NXT TakeOver Philadelphia PREVIEW

NXT TakeOver Philadelphia PREVIEW



Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas (C) vs – NXT Championship match

Ember Moon (C) vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Women’s Championship match

Undisputed ERA (C) vs Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Championship match

Aleister Black vs Adam Cole – Extreme Rules match

Kassius Ohno vs Velveteen Dream





photo credits: wwe.com

Kassius Ohno vs Velveteen Dream

This was announced officially announced on Thursday, and it seems like a bit of an out of the blue match. There is some set up though. Velveteen Dream made some disparaging remarks about Ohno a couple of weeks ago on NXT, calling Ohno just ‘a guy’ because he doesn’t look like a superstar, and saying it took Gargano 20 minutes to beat Ohno when he could have beaten him in 30 seconds tops. This week, Ohno was waiting for Velveteen Dream after his match with Gargano and teased him about Gargano not being that easy to beat. Velveteen said he still looked better than Ohno, and Ohno pushed him over. Now we have a match.

On the face of it, it looks like this should be Kassius Ohno putting Velveteen Dream back in his box, teaching him some respect, but I’m not so sure. Velveteen Dream is good, really good, and very young. And he had a match of the year contender battle against Aleister Black at the last TakeOver. Kassius Ohno is also really good, but the role he’s played in NXT over the last few months has not put him on an upward trajectory. They could both do with the win, Ohno probably needs it more. They’re both incredibly popular with the crowds.

I’d like to see Kassius Ohno win this, and put the upstart in his place, but I don’t think it will go that way. I’m more than prepared to be wrong on this one, but I think it’s Velveteen Dream’s time. He’s lost his last two high profile matches and had a month off injured. He’s made himself popular with the crowd almost by accident (although that may not work in his favour), and I think he’s destined for great things. Kassius Ohno could be the first step back on the ladder.

Prediction: Velveteen Dream




Aleister Black vs Adam Cole – Extreme Rules match

Ok, cards on the table, not that this will come as a surprise to anyone who has read any of my NXT stuff before. I am a huge fan of Aleister Black, and I don’t like Adam Cole. In my defence, this has been the case since before either of them set foot in NXT. In the hype package they keep showing Adam Cole say that Aleister Black isn’t on his level, and it makes me laugh every time.

Anyway, that’s enough of me being mean. Aleister Black was responsible for knocking Cole out of the number one contender’s tournament, and Cole was responsible for Black not winning it. Apparently, Cole harbours a grudge, because he’s been taking every opportunity to get at Black ever since (not that there have been many, it’s been a shortish build). William Regal has made no secret of the fact he doesn’t like the way Undisputed ERA go about their business, so he made this an extreme rules match.

Aleister Black should walk this, even with the extreme rules stipulation, but it’s unlikely to be that straightforward. Adam Cole will be underhand, and sneaky, and it will all be legal. Hopefully, we won’t see interference from the rest of Undisputed ERA, they’ll be too busy worrying about Authors of Pain, but I wouldn’t rule out him roping in outside help from somewhere.

Let’s be honest, I’m not going to predict an Adam Cole win, it’s just not going to happen. If it happens, the review may contain some bad words.

Prediction: Aleister Black




Undisputed ERA (C) vs Authors of Pain, with Paul Ellering – NXT Tag Team Championship match

Authors of Pain won the number one contender’s spot by beating Street Profits. This week they decimated a couple of jobbers to prove they were ready for the fight, not that anyone doubted it. Undisputed ERA have risen the ranks of NXT quickly, by a combination of fair means and foul. They’re capable of great things in the ring, and not above stooping to cheating if that doesn’t work.

It’s been long rumoured that Authors of Pain are heading for the main roster. The signs are there, the most recent being that they’ve started delivering some of their own promos. The NXT tag team division is stacked, especially now War Machine having reported to the performance centre, so Authors of Pain could well be due to move on. The question is, will this be a last shot at the NXT tag titles, or a last run with them?

Undisputed ERA are looking like a big part of the plan for the future of NXT, although looks can be deceiving. They’ve only held the titles a short time and would seem odd to take them away now. I think, somehow, they’ll find a way to triumph.
Prediction: Undisputed ERA




Ember Moon (C) vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Women’s Championship match

I have feelings about this. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that Baszler has been in NXT for five minutes and has jumped the queue, but that’s not what bothers me. For such a short build, the storytelling has been great. Brave Ember Moon is trying to prove her leadership qualities and take her responsibilities as champion seriously. She wants to stop the new bully in the playground from taking over. She knew Baszler was trying to goad her into putting the title on the line, and she let her, so strong is the courage of her convictions. It’s a decent story.

My problem is, I can’t see a way for this to finish clean without damage to the standing of one of them. Ember Moon has had a long journey to the title, including injury and failure. She has only had it for a couple of months, and this is her first TakeOver defence. She looks like she should be one of the cornerstones of the rebuilding NXT women’s division, and a loss to Baszler can only weaken her. Shayna Baszler has only been in NXT a few weeks, but she is being built as the monster heel of the division. She’s been attacking people from behind and choking them out with her Kirifuda Clutch, she also ‘deliberately injured’ Dakota Kai in their match. Having her take a clean loss in her first big match makes zero sense, it would destroy every bit of the build she’s received.

So what does that leave us? Honestly, I think there will be some kind of messed up finish. Possibly interference from one or more of the roster members who feel they’ve been overlooked, or a count out. The most likely scenario is a disqualification. If they do that, then Baszler can pick up the win without taking the title off Ember Moon. The only way I can see Moon dropping the title is if she’s main roster bound, but they’ve already taken so many from NXT recently I doubt it.

Prediction: Ember Moon to retain, but not necessarily win



Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship match

Johnny Gargano has been through a lot in the last few months. He’s fought back from a crisis of confidence since his best friend, and tag team partner, Tommaso Ciampa turned on him. He was a late entrant into the number one contender’s tournament, replacing Velveteen Dream due to injury. He won, but only after Undisputed ERA took out Aleister Black. Even after that, Zelina Vega and Velveteen Dream goaded him into putting his number one contendership on the line against Velveteen Dream. He won that too.

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas has gone from strength to strength since his business manager, Zelina Vega, showed up. Even his crowd reactions have improved, he gets one now. His victory over Drew McIntyre to win the NXT title was the final step in Vega getting him back on track. Since then, she’s had more than a peripheral role in keeping him on top.

There are too many factors to consider in this match. Will we get the feelgood ending to the underdog story? Will Vega save the title for her client again? Will Almas manage to retain all by himself? Then there’s the elephant in the room – Tommaso Ciampa.

Ciampa has been out injured since he attacked Gargano and split up #DIY, but he’s due back soon. How soon hasn’t been confirmed but it’s possible he could be close enough to turn up and cause problems in this match. Gargano lost one match against Almas when he was distracted by Vega throwing a #DIY shirt into the ring. How much more distracted would he be if Ciampa himself turned up, he wouldn’t even have to do anything. Of course, Ciampa might not turn up at all. But he might.

There are just too many variables. Whatever else happens, it’ll be an excellent match. That much I can predict with certainty. Beyond that, I’m stumped. The only way to go is with my gut, and maybe a bit of wishful thinking. I want to see the underdog triumph. I want to see the payoff for all of Gargano’s struggles. I want to see Johnny Gargano as NXT Champion.

Prediction: Johnny Gargano


One final note. The results of the NXT Awards will be announced in Philadelphia (on the pre-show I believe), so make sure you vote for your favourites.

Enjoy NXT TakeOver Philadelphia and come back to Rear View Reviews to read the full review of the show.



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