NXT Takeover: Dallas predictions: Zack Zimmerman and Darren Gutteridge predict the winners for the show headlined by Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600By Darren Gutteridge and Zack Zimmerman

In my head, Vince McMahon channels Homer Simpson when he looks at NXT Takeover: Dallas – “Yeah, that’s one fine looking wrestling show. . . Why doesn’t mine look like that!?”. By far and away the event I’m most hyped for this upcoming Mania weekend, TO:D has all the potential in the world to not only carry on the streak of great Takeover shows, but perhaps to surpass all previous ones, thanks to its stacked card and presumably white hot crowd. – Darren

While the build to this Takeover special has left something to be desired on the weekly NXT show, the marquee value of the card is arguably the strongest ever offered by the brand and the buzz is certainly not lacking. This show has the potential to steal the weekend and seems quite likely to do so. NXT feels like it’s fallen into a bit of a holding pattern post-London, so this seems like as good of a time as any to shake things up and freshen up the picture as 2016 kicks into gear. – Zim

NXT Champion Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship

Darren: Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Title: Having saw their first match in person at Takeover: London, I know how good this could be. Joe’s killer heel gimmick will almost certainly whip the crowd into a frenzy as they fear for Bálor’s title reign, and I think they’ll be in for a shock this time around with Joe picking up the win. The winds of change appear to be approaching for Bálor, be it as a heel or as a main roster talent (or both), and while Joe is a slightly odd fit for what is still kind of a “developmental” title, he’s as good a replacement for Bálor as anyone.

Prediction: Samoa Joe defeats Finn Bálor to win the NXT Championship.

Zim: As I noted in my opening blurb, this is the time to shake things up. Finn Bálor has been a solid champion, but even with the incoming talent it doesn’t feel like there’s a ton for him left to do with that title. Samoa Joe, on the other hand, hasn’t had a wide variety of encounters yet so there are still lots of fresh feeling matchups. Couple that argument with my prediction (hope) that Bálor shows up on Raw the next night with a couple of old friends by his side, and I’m smelling a title change. Plus, how excellent does Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe sound for a headliner at the next Takeover? Just saying.

Prediction: Samoa Joe defeats Finn Bálor to win the NXT Championship.

NXT Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Asuka for the NXT Women’s Title

Zim: I could definitely see this going Asuka’s way with Bayley having beaten every challenger in the division right now, but for the sake of variety between Darren and I, I’m going to argue the other way. I think it’s difficult to deny that Asuka is the next Women’s Champion, but I think for the sake of her legacy as champion, I’d like to see Bayley eek out the underdog win here. It will add a very credible name to her list of successful defenses, before she ultimately drops the title to Asuka in a rematch at Full Sail at the next taping.

Prediction: Bayley defeats Asuka to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.

Darren: This match will be so interesting, not least for the 50/50 crowd split. I think Bayley is also main roster bound soon, thus making Asuka her first realistic threat since winning the title (shrieks of “Nooo!!” following Nia Jax’s leg drops at TO:L notwithstanding). But how does this all go down? A clean loss and a handshake? An Asuka heel turn, giving the Women’s division its own killer heel champion (you know for a fact Asuka could sell that gimmick in a heartbeat)? Or a shock title retain, with Bayley pulling double duty on Raw and NXT? I ponder all of these things because the debate over match quality is pointless – they’re going to tear it down.

Prediction: Asuka defeats Bayley to win the NXT Women’s Championship.

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Darren: I could not possibly be more excited for this match. My favourite Western wrestler taking on my favourite Eastern wrestler. You’d be naive to think of any outcome other than a Nakamura victory, but the destination is so unimportant – the journey is going to be unreal.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Sami Zayn.
Supplemental prediction: Manly tears. Like the way James Bond would cry.

Zim: What an incredible clash of worlds. With nothing on the line and no direct feud or build, I would argue that this is the most anticipated match of WrestleMania weekend. Now, I won’t pretend like the post-injury Sami Zayn has the same spark as pre-injury Sami Zayn because I truly believe he doesn’t, but I trust the Dallas crowd to more than compensate for that in terms of atmosphere, and this match is going to have a real aura around it. I think it only makes sense for Sami Zayn to do the honors for the incoming star as Nakamura enters the picture and Zayn steps out of the picture and onto the main roster.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Sami Zayn.

NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival vs. American Alpha for the NXT Tag Team Titles

Zim: I was tempted to follow the same logic for this prediction as I did for the Women’s Title match, but that would strike me as a mistake. I’ll argue in favor of the slow build and long-term payoff in many situations, but the momentum behind American Alpha is just too strong and the timing just feels too right to drag this out more. The feud can continue if necessary, but I think American Alpha need to win the belts here for defenses against The Revival, Vaudevillains, and some of the higher profile incoming teams over 2016. There’s never been this much buzz around an NXT team and it’d seem silly not to capitalize on that.

Prediction: American Alpha defeat The Revival to win the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Darren: How many other cards worldwide have the real potential for four 5 stars matches? No other event over WrestleMania weekend, that is for sure. The Revival have been just superb in their role as heel champions, and a little part of me wants to keep that going. But just like when the VaudeVillains took home the belts at Takeover: Brooklyn, it’s time to bow to fan momentum, and let American Alpha kick the show off with a bang.

Prediction: American Alpha defeat The Revival to win the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin

Darren: I feel a little sorry for Aries, as his NXT debut is really getting lost in the shuffle with such a stacked card above him. What he and Corbin can do to stand out I don’t know, but at the very least this match can be another step forward for Corbin’s progress. This is my nailed on heel victory of the night, as Aries won’t need wins to be effective right out of the gate.

Prediction: Baron Corbin defeats Austin Aries.

Zim: I’ve written it in live coverage, expressed it in audio, and will re-iterate here: this match has had a better week-to-week build than any other match on this show. This could easily be a glorified pee break match (see next match), but because of the characters, motives, and story, I’m actually looking forward to this match more than I ever could’ve expected. I think the size differential will make for an interesting visual and Aries can create a lot of movement which is necessary for Corbin to have a good match. I think Corbin shocks people with a win here to build some more heat for himself as this feud continues.

Prediction: Baron Corbin defeats Austin Aries.

Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson

Zim: I couldn’t really care much less about this match. The Drifter has yet to show anything of note and Crews hasn’t made any improvements since arriving. I think they still have hopes that Crews will figure out what he’s missing, so I’m picking him to win here, but this is by far the least anticipated match on this show and will undoubtedly be a come-down match positioned in a slot where the crowd will need to breathe and decompress from whatever came prior.

Prediction: Apollo Crews defeats Elias Samson.

Darren: Boy, did they take the wind out of this match’s sails when Samson got beat by Johnny Gargano. Now the slight momentum of Elias Samson’s war on jobbers has been lost, and I don’t think it relaunches with a win over Crews here. They may be ready to pull the plug on “The Drifter” already.

Prediction: Apollo Crews defeats Elias Samson.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. I may be wrong, but I think Elias Sampson is going to surprise a lot of people tonight. I don’t understand the logic of “Sampson lost, so they must be pulling the plug on him”. Samson losing gave his character more of a mean streak that was very necessary. Plus, the mannerisms he showed during his beatdown of Gargano seemed to hint at a darker, more unstable direction of his character. Remember when everyone used to crap on Baron Corbin? I think Samson is going to go through a similar change within these next few months.

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