It’s that time again and I’m really nervous about this one. NXT has taken a big hit in the last few months and I don’t know if they can make it work again. The card just doesn’t feel important here and they won’t have the fans there to make anything work. NXT has pulled off some miracles before, but maybe they’ve got another one in their magic hat. Let’s get to it.

Karrion Kross vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Let’s start with one of the harder ones as they really could go either way here. Ciampa is an absolute NXT legend and one of the biggest stars the promotion has ever had. That being said, Kross is the new star and has done nothing but squash jobbers so far. Kross has always been more about character work than in-ring abilities, so I’m not sure if he’s ready for this spot.

I’d think he’s ready:

He better be though because he’s beating Ciampa here. NXT knows better than to cut off someone brand new so fast so there is no need for Ciampa to win here. Ciampa is absolutely bulletproof in NXT, but he has lost a ton of steam in recent months. I’m not sure what he needs to do to fix things up, but maybe he just needs a change of scenery after so long around here.

North American Title: Keith Lee(c) vs. Johnny Gargano

This is another match where I think you need to look forward more than at what you have in front of you. Gargano is freshly heel and there is only so much he can do without a big win. At the same time you have Lee, who has been completely dominant as North American Champion. That would suggest something big is coming for him, and I think I know what that is.

Cut it in half:

I’m going with Gargano winning here, naturally through some shenanigans, so that Lee can move on and go after the NXT Title. There isn’t anything left for him to prove as the North American Champion so let him move on to the bigger and more important situation. It should work out well for everyone involved and Gargano and Lee should be able to have a heck of a match. With Gargano winning that is.

Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest

It’s another interesting one here, though NXT didn’t promote this one very well (if at all) on this week’s TV show. That’s not like them, but then again almost everything has been a little bit off lately. Balor is getting back to his old status around here and Priest is someone who has looked great out there with Dominik Dijakovic and Lee. Now we need to see what he can do against someone else.

Never jump a demon:

I’ll take Balor here in a pick I don’t have much confidence in making. It would make sense to have Balor move on to face Lee for the #1 contendership in what could be a heck of a match. There is no shame in Priest losing to a former World Champion and NXT legend, so it’s not like anything truly bad can come out of this one. An upset is possible, but I’ll play it safe and go with Balor.

Mia Yim/Shotzi Blackheart/Tegan Nox vs. Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai/Candice LeRae

I love a good six person tag but you don’t see one very often. This is a mixture of two feuds in one and that’s a good thing. Neither of the feuds is really big enough to make it onto the show on its own but coupling them together should be enough to make the whole thing work out well enough.

Like this, but bigger:

That being said, there isn’t a ton of drama here as LeRae and company should win, if nothing else to give LeRae’s new heel run a boost. Have Gonzalez wreck people and LeRae can get a smiling pin. It’s something that would work out well for her and fit everything she’s doing now, while also making Gonzalez look awesome and allowing Kai to smirk a lot, which she does rather well.

Women’s Title: Charlotte(c) vs. Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley

Here’s your standing “man I’m sick of Charlotte” comment because man I’m sick of Charlotte. She’s an amazing talent and one of the best in the history of the women’s division, but WWE needs to learn the concept of not having someone around ALL THE TIME. There is no need to have her around this often, and yet odds are that is going to continue for the time being.

It’s show time:

So yeah, Charlotte retains here, mainly so she can be on every show possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick of her or not, because you’re going to see her on another show in a hurry. Shirai might be main roster bound and Ripley will probably get the title back eventually, but it’s the Charlotte Show for now, because there’s a show, and that means Charlotte is going to be on it.

NXT Title: Adam Cole(c) vs. Velveteen Dream

Oh my goodness we had to get here eventually and I have no idea what to pick. Cole has been champion for over a year now and it is time to take the title off of him. At the same time though, I can’t imagine Dream winning the title anymore, as he has gone pretty cold in the last few months. You can go either way here, but again I think it’s the future that matters here more than the present.

It’s the big one:

I’m going with Cole to retain here, possibly due to the Undisputed Era because anything can go here because of the Backlot Brawl aspect. Cole’s time is running out as champion but I have a feeling it continues on a little bit longer. Dream….my goodness I hope he doesn’t get called up to the main roster as has been rumored, because EGADS they would ruin him in a heartbeat. Cole retains here, but I have no confidence in the pick.

Overall Thoughts

Usually I get something a little bit more excited about these shows as I do the previews. That just isn’t happening this time though and that worries me to no end. The matches will likely be good because there’s so much talent in there but I can’t get to being as excited as I usually am. Now of course I’m NEVER betting against Takeover until they let me down because they have about as perfect of a record as they can, but the magic doesn’t seem to be there this time around. If that’s the case, it’s a sad day because Takeover is/was special. I don’t want that to go away, but this time around, maybe even NXT can’t make it work.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!


  • WATCH: Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre From NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III (2017)

  • RUMOR: WWE’s Plans For An Injured Star

  • Nikki Cross’ Great Deed For NXT Wrestlers

  • WWE Asks Released Wrestler To Use His Pool

  • Why WWE Championship May Change Hands At Backlash

  • AEW Preparing Second Weekly TV Show

  • WATCH: 90s WWF Personality Hypes Up Takeover

  • Funny: Bayley And Sasha Banks Reference Rumor During Championship Celebration

  • REVIEW: UWF Beach Brawl: I Apologize In Advance

  • Injury Update On Elias, Could Be Out A Long Time