NXT TakeOver New York – PREVIEW

NXT TakeOver New York – PREVIEW

It’s the biggest weekend of the wrestling year, WrestleMania weekend, and everything kicks off on Friday night with an all title match TakeOver card.

Matches

Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship match

Shayna Baszler (C) vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match

War Raiders (C) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet – NXT Tag Team Championship match

Velveteen Dream (C) vs Matt Riddle – NXT North American Championship match

Pete Dunne (C) vs WALTER – WWE UK Championship match

Previews

Pete Dunne (C) vs WALTER – WWE UK Championship match

WALTER and Pete Dunne
Credits: wwe.com

This match has been on the cards since WALTER arrived on NXT UK. Sadly, there still isn’t much to say about it. Pete Dunne has had the title since May 2017 and he’s worked hard to keep it. WALTER is going to take it away from him and Dunne’s chest will probably look like hamburger at the end of it. That seems to be the usual result of a WALTER match. Dunne has been a fantastic champion. He’s carried that belt through a long period of it being a disembodied championship and through the establishment of the brand it now represents. But it’s time for a change. NXT UK has been slow to gather momentum and a change of champion might just give it a boost.

Prediction: WALTER

Velveteen Dream (C) vs Matt Riddle – NXT North American Championship match

Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle

Another match with very little interaction to reflect on. They shared a ring with three other superstars in the fatal five-way in which Adam Cole won the right to face Johnny Gargano. They’ve had a couple of verbal sparring sessions, and that’s essentially it.

Matt Riddle is NXT’s shiny new toy and he wants to acquire some shiny new toys of his own. He will hold multiple championships in NXT if he doesn’t make his way too quickly to the main roster, but I really hope that won’t start this week in New York.

Velveteen Dream dragged himself to where he is now in amongst a roster where he could so easily have been lost in the shuffle. He waited a long time for this title, getting progressively closer and progressively better with each passing TakeOver match. I’d really like to see him hold it for just a bit longer. For that and no other reason, that’s my pick.

Prediction: Velveteen Dream

War Raiders (C) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet – NXT Tag Team Championship match

War Raiders, Aleister Black & Ricochet

Aleister Black and Ricochet have been everywhere since they were thrown together. On Monday Night RAW, they only failed to win the RAW Tag Team Championships because Scott Dawson prevented Ricochet from answering the referee’s ten-count. On Tuesday, on SmackDown Live, they teamed with champions, The Usos, against Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Bar in a winning effort. When they haven’t been busily doing every main roster tv episode, they’ve been back in NXT winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which is how they ended up facing War Raiders at TakeOver. As if that wasn’t enough, they have a SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way match at WrestleMania. It’s no wonder they’ve gone from more than slightly odd pairing to well-oiled tag team in a very short space of time.

War Raiders, on the other hand, have had a very quiet title reign. There were some injury issues following War Games which kept them out of action for a while, but the reign so far has not been memorable. On the TakeOver go home show, they took out a pair of ‘local competitors’ then Adrian Jaoude & Cezar Bononi in back to back squashes. Honestly, we already knew they were powerful, and the display didn’t really add anything, but it was nice to see them.

Aleister Black & Ricochet are destined for the main roster. As much as it would be a nice moment, there is no gain in them taking the NXT tag titles from War Raiders at this time.

Prediction: War Raiders

Shayna Baszler (C) vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match

Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kairi Sane

The background for this one is tangled and convoluted, but there’s a lot of combined history there. Kairi Sane, of course, defeated Shayna Baszler to win the first Mae Young Classic, and they’ve swapped victories since then. Io Shirai pinned Baszler in the six-woman match when she, Sane, and Belair teamed to face Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. Bianca Belair set that pin up and was only prevented from beating Baszler at the last TakeOver by Duke and Shafir, but she hasn’t pinned the champ herself.

It remains to be seen whether Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir will be a factor. They haven’t been banned from ringside, so it’s a possibility.

So, who’s going to win? Anyone got a hat to pull a name from? These are the top four women in the division right now and the order in which they place is almost entirely subjective. Bianca Belair undoubtedly deserves it, she was cheated in her last match and watching her grow from green to where she is now has been a phenomenal experience. Kairi Sane undoubtedly deserves it… and so does Io Shirai. I’ve been back and forth a hundred times and I still don’t know. Either Belair of Shirai would make me happiest, but I wouldn’t argue if it was Sane or if Baszler retains. I’ve just got to go with my favourite.

Prediction: Io Shirai

Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship 2 out of 3 falls match

Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole

Well, this is a bit of a mess. The plan was for Tommaso Ciampa versus Johnny Gargano until Ciampa’s injury put paid to that. Gargano was allowed to keep his place in the match and Adam Cole won the right to join him.

Adam Cole has made it very clear he will win at any cost and he plans to use the rest of Undisputed ERA to his advantage. I was half-expecting something to be done about that on the go home show, but nothing was, so I guess Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish are free to be a factor.

If I were predicting the original match I’d be predicting a Johnny Gargano win. I’d still like to but the Johnny Gargano story and the Tommaso Ciampa story are so intrinsically linked on NXT that it feels like Gargano is a little lost. Ending the fairytale with a WrestleMania weekend win would be a wonderful feelgood finish for TakeOver, but I fear it’s not to be.

I think the most likely scenario is that it goes to the third fall and Undisputed ERA are the deciding factor in the match. I’d love to be wrong though.

Prediction: Adam Cole

Final word

This has been the hardest TakeOver to preview because so few of the matches had much in the way of storyline build. TakeOver has never been a letdown and weird as this one is, I can’t see it being the first bad show.

A final reminder for myself as much as anyone else. TakeOver is on Friday, not Saturday. Check back a few hours after the show on Rear View Reviews for not one but two separate TakeOver reviews. In his bid to cover everything WrestleMania week, Arnold Furious will be reviewing the show as well. And, while I’m throwing twitter links around, why not follow me too.

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