By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Join John Moore for live coverage of NXT Takeover: Brooklyn beginning with the pre-show as it streams on WWE Network at 5CT/6ET. Dot Net Members will hear Jason Powell’s exclusive audio review late tonight.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship: An unfortunate situation that derailed NXT’s initial plans with the Aleister Black injury. Black’s role in this match was to serve as the fan’s favorite due to NXT trying to present Johnny Gargano in a different way as to freshen things up and avoid repetition because Gargano vs. Ciampa has been a match for several Takeovers in a row. Via the cruel hand of fate, they ended up with said repetition with Gargano vs. Ciampa yet again. I don’t think their plans have derailed and I feel that they set up this Last Man Standing match to set up another match at Takeover: Los Angeles. It’s actually my prediction for the Women’s Championship match that drives my prediction here, which I’ll get into below. I’m going to stick with my prediction that I had during the days when this was a triple threat and say that Ciampa goes over in a flukey way. Not with duct tape, but there were handcuffs used in one of their matches so they might go there. The problem with the flukey finish, is that sets up a rematch at Takeover: LA and will they go an entire year with Gargano vs. Ciampa main events? Maybe? It gives Ciampa more time on his budding title reign, which isn’t bad. They might go with a triple threat in LA and use that to freshen things up. My early LA Takeover prediction is that Gargano will win the title there.
Tommaso Ciampa defeats Johnny Gargano through use of handcuffs to retain the NXT Championship.
Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship: There’s an underlying Ronda Rousey factor roaming around the prediction for this match. Based off NXT’s long term booking, Shayna Baszler goes over here. There’s a 20% chance in my opinion that Sane gets the belt, but that’s only if WWE sees the need to rush Baszler to the main roster to do something with her friend Rousey. Initially it looked like they were building to Dakota Kai overcoming her fears in the long term to topple her arch nemesis in Shayna Baszler. Now that Candice LeRae’s up-and-running, I’m predicting that LeRae takes the belt off of Baszler at the Los Angeles show. Candice is a living California indie legend and that hardcore crowd would pop huge for her if she picked up the title in her hometown. To add more feel-good fire to the flame, if LeRae picked up the belt in LA it would be cool if her husband ended his feel-good tale there too. Backtracking to WWE Evolution, assuming Ronda’s champion by then, having the two UFC women’s MMA pioneers as the headline champions isn’t the worst thing in the world. After weighing all of the outside factors involved, I’m dead set on Baszler going over here, perhaps showing a bit of vulnerability similar to what Asuka showed in her last few matches on NXT.
Shayna Baszler defeats Kairi Sane via ref stoppage to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
Adam Cole vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship: This feud had a very simple build-up built around Cole not defending the title often and Ricochet wanting to become NXT’s fighting champion. I expect this to be a very fun story. Ricochet is one guy who can be counted on for a compelling match. He’s more than just flips, folks. Plus, he’s a good talker now. Adam Cole has some of the best in-match facial expressions in NXT especially when he makes his “what the hell” face. This prediction’s a bit bold, but I see a similar finish here to the NXT Championship match where Cole picks up a clean but flukey win. It’s the same prediction to set up for a rematch as well. Where I’m a bit weary of this pick is that I’m not sure if WWE will have two Takeovers in a row with 50% of the show being the same as the last.
Adam Cole defeats Ricochet via countout? This one’s tough because NXT usually doesn’t do cheap finishes like this.
Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for the NXT Tag Team Championship: This has the chance to be the match of the night given how amazing the matches building up to this were. The television match where Undisputed Era regained the titles showed the wonderful story of Bate being worried that his Senpai Seven was about to have his career ended by Undisputed Era brutality. Seven has won me over as a babyface with his great selling of the leg injury. The awesome story told in their series of matches made up for the lack of characterization for the British duo. Since NXT has already positioned War Raiders as the next challengers for the championship, I’m going with Strong and O’Reilly here. I also wonder if WWE wants to do a storyline with Undisputed Era and the tag titles when Bobby Fish returns. The Era win here and we are in line for some sort of War Games match involving the top teams in the NXT Tag Division.
Undisputed Era defeats Moustache Mountain via pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Velveteen Dream vs. EC3: This is the most basic and underwhelming builds in this set of Takeover matches. Velveteen Dream has been solid on the mic, but EC3’s entire NXT run as a character has been fairly underwhelming overall. The best part of the build was the poolside cinematic. I’m looking forward to this match exceeding expectations and it would be good to see what EC3 can do between the ropes because I’ve been pretty impressed by his in-ring selling since returning to WWE. The prediction is a coin flip here because I think if they are going to do anything with EC3 down the road then he needs a credible win. Part of predicting and EC3 win is that he took the clean loss to crazy Johnny Gargano recently. Dream can also take losses without damage. Here comes the real bold prediction! Velveteen Dream has already shown up as Hulk Hogan while Hogan was “suspended” from the Hall of Fame. Velveteen Dream also wore Lucha Underground Prince Puma tights so he’s not afraid to reach into other companies for inspiration. How awesome would it be if if Patrick Clark spray painted Dixie Carter’s mug on his wrestling tights? He can even put her face on his backside for some underlying symbolism.
EC3 defeats Velveteen Dream via pinfall (John’s Bold Prediction: Velveteen Dream comes to the ring with Dixie Carter’s face spraypainted on his butt)
Who did Will Pruett and Jake Barnett pick to win at NXT Takeover? How about Jason Powell and Matt Koon? Find out in the free audio shows below.