Five things that must happen at NXT Stand & Deliver /

The biggest weekend in wrestling is here and NXT 2.0 is the first action fans will see. This will be the first Wrestlemania weekend under the 2.0 banner and a big show is expected to set the tone for a new season. Every title is being defended, excluding the NXT Women’s tag-team belts after Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray cashed in the Dusty Cup for a shot at the NXT Women’s title.

5 things that need to take place at NXT Stand & Deliver

A major shift will occur at NXT Stand & Deliver, which could be the last time a few superstars appear under the NXT brand. Here are five things that should absolutely happen during the show.

Imperium dominates

All three members of Imperium will be in action early Saturday. The reigning tag team champions are defending the titles against the Creed Brothers and MSK, while GUNTHER looks to shut the mouth of LA Knight. Imperium has been booked strongly and there’s no need for that to stop at Stand and Deliver. The tag team division is deeper than it has been in recent years, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel should continue to lead the division by narrowly escaping with victory.

The Creed Brothers will have other business to tend to if and when the Diamond Mine attackers reveal themselves Saturday. While MSK could be destined for the main roster post-Wrestlemania. GUNTHER has kept his strong momentum since leaving the UK, handing Solo Sikoa his first loss and making quick work of Duke Hudson. For such a short build, LA Knight’s promo work has made this match must-see. However, Knight has been on the losing end of the majority of his feuds and has been teased for a call-up. Expect GUNTHER to send Knight packing to the main roster where he can latch on just about anywhere.

Toxic Attraction Era continues

Never mind the fact that the Women’s Dusty Cup meant absolutely nothing. The NXT Women’s title will be defended at Stand and Deliver, while Gigi Dolin and Jacey Jayne have the night off. Now Mandy Rose has to face all of her top adversaries in one match. The curveball to add Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray says more about how Cora Jade is viewed for the big stage at this particular time.

There doesn’t seem to be a perfect option to dethrone Mandy Rose at this time. The three challengers in this match should cancel each other out, allowing Rose to escape yet again with the prize of the division. Of course, her Toxic Attraction teammates will also assist her to victory. Another caveat is this could be Shirai’s final match in NXT, and if so, she should rightfully eat the pin to give Rose more heat.

Ciampa has a fairytale ending

Even when Tomasso Ciampa held the NXT world title recently, he felt like more of a gatekeeper to the brand than the main event, and rightfully so. Ciampa has been a major act over the years and a part of some of the biggest moments in NXT history. Including arguably NXT’s best rivalry with him and former partner Johnny Gargano. Speaking of Gargano, he actually received an appropriate ending, having competed in War Games, speaking to the NXT Universe before being taken out by Grayson Waller.

It’s practically tradition for superstars to go out on their back for the next generation. Enter Tony D’Angelo, looking to have his big moment in NXT 2.0. D’Angelo arrived with great fanfare for his character work in promos but he hasn’t latched on as strong as his War Games teammates. Tony D is a throwback heel of sorts and needs tactics to pull out a victory.

Despite winning the “Crowbar on a pole” match against Pete Dunne, he ultimately lost the war. It also seems that the very fanfare he had early on is dwindling. Pro wrestling logic may be accustomed to giving Tony D the necessary heat to go on, but the Blackheart is deserving of a proper send-off for being a pillar of the brand for so long. Yes, black and gold NXT is gone and Ciampa is the final representation of that, so at Stand and Deliver he deserves a win and to ride off into the sunset of the main roster.

Mello finally misses

Carmello Hayes is calling his shot again, by placing himself in his biggest title defense yet. Hayes will compete in a ladder match for the North American title in the same fashion the belt was debuted. His opponents will be Solo Sikoa, Grayson Waller, Santos Escobar, and the winner of a triple threat featuring A-Kid, Cameron Grimes, and Roderick Strong. NXT black and gold fans will likely point out the fact the original ladder match contained six challengers. Perhaps the triple threat match will present that correction.

Even still, this is the best opportunity to get the North American title away for Hayes. He has been every bit of the “A champion” he says he is and should be in position for the main event picture. Whoever the eventual winner is, Mello should come up just short and it should send him into a rage. This will give Mello direct aspirations for the NXT World title, which he should act upon later in the show.

The Show-off era isn’t transitional

Let Dolph cook! The switch-up in NXT 2.0 plans has been a good thing, and more interactions between NXT and Raw, Smackdown superstars should take place. Dolph Ziggler winning possibly wasn’t in the plans, and logic says this will be a brief title reign to heat Bron Breakker back up. Although Breakker doesn’t need more of a push at this time, he needs the chase.

There’s no doubt Breakker is the future and destined to be a major star on the main roster someday, but the hotshot to the title has hurt his credibility some. The brief few weeks of Ziggler being championed have given the main event picture a boost. For weeks fans could argue that the most noteworthy champion was Carmello Hayes, hence the “A Champion” spiel.

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Breakker needs to chase the title for a while and continue to build up his character, if not he could face the same fate Roman Reigns had early in his career. Never mind the hype surrounding the Steiner Brothers getting the rightful place in the WWE Hall of fame, there’s more at stake here for the young Steiner.

If Bron does happen to reach the top of the mountain again, he joins a rare company as a two-time NXT World Champion along with Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tommasso Ciampa, and Karrion Kross. That would send a strong message about how Breakker is viewed but can be negatively received by fans gaining such an accolade in a short period of time. Bron should lose this contest clean or through a distraction from the former North American champion that can set up a program. In the meantime, Ziggler can provide more classics in-ring and bring more eyes to the NXT 2.0 product through Summer.