By John Moore
The Prowrestling.net Live audio show returns on Sunday at 2CT/3ET with Jason Powell and John Moore taking your phone calls on the Royal Rumble and the NXT Takeover event. Listen live at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode: Something feels very empty about this feud. Nakamura has been in cruise control (by his immense standards) for a long time and Roode is a theme song gimmick. This feud could have meant something but a culmination of WWE showing house show reruns on TV as well as the lack of creative has made this just any other match. That said, Roode is a main event talent that a lot of people haven’t seen due to his better matches happening after they quit watching due to TNA being bad for the longest time. Nakamura may be the best wrestler in the world, so this has a chance to be something special, but story does mean something and this could just be any other match. This match will be good if Roode is in serious mode and stays away from the comedy, which is a bit odd due to his feud with Tye Dillinger containing a good amount of comedy. As for the result. I’ll go with Nakamura. Roode can take loses until he gets serious and this could be a good stepping stone for him to get serious. Maybe he takes the Rusev route and becomes next-level on the main roster. Who knows?
Shinsuke Nakamura retains the NXT Championship.
Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce: Asuka in NXT suffers from the same problem that Gail Kim suffered for the longest time in TNA, she’s just too damn dominant. John Cena also saw this in WWE for the longest and the key to making “Superman” interesting is to give him a challenge. I’m not a huge fan of multi-person matches for the title but this one does have some possibilities. At my gut, I feel like WWE is going to take the “safe” approach, by having Asuka win easily. I’ll make the bold prediction here just for predictions sake and that prediction has to do with the one wild card in this match, the weak link Peyton Royce. Peyton has been the henchwoman for Billie Kay. Asuka doesn’t have to be pinned right? Asuka will lose but she can still gloat being “undefeated”. I feel just in order for WWE to shake up the NXT women’s roster they have to go all in on a heel. Asuka as a heel was an intriguing possibility after showing teases after the Mickie James match, but it looks like that is out of the cards at the moment because Mickie was more valuable on the main roster. I feel like Kay has to pick up the win here, and maybe you get some sort of temporary alliance between Cross and Asuka coming up. Kay will only win if they do some sort of finger poke of doom variant. Cross is awesome, but could use some seasoning. Seriously, in my heart I feel that Asuka wins, but Kay might have to win in order to shake up something. The only apprehensiveness I have about that pick is Kay has been an enhancement talent for so long. I’ll go into this later on in my prediction for the Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger match, but what’s cool about this match is that there are so many possibilities that can come out of it, with the most interesting ones making Asuka look vulnerable.
Billie Kay pins Peyton Royce to become NXT Women’s Champion.
DIY vs. The Authors of Pain: The Authors are still very green, but I’m a fan of their look and feel that they can be a great heel team if they can keep up the pace in their matches. What makes this match less intriguing is that even though DIY are great at tag team wrestling, not even American Alpha could get a compelling match against the Authors. Their match against Alpha was decent, but not compelling. I feel that the best route for this match to take is for Johnny Gargano to pick up a rollup win over on of the Authors (seriously, they are interchangable and their names sound like the Ninja Turtles 2 villains). Then they can do a post match attack where they run the injury angle on Gargano while Ciampa is to late to stop the “injury”. This could then lead to another match at Orlando. Hopefully the storytelling in NXT gets better to build towards Orlando.
DIY retain the NXT Tag Titles.
Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger: Eric Young is good when he’s a psycho, not a methodical leader. This current iteration of Eric Young is just a slight level above “World Elite” Eric Young, and that Eric Young sucked! “World Class Maniac” and “Showtime” EY are the way to go where he’s just insane. On the other side of the coin, I feel like Dillinger needs a story now that he has the gimmick. Here’s an interesting possibility (even though I want Billie Kay to go over in her match). If they do have it in their cards to put the women’s title on Nikki Cross, they might want to go all-in to an extent on Sanity, which has been a stale faction so far. Sanity has it in them to be something, but they have to give Eric Young some psycho time and TV time. Tye can take a loss, and if he does debut on the main roster soon, let that be his “reset”. Ultimately, I want to see Tye stay on NXT to try to get a story against someone, maybe a feud with Andrade Almas or even Eric Young can help. They just have to put heat on EY and ditch the methodical parts of his current character.
Prediction: Eric Young defeats Tye Dillinger
Roderick Strong vs. Andrade Almas: If given some good amount of time, this match can really steal the show. It looks like WWE had plans for Strong, but sadly things changed once his Tag Team partner Austin Aries got hurt. A lot of their plans seemed to have derailed due to injuries all over the place, especially within that Dusty Classic. Andrade Almas is a great character now, but he needs big wins. Strong built a decent reputation as a worker the past two years, but I do wonder if the NXT audience know about it. I’ll go with Almas winning here. Strong can take the loss but he has to win his next big match if he takes the loss here.
Prediction: Andrade Almas wins.