In what’s fast becoming a tradition, the night before a big-four PPV sees NXT act as the warm-up, with Toronto playing host to the latest Takeover special.
For whatever reason, this show has very little buzz going into it, amid claims of slow ticket sales, perhaps spurred on by a TV product that has been padded out by a tag team tournament that has been, at best, tepid.
NXT Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe
A straight-up rematch from Takeover: Brooklyn II, this match has had a weird build, in that Nakamura’s largely been kept off of TV due to a storyline injury. To me, this is perhaps the match where Nakamura should have won the title, but I can’t see them switching the title twice in as many Takeovers.
Of course, we don’t have any rumoured call-ups going, so the bigger question would have to be: what happens next to the loser? Nakamura doesn’t need the title, but I worry that him winning and losing the belt so quickly would cause some damage… whilst a second straight loss for Samoa Joe would also have a similar effect. This isn’t quite Ryback levels of getting booked into a corner, but it’ll make for interesting TV afterwards. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura
NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James
With the brand split having ripped out pretty much the entire women’s division in NXT, this is what we’re left with. Since there’s no credible challengers in the current roster, NXT have had to reach out to the past and bring in former WWE Women’s champion Mickie James. On the one hand, it’s not like they’re bringing in someone who’s been out of the scene for many years. That being said, save for one video promo, this is likely to be the only time Mickie will be in NXT, so it there’s really only one result likely. Prediction: Asuka
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (c) vs. #DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano)
Okay, the first thing I’m thinking here is “heel turn”. The DIY team had their summer-long story during the Cruiserweight Classic where they teased splitting up… but in the end, Ciampa and Gargano remained partners. Indeed, these two teams were scheduled to wrestle in the Dusty Classic, but one got eliminated and the other forfeited due to injury, and so they end up not in the tournament… but in a higher-profile tag team title match. Fair enough!
Of course, these teams have had good matches before, with their Takeover: Brooklyn II match being a stand-out performance, in spite of Gargano’s knee injury. I don’t see this being any different, and after weeks of no teases of animosity… this could well be the time that the trigger is pulled. Prediction: The Revival
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Authors of Pain (Rezar & Akam) vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
This final has the extra stipulation of Paul Ellering being held in a shark cage above the ring… because reasons. We really shouldn’t compare this to the inaugural tournament, where Samoa Joe and Finn Balor beat Baron Corbin and Rhyno in the finals… but it’s oh so hard not to.
With a final between a team that some argue shouldn’t be on NXT TV yet, and an experienced duo that’s struggled to establish themselves since debuting in NXT, this could well be a really cold final. I’d imagine the winners would end up getting a tag title shot, and since the Authors of Pain are nowhere near that level, I’m going to go for an Aussie win, with a TM61/Revival match down the line. Prediction: TM61
Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger
Stemming off of another match in the Dusty Classic, Roode and Dillinger were meant to be partners… except Roode abandoned Dillinger ahead of their first round match against the debuting SAnitY. This should be a fun encounter, given that both men are cult favourites with the NXT crowd… and Tye’s penchant for having good matches when he’s not been expected to. Remember how he outshone Andrade Almas’ debut back in June? I wonder what happened to him… Nevertheless, I’d guess that the longer term has more in it for the Glorious one than the Perfect Ten, so I’m going for a Roode victory. Prediction: Bobby Roode
- Reproduced from BackBodyDrop.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website, BackBodyDrop.com, or on Twitter @theianhamilton