NXT returns to Full Sail for the first Takeover there since last year’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which saw Finn Balor and Samoa Joe win the tournament. So it’s only fitting that the final part of that feud takes place where it all began, and it’s inside a cage…
It’s hard to believe it’s been two months since NXT Takeover: Dallas, but he we are once again getting excited for the latest NXT Takeover. There were those who speculated that The End spelled disaster for the NXT brand (especially with the Raw and Smackdown brand split and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn disappearing from WWE’s website), but thankfully it’s only the end of the epic Samoa Joe/Finn Balor feud. Phew. Maybe it could mean this End?
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship
You’ve got to give NXT a lot of credit for keeping the Balor/Joe feud so strong and interesting for this long. This is the third Takeover in a row that these two have fought for the title, and the first of those took place last December. Just think about how quickly Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose got, and it’s night and day. Credit should also be given to the men themselves as both of their matches have been vastly different from each other, and this one should have its own unique flavour. For the first time ever, the NXT Championship will be defended inside a steel cage, and it’s the perfect ending to this monstrous feud. Joe won the belt last month at a house show in a surprising upset, and now Balor is looking to reclaim his gold. As I speculated in my preview for NXT Takeover: Dallas, there is a lot of interest going into this match as to who might be heading to the main roster – and with the brand split coming next month this seems even more likely. Should Joe win and be the monster heel, or should Balor get the belt back and remain the face of developmental? Only time will tell, but this should be fantastic.
American Alpha vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship
These two teams also faced off at NXT Takeover: Dallas, but it was so damn good I’m happy to see it once again. Many have gone soft on The Revival (Dave Meltzer in particular), but I think they’re a great heel duo who are perfect foils for American Alpha. Now do I think they should be champs again? Not really. American Alpha should get the win here and go on to face the likes of TM61 and Ciampo & Gargano. However, you do have to factor in Ciampa & Gargano pinned The Revival last week on NXT, so if The Revival do become champions you have an easy feud to settle into…
Asuka vs. Nia Jax for the NXT Women’s Championship
I will never forget sitting in the stands at Wembley SSE watching Bayley defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Nia Jax and fearing that she would lose the title. Now here we are seven months later and Asuka finds herself in the same situation, only it doesn’t have quite the same impact. Perhaps its because we’ve seen Jax beaten that she’s lost a lot of her mystique, but having said that she has been great on the last few weeks of television. First squashing Bayley and then winning a triple threat over Carmella and Alexa Bliss in convincing fashion. Even her showdown with Asuka during the contract signing was great. Jax is incredibly limited, but Asuka can work rings round anyone so she should make this match really good at the very least. Asuka should get the win here, as putting the belt on Nia Jax does nothing either woman.
Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Seriously, what can you say about this match? It’s Austin Aries taking on Shinsuke Nakamura. This should be glorious. It’s amazing that Aries really hasn’t connected with the NXT crowd as much as I thought he would, and often he comes out to a rather tepid response. Nakamura on the other hand is like a god to these people, and he’ll be the instant favourite to go over here. However I would argue that Aries needs the win more than Nakamura does, and it could be the first step in a good program between the two. Either way, this should be fabulous.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger
The former La Sombre becomes WWE’s latest attempt to replicate the success of Rey Mysterio as he debuts as Andrade “Cien” Almas (which is quite clumsy to say). Can Almas thrive where Sin Cara and Kalisto failed? Only time will tell. Tye Dillinger – in a rare Takeover appearance – is a great debut opponent, and this should be a lot of fun. With four much bigger matches on the card, don’t expect this one to be given a lot of time.
Once again, NXT smashes it out the park with a card that will whet anyone’s appetite for professional wrestling. Although some could argue that we’ve seen enough of Balor vs. Joe, the steel cage stipulation adds some much-needed drama and they could once again steal the show. They face stiff competition however, as Aries vs. Nakamura has classic written all over it. This should be an awesome show.