The “yellow brand” is back with another blockbuster NXT TakeOver to set off Royal Rumble weekend live from Phoenix, Arizona.
What better way to start the road to Wrestlemania than with the company’s stars of the future taking center stage and putting on a show for the WWE Universe worldwide.
While this card is missing a few of my personal favorites such as the Velveteen Dream, Keith Lee & Adam Cole I am still excited to see how everything turns out Saturday night.
Here’s how I see the weekend playing out, starting of course with the much anticipated NXT Takeover:
Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno
Winner: Matt Riddle
I didn’t expect it so soon, but Riddle has actually become a very good character & performer in his brief time on the yellow brand. This storyline with Ohno has been played out very well, and I look forward to seeing how Riddle overcomes the knockout artist in his first “official” match on a TakeOver event.
NXT Tag Team Championship – Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders
Winner: War Raiders
My gut is telling me that Undisputed Era will probably find another way to cheat their way into another successful title defense. But, I’m going against my better judgement because I can remember them going up against a team that is more over with the WWE Universe. I’m calling the upset with the Raiders taking the titles.
NXT North American Championship – (C) Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Once again I’m fighting my gut and picking the upset here because of how well this new Gargano heel character is turning out along with the chemistry he has with NXT Champ & former tag partner Tommoso Ciampa. As amazing of a champion as Ricochet is, the powers that be have to be foaming at the mouth at the thought of having all-heel champions and the top two champs being a team.
NXT Women’s Championship – (C) Shayne Baszler vs. Bianca Belair
Winner: Bianca Belair
The champion enters this match on a high note with her fellow horsewomen behind her. But for the first time in her NXT career, she’s up against someone who can not only match her strength & fire, but may actually be stronger in the “EST of NXT,” Bianca Belair. While Baszler is the first ever two-time Women’s Champ, Belair makes sure we all know that she is undefeated. I think she stays that way when it’s all said & done.
NXT Championship – (C) Tommoso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black
Winner: Tommoso Ciampa
I feel that Black is beginning to get to the point where he’s ready to be moved up, so I cannot see him getting the title back in this fight. Mix that with the fact that Ciampa & Gargano are in the process of reuniting their “DIY” team of years past, and there’s no way Ciampa loses this match. Black, like Ricochet, has been a great champion and face of NXT, but I feel he’s finally reached his peak of what it has to offer, and a spot on RAW or Smackdown would suit him much better. Ciampa arguably has had more success & steam as champion than Black did, so I cannot see that stopping anytime soon.