Last year, NXT held its first Takeover event during Wrestlemania weekend with the instant classic “Takeover: Dallas”. The show stole the spotlight over Wrestlemania weekend and was pretty easily the best show of the four days, possibly even the year. Now it’s time for round two and as luck would have it, NXT is in their own backyard, making this almost like a cross between a major house show and one of their biggest pay per views of the year. You don’t hear something like that very often so let’s get to it.
Sanity vs. Tye Dillinger/Roderick Strong/No Way Jose/Ruby Riot
We’ll start with the most recently added match as Sanity makes a rare appearance at full strength against the combined forces of Tye Dillinger/No Way Jose/Roderick Strong/Ruby Riot. This has been simmering for months now and as usual, it’s a pretty simple idea. Sanity has gone after Dillinger and it was time to even the numbers up a bit as Dillinger was tired of all the beatings. His team came together over the next few weeks and now we have a full on match between the eight of them.
Very simply put, if Dillinger doesn’t get the fall here (it doesn’t matter who it’s over but Young would be preferable), I have no idea what they’re thinking. The fans are dying to explode for Dillinger and what better place is there than this Takeover? Sanity isn’t the most interesting team in the world aside from having a really cool look. While they need the win, I think they can bounce back better. Dillinger has lost so many times already that I’m not sure how many more times he can bounce back from losing on the big stage. I really hope they don’t screw this up as they’re running out of time to capitalize on Dillinger’s popularity.
Aleister Black vs. Andrade Cien Almas
We’ll move on to a pretty big debut with Black making his first in-ring appearance in NXT. He already had a match at the WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament under his Tommy End moniker but this week is the first time we’ll see his new gimmick. Almas has been on a roll lately with the heel character really starting to hit its stride. His match with Oney Lorcan last week was a major highlight and helped set him up for this match against Black.
That being said, this is another match where the winner should be obvious. NXT isn’t going to put Black out there in his debut and have him lose so Almas has next to no chance. That being said, you could have made the same case last year about Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and that turned out fine. I’m hoping that Black can go in the ring well enough to match his great vignettes though that’s what got Almas in trouble for his debut. But yeah, Black wins here and does so handily.
Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Ember Moon
Asuka won the Women’s Title about a year ago in Dallas and hasn’t looked back since. She’s completely steamrolled over everyone she’s faced and it’s almost impossible to imagine her losing a match. That’s where the story has worked so well. It’s pretty much been acknowledged that Ember Moon can’t hang with Asuka all the way through a match but what she can do is hit the Eclipse, which has been built up as the most dangerous weapon the division has ever seen. It’s almost reminiscent of Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels as all Austin had to do was catch Michaels once and it would be over. The question is can Moon get that far.
As logical as it would be to have Asuka lose here and go on to the main roster soon after, I’m really not sure that happens anymore. NXT has done a nearly flawless job of making Asuka feel unbeatable and that’s still the feeling I have here. Moon should be the favorite and the place will go nuts if the Eclipse gives her the title, but I’m actually going with Asuka in my regular prediction almost guaranteed to be wrong. Moon is the best candidate to dethrone Asuka but I actually don’t think she does.
Tag Team Titles: DIY vs. Revival vs. Authors of Pain
I’m very rarely a fan of triple threats but this is a case where the story has been built precisely in this direction, which makes it more than acceptable. Revival and DIY had some incredible matches against each other last year but now they’ve run into a wall with the champions, who run over everything in their path. Having the other teams band together to fight the Authors is interesting and could make for a very good story to the elimination tag, especially if one of the other teams gets to conquer them in the end.
I’ll go with the Authors retaining here as DIY could easily be brought up to the Cruiserweight division while the Revival seem like perfect additions to the main roster tag divisions. The Authors are perfect choices to keep the titles until a new team is put together to slay them. I don’t know who could fight DIY save for maybe Sanity, which doesn’t seem like the most interesting thing in the world. We’ll go with the titles being retained, which would make the most long terms sense.
NXT Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode
We’ll wrap it up with a rematch as Nakamura, this time on two good knees, tries to get the NXT Title back from Roode, who took it from him in a great match back at “Takeover: San Antonio.” This time around Nakamura knows not to underestimate him, which could make for an interesting change of pace. Roode has looked great since winning the title while Nakamura has spent most of the time rehabbing his injured knee.
I think I’ll go with the champions making a clean sweep as, much like the Revival, there’s no need to put the title back on Nakamura. He’s held it twice already and is more than ready to move up to the main stage. Just let Roode move on and feud with someone new (Dillinger for example) before losing the title at “Takeover: Brooklyn III”. The match will be fun, though I’m curious as to how they could have Nakamura lose to Roode again without some sort of shenanigans, which you don’t get too often in NXT.
Overall, the show looks good but not great. As is almost always the case, it’s going to come down to the performances, which have a tendency to be outstanding. Let the wrestlers do their thing in a logical manner and everything will be fine. The crowd is going to carry a lot of this and that’s what arguably matters most at any given NXT show. Last year set a very high bar but I believe NXT can actually pull something like this off again.
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