Your Average NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Preview & Predictions
The latest NXT live special is tonight, and what started off as one of the better match cards in NXT history is now in a state of limbo. Hideo Itami is out 6-8 months with a shoulder injury and will no longer be in the #1 contenders match, and current #1 contender Sami Zayn also has a shoulder injury which could limit him in his main event match with NXT Champion Kevin Owens. While no replacement matches have been announced, I’m sure some kind of changes to the #1 contenders match will be made by show time tonight. For now, we’ll list the matches as they are and predict the outcomes from there.
Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin
One of the matches not hit by the injury bug is Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin. Rhyno has been in the ring for 5 combined minutes since making his debut, and Corbin’s matches end so fast that the crowd can loudly count in seconds how long his matches are. That’s not a recipe for a 5 star classic, but that’s not what this match has to be. If you’re bringing a guy like Rhyno into NXT, then he should serve one purpose, which is to elevate younger talent. No one is clamoring for a big time Rhyno push in 2015, but if he’s utilized correctly, he can be a valuable asset to the NXT brand. Any momentum Corbin had during his mini win streak and demolition of Bull Dempsey has been lost because he just hasn’t been on TV enough, so this is a good way to get that back. I’d also like to see some more layers added to the Corbin character, because the quiet lone wolf persona can only get you so far, especially when you don’t ooze charisma.
Prediction: Baron Corbin with an impressive ‘end of days’ on the man beast. Hopefully the crowd counts the whole match and they end up in the thousands of seconds.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Blake & Murphy (C) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Enzo Amore needs tag team gold, and this should be the coming out party for he and Big Cass. The Ascension are gone. The Lucha Dragons are gone. The Vaudevillians have disappeared. Enzo & Big Cass are far and away the most entertaining team in the division, so why not give them the gold to back up their swagger? Blake & Murphy are decent in the ring but combined have the personality of a wet mop. Why not turn Carmella into mid 90s Sunny who can wrestle. She’d be a great distraction for Enzo and Big Cass and she can also hold her own in the ring. To quote Dusty Rhodes, it’s time to fish or cut bait with Enzo & Big Cass, and I don’t want to see either of them go, so let’s go fishin’!
Prediction: Carmella helps Enzo and Big Cass win. Enzo goes for a kiss on Carmella after the match and gets 5 fingers across the face instead.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (C) vs. Becky Lynch
While I’m glad NXT is giving Becky Lynch some vignettes to let us know a little more about her, she’s going up against the best women’s wrestler on the roster tonight. When I say roster, I mean NXT, Raw, Smackdown and any other roster you can think of. Charlotte may be the best athlete and the fastest learner in NXT, but Charlotte Banks has busted her ass for years to become The Boss, and The Boss is the best thing going right now. She’s that rare perfect character who can deliver in multiple ways in the ring and have talking segments like last week’s main event contract signing where she signs her contract with A PERSONALIZED STAMP. I don’t see any reason Sasha should lose here, but I’d love to see Becky get some time in the ring with the champ. You can never have too many good characters.
Prediction: Sasha Banks. Because she’s The Boss.
Emma & Dana Brooke vs. Charlotte & Bayley
Now that Sasha Banks is the clear number 1 in the NXT women’s division, I think it’s time get Charlotte on the main roster. I don’t know how that will affect this match, but the continuous Bella Twins/Naomi/Tamina Snuka storyline isn’t lighting anything on fire, so why not add Ric Flair in female form to the mix? As far as the other women in this match, Dana Brooke is clearly the WWE prototype, while Emma and Bayley have made it almost in spite of that. Emma was the bright eyed youngster when she got called up to Raw, but she quickly fell off and was relegated to Santino’s sock puppet wearing girlfriend before appearing on NXT again. Bayley is basically the wrestling version of ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’, but she’s also that rare competitor, similar to Sami Zayn, that can connect with the audience and not seem too cheesy. She’s been in a bunch of #1 contender matches but hasn’t been able to pull one out yet, but I think her time to at least compete for the title is coming soon. I’m assuming Charlotte and Dana Brooke will be the next women’s feud coming out of this live event, since Emma and Bayley are already in a blood feud over clothes or whatever. Hopefully after that, Charlotte heads to the main roster and the other three fight over who should fight The Boss. HINT: it should be Bayley.
Prediction: Charlotte & Bayley. I think a lot of the heels are winning tonight, so a few baby faces need to come out on top.
#1 Contender’s Match: Tyler Breeze vs. Finn Balor vs. ?
When the original match was announced (with Itami as the third participant) I immediately thought this had the chance to be the match of the year. Balor, Itami and Breeze are three of the most talented and innovative guys in the world, and these triple threat/four way matches on the NXT live specials are always amazing, so this was can’t miss. Now Itami is hurt, so NXT can either insert someone else to take his place or make this a one on one match. I’ve read a lot of comments about Samoa Joe joining the match, and while that would be awesome, I don’t know if it makes sense. If Joe is put into the match, he shouldn’t win. If you’re going by who deserves the title shot, it should be Breeze. He’s been there the longest, improved the most, and should get a shot at the champ. If you’re going by who is the best in this match, it’s Balor. He’s the most interesting and physically gifted out of all three, and he could win this match on skill alone. We don’t know how Samoa Joe will fit into the NXT Universe, so it’s tough to say what kind of role he should play. Whether he’s in the match or not, I think Breeze should be the winner here. Similar to Charlotte, Finn Balor is main roster ready and he’s already fought Owens for the NXT title. Give Breeze a shot and see what two talented guys can do with a good storyline.
Prediction: Tyler Breeze
NXT Championship Match: Kevin Owens (C) vs. Sami Zayn
The physical aspect of this match depends on how injured Zayn really is, but one thing that we don’t have to worry about is these two telling a great story in the ring. Zayn and Owens are real life friends and have fought each all over the world, so tonight is going to be a walk in the park for them. Zayn is the constant underdog, fighting from underneath to earn everything he’s ever accomplished. Owens is the bully, sick and tired of people talking about how great Sami Zayn is, how much heart Sami Zayn has. Zayn wants to win back his title, but Owens wants to end Sami Zayn’s career. That’s the only way he’ll get the spotlight on himself, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Owens future in the WWE is limitless, and he’s fresh off a Monday Night Raw where he laid out John Cena and got a US title match at Elimination Chamber, so this is already a hell of a week for the guy. I think Owens retains here, and hopefully Zayn’s injury isn’t more serious than they’re leading on.
Prediction: Kevin Owens. The bad guy wins again.