By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Tonight’s NXT Takeover: Chicago event features the usual loaded five match lineup. There are some talented wrestlers who are not booked for the main card tonight who will probably be featured in some way on the live special or in matches taped beforehand for Wednesday’s television show. Just to show the depth of WWE’s third brand, here’s a look at what an alternate card could look like using NXT wrestlers who did not crack tonight’s main show lineup.
Adam Cole vs. EC3 for the North American Title: A quality main event for the alternate card. I intentionally excluded the UK talent only because many of them will be working the WWE UK Championship Tournament on Monday and Tuesday. This just as easily could have been either man facing Pete Dunne or Dunne defending his WWE UK Championship against someone else in a separate match.
Bianca Belair vs. Kairi Sane: Sane is terrific and Belair is a future star. These two could have a hell of a Takeover match and I hope we see it on a future live special.
War Raiders vs. Heavy Machinery: NXT plowed through this match on television last month. I still believe they could go back to this with the right storyline attention. Not sold on this match? Feel free to replace either team with the Street Profits or The Mighty (f/k/a TM61). If you want to include UK talent, then how about the War Raiders vs. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven?
Kassius Ohno vs. Chris Dijak: Technically, the WWE website doesn’t even list Dijak on their NXT roster page. He’s a talented big man and this would be a fun match between two former Ring of Honor wrestlers. Since we’re talking roster depth, it’s worth noting that Keith Lee is expected to arrive in NXT soon and would be a strong opponent for either man.
Dakota Kai vs. Lacey Evans: The girl next door facing the arrogant Evans could be built up to serve as a solid undercard match. Candice LeRae would be a fine babyface opponent for either one of the female heels listed. I opted to exclude her because I assume she will play a role in tonight’s Gargano vs. Ciampa match.
Final Thoughts: This card obviously isn’t as stacked as tonight’s actual Takeover event. There are some Takeover worthy matches and others could be with the right storyline build. The point is that NXT is stacked with talent. The inability to find room for all the deserving talent to appear on tonight’s Takeover special is a nice problem for Paul Levesque and his crew to have. None of this is meant to advocate the idea of making the Takeover specials longer by adding matches. Don’t mess with a good thing. That said, I won’t complain if the company opts to hold monthly Takeover specials at some point.
NXT wrestlers who didn’t make the cut for the actual or alternate show: Bobby Fish (injured), Buddy Murphy (moved to 205 Live), Aliyah, Street Profits, Candice LeRae, Cezar Bononi, Fabian Aichner, Kona Reeves, Lio Rush (moving to 205 Live), The Mighty, Heavy Machinery, Pete Dunne, Raul Mendoza, Riddick Moss, Tino Sabbatelli, Taynara Conti, Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Vanessa Borne, Wesley Blake.
Check below for a free preview of NXT Takeover: Chicago hosted by Will Pruett and Jake Barnett.