This is a different kind of show for more ways than you almost ever see. In this case, we have a show on a Sunday, a Takeover without a major event from WWE and a six match card. I’m not sure if those things are better or worse for what we’ll be seeing but NXT has not been as strong as usual of late. This is where they get their reputation from though so let’s get to it.
Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Bianca Belair
I’m not sure what to expect from this one and that’s a hard thing to pull off. What makes this so much better is the fact that while they are certainly teasing Charlotte vs. Ripley at WrestleMania, they might be going a swerve in the form of a triple threat match with Belair vs. Ripley vs. Charlotte. Now I’m not sure how great that would be, but it’s a possibility.
It’s a three way feud without the third:
That being said, I don’t think it’s a possibility that is going to become a reality so we’ll say that Ripley retains here. NXT clearly sees something huge in her and I don’t think they’re going to take the title off of her in her first Takeover defense. Unless there is something surprising like Charlotte interfering to cost Ripley the title, and I’m not sure I see that happening, I think we’ll be seeing Ripley retain.
Tag Team Titles: Undisputed Era(c) vs. Broserweights
The Undisputed Era is reaching the Shayna Baszler point of “someone has to beat them”. Granted that has been the case for a long time now and yet it never seems to end. Now that’s an interesting point as you start to wonder who that team is, because there isn’t a very deep tag division in NXT. Hence the Broserweights being put together to get this spot after winning a handful of matches.
Someone has to stop them:
I’ll take the Undisputed Era to retain here, as I think we’re coming up on the dream match at Takeover: Tampa where DIY takes the titles off of them. The Broserweights can keep teaming together, but there isn’t a need to switch the titles here. The Undisputed Era has held them for so long now that another six weeks isn’t going to matter, so switch them in Tampa instead of here.
Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor
Here’s your showcase match and it’s a very good one at that. The story makes perfect sense here as you have the former star against the new one, with Gargano needing to prove that he’s as good as he seems to be. Balor is someone with main roster credentials and having Gargano beat him would be a huge moment for him. You could see this one going either way though and that’s what makes it fascinating.
This is where they got me:
I think I’ll go with Balor here, as there is a case for both of them. First and foremost, Balor is Balor and someone who brings instant main roster credibility to NXT. At the same time though, Gargano has one of the best resumes and legacies in NXT, but he also has a reputation for losing. He’s a lot better when he’s losing though and it’s not like another loss is going to hut him that much. Gargano winning wouldn’t shock me, but I’ll take Balor.
Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox
This is a good example of a match where the extra time for the build may have hurt it a bit. The whole thing is built on Kai being the most horrible person ever by taking out the adorable Nox’s already injured knee. The problem is that was three months ago and a lot of the steam has gone away. The heat will be back as soon as we see a clip of the attack, but it doesn’t feel as important as it once did.
Again you could go either way here, but if they want Kai to go anywhere, she needs to win here so I’ll say that. Nox is someone who has that underdog/never say die aspect to her and that is going to be enough to carry her a long way. Kai is still new to this massive heel turn deal and having her lose (again) wouldn’t leave her with much to do going forward. Let her win here and see where she can go with it.
North American Title: Keith Lee(c) vs. Dominick Dijakovic
I don’t think I’m alone when I say this is the match a lot of people have wanted to see again. These guys showed a completely new aspect to big man matches and they were some of the most exciting things I’ve seen in a long time. I had wanted them to do it on a bigger stage and that is what they are getting here, with a title on the line to boot.
These guys can do no wrong:
I’ll take Lee to retain, as he seems in line to become the next big thing in NXT. Therefore, you don’t take the title off of him here (barring what would be a very surprising turnaround to give him the title shot at Takeover: Tampa), though Dijakovic winning it would hardly be the worst thing in the world. But yeah Lee retains here, as it is going to take a Herculean effort to get the belt off of him.
NXT Title: Adam Cole(c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
This is the match that got me into the show because Ciampa’s promos have been outstanding. He never lost the title and pinned Cole to win WarGames so there is already a story built in. Should Cole retain, there is a strong chance he sets the record for the longest NXT Title reign in history, which is a pretty big deal given the history the title has. I’m more curious what happens if Ciampa loses though, as this is pretty much his life.
I think we’re going to find out though, as I’ll take Cole to retain. It leaves open the question of who is left to fight him (though a certain Dreamy one would seem to be an option) but for now, Ciampa doesn’t get Goldie back. I’m not sure if he ever does, but I don’t think he does here. It’s another coin flip (dang NXT is good at setting those up), though I’m going with Cole retaining.
I’m not sure what to expect from this show as the television shows haven’t been as great lately. What matters the most though is that we’ll get down to just the wrestling here and that’s where NXT shines. I do not believe they are capable of a bad (or even average) Takeover and I don’t see this one going any differently. Just give us a good show and everything will be fine. Make it a great one and NXT is back, which is what I’d bet on happening.
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 kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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