Chicago’s second edition of NXT TakeOver occurs tonight before tomorrow’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
There are some hugely anticipated matches, including Gargano vs. Ciampa 2, so let’s see who Wrestlaholic staff reckon will come out on top.
Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong (c) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch – NXT Tag Team Championships
DOM: It’s a shame that Bobby Fish got injured but Strong’s turn on Pete Dunne and subsequent join with The Undisputed Era was perfectly executed.
Lorcan and Burch have done well on NXT but are nothing to shout about yet… They have a way to go.
I see O’Reilly and Strong retaining here in a quick and energetic opening match.
BRENDAN: I’ve gotta agree with Dom here. The Undisputed Era just has too much left in the tank to have them lose already.
I’ve been really impressed with Lorcan and Burch as a team and I think they’ve got a future. But this night will belong to Roddy of KOR!
Winner: Undisputed Era
ZAK: Looks like we are all on the same page with this one. As much as I love Oney and Burch, I can’t see the belts coming off of The Undisputed yet. They’re too hot as a faction right now.
Winner: Undisputed Era
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Nikki Cross – NXT Women’s Championship
DOM: Baszler has been a breath of fresh air in the women’s division of NXT as a truly legitimate heel.
Her presence is frightening and with a moveset purposefully made to suit her persona, she has put on some brilliant matches so far.
Cross has always been a delight, especially with SAnitY, but now does not seem like her time.
The women’s division is exciting at the moment and I would like to see this as Nikki Cross’ farewell to NXT before joining Wolfe, Young, and Dain on Smackdown.
Baszler will retain and next in line for her should be Kairi Sane.
BRENDAN: Looking into the crystal ball, the future for Shayna Baszler is Ronda Rousey. Whether or not the real-life friends will ever want to work against one another will be something to be seen at a later time.
But for now, Shayna needs to be as strong as possible. That way it will make sense for her to not only be aligned with Ronda but then eventually challenge her. Baszler also needs to continue being a monster so that way when she is beaten for the title it’ll mean something big. So I see Shayna Baszler walking out of Chicago as the champ.
ZAK: How Cross has gone this long without being more involved with the Title picture absolutely blows my mind, and it’s a shame they chose now to insert her because Baszler seems destined to be the champ for quite some time. Hopefully this means we get to see Cross on the main roster, though the lack of sAnItY is confusing in and of itself.
Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream
DOM: This match has the makings of something special.
After seeing Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada reach the standards they did last weekend, Ricochet’s first singles match on a TakeOver could easily get up to that standard.
We know all about Ricochet from his independent bouts, most memorably with Will Ospreay, and now we get to see him on the WWE Network live for the first time on his own against The Dream.
Dream’s last TakeOver singles match against Aleister Black was exceptional and put his name on the map in WWE.
He does need a win but anything other than Ricochet victory would be foolish, he is a star.
BRENDAN: This has a chance to be the match of the weekend. Both of these men are just so damn talented not only athletically but as characters as well. Both know exactly what and who they are and how they need to portray that.
This is where I’m going to disagree with Dom and I can easily see Dream getting the win. Ricochet is such a star that I feel like he is untouchable. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter.
I also don’t see Ricochet long for the land of NXT, I could see him called up by the end of the year. The dream needs the big win here and in his future, I can see a rematch with Black for the NXT Title at Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
ZAK: Any other night, this would be a lock for Match of the Night, but alas this will have to settle for the second best slot on the card. That’s no disrespect to either talent, and they do have every chance of stealing the show. It’s a tough one to call, because a loss wouldn’t hurt either man, but Dream needs that signature win. As much as I love the King, this night belongs to the Prince.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Aleister Black (c) vs. Lars Sullivan – NXT Championship
DOM: Black won the title off Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas in January in a brilliant match that was slightly overshadowed by the Gargano/Ciampa main event.
However, everybody is aware of Black’s ability and Sullivan is no slouch either.
Extremely athletic for his size, Sullivan has been impressive during his short NXT run.
However, I see Black retaining until he gets called up to the main roster and hopefully, that isn’t any time soon.
BRENDAN: This is going to be a big test for Lars. Easily the biggest stage of his career to this point. Black has been a dominant force since he debuted with the company.
This is going to be a strong back and forth, maybe not an even 50/50 but Sullivan will definitely come out looking great. Black will eventually hit the Black Mass and get the victory.
Like I mentioned above, I would love for Black and Dream to eventually meet again but for the title.
Winner: Aleister Black
ZAK: A lot of people have been calling for an upset here but I think that would be a mistake. Black has caught fire as of late, and putting him up against the monster Lars Sullivan is a great choice. Both men will get their offense in, but the finesse of Black will outperform the strength of Sullivan.
Winner: Aleister Black
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa – Street Fight
DOM: The rematch everybody has been waiting for is finally occurring this weekend. *Grabs popcorn and beer and doesn’t move for the next 40 minutes*
I love when these two wrestle, whether it is as a team or against one another.
Gargano is the best babyface in WWE right now and Ciampa is the perfect heel, therefore this match fits perfectly.
As with any good series, I expect it to get to 1-1 so I see Ciampa stealing a win here against a valiant Gargano.
BRENDAN: This one is going to be the match of the weekend, no doubt about it. This feud has been damn near untouchable. Whether it was Ciampa attacking Gargano after his matches or Gargano showing up to Ciampa’s house in the middle of the night. Just fantastic.
From the seeds being planted during the CWC and the flower slowly blooming during their tag run, this is the culmination of an amazing story arc. I think Candice gets involved and that will ultimately cost Johnny Wrestling.
I don’t know how they’re going to settle the 1-1 split but I have a feeling we may be getting close to seeing LeRae get fully involved here.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
ZAK: Second to only Okada/Omega, the storyline built between these two have been the best thing in Wrestling over the past year. Their last match could have been the end of the feud and nobody would have complained, but this is something everyone is glad we get to experience.
From social media, to NXT shows, this has been a build worthy of headlines and I have no doubt that this will be not only match of the night, but of the entire weekend. As much as I want this to be the last chapter of the story, I can’t see it ending quite yet. Look for Ciampa to get the win, and it to somehow involve Candice. Not sure how, not sure why…but if it leads us to an epic trilogy, who can complain?
Winner: The Fans (And Ciampa)