NXT TakeOver XXV – PREVIEW

NXT TakeOver XXV – PREVIEW

It’s hard to believe there have been twenty-four TakeOvers already, but we have arrived at number twenty-five. This has been the weirdest TakeOver build to any in the three years I’ve been covering NXT. It was announced late, feels very rushed, and there are a significant number of people who didn’t realise it was this weekend. Why would they, it’s all on its own with no accompanying PPV. For such a milestone TakeOver, it’s been very quiet.

That said, the card will absolutely deliver exactly what we’ve come to expect from an NXT TakeOver.

Matches

Johnny Gargano (C) vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship match

Shayna Baszler (C) vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match

Street Profits vs Undisputed ERA vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Forgotten Sons – NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder match

Velveteen Dream (C) vs Tyler Breeze – NXT North American Championship match

Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong

Preview

Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong

Matt Riddle and Roderick Strong

In the build-up to this one, Matt Riddle has aligned himself with Johnny Gargano and he’s beaten Adam Cole. In retaliation, and to get back in Cole’s good books, Strong attacked Riddle backstage. That’s pretty much everything. All caught up.

There are two ways this TakeOver could go. Either Undisputed ERA will win all their matches and come out of the show as the dominant faction in NXT, and putting Strong in a position to challenge for the only belt they won’t already hold. Or, they’ll lose their matches and end up with nothing. I’m much more interested in the second scenario.

Matt Riddle has made quite an impact since arriving at NXT. This will be his third TakeOver. He knocked out Kassius Ohno in seconds in his first and unsuccessfully challenged Velveteen Dream for the North American Championship in his second. This time, he’s just there for revenge for the backstage attack. I think he’ll probably get it.

Prediction: Matt Riddle

Velveteen Dream (C) vs Tyler Breeze – NXT North American Championship match

Velveteen Dream and Tyler Breeze

Prince Pretty is home. That was how Tyler Breeze announced his return to NXT a couple of weeks ago, interrupting Velveteen Dream’s monologue. The Full Sail crowd greeted him as one of their own and welcomed him back to the place he shone the brightest.

Velveteen Dream wasted no time in pointing out that the main roster has not been kind to Breeze. He spent a lot of time in catering as the result of a creative team for whom brilliant, deeply charismatic, and well-liked by fans was just not enough to work with. Alongside Fandango he made Fashion Files the most popular thing on SmackDown Live and eventually Breezango made their way back to the ring. Fandango got injured and Tyler Breeze was back to matches on Main Event (some of which were great) and the odd backstage segment or battle royal entry.

Velveteen Dream, meanwhile, has been steadily building his stock in NXT, consistently delivering exceptional matches, earning the North American Championship in the process, and becoming more egotistical with each passing day. The Velveteen Dream Experience has been quite something to watch and will continue to be for years.

Anyway, Breeze knocked Velveteen Dream on his ass at the end of that segment and now we’ve got a title match. On this occasion, I really want Velveteen Dream to lose. Tyler Breeze has waited a long time to be able to remind people what he’s capable of. As a fan, I want him to have that triumphant return. It’s long overdue.

Prediction: Tyler Breeze

Street Profits vs Undisputed ERA vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Forgotten Sons – NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder match

Street Profits, Undisputed ERA, Forgotten Sons, and Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

This match is going to be ridiculous chaos in the best possible way. The titles are vacant because The Viking Raiders were called up to RAW and the final defence Street Profits goaded them into ended in a chaotic No Contest. With the four teams in the match all claiming the titles should be theirs, William Regal decided to hang the belts above the ring and let them all fight it out.

Undisputed ERA are probably the favourites going in. They have the greater experience and are former champions. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan have been the nearly men of the division since they teamed up. Somehow, it’s hard to see that changing in this match. Forgotten Sons’ entire gimmick is based on being owed chances, or at least overlooked for chances, and they have the advantage of Jaxson Ryker on the outside. And then there are the Street Profits.

I don’t think Street Profits necessarily get the credit they deserve. I don’t think I’ve always given them the credit they deserve. There’s a lot of gimmick and show, but while that’s been drawing focus, they’ve become, arguably, the best tag team in the division. The ladder match format plays to their strengths as well, and I’m sure we’ll see something equal parts crazy and impressive from Montez Ford. I think it’s fairly clear I’m hoping for a Street Profits win.

Prediction: Street Profits

Shayna Baszler (C) vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match

Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai

Io Shirai and Shayna Baszler have been fighting since the moment Shirai arrived on NXT. Baszler domination of the NXT women’s division relies on fear. Fear of her brutality, and of her back up. In this week’s episode, Baszler confirmed that Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir will be accompanying her to the ring.

The trio have attacked Shirai backstage. They’ve held her down at ringside and forced her to watch Baszler injure her best friend. It’s a growing and ongoing enmity that apparently started before either got to NXT (the road to TakeOver show revealed that Baszler and Shirai faced each other in Japan). Shirai has had to watch as Baszler and friends have tried to terrify the entire roster into submission.

Except, Io Shirai isn’t scared. Not only does she have a pinfall victory over Baszler (albeit one that was set up by Bianca Belair), she has taken the fight to Baszler and friends on multiple occasion. Most recently, she ran down to the ring with a kendo stick to help Candice LeRae and just about wore it out of the horsewomen’s backs.

Baszler has been a very effective champion, but now might be time for a change. Io Shirai is incredible. There is no way she was brought in for anything less than the title. The only question is when. I think it just might be her time.

Prediction: Io Shirai

Johnny Gargano (C) vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship match

Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole
Credits: wwe.com

This match is essentially a reward for bad behaviour, specifically Adam Cole’s bad behaviour.

In the last TakeOver match, in New York, Cole pinned Gargano in the first of the three falls. Gargano went on to take the next two falls to win the belt. That’s how two out of three falls matches work. However, to no one’s surprise, Adam Cole is a bad loser.

Ever since the match, Cole has harped on about that single fall victory. Gargano has been attacked by Undisputed ERA, leading to Matt Riddle coming to his aid, and worst of all he’s had to listen to Adam Cole’s incessant whining. Instead of telling Cole to get to the back of the queue, Johnny Gargano went to William Regal and requested he give Cole the rematch, just to shut him up. Regal agreed and here we are.

The rest of Undisputed ERA are always a consideration in an Adam Cole match. Gargano would have been better requesting a cage match to at least try to keep them out. Not that that ever works. But all three other members will be in action as well, so who knows if they’ll be in any shape to help.

In the special road to TakeOver show this week Gargano’s fairytale ending was very much the focus. He has everything he wanted, now he has to protect it. I’m hopeful, but not convinced. Either way, I’m not predicting an Adam Cole win.

Prediction: Johnny Gargano

Final word

So, that’s it for the preview. Every TakeOver to this point has delivered and I can’t see this being any different. Enjoy the show and check back on @RearViewReviews after it finishes for the full review.

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