It’s weird to see NXT as the big closer for the weekend, as Rampage was big enough and then we had Summerslam for one of the most important shows of the year. That leaves us with Takeover: 36 and I’m really not feeling the card this time. It seems pretty clear that NXT as we know it is going to be going away, so this very well may be the big farewell for the current NXT. I’m not sure if that is the worst thing in the world either. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Ridge Holland vs. Trey Baxter
This was added over the weekend and it can serve as the appetizer for the show. That is an appropriate description too, as Holland is likely to devour Baxter. The limited stuff I’ve seen from Baxter has been pretty good, but Holland seems ready to be elevated into a bigger star around here, meaning I’m pretty sure you can already figure out how the match is likely to go.
The monster is back:This should be a nearly complete squash for Holland, who needs to be fed a few people to get him back to where he was before the injury. Baxter hasn’t become a star in NXT yet and a loss to someone who has been slightly established will be fine. The match should be fine as a way to get the fans into the show and that is about all it needs to be. Keep it quick and to the point and it’s going to be fine.
Million Dollar Title: LA Knight(c) vs. Cameron Grimes
As a bonus, Ted DiBiase has to become Knight’s butler if Grimes loses. This has been one of the best stories in NXT for a long time now and the fans have made no secret of how much they love Grimes. The fact that he has held onto that status for such a long time with all of those losses tells you a lot about how much of a roll he really is on at the moment. Now he needs to finally win something.
Grimes has a backup option:I cannot imagine a situation where Grimes loses here because there is no reason for him to take another hit. This is the big culmination of the story and Grimes can win the whole thing and blow the roof off the place. NXT has put Grimes through as much as they can to get here and hopefully the big win finally gets him over the hump. I’m not sure what is on the other side, but he needs to win here and he will.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
There is a very good chance that this is going to headline the show, which means you might want to grab a pillow. This is a 2/3 falls match with stipulations of traditional wrestling, street fight and steel cage. NXT has gotten obsessed with this feud, even though I’m not sure it needed to go beyond one match. I groaned when I heard the match announced but let them have their one final match so they can move on to ANYTHING else.
The history is there:Given Cole’s contract status, I can’t imagine he wins here so we’ll go with O’Reilly to win the match and the feud. O’Reilly certainly needs a win more than a made man like Cole, as that Stand & Deliver win is feeling more like a fluke than a game changer. I’m not looking forward to the match and I’ll probably have a few birthdays watching it, but at least it should be the big finale for these two.
Women’s Title: Raquel Gonzalez(c) vs. Dakota Kai
The more I think about this one, the less sure I am. On one hand, Gonzalez is the kind of person who should be able to completely destroy Kai through straight power. At the same time though, it would not stun me to see Kai steal the title that she has never won before. It is a match that I could see going either way and that is not something you see very often these days.
Talk then fight:I’ll take Gonzalez to retain the title here, with the very real possibility that Kai (if not both of them) are heading up to the main roster. Kai is about as ready for the main roster as you could expect here to be and while it would be cool to see her finally win the title, it makes more sense to have Gonzalez continue her reign for the time being so we can get a hoss fight between Gonzalez and Frankie Monet. Gonzalez retains.
United Kingdom Title: Walter(c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
Here’s your real main event. I don’t remember the last time WWE had set up a match so well that I felt I needed to see it. The first match has reached near mythical status and the idea of seeing the rematch on the bigger stage has me rather interested. What matters here is somehow living up to the hype and I have ever reason to believe these two can pull it off.
You can feel it with this one:As for a winner…..egads I’m really not sure but I’ll go with Dragunov. For the life of me I can’t imagine Walter retaining here, mainly because I can’t imagine what it is going to take to get the title off of him if Dragunov can’t do it. This should be an awesome match and easily one of the best of the year. I don’t know when I’ve been wanting to see a match more than this and that’s a great feeling to have.
NXT Title: Karrion Kross(c) vs. Samoa Joe
How weird is it to have the NXT Title match as the third biggest match on the card? Somehow that is where we are this time around and I’m not exactly jazzed for this one. Above all else, the match doesn’t feel all that thrilling, with part of the issue being how Kross has been treated on the main roster. It doesn’t feel as special anymore but this should be quite the brawl.
The fight will be on:There isn’t much of a reason to put the title on Samoa Joe, so I’ll go with Kross retaining it. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him lose it to the winner of the Breakout Tournament, but I don’t think he loses it here. Kross is a different star in NXT than he is on Monday Night Raw, but he isn’t exactly the best champion NXT has ever had. This isn’t a thrilling match, and hopefully it exceeds its limited hype.
This has the potential to be a great show but it is going to hinge on Cole vs. O’Reilly and Samoa Joe vs. Kross. If the former goes shorter than expected and the latter is kept violent enough, we should be in for another awesome Takeover with the other three matches carrying the weird. The chance is there, but this doesn’t eel like the layup that it once was. That scares me, but it is the reality that we now have with NXT.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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