You might have heard about this but it’s Wrestlemania weekend. What people often forget is that there’s a lot more than just “Wrestlemania XXXII” going on over the next few days so today we’re going to take a look at one of those other major events with a preview of “NXT Takeover: Dallas”.

The Takeover series is the equivalent of pay per view of NXT and to say they knock these things out of the park is a huge understatement. NXT takes their time with these shows and set them up over the course of several weeks before the big blowoff. The matches get time, the stories have been well set up and everything works more often than not. This might be the biggest show NXT has ever had and the card is absolutely stacked.

We’ll start with the match that has been added most recently as Apollo Crews faces Elias Samson. This doesn’t have much of a backstory as Samson, known as the Drifter, really doesn’t have a defined character. He kind of floats around and beats up people, which is what set off the feud. A week ago on NXT, Samson was pinned by Johnny Gargano and snapped, causing him to absolutely destroy Gargano after the match. Crews came out for the save and a match was quickly made.

The problem here is more with Crews, who is an athletic freak and can do almost anything in the ring but he really has no personality or reason to be in this match. It’s fine enough for a story and Crews is in need of a win (or a story in general actually) but I’m going with Samson here. At the end of the day, Samson has the potential to go somewhere as is while Crews is in need of some adjustments.

However, a win for Crews doesn’t do much for his problems as he needs a major setback in order to start changing things up. If he’s an athletic freak who keeps winning most of his big matches, there’s no reason for him to make any adjustments. Samson actually needs the win to establish himself so I’ll take him in a major upset.

Next up we have what could be a dream match but is also a pretty obvious choice with Sami Zayn what might be his NXT farewell vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in his NXT debut. Based on the time frame alone, there’s really no reason to assume that this is going to be anything other than a long, drawn out match with Nakamura hitting the running knee for the pin and Zayn getting a hero’s sendoff.

While the result may not be in doubt, there is also little doubt that this is going to be one of the best matches of the weekend and possibly of the year. Both men are more than capable of tearing the house down against anyone and as great as Zayn is, Nakamura may be just that much better. I’m really looking forward to this one and it should be a masterpiece.

Let’s go to a title match with the Revival defending the NXT Tag Team Titles against American Alpha. Much like Nakamura vs. Zayn, this really isn’t much in doubt as there’s no reason for Dawson and Wilder to hold the titles any longer. Gable and Jordan are on fire right now and there’s little doubt in my mind that we’re getting new champions.

I can’t imagine the Revival holding the belts and deflating an already white hot crowd that wants to see new champions. American Alpha is just so good and so entertaining right now that there’s almost no way they won’t win and blow the roof off the place in an excellent opener. If nothing else some of the false finishes will be awesome, as they almost always are.

Before we get to the main event, we have the debut of Austin Aries as he faces Baron Corbin. This was set up with a very simple angle as Aries was coming out for a speech and Corbin attacked him for reasons that aren’t entirely clear yet. While it hasn’t been explained, the working theory would suggest that Corbin is just a jerk who doesn’t like people smaller than him and wanted to attack Aries for being on his show. As is so often the case in NXT, it’s simple but it works.

As has been the case with most of the matches here, there’s almost no reason to assume anything other than Aries winning in his debut. You don’t bring someone like him in and have him lose his first match. Corbin isn’t completely out of it though as he defeated Crews at “Takeover: London” in a big upset. However, I’d bet that they’ll use that win as a way to give Corbin credibility here. One way or another, Corbin is losing, either to the brainbuster (unlikely) or the Last Chancery.

Now we get to the last two matches, starting with Bayley defending the NXT Women’s Title against Japanese killer Asuka. As big of a Bayley fan as I am, there’s almost no way I can see her walking out of Dallas with the title. Asuka has been built up as a monster who shows almost no weakness and as great as Bayley is, this feels like her big NXT sendoff before she goes up to the main roster.

Therefore, we’ll go with Bayley dropping the title, probably by submission for the sake of the big rub to Asuka. After that I could easily see Asuka fighting off people like Nia Jax and maybe some upcoming Divas, though I’m not sure who all we’re going to see take the title off of her. There’s really no reason to keep the title on Bayley any longer and there’s no better place to drop it and get the big sendoff. It’s saddening that I won’t get to hear that catchy theme on NXT anymore but at least she gets the big title defense.

Finally we have the main event in a rare rematch for the NXT Title as champion Finn Balor defends against Samoa Joe. Now in this case I’m really not sure how the match is going to go because either option could work. The question really boils down to the question of where does Balor go after the title match. If you think he’s going to the main roster, of course he drops the belt here. If you think he’s going to be sticking around NXT after the title match, in theory he holds the title but it’s not for sure.

My guess is that Balor holds the title and drops it at the next Takeover. Joe really doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who is going to take the title. The match is going to be brutal and excellent but I really can’t picture a heel standing tall with the title after conquering Balor to end the biggest show NXT has ever put on. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Balor lose, but I really can’t see it happening. If it does, I’d assume someone comes out to stare Joe down at the end of the show. Nakamura maybe?

Overall, this has the potential to be one of the best shows of the year and one of the best Takeovers of all time as well. There isn’t a single bad match up and down the card with the weakest maybe being Crews vs. Samson, which has the potential to set up a new star. It should be a lot of fun though and a great night of wrestling, which is all “Takeover: Dallas” needs to be.

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