It’s time to go north of the border for the next edition of one of the best series in wrestling history. Takeover has gone from a few specials for the minor league to some of the most must see wrestling events of the year. This one feels a bit different though as the build towards Takeover: Toronto hasn’t been the strongest in the world. Maybe the card isn’t as strong or maybe it feels a bit rushed, but it hasn’t felt as great on the way up. It’s still worth looking at though so let’s get to it.

Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai

This is a grudge match after Shirai couldn’t beat Shayna Baszler to become Women’s Champion. Instead of blaming herself, she blamed LeRae, who had tried to help even the odds against the Four Horsewomen. Shirai snapped and beat the fire out of LeRae, who came back and did the exact same thing to her. This one is all about the violence and that could make for an intense match.

There are some angry feelings here:

I’ll take Shirai to win here as she seems like someone who could be quite the challenger for Yim, assuming she wins the title. LeRae vs. Baszler seemed to be the way to go for a long time, but for some reason they never did it on the big stage. Maybe they still could, but I think Baszler is on her way up sooner, meaning that Shirai is a better choice for a challenger and the win here would get here there. LeRae will work as hard as she always does, but Shirai is going to be too much for her.

Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler(c) vs. Mia Yim

It makes sense to go here next. Baszler has dominated the NXT women’s division like no one other than Asuka in the title’s history. If she can somehow make it another three and a half months as champion, she will actually surpass Asuka’s record for combined days as champion. However, in doing so, she has run through almost everyone there is to defeat, save for Yim, who is being billed as the underdog who has fought through everything to get here. That sounds like a setup and I think I know where this is going.

It’s been a long time in the making:

Yim winning the title seems to be the most likely ending here as Baszler may not be long for NXT. There is nothing left for her to do down there other than set records and given that she is in her late 30s, there is no reason to leave her down in NXT any longer. There are all kinds of reasons for her to come up to the main roster and putting Yim over for the title makes a lot of sense. Granted I’ve been saying this for months and have been wrong every time, but it has to connect at some point.

Tag Team Titles: Street Profits(c) vs. Undisputed Era

It’s Roderick Strong/Kyle O’Reilly representing the Undisputed Era here and that means we might be in for a big story. The idea seems to be the Undisputed Era holding all of the titles at the same time and you can’t do that with two of the titles missing. Unfortunately that means we can’t have the Street Profits holding the titles any longer, which is going to take away some of the spark that she show has had. They’re as entertaining as you can get, but I’m not sure what happens here.

These guys have more charisma than they know what to do with:

The more I think about it though, I don’t think the titles change hands. NXT isn’t the place to have transitional champions and the Street Profits have only held the titles for about two months. I just can’t imagine NXT making the Undisputed Era three time champions, especially for the sake of setting up the group as the Four Horsemen of NXT. Odds are I’m wrong here and it’s more hope than anything else, but I’ll go with the champs retaining.

North American Title: Velveteen Dream(c) vs. Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne

This was set up as a singles match with Strong challenging Dream, but Dunne was thrown in to shake things up a bit. That’s exactly the case too, as I would have bet on Strong taking the title but now I have no idea where things are going. I can’t imagine Strong losing, I can’t imagine Dream losing and I can’t imagine Dunne losing. That’s a very impressive way to build to the match and they’ve done it well here.

That’s how you add a wildcard:

I’ll go with Strong winning here as the Undisputed Era has to do something and get some extra gold. The Dream is ready to do something else as he has far longer than anyone else in history. Dunne is a complete wildcard though as he’s someone you could see as one of the top stars in the entire company one day. I don’t know if he’s going to be around NXT full time though and that leaves you with Strong, who needs his big singles win. I’ll take Strong here, but I’m completely lacking certainty.

NXT Title: Adam Cole(c) vs. Johnny Gargano

This might be why I’m not wild on the whole show. At the end of the day, we’ve seen this match headlining the last two Takeovers and Gargano has been in the main event scene for going on two years now. Eventually you need something fresh and it doesn’t feel like that is the case at the moment. The match is 2/3 falls as well, making it feel even longer.

Things are a little personal:

I think they’ll stick with Cole here as Gargano is much better as the challenger instead of the champion and tends to lose the big matches. He’s already been there once and that’s about all he needs to cement his legacy. The build for it has been good (the final video from this week’s TV was outstanding) but both guys are ready for something new and there are more challengers for Cole than Gargano. It will be entertaining, but Gargano loses in the end, as he should.

Overall Thoughts

Here’s the thing about NXT: even if the show is one of the weakest in the history of Takeover, it’s still going to be one of the best shows of the year. That’s just how NXT works and they’re incapable of having a truly bad show. It’s going to be a great time and likely a blast, but you never can tell just how things are going to go. I’m more into the show than I was three days ago so the go home episode did well, but they’re going uphill this time around.


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