With it being Wrestlemania week, most of the posts here have been dedicated to the main roster and the big show. However, in case you haven’t been paying attention, there is a tremendous card for tonight’s NXT Takeover. Let’s delve into the matches:
Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship
Shayna has gotten into Ember’s head and continues to get her to put her title on the line. Ember got the win last time with a quick pin while she was obviously losing the match. I think it’s about time for Ember to come up to the main roster, as NXT has been grooming a few of the new women for pushes. I fully expect Shayna to become the new champ here, with Kairi Sane emerging as the new challenger afterwards. Shayna can be tough to watch in the ring. Their last match was kind of a mess, as she was so green and didn’t sell well. I think this one will be much better quality as Shayna has seemed to quickly improve. Ember is as solid of a worker as they come. I love her as champion but I’m excited if I’m correct to see her coming up to the main roster soon. I expect this to be given a lot of time and be a quality match.
Prediction: New NXT Women’s Champion, Shayna Baszler
Triple Threat match for the NXT Tag Team Titles and Dusty Rhodes Trophy: Undisputed Era vs. The Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne
i’m not sure if this is going to be a tornado tag/no DQ match or how it’s going to work, but all of these guys can go. AOP has developed into solid wrestlers, evolving from the squash-match brawlers they were when they first arrived. Roddy and Pete Dunne are tremendous wrestlers and I expect some incredible-looking moves. The one thing that may make this match suffer is that Adam Cole has to pull double duty. At least in both of his matches there will be five other guys that they can focus the action on, I just hope that they don’t use the plot where they knock him out early and have him crawl back for the end of the match. The thing I look most forward to in this match is Dunne & Strong matching up against AOP. Their match on NXT this past week was awesome, and adding in the Undisputed Era can only enhance things. This is going to be a bitchin match.
Prediction: Still NXT Tag Team Champions, The Undisputed Era
Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
If Johnny wins, he returns to NXT. This is the match everyone wants to see. Ciampa’s heel work has been an absolute masterpiece, which I’ve recently written about. The slow build each week up to Gargano finally appearing in the crowd was terrific. For the most part (even though some people insist on cheering heels only), the crowd detests Ciampa and loves Johnny. It is one of the most perfect builds and set ups to a match that I can remember, and an unsanctioned match is a perfect way for these two to take out everything they have on each other. It’s PERSONAL. Everyone is emotionally invested in this one. Their Cruiserweight Classic match was amazing, and now with those rules and restrictions removed, all bets are off. I’m calling it a Match of the Year candidate before it even happens.
Prediction: Johnny Gargano wins and returns to NXT
Six Man Ladder Match for the NXT North American Championship: EC3 vs. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain vs. Velveteen Dream
I can’t even describe how excited I was when this match was announced. Admittedly I have never seen EC3 or Ricochet wrestle, but there’s obviously a reason most people are so excited to see them in NXT. I have actually checked out some Ricochet highlights, and it would seem he is made for this match. Adam Cole and Killian Dain showed what they can do in this type of match when they competed in the War Games match. I’m especially excited to see the monster Dain have some HOLY SHIT moments, and also to see him square off with Lars Sullivan. This is a make-or-break match for Lars. His push has been slow but steady, but he doesn’t seem to be fully connecting yet. Much of that is character work, but he also is yet to have a defining match. This could be that match. He can make moments or do nothing and be forgotten. I want to like him so I hope he reaches for the stars and brings the crowd to its feet. Velveteen Dream is an interesting character. I feel like he’s already going away from what was a successful direction. I can’t put my finger on it but I’m losing interest in what I thought was a very good character. But, he’s young, he’s athletic, and he can shine in this match. EC3 is the guy I know the least about here, but to me he seems to be the most logical guy to win the match. It’s pretty obvious he’s very good on the mic and already connects with the crowd. Hopefully he has the skills to shine in this match as well. I can’t wait for this one.
Prediction: Inaugural NXT North American Champion, EC3
Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas for the NXT Championship
I wish the build to this match had been better, because these two are both tremendous wrestlers, but it seems like this was thrown together quickly without much back story. Aside from that, this one could be a show-stealer. Black has become my favorite wrestler, and Cien is an incredible in-ring worker whose heel work has been top-notch and enhanced even further by Zelina Vega. This one should be nearly non-stop action from start to finish. I expect a shorter-than-usual championship match because I think the pace will be pretty frenetic from the start, maybe 15-20 minutes. But within that time, hold on to your butts. I’ve been waiting for Black to get a title shot for a long time, and I fully expect him to take advantage of the opportunity
Prediction: NEW NXT Champion, Aleister Black