The superstars of NXT Takeover: Stand and Deliver participated in a press conference on Tuesday morning, hyping up the two-night event that many wrestling fans are looking forward to as much as – or maybe even more than – this weekend’s WrestleMania.
Hosted by NXT commentator Wade Barrett, the participants in some of the key matches were on hand to answer questions submitted by wrestling news outlets across the world.
For the most part, the event worked to help reinforce the animosity between the personalities involved. And “personalities” is indeed the key word here, since, with few exceptions, the superstars remained in character, focusing on the storyline feuds between themselves and their opponent.
That limiting structure made it a bit of a flat event.
One of the refreshing parts of Triple H’s NXT press conferences is his candor and his dropping of the pretense of “kayfabe” when talking about the brand. But here, it would seem the orders were to stick to the storyline, and even the pre-selected questions seem to have been chosen in a way that would focus on that.
Here is a selection of highlights, taken from the responses from the competitors, presented match-by-match for ease of reference:
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
AC: Kyle’s a great tag team wrestler – he’s probably a better tag team wrestler than he is a singles wrestler. Kyle can definitely get the job done. It’s a shame he’s turned into such an idiot.
KO (about his blending elements of MMA into his repertoire): I always try to compete with as much authenticity as possible. Whatever you do, if you do it with passion and conviction, it always translates well. As MMA and competitive grappling become more mainstream and wrestling fans become more educated, it’s only a matter of time before (my) style becomes more prevalent in professional wrestling.
AC: I am a completely different pro wrestler from back in the day when I used to go to war with Kyle. Back then, I was all about proving to the world that I was a future star. Now I have nothing to prove to anybody. Without question, I am one of the best wrestlers in the world. When it comes to big matches, Kyle just can’t hang. I’ve proven countless times how much I belong. Kyle hasn’t proved that yet. It’s about hurting Kyle. I am going to hurt Kyle O’Reilly to the point where he’s never the same again.
WALTER vs. Tomasso Ciampa – for the NXT UK Championship
W: It’s a big privilege to be here to represent European wrestling. I wish I could be wrestling the Tomasso from two years ago, because that’s the Tomasso I respected. I think he has to show if he’s still got it. What you can expect from me is the same as all the time. I’m going to leave it on the mat that is so sacred to me. Because I owe it to myself, and I owe it to our great sport.
TC: (Over the past two years) a lot has changed for me. I had neck surgery, I had a daughter. My mental game, my physical game, everything needed an overhaul. I can assure you that this is the most anxious and excited I have been since Takeover: New Orleans. After 16 years in this industry, people have forgotten. At Stand and Deliver, I remind the world, and I remind WALTER who Tomasso Ciampa is.
Racquel Gonzalez vs. Io Shirai (c) – for the NXT Women’s Championship
IS (who spoke through a translator): Once I came to NXT… I thought I would do well (immediately), but I didn’t. But I was able to go through the hurdles, and tap into the dark side of Io Shirai, and I was able to overcome them and become successful.
RG: It has been my time. Tomorrow, whatever happens, I am going to take any opportunity to win the title. Tomorrow, I am going to open a lot of eyes, and show that I deserve this. I will do whatever is necessary at Takeover.
IS: As the champion for over 300 days, I have the responsibility of a champion. I am smarter (now than I was before becoming champion). I learned the English word ‘meathead’, and we’ll see from this match if she’s a meathead.
RG: Io’s experience is unmatched by any woman in NXT. But I think she’s chewed off more than she can handle (by calling me out). If she thinks she can play mindgames with me, I hope she has a good rest tonight, because tomorrow she’s in for a rude awakening.
Jordan Devlin vs. Escobar Santos – Double Ladder match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
JD: I have not enjoyed one single thing about Santos Escobar’s reign this past year. I didn’t enjoy how he was gifted the title. I didn’t enjoy how he defended it only a handful of times. I worry that people will tune into NXT for the first time and think that he represents the best cruiserweight in the world.
SE: I think lucha libre is indeed a unique style, and I am certain that it is the most exciting style in the world. The Cruiserweight style was born based on what I represent, which is lucha libre. I am the face of lucha libre in all of WWE. I own the division. I’m not just the champion, I own the division. It’s in my blood, it runs through my veins.
JD: I’m not sure there’s a match type invented that I couldn’t beat Santos Escobar in. There’s a lot of comparisons you can make between this match and the original one between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. You’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent defending a belt that he never lost against an interim champion with a phony title.
Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross – for the NXT Championship
FB: There are similarities between myself and Kross. We’ve both had to surrender our titles because of injuries. But that’s where the similarities end. I returned and regained a championship. He simply returned. For anyone who thinks that Finn Balor is the underdog going into this match, and that Karrion Kross is simply going to be handed the torch, you’re sadly mistaken.
KK (in response to the above) You’re full of s—.
FB: For me, whether you’re wrestling in front of 70,000 people, or 15,000 people, or 1,000, or 200, or even no people, the energy isn’t about the event. The energy is about the performers in the ring. We bring the energy, not the other way around. So, for me, I will bring the same amount of energy every single night.
KK: This is an opportunity of a lifetime. You’ve got to look at everything as a silver lining. Every week, people want to come onto your television and tell you how tough they are. (When I won the title the first time), you got to see something very, very real. You saw someone get their shoulder separated. That normally stops the match. I tried to push my shoulder back in, and I continued to compete. And I became NXT Champion with one arm. That’s legit, that’s real. I will do anything it takes to become NXT Champion once again.
The event can be watched in its entirety here: