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Your Average #NXTTakeOver: Philadelphia Preview & Predictions

The night before the Royal Rumble is no longer the final day of preparation. Thanks to the success of NXT, fans now get an NXT TakeOver event that sometimes outshines the main roster PPV. While it’ll be tough to outdo the Royal Rumble, TakeOver does have a solid card set up. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

The Velveteen Dream vs. Kassius Ohno

NXT TakeOver

Photo: WWE

This match was just added last night, and it’s between two guys who need a big win. NXT loves to back themselves into this corner, but I have faith the match will deliver. The build reminds me of Ohno/Itami, where Itami insulted Ohno, lost a match, then Ohno gave him the ‘I told you so’ treatment. Dream did that when Ohno lost to Gargano, then Dream lost to Gargano, then Ohno confronted him backstage and now we have a match. Dream had the match of the night with Aleister Black at the last TakeOver, so he has a lot to live up to Saturday night. The key for him is going to be avoiding the KO and using his athleticism to his advantage. I’m not sure how much longer Kassius is going to hang around in NXT, so I think Dream should go over here.

Prediction: Velveteen Dream picks up his first big win at an NXT TakeOver

Extreme Rules Match: Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black

NXT TakeOver

Photo: WWE

NXT doesn’t usually venture into gimmick match territory for their TakeOver specials. That’ll change when Undisputed Era’s leader Adam Cole takes on Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules match. These two first squared off on the December 13th episode. Black defeated Cole in that match, earning a spot in the #1 contender Fatal Four Way. Cole took offense to not being in the match and more or less cost Black his chance at a title shot by attacking him. A few weeks later Black and Roderick Strong were challenging Fish & O’Reilly for the tag belts. Once again Cole interfered and cost Black a win.

Usually an Extreme Rules match would favor the guy who REALLY wants to hurt the other guy. While that would be Black in this case, the no DQ stipulation means that Fish & O’Reilly can interfere throughout.

The positive for Black: Undisputed Era has made A LOT of enemies. If Fish & O’Reilly interfere, don’t be surprised if Roddy Strong or Sanity come out to even the odds. Aleister Black is still undefeated in singles action, so this will be a very interesting outcome.

Prediction: Aleister Black

NXT Tag Team Title Match: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (C) vs. Authors of Pain

NXT TakeOver

Photo: WWE

Remember when I said Undisputed Era has made a lot of enemies? Well none are more vicious and powerful than the Authors of Pain. The Authors were the most dominant team in NXT for a long stretch of time, and they’ll be looking to regain that distinction against the tag champs. The Authors don’t have as much experience as Fish/O’Reilly, but they make up for it in size and strength. They’ve beaten a who’s who list of all time NXT tag teams, including The Revival & DIY. Fish & O’Reilly have been more opportunistic than dominant, but they certainly know how to win. I do think that Black beats Adam Cole, which makes it hard for me to pick against the champs here. Undisputed Era has been impressive since debuting and I don’t think having all three guys lose at a live special is the right call. Plus, Authors of Pain need to be on the main roster wrecking people ASAP.

Prediction: Fish & O’Reilly

NXT Women’s Title Match: Ember Moon (C) vs. Shayna Baszler

NXT TakeOver

Photo: WWE

Poor Ember Moon. She’s been a star in NXT since her debut, but could never win the big one against Asuka. Asuka moved to Raw still undefeated, but Ember continued to scratch and claw her way to the top. She competed in the Fatal Four Way match for the vacant title at WarGames and FINALLY won the title. How is she rewarded? A match against Shayna Baszler, who has been murdering women for weeks on NXT TV. Moon is definitely up to the task, but this is a hell of a first title defense.

The build for this match has been perfect. Ember is not only a fighting champion, but she’s a champion with a moral code. Shayna Baszler has been terrorizing the women’s division for weeks and the only person to stand up for the fallen has been Ember. Just like in the movies, the hero is only as good as the villain, and Shayna is one hell of a villain. I love that she has an actual MMA background, because it makes everything she’s doing seem a bit more dangerous. While Ember has the wrestling advantage, all it takes is one misstep for Baszler to apply the Kirifuda Clutch. If that happens Saturday night, Ember’s reign will be a short one. Shayna has a ton of potential, but Ember deserves at least a few successful title defenses.

Prediction: Ember Moon

NXT Title Match: Andrade Almas (C) vs. Johnny Gargano

NXT TakeOver

Photo: WWE

It’s not often that the main event steals the show at TakeOver, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen in Philly. These two have already fought twice, including the off the charts match at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Interestingly enough, that match is what started Almas on his current hot streak. Since defeating Gargano in Brooklyn, Almas has been the star of NXT and enters TakeOver as the NXT champ. Gargano went in the opposite direction post Brooklyn and honestly owes his spot in the title match to a little bit of luck. Gargano was given a spot in the Fatal Four Way #1 contender’s match after Velveteen Dream was injured. To his credit, he earned the victory in that match, and now goes on to fight someone he has never defeated.

There are two people to remember heading into this match. Candice LeRae just signed with WWE less than two weeks ago. She is Gargano’s real life wife, and also someone who could even the odds if Zelina Vega gets involved. The other is Tommaso Ciampa. He was injured in May after turning on Gargano, and his expected return is early 2018. Last time I checked, it was early 2018, and what better time to return than when Gargano is in a title match? He’s also been selectively active on Twitter lately. IF Ciampa is healthy, NXT would be crazy to do anything but Gargano vs. Ciampa for the NXT title at the WrestleMania show. In order for that to happen, Gargano would have to win Saturday night.

Prediction: Gargano wins, Ciampa attacks post match similar to Owens/Zayn after Sami won the NXT title.

-Ryan

 

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Your Average NXT TakeOver WarGames Preview & Predictions

NXT TakeOver WarGames is LIVE this Saturday night from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Like most TakeOver events the night before a main roster pay per view, the card is stacked to the gills and will most likely overshadow the show on Sunday night. There isn’t a false note on the entire card, and the show will be headlined by the WarGames match between AOP/Roddy Strong, Sanity & The Undisputed Era.

In addition to the five match card, Pete Dunne will defend his UK title against Johnny Gargano, although that’s already been announced as the dark match. If there is a God, NXT will air that match next Wednesday during the post TakeOver episode.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan

NXT TakeOver WarGames

Photo: WWE

Lars Sullivan has been dominating NXT for the past few months, specifically anyone unlucky enough to be his tag team partner. He’s proven to be an unstoppable force no matter the handicap, but Kassius Ohno will be his toughest foe yet. While Ohno has had some stellar one on one bouts since his re-emergence in NXT, he’s still a little bit lost in the shuffle. While guys like Roddy Strong, Aleister Black, Velveteen Dream & Andrade Almas are all involved in marque feuds, Ohno is tasked with trying to corral a young, hungry monster.

It’s not a bad spot to be in, and I have faith Ohno will deliver. He asked for this match to prove to himself (and William Regal) that he belongs in the main event picture, but that picture is already plenty crowded. Sullivan has a Braun Strowman type feel to him, and this is a good spot to give him a TakeOver win against a household name.

Prediction: Lars Sullivan

Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream

NXT TakeOver WarGames

Photo: WWE

Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream has had the best build of any match on the card, and I’m fully expecting it to steal the show. Both guys are undefeated on NXT TV, but this match has nothing to do with winning streaks. Velveteen Dream has had an almost trancelike obsession with Black, and it’s crazy to think that the Dream is barely 22 years old. He plays his character so well, and his flamboyance is a perfect contrast to Black’s centeredness. Both guys can bring it in the ring though, and with such a heavy focus on attention and respect, this should be a very hard hitting affair. I really love the Velveteen Dream character, so I’m slightly biased here, but I’m pulling for him.

Prediction: The Velveteen Dream

NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon vs. Kairi Sane vs. Nikki Cross vs. Peyton Royce

NXT TakeOver WarGames

Photo: WWE

It turns out no one was ready for Asuka, as she relinquished her NXT Women’s title still undefeated both as a champion and as a competitor overall. I really liked the setup for this Fatal Four Way match too, as Moon, Cross and Royce each earned a spot by winning matches and Kairi Sane earned her spot by winning the Mae Young Classic. The beauty of pairing these four together is that it would make sense to pull the trigger and make any one of them champion. The heart wants what it wants though, and this is Peyton Royce’s time to shine.

Royce & Kay, the Iconic Duo, have been two of the best characters in NXT for awhile. I think they’ll thrive on the main roster whenever they make the transition, but Royce deserves at least one title run before that. She’s the superior wrestler between the two and with Asuka gone, this is anyone’s division. With the stipulation being the first woman to score a pin fall/submission becoming the champ, Royce could easily steal a victory here.

I won’t be upset with any result, but if I have to pick a winner, I’m going with the Aussie wonder.

Prediction: Peyton Royce

NXT Championship: Drew McIntyre (C) vs. Andrade Almas

NXT TakeOver WarGames

Photo: WWE

The resurrection of Andrade Almas thanks to Zelina Vega has been one of my favorite parts about NXT over the last few months. Almas debuted with all the promise in the world, but thanks to an awful gimmick featuring a fedora and suspenders, he never clicked with the NXT crowd. Once Vega came along, Almas toned down the silliness and amped up the cockiness/confidence and has turned into a legit title contender. McIntyre has only been NXT champ for a little over three months, but NXT likes it’s top title picture to have a little bit of madness in it. As much as I’ve loved Almas’ rebirth, it feels like there’s more story to tell with McIntyre and Fish/O’Reilly/Cole, so I think Drew retains.

Prediction: Drew McIntyre

War Games: The Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong vs. Sanity vs. The Undisputed Era

NXT TakeOver WarGames

Photo: WWE

Official rules of the match per wwe.com:

  • All three teams will be contained inside separate shark cages by the entranceway, with a member from each team (as chosen by his respective squad) starting the match.
  • After five minutes, the remaining members from one team will be released from their shark cage and allowed to enter the match.
  • When another three-minute period elapses, the remaining members from a second team are released from their shark cage and enter the match.
  • Following another three-minute period, the final team’s members are released from their shark cage and enter the match.
  • Once all three teams have entered the WarGames Match, a victory can be attained via pinfall or submission

Starting at TakeOver Brooklyn III, this three way feud has been all about the brawls. They brawled at TakeOver and what seems like every NXT since, so it makes sense for William Regal to put them in a match worthy of all that brawling. The WarGames matches of the late 80s were spectacularly brutal and bloody brawls, and were consistently used to settle rivalries when all other recourses failed. While this match will not turn into a bloodbath, I think a little bit of color, especially out of one of the Undisputed Era, will assist greatly in telling the story. Cole, Fish & O’Reilly have proven they can take guys out when they’re attacking from behind, but in WarGames they might not have anywhere to run to.

The match will take place between two rings, but NXT hasn’t announced if it will also be inside steel cages like the old WCW matches. Sanity already has the tag belts and the Roddy/AOP team has me feeling uneasy. If NXT is smart, this is a great way to introduce The Undisputed Era as their next great faction.

Prediction: The Undisputed Era

-Ryan

Samoa Joe Debuted in NXT Last Night & We’re Officially In Wrestling’s Version Of Heaven

Towards the end of NXT Takeover last night, a familiar face showed up to save Sami Zayn from certain death at the hands of Kevin Owens. Samoa Joe, one of the most dominant forces in independent/TNA wrestling, is in NXT, and we are officially reaching fantasy land levels of excitement. NXT is seriously booked like it’s run by a smart ass internet wrestling fan. “Let’s have Kevin Owens come out in a John Cena t-shirt and then have Sami Zayn turn into the Canadian Brock Lesnar and suplex Kevin Owens for most of their title match, only to have Owens reverse a Helluva Kick on the outside into a power bomb on the apron that kills Sami Zayn. Oh, and when Owens is about to hit a lifeless Zayn with a chair, SAMOE JOE comes out to save the day.” All of that actually happened, because NXT is wonderful and wants wrestling fans to be happy. I don’t know what the plans are for Joe, especially with Finn Balor as the new #1 contender, but he looks like he’s in a great shape, and NXT really is a magical place where everyone lives up to their potential, so I trust that they’ll use him wisely. The entire live special was great, and this was one of many highlights. If you still don’t have the WWE Network for some reason, sign up for free this month and watch this show. It’s worth every second.

– Ryan

The Top Two Matches At The Next #NXTTakeOver Are Now Confirmed

The NXT live specials have become sort of a sacred thing over the last year or so, and the next one on May 20th should be no exception. In addition to Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Title and Big Cass/Enzo Amore vs. Blake & Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Titles, we now know what the two main matches will be. Finn Balor, Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze will square off in a Triple Threat Match to determine the #1 contender to whoever wins the main event, which is NXT Champion Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. The amount of talent in these two matches alone are unreal, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

My pick for the #1 contender’s match is Hideo Itami. Balor is going up on the main roster after this live special, and I think Breeze follows him shortly thereafter. Both guys are main roster ready, and while it took Breeze some time to adjust to wrestling a WWE style, Balor came into NXT as a five tool player ready to take over the company. Itami had the biggest learning curve out of the three as his style was too ‘stiff’ for the WWE product. The funniest part about Itami is that the moves he used in NJPW were also being used in WWE, as CM Punk used his GTS finisher and Daniel Bryan used his running knee. After his WrestleMania moment in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, I can see Itami winning here and challenging the NXT Champion.

As for the NXT Championship match, it really depends on how long the Owens/Zayn feud is going to last. If this is going to be a long term feud, then I think Zayn wins here. Zayn already lost the belt to Owens fair and square, so another loss here would have to put him out of the title picture for awhile. If Zayn wins, I think the loss sends Owens into a tailspin where he just destroys everyone in NXT until Regal gives him another title shot. We haven’t seen a loose cannon Kevin Owens yet, but if he loses the belt to his blood rival, I think he’s going to snap. The best thing about NXT is that as a fan, you have confidence that not only are they going to develop good stories, but they’re going to end them the right way as well. No matter who wins or loses on May 20th, it’s going to be an awesome show.

– Ryan

005 Kanye West and Kane in a Buried Alive Match!

This week we cover the Grammys, NXT Takeover, and why Kanye West needs to go live in the mountains somewhere.

Kevin Owens is Coming To NXT Next Week, & He May Have The Best Character Motivation of Anyone In Wrestling

So many wrestlers debut the same way: video packages hype their debut, they get entered into a storyline and then take off from there. There usually isn’t any history: their debut in the WWE is a clean slate and a fresh start, and most of the feuds they start are strictly storyline related. Kevin Owens is different. The vignette that aired last night was one of the best debut vignettes WWE has ever done for one reason: history. Kevin Owens, formerly Kevin Steen, has seen all of his foes reach the promised land, while he was stuck clawing and fighting, doing anything he could to inch his way closer to the top. There is such a real, human element to his character and he hasn’t even debuted yet. He did fight Seth Rollins, and now Rollins is in the WWE. He did fight Daniel Bryan, and he’s in the WWE. Same goes for Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville, who are on the cusp of the main roster, and have already cemented themselves as future stars in NXT. This is Kevin Owen’s chance to prove that he shouldn’t have been passed over for so long. He debuts next week at NXT Takeover: R Evolution, and it remains to be seen who he feuds with first. Going solely by these vignettes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lays waste to everyone and everything in his path. The Kevin Owens era has begun.

– Ryan

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