As a prelude to SummerSlam, NXT’s going back to the Barclays Arena for the second year running, with their latest Takeover event.
In amongst the brand split and the Cruiserweight Classic, it’d be easy to have lost focus on NXT as of late – and I’ll be honest, with New Japan G1 Climax, I’ve skipped a LOT of NXT since their last Takeover special. But, as usual with Takeover cards, they’ve got a decent line-up, with two televised debuts as well.
NXT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Even though we’ve had the draft, there’s still rumblings going around of “X is getting called up”; and whilst that may still be true, I can’t see either of these guys going up to the main roster in the immediate future.
Save for a few pull aparts, and Nakamura taking Samoa Joe’s nose as if he were a small baby, we’ve not had much interaction between these two. “One and done” title feuds really aren’t the MO of NXT, and given that there’s already been a precedent of guys being called up whilst being NXT champion, the result of this one isn’t going to tip anyone’s hand’s either.
So, that’s why I’m predicting a Joe win, with Nakamura possibly winning it at the end of the year, but both of these guys should be on the main roster already! Prediction: Samoa Joe
NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Bayley
A rematch from Takeover: Dallas, this could well go down as Bayley’s swansong in developmental. Having seen Dana Brooke, Carmella and Alexa Bliss called up ahead of her this year alone, Bayley’s got a real sense of the Simpsons’ “You’re Here Forever” about her.
There’s the obvious story of how Bayley’s back in the same building where she won the NXT Women’s title last year; but unlike last year, there’s not the same level of expectation here. Since losing the title, Bayley has really cooled down, and regaining the Women’s title is not going to help her in the long-term.
Unlike the men’s NXT title, having the champion move up to the main show with the belt hasn’t been done before, and I don’t think it would serve any purpose either, given how muddled the women’s divisions are right now. That being said, I’d wager that after SummerSlam, Bayley will be back on her way to the main roster, probably to slot back into that Sasha/Charlotte feud. Prediction: Asuka
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Bobby Roode
Glorious! Okay, we’ve all heard the memes, and we’ve all groaned at the imitators (seriously, it only works if you are Bobby Roode… random geeks using their laptop camera and nodding to the song isn’t funny! Even if you do change the lyrics…) Since his debut at June’s Takeover event, Almas hasn’t really caught on – with his house show record seeing him lose to the likes of Andrade Almas and Angelo Dawkins.
Not quite the record you’d expect for a guy who’s meant to be the latest WWE attempt at creating a Hispanic star. At 39, Bobby Roode is another name to the “this guy really shouldn’t be in developmental” list. At Takeover: The End, Almas didn’t set the world on fire, and I really sense that he’s no longer a priority… whereas Roode will get the usual push for a newbie. Only one way this is going, I’m afraid… Prediction: Bobby Roode
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) (c) vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
So, the NXT tag team division has been in flux since June – American Alpha went up to the main show, and that’s left us with a no clear challengers. Gargano and Ciampa have wins over the Revival on TV, and also DQ wins on the house show loops as well. This could well be the match of the night, keeping up the Revival’s tradition, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Gargano and Ciampa won the belts… but perhaps not quite yet. The challengers don’t become members of the full time NXT roster for a few more weeks, so I can see a screwy finish, and a rematch down the road. Prediction: The Revival.
No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
Since making his NXT debut over WrestleMania weekend, Austin Aries’ televised run has been pretty good, with Shinsuke Nakamura being the only guy who’s beaten him. That being said, his run has been fairly uninspiring, but that’s seemingly by design. Given that No Way Jose’s forever destined to be an opening match gimmick, I would say that Aries goes over, but since there’s not too much in the way of babyface wins here, I’m going to go for an upset. Prediction: No Way Jose
Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay
This is the debut of the former Athena/Adrienne Reese, and seemingly under a gimmick that’s straight out of Mortal Kombat. Expect nothing more than a squash, especially given that the opponent is someone who’s gotten a second wind in NXT because of a job she did on SmackDown recently… Prediction: Ember Moon. Prediction: Ember Moon.
Takeover: Brooklyn II takes place this Saturday night on the WWE Network – our review will follow over the busy weekend of wrestling!