NXT’s latest live special is kicking off what should be a hell of a weekend for the WWE. TakeOver leads into Summerslam which leads into Monday’s Raw, with all three of the events taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. TakeOver is SOLD OUT, which is so great and shows you the mainstream appeal NXT is generating. I’m not sure which matches will be on the live special and which matches will be for the TV tapings, so I’m just going to preview every match listed on the poster tweeted by HHH. The main card is headlined by two titles matches, both of which may actually blow the roof off the arena. Let’s get the preview and predictions!
Apollo Crews vs. ‘Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger
Apollo Crews (former Uhaa Nation) will be making his televised NXT debut at TakeOver against an unnamed opponent. Crews is as gifted an athlete as NXT has ever seen, and if you have any doubts about his ability, check out that video I linked above. He’s a physical freak who has a ton of Indy experience, and much like Owens, Zayn, Itami, Balor etc. before him, he’s ready to take the next step. Tye Dillinger’s perfect 10 gimmick is really great, and it’s going to be fun to see Crews slap him around a little bit.
Prediction: Apollo Crews.
Bull Dempsey vs. Elias Sampson
Bull Dempsey is going through a character resurgence, and they’re finally giving him some personality. This is what they should do with Corbin, minus the funny workout routines because the guy is already in pretty phenomenal shape. But I’m glad some of these guys are getting to show their personalities. He’s listed s 6’2, 300 pounds, which is not the body type of an unstoppable monster, but it could be the body type of a solid grappler with an occasional mean streak.
Prediction: Bull Dempsey. No Bull-Fit.
Eva Marie vs. Carmella
I could pretty much copy and paste what I wrote about Bull Dempsey here and just sub in Eva Marie’s name. She’s a gorgeous woman with a ton of potential who WWE clearly has big plans for, and as long as she continues to try and improve her in ring skills then I’m ok with the push. The only thing WWE has to be wary of is giving her all this physical/wrestling move training and not having her worry about the psychology of the matches. I know that’s not the Divas forte, but if you’re starting Eva Marie from scratch why not have her break the mold? She already has the unteachable attribute of making people hate her by just walking out from behind the curtain. Add some depth and legit wrestling skills and you have a solid Divas heel.
Prediction: Eva Marie. At least Carmella will get her entrance during the 8 man tag.
Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley vs. Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson
When the initial TakeOver card was announced, the most glaring omission was Enzo and Big Cass. They’re not in the tag team title picture anymore, but not seeing their entrance in Brooklyn would have been an enormous missed opportunity. Well HHH changed his mind and put pretty much the entire roster on this card, and that includes Enzo and Big Cass. As far as the actual match, it’s a toss up. Enzo’s team should win in Brooklyn, but Jordan and Gable are the new hot team. Honestly, once I see the entrance, I’ll be content with either outcome.
Prediction: Ready, willing & Gable.
Charlotte vs. Emma vs. Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke
Charlotte and Becky are main roster mainstays now, but if you’re having the biggest show in NXT history, you can’t leave out two of the most important women. Dana Brooke is getting pegged as the next big thing, and I can see her being Bayley’s first challenger, which means she should probably win here. It’s nice to have NXT as a safe place where you can have three women’s matches and you know they’ll all be great. This won’t be able to match the story telling of Sasha/Bayley, but it still should be a fun match.
Prediction: Dana Brooke.
Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin
I can honestly say the only wrestler on the NXT roster that I’m not sold on is Baron Corbin. His debut was fine, as was the counting during his match, but he literally has not evolved in what seems like forever. He’s still wrestling squash matches, and he’s still just moseying on down to the ring with what I’m assuming is supposed to be an intense look, but it comes off as indifference. Samoa Joe is different from the other Indy guys NXT has brought in, as his run in TNA gave him more mainstream exposure than anyone else. I still think he’ll be in the main event scene in NXT, so perhaps he beats Corbin here and forces him to switch up his gimmick. All I know if is Corbin keeps winning and doesn’t change things up, it won’t be long before the crowd turns on him for good.
Prediction: Samoa Joe, which hopefully forces Corbin to changes things up and become something more interesting.
Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs. Tyler Breeze
This should be Tyler Breeze’s coming out party. He’s easily the most improved guy on the NXT roster, but has continually had to take a backseat to new guys coming in. Now he has a chance for a live special win against a hall of fame name, and this has to be his time. Liger is wrestling his first match for the WWE/NXT after a hall of fame career all around the world, and I think putting over Breeze here would be awesome. Nothing is ever 100% in pro wrestling, but this is obviously a one and done for Liger, so hopefully he’s able to put on a good match and they give Breeze the win. Prince Pretty is too talented to not make the next step, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to do so.
Prediction: Beauty Shot. 1,2,3. Selfie Stick. Tyler Breeze for the win.
NXT Tag Team Title Match: The Vaudevillians vs. Blake & Murphy (C)
The X factor here is Alexa Bliss, and how the Vaudevillians can counteract her knack for interfering in matches. Blake & Murphy are insanely athletic, and adding Bliss not only gives a talented woman TV time, but it added much needed personality to their act. I sincerely hope they give this match a good chunk of time, because both of these teams can GO in the ring. I’d be lying if I said wouldn’t be sad if Vaudevillians lost, because they’re awesome, but the key is going to be how do you neutralize the outside interference. Do the Vaudevillians compromise their moral code and accidentally ‘bump’ Bliss if she gets involved, or do they have a trick up their sleeves with an X factor of their own?
Prediction: Heart > Mind. Vaudevillians and manly posing for the win.
NXT Women’s Title Match: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (C)
I don’t know if Vince and the WWE writers watch NXT, but if they want to know how they can kick start the Diva’s Revolution, they should watch this match. The progression of Bayley (and Sasha Banks) is what wrestling should be all about. They have great matches, sure, but they’re all real characters, people who have had ups and downs, wins and losses, and are now at a breaking point. Sasha went through it when she finally beat Charlotte for the NXT Women’s title, and now Bayley is going through the same thing. She was always the sidekick, and had to watch as Sasha, Charlotte and Becky Lynch tore through NXT and debuted on the main roster. Now it’s her turn to prove she belongs, and she’s already gone through Charlotte and Becky Lynch just to get to Saturday night. This is going to be the most emotional match of the night, and I’m pulling for Bayley more than anyone else on the show. Should be a classic.
Prediction: hugs for everyone. Bayley is the champ.
Ladder Match For The NXT Title: Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor (C)
Few wrestlers are on more a downward spiral than Kevin Owens. Between losing to Cena and losing to Balor, Owens can’t really catch a break no matter where he shows up. He’s also losing to the two top dogs, so it’s not irreversible damage, but eventually he needs to get thrown a bone. I don’t think it happens Saturday night, and I hope it doesn’t happen Sunday against Cesaro, but I’ll get to that in the Summerslam preview. Balor is the rightful champion, and he’s a good one at that. He also can summon ‘the demon’ for big time matches, which is like a real life video game cheat code. It remains to be seen if Balor brings out ‘the demon’ Saturday night, but making this a ladder match is a nice little wrinkle to throw in. Balor doesn’t have to get pinned or submit to lose his title, and ladder matches or any kind of gimmick match usually favors the challenger. I can see Owens cheating to win, or losing again and finally snapping (spoiler reports from the NXT tapings show him with the NXT title, although he’s never announced as champion, which leads me to believe he could steal it). All I know is this is the main event for NXT’s biggest show EVER, and if you don’t think Finn Balor and Kevin Owens are going to blow your socks then you’re an idiot.
Prediction: Finn Balor.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 6, 2015
As if NXT Takeover wasn’t already going to be amazing, the NXT title match main event is now going to be a ladder match. The Brooklyn crowd is going to be insane all night, and why wouldn’t it be? In addition to the NXT title match, you have Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s title, The Vaudevillians vs. Blake & Murphy for the NXT Tag titles, Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin, Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger and probably at least one or two more matches. According to HHH, the Women’s title match will be the co main event, which means the Brooklyn crowd is in for the best 45 minutes-1 hour of wrestling that they’ve ever seen in their life. I’m infinitely more hyped for Takeover than I am for Summerslam, and that’s not a slight on the WWE main roster. NXT has just built pretty much the perfect show.