Title to a new brand, and if he’s thought of that. Ciampa has thought about a possible move and he’d be hard-pressed to find a more prestigious title in all of wrestling right now considering those who have held it. As far as going overseas, the crowds there are special and it’s just different, there’s a different energy and he loves it. There are also lots of new opponents there for him.
Kross is asked if Balor is the person to bring out the best of him in NXT. Kross says he is and he believes they both saw this coming a long time ago. He thinks Balor is the best NXT Champion of all time. Balor is asked what a win over Kross would mean for his current title reign. Balor says a win would mean that his current reign likely goes past 211 days. Devlin is asked if WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels’ making this a Ladder Match complicates things. Devlin doesn’t think it does, he would’ve been up for any kind of stipulation but he sees why they went with the ladder. He sees comparisons to the HBK vs. Razor Ramon match. Devlin goes on and is looking forward to unifying the titles. WALTER is asked why European Superstars are tougher than the Americans. WALTER says it’s hard to tell if people from one place are tougher than people from another, but the heritage of the sport in Europe is different and so is his approach. The only thing he can answer is does he think he’s tougher than the guys here? Yes, he does, and he thinks the same about Ciampa. WALTER is looking forward to the Ciampa challenge because it’s another chance for him to step up and prove that European wrestling is the most exciting sport fans can experience right now.
Shirai is asked about personal and professional difficulties in moving from Japan to the United States. She speaks in Japanese and has a translator again. Shirai said that was a good question, there are differences from Florida and Japan, but wrestling wise she had a lot of confidence before she came here, and she thought she’d be doing well here early on, but she didn’t, until she changed some things and tapped into a darker side, which allowed her to overcome the differences and find success. Escobar is asked about the Lucha Libre legacy and style as he and Devlin have two different styles. He thinks Lucha Libre is the most exciting and he is the emperor of it, but the cruiserweight style was based off Lucha Libre. He goes on about owning the division forever because it’s in his blood and for Devlin to overcome that, he will have to go through him and Escobar doesn’t think he has what it takes. Devlin interrupts and says the cruiserweight style may have been invented in Mexico but it was perfected in Ireland. He tells Escobar to refer to himself as Interim Champion.
Gonzalez is asked if it’s time to take the title from Shirai and become champion. She says it’s been her time and she’s going to do what it takes to win the title. She says if War Games and her win over Rhea Ripley didn’t open eyes, then her performance at Takeover sure will. Shirai says Gonzalez can’t beat her and the title is hers. Gonzalez says we will see. Balor is asked how the Takeover energy compares as he’s competed at WrestleMania in the past. Balor says people interpret energy a little different than him. It doesn’t matter if you’re wrestling in front of 70,000 people, 200 people or no people, the energy comes from the performers in the ring and for him, he will bring the exact same amount of energy every single night, whether it’s Madison Square Garden, the parking lot of a supermarket, or Full Sail University. For Balor the energy is always the same.
Barrett thanks everyone for joining the press conference. He also wishes the competitors the best of luck in their Takeover matches.
Stay tuned for more on “Takeover: Stand and Deliver” and be sure to join us for live coverage on Wednesday and Thursday, from the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Below is the current card:
NIGHT ONE – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 ON THE USA NETWORK:
NXT Women’s Title Match
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Io Shirai (c)
Triple Threat for the Vacant NXT Tag Team Titles
MSK vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado del Fantasma
NXT UK Title Match
Tommaso Ciampa vs. WALTER (c)
Gauntlet Eliminator for a NXT North American Title Shot
Leon Ruff (first participant) vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (second participant) vs. Bronson Reed (third participant) vs. Cameron Grimes (fourth participant) vs. Dexter Lumis (fifth participant) vs. LA Knight (final participant)
Winner challenges NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano on Night Two.
Pete Dunne vs. Kushida
NIGHT TWO – THURSDAY, APRIL 8 ON THE WWE NETWORK:
NXT Title Match
Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor (c)
Ladder Match for Cruiserweight Title Unification
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin vs. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar
NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles Match
The Way vs. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart (c)
NXT North American Title Match
Gauntlet Eliminator winner vs. Johnny Gargano (c)
Unsanctioned Match: No Rules, No Liability
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly